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Only Today

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*

Roach threw him.

 

Geralt laid on the damp ground, chest squeezing for air, in absolute utter shock, blinking up at the trees. Roach never threw him. He pushed his elbows under him, starting to lean up once his chest unlocked, but an arrow pointed an inch away from his nose made him freeze. “Vatt'ghern,” drawled a snide earthen voice. “Someone really should have told you not to go snooping around here.”

 

“Snooping?” Geralt responded, offended despite himself. “This is a main road!”

 

The elf that pointed the arrow at him only laughed. “To other d'hoine's like you, perhaps. Don't get up,” he advised when Geralt shifted his weight. “I know what you are, witcher, I'll not be having my blood on your sword, thanks and very much.”

 

Geralt huffed an irritated sigh. “I didn't even know you were there! You could have gotten away with never needing to deal with me.”

 

As he spoke, the sound of many bows being strung and pulled filled the air, in a rough circle around him. “You'll come with us, vatt'ghern,” the elf said, and the arrow aimed directly at his face pulled away. A veritable array of hands came out of nowhere to disarm him, and Geralt gave half a thought to fighting back – he could easily deflect projectiles, and Quen was a quick hand motion away – but ultimately decided to follow them as docilely as a witcher was able.

 

He wasn't expecting much, a small gathering of elves living in squalor, stealing things just to survive. He was absolutely not expecting to be lead to the entrance of a cave, covered with sweeping vines and honeysuckle, with a long tunnel leading slightly downward.

 

There were elves hidden in crevices high in the walls, Geralt could sense them even if he couldn't outright see them. There were far more than tradition usually dictated. The tunnel curved sharply to the right and opened suddenly into a large cavern, surprisingly well lit from above, sunlight filtering down through holes in the cavern's ceiling.

 

Geralt blinked in surprise, there were actual <i>dwellings</i> in the cave, a large fire in the middle where many elves were congregated. “Adhe,” some elf called out, hand half raised for an arrow. “Who do you bring?”

 

“A vatt'ghern,” his captor – Adhe, apparently – answered. “Caught him sneaking about the roads.”  Annoyed, Geralt huffed another sigh, knowing better than to respond. “Ceiridan, where's the commander?”  The elven guard pointed to one of the stone and wood dwellings, and in response,  Adhe steered Geralt that way.

 

A stream of elvish that Geralt couldn't quite understand came out of the dwelling and an elf, broad, muscular, and familiar strode out of the building, and stopped dead, staring with one good eye.

 

The other, of course, was covered by red cloth, and held in place with a raven's feather. Geralt wasn't often prone to surprise, but this one definitely had come out of nowhere. “Iorveth?” he blurted out, at the same time that Iorveth said, “Gwynbleidd?”

 

All the guards suddenly shifted uncomfortably, blanching. “You know this vatt'ghern?” one of them asked, very hesitantly.

 

In answer, Iorveth strode forward, coming within arms reach of Geralt to clasp his arm in a friendly hello. Geralt stepped in, ostensibly to get away from the guards, and Iorveth smirked a little in response.  “Give him back his weapons,” Iorveth drawled disdainfully. He clapped a hand on Geralt’s shoulder. “The last time we saw each other, you professed never to be without your weapon, Gwynbleidd. You must be getting old.”

 

Rolling his eyes, Geralt took his swords back, slinging them over his shoulder without buckling the belts. “True,” he allowed. “I wasn’t willing to slaughter your people.”

 

There was a slight pause, where Iorveth dragged his gaze over his men clearly counting their number before turning his face back towards Geralt. “I see,” he murmured. “Come. This way.”

 

Gamely, Geralt followed him, tracing Iorveth’s path back into one of the huts. He waited until Geralt had stepped through the door before closing it behind them. When Geralt had turned to drop his weapons against the wall, Iorveth stepped in - far closer than he had in front of his men - and hooked a hand around the back of Geralt’s neck.

 

Geralt allowed himself to be dragged in another step, knocking his forehead against Iorveth’s and resting it there for several heartbeats. “It’s been some time,” he murmured when Iorveth didn’t speak.

 

“So it has,” the elf muttered. “The country is in turmoil and you once again are at the center,” he added, dropping his hand from Geralt’s neck to his shoulder and taking a step back. “But it is good to see you all the same.”

 

“The country being in turmoil has nothing to do with me,” Geralt shot back.

 

“This time,” Iorveth interrupted, with a shade of a smirk.

 

Scowling, Geralt rolled his eyes. “Fine. This time. I’m looking for someone.” Iorveth dropped into a seat, gesturing for Geralt to do the same. “I’ve been all over Velen and Novigrad for the last half-month looking for clues and signs.”

 

“And you have found nothing?” Iorveth asked, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table between them.

 

Geralt shrugged one shoulder. “Signs, clues, memories. People who remember her, who spoke to her, who helped her. But not her, and nothing recent.” He dropped his head, running his fingers through his hair in an agitated gesture. “Once I have exhausted every lead I have here, I’m heading to Skellige.”

 

If he was being honest, he was putting off going to Skellige. It wasn’t that there weren’t good leads sending him to the islands, but he was very much not looking forward to spending time with Yen.

 

Gwynbleidd?” Iorveth murmured, in the tone of someone who had said his name a few times. “What’s in Skellige?”

 

Geralt refocused on the elf. “There was a magical explosion, somewhere there. One of my... friends is meeting me there, she’s an... expert.”

 

Iorveth turned his head slightly to one side. “Merigold?”

 

“No, she’s here, in Novigrad.” He shook his head. “I’m meeting Yennefer.”

 

Instead of looking confused, Iorveth nodded slowly. “The one in the stories,” he said. “The one you loved more than any other.” Geralt couldn’t quite control his flinch. “Not the one in the stories, then,” Iorveth corrected upon seeing it.

 

Since seeing Yen in Vizima, since her orders and her light kiss that did nothing for him, Geralt had stewed over his choices long and hard. He’d not remembered her for most of the last years, had given his heart to another and then had that heart broken when Yen came back into the picture.

 

“She’s the one in the tales,” Geralt muttered, scowling down at the tabletop. “And perhaps I loved her more than any other once. But that time passed long ago, and she won’t listen to me long enough to have a simple conversation.”

 

Iorveth stood abruptly, striding over to the cabinet and retrieving two glasses and a jug of something. “Drink,” he grunted.  That was the perfect idea. Geralt gratefully took the glass and drained it in one swallow. “And Merigold?” Iorveth asked lightly.

 

“She gracefully ended our relationship six months ago.” Geralt had practiced saying that out loud, carefully keeping any inflection out of his voice. Judging by the look on Iorveth’s face, he wasn’t entirely successfully in that.

 

Iorveth took a drink, handing the bottle over to Geralt instead of pouring him another glass. “You sound like you need this more than I do,” he said quietly. “Who are you looking for?”

 

Geralt stared down at the bottle. “Ciri. My daughter.”

 

That got a reaction. “Your what?” Iorveth repeated, mouth slightly open with shock. “I had thought Witchers could not…”

 

Smirking, Geralt shook his head. “We can’t. She was my Ward for many years, I taught her everything she knows about being a Witcher, though she never underwent the mutations.”

 

“Have you a drawing?” Iorveth asked curiously, and Geralt opened his pouch of potions to pull out the picture of Ciri that he’d taken from Yennefer. He unfolded it carefully, sliding it closer so the elf could see it. “She is beautiful,” Iorveth said, tilting the page to better see it. “I’ll inform my men to keep eyes and ears out for her.”

 

Something like relief filtered down Geralt’s spine and he nods. “She is ashen of hair, only a shade or two lighter than my own.”

 

“Who is her father?” Iorveth wondered tracing the edge of paper with one finger.

 

Geralt snorted. “Emperor of Nilfgaard.”  When Iorveth choked, he added, “but Ciri has called me father far more often she ever called him that.” He folded up the page again, careful to crease it along it’s set edges.

 

“What will you do when you find her?” Iorveth asked, and Geralt turned his gaze towards the elf, trying to read his expression in the dim light of the hut.

 

It had been some time since Geralt had seen Iorveth, and they were both older, wiser, more embittered. But Geralt could still read the fragile hope on his face. “We go to Kaer Morhen,” he answered honestly. “Make our future plans there. If you’re ever in need of help, you should go there.”

 

It’s where he sent Letho, Keira, Triss. His once friends and comrades, all together under one roof. Iorveth laughed softly, shaking his head and looking away. “I think not, Gwynbleidd,” he murmured candidly. “I can’t imagine your Witcher compatriots would be best pleased to see me.”

 

“Tell them I sent you,” Geralt responded, the exact words he used with Letho. “They’ll leave you alone.” Iorveth didn’t answer and Geralt huffed out a sigh, taking a long drag from the nearly empty bottle of vodka. “I may need your help, Iorveth,” he said once he’d drained the alcohol. “We’re deep in it this time, and I’ll need all the allies I can get. Can I count on you?”

 

There was a long, tension fraught pause and then Iorveth snapped.

 

Instead of answering, Iorveth reached over and dragged Geralt closer and kissed him. “I have thought of this,” the elf growled against his lips. “In truth, I have thought of little else.” He slid into Geralt’s chair, knees on either side of Geralt’s hips, and kissed him again.

 

“You’re drunk,” Geralt slurred, even as his hands found Iorveth’s thighs, gripping them tightly.

 

“I am,” Iorveth allowed with far more dignity than his position should have allowed. “Tell me to go, and I will,” he added softly, their noses just touching. “Tell me you do not want this and we will forget it ever happened.”

 

Framing Iorveth’s hips with his hands, Geralt couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “Always so dramatic,” he said fondly and drew the elf in for a kiss.

 

With a groan, Iorveth dragged Geralt closer, fisting his hands in the witcher’s vest. “I did not think,” Iorveth murmured against Geralt’s mouth, “that I would ever see you again.”

 

Laughing softly, Geralt pressed a kiss to the corner of Iorveth’s mouth. “Sorry, whose fault was that?”

 

Iorveth sighed heavily and didn’t answer, crushing his lips to Geralt’s. They kissed languidly for a long moment, and Geralt let that soothe the sting of turning around to find Triss standing alone, and Iorveth long gone.

 

As they kissed, Iorveth rolled his hips against Geralt’s in slow, concentric movements. Geralt dragged his mouth away from Iorveth’s to press a hard kiss to the underside of the elf’s jaw. “Bed?” he asked, tightening his grip on Iorveth’s hips.

 

“Bed,” Iorveth agreed, and climbed to his feet. He led Geralt around the table, shrugging off his coat as he went. “This way,” he murmured, and ducked through a doorway in the back of the room. He took a moment to light the fire as Geralt unbuckled the clasps on his armor.

 

As soon as the fire lit up the room, Iorveth slid his hands under Geralt’s, taking over the task of getting the witcher out of his armor. He peeled the coat over Geralt’s shoulders, pressing his palms against the planes of his chest. “Gwynbleidd,” he murmured, and in answer, Geralt pulled him closer, aligning their bodies.

 

As their hips came in contact, Iorveth growled low in his throat, dragging Geralt the few steps to his bed. “There is no time limit,” he said, low and ground as gravel. “No one is dying. This is for us, Gwynbleidd, or it does not happen at all.”

