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Geralt knew approximately three things about higher vampires:

Firstly, his medallion didn’t so much as twitch in their presence.

Secondly, they weren’t all bad. Some of them were more human than most humans. One of them, at least, had been.

Thirdly, the tall, dark-haired man who’d come to this particular blacksmith and had asked too casually about some recent disappearances was, without any question, one of them.

Geralt didn’t question how he knew. He just knew. Something deep and primal in him knew what he was looking at.

It wasn’t fear, although that might have been because his experiences with higher vampires so far had been almost entirely positive. Or maybe it was because he was a witcher, and witchers didn’t feel fear.

That wasn’t really true, except when it was, except when it counted.

Either way, whatever the feeling was, it ended in Geralt following the vampire away and tracking him down a blind alley.

When he turned the corner, the vampire was gone.

And then, in a sudden rush of force, the vampire wasn’t gone, and Geralt was pinned against the stone wall by his neck, and maybe he’d miscalculated a little.

He didn’t stand a chance if this vampire decided to kill him. He was going to die in an alleyway in Vizima with a combined sun-and-lily shield hanging over the mouth of it, and that was a helluva way to go.

“Witcher,” the vampire growled, baring his teeth. His face remained human, startling blue eyes boring into Geralt’s, staring him down.

“Peace,” Geralt croaked. “Not here to hurt you.”

The vampire faltered a moment, his eyes darting over Geralt’s face, and then eased his grip very, very slightly on Geralt’s throat.

“Then why follow me?” the vampire asked.

“You were asking about the disappearances. I’m looking into them.”

“I am not involved,” the vampire said.

“I figured, or you wouldn’t be asking,” Geralt said, pausing a moment to fill his lungs past the iron grip of the vampire’s hand. “As long as you’re not leaving a trail of drained corpses in your wake, I don’t care what you do.”

“I am not,” the vampire said, frowning at Geralt.

He still wasn’t letting go, though, so he clearly wasn’t quite convinced that Geralt was entirely safe.

“Right, I would’ve heard about that by now. I’m no threat to you. I even had a vampire friend once. You might’ve known him? Went by Regis.”

And there was that awful twist of guilt that had never quite left Geralt’s stomach whenever he thought of Regis. He hated to even bring him up, use his memory as what felt like a cheap trick to save his own skin, but it was that or die here.

The vampire blinked at him. Hell, maybe he had known Regis and he’d be mad that Geralt had gotten him killed. Maybe this was a terrible idea.

“You are Geralt of Rivia,” the vampire said, narrowing his eyes.

Oh, shit. He did know that Geralt had gotten Regis killed.

“Yeah,” Geralt said cautiously. “How do you-”

The hand around his throat was suddenly gone, leaving Geralt to slump against the wall, gasping for breath.

“It would be in your best interests to come with me,” the vampire said. “I will not harm you.”

Now it was Geralt’s turn to narrow his eyes.

“You do wish to speak to him, don’t you?” the vampire asked.

“Who?” Geralt frowned.

“Regis,” the vampire responded simply. “Follow me.”

Geralt’s head spun, but if there was even the slightest chance this wasn’t a trap, then hell yes he wanted to speak to Regis. Joy welled up in his chest at the thought, and he knew the vampire could see it all over his face and probably smell his relief or something, but he didn’t care.

He followed.

***

During the walk out of town and into the woods surrounding the Temerian capital, Geralt got it out of his new acquaintance that his name was Dettlaff van der Eretein, and that Regis was, by some miracle, alive.

Dettlaff led him all the way to a hut in the middle of nowhere that would have seemed abandoned if not for the thin tendrils of smoke rising from the chimney.

He opened the door, and the first thing Geralt saw was Regis, breathing slowly under a pile of blankets and looking twice as old as the last time he’d seen him, but a whole lot more alive than he had been when Geralt walked away, feeling sick and guilty and so, so tired of losing friends.

Regis’ face lit up when he saw him, his broad grin showing off all his teeth as Geralt raced over to kneel beside the bed, pressing his forehead against Regis’ and breathing in his scent because it had been so long and he’d missed Regis so much and there wasn’t a whole lot of good news going around right now.

This, though, was the best news he’d had since he’d found Ciri again.

How,” Geralt asked. “You were… you were…”

The word gone caught in Geralt's throat.

Had he left Regis alone when he could have regenerated? Had he walked away from a friend in need, thinking him a lost cause?

“Dettlaff has been helping me heal,” Regis said, his voice soft and quiet, as though he was preserving even the energy required to speak at a higher volume.

Geralt turned to look at the other vampire, who was hovering over them like a looming shadow, obviously not thrilled about how close and familiar Geralt was getting.

“You cannot know how it warms my heart to see you alive and well, Geralt,” Regis said, as though Geralt was the one who’d come back from being melted.

Not that it wasn’t a miracle that Geralt was alive, either, but Regis probably didn’t know that.

“You should not exert yourself,” Dettlaff’s dark voice rumbled behind them.

Regis scoffed softly, but retreated to looking at Geralt with wonder in his eyes.

When Dettlaff finally turned away, the look in Regis’ eyes took on a mischievous twinkle. “I am very glad to see you, my friend,” he murmured. “Please forgive Dettlaff, he is not fond of humans.”

 

Geralt could actually feel Dettlaff’s icy stare on him this time.

“You don’t say.” Geralt smiled wryly.

“Stay with me a while, Geralt?” Regis asked, and there was no way in hell Geralt could say no to that. “Tell me all your stories,” he added, even as his eyes fell closed, obviously not voluntarily.

“I’ll stay,” Geralt promised, figuring Dettlaff wouldn’t kick him out if Regis wanted him here--though he was only so sure of that.

“Ciri’s going to be empress,” he began, taking Regis’ hand when it sneaked out from under the blankets, and feeling an old, deep wound healing in his chest.

***

By the time Geralt had gotten to the battle with the Wild Hunt at Kaer Morhen, Dettlaff had settled down and was listening intently too--so much so that Geralt had started explaining who people that Regis already knew were for his benefit.

He still didn't seem happy, but he did seem interested, and that would probably be enough to convince him that Geralt could stick around a while longer.

It was pitch dark outside by the time he got to the end of his tale, up to and including explaining that he was in town at Vernon Roche’s request, but mostly because he had nothing better to do. The missing people were a flimsy excuse, but Geralt felt the need to get to the bottom of it anyway, if it was actually a spate of disappearances and not just a few people going missing independently of one another for reasons that didn't require a witcher to solve.

“You ought to sleep here tonight,” Regis said, glancing out of the window. “It's dark.”

Geralt appreciated the offer, but he could feel Dettlaff glaring at him again.

“I’m more comfortable in the dark than I am in the light,” Geralt said. “You know that.”

Of course Regis knew that. He just didn't want Geralt to leave.

The thought that he was being held against his will had crossed Geralt's mind, but he’d dismissed it immediately. Regis was calm, and he’d been cheerful, and was probably just tired of having no other company than a dark, brooding vampire.

Not that a pale, brooding witcher was much of an improvement, but at least it was a change.

Regis sighed a long-suffering sigh and eased the grip he had on Geralt's hand. “You will come back?” he asked.

“Of course,” Geralt said, heedless of the way Dettlaff was still glaring at him. “You need anything?”

Regis licked his lips cautiously. “If you have any spare books…”

Geralt smiled wryly. That sounded like Regis. “I'll see what I can do. Oh, hang on,” he said, reaching into one of the packs about his person and producing a handful of loose-leaf sheets. “Dandelion’s latest. I don't think he'll mind me giving it to you.”

“Is he in town?” Regis’ eyes lit up.

Geralt heard Dettlaff growl faintly, which Regis didn't even acknowledge.

“No, he’s still in Novigrad. I've been carrying that around a while,” Geralt said. “But I'll send him a letter to let him know you're alive. He’ll be thrilled.”

Regis looked so pleased that Geralt couldn't help smiling at him.

But he also looked exhausted, with dark circles under his eyes. It was time Geralt let him sleep.

He stood up from where he’d been sitting on the floor, wincing as his muscles protested.

“I'll see you back to the main road,” Dettlaff said, which probably meant he was about to warn him away from Regis once they were out of earshot.

That was fine. He was welcome to try stopping Geralt from seeing him again.

He followed Dettlaff out, giving Regis a final wave.

“I must apologise,” Dettlaff said, which was a helluva surprise. “For my behaviour earlier. If I had realised who you were…”

“Don't worry about it. Not like you could have known I wasn't about to try to kill you.”

“You would not have succeeded,” Dettlaff said.

“Believe me, I know,” Geralt responded. “Only a completely suicidal witcher would try to take on a true higher vampire.”

“I am glad you realise this,” Dettlaff said. “I have rarely seen Regis as happy as he was this evening. I believe it would speed his recovery to see you more often.”

This was more or less the opposite of what Geralt had been expecting, but he was more than glad to hear it.

“Thanks,” Geralt said. “And thank you for taking care of him.”

“Seeing him recovered will be thanks enough,” Dettlaff said as they reached the main road. “I would escort you into town, but…”

“Regis needs you a lot more than I do,” Geralt responded kindly. Dettlaff might not have liked him, but he was obviously practical enough to understand that Regis did, and that was valuable.

“You might look by the docks,” Dettlaff said. “For clues to your missing persons puzzle.”

Geralt nodded. “Got anything else on that for me?”

“I don't know what's going on myself,” Dettlaff said. “But the scent trail of a young woman who was selling me animal blood ends there.”

Geralt frowned. “What did you want animal blood for?”

He knew that some vampires enjoyed human blood, but they didn't need blood to live or anything.

“Regis’ recovery requires the blood of another higher vampire. Normal healing would replace mine over time, but it is much faster to allow my body to transform other blood.”

That didn’t necessarily make sense to Geralt, but his entire knowledge of higher vampires rested on dubious sources and things Regis had told him, so there was plenty he didn’t know. Dettlaff really didn’t have any reason to lie to him, either. There were only so many uses for animal blood.

“So you need blood, and your supplier is gone?”

Dettlaff nodded. “Hence my asking about it. She never asked questions about what I was doing with it, either. I like her. I would not like to think anything… untoward happened to her.”

“I’ll find out,” Geralt said. This was a good lead. He hadn’t been able to follow a scent trail, but he believed that Dettlaff had. “Can you get blood some other way?”

Dettlaff sighed. “It is winter. Short of stealing livestock… the butcher girl was my only reliable source.”

“Not from humans?”

Dettlaff raised an eyebrow. “Regis would not accept human blood that wasn’t given freely, and I cannot afford to risk asking anyone for it.”

“Right, yeah.” Geralt sighed. “We’ll work on it. I’ll come back when I know more.”

Dettlaff nodded once. “Thank you, witcher,” he said, and then turned and headed back toward the hut.

***

“You are in love with the witcher,” Dettlaff said as he closed the door behind him, moving to sit beside Regis on the bed.

Regis looked up at him with worry in his eyes. Perhaps that was something he shouldn’t have said out loud.

“I am not upset,” Dettlaff clarified. “I just couldn’t help noticing. Were you…?”

Regis shook his head. “No, no, he doesn’t… I never…”

“I see.”

“It doesn’t make any difference,” Regis said. “Nothing will ever-”

Dettlaff shut Regis up by doing something he’d wanted to for the better part of a year, since Regis had regained his full physical form.

He pressed his mouth to the other vampire’s, tasting damp earth and the air before a storm, and the faintest trace of a homeland neither of them had ever known, but which was written deep into their blood.

Regis stared at him when he pulled back, his dark eyes wider than than usual.

“Oh,” Regis said softly. “Oh, my dear Dettlaff. Why have you never said?”

“I was afraid,” Dettlaff responded. “But now I am forced to make my feelings known before…”

Regis shook his head, though it obviously took effort. He was happier, having seen the witcher, but he was also exhausted.

“I wanted you to be fully recovered before I told you,” Dettlaff added, ignoring Regis’ objection. “So that you would not feel obliged to indulge me if you didn’t wish to.”

A soft laugh escaped Regis. “I have been dreaming of the day when I could make the full extent of my gratitude known.”

Dettlaff’s eyes widened. “I am not expecting-”

“Anything of the sort, I know,” Regis said. “I know, and I am a long way off from being any use to you in that regard. But let it be known that your feelings are returned. Eagerly.”

