Lambert was a baby. Sure, he was six foot, twelve stone of lethal skill and monster killing muscle. Sure he swore, drank, and fucked like a sailor. Sure Aiden had once seen him lay out seven of Nilfgaards finest in three seconds flat because they got handsy with a serving girl. Doesn’t mean he didn’t regularly — that very same night included, at that very same tavern — softly head-butt Aiden’s chest when they were in bed, demanding for attention before promptly rolling over. He’d lay his head on Aiden’s stomach, his eyes, more black than gold, going all sad-puppy, pointedly asking for a belly rub.
Lambert was a baby. Aiden was perfectly aware of this. Just like he was aware that the wolves of Kaer Morhen were notoriously and obnoxiously close. So it was no surprise, really, that when they rocked up to the keep one winter, all Lambert had to do was look forlornly from Aiden — Cat School medallion and all — to Geralt and Eskel, for Geralt and Eskel to look forlornly to Vesemir, and for their old-man to throw his hands in the air and huff out a “Fine! Let the Cat in! Not like it’s my school or anything,” already walking away.
It was equally unsurprising when Lambert and his pack-mates greeted each other by nosing at each other’s necks, rubbing their cheeks together. Aiden even saw quick tongues darting out to lick noses and behind ears. He didn’t judge. Cats were wont to do the same, and had their fair share of other quirks besides. Aiden had lost count of the number of times Lambert had to full-body pin him just to keep him from bouncing off the walls of their rented room or sprinting around town and scaring the shit out of the locals.
Much like wolf-witchers, apparently, the cats were physical with their affections — sensuous, passionate even. Travelling with the caravan granted them ample opportunity to curl up with another in a patch of sun after a meal, or else sneak off into the woods for a truly athletic round of tension relief. But it only ever lasted until one or both parties had their fill, and when the mood struck again they just rubbed up against the closest warm and willing body.
On the contrary, the way these wolves mooned over each other was nothing short of bloody romantic. The somehow lingering shoulder slaps and elbow bumps, the kisses dropped almost casually onto foreheads and backs and noses (and stomachs and eyelids and thighs…), the unabashedly open smiles that betrayed every ounce of love they had for each other. It was… well it was something, wasn’t it? At first Aiden would have called it disgusting but slowly he became, perhaps — the slightest wee bit — intrigued.
It started, maybe — this interest — during morning training. Lambert, clearly distracted, soundly got his arse handed to him by Eskel. He took the offered hand with only enough grumbling to be considered respectable, and scowled perfunctorily as Eskel brushed off his shoulders, while Geralt prowled over to do the same to his back. For the first time Aiden properly noticed how big the older wolves were.
Aiden and Lambert were of a height, Lambert just a bit broader, a bit thicker everywhere, but not so much that he didn’t blend in with the lithe forms of the Cat School, mirroring their movements from the way they walked to the way they fought with ease. Their missed opportunity, Aiden often mused.
Geralt and Eskel on the other hand were six-foot-four, six-foot-five easy, and significantly wider around the chest and shoulders than Lambert — Eskel more so than Geralt. Tucked between them, Baby Wolf looked fucking diminutive. Even their hands were huge; a single one engulfing Lambert’s shoulder. One of Eskel’s slid down, nearly spanning the width of his back, pulling him closer. He planted a kiss on his nose, Lambert scrunched his face in protest and Eskel licked a closed eye for good measure. Geralt wrapped his arms around Lambert’s waist from behind, just… holding him. Cradling him before dropping a chaste kiss his to the side of his neck. Aiden could smell the warm scent of Lambert’s happiness from across the clearing. It was… interesting. It looked interesting, is all.
Leaving Geralt and Eskel to spar, Lambert bounded over, the traces of a dopey smile still plastered on his face. Aiden cuffed him. Lambert wrapped his arms around his legs and tackled him to the ground in retaliation, but quickly received a knee to the chin. Dazed but determined, Lambert held on, clambered his way up Aiden’s writhing body, grabbing his wrists along the way and pinning them above his head. He planted a knee on Aiden’s stomach, his shin pressing into Aiden’s crotch. He nipped at Aiden’s nose with his teeth. It was a masterclass in hand-to-hand combat. “Yield.”
Aiden hesitated only briefly, his cock’s expression of interest making a very compelling argument. “Fine.” He’d make Baby Wolf yield in a far more intimate setting.
