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front row praises

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Death,Thee i call rich beyond wishing,
if this thou catch,
else missing.
(though love be a day,
and life be nothing,it shall not stop kissing.)

E.E. Cummings

 

The Three Little Bells is alive and noisy tonight, and rightfully so. The beast—damned if Jaskier remembers what the thing was called, never mind Geralt told him half a dozen times before cantering away on the animal he’s currently calling Roach—is dead and the people of Oxenfurt won’t need to worry for their daughters when the full moon rises tomorrow evening. Let them be merry.

Jaskier should be thoroughly partaking, but his heart’s not in it. His eyes stray, not for the first time, to Geralt, and his fingers fall still on his lute. Geralt is surrounded by a crowd eager to hear how he slew the whatever it was; Jaskier doubts they’re being rewarded with more than grunts. It’s his job to sing the thing into another ballad for his White Wolf.

Something hard and unpleasant drops like a pit into his stomach. Those pesky misused possessives. Geralt’s never particularly been anybody’s, as far as Jaskier knows. Certainly not his.

He hasn’t looked away from the witcher yet, and Geralt doesn’t seem to have noticed. Probably for the best, that.

Geralt is cleaned up now, but Jaskier keeps seeing him the way he looked earlier: draped over a snorting and stamping Roach’s back, a veritable waterfall of blood down his arm, the leather of his armor torn open at the back, raked apart by savage claws. Could be good in a song, he thinks, or tries to think; that he might be ill is a proper thought. It’s nonsense, isn’t it? He’s seen Geralt bloody before and he’ll see Geralt bloody again and it should be easy as anything for him to shrug it off, strum it into something epic, but there had been so much blood. Even Shani had gone pale and clipped as she directed his medical attention. Jaskier had been left to worry holes in the floor with his pacing.

And now Geralt looks fine.

Well. He’s favoring one leg and winces every time he shifts his arm a certain way, but that’s fine, for him. There’s nothing for Jaskier to be worrying over. Knowing it hasn’t stopped him so far.

“Oi,” someone says, knocking his shoulder. Jaskier blinks and forces his eyes off of Geralt; it’s an Oxenfurt student, a girl with dark skin and tight braids whose name dances away from him like the ladies spinning round the floor.

“Sorry?” he says.

The girl rolls her eyes at him and makes a broad gesture. “It’s a good night, yeah? If you’re just going to stand here ogling the witcher, maybe go and do it out of the way.”

“Ogling.” Jaskier scoffs. “Who’s ogling.”

She looks unimpressed. “Have you told him you want him to fuck you?”

“Have I what?” Jaskier throws an alarmed look around, as though Geralt might have heard that, over everything else. It’s not an entirely irrational thought, knowing Geralt’s unnatural senses.

“That’s a no, then,” she says with a roll of her eyes. “Go on, why don’t you.”

“Because I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Jaskier says; it almost sounds true, but doesn’t quite feel it.

“Sure.” The girl smiles at him like he’s a child. “I don’t actually care, you know, but you are in the way.”

Jaskier gives up the argument. He’s not invested in entertaining tonight, anyway, and what’s he going to do, stand here and try to convince some university girl he doesn’t want—he bats the thought away, gives her an unnecessary bow, and weaves through the crowds toward Geralt.

The seats nearest the witcher are occupied, and Jaskier can’t help a combination of warm-running pride (it’s down to him that they like Geralt, at least in part) and prickly jealousy (they’re between him and the witcher). There’s a lovely woman with golden ringlets leaning toward Geralt, her lips near to his ear, and there’s not any reason Jaskier should care if the witcher finds his way upstairs with whomever he likes, but he finds that he does.

Have you told him you want him to fuck you?

But that isn’t what he wants.

Jaskier doesn’t try to cut in, just stands there until Geralt’s eyes find him in the crowd. His expression doesn’t shift, but his mouth moves, and the woman looks put-out, tossing her hair as she vacates the barstool.

“Well?” Geralt says when Jaskier doesn’t move, indicating the seat. “You think I made her move for a laugh?”

“Never know with you, you could just be an ass,” Jaskier says, but takes the seat, tucking his lute safely beside him.

“Hm.” Geralt takes a swig of whatever’s in his hand before nodding toward where the dark-haired student is drumming a beat and singing, another man having joined her with a tambourine. “Aren’t you supposed to be over there singing my praises?”