 

Laughing softly, Geralt pulled Iorveth down on top of him. “Been worrying about that long, Iorveth?” He kissed him, sliding his fingers into Iorveth’s hair, and rolling them so he was above the elf. “Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be,” he added.

 

Iorveth smirked, arching up just enough that their hips ground together through their trousers. “The last time we were pressed for time,” Iorveth pointed out, burying his fingers under Geralt’s loose shirt. “You could not participate.”

 

“I wasn’t complaining,” Geralt told him, and pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it off to one side. Iorveth leaned up on his elbows, kissing a line down Geralt’s throat. “Do your worst, elf.”

 

Huffing a laugh, Iorveth slid his hands down Geralt’s back even as he leaned up for another kiss, digging his fingers into Geralt’s covered arse. They were plastered together and Geralt kissed Iorveth far long than he’d kissed any of his other partners, grinding his hips into Iorveth’s slowly. Time ceased to have meaning, as hot pleasure built up between them and Iorveth slid his hands into the waistband of Geralt’s trousers, digging his fingers into flesh.  

 

Geralt grinned, pressing Iorveth down harder into the mattress and dragged his mouth away to kiss the tattoos on his throat. He pushed away Iorveth’s shirt until the elf pulled it over his head, relinquishing his grip on Geralt. Once they were both shirtless, Geralt pressed a series of kisses across Iorveth’s fine collarbones, trailing his hands down to Iorveth’s hips. “Oil,” Iorveth grunted, pushing his knee against Geralt’s side.

 

“Where?” Geralt asked, thumbs digging into Iorveth’s hips.

 

“Cabinet.” Geralt kissed him again at the tail end of the word before getting up and looting the cabinet. A pot of oil sat on one of the shelves, several whetstones and folded cloth around it - obviously it was blade oil but Geralt had used worse. He snagged the vial and made his way over to the bed, shoving his trousers off as he walked.

 

With an arch and a sinuous slide, Iorveth matched him article for article, kicking off his trousers and leaving them to fall to the ground. He knelt on the bed by Iorveth’s knees, nudging them open with a gentle touch. “This what you wanted?” he asked, and slid his fingers down pale thighs.

 

“Yes,” Iorveth murmured, fisting his fingers in the woolen blankets. “Don’t tease me, Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth growled, leaning up on his elbows.

 

“I seem to recall quite a bit of teasing on your end the last time we were together,” Geralt pointed out placidly. “Turnabout is fair play.” He pushed at Iorveth’s shoulder until the elf laid back on the bed.

 

Iorveth offered him a slight smirk, settling against the mattress. “Well then, I’m at your disposal, Geralt.”

 

Shivering, both at the use of his name and the chill of the room, Geralt leaned over him, kissing him hard. Wrapping his arms around Geralt’s neck, Iorveth tugged him closer, so they were pressed chest to chest, hip to hip. Their cocks curved up together, grinding gently between their hips and stomach as they kissed.

 

As their kisses got deeper and more involved, Geralt rolled his hips against Iorveth’s, trapping the elves cock between them and rubbing against it ruthlessly. Groaning against Geralt’s mouth, he widened his legs, and Geralt settled more firmly against him.  As they ground together more fully, Geralt pressed himself closer. “Fuck, Gwynbleidd, stop teasing ,” groaned Iorveth, arching up hard.

 

“Oh, is that what I’m doing?” he drawled. “Been a while, Iorveth?”

 

Iorveth’s one good eye slid away, looking somewhere over Geralt’s shoulder. “Six months.”

 

That made Geralt pause, looking down at the elf. “Six months,” he repeated. “Then I was -- ah.” He cut himself off and crushed his mouth to Iorveth’s, kissing him hard. In a smooth motion, he dragged Iorveth’s hips against his, fucking down into him hard. “Cáemm, Iorveth,” he murmured against the elf’s ear, sucking the pointed tip into his mouth.

 

With a sharp gasp, Iorveth’s hips jerked twice and he came, clutching hard at Geralt’s hair. “Oil,” he growled on the tail end of a groan. “I trust you know how to use it?”

 

Pulling away, Geralt settled back on his heels, reaching for the abandoned oil next to them on the bed. He unstoppered it with a little effort, making sure to put the cork on the stone floor well away from them. He poured some into his hand, then sliding it around Iorveth’s spent cock.

 

The elf jerked hard, another low growl rumbling out of him. “Not! Not what I meant!”

 

Geralt smirked lazily, sliding his hand slowly around the twitching erection. “No? But you seemed to enjoy doing this to me , the last time we saw each other.” He moved slowly, adding oil with a steady hand. As Iorveth’s cock twitched and began to fill with blood again, he pressed his thumb just under the head, imitating the way Iorveth had done to Geralt.

 

Iorveth threw his head back, and he arched up in a sinuous rolling motion that made Geralt’s mouth go dry.

 

Truthfully, men hadn’t turned his head since before his hair had turned white, and Lambert had taken the first of the mutagens. But Iorveth was a class all his own. Geralt sat cross-legged on the bed to cradle the oil in a marginally safe place. He dipped a finger into the viscous fluid and trailed it over Iorveth’s hip, down his thigh and pressed it gently at the place Iorveth wanted it most. “You’ll have to tell me if I hurt you,” he said seriously.

 

“Never done this before?” Iorveth taunted, but the effect was somewhat lost as his voice went hoarse and breathy when Geralt slipped the tip of his finger inside him.

 

Twisting his finger around carefully, Geralt quirked an eyebrow. “No,” he answered honestly. “Not in…” He thought about it for a minute, absently quirking his finger and rubbing it inside Iorveth. As the elf gasped and writhed, Geralt finally said, “Eighty years or so?”

 

Iorveth blinked, his body stilling for a second until Geralt found what he was looking for, pressing his finger to it unerringly. “Eighty years?” he gasped. “I thought you only looked like…” Geralt added a second finger and Iorveth’s voice broke on a moan. “Like en hen dh’oine ?”

 

Using two fingers to rub and stimulate him inside, Geralt pressed his thumb against the vein on the underside of Iorveth’s cock with no small measure of retaliation. “You really think you should be calling me old, aen seidhe?

 

Shuddering hard, Iorveth fisted his hands in the blankets. “Perhaps not,” he grunted. “Go on, gwynbleidd. I’m ready enough, hurry up!”

 

Though Iorveth was still tight around his fingers, Geralt slicked himself with oil, and pressed the head of his cock against Iorveth’s entrance. “ Caen yn ?” he murmured, leaning over Iorveth. The elf reached up and dragged him into a kiss, and that was all the permission he needed.

 

He slid against Iorveth, pressing slowly inside him. The elf’s body tensed, holding stiff against Geralt’s before suddenly yielding. With a pop, he slid inside and Iorveth’s groan sounded torn from him. “Good?”

 

Iorveth nodded, relaxing even further into the bed. “Just go slowly,” he grumbled through deep breaths. “But not slow enough for you drag your arse, though, Geralt .”

 

Laughing breathlessly, Geralt leaned down and rolled his hips in a small circle. “Fast enough for you, elf?” The glassy eyed pleasure on Iorveth’s face punched a hard curl of desire in Geralt’s belly, causing him to jerk his hips. Iorveth cried out, fingers clenching in the fabric of the blankets.

 

“Again,” he growled, clenching down on Geralt. “That, again!”

 

Obligingly, Geralt jerked his hips in the same way, dragging his cock over the sensitive spot inside Iorveth. “As you wish,” he murmured into the warm skin of the elf’s shoulder, and his angle set; began to thrust.

 

They rolled together on the bed, Geralt grinding down and Iorveth with aborted thrusts upwards. As pleasure began to haze out the details of the room, Geralt could only focus on the body below him, his awareness narrowed to the harsh breathing between them. When Iorveth’s pants began taking on a truly desperate whining keen only then did Geralt hook his fingers around Iorveth’s cock and begin stroking.

 

Iorveth snarled like a mad thing, the sound cut off and choked as he slammed his hand over his mouth. Despite the his efforts, Geralt’s attuned ears could hear his animal sounds which only spurred him onward.

 

It would take too much effort to find the oil now, and Geralt needed all his attention on the undulating body beneath his. Iorveth’s cock was dripping, slicking the path of his hand easily as he stroke counter point to his thrusts. Beneath his hand, Iorveth’s noises were reduced to broken words in his mother tongue, the Elder speak breaking off in fits and starts.

 

Geralt reared back, digging his thumb under the head of Iorveth’s cock and slamming home inside him. Iorveth froze for long seconds before his cock twitched and he came, spilling over Geralt’s hand. It only took a few more thrusts for Geralt to join him, holding Iorveth’s hips still through the aftershocks of their orgasms.

 

Sleepy eyed and languid, Iorveth pulled Geralt down to his level, kissed him with weary passion. “Stay the night,” he requested, voice raspy and fucked out.

 

There were a hundred and one things left to do, Geralt knew that better than anyone. Yennefer waited and Ciri was still missing.

 

He could take one day.

 

“Sure,” he murmured back, settling on the narrow bed, Iorveth to his front. “I’ll stay for tonight.”

 

There was a wicked slice of a grin in the dark, and Iorveth chuckled. “I’ll wake you in the morning.”

 

There’s a dark promise in his voice and Geralt smirked back, hiding the expression in the pillow. “I’m looking forward to it.” Tomorrow would come when it came. 

 

Geralt had tonight.


*tbc

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

Iorveth escorted him to the entrance of the cave structure in the morning, shoulder close enough to brush against. “Ceridwen,” he barked at a female elf who sat on the edge of the boulders hiding their position. She immediately leapt to her feet, dropping an easy fifteen feet down to the ground in front of them. “This is Geralt,” Iorveth introduced gruffly.

“A vatt’ghern,” she breathed quietly. “Honor to meet you,” she added formally, and bowed a little, inclining her head.

Geralt glanced at Iorveth before nodding back. “Likewise,” he said, a bit out of sorts.

Iorveth’s shoulder pressed into his for the barest second. “He’s to be allowed access to the grove without question,” he ordered.

“Of course, Iorveth,” Ceridwen said smartly, saluting. She jumped lightly from rock to rock before taking her place as lookout, blending seamlessly into the brush and vines. Iorveth led him further out of the grove and towards the large copse of trees. Focusing his senses, and when Geralt could no longer hear Ceridwen’s breathing, he turned back to look at Iorveth.

“Allowed access?” he drawled, raising one eyebrow slightly. “What’s your second in command going to say about that?”

Iorveth scowled. “Nothing, if he’d like to live past the conversation.”

Geralt snorted, leaning against one of the trees. “I won’t be back for a while,” he warned. “I have to get passage to Skellige, and I have no idea how long it will take to sort out what happened there.”

Apprehension and knowledge dawned over Iorveth’s face in equal measure. “And your Yennefer will be there.”

Pulling a face, Geralt shrugged. “She’s not my anything.”

Iorveth tilted his head to one side. “Does she know that?”

Running a hand over this face, Geralt pressed a thumb into the socket of his right eye. Thinking about Yen and his ill conceived wish from years ago gave him a headache. Trying to untangle the snarl of thoughts and feelings that still swirled around the sorceress was more trouble than it was worth most days.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said after a moment. “Ours was never a story with a happy ending, and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her…” He shook his head. “We’ll see what happens when I get to Skellige, I suppose.”

