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Geralt’s shout of “Saskia!” echoes off stone as Iorveth shoots past him, taking stairs three at a time. A useless pursuit, but Geralt follows anyway, more slowly for the aches and twinges only now making themselves known. Iorveth stills at the top of the steps and does not bother to look around. He saw the portal, knows there’s nothing to find. “Damn that witch,” he breathes.

Missing a good part of his characteristic vitriol. Geralt meets him at last. It’s the shame that dampens his fury. “She played us both,” Geralt offers.

Iorveth’s eye flicks to him, narrowed in insult. “She should not have fooled me. Letho should not have fooled me. Yet here we are.”

Geralt shrugs—half-shrugs, one shoulder burning from a poorly fought clinch. “She got me too.”

“It isn’t the same,” Iorveth replies. “I’ve lived longer than I care to admit. I should have seen it coming.”

“Hey,” Geralt puts in. “I’m not exactly a young man anymore myself. Witchers live a long time.”

What anger was there has drained from Iorveth’s face, and he gazes up and out at the crags above Vergen and the darkening sky beyond as if he could find Philippa there. “Not as long as elves,” he replies.

Geralt watches him for a moment, blood spattered on his cheek—not his own but human blood, from the many corpses he cut down with those wicked swords of his. The blood on his lips is another story; his nose was struck at some point during the fight and it seeps slowly. Geralt heaves a sigh. “They’ll be headed for Loc Muinne. I’ll start out this evening, get the lay of the land.”

Iorveth snorts. “Oh, no you won’t.”

Geralt cocks an eyebrow. “What? Do you think I’m in league with Philippa too?”

“No, I think you’re tired and injured and need a good night’s rest before we set out to take on a gathering full of sorcerers and sorceresses and several armies who want us dead,” Iorveth answers, fixing him with a wry gaze.

Geralt folds his arms, trying and failing not to feel defensive. “I’ve ridden in worse shape.”

“They can’t get things started until Henselt shows up anyway,” Iorveth points out. “So there’s no need to go now. Except for self-flagellation, if you’re into that sort of thing.”

Geralt sighs. “Not really, no.”

“Good. Because I’m going to go drink a bottle of wine, and I wouldn’t mind someone to share it with.”

Oh. That’s—unexpected. “Uh—all right. Why not?”

Some expression in the Elder Speech that Geralt doesn’t quite catch, and then Iorveth gestures. “Come, let’s go lie to everybody about Saskia so this blasted alliance doesn’t go to pieces overnight.”

Geralt isn’t usually much for lying but he has to agree here, having witnessed the highborn and lowborn at each other’s throats just days ago. “Yeah, let’s go.”

——

It takes some time to shake Iorveth’s admirers—his own Scoia’tael, of course, but also dozens of dwarves and even a few of the humans falling all over themselves to thank him for bringing his cadre of arches to their defense. Iorveth is polite at the start but less so as his patience wears. It’s not them he’s frustrated with, Geralt knows. It’s how he’s getting all this gratitude when, unbeknownst to anyone else, he let their beloved leader get entranced and spirited away under his very nose.

He grips the neck of the wine bottle so hard so he might crush it. Geralt grasps his arm. “We’ll save her.”

Iorveth glances over, then keeps walking. “Yes, I know.”

The streets are still being cleared, and they must pause for a pair of dwarves hauling a cart piled with Kaedweni corpses. “Save the arrows!” Iorveth calls out as they pass, and one of the dwarves nods in affirmation.

The bodies don’t seem to be dampening the celebration. Revelers are gathered around the fire, booming out some drinking song while a dwarves woman strums furiously at a twanging lute. “I’m glad they’re happy,” Iorveth mumbles sourly, pushing open the door of the home where he’s been staying.

When he shuts it behind them the noise comes through still, but much diminished, thanks to some trick of dwarves engineering. Iorveth sets the bottle down on the table and sheds his coat. “The fire, would you mind?”

Geralt signs Igni and the fireplace roars to life, burning away the early autumn chill, the faint damp of sweat. He sits down slowly in a chair. At last his body has begun to catch up with the fact that he was fighting today for several hours straight.

Iorveth reaches behind him and plucks something from his leather armor. The arrowhead he holds up is bloody, shining red in the firelight.

Geralt stares. “That—was in you?”

