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I Move When You Move

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The moon was high in the sky. The ink-black forest lay in silence, no owls hooting in the darkness. Not even the wolves were stirring, seemingly having chosen to call it a night and mercifully letting their prey enjoy its sound sleep. At this hour, most reasonable people would long have gone to bed. Of course, few of the residents of Toussaint could be called reasonable.

Geralt of Rivia, witcher by trade and knight for a day, had spent the last hours of the day drinking and flirting with whoever was willing. It was custom to celebrate heartly after winning a tourney, after all, and he had done just that. Be it archery, riding or man-to-man combat, nothing could quite beat the training you got on the Path.

 

Outside Geralt’s tent, Roach was lazily grazing on a patch of flowers. Her fur gleamed in the torchlight. She looked exhausted, her flanks being splattered in mud and dirt after having been forced to gallop through rivers and fields at full speed. Geralt patted the horse on the back on his way past her, silently thanking her for her involvement in the tourney. They were a team, after all. Roach whinnied softly and shook her head happily in response.

The tent had been unexpected. Geralt would have assumed that after the extensive digging the organizers had apparently done into his backstory, they would have come across the documents signing the rights to Corvo Bianco over to him, and denied him free lodging on account of his own vineyard being just around the corner. Plus, witchers didn’t need to sleep like normal humans and as such didn’t really need a proper place to stay at night, especially not one with a bed. But he didn’t complain. Having a place to rest after the tourney had actually proven to be quite convenient. Now that he had partied his way into the night, thanks to the tent he didn’t have to drunkenly climb up on his horse and make his way over crummy roads and unlit paths back home. Roach probably appreciated that, too.

Geralt lit the candles in the tent with a quick gesture. The igni-induced flames spilled a warm, cozy light all over the room while he closed the tent door. Enough for tonight, he decided, he was just going to sit down, meditate for a couple of hours and then make his way back home when the morning sun had risen.

He had to admit that the tent was a good place to relax in. After the amount of shit he had been put through recently, a small room away from everybody else, in a new country, surrounded by people who barely knew him seemed like heaven. He hadn’t had much chance to rest, with Ciri, Eredin, the end of the world looming.

Strangely enough, even after his dealings with the Wild Hunt and his seemingly never-ending quest to find Ciri, the one recent event that seemed to have stuck in his mind the most was his adventure with Master Mirror, merchant of looking-glasses and devilish contracts. O’Dimm should have long since left him alone but he had turned out to be surprisingly stubborn. Geralt kept encountering him in his meditations. O'Dimm snuck into his dreams at least once every few days, sometimes more than that, sometimes even invading his more erotic fantasies, which for Geralt usually killed the mood instantly. It was like O’Dimm was still lurking in the shadows, usually just out of sight yet always there. Like O'Dimm's arm was outstretched and always just a little bit too short to reach him, but if Geralt moved just an inch to the right, or maybe leaned back a little bit, then his fingers would touch him. All that was missing was an inch, nothing more.

Geralt dropped his laurel wreath on the table and placed his newly-won ceremonial sword on one of the sword racks. Passing by a shelf, a few letters that hadn’t been there before caught his attention and he gladly took the opportunity to stop thinking about the Man of Glass. Taking off his steel gauntlets and stretching his fingers, aching after the tourney, he lazily read through them.

Disappointingly, there were no surprises to be found in them. All three letters were filled with run-of-the-mill adoration, something Geralt received his fair share of. Nothing that made his heart skip a single beat. On a fairground like this, there was no shortage of swooning ladies and flustered maidens as well as, as one of the letters proved, nervous men. One of the letters was even perfumed profusely. The scent clung to his fingers and stung in his nose, an overpowering odor that surely was not even pleasant to normal human noses. Most countesses, it seemed, tried to cover up their age and, in these times of war, ever-dwindling financial security with lavish gowns and perfumes that could be smelled from three miles away. At least, Geralt thought and smirked, that made their trail easy to follow when they inevitably got themselves kidnapped and/or eaten.

The only letter that gave him even the slightest of pauses was the fourth, placed slightly apart from the first three. At first glance it seemed just like any other message, written in the same hasty, nervous type of handwriting as the others and including the same standard adoring pathos tangled up in fumbling attempts at poetic phrases. The only thing that was different was that it was signed with not a name or a moniker, but what sounded like a cypher: “I move when you move”. If it hadn’t been for the adoration heaped in the rest of its text it would have almost sounded like a warning.

Putting the letter on the table in front of him, Geralt sat down. His heavy armor, a bit dusty but not much worse for wear after the tourney, made him long for a hot bath. He gazed at the writing but found that his thoughts wandered off, mind still muddled after all that wine. His eyes drifted away from the letter and into the distance as he picked up some of the complimentary delicacies.

The bread was delicious. Only the best for the champion, he assumed. The bottles of wine waiting for him had thankfully been left corked so he didn’t feel too compelled to get any drunker. Maybe he could look into stocking the Corvo Bianco wine cellar. Or he could have a wine break if his next contract allowed. Reaching for another slice of bread, Geralt looked off into the distance, getting lost in his thoughts. Maybe Yen would come visit him – unexpectedly and invigoratingly as always, sweeping through his life like a sudden summer thunderstorm – and they could break out the finest of wines, sit in front of the fire together, fool around a bit...

Geralt’s hand stopped. Didn’t his medallion hum just now? No, surely the exquisite wine selection must have gone to his head. He had scanned the fairground thoroughly beforehand, as was his routine, and apart from the two lovebirds’ magical affair had discovered nothing out of the ordinary. Caution was nevertheless a virtue Geralt possessed in spades. He looked around. Nothing. Paused, listened intently. Still nothing but the hooting and hollering of the people involved in the festivities outside, the neighing of horses, the crackling of fire. A panther or two in the distance. Nothing to indicate anything that should cause him to tense up.

 

“Greetings, Geralt,” a voice said behind Geralt. He sprung up from his chair like a startled cat, whirling around and drawing his silver sword in one fluid, yet visibly surprised motion. What he saw did not make his racing heart slow down. In front of him, on the bad that had been prepared for him, sat a man he had most decidedly not wanted to see again.

“O’Dimm,” Geralt replied. There was nothing pleasant in the word. If O’Dimm had expected a friendlier welcome, he didn’t let it show. The sword raised against him seemed to bother him much. Not even the corners of his mouth twitched out of that eternal smile. “Didn’t expect to see you again so soon.” O’Dimm’s eyes narrowed slightly, a change of less than a millimeter, yet amplified by not only Geralt’s heightened senses but by the tension in the room.

“Didn’t I tell you I’d be back?” O’Dimm asked. There was something dark in his eyes. Geralt couldn’t tell if it was menace or if that was just what O’Dimm looked like.

“I had hoped you had meant in a few decades,” Geralt said, nose wrinkled into a snarl. That was what he had hoped, yes, but something in him had already known that this had been coming. He had been on the Path for long enough that he knew that if someone refused to leave your thoughts, it was time to either buy some flowers or sharpen your sword.

Geralt was starting to feel slightly self-conscious about still standing in a fighting chance, the shining blade of his sword, raised and ready to strike, in such strong contrast with the happy noises drifting in from outside. At the same time the images of Master Mirror shoving a spoon into an innocent man’s eye socket, of poor Iris, of the incident on the moon, were still way too clear in his mind for him to truly consider lowering his guard. The man’s mere presence made him feel unsafe. He felt like the floor had suddenly and inexplicably tilted and he was just about to lose his balance. In fact, O’Dimm kind of reminded him of Yennefer in that respect, there was something about him that Geralt just couldn’t grasp, something wild and unpredictable. But unlike with Yennefer, Geralt would much rather have never dealt with O’Dimm again.