Iorveth nodded, expression blank before it melted into a sort of warmth that Geralt was surprised to see. He stepped into Geralt’s space, sliding a hand up under the low tail of Geralt’s hair, pressing cool fingers to the nape of his neck. Recognizing the move for the hello he’d gotten the morning before, Geralt copied the movement, and rested their foreheads together.

“Safe to say that I won’t see you then?” Iorveth asked, their noses brushing.

Geralt tightened his fingers on the back of Iorveth’s neck, holding him in place for another long moment. “I don’t know,” he admitted, quiet. “I do know that someday soon I might need your help.”

“You have it,” Iorveth promised swiftly.

With a low laugh, Geralt drew away, shaking his head. “You may change your mind.”

Iorveth arched a brow at him, settling back with his arms crossed over his chest. “Change my mind?” he drawled. “Not about you.” Geralt was momentarily struck mute from sheer surprise and Iorveth chuckled. “Don’t look so shocked, Geralt . I - and all my people - owe you our lives. If you had not journeyed with me to Vergen, Saskia would not walk free and nor would I.”

Taking refuge in much safer territory, Geralt rolled his eyes. “I think we’ve paid each other back enough times by now, Iorveth.”

“Maybe so, Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth murmured. “But I will follow you to Kaer Morhen all the same. You can tally it up on my side, if you must.” There was something glittering in his eye, an emotion Geralt couldn’t name. It stared out at him, and Geralt didn’t know how to answer it.

He drew in a deep breath, and made a concentrated effort to relax his stance. “Thank you,” he murmured.

Iorveth nodded. “Think nothing of it,” he muttered back, and whatever had been in his eye was gone. “Come find me, if you need us.”

Geralt nodded back, and held out a hand for Iorveth to take. “I’ll find you if I need you,” he agreed.

Instead of clasping his forearm like Geralt expected, Iorveth curled delicate fingers around his wrist and tugged him forward so their chests bumped. “Good bye,” Iorveth said quietly, and pressed their mouths together in a kiss.

It was easy to let Iorveth back him into the tree, easy to tilt his head for better access. Crowded into the tree, Geralt widened his stance to let Iorveth lean more heavily against him. Their hips were slotted together as they kissed, and Geralt reflected with lust soaked amusement that this was how they got in trouble in the first place.

With a heavy sigh, Iorveth pulled away, lingering just a bit. “You should go,” he prompted. “Before it’s dark.”

Geralt flashed a smile. “Witcher’s work best when it’s dark.”

The expression Iorveth gave him was so long-suffering and annoyed that his smile widened. “Get,” he snapped, shooing him away with a lazy hand wave. “Good luck in Skellige.”

Geralt nodded, stepping away from the tree and heading away from the copse. A few feet away he turned to look over his shoulder, squinting a little in the light. Iorveth stood where Geralt had left him, one arm half crossed over his chest, the other hanging by his side. “Iorveth,” he called. “Don’t die.”

The expression that crossed over his face was open; a longing that Geralt knew only too well.

That was not the story they had, though. Geralt couldn’t throw in his lot with the Scoia’tael now anymore than he could two years ago.  So he raised his hand in a farewell wave and whistled for Roach.

It was time to face the last of his past, and find the answers he’d been searching for.

As he lifted himself onto Roach’s back, Iorveth whistled at him, standing just a bit closer. “You either,” he called. “Come find me.”

Geralt can’t make promises. He hadn’t been wired that way for eighty years, and neither Triss nor Yen had given him much more than smiles and touch. “I will,” he swore, quirking a smile. “I’ll see you soon.”

That, at least, he could promise.

He wheeled Roach about, pointing North towards Novigrad. It was time to go.

*

Faced with the reality of Ciri’s lifeless body, despair stabbed him in the chest and ripped out what was left of his black heart. She was just as beautiful as Dudu had shown them, and Geralt couldn’t - he couldn’t look at her. Squeezing his eyes shut, he stumbled back to the bed and gathered her up in his arms and held her tightly.

Despite the fire in the cabin, her skin was cold and lifeless, waxy in death. The world narrowed around him, as he clutched her and rocked.  Ciri was dead - his little girl was gone. He was too late.

Geralt had failed.

He rocked there on the bed for an indeterminate length of time, digging his fingers into the soft doeskin of her vest. She was limp, but she barely weighed even anything.

Avalla’ch’s guidance light zipped around him but Geralt paid it no mind. It was just as late as he was - if not later. It could return to Kaer Morhen on it’s own and bring its master the news. Geralt wouldn’t be able to set foot there for a long time - it would bring too many memories.

There was a twitch against his back, barely felt through thick heavy armor. Then another, as though a hand had brushed up against his spine. And Ciri took a deep breath, her chest expanding against his arms. “Geralt?” she breathed, and he nearly shoved her away in his haste to see her face.

She rubbed her eyes, looking rumpled and sleepy. Avalla’ch’s guidance light was nowhere to seen. (That meant one thing: the bastard had known what Geralt would find when he came to this place.) “Geralt?” she murmured again.

“Ciri.” Geralt dragged her back into his embrace, relishing the points of pain as her armor dug into his. She clutched him back just as tightly, her fingers knotting in his collar.  “I thought you were dead,” he muttered, inhaling the beggartick blossom scent still clinging to her skin and clothes. She felt reassuringly alive, her ribs expanding under his arms.

She shook a little with laughter, tightening her fingers on his arms. “I was, more or less,” she said, and Geralt really doesn’t want to hear that. He managed to keep himself from smothering her, pulling away to look her in the eyes. “It’s so good to see you,” she said, a small smile lighting up her face.

Pressing a kiss to her forehead, Geralt silently agrees. “You must be hungry,” he grunts, and she covers her stomach in amused embarrassment. “I have something in my pack,” he added and went to the fire to root through it.

A moment later she joined him, settling herself by the fire on his left. As they ate the chicken sandwiches he’d taken from the Inn on Ard Skellige, Ciri filled him in on the things she’d done while running from the Hunt. He quickly waved away any implication she made about Craven - Skjall - and wondered briefly how he was to tell her that he was dead.

“Tell me,” she said when she’d finished her rendition, “how is everyone? Who have you seen?”

He’s no Dandelion but he managed to make her laugh telling her about his rescue from Temple Island, skating over Triss’ torture. “Zoltan is well,” he added after a moment of chewing the last of his sandwich. “Ran into Roche as well. It’s been a surprising few months.”

Ciri gazed at him with wide guileless eyes and she asked, seemingly innocent, “And Yennefer?”

Geralt heaved a sigh, brushing crumbs off his lap. “She’s the one who helped me get here,” he said after a moment. “She reversed the spell on Avalla’ch, who pointed me in this direction.” Almost literally, he thought to himself as Ciri’s innocent smile relaxed into something soft and warm.

“I’m glad he’s well,” she murmured. Then her expression turned shrewd, nearly a carbon copy of Yen’s and she scowled at him. “You didn’t really answer my question though.”

With another sigh, Geralt turned slightly to face her. “I know you always wanted us to stay together,” he said, “but Yen and I…” He shook his head.

Ciri reached out and hook her fingers around his. “No, Geralt. I want you to be happy.”

A corner of his mouth lifted a small smile. “I could be,” he said, thinking of green eyes and arrows. “But right now I’m far more concerned about the Wild Hunt and how to keep you safe.”

Her eyes narrowed at the obvious brush off but she let it go. “Well, we can’t stay here forever,” she said briskly. “Where are we going when we get off this island?”

“Kaer Morhen,” Geralt answered. “It’s the most easily defensible place we know, and all of our allies are heading there.”

Softening, Ciri smiled again, a slow brilliant thing that reminded him so strongly of her younger years as his protege he nearly lost his breath. “Home,” she said and the longing in her tone was nearly touchable.

“Yeah,” Geralt murmured. “Home.”

She stood, brushing off her pants, and swinging her sword up over her shoulder. “Who is there now?”

Geralt had to think about it for a second. “Letho is there, or will be soon. Keira Metz too. Yen and Vesemir of course. Eskel and Lambert came back in from the wilds. At a moment’s notice I can call in Zoltan, Triss, Roche… Iorveth.”

Ciri tilted her head to the side, frowning in thought. “Iorveth? That’s a Scoia’tael name.”

He nodded. “I saved his life a few months ago in Flotsam, and then again in Vergen,” Geralt answered her unasked question. “He’s repaid it in kind a few times, but we’ve become… friends, of a sort.”

She laughed a little in surprise. “You’ll have to tell me that story,” she said firmly.

“Well,” Geralt said as they walked out the door towards the shore, “first, you have to know that Flotsam had a kayran problem. A really big one… Sile de Tansarville had come to help with it--”

“-- Help? Really?--”

“-- Which of course meant she stood up on a cliff side overlooking the bay shouting at me. Don’t interrupt.”

During the long boat ride out of the Isle of Mists, and the longer voyage from Skellige to Novigrad, Geralt recounted his last six months. At night, Ciri curled into his side, pillowing her head on his shoulder and the low level anxiety that had plagued him since getting Yennefer’s letter eased in his chest.

They were going to win.

*

They weren’t going to win.

After the frustration of trying to get Emhyr to listen to reason, and Djikstra proving the only friendship he knew was gold and sadness, Geralt looked out over his friends and counted their meager numbers. Despite how glad he was that Triss had returned from Kovir and that Letho and Keira had decided to take his advice, Geralt realized that their numbers are worryingly small.

He was startled out of his thoughts as Ciri leaned her head on his shoulder, loosely wrapping her arms around one of his. “You’re fretting,” she murmured quietly. “You’re not supposed to fret.”

“Gotta admit,” he murmured back, “haven’t ever come up against odds like these.”

She switched her grip from his arms to a full blown hug, hiding her face in his neck like she’d done as a child. “You’ve done all you could. I’ve never seen so many of our friends and allies in one place.”

Geralt nodded, tilting his head so it rested on top of her hair. “I know,” he grumbled. “Roche and Letho are even getting along, isn’t that the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?”

She laughed, and pulled away. She opened her mouth to speak but the main Keep doors suddenly were flung open with a bang. “Geralt!” Zoltan hollered. “Geralt, get your ploughin’ arse over here!”

They stood together, on their feet in an instant. “They can’t already be here,” Geralt called back, striding away from their seats to join the dwarf.

“Not the Hunt, laddie,” Zoltan said darkly. “Just as problematic though.”

Scowling, Geralt caught the door before it could swing closed. “What the hell could possibly be more-- oh.” He leaned heavily on the door, looking out over the scoia’tael archers filling the courtyard.  His eyes skipped over each row, counting about two hundred or so. At the front stood a familiar face, and Geralt relaxed. “You’re late,” he called roughly.

“You think marching an army over those mountain paths is easy, Gwynbleidd?” Iorveth drawled, leaning on his long bow.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Roche said, stepping out from behind one of the walls. “Tell me I’m not seeing this, Geralt.”

"You're not seeing this, Roche," Geralt parroted. But he wasn't looking at the Blue Stripes Commander, he only had eyes for Iorveth. "I didn't think you would get here in time," he added to the elves.

The side of Iorveth's mouth lifted in his customary smirk. "I owe you," he drawled. He glanced over at where Roche was vibrating in place, scowling. "Good to see you again!" He called over, a snide laugh hooking the end of his words.

"Wish I could say the same," Vernon growled.

Iorveth half turned towards his men, and asked: "where do you want them?"