“I do not need you to be of use to me,” Dettlaff grumbled, though some part of him appreciated Regis’ enthusiasm.

“Dettlaff,” Regis said softly. “I am looking forward to recovering enough to enjoy sex. If you would prefer not to-”

“I didn’t say that,” Dettlaff interrupted. He had often fantasised about having the opportunity to learn every inch of Regis’ body intimately, dreamed of making slow, careful love to him as he recovered enough of his strength to want it.

“My affection for Geralt does nothing to diminish my affection for you, even having found him again,” Regis murmured. “Please do not worry that it does, and please do not be envious of him. He is not only a dear friend, but a potentially invaluable ally.”

“He has already pledged his assistance,” Dettlaff said.

Regis smiled. “I would have expected nothing else,” he murmured. “Come and hold me?”

Dettlaff swallowed. He had been careful to avoid holding Regis since he’d stopped physically needing to be held, but if he was being invited…

He misted his way into the bed behind Regis, leaving all but his underwear behind and pressing his chest to the other vampire’s back, sighing softly. Wrapping his arms around Regis felt like holding the most precious gift imaginable.

“You should rest,” Dettlaff said. “I promise to be civil to the witcher.”

“I think you'll come to like him,” Regis said, his voice already distant, close to sleep. “You have much in common.”

Dettlaff had no idea what that meant, but he supposed he’d find out if Geralt was going to become a regular feature in his life.

As long as he didn't take Regis away, Dettlaff could accept that.

***

Geralt stumbled out of a cave near the docks covered in blood and monster gunk and cave slime, exhausted and crestfallen.

He’d been too late.

Someone had been cultivating a rare variety of archespore, the pollen of which was a powerful hallucinogen.

Papers he’d found in the cave implied that it was being refined into something like fisstech, a recreational drug that just happened to require a whole lot of fresh humans to produce.

It was a big operation, so he took his findings to Roche and handed it over to the city guard, who were at least a whole lot more competent these days than they had been a few years back.

The butcher girl had been easy enough to identify, which didn't help Geralt at all. He needed a source of blood, and he really didn't have anyone to ask for it.

Dettlaff had implied that he could replenish his blood in the usual way, so the one thing Geralt figured he could do, before he headed back to the hut, was pick up some herbs that helped with blood loss and hope that making a decoction of them would help at least a little.

And then he raided every bookseller in town for anything that seemed like it might be even remotely interesting to Regis, and had to pick up a sturdy leather sack to carry everything he’d found.

At least he wasn't coming back empty-handed.

Dettlaff answered the door when he knocked on it, stepping aside to let him in.

This time, Regis was propped up into a sitting position, and Geralt realised belatedly that he’d interrupted dinner.

“Have you eaten?” Dettlaff asked just as Geralt finished the thought. “There is more than enough for a third.”

Geralt's stomach growled, and there was no way he could hide that reaction from two vampires.

“If you're sure? I don't want to impose.”

“Please stay,” Regis said. He seemed better today, but Geralt knew enough about long-term illnesses to know that there were good days and bad days.

How was he supposed to say no to that?

Dettlaff’s cooking turned out to be surprisingly good, and when Geralt commented on it he explained that this was because vampires had very sensitive tastebuds, much like all their other senses.

Geralt spent most of his life trying to pretend he couldn't taste the food he was stuck with, but Dettlaff obviously believed in seasoning things.

“Your butcher friend is dead,” Geralt reported once he was done eating. “A gang has been rounding up people to feed to a rare kind of archespore. Which is why the victims weren't really connected. Other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Human cruelty can be incredible,” Regis said. “A shame. You are capable of so much more.”

“I brought books,” Geralt said, nodding to the leather sack.

He suspected he shouldn't discuss Dettlaff’s blood supply problem in front of Regis, since it'd only end up making Regis feel guilty for needing it in the first place.

Besides, he’d had an idea on the way over here that he definitely couldn't discuss in front of Regis, at least not at first.

Regis’ face lit up so brightly at the books that Geralt actually felt his heart flutter with happiness.

“This is rather more than I was expecting,” Regis said. “Though I am not complaining.”

“I've seen you read,” Geralt said. “Figure those’ll last you maybe two days.”

Regis laughed softly, and the sound did Geralt's heart a whole lot of good. He was still coming to terms with being able to talk to Regis again.

In the dark times of the past few years, he’d desperately wished he could have asked Regis for his guidance. Even just a willing ear so he could work his problems out for himself. Regis was good at that.

Things were starting to settle now, but that didn't make Geralt any less glad to see his old friend.

***

“Walk me back to the road?” Geralt asked Dettlaff, which got a startled look from both vampires.

Dettlaff didn't argue, though. He just finished tucking blankets around Regis, whose strength was fading fast, and stood and walked with Geralt to the door, following him out into the night.

“I'm sorry about your friend,” Geralt began, positive Regis would be eavesdropping this close to the hut.

“As am I. She had children,” Dettlaff said. “I fear what will happen to them.”

Geralt hadn't even thought of that.

“I'll make sure they're taken care of,” Geralt said, by which he meant he’d tell Roche about it and let his friend’s secretly soft heart do the rest.

“Good.” Dettlaff nodded. “You did not bring me out here to express your condolences.”

“No, I didn't,” Geralt stopped, stepping to the side of the path where the shadows were even deeper.

Dettlaff tilted his head in a way that reminded Geralt of a confused dog.

“I brought a mixture of healing herbs that help to replenish the blood,” Geralt said. “But I don't know if they'll work on you.”

“They are unlikely to harm me,” Dettlaff said. “And the thought is appreciated, but I'm not sure…”

“Right, there's probably no point in using them on you, but… stop me if I'm getting anything wrong here, but human blood would be better than animal blood, wouldn't it?”

Dettlaff hesitated, and then nodded. “But without the consent of the human in question…”

“Regis wouldn't accept it, I know. Lucky for you, I know someone who’s at least mostly human and wouldn't miss a pint of blood or so.”

Dettlaff raised an eyebrow. “You would do that for him?”

Geralt nodded without even a moment's hesitation. “He gave a lot more for me. It's the least I owe him.”

“What you propose will help, but…”

“I can give you a pint of blood every three days without being in trouble. Would that be enough to make a difference?”

“Easily,” Dettlaff said. “But…”

“Then what's the problem?”

Dettlaff was silent for a few moments, obviously considering.

Then, finally. “There is no problem.”

Geralt took off his glove and offered his wrist. “I assume you'll know when to stop.”

“I will,” Dettlaff said, hesitating.

“Unless you wanna go for the neck?” Geralt asked, unsure if offering his wrist was maybe rude, or something.

Dettlaff shook his head. “I don't know you nearly well enough to be comfortable with that level of intimacy. I barely know you well enough to be comfortable with this one.”

“Oh,” Geralt said. “I didn't realise it was…”

“I suspect I've given you an incomplete impression of my feelings on the subject,” Dettlaff said. “The discomfort is worth the result.”

He took Geralt's hand and stepped closer to him, bringing Geralt's wrist to his mouth.

He paused, with his lips pressed to the delicate skin there, as though waiting for Geralt to object.

There was no point backing out now. If Regis trusted Dettlaff, that was good enough for him.

For obvious reasons, Geralt had expected the bite to hurt. And it probably did.

But whatever pain there was completely disappeared under the sudden rush of pleasure and arousal that left him biting down hard on his lip to stop himself moaning.

Right, intimate. He couldn't say Dettlaff didn't warn him.

Geralt's belly throbbed with arousal as Dettlaff drank from him, the touch of his lips shockingly erotic against Geralt's skin, and yeah, he was really glad they weren't doing this from the neck.

There was no way Dettlaff didn't know, but he barely reacted, finishing up and licking Geralt’s wrist clean.

The bleeding stopped immediately.

“You are strong enough to make it back to the city alone?” Dettlaff asked.

Geralt nodded, strangely touched by the concern even through the haze of arousal. “I'll be fine,” he said. “Witchers are tougher than the average human.”

“So I begin to see,” Dettlaff said. “You will return?”

“Not like you couldn’t track me down,” Geralt said. “But yeah, three days if not sooner.”

“We will be here.” Dettlaff wet his lips. “Thank you.”

Geralt nodded again, and turned his back, and was incredibly grateful that Dettlaff hadn’t even raised an eyebrow over his state of arousal.

The moment he was behind closed doors in his room at the tavern he’d been staying in, he shoved his hand into his trousers and gripped his cock, more or less collapsing onto the bed and stroking himself eagerly.

Nothing other than the image of a dark-haired vampire sinking his fangs into Geralt’s wrist would stick in his mind, and Geralt only spent a handful of seconds bothering to fight it before he settled on reliving the moment, letting himself feel the shock of pleasure again as though it was real, biting his lip to stop himself moaning once more.

He came gasping, with a vision of his blood on Dettlaff’s lips, the vampire licking them clean carefully so as not to waste a drop.

With a soft groan, Geralt decided that higher vampires had a… venom of some kind, maybe, that might even have been intended to act as an aphrodisiac to calm their victims, and it worked differently on witchers, and that explained everything.

Their saliva definitely contained something worth studying, because the wound on Geralt’s wrist had clotted immediately and was already starting to close up, and while he was used to being in some amount of pain all the time, his wrist didn’t feel any worse than usual.

Which was weird, but he couldn’t exactly say it was a bad kind of weird, either.

As long as it helped Regis, he told himself. It was worth it if it helped Regis.

***

Dettlaff paused as the hut came into view, leaning against a nearby tree. He hissed as he squeezed his achingly hard cock through his trousers, unused to experiencing arousal with strangers at all, and certainly not this intensely.

He gave himself a few moments to calm down, his chest heaving with every breath, the chill night air doing very little to help him.

At least the witcher had been too busy being alarmed over his own arousal to notice Dettlaff’s. That was a small mercy, and one he was grateful for.

Regis would know, of course, if Dettlaff returned to him any time in the next day or so. And he would have to do that, lest Regis worry that something had happened to him.

Not that many things posed a significant threat to a higher vampire, but one of them had managed to get to Regis, so it was bound to be a source of anxiety for him. No, he would have to go back soon, and he would have to explain himself.

There was no point in keeping secrets. Dettlaff did not wish to earn or maintain Regis’ affection through deceit. If Regis would have him, perhaps even accept him as a mate one day, then it could not be because of a single lie.

Dettlaff couldn’t have lived with knowing it was.

Once his surprising arousal had eased to a low tension in the pit of his stomach, Dettlaff headed back inside, his head spinning with all the ways he could begin to explain to Regis what was going on.

“It will please you to know that the witcher is also in love with you,” Dettlaff began, suspecting that was the most important piece of information, and one that might save him from actually having to discuss his own arousal.

Regis blinked up at him, scenting him unsubtly.

“You smell of his blood,” Regis said cautiously. He looked suddenly nervous, and while Dettlaff understood why, it was enough to hurt his heart.

Another vampire may well have murdered a rival out of jealousy. Dettlaff was not another vampire, and the thought hadn’t crossed his mind, but he could see why Regis was nervous all the same. He had once been at the centre of very much the wrong crowd.

Dettlaff had desperately wanted to rescue him then, too, but it seemed that things had worked out for the best for both of them. Regis had matured. He was more wonderful than ever.

“Because he offered it freely in the service of healing you,” Dettlaff said. “He insists that he owes you this much, but it is because of his feelings toward you.”

“Geralt has been bedmate to at least three of the most beautiful, powerful sorceresses in the world,” Regis said.

Dettlaff blinked at him. “And this tells you that he would not be interested in an older and more powerful creature who has shown him great kindness because…?”

Regis blinked at him. He clearly didn’t believe it, but it seemed as though he was willing to let the subject drop.

“You drank directly from him,” Regis said, sidling up to the topic that Dettlaff didn’t especially want to discuss with his usual charming ease that ended in people saying more than they wished to.

“Yes. His wrist,” Dettlaff said. “I did try to warn him of the intimacy of the gesture.”

“And yet he agreed?” Regis asked.

“I don’t think he entirely understood until after,” Dettlaff said. “I am not sure he will allow it again.”

Regis hummed. “He may yet surprise you,” he said, cryptically, and that, thankfully, seemed to be the end of the conversation.

“Allow me a few more moments to recover, and then you will drink from me,” Dettlaff said, eager to transfer at least some portion of the witcher’s too-hot, too-bright blood to someone else.

