Geralt does not sleep, since he cannot close his eyes without seeing Renfri's, staring dead and aimless at the grey sky. Jaskier is still, but in the near-silence of the earliest morning, Geralt can hear his heartbeat and knows that he also is not sleeping.
He shifts onto his back to glare at the rotting planks of the ceiling, and Jaskier stirs at his side.
"Can't you sleep?"
Geralt does not give a reply, and Jaskier does not wait for one. He alights and goes to the window, throws aside the shutter. It clatters against the wall and he fastens it there with its hook. (Geralt can smell that one of the scabs on his knuckles has split, blood oozing out over his fingers.)
Moonlight made pink by the clouds falls into the room and a summer breeze follows it, carrying in little smells of the city: refuse rotting in gutters, herbs growing in windowsills, horses in stamping in stables.
Jaskier raises one arm to lean against the frame, looking down onto the night. He is lovely. His eyelashes cast dark shadows over his cheeks, and his long linen night-shirt flutters in the breeze. He's only wearing his smallclothes under it, and his thighs and calves look like smooth marble in the low light.
He looks at Geralt, wets his lips as if he's going to speak, and then his gaze lifts again to the towers and parapets and banners on the high horizon.
"Why did you do it? Why did you take me with you?"
"Perhaps to spite the baron," Geralt says. (It's a lie, but he doesn't know what the truth is.)
"A noble motive now more than ever. I think it's because I sucked your soul out through your cock and you couldn't bear to part with me." Jaskier's mouth lifts in a smirk, and then his face tightens. "And yet when I asked, you could think of no reason to keep me for any longer than this."
"You don't know anything about me," Geralt breathes wearily. It's not an accusation for Jaskier, but for himself. You don't know who I am, or what I've done.
"You think because you haven't told me that I haven't guessed? Maybe you aren't as wise as your years ought to make you, Geralt. I am a viscount, not a king. Do you think I don't know what it is to be at the beck and call of the wealthy and the powerful? There are neverending webs of conniving and schemes, and there is murder and fraud and adultery." His mouth twists in disgust. "I know because I wove some of them myself."
Jaskier paces to the foot of the bed and Geralt lifts himself up on his arms to meet his gaze.
"I do not care what you have done, except that you have saved me." His voice is quiet, but his eyes are wild. "I am not asking that you be blameless. I am asking that you be mine," and that last word is heavy with want.
"I cannot be anyone's."
"Is that what you think, or only what you wish you thought?"
"Don't try to manipulate me," Geralt growls, "I'm not one of your bloodsucking courtiers."
There is a pause, and he watches Jaskier's chest rise and fall with his rushed breaths. Then he speaks again, voice forcibly calm.
"I am not a good man, Geralt, but I spoke to you in good faith, and using my honesty against me is contemptible."
He walks away into the darkness, and there is a rustling of fabric and leather, and then Geralt can see him briefly outlined in the doorway with his lute slung over his back.
Geralt turns his face away and listens to the door thump closed against its frame. His breaths echo loudly in the empty room, and in the dark he can recall that lovely face too well, blood staining the brow.
He catches Jaskier before he makes it down the stairs.
"Fuck off Geralt," Jaskier hisses. "You want to own me and reject me both and I won't fucking let you do it."
Geralt wraps a hand around the nape of his neck and kisses him, and Jaskier returns the kiss brutally. He bites down on Geralt's bottom lip hard enough to draw blood, or maybe it's only Jaskier's blood Geralt tastes, the cuts reopened before they can heal. Geralt hauls him closer with a heavy, possessive grip and then Jaskier pushes back, palms braced against him. Geralt lets him break away.
"Is this a thing for you?" Jaskier asks, panting, his mouth wet and stained crimson. "Exhibitionism? Hallways?" He drags the back of his hand over his mouth, and even in the dark Geralt can see the smear of blood that comes away on it. "Fuck you."
Then they are stumbling back through the open door, and there's a series of bumps and curses as Jaskier pries off his boots, puts down his lute, and searches in the dark for the vial of oil at the bottom of his pack. They remove their clothing hurriedly, and since Geralt already has less of it he inconveniences Jaskier by dragging him relentlessly toward the bed as he struggles out of his own.