“Why, Geralt,” O’Dimm said and got up, prompting Geralt to tense up and retighten his grip on his sword. In this small a tent O’Dimm’s dramatic gestures seemed loud and over the top. His hand movements were those of a merchant specifically designed to draw a crowd, to sell wares on a loud market. Yet so close to him Geralt couldn’t help but instinctively feel like there was something off about them, about O’Dimm in general, about how he moved and talked and felt . “I heard Toussaint has some truly extraordinary wines. Do you really mind if an old friend joins you for an evening?” O'Dimm was seemingly entirely undisturbed by the silver blade pointed at him. Its tip was now mere inches from his chest, yet he brushed past it as if it was made of wood. He walked over to one of the chairs and let himself fall into it with a satisfied sigh. Acting like he hadn’t just appeared in the tent entirely uninvitedly, he examined two of the wine bottles on the table and unceremoniously uncorked one. Soon, two silver chalices filled with wine stood on the table. He gestured towards the other chair, motioning Geralt to sit down. After a few moments of contemplation Geralt begrudgingly sheathed his sword and did as he was told, body still tense, ready to spring into action at his visitor’s first misstep.

 

“So why are you really here?” Geralt asked, his hand tight around his cup, watching O’Dimm’s every move like a hawk. O’Dimm took a sip of the wine.

“This wine is truly extraordinary. Perhaps I should start selling it along with my mirrors – after all, one’s reflection is always much more beautiful after a few glasses of wine.” Without much further ado or commentary, O’Dimm reached across the table. Geralt wanted to flinch away but found himself frozen in place. Time stood still and he was trapped in it, being given no choice but to wait and see what O’Dimm was planning.

O’Dimm’s fingers reached Geralt’s cheek and then he leaned forward over the table, coming closer and closer until his mouth was right next to Geralt’s ear. His breath was hot against Geralt’s skin.

“I’m disappointed, Geralt.” Geralt could hear the smirk in O’Dimm’s voice. Finding that the touch of O'Dimm's hand had unfrozen him, Geralt reached for his silver sword, only to find thin air where its hilt should have been. “Here I thought you were good at seeing through my riddles.” Geralt’s left hand shot upwards, fingers bending to form the sign Aard, ready to blow O’Dimm out of his tent. Much to his chagrin but at this point not really to his surprise, no shockwave blasted out of his palm when his arm came to a halt in front of his chest. “This one wasn’t even hard. A child could have solved it.” Geralt threw his right fist forward – O’Dimm could take many things from him, but he couldn’t take his muscles. O’Dimm’s hand dashed upwards. With a thud, Geralt’s fist connected with O’Dimm’s palm just before his fist could connect with his jaw.

“Get the fuck out of my tent, O’Dimm,” Geralt growled. His muscles were straining, arm shaking, one last attempt to overpower O’Dimm. Geralt’s glare could have cut a cockatrice clean in half. After the shit he had to slog through after his last encounter with O’Dimm, he was nothing if not tired of his antics.

“Come now, Geralt. You must have recognized who my letter was from,” O’Dimm said as his hand steadily held Geralt’s fist in place. His face continued to be as telling as a mask. The enigma of his smile hid his emotions, if he even had any. “As I wrote, you fascinate me.” The word sounded foreign coming from O’Dimm’s mouth, like an alien concept he didn’t quite understand. “Yet you weren’t the reason for why I came here in the first place. I was just dropping by to join the festivities. Many roads cross here, you see. So many desperate lovers, so many broken hearted younglings desperately seeking a way to win back their rejected love, their lost honor, their wasted money – really makes for a lot of fun. But then I saw your name up on the scoreboard...” He smiled a bit wider, or maybe that was just Geralt’s eyes playing a trick on him. “Seeing you kneel on the podium to receive your prize made me think… I’d love to see that up close.” Geralt couldn't help but recoil at O'Dimm's inflection. His fist slid out of O’Dimm’s palm. “From what I have seen when I walked in your dreams, you don't seem too disinclined towards that either.”

Geralt struggled to keep his face sufficiently angry-looking as his mind raced. Surely he didn’t mean– no, he couldn’t– could he?

“What exactly,” Geralt asked through his teeth, “does that imply?”

“Don’t kid yourself, Geralt.” O’Dimm’s hand reached out and touched the multicolored fabric surcoat that hung from Geralt’s shoulders. His fingers lingered on the patterns for just a few moments too long before returning to their usual grandiose gestures, prompting Geralt’s medallion to sputter a few bouts of offended-seeming vibration as if it couldn’t quite decide what to make of the situation. Then again neither could Geralt. “Something still binds us, every night I hear you call out to me. You might not hear it yourself, but I do. I hear it clear as day.”

“I cut all bonds with you when I fulfilled my end of the pact. I don’t have any business with you and I intend to keep it that way, Master Mirror.” O’Dimm’s head cocked to the side, his eyelids narrowing and his mouth forming into a silent, smiling “ooh”.

“Call me that again,” O’Dimm said. Something lurched in Geralt’s stomach, something hot that made his throat constrict and his heart beat faster. The more he stared into O’Dimm’s eyes, the wider O'Dimm's smile got, the more certain Geralt got that O'Dimm did indeed mean what Geralt thought he meant. If the floor had tilted before, it was now angled so dramatically that he had to lose all hope of staying upright.

This was most definitely not what he had expected. Not from the Man of Glass, who had always seemed more interested in business than carnality.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t gotten personal with an enemy before, in fact Geralt of Rivia had had his fair share of bed-breaking hatesex. But this was different. He didn’t hate O’Dimm. Despite what Geralt was trying to make his own face convey he feared him, he was fascinated by him, he didn’t understand him and that was what had made him a thorn in his side ever since he had last seen him. Geralt felt haunted. As little as he liked to admit it, for the past few months O’Dimm had been such a constant presence in the back of his mind that he had even crept into some of the more sensuous thoughts of Geralt's. The dreams he’d been having in the sticky summer nights of Toussaint had been just as hot and humid as the air itself, and not a few of them had indeed featured the merchant. It seemed that O’Dimm was sticking to him like a fly stuck to spiderweb. Or maybe O’Dimm was the spider, and Geralt was the one caught in his web.

“Few have been branded by me,” O’Dimm said. His voice was low now. The dramatic flourish was gone from his movement, his attention focused entirely on Geralt. His fingers slid over Geralt’s cheekbone, over wrinkles and skin marred by a century of rough weather. They gently touched the scar that had almost taken Geralt's eye and lingered softly where the mark that had signified their pact had been. “Even less have survived.”

“We did not part in peace, O’Dimm.” It took Geralt every ounce of control he had not to react to O’Dimm’s touch even as his fingertip traced the outline of his mark down his cheek. Whatever had lurched in Geralt’s stomach before had taken to settling in his groin, an uncomfortable pressure building between his legs that he tried his very best to ignore.

“I’m not apt to take offence, Geralt. I’m a salesman, and as such I know when to let grievances slide.” O'Dimm's voice got even lower, teetering on the dangerous, titillating edge between conspiratorial and seductive. “And I’m still very much interested in doing business with you.” His gaze never left Geralt’s face, even as his hand finally journeyed on from his cheekbone and into the witcher’s snow-white hair. Had Geralt been able to see himself in a mirror that moment, he would have seen that his yellow eyes looked almost black, his catlike pupils dilated so wide they seemed to swallow up his iris. “Whatever you desire, I can give to you. Whatever you have dreamt of, I can make real.” Close were his lips to Geralts’ now, so close that Geralt could breathe in the air O'Dimm exhaled. A stab of unmistakable arousal shot through his gut at the sensation. “Whatever you dare not even imagine – I can do.”

A sharp pause hung between them as the last remnants of O’Dimm’s breath brushed over Geralt’s lips. Whether literally or figuratively, Geralt felt frozen in time again. He felt like he was on the hangman’s block with the executioner's blade dangling above him, and all he could do was wait, wait, suspended in time and space and yet bound to suffer a terrible, inevitable, inescapable end. Every hair on hiss body was raised in dread, in anticipation, in longing, in something he could not describe, body straining so tensely it almost bordered on painful.