It would do Regis good. He could feel the power in it coursing through him, though he promised himself that for Regis’ sake, he would never tell another vampire about the incredible rush of drinking from a witcher. He’d never developed a taste for blood himself, and this experience was more uncomfortable than anything, but he could imagine the appeal for others.

He would keep the witcher’s secret safe, because it would have broken Regis’ heart to see him dead.

***

Regis’ heart soared as he nuzzled Dettlaff’s neck gently, soothing him as he prepared to sink his fangs into the soft skin there. Knowing now how Dettlaff felt about him, he didn’t need to feel guilty about taking his time, or enjoying the scents and feelings of doing this.

Dettlaff had even arranged them so Regis was lying on top of his body, soaking in his warmth, and Regis couldn’t remember being happier since he’d rushed back into consciousness at the first touch of Dettlaff’s blood.

He had wondered, in the beginning, if he’d just imprinted on Dettlaff, like a baby duckling, because Dettlaff had been both his rescuer and the first thing he’d seen.

But it wasn’t that at all. Dettlaff was warm, and sensible, and though he wasn’t fond of humans in general, he wished them no ill, and found it easy enough to bond with individual ones. He had sacrificed his own comfort to allow Regis to heal closer to civilisation, and more importantly, above ground.

Dettlaff cared for him, and as a result, Regis cared for Dettlaff.

He sank his fangs into Dettlaff’s neck, just enough to let a steady stream of blood flow down his throat as he sealed his lips over the wound.

The crackling power of Geralt’s contribution was impossible to miss, and while it was nothing like drinking human blood once it had been filtered through Dettlaff’s body, it was still very, very different from blood produced from that of animals.

Regis could feel the difference immediately, unnamable parts of himself healing as he drank.

The faintest, barest rush of warmth went to his groin as he imagined Dettlaff pinning Geralt to the broad trunk of a tree out in the forest, drinking from his neck, rocking eagerly against him as Geralt gripped his hips, encouraging him.

Regis licked Dettlaff’s wound clean, relieved to have some feeling between his legs again for the first time since he’d regained consciousness. He’d known he would heal eventually, but he had been worried all the same.

He’d never bothered to pretend he didn’t like sex, and he wasn’t about to start now.

All the same, it was probably best if he didn’t share the exact details of his fantasy with Dettlaff. He was unlikely to appreciate, at this point, the idea of himself and Geralt together.

“Oh,” Dettlaff said softly, shifting his weight a little, his voice full of awe.

Regis laughed, pressing a soft kiss behind Dettlaff’s ear and then letting his head fall against his shoulder. “Soon, my love,” he murmured.

He wanted to offer to use his mouth on Dettlaff, but he doubted Dettlaff would understand his desire immediately, and he knew that the other vampire would be more concerned with his health, and he wasn’t in the mood to bear the bitterness of disappointment.

They had plenty of time, no matter how impatient he was.

“There’s no rush,” Dettlaff said, and Regis laughed again, because he could have predicted that Dettlaff would say exactly those words.

“For you, perhaps,” Regis grumbled good-naturedly. “It has been years for me.”

“It’s been quite a while longer than that for me,” Dettlaff confessed softly, and Regis had begun to suspect that, but he felt a wave of tenderness wash over him all the same. “But I do not suffer for the lack. I am satisfied with your company.”

“When I am recovered,” Regis murmured. “You will be satisfied in all possible ways.”

Dettlaff swallowed, shifting his weight again, and then pulled the blankets up over their shoulders.

Regis let his eyes fall closed, basking happily in the scent of Dettlaff’s arousal and the warmth of his affection, and fell asleep with a smile on his face.

***

Geralt woke to Vernon Roche knocking on his door, which wasn’t in his top ten favourite ways to wake up.

On the plus side, Roche had brought breakfast with him, so he wasn’t too upset.

On the minus side, his opening comment was that they’d found a whole network of archespore caves in and around the city.

But again, on the plus side: he’d doubled the offered reward when Geralt had made the slightest unhappy noise about it, and it wasn’t really like Geralt needed the money at the moment, but it’d save him needing the money in the near future.

Besides, he didn’t want any other innocent people getting hurt.

Geralt finished his breakfast, told Roche about the kids the butcher had left behind, and strapped on his swords.

This, he suspected, was going to be a long day.

***

Dettlaff raised his head as he caught the now-familiar scent of the witcher approaching the hut.

He stood when he heard a witcher-sized thud on the ground, hesitated to see if Geralt would pick himself up, and then on hearing no further sounds, headed outside to find him.

Far from the relatively well-groomed man he’d first met, Geralt was covered in all manner of gore and gunk, lying face-down in the dirt and breathing harshly.

In the distance, a wolf howled. Dettlaff made a low warning growl that, he hoped, would dissuade it from coming any closer.

Wolves rarely left their dens in the winter, though it hadn't quite set in yet.

The chill in the air warned of snow.

Geralt's armour was melting due to one of the varieties of gunk it was covered in.

Dettlaff took a moment to consider these facts, and then decided on a course of action.

Geralt's armour came off easily, the sticky, corrosive substance it was covered in stinging the tips of Dettlaff’s fingers.

His trousers would also have to go, but they were light and easy enough to tear off.

“Lucky I recognise your scent,” Geralt said. “Or I’d be worried by now.”

“Can you stand?” Dettlaff asked, suspecting he knew the answer. If Geralt could stand, he would be doing so.

“Just a little light paralysis. It'll wear off in a few minutes.”

“It will be faster to carry you,” Dettlaff said, more as a warning that he was about to pick Geralt up and throw him over his shoulder than anything.

Regis’ eyes widened as Dettlaff shouldered the door open. He was sitting up by himself, now.

Dettlaff had mixed feelings about the degree to which Geralt's blood had accelerated his healing. He wanted Regis to heal, obviously, but…

“Is he all right?” Regis asked.

“I'm fine,” Geralt responded by himself. “Or I will be in a minute.”

Dettlaff set him down by the fire, assuming he’d be cold in just his thin tunic and underwear. It was hard to tell what was and wasn't comfortable for humans.

“What happened?” Regis asked.

“Remember those archespores I told you about? There were more,” Geralt said, using what was clearly all of his willpower to roll himself over.

At least the paralysis was wearing off, as promised. “I just spent the last three days clearing them out.”

Regis blinked at him. “I hope you will be well-compensated.”

Dettlaff looked between them, confused. He’d expected Regis to be more alarmed.

But then, he'd probably seen the witcher in worse condition.

Why was Dettlaff alarmed? The man was obviously in no danger of death, now that he was inside.

Because he was afraid it would upset Regis, he decided. That made the most sense.

“Not nearly well-compensated enough, but I won't need another contract for at least a few weeks.”

“That is heartening,” Regis said.

Dettlaff busied himself with finding a pair of trousers for Geralt to wear. He was bound to be cold.

“Now would be a good time to take that blood,” Geralt said, forcing himself to sit up with a heartfelt groan.

“You are in no condition,” Regis objected.

“I'm fine, Regis,” Geralt said. “We can do it outside if you want.”

“No need.” Regis shook his head. “I no longer have any taste for it.”

Dettlaff blinked at him. Hmm. Perhaps that was his own influence.

Regis was physically, after all, mostly Dettlaff. Regeneration might well have changed him on a fundamental level.

“I would prefer to wait until you can stand,” Dettlaff said, handing Geralt the trousers he’d found.

He would also have preferred to do it outside, but he couldn't say so without opening himself to questions he’d prefer not to answer--or worse, comments Geralt would hear.

Unfortunately, it had started snowing after all. Only a few light flakes, but enough to make the outdoors objectionable to a human.

Geralt was on his feet much faster than Dettlaff had expected, pulling the trousers on easily. He’d clearly regained full control of his muscles.

Which meant that Dettlaff's options for delay had all but run out.

Geralt held out his wrist.

Dettlaff swallowed. There was nothing else for it.

***

The incredible frustration of feeling desire but not being able to do anything about it was an entirely new feature of Regis’ life, and not one he was fond of at all.

The pit of his stomach was tight and uncomfortable, tension sitting there pointlessly, a heavy, physical thing that he didn't have the strength to satisfy.

Of all the things that had happened to him over the course of his long life, this one currently seemed like the most unfair.

He’d watched Dettlaff drink from Geralt's wrist with an aching tenderness, careful not to hurt him, and smelled the arousal that was suddenly, excruciatingly present in both men, and then Dettlaff had him drink from his neck, and he smelled of Geralt's arousal this time, as well as his own, and it was too much.

He’d immediately had to feign tiredness he didn't feel and curl up facing the wall, so he wouldn't have to face either Dettlaff or Geralt.

Especially Geralt, who he couldn't be sure wouldn't be disgusted by the mere notion of Regis’ desire for him.

Geralt was his friend, but that didn't mean he was remotely sexually attracted to him. Geralt had at least a small handful of friends he’d never fallen into bed with.

And now Geralt was curled up in a nest of blankets on the rug by the fire, and Dettlaff was sleeping in an armchair, and being close enough to hear and smell them but not close enough to touch was driving Regis mad.

A soft growl of frustration escaped him, which caused both Dettlaff and Geralt to stir. Neither of them quite woke, and under other circumstances it would have been gratifying to know that both of them were so finely-tuned to Regis’ needs that they would wake at his slightest discomfort, but right now…

Being cared for wasn’t quite what he wanted. He wanted Dettlaff’s cock inside him, and his own inside Geralt, and to be surrounded by the two of them, their warmth and their scents and their absolutely blindingly bright capacities for love.

Unfortunately, none of that seemed likely to happen anytime soon.

This was going to be a long, uncomfortable night, and Regis wouldn’t be able to escape it until morning.

Geralt woke first, as the sun did, and padded over to Regis to check on him.

By then, at least, the painful arousal in the pit of his stomach had faded away, and he was happy to chat softly to Geralt instead of focusing on the image of Dettlaff sinking his fangs into Geralt’s wrist.

It was just as well Dettlaff hadn’t bitten his neck. Regis might never have recovered.

“I’m gonna get out of here,” Geralt said. “Go and collect that reward, see what I can do about the armour their sap ate through. I’m lucky Dettlaff heard me collapse.”

“He is a very useful friend to have,” Regis said. “What made you come here instead of going back to Vizima?”

“The last branch of the cave system opened up near here,” Geralt said. “Knew I was in bad shape, figured Dettlaff was motivated to help me out.”

“He would have helped you even if you were a stranger,” Regis said, certain this was true. “You cannot imagine what he has given me. For years I was unable to do so much as communicate with him. But he persevered, because there is nothing but good in his heart.”

“I’m sorry I left you there.”

Regis shook his head. “Do not apologise. No one other than a higher vampire could have helped me.”

“I could have found one,” Geralt said.

A smile turned up the corner of Regis’ lips. “But you had no idea to do so, and the risk to you would have been incredible. No. You are not at fault, Geralt. I do not blame you in the slightest, and I am thrilled that you survived long enough for me to see you again.”

“I notice you’re not chastising me about offering my own blood.”

“Would it make any difference if I did?” Regis asked, raising an eyebrow. “No, I have determined that my best option is to be grateful that you think so much of me.”

“I think the world of you, Regis,” Geralt responded, and he smiled such a soft, warm smile that for a moment, Regis could see where Dettlaff had gotten the idea that Geralt was in love with him.

“Hey, uh,” Geralt continued before Regis could think of a response. “Stop me if I’m prying, but… you drink from Dettlaff’s neck.”

“Yes,” Regis said, though he wasn’t sure it had been a question.

“Dettlaff said that was… intimate.”

“It is,” Regis agreed. “Very.”

Geralt nodded, obviously struggling to frame his next searching statement.

“Things are as you suspect them to be, my friend,” Regis said. “At least, in the sense that my relationship with Dettlaff is intimate, though not in precisely the way you imagine that to mean.”

It would be, and soon, if Regis had his way, but he wasn’t about to start lying to Geralt.

Geralt nodded again, the faintest hint of embarrassment rolling off him.

“I hope this doesn’t upset you?” Regis asked.

“No.” Geralt shook his head. “No, obviously, you’re free to… with whoever you want,” he said, skipping over what Regis was free to do.

“I even get it,” he added, and that was a surprise.

Although, Regis hadn’t missed that Dettlaff was very classically handsome, in human terms. He had also not missed that Geralt’s interest did not stop at women.

