"Hells below, you're a quick study."
Geralt doesn't reply. His mouth is occupied. Jaskier's clever fingers are twisted in the sheets, knuckles whiter than the fabric. To be fair, the fabric has probably not been white for a long while.
Jaskier pleading his name makes him feel a low satisfaction despite himself. Lovers don't speak his name. Mostly they don't know it. They know he's a witcher, and that's enough.
Not for Jaskier, though, who is greedy by nature (based on Geralt's limited observations). He is determined to wring the greatest possible enjoyment out of every moment, and wringing information out of Geralt seems to constitute enjoyment.
"What do I call you, oh my noble champion?" he'd asked, and normally Geralt wouldn't have been inclined to answer, but he'd been so close, and it was a small price to pay to get Jaskier's mouth back where he wanted it, and he had wanted it, had hardly ever wanted anything like he'd wanted Jaskier.
"Geralt," Jaskier says, and it's very nearly a whine. Geralt pulls away from his cock in time to watch his face contort as he comes. It's almost impressive, since this is at minimum his third round tonight.
Jaskier hunches up on the pillows to look at him with soft, post-orgasm eyes (and to wipe the spend off his stomach with what Geralt hopes is not his shirt). Abruptly Geralt remembers that this isn't even his bed, that he should go back to his own. This one is so small that even kneeling at the foot of it he hardly fits.
Jaskier reaches across the space between them, (a valiant effort, considering he's still trembling a little) and takes his hand. Geralt looks down at their interwoven fingers. It's an odd sight. More intimate than anything they've already done, or maybe it's just that he's never fantasized about holding a man's hand.
Jaskier tugs, ineffectively, and Geralt realizes he's trying to pull him down. He complies, because he's tired, and finding his pants seems an unwelcome task, and pulling them on even less so.
Jaskier doesn't touch him (any more than he's forced to, because this bed is not meant for one person). He only stares up the ceiling, breathing hard. Eventually, he grabs for Geralt's hand again, but only to put it on his damp forehead.
"Feel that. Disgusting."
Geralt smiles despite himself.
"Hmm? What's that supposed to mean?"
Geralt turns then, to give him a look of wide-eyed innocence, and Jaskier laughs, tosses his hand back down, and falls asleep with a rapidity Geralt can only envy. He stares at the bard's long eyelashes and parted lips until his vision grows hazy and he falls into a doze.
He wakes to the sound of thunderous knocking.
It's still half-dark, and there's not a fucking chance this is going to go any way but poorly.
"Fuck," he says, in Jaskier's general direction, in case he isn't already awake, and stumbles out of bed, blessing his past self for bringing his weapons with him and bolting the door. He's been incautious and suffered for it in the past, and it's been a lifetime now since he's fucked without his swords at arms reach.
"Here," Jaskier says, and tosses a dark clump of fabric at his head--it's Geralt's pants (he hopes the bard is blessed by all the gods). Geralt wrestles them on, glances back over his shoulder to check that Jaskier's clothed enough to run if they have to.
Then he throws the door open, sword in hand, lifts the point of it to the neck of the man who'd been hammering on the door. Four, no five, men behind him draw their weapons.
"Baron's orders. He's looking for a bard." Geralt would laugh if he was the sort to laugh. Arresting and beheading citizens under false pretenses paves a smooth road for usurpers. Titles are more easily stolen in the name of restoring justice. The baron's more a fool than he'd thought.
"He's not here." He says, hoping Jaskier will take this as the hint it is.
"Then you won't mind if we come in."
"I would mind. I've got company." He jerks his head in the vague direction of the bed behind him, hoping it's too dark for a human's eyes to tell that it's empty, hoping that Jaskier's got the sense to hide himself.
The guard looks at him, noticing his state of half-dress, probably, and seems to deem this an acceptable excuse. More likely he just doesn't want a fight, doesn't like his chances even with better numbers.
Geralt shuts the door, slowly, and bolts it. He's still looking for the bard when Jaskier rolls out from under the bed, groaning.
"Melitele's left nipple."
"Pack your things."
"We're leaving? Is this a marriage proposal? Because while I am flattered, I'm--"
"Leave with me, or stay here and have your head put on a spike."
"Well, when you put it like that, it's a little less romantic."
"Put this on."
"Gods, you're in a demanding sort of mood. This has the lowest thread count of anything I've ever touched, do you really wear--"
"Meet me in the stables before a quarter-hour passes, and keep the hood on." Geralt throws his pack across his shoulders and is out the door before Jaskier can say anything else (anything else he has to listen to, at least).
Geralt can saddle and bridle Roach and lace his packs securely with great speed if he's in a hurry. He's in a hurry now, and has been standing in the aisle with Roach fully tacked for what feels like lifetimes, Jaskier still nowhere to be seen. He's got half a mind to hand Roach's reins to the stable boy (the one who seems the least like he's got straw for brains) and finish Jaskier off before the baron can do it.
He gets as far as the door of the stables, where he finds Jaskier having an animated conversation with a pretty, curly-haired boy. With his hood off. And this is why, this is the reason Geralt doesn't get involved, because now this twit (albeit a very appealing twit, with a lovely singing voice and a lovelier cock) is his responsibility. He'd like to think he's got somewhat discerning taste in bedmates but it's by now obvious that he's inexorably drawn to the potential for trouble.
