They had been on the Path for a while now, taking contracts and keeping Ciri hidden from her Father's soldiers or anyone who might recognize her. That night in particular they were sharing a meal by a small campfire near a road, before riding to the next town.
Geralt found Ciri's company soothing and most of the time things were good, but she had been in a weird mood most of the day. Hell, she reminded him of Yennefer at times.
The ashen-haired woman kicked a small rock with her boot, shredding a piece of cooked meat between her fingers. Geralt figured she could have had silver cutlery and fancy dresses for the rest of her life, instead of being next to a road eating with her hands and sleeping on the ground. It made him extremely happy that she had chosen this.
"Remember my friend? Back in Novigrad" She finally spoke.
Geralt's hand froze for a couple seconds, near his mouth. Of course he remembered. He took a bite from his dinner and nodded.
"Yes, the girl from the inn, Bea"
Ciri opened her mouth and then closed it. She breathed in. And then out.
"We were more than... Well, I mean, I was there for a short period of time, it's not like..."
Geralt nodded, put his humble wooden plate aside and stared at his adopted daughter. He said nothing, allowing her to speak.
"I just-... Well, I guess I wanted to tell you that"
"I had already figured that out" He said, moving his hands a little bit and trying to sound softer and not snarky. "Your embrace gave it away. Besides, you gave her something to remember you by instead of gold"
Ciri frowned but nodded again, not looking at ease. Geralt wanted to groan because sometimes he just didn't understand people.
"What I am trying to say is..." she tried again "I prefer women"
Geralt looked at her and resisted the urge to smirk, they were so alike.
"Like Father like daughter?" he tried, saying the words softly and not too loudly. Ciri didn't call him Father, she had one of those, but he didn't have another daughter.
The girl smiled and moved closer, hugging him by his side and resting her head on his shoulder. Damn, she still felt like a little girl.
"You are not mad?"
"Met a Hunter once, while looking for Yenn. Told me he was a freak, said I could help with lycanthropy, apparently what tormented him was that he loved a man" Geralt shrugged, maybe he couldn't quite understand that but finding women attractive? He could understand that. "Had a sad ending though"
"What did you say to him?"
"Said I was sorry, couldn't really do anything. Was too focused on finding Yenn too"
"And what do you think about...?"
Geralt made a low noise, almost like a groan and frowned, thinking about it.
"It's not easy. Or fair, I guess" he looked down, only finding a bunch of ashen-hair. Ciri kept her eyes away from him. "but being a witcher wasn't fair either and if I know something is being a freak" she still didn't move "Look, people call me a lot of things, and I know what I am but sometimes... Sometimes people who call me names are worse than me and all my mutations combined"
She chuckled at that and looked slowly up. "Not mad, then?"
"It's not like you can choose, I guess. I didn't choose to.. Have feelings for Yenn"
"... Or Shani. Or-"
She laughed and moved away, shaking her head "just teasing you"
He groaned, sulking a bit.
"This what had you so distracted?"
"Yes" Ciri took an apple and bit it, eating half of it before giving the rest to her horse.
"Snap out of it, or a drowner is going to get a swing at you"
"You are never going to let me live that down, huh?"
She stretched. At the beginning of their journey, Ciri had been hurt by a swarm of drowners they faced together. It was doable with two witchers, and it had been hard but Geralt was not going to baby her. She was the closest thing he had to a daughter and he still remembered what he felt when he found her on the Isle of Mists, cold and 'dead'. If she was to ever leave his side, it would be as the best witcher possible.
"Never" Geralt accommodated himself sitting against a tree to get some sleep. She slept more deeply than him, and he would have to train her more on how to remain alert while on the Path. Or maybe she was sleeping so soundly because she felt protected by him.
Well, his pride wanted to believe that.
He reached out and covered her with a blanket, caressing her hair very softly. Of course he didn't care, and he was a bit surprised she thought he would. Maybe her real father would, but not him.
Geralt smiled softly, feeling a small painful pressure on his chest. Maybe one day she would call him dad.