He forced himself not to end up imagining them together again. One long night of frustration was enough to last him a lifetime.

On the other hand, he really couldn’t help himself at least planting the idea in Geralt’s head. “Vampire relationships are not traditionally monogamous,” Regis said, allowing himself a small smile. “If you were interested in trying your hand with him.”

Geralt wrinkled his nose, but there was the tiniest spark of curiosity in his expressive cat eyes, the pupils widening just a little.

Regis hadn’t been expecting that at all, but it did open up a world of possibilities he would have been eager to explore.

Dettlaff woke before Regis could continue extolling his virtues, which seemed like a shame. Geralt had almost been half-convinced.

Considering the strength of his reaction to Dettlaff’s venom, that made sense. If this continued, he would come to associate Dettlaff with sexual pleasure in short order.

Which, Regis now realised, made it very strange that he hadn’t insisted on bleeding into a cup instead.

He turned that thought over in his head while Dettlaff fussed over him, wondering exactly what it meant.

***

When Dettlaff returned from seeing the witcher to the main road, as had become their custom, his heart leapt in his throat at what he saw on entering the hut again.

Regis was standing. Not without effort, his features drawn with the strain, his whole body swaying as he gripped a chest of drawers for balance, but…

This was it. Dettlaff was required, once he’d spilled that first drop of blood on Regis’ remains, to care for him until he was capable of standing by himself.

Regis was standing by himself.

He no longer needed Dettlaff.

“I am healed enough to manage on my own,” Regis said meaningfully.

Dettlaff nodded. He understood what he was being shown.

“Will you stay?” Regis asked.

Dettlaff swallowed. “I will,” he said softly. “I will stay with you until the day you no longer wish me to.”

“Ah,” Regis said. “I believe that will be a very long time indeed.”

He sat heavily on the bed, his breathing ragged with the effort.

Dettlaff had expected this day to be months away. Geralt’s blood had performed a small miracle.

Gratitude welled up in Dettlaff’s chest. He would think of a way to thank the witcher.

“Come to bed,” Regis murmured. “I believe I've waited more than long enough.”

Dettlaff approached the bed cautiously, desire and concern for Regis’ health warring inside him.

“I have no wish to hurt you,” Dettlaff said softly. “I can wait forever, if necessary.”

Regis rolled his eyes. “I am weak, but I am willing. Please don't make me beg you. I can't stand not having you any longer.”

And that was enough to shatter Dettlaff's resolve into a thousand pieces. He could hardly remember ever wanting anything more than to make Regis happy, and that was what he was asking for.

He crashed into Regis’ lips, trying to pour all his love for him into the kiss, wanting Regis to understand how dear he was to him, and how much this meant, and that he would care for him forever if he was allowed.

Their lovemaking was gentle and slow, all touches, kisses, and caresses. Exploratory, bordering on the innocent, Dettlaff taking the time to touch Regis everywhere and learn where he liked it the most.

Regis’ cock never got fully hard, and Dettlaff was unsure if that was his fault until Regis made the most utterly wonderful sound in response to a kiss to his belly and produced just a little fluid, enough to make it clear that he was, after all, enjoying himself.

Regis stroked Dettlaff’s cock until he came, which took an embarrassingly short amount of time for a creature as old as he was.

In his defence, it had been a hundred years since he’d been touched by a hand other than his own.

Regis didn't seem to mind at all, raising his fingers to his lips to taste Dettlaff and making a soft, pleased noise before wiping his hand clean on the sheets and curling up next to him.

“The sex will be better when I am more recovered,” he murmured.

It really didn't need to be. Dettlaff would have been more than satisfied with this.

“I am in no hurry,” he said softly. “I love you.”

And he hadn't quite said those words in that order before, and he wasn't sure how they'd be received, and this was suddenly the most frightening moment of his life.

Regis raised his head to look up at him, a bright, warm smile spread across his features.

“And I you,” he murmured, genuine joy in his voice.

Dettlaff let out a breath he hadn't intended to hold, and barely remembered taking.

He held Regis just a little closer, closing his eyes to focus on the other vampire's heartbeat.

This was happiness like he’d never felt it before, and nothing was ever going to take it away from him.

***

When Geralt went to collect his reward, he found that Roche had acquired two small, slightly grubby children he obviously hadn't quite figured out how to handle yet.

He also gained the title of Uncle Geralt, which meant he was involved now, but at least it gave him another excuse to hang around a little longer.

Dettlaff was standing outside the palace when Geralt left.

“Everything okay?” he asked, concerned that Dettlaff's presence here meant something was wrong with Regis.

Dettlaff's small, reserved nod calmed the worst of Geralt's fears.

“Then to what do I owe the pleasure?” Geralt asked, and he probably meant it to come out as at least a little sarcastic, but he was actually starting to like Dettlaff.

“I was coming to enquire after your health,” Dettlaff said. “And I see now that I have worried for nothing.”

“Regis send you?”

“He knows where I've gone, but he did not ask me to come here.” Dettlaff paused. “Although I suspect he is glad of the break.”

Geralt raised an eyebrow. “You two fight?”

Dettlaff shook his head. “We do not fight,” he said. “But he was able to stand by himself this morning, after you left. I imagine he is enjoying testing the limits of his strength without me… hovering.”

“Sounds like a leap forward for him, since he was having trouble keeping his eyes open a week ago.”

“Thanks to you,” Dettlaff said. “And I am forever in your debt because of it.”

Geralt shook his head. “No, I owed this to Regis. This is the least I owe him.”

“You are not doing this because you owe him,” Dettlaff said. “You are doing this because you love him.”

Something about the way Dettlaff said it felt like a blow to the back of the head, right at the base of the skull, and for just the briefest moment, Geralt’s whole world seemed to tilt sideways, like the rocking of a boat on a rough sea.

A wave of something not entirely unlike nausea washed over him.

“Of course,” Geralt said, pushing that feeling aside and taking a step to head back toward the tavern he was staying at. “He’s my friend. He was my friend when I needed one most.”

Dettlaff fell into step beside him, which Geralt had more or less expected.

He clearly wanted something, though whether he’d ever ask for it was another question.

“Why are you doing it?” he asked, having wondered that since he first met Dettlaff. If Regis had a vampire best friend, he would have mentioned it at some point.

“Because I could,” Dettlaff said. “And because Regis has always been fascinating to me. But I have never had the opportunity to make that known before now.”

“So how long have you been in love with him?” Geralt asked, fairly sure he’d judged Dettlaff’s feelings correctly.

“Centuries,” Dettlaff admitted. “Vampires fall quickly. Regis barely remembered who I was, but I… you are not interested in this story, I suspect.”

“I am, actually,” Geralt responded, surprising himself as much as Dettlaff. “Tell me about it over lunch?”

Dettlaff hesitated, and then inclined his head. “I think I would enjoy that.”

Geralt pushed open the door of the tavern to let Dettlaff inside, leaving him to sit down while he went to talk to the serving girl.

Food ordered, he moved to sit down opposite Dettlaff, his curiosity growing by the minute.

“So, you were going to tell me a story,” Geralt said as he settled in.

“I’m afraid it isn’t terribly interesting. We first met when we were each little over a century old, at a large gathering held by other members of our tribe. I have never been overly fond of crowds, even of other vampires.” Dettlaff paused. “Especially of other vampires,” he corrected.

Geralt chuckled at that. It wasn’t really a shock.

“I had found a spot to sit alone and look up at the stars when Regis came and settled down next to me, and then started pointing out every visible constellation and telling me about all the latest religious and alchemical theories concerning them. He thinks they are distant fires.”

Geralt--who had never even paused to consider what stars might actually be--hummed thoughtfully.

“I barely had to say a word,” Dettlaff continued.

“Sounds like Regis,” Geralt said, grinning at the thought.

The serving girl brought them a thick stew and two chunks of bread that seemed surprisingly fresh.

She winked at Dettlaff as she walked away, which more or less explained it.

Dettlaff, if he even noticed, didn’t react.

“He was wonderfully interesting,” Dettlaff went on. “But I was too shy to say anything, and shortly thereafter he made the worst possible friends.”

“And started drinking,” Geralt said, having heard this part of the story from Regis’ perspective before.

Dettlaff nodded. “I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. So when the opportunity to care for him as I had so desperately wanted to came up, I took it.”

“Does Regis know all this? Why you helped him?”

“Of course,” Dettlaff said. “There was a long period when he could listen, but not speak.”

Geralt’s eyes widened. “That must have killed him.”

Dettlaff smiled wryly. “When he first regained the ability, he would wear himself out just talking. Some things never change, I suppose.”

Geralt chuckled again. That really did sound like Regis.

And the way Dettlaff talked about him made it sound like he was completely, utterly in love.

And for some reason, that sat uncomfortably in the pit of Geralt’s stomach, and he couldn’t quite identify why. He wanted Regis to be happy, and Regis definitely seemed that way with Dettlaff, but…

Whatever it was, it was his problem, not Dettlaff’s.

“Regis has changed, though,” Geralt said. “Based on the stories he tells about what he used to be like.”

“He is too hard on himself,” Dettlaff responded. “And he has simply grown up.”

“I guess death does that to you.” Geralt shrugged. “There's still more than a little mischief in him, though.”

Geralt remembered, as he said that, how Regis had teased him this morning about Dettlaff. He was bound to know that Geralt's reaction to being bitten was unavoidable, but it hadn't stopped him from mentioning it.

“I imagine that will get worse as he regains his independence,” Dettlaff agreed.

“Think you can handle him?” Geralt asked.

“In the worst case, I will simply follow where he leads,” Dettlaff said with an easy shrug.

Something in Geralt’s chest ached at the thought of that. He’d always been the one following, too, until he got tired of it. No one had ever loved him enough to follow him back.

Well, some people had, and Regis was one of a small number. And he knew now that it hadn’t actually been because the war was dangerous. He was a goddamn vampire, he could have fought it single-handed if he’d wanted to.

It was just as well vampires didn’t care all that much about humans in general.

No, Regis had been the only one who was there for no particular reason. Just because it seemed like an adventure, probably.

Even though Geralt knew better than to be deceived by the way people looked, sometimes it was difficult to remember that Regis wasn’t, actually, a hundred-year-old human. For a vampire, he was relatively young.

Dettlaff looked a lot more the part. Tall, dark, and broody.

And handsome, Geralt grudgingly admitted to himself. He suspected vampires had different beauty standards, if they had any at all, but to a human, Dettlaff fit right in. He would have done well among them. Better than Regis, even, because he seemed less otherworldly from the beginning.

“You seem deep in thought,” Dettlaff said.

“I was thinking…” Geralt began, realising he couldn’t report what he was actually thinking. “About what you want. Because Regis is great and I’m sure your feelings for him are sincere, but a few hundred years of pushing aside your needs for him and you’ll come to hate him.”

“I don’t understand,” Dettlaff said.

“You don’t like living near humans,” Geralt pointed out. He hadn’t been told that directly, but he’d managed to piece it together.

“Regis believes I could come to like it,” Dettlaff responded. “I am here, aren’t I? And this is not unpleasant.”

Geralt glanced around the mostly-empty tavern, and sighed. “I guess, yeah. But there’s nothing you want for yourself?”

Why was he suddenly giving relationship advice to a vampire who clearly didn’t need it? Maybe vampires just… did love each other unconditionally and let the stronger personality take over their lives and not even care for a second about it.

“Peace,” Dettlaff said. “Just peace. And I have that when Regis is nearby. If vampires have a soul, he is a balm for mine.”

Geralt nodded. He felt more or less the same way about Regis. He suspected a lot of people did, but if Regis saw something in Dettlaff, too…

It was probably a fine basis for a relationship, really. Better than most of Geralt’s.

No. Better than all of Geralt’s.

So he really wasn’t in a position to offer advice.

“Sounds good,” Geralt admitted. “Maybe one of these days I’ll find someone like that.”

“I hope you will,” Dettlaff said. “I cannot begin to describe the happiness I feel.”

Geralt smiled at that, glad that at least Dettlaff was happy. He didn’t seem so bad, after all.

***

Dettlaff returned to Regis to find him sitting on the edge of the bed, staring down at his bare toes as he wriggled them. The innocence of it made him smile, despite the haze of confusion he’d walked home in.

The moment he’d taken his leave of Geralt, he missed him.

He was not particularly used to missing anyone. Save for Regis.