"Bard." He'd cuff someone for this sort of idiocy normally, but he's slept with Jaskier, and that seems to make the option more violent by contrast. He settles for gripping him by the shoulder and hauling him bodily along, Roach following gamely at his right.
"If you were half as intent on surviving as flirting, you might have kept your head down."
"Not in my nature," Jaskier says, casually. "I've got far too exceptional a head to keep down, it would be rather a waste. And I told that lovely man I was heading north, so now we have our choice of the other three directions and a bit more time."
Geralt can only grunt approval at this. Perhaps he's not attracted to lack of sense after all, perhaps he's old enough to know better.
"Can you mount behind me if I leave you the stirrups?"
"For the chance to sit behind that arse all day I'd imagine there's little I can't do. You'll have to hold my lute while I attempt it, I'll sacrifice my tailbone to the cobblestones before I have it crushed to splinters.
The escape runs rather more smoothly than Geralt had let himself hope for. The gates are minimally manned, and can't very well be closed on them at midday, when there's more or less constant traffic. He's sure their passage is marked though, and is sure to ride north until he's out of sight from the towers.
At dusk, they make camp in a dip the scrubland. It's cold without shelter from the wind or firewood, but Jaskier appears to be warmed by the same relentless energy that powers his mouth. He shuts it for the first time when Geralt hands him a strip of dried meat, and Geralt's finally able to admire him. In the silence, it's plausible to imagine he isn't any sort of fugitive, only a handsome man Geralt has no obligation toward.
"So. I'm afraid I must admit some ignorance as to our actual direction," Jaskier says, mouth still half full. Geralt can forgive it. Fantasies are by nature fleeting.
"Away from the baron."
"Certainly. In a non-northerly direction. There's no more, er, defined plan?" Jaskier shifts back on his cloak and lifts the corner to brush a pebble out from under it, then spreads it back out over the ground.
"Not yet. Anywhere you want to go?"
"Right now I would like to go to sleep in a proper bed." Jaskier places a tender hand on his lute, as if he's worried for its sleep as well. "A coastal town is preferable, to be sure, but anywhere would be better than... this."
"Seems you shouldn't have provoked a baron."
"Perhaps he provoked me."
"Very well. Since you won't do me the courtesy of asking. I'm sure his--displeasure--with me is merely due to a familial grudge. A long-running sort of thing. I may have added to the original slight by having a dalliance with his niece in my youth, but she still got a very advantageous offer from a marquis, so I'm sure that's not what's upset him. It's more likely to be the subtle implications of my latest composition, but it might be about anyone, really. If he doesn't want his rule criticized he ought to consider--"
"Seems there's little provocation you haven't attempted."
"Well, when you put it that way, I suppose these things do add up. I am a man of many gifts, and so I accept my many failings without resentment."
Geralt cannot help but recall particular gifts, at that moment, but the idea of indulging in Jaskier's considerable talents is less enticing on a chilly spring night with only a cloak between bodies and scrubland.
Jaskier must see the lust in the press of Geralt's gaze. He presses the tip of his tongue to his upper lip as if he's putting great consideration into how any filthy acts might best be accomplished.
"I really think if we just--both our cloaks--we could easily--"
Geralt (despite significant interest in the subject matter) stops paying attention. There's something off, something he's at the edge of sensing consciously. He shifts forward, presses a thumb vertically across Jaskier's lips. Jaskier might have quieted if asked of course--this is an indulgence. He's becoming very self-indulgent, these days. He looks intently at the horizon, listening, until he determines that the minute patter of hoofbeats is not his imagination.
"Horses," he says, in case Jaskier is wondering about the hand on his mouth. He takes it away before Jaskier can do something drastic, like suck on his fingers.
Jaskier looks disappointed.
"How do you know they're coming for me--us?"
"I don't. Tell me this, could your most recent composition be considered a mechanism for inciting rebellion?"
"That was partly the point."
Geralt glares at him sharply. It's no good. Jaskier will feel no remorse now if he hasn't already.
"Well, the baron rather deserves to be overthrown. The working conditions at the iron mines--if you knew the atrocities--"
"I do. You couldn't sing about them from a safe distance?"
"Revolutions don't begin with cowardice."
"Fuck." Geralt rubs a hand across his face and gets to his feet. Roach lets out a disgruntled snort when he tosses her saddle on, just as exasperated as he is with the brevity of their rest.
Jaskier gathers their things while Geralt is tightening cinches. When the tack is finished he is ready, and begins handing them to Geralt one by one. It's gloriously efficient, really (though without Jaskier, he wouldn't be fleeing a baron at all--so maybe it isn't).
"Why now?" Jaskier huffs, throwing the last bag at Geralt.
"Because the baron couldn't very well send half his armed guard after a bard in broad daylight. Perhaps they thought us foolhardy enough to start a fire."
"Can't you wipe out a few guards with one flick of your mighty sword-arm?"
"I can use my sword in both arms."
"Can't you wipe out these guards with your general might and brawn?"
Geralt swings onto Roach's back instead of replying.
"Hand me the lute and get on."
Jaskier grins up at him.
"Being an enemy of the state has its perks."