Vesemir pointed at the walls of both the inner and outer courtyards. "We have a few hours until battle," he called, loud enough for the elves to hear. "But install yourselves nearest to the walls, keep the Hunt from getting in."

Almost as one, the elves broke formation and disappeared up into the walls, blending in almost seamlessly. Only Iorveth remained and he turned back to face Geralt. "Two hundred of my finest archers," he said. "And myself, of course." He transferred his gaze to Ciri. "It's good to meet you in person," he called to her, almost charming. "Geralt has told me a lot about you."

Ciri glanced at him. "You're Iorveth, right?" The elf nodded with a small smile. "Geralt's told me a lot about you, too."

Though Iorveth’s face stayed carefully blank, his eye did flicker towards Geralt’s in something like surprise. “Did he now?” He drawled.

She smiled. “I think we’ll have a lot to discuss, Master Elf,” she drawled back, affecting his tone nearly perfectly.

Iorveth blinked in surprise before he smirked. “I’m certain we do,” he responded.

Once the excitement of new arrivals wore away, Geralt found himself cornered by Roche, just inside the kitchen of the keep. “A little warning would have been nice, Geralt.”

Unconcerned, Geralt shrugged one shoulder, rifling through a box for some honeycomb. “War isn’t nice, Roche, you know that. I ran into Iorveth in Novigrad, he offered me his help, I took him up on it. Are you really going to make a fuss about his help when our numbers are worryingly small without him?”

Roche grunted. “No, but I could have done without the shock.”

At that, Geralt threw a smile over his shoulder. “It’s good for you. Besides, I didn’t even know if they were going to come.”

He’d hadn’t had the time to find Iorveth’s grotto, with a trip to Vizima in the books, and had sent Zoltan to find the Scoia’tael in his stead. Zoltan had reported that Iorveth agreed to make his way to Kaer Morhen and then five days had passed without any word or sighting.

“Still,” Roche said. “I accepted Letho’s presence…” He manfully ignores Geralt’s snort. “... but this, Geralt this is too much.”

With a heavy sigh, Geralt gave up looking for honeycomb and turned to face Roche. “Vernon, just spit it out,” he said. “I know I’m asking a lot. Ciri is worth it. But if you and Ves can’t ignore Iorveth, I won’t hold it against you if you want to go.”

Roche made a face, shaking his head. “We’re not going anywhere, don’t be ridiculous.” Geralt let the silence speak for itself, gazing at Roche steadily as though to say he’s the one being ridiculous. “You sure you can trust him?” He finally asked, and Geralt snorted.

“Yes, Roche,” he drawled. “I’m pretty certain I can trust him.” If he thinks of stolen kisses in a grove of trees, that was nobody’s business but his own.

Once Roche had disappeared back into the main keep, perhaps to tell Ves that they’re staying, Geralt finally located his honeycomb and crept back out into the main room. Once the unexpected commune had dispersed after Iorveth’s arrival, Geralt had lost sight of him nearly immediately.

He knew where everyone else had taken up residency, including Avalla’ch, if only because Ciri gravitated between them like opposing magnets. If she thought she was being subtle, she still had a lot to learn. Even though Geralt couldn’t judge, having spent the last half hour hunting for honeycomb for a prickly aen seidhe.

Geralt gave half a thought to sneaking through the keep to find Iorveth but luck - as ever - was not on his side. Yen blocked his way out of the stairwell, her hands on her hips. He fought the urge to hide the sweet behind his back like a child and her eyebrows rose in incredulous confusion. “You hate honeycomb,” she said.

Shit.

“It’s for Iorveth,” Geralt grumbled reluctantly.

He could see the minute she put two and two together, as her face went riotously red then coldly angry. “I see,” she bit out. “And when were you going to tell me about this Iorveth?” She managed to make his name sound like a curse and Geralt bristled. “First my best friend,” she said, low and angry, “and now an elf?”

Geralt exhaled slowly. “Damn it, Yen. I didn’t remember anything!” He snapped. “I didn’t get everything back until six months ago.” He scowled, fingers tightening around the leaf wrapped honeycomb. “And,” he added, annoyed and angry, “when I tried to speak to you about it, you teleported me into the lake!”

“You were being an ass,” Yen said scathingly.

Truly, Geralt didn’t know if the lifting of the djinn’s spell was why he was finding her behavior so reprehensible, but right now he could barely look at her. “I’m always an ass,” he told her sharply. “Iorveth is a good friend, and came here to help. Whatever else he may be - he is here for Ciri.”

He couldn’t teleport her into the Lake, but he could stomp past her and out into the keep. Eskel took one look at him and immediately about faced, hurrying in the other direction. Lambert swiftly got out of his way, muttering ‘nope’ under his breath until he disappeared around a corner.

Vesemir, on the other hand, stepped into his way and placed a quelling hand on his chest. “We should speak of strategy sooner rather than later,” he said in a tone that brooked no argument. Geralt nodded once and Vesemir allowed him to pass.

It wasn’t until he got outside that he realized he still had no idea where Iorveth had hidden himself. Taking a cue from where Iorveth had been back in Vergen, Geralt made his way around the inside gates and towards the furthest outside courtyard.

Geralt found him in a darkened corner just inside the portcullis, leaning against the wall. "Your daughter is a charming girl," he drawled as soon as he saw the witcher.

“She is,” Geralt agreed, stepping into the shade with Iorveth. Straining his enhanced senses, he could only hear Letho’s practice swings at one of the dummies on the edge of his range. They were, effectively, alone. “Could it be that you’re hiding from her?”

Iorveth snorted a laugh, shaking his head. “No,” he said, a little snide. “I am hiding from your purple eyed sorceress who looks as though she’d like to set me aflame.”

“She’s not my anything,” Geralt responded reflexively. He wondered to himself if that hasn’t been true for some time. He certainly hasn’t been hers.

“I notice you didn’t say that she didn’t desire to set me aflame,” Iorveth drawled, pushing away from the wall.

Geralt chuckled, holding out the wrapped up honeycomb. “I make it a point not to lie to my friends,” he said. “And she’d probably like to set me on fire too.”

With an intrigued noise, Iorveth takes the sweet from Geralt, unwrapping it immediately and taking a bite. “And what have you done to warrant such a reaction?” He asked, around his mouthful of honey.

Running frustrated fingers through his hair, Geralt sighed. “Breathed, I think.” Iorveth nudged his foot forward, pressing the outside against the instep of Geralt’s boot. It wasn’t much, but Geralt took that moment to soak in Iorveth’s quiet calm.

The elf ate his honeycomb in quick, neat bites, close enough to touch but letting their only point of contact be through the light touch of his foot. “She knows,” Geralt said, and Iorveth flicked a glance at him. “About… you and I.”

He had no idea how to phrase it, really. Truth be told, there wasn’t a ‘Iorveth and Geralt’ not the way there had been a ‘Geralt and Triss’. But whatever there was between them, Yen definitely knew about it. “Ah,” Iorveth said eloquently, letting the wrapped leaves fall to the ground and crossing his arms over his chest. “So that is why she wishes to set us on fire.”

Geralt found a laugh from somewhere. “No, that’s only why she wants to set you on fire,” he clarified. “I, however, have a much longer list of sins.”

“I’m certain you’ll survive.” It sounded derisive, but Geralt heard what Iorveth didn’t say.

He thought of Ciri, locked up in the Keep, and the friends who had gathered to help keep her safe. “I’m certain we will too,” he said.

He wasn’t talking about Yen anymore.

One side of Iorveth’s mouth lifted in a small smile. When Geralt returned the expression, he leaned forward and kissed it away. “For luck,” Iorveth said quietly, noses brushing. He gently pushed Geralt back towards the Keep.

Geralt went willingly enough, feeling Iorveth fall into step behind him. They have plans to go over and things to discuss. The time for feelings and pleasure was later when Ciri was safe and Imlerith was gone.

Taking charge wasn’t exactly easy, wrangling personalities like Lambert, Letho, Keira and Yen into one room, but Geralt made a concentrated effort to keep his head together. The smallest slip up and Ciri would vanish - this time forever.

It wasn’t until he raced for the last set of doors stopping Imlerith and his minions that he realized exactly what they were up against. He’d killed too many soldiers of the Wild Hunt. He’d gotten complacent. His last clear thought before ice overtook him was an apology.

I’m sorry, Ciri. I tried.

*tbc

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

For the first time in a very long time, Iorveth found himself torn. Through the fog and falling snow, he could see where Geralt and all the others were frozen, coated in ice. But, around the corner, far from Geralt’s defensive position by the gates, he could also see Ciri and the vatt’ghern Vesemir. Even with his superior hearing he could barely hear the sound of battle from where they were pinned down.

Moving quickly from the crumbling ramparts where he’d taken shelter, Iorveth drew close. He was just in time for Ciri to lose her sword, and Vesemir to be pinned to the wall behind him. He nocked an arrow, searching for a weak point. He would have one chance, if Ciri vanished or was killed, Geralt would never forgive himself.

Loosing the arrow into the vulnerable place where helm and armor met, Iorveth felled the soldier holding Vesemir. He leapt down off the wall, landing lightly on his feet to stand guard over Ciri.

That was all the witcher and witcheress needed in terms of surprise. Vesemir blasted six armored soldiers backwards into one of Eskel’s mines, while Ciri stretched out a hand and disappeared. Momentarily alarmed, Iorveth whirled, only to see her appear behind the men encircling them. Dropping his bow - there was no time for finesse - Iorveth scooped up Vesemir’s fallen blade and took a position behind him.

He was rather strongly reminded of a year before, when he stood back to back with a different witcher that foretold a partnership even Iorveth hadn’t seen coming.

They made short work of the rest of the soldiers, leaving only the sorcerer and Imlerith. Ciri clutched a medallion around her neck, then vanished again, forcing the translocator to dodge out of the way of a fireball. As though on cue, the sky opened up again, raining even more fire from the heavens.

Vesemir tackled him, and not a moment too soon, as meteors slammed into the ground where Iorveth had been standing. Dragging both Iorveth and Ciri with him, Vesemir backed them up as far as possible against the outer wall of Kaer Morhen. Through shimmering orange, they watched Imlerith flee through a portal, utterly deterred by the raining fire. “Was this you?” Vesemir shouted over the explosions.

“Not me,” Ciri shouted back. “Avalla’ch!”

Iorveth went abruptly cold, he’d heard of the elven mage and none of it was good. As soon as the portal closed, the firestorm ceased, leaving only torn earth and the stench of sulfur behind.

The protective barrier Vesemir had summoned dropped a moment later, and together all three stepped out into the open. “Thanks,” the witcher grunted, holding a hand out to Iorveth. “If you hadn’t shot that ploughing elf, I’d be dead right now.”

Iorveth clasped his arm to Vesemir’s. “I owed Geralt one,” he muttered. “No thanks necessary.”

As soon as he’d untangled himself from the vatt’ghern, he was getting embraced by Ciri. “I don’t know what I would have done if Vesemir had died,” she whispered in his ear. “Whatever your reasons, thank you.”

Iorveth was spared a reply when the sound of breaking ice reached them and Geralt raced around the corner, bloody and out of breath. He visibly slumped with relief when he saw all three of them standing in the wreckage of the courtyard. “Sound off,” Vesemir barked, the sound bouncing off the walls.

“Here,”grunted Eskel, limping towards them, holding his bleeding side.