Which asked a question that he was, for the moment, quite afraid to answer.

“Geralt is well, I take it,” Regis said, not looking up from his toes.

“He seems to be,” Dettlaff responded. “He invited me to lunch.”

Regis looked up at that, grinning. “I told you you’d come to like him.”

Dettlaff shifted uncomfortably.

Yes.

That was his current problem. He had come to like Geralt, vastly more than he should have, and right as he’d gotten something he’d wanted for centuries.

“Dettlaff,” Regis began, his voice almost back to normal. “It does not come as a surprise to me that you find him compelling, nor am I upset. Nor will you lose me over it. Whatever you decide to do.”

“I had no plans-”

“I know,” Regis interrupted. “My love, I know. But take it from someone who has sat and uncomfortably nursed feelings they were sure they shouldn’t have had toward him--it is far easier to simply accept that there is something about him, and it doesn’t really matter what that something is, as long as it speaks to you.”

Dettlaff stared at a space on the wall next to Regis’ head, not quite able to meet his eyes.

“I won’t pretend that I wouldn’t be jealous if it were anyone else,” Regis said. “I was never good at sharing. But you already know my feelings, so you know I understand yours. Please, allow yourself to enjoy them. Even if you do not act.”

Dettlaff sighed.

Regis had no business being so sensible.

“I sincerely doubt he would wish me to act,” Dettlaff said eventually.

“Are you so sure? I was present the last time you drank from him.”

“Humans cannot help-”

“They can help having it happen a second time,” Regis said. “And there were plenty of things for him to bleed into present. But he chose, knowing how it would feel, to allow you to drink directly again.”

Dettlaff blinked.

Uncharitably, he’d assumed the witcher was an idiot.

Now he began to wonder if he’d… enjoyed it? The second time, at least.

He had tasted of adrenaline and nerves and the faintest hints of other substances in his bloodstream, strange and on-edge. Perhaps he’d come here after fighting his way through scores of monstrous plants for a reason.

“You ought to consider asking to drink from his neck,” Regis offered. “If nothing else, it will prove less distasteful for you.”

Dettlaff wet his lips, considering that option. On the one hand, it was too much, and he’d already warned Geralt against it, but on the other hand…

It had a certain appeal, and there was little point in pretending he didn’t want to. Not for the sake of his blood, but for the sake of his trust.

Geralt was practically unique in knowing that Dettlaff was a vampire, and still showing him startling amounts of trust. Perhaps that was what Regis liked so much.

Although there was really no shortage of appealing things about him.

“I will consider it,” Dettlaff allowed. “But you are enough for me,” he added, realising as he said it that his real concern was that he was not, and would never be, enough for Regis.

“And you are enough for me,” Regis said kindly. “Please believe that. If you tell me you want to leave here today, I will follow. But you are also allowed not to want that.”

“You would come away with me?” Dettlaff asked.

“Instantly,” Regis promised. “Without a moment's hesitation. Well.” He paused to smile wryly. “I may need a minute to stand.”

Some deep tension Dettlaff had been carrying in his chest eased off all at once.

He believed Regis would go with him.

But he also knew, on hearing that, that he didn't feel the need to run away from this. It would have left a question unanswered--a question, Dettlaff was now sure, he wished to investigate further.

He wasn't like Regis. He didn't even like humans.

But this one… this one was not a mere human. Witchers were different beasts altogether. They simply appeared to be human.

Not wholly unlike vampires.

“I am in no particular hurry to leave,” Dettlaff said cautiously.

Regis’ dark eyes sparkled, a broad grin spreading over his face. “You would not believe how it thrills me to hear that.”

It had occurred to Dettlaff at some point over the last day or so that Regis spent an inordinate amount of his time thinking about sex.

“But if at any point you wish to drop all this and leave…” Regis said. “My promise stands. If I am required to choose, I will choose you.”

Dettlaff swallowed past a lump in his throat. “There is no need to choose,” he said. “I love you dearly enough not to ask that.”

Regis smiled at his again, the corners of his eyes crinkling. “Come here,” he beckoned. “I would like to hold you a while.”

***

Geralt stopped dead twenty paces from the hut Regis and Dettlaff were staying in, his ears picking up the completely unmistakable sounds of sex--enthusiastic, apparently really good sex--coming from inside.

He hadn’t been listening out for it, but now that he’d caught the sound, it was all he could hear. The silence of the cold night and the thin blanket of snow over the forest muted everything else, and all he could hear was…

He took a handful of steps back, gauging the best distance to wait at so he’d be able to hear whether they were still going or not if he listened carefully, but wouldn’t be eavesdropping.

The wide, buttressed trunk of a nearby tree gave him a place to wait, and he settled down so that he was out of the wind whistling through the forest.

Half an hour later, Geralt started to wonder how long vampires could possibly go for.

Hell, Regis wasn’t even at full strength. How long could he have gone for if he was?

Not that Geralt really wanted an answer to that question. It was nice that Regis was feeling better, but…

Okay, so, maybe he was a little curious, if only because he’d never had sex with a vampire. His knowledge of the species was incomplete.

That was his excuse, and he was sticking to it.

Almost an hour later, the sounds changed, and Geralt could just barely hear movement--water being poured, clothes being shifted--that suggested they were cleaning up and getting dressed instead of, for example, taking a nap before round two.

Or round… whatever.

If they could go for an hour at a time, who knew…

Geralt stopped that thought in its tracks. This line of thinking wasn’t leading anywhere good.

He gave it a few more minutes, and then stood again, shivering as the cold hit him and heading to the hut with slightly hurried steps, wanting to be warm.

Regis was on his feet when Dettlaff opened the door, and he rushed in to wrap Geralt in a warm hug. Despite the fact that he smelled really, really strongly of Dettlaff, it was good to have confirmation that he had a lot of his strength back, even if he might not have been completely recovered yet.

There was no way in hell Regis didn’t know that he knew, but he didn’t look even slightly embarrassed about it.

Obviously, he was sure Geralt wouldn’t bring it up.

And he was right, for that matter.

Dettlaff invited Geralt to dinner again, and despite everything he’d heard Geralt wasn’t inclined to say no, because Dettlaff’s cooking was a better option than anything else he could manage.

The three of them sat around the table this time, and Regis ate without any assistance, and they shared stories of the places they’d been--together and separately--in a relaxed, unhurried way that reminded Geralt of some of the happiest times of his life, when he’d been among friends and there’d been no particular threat looming and he could just exist.

Except that this time, Dettlaff kept staring at his neck.

A normal person having their neck stared at by a vampire would probably have been nervous.

Geralt… was not a normal person, and was decidedly not nervous.

“How’re you feeling, Regis?” Geralt asked, since the subject hadn't actually come up yet. And because he needed a way to get around to asking if Dettlaff wanted to bite him again.

“Much restored,” Regis said cheerfully. “Though I still have quite some way to go before I reach full strength, I think.”

“So you still need blood?” Geralt asked, knowing the answer was clearly yes, but wanting to hear what either Dettlaff or Regis had to say on the subject.

“Only if you are still willing,” Regis said. “I am no longer defenseless without Dettlaff, and I will keep healing on my own without any help.”

“I’m still willing,” Geralt said without hesitation. He was, either way, but he was curious about  the way Dettlaff was looking at him.

Regis had told him about this, hadn’t he? He’d implied that Dettlaff was interested, though Geralt had been sure he was teasing.

“Then I believe Dettlaff has a… proposition, for you,” Regis said, lingering over the word proposition borderline obscenely.

Dettlaff stared at Regis with wide eyes, so he clearly hadn’t been expecting that.

Geralt gave him a sympathetic look, hoping to make it clear that if he wanted to back out of whatever Regis was trying to get him into, he wouldn’t encounter any resistance.

“I…” Dettlaff looked between the two of them, still clearly alarmed. “Geralt, would you permit… that is, and I know this will seem like an unusual request, but I think I would now be more comfortable with… with…”

Geralt couldn’t quite stop himself from smiling, because watching a four-hundred-year-old vampire get flustered was adorable.

“You want to drink from my neck instead,” Geralt said, putting two and two together.

Dettlaff nodded the most earnest nod Geralt had ever seen.

Regis’ eyes sparkled. Geralt could see what his opinion was, but he wasn’t going to get away with putting Dettlaff on the spot like that without some consequences.

“And you’re okay with that?” Geralt asked, as though he couldn’t see the way Regis was looking between them.

One of the things Geralt knew about Regis was that a lot of his decisions were made based on which path he thought was more likely to get him laid.

Geralt suspected he was trying to nudge this evening down one of them, and he found himself surprisingly unwilling to object.

Why should he? It’d been a while. Dettlaff was beautiful. Regis was, as Dettlaff had described him, fascinating, and Geralt had a reasonable amount of evidence to say he was great in bed. And besides, he was one of Geralt’s most loyal friends.

And Geralt was so glad to see him alive that he wanted as much closeness as he could get, and he was still thinking about the unsettling sureness with which Dettlaff had said Geralt loved him.

It wasn’t all that hard to imagine falling into bed with them, and it would satisfy his curiosity.

It’d satisfy the hole in his heart Regis had left, too. The one that Geralt was starting to think wasn’t just about losing a friend, and was maybe about losing a chance as well.

“It is not up to me to dictate what Dettlaff does,” Regis said. “But I would not object.”

Which was about as close as Geralt expected to get to an admission that he was going to watch it and enjoy it. Regis liked to believe he was subtle.

“Well, one of you is going to have to spell out what you want,” Geralt said. He didn’t want to walk into this completely blind.

Dettlaff looked desperately at Regis, clearly out of his depth.

“Geralt,” Regis began. “You are perhaps the most open-minded man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

Geralt raised an eyebrow.

“It’s true,” Regis continued. “And I think all anyone is asking for is an open mind, and your continued company. Yes?” He turned to look at Dettlaff.

“Yes,” Dettlaff croaked, his voice breaking.

“Okay,” Geralt agreed. What did he have to lose? He trusted that neither Dettlaff or Regis would hurt him, and he trusted them both to stop if he asked.

He stood to remove the jacket of his armour, aiming to give Dettlaff full access to his throat.

This promised to be an interesting night.

***

Dettlaff paused to breathe in Geralt's scent as he prepared to drink from his neck, taking a few moments to pull himself together. Though it still must have seemed slow to the witcher, he could feel his own heart hammering in his chest, fast enough to make his head feel light.

He hesitated to say so, but he'd never actually done this before. The mechanics were simple enough, and he knew instinctively where to bite, and how deep, and how to minimise the pain, but…

Geralt was about to be the first human he’d bitten like this. The first anything.

He knew how it felt when Regis bit him here. He had become accustomed to the overwhelming pleasure of providing for someone he loved so fully it always felt like a struggle to contain it.

But this was different. This was about lust, and gratitude, and curiosity about what it was that Regis saw in this man.

And if Dettlaff was being very honest, and he did always try to be, curiosity about what he saw in Geralt.

“You don't have to do this,” Geralt murmured, making Dettlaff pause.

The concern in his voice was… confusing. It was definitely genuine, and spoken so softly that it was only meant for Dettlaff's ears, though Regis would have undoubtedly heard it.

“If it's not what you want, don't think you have to. Regis wouldn't want that. I definitely don't want that,” Geralt continued, his voice soft and soothing.

His hand moved to Dettlaff's waist, just the barest touch, a startlingly tender reassurance from a man he barely knew.

He began to see what Regis saw, aside from Geralt's more general appeal.

With a surge of courage, or lust, or something between the two, Dettlaff sank his fangs as delicately as he could into Geralt's neck.

The taste of his blood still held little appeal--it was vastly less repulsive than animal blood, but nothing Dettlaff could imagine himself wanting on its own.

The magic in it, and the suddenly overpowering scent of Geralt's arousal, though…

He moaned softly, sealing his lips over the wound and drinking just a few mouthfuls before licking it closed, not wanting to leave Geralt weak.

Geralt's hand on his waist never faltered, the rhythmic stroking of his thumb providing a grounding counterpoint to the way Dettlaff’s heart pounded, to the rush of arousal that left him feeling as though the whole world was spinning without him.

He slumped against Geralt once he was sure the wound wouldn't reopen, pressing his nose to the spot just below his ear and breathing in deeply, memorising the scent of his arousal.

Tension gathered in his belly, the hot rush of it almost painful in its intensity.