“Not very deep. Human archers are an embarrassment.” He twists, trying to see his back.

“That, and your armor’s well-made.” Geralt rises, his eyes picking out the slit in the leather. “Let me take a look at it.”

“There’s no need. It’s shallow, I can feel it.”

“At least let me clean and dress it. No reason to let it fester.”

A shrug. “As you wish, Gwynbleidd.”

He strips his armor, letting it fall carelessly to the floor, and sits on a mat before the fire. His back has…fewer scars than Geralt expected, considering his combat experience; but that just speaks to his skill. Some spots already turning purple-red. “You break anything?”

Iorveth shrugs. "Perhaps. I don't think so."

There's a jug of water in the corner and Geralt wipes away the blood and shards of wood from when Iorveth snapped off the shaft. The smallest flinch when he opens the wound. "It's not shallow," Geralt tells him. "Not deep either, but it's worth stitching. You'll heal a lot faster."

A groan. "If you must." He gestures. "My pack is over there."

Geralt goes to rummage, finds what he needs. When he turns Iorveth has an arm wrapped around himself so he can probe at the wound. His back is hunched in the flickering firelight as if he's in pain.

Is he? Would he admit it? Geralt is in pain, that's for damn sure, a post-battle pain, his joints burning, bones grinding on each other, muscles packed with sand. And he's a mutant. Can't imagine an elf has it much easier.

He holds up the bottle he found tucked behind Iorveth's pack. "Want some?"

A bit stronger than wine, by the look of it. Iorveth holds out a hand. "Well, why not?"

Geralt takes a swig first and then hands it over, figuring he's earned it. Iorveth, at least, was up on the battlements with the archers for the first part of it; Geralt was on the ground the whole time. The liquor is strong and pure, tasting faintly of grass. A home brew. Far from the worst he's had.

Iorveth snatches the bottle away. "Stealing my spirits, Gwynbleidd? You're just like the rest after all."

Geralt grins. "If it's any comfort, I've stolen more booze than I care to admit over the years." He tries to thread the needle and fails; his hands are trembling with exhaustion.

"I jest." Iorveth tips the bottle back. "Are your hands shaking?"

"No." His second attempt fails as well. He squints as if that will help.

"I'm starting to regret allowing you to stick a needle in my back."

"It'll help. Trust me." Geralt glances at the pack again; he might be able to smell it normally but his nose is clogged with the scent of entrails and char. "You got any celandine?"

Iorveth nods at the back of the room where dried herbs hang. Geralt threads the needle at last and retrieves the bundle of sun-shaped white flowers. Iorveth stretches, his back arching slowly--a hitch in the motion that makes Geralt thing he has broken something but after so many battles, it might be hard to care about a single fractured rib.

The wound is ragged. Iorveth must have been fighting with that arrowhead in him for quite some time. Geralt does his best to approximate the edges.

"How did you fare?" Iorveth asks.

"Fine," Geralt answers. "Nothing some rest won't fix."

"Fine?" Iorveth says, skeptical. "Fighting for hours and you're untouched?"

"Plenty of bruises." Geralt slides the needle in, hearing only the faintest intake of breath. "But I don't skimp on armor. And I have signs to shield me."

"Ah, yes. The vatt'ghern's signs." He sighs. "A useful trick."

"Wish I could teach you. But you'd need the mutations, and to be honest, I don't recommend those to anyone." Geralt tips the needle, pushing it out the other side of the wound.

"Is that so?" Iorveth looks over his shoulder as much as he can without disturbing Geralt's work. "Do you regret this life, then?"

"Couldn't really regret it because the choice wasn't mine," Geralt replies, tying the knot and snapping it with his teeth. "But no. I don't resent what was done to me."

"Truly? Taken as a child and permanently transformed into something hated and feared by half the continent, and you're not angry?"

"I don't know. Maybe I should be. But what would that change? It's all in the past." A second stitch. "Anger tires me out. No use getting worked up over something I can't change."

“As you say,” Iorveth mutters.

He doesn't gasp or flinch as Geralt lays the rest of the stitches, neat and precise. Witchers heal quickly, but not that quickly; he's had practice. At last he cuts the last stitch and leans back, and Iorveth plucks his shirt from the floor and drags it over his head. The collar is stained with blood from his nose.