“They’re doing a fine job of it without me.” It comes out as more of a grumble than he means, and conscious of the fact that he sounds unlike himself, he adds, “I could sing them from right here if you want. Give you a front row seat.”

Geralt grunts.

“How’s your shoulder?” Jaskier keeps his tone light, his eyes grazing the body part in question, like he might be able to see it through Geralt’s shirt. There’ll be a new scar there. Jaskier has never gotten a full count, but he knows of a dozen scored across Geralt’s back at least, has tallied several across his arms, his ribs; he had plenty of them before their acquaintance, and he’s gotten half as many more since, and it only occurs to Jaskier now that every time Geralt rides off he wonders if there’ll be a new addition when they meet again. It’s not a thought he’s ever allowed to breach the surface before. He certainly doesn’t entertain the thought of tracing each one with his fingertips; he could never, with his tongue.

“It’s fine.” Geralt rolls the shoulder as though he means to make a point, but Jaskier doesn’t miss the wince of discomfort. “Shani does good work.”

“I know she does,” Jaskier says, seeking the woman’s telltale flash of red hair for a distraction and failing in every way, “but you looked ghastly when you made it back.”

You looked dead, he doesn’t say. I’m always afraid this is the time you’re going to be dead.

When he looks to Geralt again, the witcher is looking right back at him. “Thanks,” Geralt says dryly, “you always know just what I want to hear.”

“That’s the point of me, isn’t it?” Jaskier gives him what little he can muster of a smile. He has the passing thought that he should just go, rather than sitting here putting a damper over Geralt’s success all night, but the idea of letting him out of sight isn’t one he allows in for long.

The student with the braid is leading a new song now, most of the tavern around them belting it along with her. They’re Jaskier’s lyrics, all about his White Wolf’s defeat of a pack of ghouls—no, no, not his, nevermind he coined the moniker. Much better than the Butcher of Blaviken.

“They do love you, don’t they,” Jaskier says, his voice lifting unnecessarily, all false cheer.

“They love that I slay their monsters,” Geralt corrects. He doesn’t sound upset or offended, just matter-of-fact, but Jaskier feels stung by it. Trouble is, he knows it’s true. There are a few honest friends in Geralt’s life, but most of the people here would turn on him with little provocation, just the wrong whisper in somebody’s ear.

“I—” Jaskier begins, but stops when a rather…blessed brunette sidles up and plops herself onto his lap, granting him a real eyeful of those blessings. One of her hands holds a drink, the other already playing with his hair in a way he’d like, most other nights, but tonight he finds he’s not in the mood. “Evening, ‘Silla.”

“Why so glum?” Drusilla, a woman gifted at, among other things, baking, gives him her prettiest smile; he’s not in the mood for that, either. Geralt is looking down into his drink, something like a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth, and that stings too. He doesn’t want Geralt to smile when he’s being propositioned. Can hardly expect Geralt to know that though, can he? “Has the White Wolf upset you? Does he need a scolding?”

The question gives Jaskier more pause than he thinks it was really meant to. Geralt hasn’t upset him. It’s the constant being left behind, and feeling it, and the not knowing if the witcher is going to get himself killed in a crumbling ruin somewhere for the sake of people who don’t give a damn—

Oh. It ’s like that, is it?

“No,” Jaskier says, wrapping Drusilla’s braid around his hand, trying to sound like everything hasn’t changed tonight, because he’s the only one who knows anything is different. Geralt’s gaze has lifted again at Drusilla’s queries, sits level and unreadable on Jaskier. “I’m only disappointed I’m not the center of attention at the moment.”

“We could change that,” Drusilla offers, rearranging herself on his lap so her blessings are briefly at eye-level. Her mouth grazes his ear on, “Do you need cheering, Dandelion?” and it’s probably meant for only him to hear, but if Geralt wants to hear it, he will have.

“I think I’ll be all right where I am,” he says, not wanting to offend her; it isn’t her fault he’s just realized that he’s—that he’s—utterly fucked, when it comes down to it.

Drusilla leans back and pulls a pout. “You’re sure?”

“Hate to leave Geralt unattended.” Jaskier gives her a little smile and a wink. “You know how much of a disagreeable ass he can be.”