 

O’Dimm’s lips met Geralt’s. The blade swung down.

To Geralt’s own surprise, no violent teeth-to-teeth combat followed. O’Dimm’s kiss was slow and gracious. It carried a pious sort of pureness with it that Geralt had come to find in the mouths of virgin maidens, not– not whatever O’Dimm was. Geralt couldn’t help but relish in the strange contrast between the deep, dark pools of O’Dimm’s nature and the simpleness of his affections. His lips felt calm, like a cloudless blue sky. Then O’Dimm’s fingers curled in his hair, gripping Geralt’s head, and the peaceful sky clouded over, a storm growing. Geralt realized that the calmness in O’Dimm’s kiss had not, in fact, been chastity, but cautiousness, and now that he had safely made it past Geralt’s guard O’Dimm pressed on, growing assertive, aggressive even. O’Dimm’s lips grew more forceful, tongue pushing its way into Geralt’s mouth, a hand finding its way beneath the steel backplate of Geralt's armor and clawing at the fabric covering his back, O'Dimm's other hand digging even deeper into Geralt's hair. Geralt, being the man he was, naturally did not relent but pushed back, his hands in turn grabbing at O’Dimm’s bald head, his bristly beard scraping against O’Dimm’s skin, tongue refusing to lose even an inch of ground and instead going on the offensive, the two tongues, as one might say, battling for dominance – one could almost call it a tourney –, neither of them willing to bow to the other’s attack.

Undoing the clasps on the straps that held Geralt’s sheaths to his back was quick and required little attention from O’Dimm, and before Geralt even fully realized that O’Dimm’s hands had moved to open them they clattered to the floor behind him. Next came Geralt’s belt, fastened rather loosely over his armor, more form than function, not much of a challenge for O’Dimm’s fingers. Once that too had fallen to the ground, Geralt instinctively broke the kiss as O’Dimm lifted the colorful (and, from the looks of it, rather expensive) surcoat over his shoulders and tossed it unceremoniously over the chair. Its intricately hemmed edges, surely the result of the careful handiwork of some ancient grandmother sitting next to a fire stitching for days, barely missed the candles on the table.

They halted for a weird, breathless moment. Geralt tried to read O’Dimm’s expression, but there was nothing to be read. O’Dimm was the perfect businessman, probably the perfect Gwent player too, unreadable, his gentle smile contrasting starkly with the ominous glimmer in his eyes and making his entire expression unreadable.

O’Dimm’s fingers made their way to Geralt’s hands and Geralt let him proceed as he took one of his hands in his own. O’Dimm’s movements were slow and deliberate as he gently took Geralt’s gloves off, first the right, then the left, breaking up the leather’s grip on his skin by loosening each finger first, then sliding them off in a controlled, almost reverent manner. Yet always that damned smile was playing on his lips, twisting all reverency into a mockery of itself. Geralt struggled to keep himself guarded as O’Dimm visibly taunted him for it, taking and giving control at the same time and always, always smiling. Not being in control was one thing for Geralt, might even be a titillating thing in the right hands, but not being in control when faced with someone like O’Dimm was an entirely different matter – yet he dared not to act, hoping that giving O’Dimm what he wanted, whatever that was, might make the man finally leave him alone. And he could not deny that after O’Dimm had snuck into so many of his fantasies he couldn’t help but be curious, if not desirous, about wherever this would lead. Maybe that would finally release whatever bindings still kept them together, and he’d be able to continue on his merry way killing monsters and seducing maidens without constantly being disturbed by O’Dimm showing up in his thoughts. And then, of course, there was that pressure in Geralt's crotch that despite his attempts to ignore continued to build.

Geralt’s armor would have proved a challenge to many a man, but not to Gaunter O’Dimm. His fingers slid over the steel with admiring curiosity, a merchant clearly fascinated by the quality of the goods in front of him. With skilfull hands he unbuckled the vambrance that protected Geralt’s lower arms and freed his elbows from their protective couters. The rebraces and spaulders that shielded his upper arms and shoulders from blows were unfastened and placed aside just as quickly. From there it was only a small leap to the breastplate that protected Geralt’s chest.

“You shall wear armor like no other,” O’Dimm murmured. “Steel forged from the entrails of a dying star, from the breath of a fish, from the roots of a mountain,” voice trailing off, speaking more to himself than to Geralt, seemingly getting lost in the fantasy he was spinning as his fingers caressed the decorative golden rivets that adorned the edges of Geralt's breastplate. His nails softly slid over the steel, over the elegant curve of the armor that emphasized Geralt’s upper body and gave the witcher an even more intimidating silhouette than he already had. Finally O’Dimm’s fingers reached the faulds, the overlapping pieces of metal that protected Geralt’s stomach.

In a strangely tender moment, O’Dimm’s hands moved to the side of Geralt’s waist, embracing him like a lover might. O’Dimm’s attention returned from having strayed into fantasy back to Geralt. As they made eye contact again Geralt felt like, for the first time ever, he could see something more in O'Dimm, something behind the facade, something that otherwise lay hidden behind that cryptic smile. Something wild and ancient. A yearning, maybe, a drive, a lust not even necessarily for the carnal passions of the flesh but for humanity, for more than the pitch black inevitable end of every pact. A few moments later, the faulds and culet, their equivalent on Geralt’s back, hit the floor, and O’Dimm’s gaze broke its contact with Geralt’s, leaving Geralt with nothing but the bitter aftertaste of whatever he had spied in O’Dimm’s eyes.

Geralt almost moved to stop O’Dimm when he started undoing the clasps on Geralt’s breast- and backplate. Despite – or maybe because of – all his powers, O’Dimm didn’t seem like someone who had to resort to using his physical strength all that often and the heavy plates of metal that made up the bulk of Geralt’s armor seemed like they might prove a challenge to him. Even Geralt himself struggled to take them off by himself, and he was a witcher.

“Don’t,” O’Dimm said sharply as Geralt opened his mouth, “underestimate me.” His voice was cutting enough that Geralt dared not to speak up. The armor proved to be no problem to O’Dimm, who picked it up and placed it aside as if it was lighter than a feather. Geralt was accordingly intimidated.

O’Dimm’s fingers ran over Geralt’s now exposed padded gambeson. It had kept the armor from digging directly into Geralt’s skin and turned potentially fatal strikes into nothing more than bruises, and O’Dimm’s eyes were fixed on the cloth as if it was telling him about all the hits it had taken, all the wounds it had spared Geralt from, like he was drinking in its stories of pain and suffering and relished in them. He paid special attention to the decorative brown edging, fingers counting every thread. Just beyond those few layers of fabric lay Geralt’s chest, his skin scarred from a century of combat, and despite the remaining padding Geralt felt naked. He was quite uncomfortably aware of the knife hanging from O’Dimm’s belt. It occasionally pressed against his thigh as the man caressed him. If O’Dimm wanted to, he’d be able to stab right through Geralt’s remaining clothes and leave him to bleed out. While that did not quite seem like O’Dimm’s style, the possibility itself was enough to make Geralt tense up.

It took just a few more movements of O’Dimm’s fingers, untying laces and opening buttons, until Geralt could shrug off his padded gambeson and all that remained on his upper body was a white linen shirt, sticking to his skin in the places where the armor had pressed it against him in combat, falling loosely in others, always whispering enticing secrets of the sweat and skin that lurked under it. O’Dimm took to Geralt’s freshly revealed neck like a fish to water, one hand immediately scrambling to touch it, pressing against it with a ferocity unexpected after his previously so deliberate movements. Geralt felt his heartbeat quicken, the rhythm in his jugular vein speeding up as O’Dimm’s hand pressed against it, not cutting the blood flow off, just resting against it as his fingernails dug into the back of Geralt's neck. O’Dimm’s mouth joined his hand in caressing Geralt’s neck, kissing quickly up the side of his throat, starting where the medallion lay against Geralt's broad chest and moving up to his ear. Geralt hissed in surprise as pain shot through the side of his head, O’Dimm’s teeth not just nipping at but biting his earlobe, almost hard enough to draw blood.