He won't meet Geralt's eye, watching the mat beneath him instead. "Let's open that bottle."

It’s clear he does’t subscribe to the no regrets philosophy. His thin fingers cup the pewter goblet like spiders’ legs and there’s no pleasure on his face when he drinks, even though the wine is quite good, sweet and full-bodied. Geralt sips, wondering if he should intervene. It isn’t his place, really; they’re bonded by little more than chance, two men headed in the same direction at the same time. And yet—

“Everyone makes mistakes,” he says. “I’ve made plenty. Just made the same one you did.”

“I was supposed to turn the tide for the free Pontar Valley,” Iorveth murmurs. “Now I’ve just let a sorceress walk off with their queen.”

“You did turn the tide. Without your support Henselt would have taken the city.”

“That was my archers, not me.”

“I don’t know.” Geralt traces the rim of his cup with one thumb. “I saw you on the field. You’re an excellent swordsman. I’ve never seen anyone use two blades as well as you do.”

“Gwynbleidd.” That gets a smile out of him. “You flatter me.”

Geralt smiles back. “I’m not much for flattery. I’ve crossed blades with plenty of so-called masters over the years and you definitely stand out.”

“Hm. I suppose hundreds of years of practice has paid off after all.”

Ah.

“So…how old are you?” Geralt ventures.

The smile stays on Iorveth’s face but he’s gazing into his wine again. “Would you believe me if I told you I was three hundred and eighty years old?”

Geralt lets out a long breath. “I suppose…I knew elves live a long time—“

“Then you’re a fool.” Iorveth bites back an almost hysterical sort of laugh. “I’m only three hundred and sixty-two.”

Geralt runs a hand over his hair. “That’s, ah. Old.”

Iorveth snorts. “You really aren’t much for flattery, are you?”

“Sorry, I’ve just—well, I suppose I have met things that old,” he says. “But they were monsters.”

Iorveth hunches over his wine, bony fingers interlacing around the cup. “What about us, Gwynbleidd? Me?”

Geralt lifts an eyebrow. “What about you?”

“I’m hundreds of years old. I’m dangerous with a blade. I hate humans. Kill them by the dozen.” Iorveth looks up, his one eye gleaming in the firelight. “Shouldn’t you be after my head?”

Geralt stares at him. Against his will Iorveth becomes in his sight—just for a split-second—a monster, a true monster, alone and deadly in the gloom and challenging Geralt with his gaze. The firelight flickers over his skin as if afraid to touch him. Dangerous. He’s not wrong about that. But still—

“No. I kill monsters.” Geralt waves a hand, attempting dismissiveness. “Humans only in self-defense.”

Iorveth chuckles. “As any human would gladly point out, I am not one of them.”

Geralt exhales, exasperated. “You know what I mean.”

“But it’s your duty to protect humans, no? Wouldn’t they be safer if I were dead?”

“We talked thirty seconds ago about how you and your archers saved Vergen.”

“And what of those I killed before that?” Iorveth rests an arm on the back of his chair. “Will you forget them because of my one good deed?”

Geralt rubs his face and sorely wishes he hadn’t gotten on this subject. “It’s not that simple. Even monsters aren’t that simple. I don’t kill them indiscriminately.”

Iorveth makes no sharp retort; instead he seems thoughtful. “Like the succubus that Ele’yas happened upon.”

“Yes. In general, they mean no harm,” Geralt relies. “Or dopplers, for instance. I count a doppler among my friends.”

Iorveth lets out an amused grunt. “Is that so?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm.” Iorveth leans across the table. “So, the succubus.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Did she offer herself to you?”

Geralt half-smiles and takes a sip of wine. “They generally do. To most anyone, actually.”

“Did you take her up on her offer?”

Geralt coughs, nearly inhaling his wine. That’s a bit personal. “Uh, no. I didn’t.”

Iorveth groans. “Gwynbleidd, you disappoint me. Haven’t you any sense of adventure?”

“Not that kind of adventure.”

“Ah, yes. That’s why you make it a point to fuck sorceresses, is that it?

Geralt rubs his forehead and curses Dandelion’s flapping lips. “That’s—different.”

“Is it?” Iorveth asks, with a mischievous grin. “Do you truly mean to say it isn’t exciting to lie with someone who could easily kill you? You, a witcher.” A half-shrug. “There can’t be many who can make you feel…vulnerable.”