Guilt would almost have been enough to make him falter, except for the low, pleased noise Regis made, and the scent of his arousal hitting Dettlaff's palate as well.

“Was that enough?” Geralt asked under him, apparently less alarmed this time about being pinned to the wall with Dettlaff's entire weight.

“I would not hurt you,” Dettlaff said. “It would be too easy to take too much.”

“That's why it's more intimate to drink from the neck,” Geralt said. “The trust.”

“That, and the required proximity,” Regis added, his voice low and thick with lust.

Another warm tendril of arousal curled its way around Dettlaff's gut.

The trust mattered to him. Geralt's easy, sure trust, his complete lack of fear was a source of awe to Dettlaff.

At first, he’d imagined it to be suicidal stupidity. But he was beginning to see now that it wasn't.

The sheer depth of his loyalty to Regis allowed him to do things which would make most mortal men faint at the thought. He believed all the way down to the marrow of his bones that Regis--and by extension, Dettlaff--would not harm him.

He was also right.

Dettlaff had no intention of ever harming the strange, surprising man he still had pinned under his body.

He realised, with another rush of feeling, that he wanted that loyalty for himself. Wanted to bask in the brightness of it and call Geralt his own, the way Regis could have at any moment if he wasn't so afraid that he didn't already have him.

The soft, rumbling beginning of a purr sounded in Dettlaff's chest, pleasure erupting in him at finally being sure of what he wanted, at understanding this.

“I didn't know vampires could do that,” Geralt said, delight in his voice.

“If you continue down this path,” Dettlaff murmured, his confidence growing. “You will discover that vampires can do a surprising number of interesting things.”

Geralt chuckled. “I'm not turning back now,” he said. “Not until I figure out how to get you to keep purring for me.”

Dettlaff swallowed again. Geralt wanted…?

Him? Not just as a means to an end in having Regis as well, but… for his own sake?

“Do all vampires think so much, or is it just you two?” Geralt asked, turning his head to look at Regis.

Regis laughed softly. “You must understand that we feel very deeply, which lends itself either to rash behaviour or long periods of contemplation over even the simplest action.”

“I cannot purr on command,” Dettlaff interrupted, not wanting this to veer off toward any discussion of his feelings.

It was one thing to know them himself, it was another thing to be interrogated about them.

Geralt looked at him with the eyes of a man who’d never left a puzzle unsolved. “So how does it work?”

“It’s in response to… contentment,” Dettlaff said, deciding that was the closest thing to the correct word for it.

“So make you happy, and you’ll purr for me?” Geralt asked.

“More or less,” Dettlaff agreed. “Is it really of that much interest to you?”

He had understood humans to be mostly concerned with the parts of intimacy that involved the stimulation of their genitals, and less so with the emotional comfort of their partners.

Perhaps this was yet another way in which Geralt was special.

“Are you kidding?” Geralt asked, his whole face lighting up with excitement.

Suddenly, he reminded Dettlaff a little of Regis. Excitable. Flushed with the wonder of discovery.

Beautiful, in a stunningly human, fragile way.

“I am not,” Dettlaff said, sensing that he was about to open his heart to this man. He could feel himself wanting to. It would only take the slightest push.

“There’s a way to know you’re happy built in to you and it’s a surprise that I care?” Geralt raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been screwing the wrong humans.”

“I have never-” Dettlaff said, and then closed his mouth with a click of his teeth.

He hadn’t intended to admit that.

Geralt’s eyes, if anything, had widened further, his gaze threaded through with awe. “Really?”

Dettlaff cleared his throat. He was still leaning against Geralt’s chest, but he suspected he’d lost all control of this situation some time ago.

Probably around the time he’d told Geralt to follow him here.

“I’ll be gentle,” Geralt smiled wryly, but there was a strange note of sincerity in it--Geralt would not harm him.

And that was the final push he’d needed.

Dettlaff surged forward, closing the distance between them, careful with his teeth against Geralt’s delicate lips and tongue until he could shift them to something blunter, more human, something suitable for this.

Geralt moaned under him, the hand on his waist tightening, and Dettlaff was lost.

He understood why Regis wanted this, and he wanted it for himself as well. Unquestionably, entirely.

“If it makes you feel any better,” Geralt murmured as they parted, Dettlaff having backed off for fear that Geralt might need space to breathe. “You two are my first vampires.”

“Two?” Regis asked, unsure.

Geralt turned to look at him again. “C’mon, Regis. You didn’t seriously think I was just gonna leave you standing there.”

Regis had thought that, Dettlaff realised. He’d thought that after all this, after everything Geralt had done, he wasn’t interested.

Wasn’t in love.

Dettlaff was beginning to see that he was surrounded by idiots. Idiots who were very lucky he liked them.

“I thought…” Regis began. “I am… and Dettlaff is… I imagined…”

Geralt slipped out from under Dettlaff’s grip with a surprising amount of ease, and crossed to where Regis was hovering awkwardly, wanting to watch, but not wanting to interfere. He stood in front of Regis, obviously considering for a moment, and then closed the gap between them with much greater speed than Dettlaff had expected him to be capable of.

Geralt was, perhaps, not as fragile as he’d thought.

The sound Regis made as Geralt kissed him, full of longing and need and desire, made Dettlaff’s stomach flutter. Regis had made the same sound when they’d finally come together, as well, and that told him two things--firstly, this would make Regis happy.

Secondly, he had already been that way with Dettlaff alone.

The witcher was, therefore, an acceptable addition to their arrangement. Dettlaff believed now that he wasn’t simply a substitute for someone Regis would rather have, but someone who Regis wanted just as much.

His heart warmed in his chest, entirely open now to whatever the evening brought.

***

Regis wiped tears away from his eyes, his embarrassment tempered only by the fact that Geralt had simply wrapped him in his arms when he’d noticed and held him so tightly that a human would have been in trouble for lack of ability to breathe.

He hadn’t intended to burst into tears when Geralt kissed him. He’d intended to show him every possible wonderful thing he was capable of, and more, and convince him that continuing to kiss him was a good idea.

But then it had been so much, after all this time, and after both of them believing they’d lost each other, and that had proven overwhelming.

He had just warned Geralt about how deeply vampires felt things.

Regis whimpered as Geralt pulled away from him, only to sigh a deep, contented sigh into his mouth as he pressed their lips together again, warm, strong hands coming up to frame Regis’ face, hold him still.

“I’m here,” Geralt whispered. “We’re both here.”

Regis nodded, gathering himself together and pushing against Geralt’s chest, pushing him back into the practically solid wall that was Dettlaff, taking control of the kiss as Dettlaff got the hint and held Geralt in place.

To his credit, Geralt didn’t seem even slightly alarmed by being trapped between two higher vampires. Instead, the scent of arousal rolling off him only got stronger.

“I begin to think you’re enjoying this,” Regis murmured against Geralt’s lips. “But I wonder if we should delay this encounter until I’ve regained more of my strength?”

Geralt whined in protest, and Regis couldn’t stop himself from grinning in response.

“If you feel the need to wait,” Dettlaff began. “I’m sure Geralt’s patience will hold out.”

Geralt made another unhappy sound, though Regis knew that if he’d said he wasn’t ready, that he didn’t feel up to it, there would have been no argument.

“Will you be patient with me, Geralt?” Regis asked, reaching out to touch Geralt’s lips feather-lightly. “You offered Dettlaff gentleness, would you extend that offer to me? Would you be careful?” he continued, heart hammering in his chest as a new wave of lust built inside him.

His mind had already conjured up images of Geralt’s hesitant touch, afraid of breaking his newly-recovered friend, soft and sweet and gentle until Regis couldn’t bear it anymore, until he flipped them over and took control and took and took and took, as much as Geralt would allow him, because he’d wanted this so dearly for so long.

The scent of Geralt’s arousal--and Dettlaff’s, and his own--was so thick in the air that Regis felt as though he might drown in it.

If vampires were in danger of having their hearts give out from over-excitement, Regis would have been at serious risk.

“I’d offer you whatever you want,” Geralt said, warmth shining in his eyes, and Regis swallowed, frozen to the spot.

Dettlaff had been right.

Geralt was in love with him. As impossible as it seemed, as ridiculous as it sounded…

“You, Geralt,” he said after a pause that was far too long. “I want you, and have done for some time.”

Since the first moment he’d laid eyes on him. And at first it had been curiosity, and then lust, and then a deep, aching longing Regis had barely been able to contain, and then the absolute certainty of true love.

But he had always wanted Geralt, one way or another, and now he was finally in a position to have him.

Overwhelming didn’t even begin to cover it.

“I’m all yours,” Geralt said simply, and he couldn’t possibly have understood the depth of what that would mean to Regis, but the words had already embedded themselves in Regis’ heart, and he planned to take them seriously.

He pounced.

Even Dettlaff was surprised by the force of it, stumbling back a step as Regis seized Geralt’s mouth again, licking his way into it, chasing the taste of him, breathing his scent in deeply as he moaned into Geralt’s mouth, any self-control he might have been trying to cling to evaporating.

His mind was ablaze with want want want, and though he trusted himself not to do Geralt any serious damage, he expected to wake up to a bruised, sore witcher in the morning.

Bruised and sore, but utterly satisfied.

Geralt panted harshly as Regis pulled back, gasping for breath, but the scent of arousal between them was only getting stronger.

“We might continue on the bed, I think,” Regis murmured, trailing his fingers down over Geralt’s cheek. “It should be sturdy enough for three.”

***

Far from the shy, reticent, level-headed vampire Geralt had known years ago, Regis was turning out to be eager and forceful in bed, and Geralt really didn’t mind.

Regis had him pinned to the bed, and if he wasn’t at full strength then Geralt shuddered to think what full strength meant for him, because there was no way in hell he could have broken Regis’ hold on him.

Well, aside from asking, but where was the fun in that?

Dettlaff had declared that he was happy to watch, for now, and Geralt could tell that he understood what was going on between him and Regis. This had been a long time coming, and Dettlaff wanted them to have this, just the two of them, and it made him like the dark vampire even more than he already had.

“Everything about you is magnificent,” Regis said, his normally dark eyes pitch black now, pupils blown wide. He was lean, and pale, but there wasn’t a mark on him, not a single scar, and that was so strange.

Not that Geralt cared. He knew it was because of what Regis was, and even with full knowledge of that, he still wanted this.

Hell, he was starting to develop a taste for vampires.

Regis was looking at him as though he was deciding whether to fuck him or bite him, and except for the part where Regis didn’t want to bite him, Geralt wouldn’t really have cared which.

“Would you be so kind,” Regis asked, easing his grip on Geralt. “As to roll over for me?”

Geralt groaned, knowing exactly where this was going and already desperate for it, and rolled onto his stomach.

Regis stopped taking things slow immediately, pulling Geralt’s hips up so he was kneeling on the bed, completely exposed and then diving in to nuzzle him, and that was new, and then Regis’ mouth was right there, and his tongue, and Geralt’s answering groan was so loud and so deep that they probably heard it in the nearby village.

Regis chuckled, and Geralt could hear his arousal even in the sound, and yeah, he could really develop a taste for vampires if this kept up.

“Mm, I suspected your previous lovers would have been too delicate to do this for you,” Regis said, like he’d been thinking about what exactly he was going to do to Geralt if he ever got the opportunity, and maybe he had, and Geralt really didn’t care because he seemed to have some good ideas.

Geralt didn’t have time to respond, Regis’ mouth already on him again, licking slow strokes over delicate skin, teasing him mercilessly, the tip of his tongue occasionally pressing at Geralt’s entrance, and dear gods that was good.

His fingers tightened in the sheets as Regis went back to work, head falling to hang between his shoulders, thighs already trembling with want and need and oh dear GODS Regis’ tongue was inside him.

A broken moan escaped Geralt, shock and arousal swirling in his gut, his toes curling as Regis just kept going, and honestly, the biggest mistake of his life right now felt like not fucking a vampire earlier.

Not just any vampire. This particular vampire, who Geralt had wanted since the beginning and been too scared to say anything to.

Regis chuckled, and Geralt just moaned all over again as the vibrations rippled through him, resigning himself to the fact that Regis was more than four times his age and had the experience to match, and really Geralt should have just known that, it was stupid to think he’d be anything other than completely overwhelmed.

“The sounds you make are entirely wonderful,” Regis murmured against his skin, backing off to lap at him gently for a few moments. “I could listen for hours.”