Geralt steeled himself, expecting the pain to heighten, the bite to worsen, teeth to dig deeper, his mind racing to try to formulate a plan should O’Dimm go even further and go for the jugular, but before he could figure out his defense O’Dimm’s hand had found its way down from his neck to between Geralt's legs. A groan escaped Geralt's lips. Even though several layers of fabric were still separating O’Dimm’s hand from his skin, the touch had sent sparks through him, Geralt's back arching to make his hips roll up into it. All thoughts of escape, of defense, were gone now, wiped out by the feeling of O’Dimm’s fingers against him. He couldn’t deny it much longer – he was hard, and had been for quite a while now.

O’Dimm’s hand rubbed Geralt through the fabric, moving vigorously enough that even though Geralt was still wearing thickly padded riding pants the feeling made him breathe in sharply, his hips pressing forward as if moving on their own. Geralt could feel his pulse pulsating in his groin, cock growing harder by the second. O’Dimm’s eyes were fixed on Geralt’s, watching him pant, visibly enjoying getting an actual reaction out of the usually so stern witcher.

Something mischievous was playing on O’Dimm’s lips, his mouth opened slightly in an open-lipped smile, teeth glimmering just beyond. The more Geralt looked at this smile, and the more the grip and intensity of O’Dimm’s hand working him up increased, the more malicious it looked to him. Geralt decided to perform a preemptive strike and leaned forward, hands that had fallen to O’Dimm’s side rising to once again grip O’Dimm’s head, open lips pressing against O’Dimm’s, tongues meeting in hot, wet unison, then without much warning he backed out of O’Dimm’s hand and slid down, coming to a stop with his face almost nuzzling against the bulge between O’Dimm’s legs. O'Dimm's sharp inhale at this proved that despite everything, he was very much human in body.

 

The armor still remaining on Geralt’s legs proved to be quite comfortable even as Geralt moved into a kneeling position, his knees safely cradled by padded fabric and metal. He undid O’Dimm’s belts with a few expert movements. In sharp contrast to Geralt’s quick, eager actions O’Dimm took his fair time opening his doublet from the bottom up, slowly opening each fastening while Geralt’s hands sat impatiently below it, yearning for what lay beyond the fabric. It took an agonizing eternity before O’Dimm had opened enough of the fastenings that Geralt’s finger could make their way beneath them, fiddling with knots and laces under the thick woolen fabric until finally the strings on his pants were undone and his underwear was loosened enough for Geralt to, finally, pull O’Dimm’s cock out.

Geralt looked up and felt his own cock twitch at the expression on O’Dimm’s face. Gone was the ever present, ever mysterious smile. O’Dimm’s cheeks were flushed and his mouth was open now, lips swollen and glistening with moisture, eyelids low yet in his eyes a manic, wild look of what Geralt could only describe as hunger . Before he could gaze at this face much longer a hand gripped his hair firmly. Geralt’s head was pulled back for a second, O’Dimm’s expression now having changed into a look of firm want, then pushed towards O’Dimm’s waiting cock.

O’Dimm pressed against Geralt’s lips and Geralt gladly opened his mouth, letting O’Dimm push him further, swallowing around him as his cock slid deeper into his mouth. O’Dimm held him there for a few moments, all muscles tight as his hips pressed against his face and the tip of his cock pressed against Geralt’s throat, filling his mouth. Finally his grip on Geralt’s hair loosened a bit and as O’Dimm’s muscles relaxed, Geralt pulled himself away with a deep breath. Only a second later the fingers in Geralt's hair tightened again shoved his lips back on O'Dimm's cock. Searching for something to hold on to Geralt’s hands moved to O’Dimm’s ass, settling there while O’Dimm pushed himself back into Geralt’s mouth.

Before long they settled into a comfortable rhythm. O’Dimm let Geralt move mostly on his own but left his fingers curled up around thick strands of his hair, ready to correct him should the need arise. Geralt let himself get lost in the movement, letting his throat relax to take all of O’Dimm into his mouth, occasionally pausing just long enough for his tongue explore the tip of O’Dimm’s cock in more detail.

Absorbed in the rhythm Geralt lost all sense of time. It may have taken a few seconds, may have taken hours, but eventually his fingers felt O’Dimm’s muscles tense up under them. O’Dimm’s movement grew faster, Geralt’s head bobbing back and forth and barely keeping up, his mouth opening wider to let O’Dimm’s shaft thrust into him as far as he wanted to. Then, finally, after building up to a dramatic crescendo, O’Dimm’s hips jerked forward one final time, muscles straining under Geralt’s fingers, moaning as he came. Geralt swallowed gratefully, his throat constricting around O’Dimm’s cock as O’Dimm’s hips thrust forward again and again, coming for what seemed like ages, his fingers so tight in Geralt’s hair it hurt.

After an eternity, O’Dimm’s grip on Geralt’s hair loosened. Geralt let him slide out of his mouth, saliva and cum dripping between them as he pulled his lips off O’Dimm’s cock. Geralt’s hands shook as he wiped his mouth. Above him, O’Dimm’s stature softened, his shoulders, usually held up tight, slumping over slightly as he tried to catch his breath, panting in empty-headed post-orgasmic bliss, too wiped out to even tuck himself back into his underwear.

 

Geralt had to brace himself against the table to stand up, the armor still on his legs now seeming heavier than ever, his remaining clothes feeling sweaty and damp. As he stood up, he realized that his entire body was trembling, exhausted from the strain of being so tensely excited. He managed to wipe his mouth again just in time before O’Dimm pulled him into another kiss. This time O'Dimm's hands were soft on Geralt’s head, his fingers, just as Geralt’s, unsteady with exhaustion, his lips still eager but not hungry anymore, his wild lust having burnt out into nothing more than pleasant embers. Even after their final kiss ended they stood still, letting their heads rest against each other’s, calm and tranquil.

“Seems like you owe me now,” Geralt said, his voice hoarse. O’Dimm snorted in response, too exhausted to even laugh.

“That I do, witcher. That I do.” O’Dimm’s voice sounded weak and shaky, but there was a satisfaction in it that Geralt had never heard before; a gentle, warm sort of happiness that went much deeper than his usual sneer. It surprised Geralt how happy hearing it made him. Letting his hand trail over O’Dimm’s face one final time, Geralt stepped backwards on shaky feet and let himself fall onto one of the chairs. O’Dimm tucked himself back into his underwear with as little effort as possible and sat down too, his legs almost giving out under him as he did so.

 

Outside, the joyous sounds of a happy crowd continued to ring out. A woman’s voice momentarily pierced the noise, clear and clean like a forest spring, singing an old folk song about a knight and the fair maiden he yearned for. A few more voices joined in, male and female alike, and Geralt and O’Dimm sat in silence listening to their song, each lost in their own bliss, until the sound at last faded away.

They shared the bed that night. Despite, as Geralt found out, neither of them having the physical need for sleep, O’Dimm soon drifted off into whatever his equivalent of meditation was. Geralt watched over him as he slept in Geralt's arms.

Beyond the confines of their tent, more wine was drunk, more songs were sung and the festivities carried on. But for one night, maybe the only night in history, no pacts were made, no contracts were written, no souls were sold. For one night, everything was peaceful.

Chapter Text

Geralt of Rivia died on a grey, overcast day in Velen.

Death undeniably lost some of its bite when you had come back from it before. Yet it was still an ominous thought, to die. That final breath, Geralt wondered as he lay bleeding, what would it be like? Would it be sharp and cold, or grateful and warm like a mother’s hug? Would he smile? Laugh? Or would he not even know it, death embracing him before he could truly realize it?