“I don’t like feeling vulnerable,” Geralt grumbles.

Iorveth watches him still, leaned across the table, gone serious now. “I find it rather rewarding,” he says. “There’s a strange sense of safety in it. Being with someone who could end your life with the smallest bit of effort—who might even have reason to—and yet they choose instead—“

He seems unable to finish, hunched over his cup; and Geralt finds himself unable to respond. There are plenty of monsters he’s met that could have ended his life, of course, but not so many people, and even fewer in whom he’s placed his trust. It isn’t easy—he’s a witcher, solitary and suspicious by trade, so to trust someone like that—

The fire is dying and Iorveth moves in the dark, his chair scraping across the floor. To trust someone like that is less of an act and more a release, a letting-down of the guard he must maintain at nearly every moment, and while an hours-long battle is tiring that, that drains him at times beyond what anyone should have to endure—

Iorveth is coming around the table now, limned in firelight, tall, deliberate and slow, the deep scar deforming his lip. Geralt can’t move, the exhaustion of battle stealing away any scraps of strength he might have left. And neither can he look away from Iorveth’s dark, shining eye.

Iorveth leans down, cups his face, and kisses him.

The faintest taste of iron, dried blood still crusted on his lips. His hand is calloused—all bone and sinew but warm. Geralt doesn’t really know how to react. Is there anything different he should do, when kissing a man? When a man is kissing him? He doesn’t break away, for one—

Iorveth straightens, half a grin twisting his gnarled scar. “You’ve never kissed another man before.”

“Is it that obvious?” Geralt mutters.

Iorveth snorts. “How old are you?”

“Ninety-seven. I think.”

“Ninety-seven? You’re very traditional, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know, I just—have a lot of other things on my mind.”

“Mm.” Iorveth appraises him. “Well, would you like to keep going? Or shall we leave it here?”

That’s a damn good question. Geralt isn’t interested in men; the thought has flickered at the back of his mind a couple of times but it never seemed to take. But this isn’t just any man—Iorveth is a keen commander, an excellent killer, and uncompromising in his creeds. And he’s funny, too.

“I…“ Geralt begins.

Iorveth isn’t especially feminine—thin, yes, but broad of shoulder and narrow at the hips. And he isn’t even very good-looking, what’s left of his face heavy and angular. But Geralt supposes he’s no catch either.

“You can turn me down,” Iorveth says, shrugging with an attempt at nonchalance. “It wouldn’t even be the first time in my life, if you can believe it.”

Geralt rises slowly. He doesn’t want to stop, he’s decided. It’s been a long damn day. And that really only leaves one option.

Surprise on Iorveth’s face. Geralt feels he should initiate something but isn’t sure of the etiquette; it doesn’t matter anyway because Iorveth’s fingertip’s brush his face as he kisses Geralt again.

So he kisses Iorveth back. Tentative, but Iorveth responds and Geralt follows his lead, feeling that’s best considering his lack of experience. It’s different somehow, not the heat of each other’s breath, not even the dried blood on Iorveth’s lips. It’s different because Geralt doesn’t know what to expect. He’s never done this before, and in most regions it isn’t talked about. So he expects nothing, and everything is new.

Like Iorveth’s hands on his hips, pulling him in—the angle unfamiliar because of his height. And the hissed command, “Touch me, would you, Gwynbleidd?”

Right—his hands still hovering, resting lightly on Iorveth’s arms. Geralt hesitates a second and then grabs Iorveth’s waist like he would grab anyone else he were about to fuck, and Iorveth grins fiercely. “That’s it.”

Their bodies meet at last, pressed together, although the electricity is dulled somewhat by Geralt’s layers of armor and he swears under his breath. “Hang on, let me take some of this off.”

“Only some?” Iorveth quips, but he’s already helping, releasing buckles and loosening laces. The vambraces go, then the cuirass and the mail and the tassets and Geralt inhales, sweat cooling on his skin beneath the thin shirt.

The fire has burned low and Iorveth stands in the dark unmoving, and Geralt has seen many Scoia’tael die and in the waning flicker of flame Iorveth becomes a ghost standing in the small room, still and silent, waiting for whatever it is that keeps him here. Appeasement, revenge.