Geralt whimpered at the thought, his cock already leaking precome, his belly tight with need. Regis probably could keep him like this for hours if he wanted to, and Geralt would just have to endure it, because he wasn't giving this up for anything.

“But not this time, I think,” Regis added, to Geralt's incredible relief.

The sound of glass clinking caught Geralt’s attention, and he just barely had time to smell clean, plain oil before it was being poured onto the small of his back, and then Regis’ suddenly blunt-nailed fingers were gathering it up and oh hell, dammit, yeah, okay, this was exactly what Geralt wanted out of his life right now.

“Have you done this before?” Regis asked, apparently not having thought to care before now.

“Yeah,” Geralt gritted out, impressed with himself for getting his tongue to cooperate.

“Then you know what to expect,” Regis purred, stroking his other hand along Geralt’s flank, his strong fingers kneading deep into the muscle there.

If this was what Regis was like at half-strength, Geralt couldn’t wait to see him back to normal.

Like he was in everything else, Regis was gentle, and careful, and even the scent of arousal rolling off him, so strong it threatened to make Geralt’s eyes water, didn’t stop him from being patient, working methodically, pressing soft kisses all over Geralt’s skin.

“Come on,” Geralt complained, his patience falling long short of Regis’.

A sound made Geralt risk a glance over at Dettlaff, who turned out to be… uh…

Sitting back and watching, lightly stroking his cock, his tongue darting out to wet his lips as his eyes met Geralt’s.

A rush of embarrassment made them both look away, but by now Regis was done with prepwork, and Geralt could feel him shifting on the bed, his fingers curled around Geralt’s hips, the thick head of his cock pressed against Geralt’s body.

Geralt was just now catching up with the part where Regis was about to fuck him.

He hadn't really realised that he wanted that before now, but here they were, and he wanted it. Wanted more than he could remember wanting anything in his life.

“Are you sure?” Regis asked, like he’d just realised they were right on the edge of something, too. This changed things.

Some things had to change, though. This, Geralt was sure, was one of them.

He nodded, not trusting his voice, and Regis made a soft sound of acknowledgement. Geralt expected him to push forward, braced himself for it, but Regis stayed where he was, running the heel of his hand up Geralt’s back.

Soothing him, Geralt realised. Taking care of him. Like he always had done.

Geralt’s heart fluttered in his chest. He would have wanted this even if he hadn't recently discovered that vampires were hot.

He loved Regis. He’d wanted this a long time, though he’d never really thought of getting it before.

But now that he had the chance? Hell yes, he wanted Regis to get him off with the same thorough attentiveness he showed everything, and then he wanted Regis to hold him, because Geralt was always the one making his partners feel safe and it would have been nice to have it the other way around for once.

Geralt gasped as Regis’ cock slid home, his thighs tensing up as he adjusted. It was thicker than he’d expected, or maybe he was just out of practice, but the surprise passed and it felt so damned good to have Regis inside him, his cock satisfyingly thick and heavy, his vampire-slow pulse beating against Geralt’s most sensitive parts, strange and new but incredible all the same.

He panted, waiting for whatever would come next, a bead of precome welling up at the head of his cock in anticipation, tickling as it rolled down.

To Geralt's surprise, the next thing he knew was Regis moving him, as though he weighed nothing, onto his side.

“I hope you don't mind,” Regis murmured into his ear. “But I was planning to take my time, and you will be far more comfortable like this.”

A shiver ran through Geralt at the thought.

He was also very aware of Dettlaff’s gaze on him.

Aware, but not even a little opposed. He could feel the other vampire staring at him, smell a fresh wave of arousal, hear the softest of gasps, and dammit, he wanted that, too.

“I could cover you,” Regis murmured in his ear, just barely rocking his hips, enough to remind Geralt he was there, but nothing more.

Geralt, to his surprise, shook his head. “Let him watch,” he said, arousal welling up in his gut at the thought.

Watching wasn't going to be enough, but there was no reason he couldn't tease.

“Tell him how it feels,” Geralt added, because why not take a stab at driving a vampire mad with lust? He was already naked and vulnerable in front of two of them, one a practical stranger who was in love the other one.

It was probably about time he admitted to himself that he got off on taking risks.

“Do not torture my dear, sweet Dettlaff, who has been nothing but good to me,” Regis chided, curling his fingers around Geralt's hip and thrusting forward, hard, making him gasp with the force of it.

Geralt let the wave of sensation wash over him, immediately wanting more.

“If that was supposed to discourage me…” he began, and Regis growled a soft, playful growl and thrust forward again, hitting Geralt's sweet spot like he knew exactly where it was, and of course he did, and oh fuck this was only going to get worse, wasn't it?

“If you want him, ask,” Regis insisted, nipping at Geralt's earlobe with blunt teeth. Geralt groaned, his cock leaking again, the memory of Dettlaff biting deep into his neck still fresh in his mind.

He did want him. He liked the way Dettlaff looked at him and adored the way he looked at Regis, and this thing that was happening was about the three of them. It wasn't enough for him to just watch.

Especially if Regis was determined to take his time. Geralt didn't want to stop him, but he could have gone for a little more.

Swallowing, he held out his hand to Dettlaff. “Come on. Come over here.”

***

Dettlaff stood at the edge of the bed, having misted out of his clothes to make the short trip over, and stared down at Regis and Geralt.

Regis, who he loved with all his heart, and Geralt, who was upsettingly attractive for a human and who Regis loved with all his heart.

“I won't bite,” Geralt said, gasping as Regis moved inside him, and Dettlaff found himself mesmerised by the slow, lazy strokes, by the way their bodies came together, by the absolute comfort they’d found, despite being each other's most dangerous predator and most tempting prey.

“Unless you're into that?” Geralt continued, and Regis chuckled behind him.

“I doubt he’d mind if you did,” he said, pressing a soft kiss to the back of the witcher’s neck.

Dettlaff reached out to stroke his fingers along the line of the bite he’d left, nails blunted in deference to Geralt’s fragility and his undoubted preference not to be shredded by Dettlaff’s claws.

“You are…” he paused for a moment, struggling to choose a word in Geralt’s limited, clumsy tongue that failed to describe even a fraction of what he was, what Dettlaff had been fooling himself into thinking he didn’t see in him.

“Beautiful,” he said, though it wasn’t what he meant. Not the whole of what he meant, in any case.

Geralt still smiled at him, so the word was adequate for this. For now.

And one day he would teach Geralt the lilting syllables of his and Regis’ language, and Geralt would come to understand all the things he was.

Because, Dettlaff realised, once he went down this path, there was no going back. He would love the witcher as dearly as Regis did, because he was bright, and warm, and wonderful, and as envious as Dettlaff was that he’d captured Regis’ heart first…

He was equally eager to give up his own.

And it was all distressingly sudden, and Geralt was more or less human, and worse than anything else, none of that seemed to matter.

“Not so bad yourself,” Geralt said, looking Dettlaff up and down and pausing with his gaze directly on his cock, licking his lips unsubtly. Or at least, unsubtly to Dettlaff’s way of thinking.

Regis chuckled again. “My impression is that Dettlaff is as lovely by human standards as he is by vampire ones. Would you agree?”

Geralt opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted by a harder, sharper thrust of Regis’ hips, a gasp escaping him instead, turning into a moan as Regis sped his pace up for a few strokes, teasing him.

Teasing them both, and Dettlaff was sure he knew it.

Dettlaff’s fingers twitched, the urge to stroke his cock while he watched striking again. Regis and Geralt were beautiful together, and the scent of arousal hung heavy in the air, and he had been invited.

It would be foolish not to do this.

There was little room left on the bed--just enough for Dettlaff to climb onto it and press himself up against the witcher, barely stopping himself from hissing at the heat of his skin everywhere they touched.

He gave in, immediately, to the urge to kiss him again, hard and biting--teeth still blunt, still mindful of how delicate he was--Dettlaff’s tongue diving into his mouth to taste him, to learn more of him.

Geralt laughed against his mouth and pushed for more, his fingers brushing along Dettlaff’s hip, leaving trails of fire in their wake.

Dettlaff groaned as Geralt’s impossibly warm hand curled around his cock, strong and confident, as though this was what he’d wanted the entire time and he’d just been waiting for Dettlaff to give it to him.

“He’s so warm,” Dettlaff murmured, breathless, and Regis laughed, rich and bright and just a tiny bit strained.

“Believe me, I know,” Regis responded after a moment, his hand shifting on Geralt’s belly and brushing against Dettlaff, the soft contact both grounding and exciting.

He could come to love this, too. To revel in his luck at having found two extraordinary people who wanted him.

“I can hear you,” Geralt complained, nuzzling his way along Dettlaff’s jaw, pausing to nip at the skin there with surprisingly sharp teeth. Sharp enough to bite through, and the thought made a frisson of arousal shudder down Dettlaff’s spine.

He had come to enjoy the act of providing for Regis more than was entirely decent, and now Geralt was teasing that desire, and he knew, Dettlaff was sure, and that only made it all the more effective.

Before he could respond, Geralt shifted his grip, bringing both of their cocks together and grasping them tight, spreading precome between them to slick the way.

If this was Geralt being gentle, the thought of what he might do when he wasn’t made Dettlaff’s head spin. Not that he was about to object.

Geralt was impossibly warm against him, his cock hard and hot and leaking, the scent of arousal rising off his skin, mixing with the scent of Regis’ arousal, filling all of Dettlaff’s senses to bright, burning fullness.

He reached out to touch Geralt, breath hitching as his fingers brushed against Regis’. He had been willing to leave them be, even to gracefully take his leave now that Regis had what he so desperately wanted, but that hadn’t happened.

The look in Regis’ eyes, when he glanced up, was full of love. Love for Dettlaff. The tiny, shy smile he’d come to adore was meant for him, and while Geralt would have the benefit of it as well, that didn’t make it mean any less.

It was overwhelming in the best possible way.

Dettlaff lost himself in the scent of Geralt’s skin, the touch of strong, sure fingers around his cock, the warmth and confidence and the crackling magic that swirled around him, burying his face in the crook of Geralt’s neck and breathing him in, rocking his hips into Geralt’s hand, his fingers tangling with Regis’ over Geralt’s hip.

He pressed closer, tangling their legs together, scratching lightly at his skin, moaning with every new wave of arousal, his mouth watering at the scent of precome, because blood, he didn’t care about, but Geralt…

Everything about him was appealing, and Dettlaff could see at least some part of what Regis saw, and he wanted it. Wanted the whole of him, everything he was willing to give, and wanted to share that with Regis, and wanted, while he was busy letting himself want things, to share Regis with him.

And that was a surprise, but it was how things were. Dettlaff wasn’t inclined to lie to himself about it, though he would need time to decide what it meant.

For now, he was happy to focus on the low throb of arousal in his belly, on the taste of Geralt’s skin under his lips, the sound of Regis’ soft, breathy moans as he lost himself in the witcher’s body, the scent of sex hanging heavy in the air.

He was close now, hurtling toward the edge, desperate for release, his thighs taught and his spine tingling, need pooling at the base of it, his hips starting to jerk of their own accord, grinding his cock against Geralt’s, shoving roughly into the grip of his fingers. Heat and pressure and want built in him, too much and not enough all at once, just a hair’s breadth away from tipping over the cliff edge of his own arousal.

“Bite me,” Geralt murmured, his breath hot against Dettlaff’s ear, and Dettlaff couldn’t have stopped himself even if he wanted to. He moaned as he sank his teeth into Geralt’s neck, felt the first hot spill of blood over his tongue, his orgasm hitting at the same moment, and Geralt following him, spilling hot all over his cock as well.

A low, possessive growl welled up in Dettlaff’s chest as he came, wave after wave of pleasure rolling through him as he rocked into Geralt’s hand, into his body, licking at the wound on his neck to close it and savouring the taste of him.

He could hear Regis coming as well, a soft cry ringing in his ears, driving him to reach out and hold him, pressing both of his lovers closer to him, breathing in their combined scents, listening to the different but perfectly harmonic beats of their hearts, something warm and terrifying settling in the centre of his chest as he came down.

Geralt was panting harshly against him, the only one of them who truly needed to breathe, and wave of tenderness washed over Dettlaff as he nuzzled Geralt’s jaw and loosened his grip to give him space to breathe, listening closely to his too-fast human heartbeat to make sure he wasn’t in any distress.