“And us,” Roche called from below. “Ves needs a medic.”

“All present and accounted for,” Metz drawled, her arm around a sour looking Lambert.

One by one, they gathered in the courtyard, some leaning on each other, others standing alone. Iorveth stood stock still, Ciri’s arms still around his neck.

They had won.

*

It was many hours into the celebration when Geralt sought him out. There was a bonfire in the central courtyard, and Iorveth had chosen to loiter somewhere as far from the center of attention as possible.

“This seems to be a habit,” Geralt intoned from behind him. “Each place I find you has you far from locale as possible.”

Smirking, Iorveth turned to face him. “Did you forget I’m Scoia’tael?” he asked, somewhat dubious. “I would make a fine addition to a gallows tree if I did not otherwise make myself scarce.”

Geralt gestured over his shoulder at the celebration behind him. “Hardly something to fear here.”

“Habits of a lifetime,” Iorveth admitted. “Should you not be with your friends and comrades?”

With a long look, Geralt shrugged. “Are you not one among that number?” The question made him uncomfortable in a way he didn’t wish to analyze, so Iorveth said nothing. Geralt stalked closer, coming within touching distance. “What are we, if not friends and comrades?” he added.

“Allies,” Iorveth snapped, taking a step back and tugging the red cloth back down around his eye.

Looking endlessly amused, Geralt crossed his arms over his chest. “Of course,” he agreed. “Does our being allies mean we aren’t friends or comrades?”

Abruptly tired of the game, Iorveth made a sharp gesture. “Your sorceresses are out there,” he snapped, lip curling.

“Neither of them are my anything,” Geralt corrected mildly. He leaned his shoulder against the wall. “I have chosen to be here. If you don’t wish me to stay, then I’m gone.”

Geralt would certainly find less judgement out amongst his chosen friends and allies, but despite that, Iorveth could not summon the words to send him away. Lifting a shoulder in a shrug designed to feign his nonchalance, Iorveth retreated around his small fire to lean against the wall. “You can do as you wish,” Iorveth drawled, watching Geralt carefully.

The amused look on Geralt’s face told him that his feigned disinterest was noted and ignored. “I came here,” Geralt said. He strode around the fire to lean his shoulder on the wall next to Iorveth. “Triss and Yen are out there, which is where they may stay.”

Iorveth shot him a glance out of the corner of his good eye, relaxing against the wall. “Does Yennefer of Vengerberg still wish to set me on fire?”

“Probably less, now that you’ve saved Vesemir’s life.”

Iorveth conceded the point with a nod. “Perhaps.” He turned to face Geralt, tilting his head slightly to see him better. “That doesn’t explain why you’re out here, with me.”

Geralt leaned in, telegraphing obviously but Iorveth was ready for him. He tilted his chin up to meet the witcher’s kiss, leaning into him just enough for points of contact. He hadn’t expected Geralt to truly scorn his sorceresses for Iorveth’s company, not really. It was easy to state and profess away from them, after all. But Geralt slid closer, kissing Iorveth gently, and it was clearly not an embrace of lust but one of thanks.

Iorveth slid a hand up under the tail of Geralt’s hair, finding the back of his neck. He was still damp with sweat and melting snow, skin slightly gritty. He tilted his head down when Geralt’s hand quested behind into his hair. They broke the kiss, foreheads pressed together. “Thank you,” Geralt murmured, lips chapped against his skin. “We would have lost without you and your men.”

He didn’t doubt it. “Our pleasure,” Iorveth answered. He tightened his grip on the back of Geralt’s neck before pulling away. “Listen,” he said after a minute, fire highlighting the silver of the witcher’s hair. “Don’t trust Avalla’ch.”

Geralt snorted, shaking his head. “I rarely trust anyone,” he drawled. “It’s why I’m still alive today.” He sobered quickly before Iorveth could censure him. “I understand,” he added. “I’ll keep an eye on him.”

Iorveth pressed another kiss to Geralt’s mouth, and let him press Iorveth to the wall behind him. He shifted just enough to turn and draw Geralt closer. Flush against each other, front to front, Iorveth took Geralt’s whole weight, leaning back against the wall. Hidden by walls and the awning above them, their kiss was languid, neither rushing. For too long their encounters had been short, impassioned, but never lengthy.

Though this embrace was no less impassioned for its gentleness, Iorveth mused, as Geralt’s knee found it’s way between his legs. It rested there, pressed into the wall so that Iorveth could lean against his thigh. The pressure made him ache, but he only drew Geralt closer, tilting his hips just so. Dimly, he could feel the answering hardness in Geralt’s breeches, but the witcher never deepened the kiss, never upped the urgency.

This was all lips, and tongue and mouth. Iorveth had never been kissed like this before.

He couldn’t help but press into it, sliding his palms up Geralt’s arms to dig into the armor at his shoulders. Geralt leaned against him harder, and the pressure against his erection made him gasp and shudder. The languid kiss wasn’t so languid after that, as gentleness drained away to be replaced by knife edged urgency.

Iorveth dropped one hand to Geralt’s hip, tugging him closer, riding his thigh. Geralt responded in kind, sliding his hands down to lift Iorveth higher, clutching firmly at his arse. There was too much armor between them, hardened leather and pointed studs, clashing against each other. Geralt didn’t seem to pay it any mind, deepening the kiss and turning it filthy.

Geralt’s tongue fucked into Iorveth’s mouth, sliding slickly and pressing hard behind his teeth. Even as his mouth dropped open in another gasp, Geralt dragged his mouth away to press hard, teeth framed kisses to his jaw and neck, scraping and sucking in a way that made Iorveth’s thighs go tight.

“Geralt, are you-- oh bloody hell.”

Iorveth didn’t exactly shove him, but they sprang apart like criminals. Iorveth yanked his bandana down, covering his missing eye before turning to glare at the dwarf who interrupted them. Geralt didn’t look ashamed, at least, only sheepish as he rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “Zoltan,” he greeted, and if it wasn’t immediately obvious what they were doing before, it would be now. Geralt’s voice was rough like gravel over stone, a register too deep and it sent shivers down Iorveth’s spine.

“This explains a lot, laddie,” Zoltan said, rubbing his forehead with one hand. “Yennefer is storming about the place, seems she went to find you and couldn’t.”

Geralt’s low laugh did nothing but add to his arousal. “So she press-ganged you into finding me, is that it?”

Zoltan dropped his hand, giving Geralt a level look. “When Triss went missin’ from the party also, I thought you’d have been with her.” Geralt’s huff was faintly irritated but Zoltan just kept talking over him. “Didnae expect to find you here with Iorveth of all folk.”

Ice replaced the warm hum of arousal. Whatever he and Geralt were, it was unspoken. It was secret. It was not done. There was a sort of stiffness in Geralt’s shoulders when he shrugged. “Is it really?” he asked, voice still a little rough. “I don’t see any difference.”

Zoltan’s eyes darted to Iorveth. His scowl deepened, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “Fine, fine,” he said, waving a hand. “Suppose this is why Yen’s been bloody pissed since before the battle.”

“Yen and I were over a long time ago,” Geralt said, glancing at Iorveth out of the corner of his eye. “And Triss,” he added, “left me. I don’t owe either of them anything.”

Zoltan chuckled, seemingly unconcerned about Iorveth’s glower or the apparent threat of angry sorceresses. “Well, come on then, Geralt. Your sorcerer aen seidhe called a meetin’ and we’re all meant to be there.”

“Sure,” Geralt said, tired and worn, gravel soaked pleasure all but gone from his voice. “I’ll be there in a moment.”

Zoltan nodded. “‘Course, laddie.” He tipped his head in Iorveth’s direction. “Thanks for your help, elf.”

Iorveth waved him off. “Good fighting, dwarf.”

Once his silhouette disappeared around the corner, Geralt turned back to look at Iorveth. “Now,” he said, low and rough again, “where were we?”

He allowed another kiss, this one short and heartfelt before pushing Geralt back a pace. “You,” he said, “are needed back in the Keep. It’s best not to keep Avalla’ch waiting.”

Geralt groaned, pressing his forehead to Iorveth’s temple. “Fine,” he grunted. “I’ll be back after this meeting.” He placed a light kiss against the corner of Iorveth’s mouth and disappeared the same way Zoltan had. Iorveth watched him, rueful and disappointed.

It seemed he’d worn out his welcome far sooner than he’d anticipated. The battle was won, Geralt had saved his daughter, and lost none of his friends and comrades. He’d done as he’d set out to do, as he’d promised to do.

It was time to go.

*

Despite having covertly left, sending his men back down the mountain and slipping through the wilds to return to Velen, Iorveth does not expect to see the Witcher again. He kept his men close to the borders of his grotto, waiting for the day that the Wild Hunt would descend. He expected it, his involvement in the Witcher’s war was obvious. He’d fought back to back with Vesemir in front of Imlerith, he’d be a fool not to expect some sort of retribution. So when his second in command barked a warning that carried down through the grotto, Iorveth readied his bow and stepped out to face the Hunt.

The punch to the face was entirely unexpected. Iorveth staggered back a step, blinking up into cold, angry golden eyes.

“Geralt,” he breathed, and the eyes narrowed further. “... Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth amended.

“No, really,” a voice said from far behind them. “I’m with him. The angry witcher? Really can’t miss him.” Iorveth let himself look over Geralt’s shoulder, somewhat surprised to see Cirilla standing several feet back, barred by Ceridwen and Altair.

He cleared his throat. “Let her pass,” he said, and was further surprised when the witcheress ducked around her father and gave Iorveth a hug.

“Iorveth,” she said warmly, “it’s so good to see you.” She kissed his cheek before stepping back and hooking an arm around one of Geralt’s.

He couldn’t detect any lies from her but the look on Geralt’s face made it difficult for him to relax. “You as well,” he replied, masking the confusion in his voice. “What brings you here?”

Ciri smiled brilliantly, looking up at Geralt in adoration. “We killed Imlerith,” she stated, a proud expression crossing her face.

That dragged Geralt’s attention from Iorveth’s face to Ciri’s. “I’m sorry,” he drawled, “who killed Imlerith?”

She sighed, sounding grudging but for the smile. “Fine, fine. You killed Imlerith.”

The relief that slammed through him is nearly back breaking. “He is dead?” Iorveth asked, sharp and on edge. “Truly?”

“I may have burned his face off,” Geralt said, and the hard edges of his expression finally faded into something unreadable but less angry.

Ciri nodded, a bright smile on her face. “We were in the area, and I hadn’t a chance to thank you, for what you did.”

Uncomfortable, Iorveth shrugged one shoulder, looking away. “I did nothing.”

“You saved Vesemir,” she said. “That’s no little thing. A battlefield embrace is small thanks for that.” She shot Geralt a sly grin. “Besides, he missed you.”

That dragged Iorveth’s gaze immediately to Geralt’s, searching his expression for a gap. “This place is always welcome to you, Gwynbleidd. And to you, Ciri.” He waved them towards his hut, trying not to think of the last time Geralt had been inside.

Geralt seemed to be having the same problem, at least, his gaze immediately drawn to the bed. Ciri, for her part, just looked amused. “So!” she said, settling herself at the table. “You should know the Crones are dead, as well.” Her amusement morphed into pride. “Them, I killed.”

Iorveth was impressed despite himself. “No small feat,” he congratulated.

