Geralt carefully stepped around a patch of frost, feet filthy up past his ankles, which was normal for him, now. He could rinse them clean in a creek any time he liked, but more often than not he found himself enjoying the feel of the earth in between his toes.
At least, he had enjoyed it until recently, winter's first flirtings turning swathes of the forest floor into icy little traps, nipping at Witcher toes. He had begun wrapping his feet in sturdy cloth, to offset the worst of it, but he could almost smell the snow on the wind.
No one had thought to drop off a set of boots, in the offerings left at the border of his new home, though Geralt now had enough honey to last him the rest of his life. Neither had his brothers, or any of his friends.
He'd been too caught up in the peacefulness of this place, his Leshen more capable than he of keeping their home safe, swords well kept but rarely used. He'd forgotten that he was as much at the mercy of the elements as most other man-shaped things.
Geralt wasn't as irritated as he might have been, less than a year ago. He supposed being well taken care of would do that to anyone, even a surly old Witcher like him. And he was, absolutely, taken care of; he hadn’t hunted for himself once, trees producing fruit for him at a thought, herbs flowering and lush.
The nearby town would leave him bread, cheese, bottles and bottles of preserved fruit or honey, and butter, so much that Geralt had spent three days digging a nice deep hole to keep it all in while the Leshen watched curiously, hovering over his shoulders. He shared everything with, well, Geralt guessed the best word was husband, or maybe spouse?
His husband, and Geralt did like the sound of that best, was endlessly curious about the trials of life, or survival, or anything about the small people who darted around, living firefly lives. The Leshen watched him always unless he asked it not to. And he almost never did.
The crown in his hair crackled when he moved, the leaves gone firey with autumnal shades, held in place with a simple band and what was certainly magic; the crown never so much as shifting even when he climbed trees, or wrestled with one of his brothers when they visited.
A sudden cold wind whipped his cloak around with a harsh snap, biting into his cheeks and fingertips, and Geralt moved faster now, ignoring the sting in his toes, mind set on reading the book Yen had left for him, heart set on his husband.
It began snowing, just as he thought it would, flakes blending in smoothly with his hair, but standing out against the deep red of his tunic. Soon enough the storm had covered everything in a thin layer of white, gleaming, lovely aside from how fast the temperature dropped.
Geralt felt it before he saw it, warmth melting the snow off his eyelashes, heat pricking at his cold toes, a smile growing as he warmed. The meadow where he had first chosen to stay was where he more or less lived, now, and he arrived to a happy greeting.
It was contentment, it was budding sprigs of love, it was home, warm and safe, and he trotted over, magic whisking away the half melted snow from his clothes, his hair. He crawled into arms like tree branches, worn smooth, unclasping his cloak, no longer needing it.
The meadow was lush and green, warm as an early summer day, grass lush and thick, flowers blooming and fragrant. It was a golden circle of frozen time, magic thrumming steadily, soothing like a lullaby.
A book was pressed into his hands, Geralt’s smile deepening, teeth flashing. They both wanted to read today, he guessed.
He settled in, his husband curled around him, skull rested atop his head, book open to the first page, summer blanketing the both of them.