A couple had graciously granted him a bed in their hut after he had shown up on their doorstep beaten and bloodied. Had helped him inside, had taken off his clothes and even tried to stop the bleeding. It had taken only a few minutes of half-hearted attempts for them to realize that there was nothing they could do.

The woman had, in few, cracked words, offered Geralt something to eat. Deep wrinkles ran through her face, making her look older than she probably was. Geralt had accepted her offer gladly. Even a witcher knew to appreciate the warmth of a hot meal. Even a witcher – especially a witcher – knew that it was a rarity in a cold, harsh land such as this. Knew that despite their hard faces, these people were showing unmeasurable kindness in giving more than they could afford.

The woman had filled a bowl of soup directly from a pot that hung over a pitiful fire, spilling some on the dirt floor in the process. Geralt had hissed when the bowl made contact with his hands, the clay made hot from the fire-warmed stew stinging against his injured skin. He had breathed a hurried “thanks” through his teeth. Despite the initial pain, the heat had felt comforting. The soup, he recalled, had looked at once watery and oddly thick, but he had known better than to complain. The claw marks on his hands had stained the bowl red.

That had been a day ago. A night had come and the sun had risen again, attempting and failing to pierce the ceaseless fog that hung over Velen. Outside, a cock crew. Geralt lay still, bleeding out into the filthy straw mattress.

He felt sorry for the two of them. They were out in the field by now, toiling away caring for sickly-looking crop. When they had left that morning, Geralt had smiled at them, and they had not smiled back. They looked exhausted, pushed long past the border of bitterness and into apathy. War and poverty hung heavily over their heads, making them walk with a stoop. They fitted the land in which they lived. Velen was a tired land, grey and saggy like the body of an old whore, and even its youngest children seemed to look at the world with old, weary eyes.

Low-hanging clouds raced over a tortured land. Somewhere, hidden to all but Geralt’s superhuman hearing, someone screamed for help. Then, the unmistakable sound of steel slicing through flesh. Then, silence.

Crows were gathering on the roof. Geralt could hear their claws tic against the wood, could hear them caw mindless tales to each other as they sat, waiting. They would have no luck here, Geralt thought and managed to smirk a little smile to himself. The birds were expecting a feast but would find an unappetizing carcass; Geralt’s flesh was tough and tanned by a century on the Path, his body more muscle and scars than soft, juicy meat. If anything, he would probably taste like an old wolf, bitter and stringy after a life of battle.

A sudden gust of air whistled through the hut, making the entire structure shudder and groan in disgust. It carried with it the scent of rain and the stench of death. And something else, a melody almost, like something Geralt had heard in a dream once. He strained to hear it, to catch it, to recognize it and understand what it meant, but the wind had picked up again and had already blown it away like a wisp of smoke.

Geralt felt little surprise when a shadow fell over him, the shadow of a man. Then he didn’t feel much of anything anymore, because he was dead.

“So, dear friend,” the Man of Glass said. “How about that favor I owe you?”

Chapter Text

Death turned out to be much less spectacular than Geralt had expected. In the end, there had been nothing. No fair maidens had wept for him, nor had any noble knight arrived at the last second to swear to avenge him. No, he had simply died. Silently, calmly, finally.

And then he gasped back to life under the same straw roof. Rain crackled against the dirty windows. The fire in the corner of the hut had almost burnt out, the damp cold reaching out to Geralt from the far corners of the room.

“The farmers will be back soon,” the Man of Glass said as he washed his hands in a small bucket of muddy water. “You won’t know how to answer their questions.” His sleeves were bloodied, soaked a deep, dark red. Geralt craned his neck to look down at his own exposed chest. There was no blood on him. The mattress, too, was clean. “You should leave.”

“What,” Geralt began to ask in response, but the tearing pain that tore through his chest cut him off. He inhaled forcefully, holding the deep breath for a few moments in an attempt to control the pain. Thankfully, the worst of it passed quickly. The dull, foreboding throbbing in his lungs that lingered even after he breathed out was worrisome but nothing he couldn’t handle, at least for now.

“You know the terms.” O’Dimm shook his hands over the basin, then dried them against his pants. He looked, as Geralt noted with a hint of surprise, utterly exhausted. “I’ll see you in Toussaint, friend.”

***

Roach trotted steadily on. The rain had not yet passed through this part of the country and as a result, the road was dry under her hooves. No dew clung to her fur, just the cold, hard air of an early autumn evening. The grey countryside of Velen passively rolled by her and Geralt’s eyes, neither of them paying it much mind. They could have long crossed into Toussaint by now if it hadn't been for Geralt’s wounds. At noon, they had passed Hanged Man’s Tree, yet the sun was already coming down and they had barely left Crookback Bog. A long road stretched out ahead of them.

Of course, without O’Dimm’s help, they would have had no road ahead of them at all. Geralt had not exactly been able to discuss the terms of his contract, having been dead and all, so O’Dimm had opted for a system of payment by installments. He had returned Geralt to life as part of the owed favor. But as this had been hardly a fair exchange (or so O’Dimm had said), he had not given it to him fully; Geralt might have gotten his life back, but not his health. For that, for permanence, Geralt would have to make a second payment. The Man of Glass never made a bad deal, and this was no exception.

The ride to Toussaint, where the witcher and O’Dimm were to meet up again, turned out to be more than a little unpleasant. Geralt was shivering while the foul-smelling mud of the shores of Lake Wyndamer squelched under Roach’s hooves. By the time they crossed the Pontar, Geralt had entirely lost consciousness. Occasionally as their journey went on, bits and pieces of scenery would float by his heavy-lidded eyes, blurred into almost unrecognizability and distorted into messes of brown and greens that never gave much of an indication whether they were even real or merely figments of his fever-stricken mind. Thankfully before he had lapsed out of consciousness entirely, he had managed to fasten some straps around him, enabling to at least stay on Roach’s back, if not entirely upright. Only Roach’s trusty wit and Geralt's occasional half-conscious course correction kept them from veering off the road and into the unknown.

They made a sorry and frightening sight; Geralt travelling only in his shirtsleeves, delirious and drenched in sweat. Not even bandits dared to try and approach him, the sight of the witcher’s pale face and convulsing body scaring many a man into telling tall tales of headless horsemen and ghostly riders. Only once on their journey did voices manage to drag Geralt out of the dark depths of unconsciousness. They had been stopped by some peasants at what seemed like an inn; there were glimpses of water, well-meaning words, worry, but by the next time Geralt managed to open his eyes, Roach and him were already back on the road.

The sound of peacocks and the smell of olive trees drifted through the air as Geralt finally awoke for good. A cool breeze whispered through the trees and made Geralt shake. The sun was hot and bright and it made Geralt’s head feel as if someone had kicked it. He closed his eyes again. Roach’s steps made dull sounds on the dirt road under her. Soon came shouts, voices, the noise burning in Geralt’s skull and making him long for pleasant (albeit feverish) oblivion. People quickly gathered around them, tugging at Geralt, at Roach, at the ties that held Geralt in the saddle. Unstrapped, Geralt fell to the ground like a wet sack of potatoes, his head and shoulders barely caught by the helping crowd. Even the Majordomo himself was there, his usually so calm demeanor wiped away in favor of what seemed to be actual fear. Above him, clouds colored pastel by the evening sun rolled lazily by. Some men had already lit torches to ward off the approaching dark, and the crackling of the fire reminding Geralt of the rain in Velen. He let his eyes drift shut. With many shouts and much ado, the crowd carried him through the doors of Corvo Bianco.

***

A sharp pain shot through his side and rudely startled Geralt awake. His hands shot to the offending area, fingers curling up against it as if that could actually have any effect on the pain. Groaning through gritted teeth, he rode the feeling for a few, long seconds, until it subsided and left him panting, curled up on the bed. At least he had made it home. Or whatever Corvo Bianco was.