Geralt motions and the fire burns bright again. Forgiveness. As soon as the firelight touches him Iorveth comes forward and he isn’t a ghost anymore, his hands firm and strong as they drag Geralt forward.

It’s…nice. Not what he expected, exactly, from Iorveth—had conjured images of hunger, of an elf who preys on men now with another at his mercy. But Iorveth only seems to want him closer, calloused hand slipping beneath Geralt’s shirt and running up his spine—

Until the lightest scrape of teeth on his lower lip and strong fingers, archer-strong, digging into the muscle of his back. He’s captured here, Iorveth kissing his neck, which sets off the same flare of heat in his groin as it does with any of his lovers. The hem of his shirt being lifted—Geralt raises his arms and it’s off, the fire warm on his bare skin. But he needs to regain some ground and grasps Iorveth’s shirt where it hangs loosely off his body. It hits the floor next to his own and Geralt had thought they might pause but it isn’t to be, because Iorveth is pulling him in—

Their hips meet and the friction, the way Iorveth presses against him even through their trousers, almost makes Geralt gasp. Instead it’s the barest intake of breath, and Iorveth chuckles arch and low into the crook of his neck. “Enjoying yourself, Gwynbleidd?”

Against all odds— “Ah—yeah.”

“Then show me.” Another snarl. “Must I do everything myself? Touch me, damn you.”

For a second Geralt’s hands don’t move, caught at Iorveth’s waist. How does this go now? He has no pattern to follow, no reflex to lean on.

So he follows his instincts instead and grabs Iorveth’s ass, kissing him hard. Is rewarded with something he’s never heard before from Iorveth, never even imagined: a noise of need. An admission. Almost startling but for how soft it is and how Iorveth’s fingers rest so lightly on his chest. Geralt relents a little, holding Iorveth’s face, the bandana smooth against his palm. But Iorveth seems to have recovered already and kisses him back.

A tug at his trouser laces. Well. Two can play at that game. With the sense that he’s rushing headlong into battle with no one at his back, Geralt goes for Iorveth’s trousers and their hands tangle and collide but his laces are loosening and he remembers to kiss Iorveth clumsily while he works until in the same instant they’re stepping out of their trousers and the fire is warm, the dry heat enveloping Geralt’s bare skin like stepping outside on a summer’s day.

“Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth says, the word ejected from his bloodied mouth as if he bears a terrible warning. Yet nothing more comes and Geralt tires of waiting so their lips meet again, impatient and desirous. But this, what they’re doing, this isn’t enough.

“Gwynbleidd, lie down,” Iorveth says, a harsh edge of want on his voice.

Geralt is quick to oblige; the straw mattress in the corner is covered in rumpled blankets and he rests back on his elbows as Iorveth crawls up between his legs and kisses him again. Geralt strokes his face—

“You forgot something,” he says.

Iorveth sits back. “What?”

Geralt nods. “Your bandana.”

Iorveth lifts an amused eyebrow. “You want it off?”

“Hey, I’m naked.” A half-shrug. “Only fair you return the favor.”

Iorveth snorts. “I had left it on as a matter of courtesy. But if that’s what you wish.”

“Courtesy?” Geralt can’t hold back an incredulous grin. “You thought that was going to put me off?”

“Perhaps not, but I feared it might put a damper on things.”

“Just take it off.”

Iorveth sighs and loosens the knot, unwrapping the square of red cloth until it drifts down and settles on his lap.

Geralt sits up and cocks his head. “I’ve seen worse.”

“Where?” Iorveth says snidely. “On a drowner?”

“Yeah,” Geralt admits. In truth, it does remind him a bit of a drowner, the contracted scar wrinkling Iorveth’s skin, the distorted corner of his mouth, the blank, empty eye…

Iorveth covers it up, thin fingers laying over the hollowed-out socket. “Not the most glamorous of battle scars,” he murmurs.

“Iorveth. Put your hand down.” Geralt takes his wrist and drags it away.

“I think…perhaps I should wrap it up again,” Iorveth says.

“Hey. I’ve seen it before, remember? And I still let you take my clothes off. It doesn’t bother me.” Geralt reaches up and traces the scar with his thumb. “Honestly, the fact that you can fight like that with only one eye just makes it even more impressive.”

Iorveth puts the bandana aside. “Even more flattery? Bit unnecessary at this point.”