It occurred to him that this, probably, was how Regis had fallen for the witcher. Surprising tenderness for a man who would have insisted that he didn’t need it.

But he did, and Dettlaff wanted to give it to him, the same way he’d wanted to give it to Regis. Vampires were social creatures. They cared for one another, and they cared for other creatures, too, and Geralt was quickly becoming the kind of creature Dettlaff wanted to care for.

He would, probably, not have appreciated that sentiment.

But then he hadn’t minded when Dettlaff had come to check on him, either. Perhaps he was capable of allowing himself to be cared for.

He wanted to say something, to articulate some part of his feelings, at least, let Geralt know that he’d enjoyed this, at least, but the witcher was asleep before he’d managed to organise his thoughts.

Feeling that Regis was also exhausted, Dettlaff closed his eyes, held them both, and let himself drift off.

***

Regis woke to Geralt curled up against him, and his heart felt as though it was going to burst with the tenderness he felt toward his beautiful, fragile witcher who had surprised him yet again last night.

Over Geralt’s shoulder, he could see Dettlaff peering at him, as he often did when Regis was asleep. A human might have been disturbed by it, but Regis took great comfort in knowing that he was being watched.

He offered the other vampire a small, shy smile, thrilled that Dettlaff had allowed him to have this. To have both of the people he loved so much.

“You look happy,” Dettlaff said softly.

“I am,” Regis confessed. “Are you?”

“Yes,” Dettlaff responded, as though he was surprised himself.

“I’m having a great time,” Geralt murmured against Regis’ neck. “In case anyone’s wondering.”

Regis chuckled, reaching out to stroke Geralt’s hair. “I believed you were still asleep, my love,” he said, and as the words escaped him, cold fear gripped his heart.

It was too much, too soon. Geralt wasn’t ready to accept the sheer intensity of the way a vampire loved. He couldn’t be. Regis would only push him away if he let Geralt know how deeply he felt for him.

“Almost am,” Geralt said, without the barest change in his tone, or his heartbeat, or anything else. “Don’t wanna move.”

“I won’t make you,” Regis said fondly. Perhaps Geralt hadn't noticed what he said, after all.

A rumbling purr started up in the depths of his chest, contentment settling over him.

Dettlaff smiled at him, and began purring in return. He was happy, after all.

“Well now I'm definitely not moving,” Geralt said. “Not if you're both gonna keep that up.”

“I believe we will keep it up until you do move,” Regis said. “You’re very warm, and you smell wonderful.”

Geralt shifted to meet Regis’ eyes. “Is that why you love me? Because I’m warm?”

Regis glanced at Dettlaff, afraid that he’d told Geralt. After all, he’d been quick to share his theories about Geralt’s feelings with Regis.

“Don’t look at him like that,” Geralt defended. “I know, Regis. I guess I’ve known for a while. I just… didn’t want to think about it much after you… when you were gone.”

Regis swallowed, his heart contracting at the pain in Geralt’s voice.

“I love you, my dear Geralt, because you are fierce and bright and loyal, because of your sense of justice, and fairness, and your willingness to give protection to an old man and forgiveness to a young vampire who desperately needed your warmth, and your kindness, and to be allowed to love you, because it gave him something worth living for. Worth dying for,” Regis said, smiling kindly even as tears welled up in his eyes again.

“Oh.” Geralt said, his voice thick with emotion. “I, uh. I… love you, too.”

Regis barked a hysterical laugh, tightening his grip on Geralt to pull him close to his chest, unwilling to let go of him now or, if he was being honest, ever.

“I always needed you,” Geralt murmured. “I still need you now. I’m out of things to live for, too.”

“You are forbidden from dying for me,” he said. “But I would dearly like you to stay. If…”

He glanced at Dettlaff again, hopeful.

“I am growing fond of his company,” Dettlaff said. “And as you keep saying, I could use a few more friends.”

Regis beamed broadly, his heart ridiculously full.

This was more than he could ever have hoped for, but everything he’d ever wanted.

“Good,” Geralt said. “Going back to sleep now.”

Regis chuckled, reaching out to stroke Geralt’s hair while he drifted off. He could hardly believe his luck, but he planned on doing everything in his power to keep the two precious gifts fate had seen fit to give him.

***

As they headed toward the city to tie up loose ends, Dettlaff found himself glancing over at Geralt with increasing frequency, his thoughts trailing back to the witcher almost immediately even if he managed to tear them away.

He knew this feeling. It was the feeling he remembered from when he’d been sitting under the stars, listening to Regis talk for hours on end, and falling hopelessly in love with him.

He could see what Regis saw in Geralt. Not only that, but he could feel at least some portion of what he felt.

“I would like to court you,” Dettlaff finally confessed as they were crossing the bridge over the river to enter the city.

Geralt’s steps faltered, and then came to a halt halfway across.

“Come again?”

“I would like to court you,” Dettlaff repeated, a little louder and firmer, so he could be sure Geralt had heard correctly.

Geralt swallowed thickly. “Yeah?” he asked.

“Yes. I am not saying this for amusement. I would like your permission to… to…” Dettlaff frowned. “I am not clear on how humans approach this.”

Snorting, Geralt started walking again. “Neither am I. How do vampires approach it?”

“Depends on the vampire, I think,” Dettlaff said. “My previous approach has been to admire from afar for several centuries, though I suspect it will not work as well this time. You might not survive the sheer length of my courtship.”

Geralt chuckled, leading Dettlaff through winding city streets, directly toward the palace.

He’d promised he’d make sure Dettlaff got to give the gifts he’d made for the butcher’s children directly to them. So far, any guards they’d come across had either ignored them entirely, or nodded to Geralt in acknowledgement.

Regis had said he was in the habit of making friends in high places. Or friends who would one day find themselves in them.

“What if we just agree that you’ve already successfully courted me and move on to the next part?” Geralt asked.

“What is the next part?” Dettlaff responded.

Obviously, neither of them had any idea what they were doing.

Geralt shrugged. “My previous approach was… not what you’d want out of a long-term relationship. Maybe this is something we need to make up as we go along?”

Dettlaff hummed, turning that thought over in his head. Perhaps that was the best approach.

“Then it is enough for me to say that my interest in you is both romantic and sexual, and to leave it up to you to respond to that as you will,” he said.

Geralt laughed again. “You’re not shy about saying what you want, are you?”

“Should I be?” Dettlaff asked. “I see no reason to talk around the subject. We are both far too old.”

“I like it,” Geralt said. “Don’t get me wrong.”

“Good, because I am unlikely to change,” Dettlaff said.

They walked in silence, side by side, until they were well and truly inside the palace, approaching General Roche’s quarters. The silence was broken by two small children chasing each other, and then pausing as they saw Dettlaff.

“Dettlaff!” the children chorused, grinning up at him and rushing in to hug his legs.

A tired-looking man turned the corner after them, looking relieved that they’d stopped.

Dettlaff handed out a small wooden horse and a doll, both of which he’d made with his own hands, and both children grinned up at him, hugged him again, and then ran off.

The tired-looking man sighed.

“Well,” he said. “At least they can’t get out of the palace. You must be the famous Dettlaff. I’ve heard all about you,” the man offered his hand.

“This is General Roche,” Geralt said, putting unnecessary emphasis on general and smirking as he did it.

Obviously, Roche wasn’t thrilled by the title. Dettlaff shook his hand, careful to keep his claws to himself, though he suspected a friend of Geralt’s would be accustomed to the unusual.

“A pleasure to meet you,” Dettlaff said, because it was polite, and this was Geralt’s friend, and…

And he wanted Geralt to like him. He would stay, of course. He’d promised Regis as much, and Geralt clearly didn’t make promises he didn’t plan to keep.

But Dettlaff wanted more. He wanted Geralt to see in him what he saw in Regis, the same way Dettlaff himself now saw what Regis could see in Geralt.

Roche looked him up and down, and then nodded. “Any friend of Geralt’s is probably a very useful man to know,” Roche said. “And the children seem fond of you. I don’t suppose you want them?”

Dettlaff smiled wryly. “I believe I would be ill-suited to the task,” he said.

“No more ill-suited than me, I’d wager, though I suppose I volunteered first,” Roche said, and though he was complaining, Dettlaff could see that he didn’t really mean it. He’d been relieved when he saw the children safe.

He liked them. They would be happy here.

Geralt and Roche chatted for a few minutes, and then Roche apologised for being needed elsewhere but made Geralt promise to join him for a game of Gwent and the chance to really catch up.

Dettlaff had been keeping an eye on the children and pretending not to listen, though he’d heard every word perfectly clearly.

Geralt’s shoulder brushed against his as they walked back out into the sunlight.

“What do you want for yourself?” Dettlaff asked, remembering Geralt’s earlier question, when they’d had lunch together.

“You know, I’ve been thinking about that, and I think I’m with you. I just want peace.”

“Vampires are very peaceful creatures,” Dettlaff said. “For the most part.”

Geralt chuckled. “You definitely seem to be,” he replied. “Regis was right, you know. You could get along well with humans.”

“I find myself more interested in the company of a particular witcher, at present,” Dettlaff said honestly. “Though I begin to suspect that he is also very fond of humans, and now that I am outnumbered two to one, I may have to allow myself to feel the same way.”

“Sometimes I don’t want to be around people, either,” Geralt said, kindness in his voice.

Dettlaff hummed. “You and I have more in common than I first thought,” he said, remembering Regis saying exactly the same thing.

“Yeah,” Geralt said. “Starting to see that.”

***

Regis smiled as he watched Geralt and Dettlaff playing a round of gwent, which Dettlaff had taken an excited interest in since he’d gone through Geralt’s collection of cards, and Geralt had graciously taught him to play.

Mostly by thoroughly beating him, but Dettlaff was beginning to understand the subtleties of the game now, constructing his deck more carefully, being more conservative with his plays and not letting on so eagerly whether or not he had a good starting hand.

Regis had, by now, worked out all of Geralt’s weaknesses just by watching him play, but he wasn’t about to spoil the joy of discovery for Dettlaff, who was still getting the hang of the idea that Geralt would trick him, constantly, into thinking he had a different hand than he did.

Dettlaff was a fundamentally honest creature, and even the deception necessary to play cards was alien to him. Geralt’s patience, and his obvious enjoyment of having someone to play with, though, warmed Regis’ heart.

Geralt, whether he realised it or not, was falling in love with Dettlaff.

And Dettlaff, whether he was ready to admit it or not, had been in love with Geralt for some time.

Which was the best result he could possibly have hoped for.

“You’re staring,” Geralt said without looking away from the table, still considering his next move.

“You are delightful to look at,” Regis said. “The two of you really are beautiful together.”

Dettlaff shifted in his chair at the compliment, the faintest blush colouring his cheeks. He was an easy man to love.

As was Geralt, who was pretending to be deeply interested in his cards again.

“And I adore you both,” Regis added.

“I’m sensing a but,” Geralt responded, laying down a card and nodding to Dettlaff, whose brow furrowed as he considered this latest move.

“Not at all,” Regis said. “I simply enjoy the view and would like to be allowed to continue enjoying it. And I do adore you both, and when I can watch you enjoying yourselves together, the feeling is quite difficult to contain.”

“Love you too, Regis,” Geralt said, like he always did, like it was the most natural thing in the world that a witcher should have fallen in love with one of the very creatures they were created to destroy.

Dettlaff gave him a look that said much the same, and Regis shifted in his place on the bed.

It was hard to believe how lucky he’d been. How unlikely it was that he should have these two men to love with all his heart.

Geralt made a final play that left Dettlaff staring in astonishment that he could possibly have won the round, and grinned at him. “I think it’s about time we paid some attention to Regis,” he said.

“I think…” Dettlaff began, his voice faltering. “I think I am quite sincerely in love with you.”

Geralt made a soft sound in the back of his throat, reaching out across the table to take Dettlaff’s hand and squeezing it tight.

“Feeling’s mutual,” he said, again as though it was the most natural thing in the world that he should have two vampire lovers, and should have offered his heart to both of them so easily, without a moment’s reservation.

Dettlaff breathed a sigh of relief.

“Then yes,” he said. “I think it’s time we paid attention to Regis.”

Regis laughed delightedly as both men rose from the table and stalked toward him, thrilled at the way things had worked out.

If there was a better ending for the three of them, he couldn’t imagine it.