The sheets under and around him were wet. His sweat had entirely soaked them, probably beyond the point of repair, but, he discovered as he blinked the dirty strands of hair out of his eyes, at least the fog of delirium was finally gone. Around him, Corvo Bianco stood just as steadily as always. The familiar untidiness of the eternal bachelor’s pad turned out to be quite reassuring after his arduous journey over fever-muddled roads; unwritten letters and filled-out contracts strewn about his table, collected books lazily stacked up in bookshelves, swords hung crookedly on the wall told him that this was real, this was not a hallucination and not a dream. Everything was as it had been when he had left it. Not even death could disturb this eternal safe haven. Geralt could not help but feel a warm, grateful glow spread through him at the thought. No matter what happened to him – to the world, even – Corvo Bianco’s doors would be eternally open to him.

Of course, this also meant its doors were open to whatever latched onto Geralt. This time, O’Dimm did not need to speak to let Geralt know that he had arrived. Geralt could feel the weight of O’Dimm’s body make the mattress dip slightly towards him, an unfamiliar feeling of disbalance as Geralt had not yet shared this bed with anyone, had slept alone all these nights in the vineyard. The medallion, lying on the bedside table, vibrated gently. There he was, then. Geralt had barely realigned himself with reality, and O’Dimm had already come to claim his prize.

Silence hung between them as Geralt wiped the sweat from his brows, halfheartedly combed his hair back with his fingers. The house creaked softly, like an old friend gently reminding Geralt of its presence in his life, while they waited to see which one of them would speak first.

“I’m happy to see you made your way back safely,” O’Dimm said finally. Judging from where his voice came from, he was sitting up, back against the headbar. Geralt, who until now had remained curled up, facing away from O’Dimm, shifted his weight and slowly rolled over. Bursts of sharp stabbing sensations rushed through him at every motion, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. With some anguished grunts and groans, he propped himself up against a pillow and finally came to rest in a sitting position next to O’Dimm.

“Not much thanks to you,” Geralt replied, voice low as to go easy on his body.

“Come, come now, Geralt. I never had any doubt that you would make it.” O’Dimm’s voice was cheerful yet to the point, like a merchant obliged to compliment a customer on their newest purchase. To punctuate his words, a hand patted Geralt’s shoulder in a fraternizing way and Geralt hissed as every touch sent another short-lived spark of pain through him.

“Let’s cut to the chase.” Geralt rolled his aching shoulder to shake off O’Dimm’s hand. Even with his magical reviving powers, he had absolutely no interest in having O’Dimm around any longer than absolutely necessary. Especially not after the whole business on the tourney grounds. The longer he was in contact with O’Dimm, the more Geralt would have to actually process their little encounter, and he was very much not in the mood to do that. Not when his body was threatening to fall apart at any moment. Not when having O’Dimm around meant Geralt’s mind kept returning to the memory of tasting his wet mouth, his tongue, his cock.

“Very well.”

O’Dimm grabbed Geralt by the shoulder. Geralt yowled like a kicked cat but before he could form any words to protest with, O’Dimm had straddled his hips. Any other man probably would have blushed. Since Geralt was Geralt, he merely grit his teeth and accepted his fate.

Without much ado, O’Dimm began to explore Geralt’s body. Nimble little touches, fingers dancing a gentle dance across Geralt’s skin. The witcher’s body had no visible wounds, yet his torso was bruised and swollen, his arms covered in red, blue, yellow blotches of burst blood vessels and hurt tissue. His chest and neck was especially affected, visibly having gone through an unenviable amount of trauma.

“What did you do?” O’Dimm asked as his hands gently rubbed across Geralt’s pectoral muscles. His words were light and almost cheerful, the tone of a doctor making casual smalltalk during an examination.

“Griffin,” Geralt replied simply and succinctly, then winced as O’Dimm’s hand came into contact with a particularly tender spot. O’Dimm scoffed in disbelief. Then he nodded, determining the wounds to be fitting with Geralt’s story – what may have been claw marks here, wounds left by a beak there, the blunt force trauma, the torn flesh, it all added up. Geralt, teeth bared in what may have been an embarrassed smile but may also just have been an expression of physical pain, expressed his agreement with a nod of his own. “Fuck, I know. Out of all the things that can kill you" – Geralt sucked in a sharp breath in response to O’Dimm’s fingers lingering too long on a bruised rib – “a damn griffin had to be the one to take me down.”

“Fabled White Wolf of Rivia,” O’Dimm said softly, a smile playing on his lips, “Butcher of Bleviken, slayer of giants, killer of gods, brought down by a lowly griffin.” He paused to examine a wound in more detail, lovingly caressing the bruised and broken skin. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.” Geralt let out a bitter laugh, although the pain it caused turned it into more of a growl. Despite his body’s extraordinary healing abilities and O’Dimm’s earlier magic, it seemed that his internal organs were still unable to withstand more than the gentlest of movements.

Nevertheless, it almost seemed like a waste to use O’Dimm’s skills – powers – to save him. In Geralt’s line of work, death was to be expected. An occupational hazard. An inevitability. As it was for most people, really.

“Wish I could’ve saved that favor for later. To save Dandelion when he inevitably gets himself into trouble again. To pull Ciri out of a fatal encounter. To save the world.” Geralt paused. So did O’Dimm. “Saved it for something greater.”

Wish you say?” O’Dimm’s voice was syrupy. It sounded sweet and dangerous, like the nectar of a Venus flytrap. There was a pregnant pause once his words had rung out, once his lips had settled back into his usual smile. Seconds ticked past them in silence. The candles that lit the room danced and flickered.

“What are you, truly?” The words fell out of Geralt’s mouth in a detached way, as if he was only a spectator to his body. He felt cold. As with any witcher, the actual question he was asking was how do I kill you – and he knew that O’Dimm knew this.

He regretted the question when O’Dimm turned his attention to Geralt’s face to reply. O'Dimm's eyes practically shone, a dozen candles reflected in them as he looked up at Geralt, mouth slightly open in an excited grin. His teeth glistened behind wet lips. The depths of millenia loomed in his pupils, a horrible eternity of knowledge and power and among it all, fascination, fascination with Geralt, Geralt’s story, Geralt’s body: mortal, human – at least partially –, his. By design or by coincidence, by prophecy or accident, the strings of life and destiny that tangled around the witcher had come to bind O’Dimm to him and him to O’Dimm, and no struggling, no sword could save him now. Geralt watched O’Dimm watch him and felt the grim, cold hands of fate claw at his throat.

“That, my dear and most exceptionally handsome friend,” O’Dimm answered, his voice dropping low and the glint in his eyes growing darker, deeper, words coming slower, carefully placed and impregnated with sinister meaning by their crystal clear pronunciation, “you do not want to know.”

“Then let’s just get this over with.”

“Geralt, my friend, you are a terrible host.”

“And not your friend.”

“Associate?”

“Sadly.”

“Yet firmly my business partner. Do I need to read you the pact you entered – freely and out of your own volition, might I remind you?” Geralt slightly shook his head in an annoyed, yet careful gesture.

“Fulfill your end of the bargain then, Man of Glass.”

“As you wish.” O’Dimm paused for a second, sitting over Geralt like a hawk towering over a mouse. “Though I do have to warn you, this first part might hurt.” Geralt, being no stranger to pain, didn't even blink.

With a deep breath, O’Dimm stretched his hands out in front of him, joints cracking slightly, then letting them hover just a few inches over Geralt’s naked chest. He mumbled something. Despite his amplified hearing, Geralt could not make out the words. There was a pause long enough for Geralt to briefly wonder, really, that’s all ?