For the first few weeks, Lambert was a near constant at Aiden’s side, doing his best to make sure that he didn’t feel awkward or left out. Not necessary, of course, but Aiden appreciated the gesture anyway. Much like when they were between towns on the Path, or travelling with the caravan, they rough-housed, tumbled, and challenged each other to increasingly reckless acrobatic feats — an activity much enhanced by the keep’s elaborate architecture and exposed scaffolding. They napped in the sun after lunch, and at night they slept in Lambert’s room. Curled up in each other on the bed, under a pile of furs, a roaring fire in the small hearth; Lambert foregoing his usual place in the puppy pile.
Aiden would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little smug about it. Wolf-Wolf and Bear-Wolf were getting increasingly desperate, he could tell. Their eyes stuck on Lambert for longer, more frequently (was wounded-dog part of Kaer Morhen’s curriculum?) They missed him and Aiden had him. Yeah, he was definitely more than a little smug.
But then, just under a month into their tenancy, they became properly snowed in. The days were bright as lighting, and just a quick. No more training in the courtyard, no more chasing warm patches of sunlight on the castle grounds; they were confined to the freezing stone ruins, Lambert and Aiden endeavouring to keep warm by the hearth with the assistance of copious amounts of moonshine. Still, no matter how much they drank, or how many furs they wrapped around themselves, the cold was always there, a jittery vibration in their bones.
It didn’t help that someone wouldn’t shut up about it. As if pointing out how could it was every five bloody minutes was going to help any.
Lambert’s resolve broke, finally, about a week into their confinement. Aiden went to take a piss between rounds of gwent and came back to find him sat in Eskel’s lap. Pressed against Bear-Wolf’s chest, his shirt and gambeson discarded, a fur wrapped tightly around him while one of those stupidly massive hands rubbed his back, the other petting his hair. He was bloody purring. Where the fuck did wolf-witcher’s get off purring anyway?
He wasn’t jealous of course. Not of Eskel, and definitely not of Lambert. They’d been deprived of each other for a long time, those two. Aiden got Lambert the rest of the year. They’d been here a month, Aiden was a big boy, he could stand on his own.
Ignoring the traitorous bastard-mongrel-man Aiden reclaimed his spot by the fire and began sorting through his gwent deck. Thankfully, he was saved the indignity of doing it twice over by Wolf-Wolf’s challenging him to a match. Geralt was a good at gwent, had a reputation for it even. But Aiden was better, and if anything could sweeten a sour mood it was beating good player at gwent.
It happened again, then more. As soon as Aiden’s back was turned Lambert would plaster himself against Eskel or Geralt. One day, when Lambert’s grousing was particularly insufferable and Aiden had to excuse himself just to get away from it for a minute, he returned to find him swaddled in a thick quilt, his pupils blown wide and unseeing. Bear-Wolf and Wolf-Wolf lay on either side of him, one arm wrapped around his chest, another around his stomach. Aiden curled up near his head, close to the hearth.
The following day, Aiden was as close to the fire as he could manage without actually being on fire, but still he felt the cold prickling inside him. Lambert was in Eskel’s lap again, on an old leather wingback. Every so often Baby Wolf would tilt his head to pepper the underside of Bear Wolf's jaw with sweet little kisses because, it seemed, it was a sure fire way to set Bear Wolf purring. Aiden was not watching, not glaring — they just so happened to be directly in his line of sight. If it looked like he was squinting it was only because he was dozing off, or because he was laying down on his stomach with his arms folded under his face. What business was it of his if the wolves were doing wolfy things? He didn’t —
“Aiden?” Geralt was sat on an identical chair, separated from the other two by a small table, and closer to the fire.
“C’mere a second.”
“Why?” Aiden didn't try masking his ire or his suspicion.
Geralt tried to get away with a shrug as a response, but when Aiden did glare at him, he offered, “I could just drag you.” He could, Aiden knew — the bastard was strong, and faster than he looked. He had the home-field advantage, and most importantly, Aiden was feeling lazy. Geralt would as well, that much was obvious from his tone, and the near mocking arch of his silvery eyebrow (did he shape them or…?)
It was for this reason and this reason alone, that Aiden, with a long suffering sigh, stood up and made his way over
“Bring that,” Geralt said — ordered, —indicating a bearskin blanket nearby. Aiden snatched it up, throwing daggers and the Magnificent Wolf-Wolf in all ways but literal. Just as he got too close to escape, Geralt leaned forward, parted his knees just that bit more so that Aiden was standing between them. Geralt’s hands were on Aiden’s hips, pulling him forward, and Aiden had just enough presence of mind to throw his hands out and push himself back. Unfortunately, the most convenient surface from which to do this was Geralt’s very firm chest. At such close proximity, the larger witcher seemed to radiate heat. Oh.