Drusilla’s eyebrows go up, while Geralt’s don’t in a way Jaskier thinks is meant to be making another point. Then she smiles and swoops in to give him a kiss on the cheek before hopping off his lap, her drink sloshing dangerously. “Lucky, lucky White Wolf,” she says, patting him on the arm and tossing, “Have a lovely night, boys,” over her shoulder as she goes.

Is he that obvious? It wasn’t that obvious to him not half an hour ago.

“She was trying to get you into bed,” Geralt points out after a moment, entirely unnecessarily.

Was she?” Jaskier widens his eyes. “I couldn’t see to tell with her breasts in my face like that. I’d best go after her, hadn’t I?” Here he makes as though to get up and do so, but Geralt puts a hand out and shoves him back onto his stool. “Hey, easy with the bard! What was that for?”

“She had a point,” Geralt says. He sets aside his drink and gives Jaskier a look like he can see right through him. “There’s something wrong with you tonight. What did you do while I was gone?”

“Nothing!” He feigns outrage. “Why d’you assume I’ve done something?”

“Because it’s you.”

“Thank you so much for your faith in me,” Jaskier says primly.

Have you told him you want him to fuck you?

But that’s not it. He doesn’t want Geralt to fuck him. He snatches Geralt’s drink and takes several gulps, wiping his chin with his sleeve when he thrusts it away again. All right, he does want Geralt to fuck him, but that’s only a sliver of it.

He might have noticed himself falling in love with Geralt; it’s somewhat galling that he hadn’t.

“Jaskier.” Geralt’s voice is—never gentle, Jaskier can’t even imagine what that would sound like, but it is something like it.

“It’s nothing.”

“I don’t believe you.”

Jaskier hmphs and turns around to slump forward over the table.

Just when did he go and—

He thinks of Geralt tossing him his own blanket on a chill night in the woods, refusing to take it back.

He thinks of Geralt’s hand steadying him before he fully tipped himself over the bank of a river.

He thinks of Geralt sitting across the fire, night after night after night, and knows he’s never going to place the moment.

“If you’re trying to get on my good side, this is a new tactic.”

“I’m not trying to do anything,” Jaskier says. Except for gathering his thoughts. He’s never been afraid to say much of anything to anybody, and Geralt’s no exception, and it isn’t exactly fear now, either; his fears run much deeper than rejection. He drags a hand through his hair and stares down at the table, at a spot that’s evidently suffered a dagger, then faces Geralt again. “I was worried about you.”

There’s a pause before Geralt says, almost cautiously, like Jaskier’s a rabbit he’s trying not to spook, “What?”

“I was worried about you,” Jaskier says. This time he dresses it up with gestures at himself and then at Geralt, because it gives him something to do with his hands. “Worried you might not be back.”

“I am back,” Geralt says, lowering his drink to the table.

“But you might not have been.”

“I might not be every time.”

“I know that,” Jaskier says, snaps it, really. He knows he’s not being clear, and he can’t fault Geralt for the way he’s looking at him. “I know you could die every time you go out and do anything, and I might never know what happened to you, you’re a witcher, that’s what you’re for, I know tha—”

“Hey.” Geralt moves quickly, sets his hands on Jaskier’s shoulders.

“I realized something important about five minutes ago,” Jaskier goes on, suddenly feeling terribly calm with Geralt’s fingers flexing, “and it put all my worrying in a new light and I can’t have you dying without letting you know, so I suppose—”

Jaskier screws up his courage, and then he kisses the White Wolf.

He’s never known Geralt to express interest in a man before, and fully expects to find himself shoved unceremoniously away, probably to land on his ass several feet back. What he doesn’t expect is Geralt’s hand at the back of his head, fingers going tight in his hair to bring him closer; what he doesn’t expect is the warmth of Geralt’s mouth, at once willing-pliant and open against his own.

Oh. That ’s very good.

Geralt tastes of the alcohol he’s been drinking, and like those odd alchemical witcher concoctions he’s always swallowing, and just a little bit like what Jaskier expects magic tastes like. It isn’t a pleasant combination, but it is Geralt, and that makes it better. Jaskier digs a hand into Geralt’s upper arm. The kiss is short-lived, and it’s Geralt who pulls back, but Jaskier can feel it on his lips when he says, “Really?”