The pain cut through Geralt like a scythe through ripe wheat – swiftly and without mercy. Somewhere in Kovir, Triss dropped a flask of troll sweat, and in a remote hut in the far reaches of Velen, Yennefer lost her grip on a magical instrument and almost hit herself in the face with her own spell. Geralt bucked upwards, teeth gritted, straining too hard to even make a sound. His organs screamed in agony as his muscles all contracted at once, his spine arching and veins bulging blindly. O’Dimm paid it all no mind. He simply clenched his thighs more tightly around Geralt and continued his arcane movements with unperturbed precision, no trace of strain or even surprise showing on his face. No witcher would shake him off, no wild bucking disturb his magic. O’Dimm had tamed the immortal laws of the cosmos before, had cut through the fabric of the universe and buried his fangs in the very essence of time itself. Physical power, no matter how great, rarely managed to impress him.

The few seconds that Geralt spent in this state felt like an eternity. As O’Dimm cast his terrible spells, Geralt’s mind was wiped clean, his world nothing but the white, hot current of agony that ran through him. It was more than just pain, more than hurt, it was a tearing feeling, like flesh being ripped from bones, like muscles rending themselves from joints. Not much made his mind flash back to the Trials but this, this came close.

And then, just as quickly as it had begun, it was over. Geralt’s body dropped back down on the bed seemingly without much input of his own, his mouth panting and hissing mostly-unintelligible curses. O’Dimm merely wiped his hands and smiled.

With much trepidation and bated breath, Geralt raised an arm. No pain. Well, some pain, but nothing more than the ebbing aftershocks of whatever magical torture O’Dimm had just put his body through. Moving his fingers, though, still hurt like a bitch. So did his toes, and, he noticed as he tried to move, most of the finer muscles of his body. Geralt let out a groaning sigh.

“Please tell me the second part doesn’t also hurt.”

“I’d never make a promise I can’t keep.” O’Dimm sounded almost apologetic. Or maybe astute. Geralt couldn’t quite tell. “But I can assure you that it’ll be easier on you. The smaller fibers need more delicate treatment; there is really no use going at your most delicate muscles with a butcher’s knife.” His hands reached for Geralt’s head and Geralt sucked in a hasty breath, bracing himself for a new round of pain that never came. In fact, not just did the pain not come, O’Dimm didn’t move at all once his fingers had settled on Geralt’s cheeks. His fingertips were soft, more like Yennefer’s than Geralt’s own, not hardened by years of swords and manual labor. They felt nostalgic and strangely comforting. In this position, Geralt couldn’t help but remember their nightly trifling those months ago. All this time he’d tried not to think about it, tried to pretend it hadn’t happened. And here they were again, playing the same game, just with new stakes.

Their breath slowed down. Calm returned to the room. Geralt’s eyes flickered up yet saw only O’Dimm’s eyelashes flutter. O’Dimm seemed to gaze into nothingness, perhaps prodding for injuries, or maybe merely resting for a moment to restore his power. He was hunched over Geralt, knees planted firmly at the witcher’s sides. Whereas he had straddled him tightly before, he was now sitting on his haunches, meditative gaze turned inwards. The first two buttons of his doublet were open and Geralt found his attention drift towards the chest exposed there, deep breaths raising it and letting it fall in a slow, yet entrancing rhythm. No, Geralt thought and firmly forced his eyes away.

They’d played this game before, after all. In the time since, Geralt had decided that he had humored O’Dimm – and maybe his own curiosity –, nothing more. There had been nothing to it, he had decided, and as such he was not going to let this progress any further. He had no interest in having to deal with the fallout of getting more involved with whatever O’Dimm was. And yet the more firmly he thought about how he was not going to let anything happen, the more his eyes floated down to those open buttons.

O’Dimm’s eyes flicked upwards. Geralt’s gaze shot away from his chest, guiltily seeking something in the dim room to look at instead, like a schoolgirl caught staring at her crush. O’Dimm smiled a shrewd, knowing smile in response. Before anything else could happen, and before Geralt could find words to express what he was thinking, the fingertips resting on Geralt’s temples finally began to move.

They were quick in their motions, not concerning themselves with Geralt’s face much longer and instead drifting past it to snake down his neck. Geralt shuddered at the sensation. O’Dimm’s shining eyes followed his hands as they moved over the stumbling heartbeat in Geralt’s veins, delighting in the little hop, skip and jump it made as they ghosted over his jugular.

Geralt was uncomfortably aware of the speed of his own heart. On that note, he was also very much aware of how his stomach twisted in hot, sharp bouts, and how the breath seemed to catch hot and dry in his throat. He was a master in stoic denial yet even he could no longer explain any of it away. None of this should've come as a surprise to him. He’d sucked O’Dimm off for the gods’ sake, he should have known what he had gotten himself into the second he’d let O’Dimm into his bed, and still here he was, squirming like a disbelieving fish caught squarely and firmly in the fisherman’s net.

O’Dimm’s hands paused momentarily over a seemingly random spot just north of Geralt’s collarbones. Like hounds on the trail of a wounded deer, they stopped to catch the scent of their prey, frantically sniffing the air to decide in which direction they should keep moving. Geralt could not tell what they were searching for. The tips of O’Dimm’s fingers hit Geralt’s Adam’s apple as he swallowed and Geralt hissed softly, the feeling at the same time awkward and intriguingly vulnerable. Down by Geralt’s hips, O’Dimm’s knees increased their pressure against Geralt’s body, and down between his legs, a new, albeit very familiar pressure was building. In a new move, O’Dimm pressed his hands down on Geralt’s chest, palms flattening until they laid still and flat against his skin.

“You and I are still strangers,” Geralt said, sounding a touch more defensive than he had meant to. Maybe that was only natural, having been forced so far into the defense. What else could be expected when O’Dimm’s fingers were exploring him like a sighthound, when his eyes were slowly swallowing him whole. What else could be expected when he kept remembering the damned tourney – and when O’Dimm did too, judging from the keen smile on his lips. “Nothing more.”

Was the twilight playing tricks on him or had O’Dimm come closer, body nearer to him than before? Maybe then it was the twilight’s fault, too, that whenever O’Dimm looked up at him Geralt’s thoughts went straight to their shared night in the tent. But could he really blame the twilight for the twinge in his stomach, the pulling in his groin? All this time he had meant to stay impartial, calm, detached – remember the training, remember what you learned, remember what happened the last time and don’t let it repeat itself, remember, remember – but O’Dimm was close, so damnably, enticingly close.

“You’re no stranger to me,” O’Dimm said gently. His fingers drew a circle over Geralt’s left shoulder, then wandered off to do their bidding elsewhere. What might have sounded sincere if it had come from any other person sounded like a trap when coming from O’Dimm, like a cat's invitingly soft belly hiding the claws that lurked right under it (not that any cat ever let Geralt near it, anyway). With O’Dimm’s hands on him and his heart beating like a drum, Geralt knew he had not just fallen into O’Dimm’s trap already, he’d twisted and turned and tangled himself up into a neat little ball of meat waiting to be harvested.

The first kiss of the night came unexpectedly. O’Dimm leaned in seemingly out of nowhere and their mouths met in a sterile, awkward affair of tight lips and held breaths. After the initial surprise, they paused, both parties trying to figure out where to go from there. The taste of O’Dimm’s mouth reminded Geralt of the aftertaste of a witcher’s potion, a sharp, stinging kind of flavor similar to the burning of homemade alcohol. Their movements were slow even when their lips parted. Geralt’s body ached.

“O’Dimm.” Geralt’s voice was low, barely daring to disturb the moment. Like a man speaking softly to the starving wolf he found himself face to face with, his words were firm in a reserved, cautious sort of way. “Business is business. This is still a transaction, just a transaction.” Geralt couldn’t tell if he was really trying to convince O’Dimm, or if he was just trying to convince himself.

“Let us not haggle any longer, then.”

Geralt didn’t realize his hand was moving to touch O’Dimm’s face until it made contact with his cheek. O’Dimm’s skin was tender, but cool to the touch. It felt off, the way a poisonous mushroom feels in your hand, or the body of a particularly venomous creature. The cold was especially unnerving. It made Geralt think of the many corpses he had looted over his life, of the musty chill of a slain man left lying on the battlefield, the supple, unnatural flesh of a body dead for three days. Where one might expect life and warmth and pumping blood, nothing but stillness and silence reigned.