Jaskier pushes Geralt down and crawls over him, licking and biting as he goes, and Geralt briefly wonders if there will be bright stripes of blood down his torso in the shape of Jaskier's lips and tongue.
Then Jaskier sits up, straddling his thighs, and wild lust rolls over his body like a wave, even as his teeth clench at the sight of Jaskier's bruised abdomen.
"I can't understand you," Jaskier says, and his eyes are like lit fires, the blue at the bottom of a candle flame. "I've rarely met a person that I did not love, or else hate, and you don't even seem to know if you like me."
Jaskier's fingers scramble for the vial of oil he'd tossed carelessly into the sheets before, and Geralt's throat tightens as he fills his palm with it, rolls it across his fingers with his thumb. Then he reaches around behind him, and Geralt runs rough palms up to grip his hips, feels Jaskier buck as he rocks back onto his own hand.
"And now, even I can't even fucking decide." Jaskier hisses, almost pained, then growls, "But I'm almost sure I hate you, Geralt. I think I hate you." Geralt's slow heart is beating so violently his veins could rupture.
"Fuck," he grits out, and drags Jaskier forward, closer.
"The alternative," Jaskier says, shuddering as he sinks down onto Geralt's cock, "is so much worse."
He stills for a moment, head tipped back. Geralt can see his throat bob as he swallows and rocks a little farther down. His whole body tenses, and Geralt burns. It is nothing like anything he has ever felt, and is that because Jaskier is a man, or because Jaskier is Jaskier?
He loses this train of thought when Jaskier begins to move, torturously slow, his breath coming short and sharp. Geralt's hips stutter, and he digs desperate fingers into Jaskier's thighs, bunched taut under his hands, catches a shouted curse between his teeth. Jaskier hisses something, maybe fuck, and strokes his own cock.
Geralt growls and wraps his hand around Jaskier's, waits for his fingers to loosen and slip away. Then he moves his fist in time with Jaskier's rhythm, slow, even strokes.
"Fuck," Jaskier says, and lets out a raspy laugh, "I can't hate you." His thighs are trembling under Geralt's palms, and sweat sparkles in his hair.
He bends lower, changing the angle, bracing himself with a hand placed somewhere behind Geralt's head. He's still moving, head bowed over his chest, droplets of sweat from his hair scattering across Geralt's skin.
"Whatever you've ever done," he says and then gasps, catches Geralt's jaw in his free hand. His fingertips are wet with the blood that drips from his knuckles. "Whatever you've done, I absolve you of it," he laughs, breathy.
He's only jesting, making the joke that Geralt's fucking is good enough penance for any transgression. Or maybe he's half-serious, and that's why his eyes are dark with resolve, why he drags the pad of his thumb across the seam of Geralt's lips like a ritual blessing (or a blood sacrifice). Geralt's vision nearly whites out at the coppery taste on his tongue, and he grips the curve of Jaskier's ass, pulls him down until their bodies are flush together.
Jaskier whispers, "Gods, Geralt," and shudders to a halt; underneath him, Geralt shatters.
He is still disoriented when the warmth of Jaskier's body withdraws. Geralt can hear him cross the room to the basin by the open window, dash a bit of water on his face, dampen a rag in the water to wash with.
Jaskier comes to the foot of the bed when he's finished and tosses Geralt the cloth. He catches it, wipes Jaskier's spend off his right hand, and sets it down beside the bed.
They are exactly as they had been before, staring at each in the soft light. I am not asking that you be blameless.
Geralt is supposed to say something, he knows. He is reeling. What feels like a chasm has been carved out under his ribs. I absolve you of it. Would innocent jest or sincere naivety be worse? He's not sure.
"That's the last time," he says.
"Right," Jaskier replies, and bends to pick up shirt from the floor. He gathers his things in the dark with the practiced efficiency of a man who has done it before, and Geralt looks down, loathing himself and unwilling to watch.
Over his heart is a sticky vermillion smear in the shape of Jaskier's mouth.