Jaskier only manages a mute nod.

“Never shut up in your entire life, and you choose now?”

Jaskier drags some portion of his wits back into place to say, “And how, pray tell, does the great White Wolf suggest I respond to really?”

“That fucking name,” Geralt says under his breath.

“I thought you liked it!” He certainly hasn’t mustered any of his dignity.

“Hm,” is all he gets.

“I’m taking your lack of answer to mean you do and you don’t want to say so, because you’re a bastard.”

Geralt does answer him then, in the sense that he kisses him again, and the sound Jaskier makes isn’t at all dignified; nor is the way he clutches at Geralt’s shirt. “Really?” Geralt asks a second time, when he’s got Jaskier trapped against him with one thick arm.

“Yeah,” Jaskier says, admittedly a bit dazed. “Yes. Very good.”

That gets him a laugh, and it’s a good laugh, he can always tell the difference, and Geralt says, “So you realized…”

“Realized I needed to do that,” Jaskier says, his voice still unsteady.

“And then?”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought that far ahead. Didn’t think you’d go for it.”

Geralt’s brow furrows. He takes a look around them and says, “We have an audience. I know that’s what you like, but—”

“Not for kissing,” Jaskier says. Geralt is right, they have garnered an audience, though they’re all trying to be surreptitious about it; not trying with any amount of success, mind. There’s still dancing and all, and the volume hasn’t decreased a bit, but there are looks being thrown this way, and smiles people don’t bother to hide, and he does like to be the center of attention, but not like this. “Tempt you away?”

“You don’t have to try hard,” Geralt says.

“No?” That’s nice.

“None of this is for me.” Geralt indicates the crowd. “It’s for them. I don’t need to be here.”

Jaskier deflates. He reaches for his lute before navigating toward the door, grumbling, “You really know how to make a man feel desirable, anyone ever tell you that.”

There’s no answer, but he can feel Geralt close behind him, and the moment they’re through the Three Little Bells’ front doors, standing in the brisk evening, lit hardly at all by struggling lanterns, there’s a hand on his ass and a mouth at his ear, and Geralt’s voice saying, “Better if I tell you I want to take you to bed, Jaskier?”

Jaskier couldn’t be much further from being a blushing virgin, but damned if he doesn’t feel and sound like one on a weak, “Better.” He knocks Geralt’s hand away and sets off at a trot, toward the Oxenfurt campus, where he’s welcome to free lodgings any time he comes through, and where he currently has a cramped one-room cottage, but it’s only the two of them sharing the space, and they’ve shared smaller, and besides—hardly matters how much space they’ve got.

The streets are largely empty, the entire city likely occupied by some celebration or another. The creature Geralt had gone off to kill stole nearly two dozen young ladies from Oxenfurt families, and slaughtered as many men who’d attempted to hunt it without the aid of a witcher. It had done its damned best to slaughter the witcher, too.

“You didn’t think I’d want to kiss you,” Geralt says into the dark, before Jaskier’s thoughts have wandered too far along that path.

Jaskier shrugs. “Not really.”

“But you decided to do it anyway.” Geralt sounds like he’s trying to make sense of the whole thing.

“Thought I might as well.” Jaskier avoids contact. It’s easier in the dark. Lots of things are. Remembering the blood on Geralt’s shirt isn’t one of them. “Look, I know you find me annoying—”

“Infuriating,” Geralt corrects, his voice rough in a way that makes Jaskier shiver. “Maddening.

Jaskier throws his hands in the air. “Difficult to deal with! Call it whatever you like, witcher, but every time you ride away to kill some horrible creature, every time you leave me behind to do it, I’ve got to worry over you, except I’m a bard, and more than that I’m the bard who regales people with stories of you, so maybe sometimes I overcompensate for not being allowed to acknowledge I might be afraid for you, and I—”

“Decided to tell me by kissing me,” Geralt interrupts him again.

“Oh, shut up, you can go back to The Three Little Bells,” Jaskier snaps. His heart’s pounding too hard, too fast, too uneven. “I only figured all this out right before I did that—and what about you, then? You’ve never given any indication you might want—how long’s that been?”

He walks faster because it makes him feel better, not because he imagines for a moment that he can outpace Geralt.

Good thing, too.