Yet there was something under O’Dimm’s skin, not still, moving, pumping. It had to be more than mere blood because it Geralt’s fingers prickle and tingle with what was certainly magic, deep magic, dark magic, a magic so ancient Geralt instinctively knew he would not be able to comprehend it even if he tried. Something much more powerful than the simple signs he could weave, closer to the water lords of the Viziman swamps maybe, to Melitele herself in her three-fold glory, to whatever lurked beneath the edges of his vision at night and cowered in caves too dark for even a witcher to enter. A squirming, writhing sort of power, the heaving of earth and beating of leathery wings, and Geralt, by the gods, Geralt wanted it.

“Let me pay you back,” Geralt whispered. His voice was hoarse.

“Gladly.”

Their clothes came off easily. Geralt was already practically in the nude as some time after his arrival at Corvo Bianco someone had apparently removed most of his clothes, leaving him in nothing but his braies. Given the witcher’s sorry physical state, O’Dimm undressed himself while Geralt took his time to rid himself of his remaining underwear. He only barely managed to take his clothes off before O’Dimm was back on top of him. He was, judging by the way he practically threw himself at Geralt, hungrier than a starving wyvern.

Geralt’s hands scrambled against O’Dimm’s body, one slipping downwards after a moment of hesitant confusion. His fingers ached as they brushed against O’Dimm’s hardening cock. O’Dimm groaned at the touch, then cut himself off by moving in for another kiss. The cold in his body was gone, replaced by a pulsating heat. His mouth was forceful this time, demanding, all tongue and teeth, and Geralt gladly reciprocated, growling and clawing and pushing.

“Geralt?” O’Dimm asked when they broke their kiss, Geralt’s mouth immediately searching for more contact with O’Dimm’s skin and settling on biting at his earlobe. O’Dimm sounded appropriately breathless. Geralt hummed a questioning tone in response. “Be truthful with me. Have you–” O’Dimm’s voice hitched as Geralt’s teeth scraped over his neck – “fuck– have you been with a man before?”

“I can’t believe you have to ask me that.” Geralt took O’Dimm by the shoulders and without much ado turned them both around until they had switched positions. O’Dimm quite happily splayed himself out against the headboard, with Geralt coming to a rest kneeling between his open thighs. Unsurprisingly, they were both hard.

“I’m not omniscient, Wolf,” O’Dimm reminded him. Geralt moved closer to bury his face in O’Dimm’s neck again, but O’Dimm was faster. He ducked under Geralt’s advance, his lips brushing against the many bumps and ridges of Geralt’s scarred chest, and began to press a line of kisses against his collarbone. His breath came hot and fast against Geralt’s skin.

“And also, I assumed, smarter than that,” Geralt said over him. He gasped sharply as O’Dimm’s teeth scraped against his skin. O’Dimm’s fingers slid down Geralt’s back, travelling across a century of healed wounds. One hand managed to cup part of Geralt’s ass, the other settled somewhere above it, too fascinated by the scar it had found to move any further. Geralt almost instinctively shifted his weight and raised himself up from sitting on his haunches to kneeling upright. As if trying to gain dominance, O’Dimm raised himself up in turn, moving upwards to meet Geralt in another kiss, mouth wet and hotter than molten steel. His fingers grew bolder, possessively grabbing at Geralt’s ass as his hungry tongue met Geralt’s.

“Don’t forget I can turn your entire body inside out with the snap of a finger,” O’Dimm replied in between kisses, a threat growled against Geralt’s skin as his mouth brushed against Geralt’s lips, their breath combining. Geralt half-shuddered against him in response, one of his hands sneaking around O’Dimm’s neck in search of a place to settle and grab at. Failing to find a suitable spot for his fingers, Geralt instead pressed O’Dimm forward and downward with his chest, forcing O’Dimm’s back down onto the bed. Even with Geralt looming over O’Dimm now, Geralt’s hands planted on the bed beside O’Dimm’s shoulders, O’Dimm refused to let his eternal smile leave his face. It looked more than self-assured now, bordering on cocky, if not manic, and Geralt found himself wanting to wipe it from his face by whatever means possible.

O’Dimm’s overconfident facade cracked for a second as Geralt began to move his hips against O’Dimm’s, making him suck in a heavy, shuddering breath, eyes closing involuntarily. Geralt, trained by decades of combat, gladly used that opening and pressed on. He dropped himself onto his elbows. O’Dimm’s hips rolled upwards, increasingly desperate for more friction, and then O’Dimm gasped loudly and abruptly as Geralt’s hand closed around both of their cocks. Geralt moved slowly, methodically, in long, slow strokes, never losing control even as O’Dimm began to pant and whine against his neck, as his own hips moved on their own, pressure building. O’Dimm’s legs had wrapped themselves around Geralt, pulling him in closer and closer as their muscles tightened, and Geralt was more than happy to yield to their pull. With his legs clinging to Geralt, O’Dimm’s hands were free to scratch at Geralt’s back, fingernails leaving angry red marks on his skin.

Geralt was a professional, after all, and knew how to use his body. He shoved O’Dimm up until he was in a seated position with O’Dimm’s back against the headboard. Geralt’s hand, all rough skin and healed blisters, did the work now, fingers curled around their cocks and moving as fast as the position would permit. Their mouths met roughly, O’Dimm’s teeth momentarily burying themselves in Geralt’s lower lip and drawing blood, lips and tongue then returning to taste the liquid.

O’Dimm’s hand buried itself in Geralt’s hair, scratching, tearing almost, and finally grabbing, gripping, pulling Geralt’s head back until the witcher had no choice but to look at his face. O’Dimm’s eyes were yellow, shining and gleaming, and his blood-stained teeth were sharp. The expression on his face was unreadable, dazed yet focused, simultaneously a thousand miles away and firmly planted in the moment, savoring, drinking, relishing every tiny feeling. Two cat-eyed freaks staring at each other, their eyes glowing in the dark, pupils wide, revelling in their shared, primal closeness. O’Dimm’s breath hit Geralt’s flushed, sweat-slick skin in sharp bursts. Geralt bristled, the pace of his hand quickening as O’Dimm squirmed in staccato bursts of movement.

O’Dimm came first, not a sudden crash but the inevitable crest of the wave that had been building. He toppled over the edge with fingers pulling at Geralt’s hair and teeth biting at Geralt’s shoulder, falling, tumbling into sweet oblivion. Geralt followed soon after, coming with a low, guttural sound that vibrated deep in the back of his throat as O’Dimm’s hips rode out the few last waves of pleasure against him.

They were wordless, breathless for a long time afterwards, collapsed against each other, hips rocking in mindless bliss like ships on a gently moving lake, riding their individual and collective ecstasy into exhaustion.

“I think we’re even now,” Geralt said finally, nuzzled against O’Dimm’s throat. He was exhausted, utterly drained, but, as he realized as the haze of orgasm started to clear, his body felt whole again, healthy, healed. He moved his fingers, sticky with cum, and found that they didn’t hurt. A quick glance at O’Dimm and his tired, satisfied nod confirmed Geralt’s suspicions. O’Dimm had, in whatever way, worked his magic. Geralt’s health was fully restored, all traces of death, of Griffin-caused wounds even, gone.

“Always a pleasure doing business with you,” O’Dimm murmured. Geralt smiled, subtly but sincerely.

“You should consider accepting Crowns as payment instead, that’d be much less complicated.”

“My witcher, beloved,” O’Dimm replied and lazily caressed Geralt’s hip, “I adore complications.” Geralt breathed a chuckle against O’Dimm’s skin. He thought back to their first meeting in White Orchard. Maybe, he considered, they should turn this into a recurring affair. Of course that’d mean he’d eventually have to actually deal with what was going on between the two of them, but for now, thinking of themselves as business partners seemed good enough.

Business partners with benefits.