“Thank you!” she said, leaning back in her chair. “I’m just dragging poor Geralt around the countryside today, and he mentioned your grotto was here. I knew I just had to come and thank you again.”

“No need,” Iorveth said. “I owed the Gwynbleidd quite a lot.” He didn’t look at Geralt as he spoke. “That debt has now been repaid.”

Ciri’s smile faded, and she blinked twice. “I see.” She looked sideways at Geralt. “Well I… suppose I thought you two were friends.”

Iorveth’s mouth lifted in a sardonic smirk. “I’m a Scoia’tael,” he said. “Any friends of mine wind up dead.”

And he well knew what happened to men who dallied with other men. He’d seen them hung for less, hung for worse. Flotsam was a den of debauchery and filth, but nothing would sear his mind like the two human lovers who were kept from holding each other’s hands as they fell, hanging from their necks until they’d finally died. A young Iorveth of memory could recall with bitter clarity, his closest friend of youth spurning him and turning away from their heated nights together.

It simply wasn’t done.

And Geralt had lot more left to lose than Iorveth did.

“Ciri,” Geralt rumbled, his voice low and gravel thick. “Mind giving me a minute with our friend here?”

She blinked once, twice, and sudden clarity dawned over her features. “Sure, sure, of course. I’ll… just be right outside.” She stood, and went to the door, looking over her shoulder only once. “Not too closely outside though,” she added, smirking and disappeared through the door.

As soon as the door closed behind her, Geralt was on his feet, circling the table like the wolf of his namesake. Iorveth tensed, but all Geralt did was urge him gently to his feet, one hand on his shoulder the other on his elbow. He pulled Iorveth to his feet with a gentle, but inexorable pressure. “Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth muttered. “What are you doing?”

“Proving a point,” Geralt murmured, “and one I thought didn’t need to be said.” Once he had Iorveth on his feet, turned away from the table, he met Iorveth’s one good eye and then sank to his knees.

Iorveth jerked back, but the chair was still behind him, the table to one side. He was trapped, effectively so. Warm hands slid up his legs, starting around his ankles, and Iorveth stared downwards with something approaching shock. Geralt’s golden eyes burned in the darkness, an intensity to them that Iorveth had only witnessed during the shock of succubi venom.

“Gwynbleidd?” Iorveth asked, voice going unnaturally high at the end of the word when Geralt cupped the front of his breeches.

“Quiet,” Geralt said, dark and heavy. “Unless you want company.”

Iorveth’s teeth snapped together audibly when he shut his mouth, causing Geralt to grin. There was still a measure of anger in his eyes, but it was quickly being drowned by lust, as the witcher worked to open the stays on Iorveth’s pants. In the short amount of time it took for him to take Iorveth out of his clothing, he’d gone from interested to agony.

Geralt stroked his cock, fingers soft and gentle against him, and Iorveth stopped breathing entirely. “You’ll have to forgive me,” Geralt growled, voice so low that it vibrated against him. “It’s been some time since the last time I did this.”

There was no time to brace, no time to do anything but cling to the edge of the table as Geralt licked at him, tracing his tongue around the crown of Iorveth’s cock. Geralt drew no quarter, showed no mercy, dragging his tongue from tip to root, then leaving sucking kisses against the vein.

Iorveth twitched and groaned, tightening his grip on the table. He was harder than meteorite, fighting the impulse to dig his free hand into Geralt’s hair. “Gwynble-- uhn!” He jerked forward, cutting himself off as Geralt wrapped his mouth around the tip of Iorveth’s cock and sucked gently.

Despite the action, Geralt’s mercy was short lived, as he licked and sucked trailing ungloved fingertips over neglected flesh. He tilted his head just so, pressing his tongue to the underside of Iorveth’s cockhead, rubbing it there in sloppy, maddening circles.

There was nothing Iorveth could do to stop himself from jerking in small, half aborted thrusts, until Geralt grabbed his hip to hold him steady. He was going to sport bruises from this. Iorveth was forced to dig his teeth into the collar of his leather jacket, biting down on his straining groans.

Watching, Geralt could only smirk around his mouthful of flesh, before he slid his mouth the barest of inches down. He’d barely put more than a little in, and Iorveth was already fighting the desire to spill. His free hand curled into a fist at the back of his own head, yanking hard at the strands of hair there. The sharp pain only made it sweeter, and he groaned loudly enough that Geralt laughed.

Geralt,” Iorveth snapped, and in answer, Geralt slid his mouth down the entire length of Iorveth’s cock, and sucked.

He shouted, arching, and came. Geralt slid off him, gently urging him to let go of the table, and turning him to sit in the chair he’d abandoned. “That’s better,” Geralt murmured, still kneeling between his knees.

Iorveth groaned, tilting his head back. “Geralt, we can’t keep doing this,” he said tiredly, covering his face with his hands and rubbing hard.

In answer, Geralt bit his thigh. “Have we not already established that Triss and Yen hold nothing for me anymore?”

Thigh stinging, Iorveth flicked the side of Geralt’s head. “That’s not why.” Still settled on his knees, Geralt waited, eyes fixed on Iorveth’s face. “I’m Scoia’tael,” Iorveth finally muttered.

“Ploughing sorceresses has just as much of a stigma,” Geralt said immediately. Iorveth shot him a filthy look that didn’t phase him in the slightest.

“Perhaps,” he sneered. “I’m male, Ger-- Gwynbleidd. We will have to hide.”

Geralt sat back on his heels, looking thoughtful. “There are places in the world were that matters very little, Iorveth,” he said after a long moment. “Ciri doesn’t care. Zoltan didn’t care.” He shrugged one shoulder. “I won’t beg you to stay,” he added, something shaded in his eyes. “But if you truly wish this to… go no further, then I’ll abide.” The grudging tone said he’d dislike it, but his eyes were clear.

Iorveth had always been an elf possessed with self reflection. He’d seen horrors, and battle, and blood. But he’d never seen love, nor felt anything close to it. He’d taken men to bed and then thrown them out the next morning. Geralt was the only one he’d never been with more than once.

Geralt sat back, gazing up at Iorveth with placid eyes. “I had to kill an archgriffin in White Orchard,” he said, conversationally. “Big fucker, spat poison. Took a while to track him down. Met up with a hunter, living outside the town. He told me he’d been kicked out of his former employment for loving the lord’s son.” Iorveth winced, he knew where that was going. “Said the lord’s son hung himself, estate fell to ruin.”

“Then you see why this must end,” Iorveth said.

But Geralt only shook his head. “If it must end so, then I will not fight you.” He levered up, invading Iorveth’s space and pressed a gentle kiss to his mouth. He tasted of brandy, and a little like himself, Iorveth realized, as he kissed back. “Tell me to go, and I shall,” Geralt murmured.

He swallowed. Their foreheads were nearly touching, breaths intermingling between them.

In his mind’s eye, he could see Geralt walk away, see Geralt never returning to this little grotto were Iorveth had made his home. He could see Geralt choosing one of his sorceresses, living in harmony away from hunting and bounties and contracts.

When he refocused, his eye on Geralt’s, he could read the anxiety there. Tell him to go, Iorveth told himself, as he opened his mouth.

Tilting his head forward, he let his forehead rest against Geralt’s. “Stay,” he murmured.

Geralt surged against him, kissing the breath out of his lungs, fingers tight against the skin of his jaw. “Excuse me!” Ciri’s voice said loudly from the door. “But it’s been quiet for long enough that I’m going to open the door now!”

There was a minor scramble to get Iorveth’s clothing in order. Not a moment too soon either, as Ciri opened the door and strode in, a jaunty smirk on her face. “Geralt,” she chided, “what would Dandelion say?”

Laughing softly, Geralt shook his head. “I imagine that this will be the one relationship Dandelion won’t say he ploughed first.”

Ciri laughed. “I imagine not!” She leaned a hip against the table. “We need to go, Geralt. At least soon.”

Geralt nodded. “We’ll be heading back to Skellige sooner rather than later,” he told Iorveth apologetically.

Iorveth smirked, tipping his head into Geralt’s space. He pressed his forehead to Geralt’s, a touch longer than tradition dictated, before turning and doing the same to Ciri. “Sorry,” she said, rueful. “I’ve lingered here too long already.”

“We’ll be back when we can,” Geralt promised. “Be wary, the fight isn’t over yet.”

He walked them to the open arch of the grotto, where they shared another quick and quiet kiss in the shelter of the stones, as Ciri retrieved their horses. And for the twentieth time, Iorveth watched Geralt walk away from him.

Once they were a good distance away, Iorveth leaned back against a stone pillar. “Good luck, Geralt,” he murmured, as they disappeared from view. “Don’t die.”

*tbc

Chapter Text

Part Four

 

Geralt did not return.

 

He sent scouts to every corner of Velen, every outpost in Novigrad. He had his men scour the countryside for any sighting, any word. He gathered every scrap of information he could - until one day, a traveling warrior stumbled upon Iorveth and his scouting party. It was luck, nothing more, that told him the story of what happened on the Isle of Skellige.

 

“Ach, the skies opened up, ice froze over the whole of the sea,” the warrior said, blood colored hair glinting in their shared firelight. “Dinnae know which way was North for nothing,” he added, taking a long drink of a hip flask. “T’were the Convergence all over again, by my reckoning. Huge worlds takin’ up space where the stars were meant to be.”

 

Ceridwen, Adhe and Iorveth all exchanged apprehensive looks. “And the vatt’ghern?” Iorveth asked, unable to keep the bite from his tone.

 

“Geralt?” the warrior asked, furrowing his brow. “Or Ciri?”

 

That the warrior could name them so familiarly put Iorveth marginally at ease.  “Either,” he said. “Both.”

 

The warrior studied him for a long moment. “Ciri’s dead,” he said, flat. Iorveth flinched back, and Ceridwen bowed her head in prayer.

 

Of course Geralt hadn’t returned. If Ciri was gone, then he would have failed in his mission. There was nothing tying the witcher to anyone. “And Geralt?”

 

The warrior shrugged one shoulder. “Alive, last as I saw. When Ciri stopped the Convergence from happening - when she used her blood to stop the White Frost, I mean - Geralt and Yennefer disappeared.”

 

That hurt like a blow to the back.

 

Between burning ears, Iorveth could hear the echo of Geralt’s oft repeated phrase: ‘ Yen is not my anything .’

 

Iorveth had never been an elf given to hope, or given to needless wanting. After bidding the Skellige warrior good evening, he took his lieutenants and left. It was perfectly clear that Geralt was gone, and he wasn’t returning.

 

Ceridwen caught his elbow. “Should I send a scout party to Novigrad? Perhaps to look of him?”

 

“... No,” Iorveth said. “If Ciri is dead, he’s not likely to be found, even by us.”

 

He spent the following weeks shoring up the defences of the grotto, fully expecting that some day, the Hunt would find him. Even with Eredin gone, someone would take his place in the power vacuum, and if wasn’t Avalla’ch, it would be someone with the ability to hold a grudge.

 

Periodically, Ceridwen would give him reports of witcher contracts being filled from around the area, but scouts never found any sign of who was completing them.

 

“There are several witchers still alive today,” Iorveth snapped at her, after the sixth or seventh ‘sighting’ of a Witcher. “If it was Geralt, we would know!”