“Jaskier.” Geralt catches his arm and turns him around, then catches his chin so he’s got no choice but to look up. “Witchers are allowed to be afraid of things too. Even the White Wolf of Rivia.”

“And what have you got to be afraid of?” Jaskier challenges, not sure how his mood’s swung around so quickly; it would be Geralt that does this to him. He’s still buoyant from the kiss, but just as much he’s thinking of blood, of Geralt’s rent back, of so many things he doesn’t want to be thinking about.

Geralt kisses him, and it’s slower, more tender than he expects it to be, and Geralt’s thumb is stroking just below his eye, and some of the tension leaves him. “I don’t like riding away any more than you like watching me go,” Geralt says after.

“Sure,” Jaskier says, and it’s a bit huffy, but there’s no attack behind it. “You’re always ready to go out and die, but—”

“I’m not,” Geralt says, kissing him again, and Geralt doesn’t say most things, and Jaskier’s not sure what it is he’s not saying right now. “Come on. I’d rather kiss you somewhere more comfortable.”

“You’d be perfectly happy to fuck me in a cave next to a stinking monster corpse,” Jaskier says, and turns away, leaving Geralt laughing behind him until the witcher catches up again.

“I didn’t know that was on the table.”

“It absolutely is not.”

The cottage, when they reach it, is dark, and Jaskier fumbles for a candle. There isn’t much here, but the bed is comfortable, and he has a handful of wine glasses he swiped from the kitchens just to be on the safe side—it hadn’t been Geralt he had in mind at the time, or maybe it had, maybe it has been for a long time and he’d just needed something of a kick in the ass to acknowledge it. He drops to the floor and rifles through a cabinet, muttering, “I’m sure I had a bottle of Touissant Red here earlier.”

A callused hand drags through his hair. “I’m not interested in the Touissant.”

There he goes, shivering again. It’s ridiculous, the way he’s reacting to Geralt. None of this is new to him. Except, of course, for the part where it’s Geralt. He stays on the floor, but turns himself around, and, determined to regain himself, presses his mouth to Geralt’s inner thigh. “And what is it you are interested in, White Wolf?”

Geralt’s breath shudders. Ha! Jaskier feels absurdly pleased with himself until Geralt touches his face says, “You,” and there he goes, moaning into Geralt’s palm, all undignified.

“Could you be more specific?” He noses against the fabric of Geralt’s trousers. Everything the witcher’s wearing is loose, Shani having forbidden him to wear anything more intricate that might agitate his wounds. Jaskier finds his cock, finds him already hard, and finds himself rather grinning. “Do you want me to do something with this?”

Geralt says a low, “Fuck, Jaskier,” and Jaskier murmurs, “That’s somewhat open to interpretation,” before unlacing him with deft, practiced fingers, and there is Geralt’s cock, wet at the head, and Jaskier wants to taste him.

So he does.

Before he saw Geralt naked for the first time, Jaskier half-wondered if the witcher preparations that gave the man his yellow eyes would change anything about his cock; they hadn’t, he learned early enough. The sound he makes when Jaskier swallows him half-down at once, that’s notable; Jaskier wants to preserve it in his memory until the day he dies. Geralt seems to be having some trouble deciding what to do with his hands, touching shoulders and cheeks and hair and lips. He’s long, but not horribly thick, and Jaskier’s had practice enough to manage, so on the third easy bob of his head, he takes him all the way down.

Geralt shouts something that sounds like it could be “Dandelion” if all of the vowels were selected at random, half the consonants removed, and it were blended together with quite the swear word. There’s a hand in his hair, then, pulling him off, and the sound of it is obscene. Geralt swears again at that, a third time at the sight of Jaskier’s face.

Geralt lands on his knees in front of him, practically fucks Jaskier’s mouth with his tongue.

“Not that I’m ungrateful,” Jaskier says when he’s been well and fully plundered, “but I meant for you to come down my thro—”

Geralt cuts him off with further creative use of his tongue. Cheating, that is, but Jaskier doesn’t protest. “The mouth on you,” Geralt breathes, his teeth dragging pleasantly over Jaskier’s lip.

“That was the idea, yes, or shall I sing you a song?” Jaskier offers, though every song he’s ever learned has fled his mind. If he tried he might be able to call up one of the bawdier ones.