“It’s not flattery,” Geralt replies. “Just telling the truth.”

“And there he goes again.” Iorveth leans in, running his hands up Geralt’s stomach, squeezing the muscle of his chest. “You’ve got quite a few scars yourself.”

Geralt doesn’t reply because Iorveth’s powerful hands massaging his chest feel really good, and his eyes drift shut as he sinks back down onto his elbows. “Enjoying this, are you?” Iorveth murmurs in a self-satisfied sort of way, and he kisses Geralt’s neck again, teeth scraping at his throat.

“Y—yeah,” Geralt manages, reaches down and grabs Iorveth’s ass, pulling him closer. Iorveth growls in something like frustration and crawls forward, straddling Geralt.

Their hips join and Geralt gasps, instantly embarrassed about it. He’s no blushing virgin. But Iorveth’s cock brushing his own—it’s like he’s never been touched before. Worse—better, something, breath-stealing—when Iorveth reaches down and grips them together, squeezing gently. Geralt tenses, his legs folding up; Iorveth sucks at his neck with an ardor that’s sure to leave marks tomorrow.

Geralt runs a hand through Iorveth’s long hair, feeling the flakes of blood come off when his fingers catch them. It’s just on the edge of too much—Iorveth sucking bruises into his neck, their cocks rubbing together hot and full. Iorveth’s fingers are strong but even more so they’re clever, rippling down Geralt’s length.

Geralt guides Iorveth’s head up and kisses him.

There. A give-and-take now, their mouths opening into each other. Iorveth hits a sensitive spot and Geralt’s hips twitch up off the bed—and then don’t stop, rolling against Iorveth, and the low moan lets him know that he’s doing the right thing. Iorveth moves now too, the two of them thrusting against each other and into his hand. Too frantic even to kiss, their foreheads pressed together, breath mixing in the space between them. Geralt’s shoulders hurt, his back aches, his legs are sore. Yet the pain and pleasure pulse at the same frequency and all he feels is his body beneath Iorveth, thrumming with electricity.

Iorveth breaks off, plants one more sloppy kiss on Geralt’s mouth, and then rises. “Gwynbleidd. Lie back and take your hair down.”

He stands and goes off to fetch something so Geralt tugs the knot from the leather string that holds his hair up, letting it fall to his shoulders. Iorveth returns with something crystalline glittering in his hand and when he lowers himself again it’s at the foot of the mattress, laying on his front between Geralt’s legs.

He wastes no time and takes Geralt’s cock into his mouth, grasping the shaft so he can work the head. For now he only sucks it, bobbing gently, but it isn’t just that that sets Geralt off, it’s the sight of it, Iorveth, long hair falling about his scarred, angular face, lips closed around Geralt’s shaft, and Geralt grunts, toes curling as a shudder runs through him. Iorveth’s eye flicks up before he returns to what he was doing; he slides Geralt’s foreskin down and locks his lips around the crown, tongue nudging at the slit. That’s enough to provoke a curse, and Geralt reaches down to run his fingers through Iorveth’s hair. Then—

Coated in oil, one of Iorveth’s fingers massaging his hole.

He’s nervous. No reason to be, really—a few of his more adventurous lovers in the past have performed the act as well, after they’d both had perhaps a little too much wine. But Geralt’s still nervous. Not because it’s another man, he thinks; if he’d fallen into bed with any of Saskia’s freedom fighters, any noble’s son, even one of the Scoia’tael, it would be perfectly fine.

But this is Iorveth, who’s lived three hundred and sixty-two years, killed thousands and survived without losing anything but a single eye, and Geralt knows if he cedes control here he’ll never win it back. “I—Iorveth—“

Iorveth lets Geralt’s cockhead pop out of his mouth although his finger does not stop its insistent circling. “Hm?”

Geralt gazes into his disfigured face and finds the sense of danger remains, that the scales are tipped out of his favor. Yet the fear evaporates; Iorveth’s dark eye steadies him as an anchor in a storm-tossed sea. Geralt nods. “Keep going.”

Iorveth penetrates him.

Geralt tightens around his finger—cannot help it—but there isn’t any pain. Iorveth is sucking him again, lips locked around his shaft and descending, gliding soft and wet back and forth at a generous pace. His breath is hot—hot enough to burn, or so it feels.