 

Ceridwen scowled at him. “His daughter died,” she said, “I met him exactly once, but I know he’s the sort of man to retreat and lick his wounds, isn’t he? Give him some time, Iorveth.”

Iorveth snorted, shrugging her off. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the way she threw her hands up but he ignored her. He’d never been given to hoping, he didn’t know why he thought this time would be different.

 

Five weeks after finding out about Ciri’s death, Iorveth returned to the grotto to find a hooded figure waiting by the tree line that absolutely did not remind him of Geralt. The long grey cloak, closed at the throat and deeply hooded gave no indication of gender or features, and Iorveth drew and nocked an arrow before stepping out and cleared his throat loudly.

 

The figure twitched, standing from it’s crouch. It turned, pushing the deep hood off it’s head, revealing --

 

“Ciri?” Iorveth said incredulously, arrow falling to the forest floor from nerveless fingers.

 

She smiled, reaching out for him and he caught sight of a silver sword across her back, hidden under the hood before she gathered him into an embrace. “Iorveth,” she said warmly, and it even sounded like her.

 

He pulled back to look her in the face, searching her features for any trace of trickery or sorcery. “Does Geralt know you’re here?” he asked. “We’d heard of your death.”

 

Ciri smiled, cheek dimpling and she patted the sword at her back. “Of course he knows I’m alive, he’s the one that spread the rumor of my death in the first place,” she said. “He gave me this witchers sword.”

 

Iorveth blinked. “ He spread the rumor…?” he said, haltingly. “Then where is he?”

 

Her smile deepened. “He went back to Kaer Morhen,” she said. “After telling Emyhr that I was dead, we assumed it was best that he looked as though he were in mourning.” She gave him a slightly severe look. “We all know the witchers supposed emotionless state is utter shit, right?” she asked and Iorveth nodded. “Well, he thought to go back home,” she said lightly. “Vesemir is there, trying to clean up after the Hunt’s attack.”

 

Iorveth drew in a deep breath. “And then?”

 

“And then,” Ciri repeated, “I’ve spent the last tenday trying to find this stupid grotto of yours,” she said. “But, Geralt said after winter was over he’d return to Velen. Or…” she said leadingly, “You could join him up there.”

 

He waved that off. “Oh, and what would that look like?” he asked bitterly.

 

Ciri raised one shoulder in a shrug. “Eskel and Lambert won’t be around often - actually, I think Lambert is off with Keira Metz - so you’ll find no censure there. And Eskel spends more of his time in the wilds than he does in the keep.”

It was so tempting, so tempting to go off to the Kaer, to see Geralt again. That was what made it so impossible.  

 

“I can’t,” Iorveth said. “I have… obligations. Here.”

Raising an incredulous eyebrow Ciri turned to face him. “Seriously?” she drawled.

 

Iorveth waved her off. “I have my people,” he said firmly. “The Aen Seidhe, my troops. I cannot simply abandon them!”

 

Ciri gave him a loaded look, one eyebrow arched in incredulous surprise. “Really?” she asked, with a sardonic twist to her lips. “You couldn’t find it in you to take one trip?”

 

Something like yearning swelled up behind Iorveth’s rib cage. He wanted to go, to see Geralt again without the threat or presence of either of his sorceresses. To truly be alone with the witcher in a way he’d never had available to him before.

 

But because he wanted, because he desired, he couldn’t do it. To be the leader of so many and throw them over for a mere man? Impossible.

 

“I…” he started to say, but Ciri held up a hand.

 

“Please believe me when I say that I have spent the majority of my years running away from things,” she said quietly. “I have never been able to stay in one place for longer than a few years and that was only if I was lucky. And if I was unlucky, it was mere hours.” A shadow crossed her face and she looked unbearably sad for long seconds. “It was only Geralt’s love and training that enabled me to survive. If I had the chance to go after what I truly wanted, I would take it. Life is too short, Iorveth.”

 

The soft sound of a cleared through interrupted what he was going to say next. “Iorveth,” Ceridwen said softly, “go.” She stepped up beside them, clasping Ciri’s arm briefly before turning towards him.  “ Va’esse deireádh, aep eigean; va’esse eigh faidh’ar.”

 

Iorveth took a deep breath, staring at a point between Ciri and his second command. “You’ll take care of them for me?” he asked Ceridwen, keeping his voice neutral.

 

“I will,” she swore, bowing with her hand fisted over her heart. “Va faill, Iorveth.”

 

He scowled at her. “I shall return,” he said sharply.

 

She just smiled at him. “I know. We will be here.”

 

Ciri looped her arm around his, pulling him towards the entrance to his cavern. “Well come on,” she said breezily, “I’ll help you pack.”

 

“I don't need to -- Ciri!” Iorveth made a half hearted attempt to struggle away but she clung tighter, beaming like a half-wit.

 

He packed with relative speed, taking only what he could carry, and leaving as many detailed instructions with Adhe and Ceridwen.  Adhe visibly disapproved, but he stepped aside when Iorveth went towards the mouth of the cavern. “I’ll return,” he swore quietly.

 

Adhe nodded once, his scowl softening slightly. “Va faill, Iorveth,” he muttered. “Good luck.”

 

With Ciri at his side, they set off to the north, towards Kaer Morhen. No matter what came next, he was ready.

 

*

 

He wasn’t ready.

 

Ciri had left him just before reaching the Aedirn border, leaving him with directions, a quick embrace and the wish of good luck. Alone, he’d continued on, crossing into Kaedwen, and finally up into the mountains.

 

“Ho there!” a voice called, low, gravelly, familiar.

 

Iorveth turned, fingers tightening on his bow before recognizing him. “Eskel,” he greeted, bland and without expression.

 

The witcher grinned, raising an arm in greeting. “Iorveth,” he replied, nodding. “Looking for Geralt?” he asked curiously.

 

“I am,” Iorveth responded, assuming that there was no need nor use for guile when there would be no other reason for him to be there. “I carry him a message from Ciri,” he said, which might not have been the whole truth but it also wasn’t a lie, as there was one such letter in his coat pocket.

 

“He’s up at the Keep,” Eskel said, pointing.  “It’ll take you another five or so hours on foot to get there.”

 

That was less time that Iorveth had calculated and apprehension burst into life in his stomach. A battle he could face head on with steady aim and sure grip, but this… he was out of his depth. “Many thanks,” he drawled.

 

Eskel nodded, swinging his sword back over his shoulder. “‘Course,” he said. “It’ll do Geralt good to see a friend.”

 

Deciding not to analyze that too deeply, Iorveth merely nodded and headed up the slope, shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun.

 

It was a quick five hours as Iorveth made good time up the winding half-paths that made up Kaer Morhen’s roads. He’d taken the time to dispatch some wolves loitering about the edge of the forest, if only to save himself the trouble of avoiding them. He was within sight of the towers and walls by then, and could see the scaffolding used to hold up the more damaged pieces of masonry.

 

Taking a deep breath, Iorveth turned down the right path, keeping to the shadows on the side of the trees.

 

Kaer Morhen’s main gate was only half repaired, the entire drawbridge removed and replaced with a strong looking bridge that was narrow enough for a single horse or person. The portcullis was held up by a large metal brace, and Iorveth paused to gaze up at it. The chains that hand held up the metal gate were broken, burn marks all along the broken links.

 

“Seems safe, does it?” Vesemir said, coming out from the courtyard.

 

Iorveth jerked, hand going for his sword before common sense kicked back in. “Seems safe enough,” he responded hesitantly. “I wonder though how you managed it.”

 

Vesemir shrugged, lips turned up in a half smirk. “Magic, mostly. Bit of elbow grease. Good to see you again, Iorveth.” He stepped forward and offered him a warriors clasp, fingers warm and strong around Iorveth’s forearm. “Wondered if you’d find your way back here.”

 

“I have a message from Ciri,” Iorveth said. “Two, actually. One is for you.”

 

Though the old witcher smiled, he still looked knowingly at Iorveth. “Seems an awful long way to come just to deliver two letters.”  

 

Iorveth scowled at him. “I was in the area.”

 

It was a blatant lie but thankfully Vesemir didn’t call him out on it. Instead, he waved up at one of the towers. “Geralt’s up there,” he said. “Should be repairing one of the less damaged walls.”

 

Nodding, Iorveth turned in that direction. “Thank you,” he said with ill grace. He felt like the old witcher was laughing at him, but was unwilling to test his good humor. Hastening towards the stairs, Iorveth slowly made his way through the unfamiliar keep looking for Geralt.

 

He found him, eventually, on the top floor of a residential tower, a bed, large copper tub and other bits of domestic furniture adorning the room. The wall to the east had been blown apart, and Geralt was methodically laying mortar and stone to fill in the gap. Chill wind was blowing through it, and Iorveth paused, recognizing the things that lay bandied about the room.

 

This was Geralt’s chamber. It, like so much of the keep, had been destroyed. He must make some sound, or perhaps Geralt’s smelled him, but Iorveth was irritatingly surprised when Geralt suddenly said, “Eskel, back so soon? Thought you’d be hunting wyverns for days,” without turning around. When Iorveth didn’t immediately respond, uncertain how to reinsert himself into Geralt’s life, Geralt took the opportunity away from him.

 

He turned around.

 

“... Iorveth,” he murmured.

 

There was nothing else to say except: “Geralt.”

 

His throat clicked on the hard T sound, and then Geralt was moving. Instinct made him brace for an attack, but Geralt just crowded him into the wall closest to him, by the stairs. Iorveth should hit him, bleed him for making him wait, for letting him think that Geralt had died in Skellige.

 

But Geralt was smiling, his small, close lipped smile that on anyone else would be a broad grin, and Iorveth couldn’t do any of those things.

 

He kissed him instead.

 

Geralt got with the program gratifyingly quickly, pressing his entire body against Iorveth’s, and kissing the air out of him. Iorveth gripped Geralt’s shoulders for balance, widening his stance so the witcher could stand immediately between his legs.

 

As Geralt licked into his mouth, Iorveth hauled him closer, canting his hips up and biting Geralt’s lower lip. With a low groan, Geralt hooked one hand under Iorveth’s thigh, dragging their groins together.

 

It’d been awhile, since the last time he’d seen Geralt in his grotto, and though witchers never boasted any kind of fidelity, the speed with which Geralt matched him for hardness was impressive. Using Geralt’s hand on his thigh as a brace, he wrapped his other leg around Geralt’s waist, undulating his hips against Geralt’s cock, groaning at the friction between them.

 

They were as close as two people could get with their clothing still on, but Iorveth didn’t want to waste time stripping their things off. In answer to Iorveth’s tease, Geralt ground them closer together, and through trews and braes, their cocks lined up together perfectly.

 

Pleasure made him go briefly blind, as white sparks filled his vision and his eyes fell closed. Geralt sucked on his tongue, rubbing their hips together in time with it, and Iorveth choked on a moan. Pulling away from his mouth briefly, Geralt flashed him another grin and pushed Iorveth’s head to the side to press open mouthed kisses there, scraping with his teeth and making Iorveth’s hips stutter out of rhythm.

 

Two could play at that game.

 

Iorveth snaked a hand behind Geralt’s head, wrapping his fingers in long silver hair, pulling tightly and arching his back to better rub their cocks together. There was no space between their bodies for his free hand so that would have to do until one or both of them came in their pants like an untried school boy.

 

Geralt bit him again, one hand finding its way under Iorveth’s jacket and pressing on the small of his back to keep his hips arched.