“Hm. If you’re thinking about singing, I’m doing something wrong.” Geralt reaches between his legs, and the sound Jaskier makes would be embarrassing if they hadn’t already come this far. Oh, there’s a joke there, isn’t there? Come this far, but neither of them have made it to coming. “I mean to fuck you,” Geralt says, thoroughly cutting off any line of thought, “unless you have any objections.”

“Objectio—you’re injured!” Jaskier says, even as Geralt is pulling him back to his feet.

Appalled verging on outraged probably isn’t the tone Geralt expected, but he just makes a dismissive sound that certainly shouldn’t go straight to Jaskier’s cock the way it does. “I’m not that injured.”

The rest of what comes out of Jaskier’s mouth then is less ‘words’ and more ‘garbled mess’ that has Geralt looking at him with a little half-smirk, until that fades and he says, “Do you not want to?”

Jaskier shuts up and scrubs a hand over his face. “Do I not want to,” he says into his own palm, “the man asks if I don’t want to, of course I want to, you absolute—”

“Then take off your clothes,” Geralt says, and gives him a slow kiss that has him up on his toes, before finishing on, “and let me fuck you.”

Jaskier doesn’t protest again. He turns away, because having Geralt in front of him is too much a distraction, and practically scrambles out of his shirt, his trousers, his smallclothes, abandoning everything in a heap. When he looks again, Geralt has fully shed everything of his own, and is watching him with appreciation and hunger, and Jaskier says, stupidly, “You’re very naked.”

“Are you going to stand there gawping like a fish all night, or are you going to come where I can touch you?”

Jaskier bites back the first quip that jumps to mind in exchange for, “Have you seen you? I’m entitled to a bit of gawping.”

Geralt’s eyebrows go up. “It’s nothing you haven’t seen before.”

“Different context though, isn’t it,” Jaskier says, flushing. “I need a moment to relish that I’m allowed to—”

“I don’t usually see you blushing.”

“Shut up.” Good one, Jask. Excellently maneuvered.

“Relish later,” Geralt says, apparently growing impatient and closing the short distance between them, and then he’s got one hand on Jaskier’s ass, the other palming his cock, and Jaskier makes a sound that’s both surprise and pleasure. “You have oil here somewhere.”

Jaskier would feign chagrin at the assumption, except Geralt has met him, and besides, it’s difficult enough to focus through Geralt’s thumb dragging over the head of his cock, again, again, again. He manages, “Drawer by the bed.”

Unfortunately, navigating to the bed means Geralt’s hand is gone a moment later, and he makes a sound of protest. Geralt laughs at him, and fuck, his smile is too much in the candlelight, Jaskier finds himself grasping for poetry to suit it, but there is none, it hasn’t been written yet, he’ll have to do it himself. “Liked that?”

“Hated it, obviously, can we get on with this, I’d like one of us to have an orgasm before dawn, White Wolf.”

“Would you?” Geralt says, all teasing thoughtfulness. They’re beside the bed, then, where Geralt proceeds to sit with his back to the headboard, his cock standing gorgeous, and Jaskier could never pretend he’s doing anything but ogling now. Geralt offers him a hand. “Here.”

“Oh.” Jaskier blinks and gestures at Geralt’s frankly absurd muscles. He intends to put his mouth on them all, at some point. “I assumed you’d want to hold me down with all of…that.”

“Thought about it, Jaskier?”

Jaskier scowls at his half-smirk. “What d’you suppose I was doing while I had you in my mouth?”

The sound Geralt makes at that is gratifying, and so is the promise of, “Next time,” as Geralt catches his hand.

“Oh,” he says again, more faintly. “I like next time.”

He allows himself to be pulled onto Geralt’s lap then, the witcher’s hands a steadying presence. For a long time, they only kiss that way, hands wandering and hips occasionally shifting, and Jaskier only makes one embarrassing sound, when Geralt wraps a hand around both of them and Jaskier’s hips jerk, his mouth falling away from Geralt’s.

“Like that,” Jaskier says, his breath shuddering, and then his mouth finds the jagged line of a scar along Geralt’s clavicle. He traces it with the tip of his tongue, makes note of the way that makes Geralt shiver. His fingers find other scars, from claws and teeth and steel, and Geralt’s unoccupied hand tangles with Jaskier’s.