It was at this point that Aiden became conscious of two more sets of wolfish eyes watching this little scene unfold, two pairs of lips curled in lazy smirks.
“What,” Aiden gritted out, “the fuck do you think you’re doing, Wolf?
“Ten seconds. If you don’t like it I’ll let you go.”
Aiden glanced at Lambert, who was sitting up just a little bit straighter, his every aspect betraying his piqued interest. Aiden thought his ears might have twitched, his eyes were a little more alert. He gave a small half-shrug-half-nod. Yeah, go for it. Aiden drew his arms back, and let himself be pulled onto Geralt’s lap.
“This works better if you're shirtless,” the older-than-him-but-not-by-a-lot witcher explained as he rudely removed Aiden’s leather vest and the flannel shirt he’d borrowed from Lambert, dropping them to the floor. He then removed his own shirt and tugged Aiden yet closer, so that every inch of Aiden's bare torso was pressed against the larger man. Geralt pushed Aiden’s head to lie against his shoulder, tucked the bearskin around his shoulders and held him, like some sort of weird parody of what Baby Wolf and Bear-Wolf were doing.
Except — well, it felt nice. Those stupid large hands that spanned almost the width of his back were over the soft fur, one still at the small of his back, the other stroking up and down, up and down; both firm, both… settling. It was warm.
Lambert watched as Aiden’s eyes went swiftly from bristling-cat to interested-kitty to sleepy-kitty. A smile, more smug than he actually felt, played across his lips. Aiden glared at him, told him to fuck off, and turned so that his face was buried in the crook of Geralt’s warm neck. It wasn’t long before the the air vibrated with the purrs of two more bodies.
“Still want to go?”
The next day Aiden got to have a go at Eskel, and experienced the near-orgasmic sensation of those thick fingers scratching his scalp, his beard, rubbing circles at the base of his hair line. Lambert had said that mages could feel the surge of chaos in Bear-Wolf’s hands. It must be true, because they made Aiden’s whole body tingle.
Aiden and the older wolves got… closer, after that. Them keeping him as warm as they kept Lambert. They settled into a new routine; breakfast, chores, bit of indoor sparing, lunch, warming (not snuggling), hot springs, few more light chores, dinner, then gwent, drinking, shooting shit, and not snuggling. It was pleasant enough, and all very polite. Aiden and Lambert continued to stumble to the latter’s room, half asleep, at the end of every night, for at least another week. Or less, maybe.
Anyway, it was until Aiden was just shy of soundly asleep on Geralt, and Lambert on Eskel. It made sense, proportionally, because Lambert was broader than Aiden, and Eskel was broader than Geralt.
“I think you and Little Wolf are ready for bed,” Geralt said, his voice all low and crooning.
Aiden grunted and emphatically did not squirm closer.
“Eskel and I could carry you two up to Lambert’s room,” he offered. Then, his voice dropped somehow lower, vibrating through Aiden’s ribs, “Or you could stay with us tonight.”
Aiden took pause, doing his solemn best to school a flush from rising. “S’all the fuckin’ same to me,” he slurred. Casual like.
Geralt hummed. Aiden could hear the smirk in it but was too far gone to care. Just as he was too far gone to properly mind when Geralt secured his arms around his neck then, standing, did the same with his legs around his waist. He wasn’t fully aware of the trip upstairs; he felt a small undulation, he supposed when Geralt bent to get Eskel’s attention, then just swaying as they climbed the stars. He felt himself lowered onto a soft mattress, a dip as Lambert was placed next to him, another as Geralt slipped in behind. Lambert sidled closer, drawing Aiden’s hand up to scratch the back of his head. Warm blankets were a pleasant weight on his body, as was the thick, muscular arm settling around his waist.
“Wait.” He rounded on Geralt, suddenly awake and very indignant. “Have you been cozying up to me just to get Baby Wolf back in your bed?” He whisper-shouted.
“At first,” Geralt admitted, his smile far from contrite. “But I’ve come to like making you purr,” he said, his voice all gravel. He reached up and tweaked Aiden’s ear, the bastard.
Geralt hummed, far too pleased with himself. “Go to sleep kitty. You’ll hate me less tomorrow.” He gently pushed Aiden back to lying down, facing Lambert, then spooned up behind him. Lambert, fully asleep, hugged his arm while Geralt nosed at the back of his neck — like he was — fucking — scenting him. He might have even felt chapped lips brushing his skin.
Aiden did fall asleep, and easily. When he woke up the next morning he felt warmer than he’d ever been.