 

His cock shifted in his braes, and Geralt’s dragged over the head in a perfect, slow grind and Iorveth swore violently. “Come on,” Geralt murmured into the salt damp juncture of his neck. “I got you.”

 

Iorveth snarled under his breath, his hips grinding uselessly into Geralt’s, growing tighter and tighter, and Geralt kissed him again.

 

It wasn’t enough - it was too much - and Iorveth cried out his release into Geralt’s mouth, pulsing into his braes. Geralt groaned, low and heady, stilling his hips and holding Iorveth in place. He was still hard, Iorveth could feel him twitch and throb inside his clothing where he rested against Iorveth’s hip.

They stood there, breathing each other’s air for long moments before Geralt made a small noise and let Iorveth’s legs slide to the ground. “That was some hello,” Geralt said, but Iorveth only had eyes for the trapped erection only a few centimeters from his hands.

 

“It could get better,” he drawled, quirking his good eyebrow and looking down.

 

Geralt smirked, pulling Iorveth in close again. “Bath,” he said.

 

The wall behind Geralt was still nearly entirely incomplete, but the large copper tub was full of water. “No,” Iorveth said flatly. Just because he had bathed in ice cold water before doesn’t mean he liked doing it .

 

Shrugging, Geralt gestured to it. “Filled it up so when I finished the wall, I could just get in. But if you don’t want to join me…” he trailed off flippantly.

 

“It’s cold,” Iorveth protested.

 

Geralt rolled his eyes. “Witcher,” he said pointedly, and made a complicated hand gesture that drew fire from the air around him. A moments work, and the water in the tub was steaming in the chill air, and Iorveth couldn’t help but be impressed. Geralt smirked, tilting his head towards the bath. “You coming or not?” he asked. He stripped off his shirt, dropping it on the floor without waiting for Iorveth’s reply. Iorveth was content to sit back and watch as Geralt toed off his boots and untied his braes. “Well?” he asked, leaning over the water.

 

Iorveth snorted quietly, beginning to tug open the buckles on his armor. “So impatient, Gwynbleidd,” he said, letting the heavy leather fall to the floor.

 

“Impatient?” Geralt laughed, stepping into the steaming water, sinking into his shoulders.

 

Stripping off his leathers, Iorveth slipped into the water next to him. It felt good to get out of his sticky clothing, and Geralt immediately caught his mouth up in a kiss.

 

The tub was barely big enough for both of them, so Iorveth shifted easily to his knees and straddled Geralt, his oversensitive cock dragging against Geralt’s hard one. Geralt was stiff enough to drill stone, and he hitched his hips up unconsciously when Iorveth settled.

 

It had been too long, he couldn’t just slip down on Geralt’s cock like he wanted to, not without doing himself an injury, but he could do other things until they’d prepared for anything complicated.

 

He reached out and encircled Geralt’s cock with his hand, and though its been sometime since the last time that they did this together, Iorveth remembered exactly how Geralt preferred his touch.

 

Geralt growled something, pulling Iorveth closer and kissing the side of his neck, peppering them down from the corner of his jaw down to his shoulder. “Been awhile, has it, Gwynbleidd?” Iorveth drawled, tightening his grip.

 

He got a nip on the meat of his shoulder for his sass and he laughed, stroking once. Geralt jerked his hips up, nearly upseting Iorveth from his position. Steadying himself with one hand, Iorveth smirked at him, leaning in to kiss Geralt lightly.

 

“Stop teasing, Iorveth,” Geralt growled.

 

“Is that not how we began, Geralt ,” Iorveth murmured, slowly stroking his hand. “With teasing, and waiting?”

 

Geralt twisted in Iorveth’s grip but the tub wasn’t quite wide enough to switch their positions. Instead, Iorveth grabbed the edge of the tub, holding steady, even as he dug his thumb under the head of Geralt’s cock.

 

Groaning, Geralt stiffened up, and Iorveth could feel how his cock pulsed under his hand. He could easily stop, leaving Geralt on the very edge, as they’d done so many times before, but instead he leaned forward and kissed Geralt with all the feeling he didn’t have the words for, and twisted his hand over the head of Geralt’s cock.

 

With a shout, only partially muffled by Iorveth’s mouth, Geralt came between them, spilling into the warm water.

 

They kissed for a while longer, Iorveth still on his lap, stroking wet fingers trhough Geralt’s long hair. When the water got cold, Iorveth pulled away, sitting back on his haunches. “You owe me an explanation, Gwynbleidd.”

 

Geralt sighed. “Yes, I know.”

 

Iorveth stood up, stepping out of the water and offering Geralt his hand. “I have letter from Cirilla,” he added, gesturing to his filthy coat. “She traveled with me for a time, but broke over before crossing over into the Aedirn.” He leveled a severe look at Geralt. “Seeing her was quite a surprise, considering I’d heard she died .”

 

“Well at least that rumor spread quickly,” Geralt said with quiet humor.

 

Iorveth snarled at him. "I thought she was dead, I thought you, for weeks, were dead! You sent no word, you sent no letter. I mourned you, and you're here. I suppose I should count myself lucky that you aren't with either of your sorceresses."

 

Geralt scowled at him. "They aren't my anything," he said. "I needed to be seen as far as away from Velen and Novigrad as possible. This place was my home, it made sense to return here after telling Emhyr his daughter died." Geralt shoved him back a step. "And I sent you a sodding letter," he added indignantly.

 

That made him pause. "You did?" Iorveth asked.

 

"Apparently it never got to you," Geralt sighed. He stepped up back into Iorveth's space. "You came all the way here to simply yell at me, then?"

 

Iorveth glared. "I considered it."

 

Moving slowly, Geralt tugged Iorveth back in, kissing him. There was a wealth of emotion behind it, one that Iorveth struggled to interpret, even as he returned the embrace. Standing in the middle of an unfinished room, next to a tub of cold water, completely naked, Iorveth kissed Geralt like he was the last man in the world.

 

"I made my choice," Geralt said against his mouth. "Have you?"

 

"I'm here, am I not?" Iorveth asked. Geralt smiled, and walked him backwards towards the messy bed.

 

They tumbled into the sheets that still smell of Geralt, and Iorveth arched up for another kiss. Geralt traced a finger over Iorveth's ear, making him hiss and pull away, with another scowl. "You better have oil," Iorveth grumbled, and Geralt nodded, stealing another kiss.

 

He kissed down the side of Iorveth's neck, pressing open mouthed bites into his shoulder, his pectoral muscle, scraping his teeth against Iorveth's nipple. Iorveth arched up, muffling his groan against his forearm. "No," Geralt said, tugging at his arm. "Eskel is gone, hours away. Vesemir won't disturb us. There's no one to hear you." He licked a long path from Iorveth's abused nipple to his sharp hip bones. "Except for me."

 

Iorveth gripped the blankets under him, trying to keep his fierce glare fixed on Geralt's golden eyes. "Get on with it!"

 

Geralt laughed into his hip, kissing away the ticklish vibrations. "What happened to waiting, hm?" he asked, and Iorveth deepened his scowl.

 

Since his annoyance wasn't working, Iorveth reached down instead and brushed his thumb across Geralt's hard brow. "Haven't we waited long enough, Geralt?"

 

In answer, Geralt gripped him around the base of his cock, and slid his mouth around the head. Iorveth jerked hard, transferring his hand from Geralt's face to the long tail of his hair.

 

The other hand grabbed the blankets again, and he fought to not arch into Geralt's mouth. Geralt sucked him gently, sliding his mouth slowly down, almost torturously slow. "Geralt!" Iorveth barked.

 

Geralt’s laugh vibrated around Iorveth's cock, and he only just managed to stop from crying out at the sensation. Iorveth twitched hard, fighting himself to not accidentally choke Geralt.

 

When Geralt's nose touched his hip, he swallowed and there was no stifling his cry to that. He was completely distracted by the feeling of Geralt's mouth around his cock that he failed to notice when Geralt had grabbed oil from elsewhere, because he jerked his hips up as a slick finger touched him.

 

Geralt paused, waiting for his word, and Iorveth spread his legs in answer, making more room for Geralt's broad frame. Iorveth could feel his body tighten, and he fought back another sound as Geralt's finger breached him.

 

It was smooth, warm, and just like in battle, Geralt's aim was without fault. He rubbed the rough pad of his finger across that spot inside of Iorveth, sending sparks across his vision. "Fuck," he groaned, biting the heel of his hand.

 

Geralt slid a second finger inside him, rubbing them unerringly against him. Iorveth choked back a whine, too sensitive from his earlier orgasm, and from months of enforced celibacy.

 

Pulling off Iorveth's cock, Geralt grinned up at him, scissoring his fingers carefully. "One more finger, Iorveth," he murmured.

 

Shaking his head, Iorveth arched his back. "No, I'm ready. Come on, Gwynbleidd!"

 

But Geralt completely ignored him, sliding a third finger inside him. He twisted them, dragging the back of all three of his knuckles to the spot inside him. Iorveth gripped Geralt's hair hard, tugging him up. They kissed harshly, spreading the faint taste of himself between them. Iorveth's cock was hard enough to hurt, flat against his belly and dripping.

 

"Patience," Geralt chided, as he spread oil across his cock, and slipped up between Iorveth's legs. Wrapping his legs around Geralt, Iorveth hauled him close.

 

Another moment and Geralt was finally, blessedly inside him.

 

They took a second, just breathing, Geralt touching their foreheads together. Iorveth was ready to flip them over, but Geralt rolled his hips and sparks went up his spine.

 

As soon as Iorveth began matching him thrust for thrust, Geralt held his hips steady and slammed home. The cry torn from Iorveth echoed around the room, and Geralt grinned wildly. He leaned down further and kissed him again, biting Iorveth's bottom lip.

 

He ground his hips into Iorveth's, bracing himself with on hand to reach between them with the other. Iorveth bit Geralt's neck, muffling his shout. Determined to give as good as he was getting, Iorveth tightened around him, and Geralt cursed.

 

It became a battle, Geralt dragging his cock against the place inside Iorveth that made him see starbursts, while Iorveth bit and scratched at him. Finally, when there was blood under his nails, and Iorveth could bear the incessant grind of Geralt's hips, Geralt gripped his cock.

 

He shouted, eyes slamming shut, arching hard as Geralt gripped him tightly and stroked just that side of too hard. Iorveth couldn't fight the pleasure anymore, arching and twisting in Geralt's grip. He came without warning, but Geralt didn't stop, still chasing his own orgasm.

 

Iorveth whined, his cock sensitive and still drooling come and oil. Geralt came a second later, his own cry drowning out the desperate sounds Iorveth was still making.

 

They collapsed to the bed, breathing in sync with each other, and Iorveth turned to give Geralt another kiss. "No more running after each other, aye?" he asked, hoarse and fucked out.

 

Chuckling, Geralt dragged the blanket over them. "Aye," he agreed, amused. "Now get some rest, Iorveth. We have a lot of work left to do."

 

Iorveth scowled at him. "I'm sorry, when did I agree to help you do housework?" he asked.

 

Thinking about it, Geralt pushed him back into the sheets, though Iorveth didn't protest the move overmuch. "About the time you told me not to die," he said. "I didn't die."

 

"No, you didn't," Iorveth murmured, and kissed Geralt again.


*the end