Jaskier has kissed men before, and fucked them, and been fucked by them, not much he isn’t up for exploring, but those men have been nearer to himself than they have to Geralt, soft and a bit round and pretty. He’s never been touched this way by hands so battle-roughened. Geralt kills monsters with those hands; they were drenched in blood hours ago, those hands. Geralt was drenched in blood hours ago, was nearer to death’s lands than Jaskier can stand to—

“Jaskier,” Geralt says, and that’s when Jaskier realizes he isn’t doing much, has in fact gone still, and Geralt’s fingers are still tangled with his, but his other hand is on Jaskier’s face, tilting his head so their eyes meet. “Where are you now?”

Jaskier musters a smile, forces his thoughts to the man between his thighs, the living, breathing man between his thighs. “Here.”

“No, you’re not.” One of those rough hands strokes up his back, and down, and up, and when it comes down again there’s a palm on his ass, and he makes a small sound. “Where are you going?”

Jaskier sags somewhat. “I was…seeing you, like you were this morning. I thought you were going to die.”

“See me now.” Geralt kisses the corner of his mouth, and then his neck, the bend of his elbow, his wrist, his palm, and Jaskier struggles to catch air. “I’m fine, Jaskier.”

“You are this time,” Jaskier says. “You told me yourself, there’s no after for a witcher. You’re going to keep going out there until something horrible kills you.”

“And then who will make sure you don’t get yourself killed?”

“That’s not funny.” Jaskier turns his face away, ready to lever himself off the bed until Geralt catches his hand and he reluctantly meets the witcher’s eyes. Geralt’s not smiling, not even as he leans in to kiss him.

“It wasn’t supposed to be funny. I told you,” he says, thumb tracing the curve of Jaskier’s jaw, “even witchers are afraid of things.” He urges Jaskier closer, until their chests are pressed flush together. “Tonight I’m in bed with you. Stay here with me.”

Jaskier takes a breath, tilting his head into Geralt’s touch, and says, “I’ll try.”

“Do you still want me to fuck you?” Geralt asks, his voice steady, his thumb finding its way to Jaskier’s lip while his other hand clasps around Jaskier’s wrist.

Jaskier nods.

“Words, Jaskier. I need to hear you say it.”

“I want you to fuck me,” Jaskier says, and if his blush had faded, it’s back now. He flicks his tongue over the pad of Geralt’s thumb and is very, very aware of what that does to the witcher’s cock. He’s shaking, when he leans over to rifle through the drawer and finally locate the oil, which he presses into Geralt’s hand.

Geralt frees the stopper with his teeth and spits it out to who knows where, urging Jaskier fully onto his knees with one firm hand kneading his ass. Then there’s an oil-slick finger teasing along the entrance to his body and he shifts his hips in what he hopes is an approving sort of way, and Geralt murmurs, “Hold still.”

“You have had sex before, right?” Jaskier threads his fingers into Geralt’s hair, trails his thumb over the shell of his ear. The witcher isn’t what you would ordinarily call beautiful, but Jaskier finds him extraordinarily so, like this. “Because you know, usually both parties do some movi—oh.”

Geralt has slid one finger into him all at once. The man does have incredibly large hands, and Jaskier learns them intimately as one finger is joined by a second, and then a third, working him open with painstaking attention. Geralt’s eyes, dark and focused, never leave Jaskier’s face; no matter he’s on top, Jaskier feels pinned in place by a predator, unable to drop his gaze.

Then Geralt’s fingers crook just so and his breath stutters on, “Please, Geralt.”

Geralt looks intolerably smug, continues to fuck Jaskier with his fingers until he’s shaking, just this side of begging all the more pathetically, and then he’s got a hand back in Jaskier’s hair, is kissing him, is repositioning him, his fingers replaced by the head of his cock.

“Okay?” Geralt says; he’s holding still, not pushing inside, and that’s its own special torment.

Very okay, yes.” Jaskier attempts to roll his hips downward, but Geralt holds him in place. “Do you mean to fuck me, White Wolf, or torture me?”

Geralt’s mouth quirks. “You’re the expert in both, aren’t you?”

“Hilarious, maybe you had better change careers,” he says, and that’s when Geralt urges him to move. Jaskier is incredibly aware of every inch of the man beneath him as he’s filled, and yet it still seems a great shock when he’s fully seated, when Geralt is in him, when there’s nothing more to take. He stays like that, trying to pretend he isn’t stunned.

His palms rest flat on Geralt’s chest, so he can feel the somewhat ragged rise and fall with the witcher’s breath, and when he starts to lift his hips, Geralt says, “Give yourself a minute.”

Possibly rolling his eyes while he’s sitting on Geralt’s cock isn’t the right response, but it’s what he does. “I’m not new to this, you know.”

Geralt practically snarls at that, which just makes Jaskier eagerer, and Geralt doesn’t stop him this time, when he moves. There are Geralt’s hands on his hips, somewhere between resting and gripping; there’s no effort to control his pace, just support. Jaskier lets his head tilt back, needs to break eye contact before Geralt sees entirely too much, and he thinks he hears, “Beautiful,” but he must have imagined that.

He isn’t imagining the teeth at his throat. White Wolf. The thought would make him laugh if he weren’t—if he weren’t coming down just right, if he weren’t gasping for air. Geralt’s fingers dig harder into his hips and he makes a sound that must come off as protest, because Geralt says, “Sorry, didn’t mean to—”

“No,” Jaskier says, and he does laugh a little now, breathless. The laugh deteriorates into a helpless moan as he rises, and comes down again. “No, it’s good, I like it.”

“Fuck,” Geralt says, hands returning to Jaskier’s hips, his ass, squeezing and spreading. “You look—” Jaskier doesn’t hear what it is he looks, as he falls on Geralt’s mouth with a strangled sound.

There isn’t much in the way of thinking, after that. It’s all movement, the rise and fall of his chest, of his hips, Geralt’s hands on his ass, his back, teeth rough on his throat, his head tipping back, his fingers digging hard into Geralt’s shoulders.

Geralt, is all there is. White Wolf. Geralt. My White Wolf.

“Geralt,” he breathes aloud, and Geralt brings him in with a hand around the back of his neck, presses their foreheads together. Geralt holds him in place when he comes, and it doesn’t take much more than that, a few more wild thrusts, and Jaskier falls over the edge after him. He clutches Geralt’s face in both hands, kisses him hard and messy, and holds himself upright for a moment, but then he’s got to slump forward against Geralt’s chest, mouthing at anything he can reach.

“There’s your front row seat,” he breathes, and Geralt laughs.

There’s a moment of rearrangement—reliant on Geralt, Jaskier gone wholly boneless—and then he’s resting comfortably with a leg slotted between Geralt’s, combing his fingers through the witcher’s mess of hair. “Are you going to tell me about it?” he says. “Your most recent conquest?”

“You?”

“I’m not a conquest!” Jaskier says, voicing more insult than he really feels. “I meant the monster, you ass.”

Geralt pats his, at that, and says, “What, right now?”

“All right, yes, there’s the afterglow to bask in, and obviously I’m already composing my next ballad, so this tale will have to wait—”

“What next ballad?” Geralt interrupts.

Jaskier runs a hand from Geralt’s chest, down along his inner thigh. “The White Wolf’s Magnificent Cock.”

Geralt snorts.

“I’m not joking,” Jaskier says, straight-faced. “I expect it will be my most popular yet.”

“They’ll love me even more, I’m sure,” Geralt says dryly, and at Jaskier’s silence, “Jaskier?”

“I do, you know.” The ferocity with which he says this visibly startles Geralt. “Love you. Not for your monster slaying, but because I just love you, even if you are the grumpiest bastard in all the kingdoms.”

Geralt doesn’t say anything for a long moment. That’s all right. Jaskier doesn’t need him to say it back, he doesn’t, it’s enough that Geralt is here with him, but he wouldn’t be sorry to hear it. Then Geralt finds his hand, lays easy kisses across his knuckles.

“Well,” Geralt says. “I only need their coin, not their love. I’ve got my bard.”

Jaskier’s breath stops for a moment. His night’s come back to possessives, then. “Your bard, am I?”

Geralt nudges his chin till their eyes meet. “Are you?”

It’s all the years of practice that allow him to draw on an airiness he doesn’t feel for, “You’ve just ruined me for anyone else, suppose I may as well be.”

And Geralt, heedless of his injuries, promptly flips him over, kisses him long and thorough, and says, “Doesn’t matter about anyone else then, does it?”