Then Iorveth’s finger crooks and Geralt bites his lip to hold back an embarrassing whine.

Not new but it’s been quite some time and he had forgotten, how heat wells there to be stoked so easily by his partner, how it makes his stomach tighten and his legs go weak. And Iorveth is impatient—has hardly allowed him time to acclimate before another finger enters him beside the first. Now the stretch is there, but Geralt braces his feet on the blanket and tilts his hips, offering himself.

Iorveth jerks him slowly, sucking at his crown, his slit. Almost dispassionate but for the arch of his eyebrow, the small noises of satisfaction he makes as he nurses Geralt’s cockhead. That’s fine. Great could bear that. What’s harder is the maddening way in which Iorveth teases his prostate. Archer’s fingers like Iorveth strong but first of all clever, stroking him not quite firmly enough until all of a sudden they are and Geralt makes a sound like the breath’s been knocked out of him and then they back off all at once. He’s rock-hard, straining in Iorveth’s grip. “Fuck,” he hisses.

Iorveth looks up with a sly grin. “Do you like how that feels, then?”

“Yeah.” Geralt lays a hand over his eyes. It’s a lot to process.

“Gwynbleidd.”

Geralt props himself up on an elbow. “Yeah?”

Iorveth’s eye is lidded, his voice rough with desire. “I’m going to fuck you.”

That makes Geralt’s stomach flutter. He had assumed vaguely that he would be fucking Iorveth, although there was no real basis for the thought; and this…

“I know. You’ve never done this before,” Iorveth says, and his fingers are devilish, rubbing Geralt’s walls with quick, deliberate strokes. Geralt arches, head falling back as he draws in a deep breath. The pleasure is like a poison, seeping through his whole body.

“Will you trust me?” Iorveth asks.

Geralt nods, the words slow to come. “Yeah. Yeah.”

Three fingers then and he feels well and truly opened up, but Iorveth isn’t simply teasing anymore and Geralt finds his hips lifting off the bed, rocking against Iorveth. “That’s it,” comes the satisfied murmur.

As Geralt’s hips move he thrusts into Iorveth’s hand—but his partner has other ideas, his grip now too loose for Geralt to build up the friction he needs to come. Instead all he has is Iorveth’s fingers inside him, stroking his prostate relentlessly as if that alone could bring him to orgasm. Indeed it feels like it should—his cock is heavy with need, his balls tight. And yet he senses that without Iorveth jerking him, climax will remain just out of reach.

“Fuck,” Iorveth snarls, and withdraws his fingers; a terrible disappointment, but it leads the delirium a little and Geralt blinks at the ceiling, gathering himself. Iorveth is rising to  kneel, and he pushes Geralt’s legs up—their cocks slide over each other, and on instinct Geralt reaches down and grasps Iorveth, squeezing him. But Iorveth pulls back. “I don’t want your hand,” he hisses.

Then he leans down and kisses Geralt—deeply, hungrily, and Geralt feels the pressure at his hole, demanding entry. He holds Iorveth’s face and kisses him back, breathes “Come on, come on—“

Iorveth breaches him and he moans long and low. Full. He’s never felt full. And Iorveth isn’t even in all the way.

“Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth murmurs in a reverent tone, his hand gliding up Geralt’s stomach, brushing through the curled white hair. Geralt catches it and presses it to his chest. Iorveth leans down and kisses Geralt’s neck, the corner of his jaw; his cock advances at an excruciatingly slow pace, and Geralt almost begs for all of him but swallows it before he can make the confession.

“Mm…you’re tight, Gwynbleidd,” Iorveth says wryly, lips ghosting over Geralt’s throat.

“I told you I’d—never done this before,” Geralt manages.

“Is it painful?” Iorveth asks.

Geralt shakes his head. A stretch, certainly, bordering on discomfort, but no pain.

Iorveth’s hair falls over his shoulders and brushes Geralt’s chest; he moves gently, hips rocking, each time going just a little deeper. Geralt reaches down and grasps himself, with his other hand cups Iorveth’s face, absently tucking his hair behind his ear.

Yes. Deeper. Iorveth’s cock lights the fire that had dimmed a little but warms again now. “Come on.” Geralt grabs Iorveth’s waist. “Come on.”

“You want more?” Iorveth says.

“Yeah, yeah,” Geralt answers, impatient. “Come on.”

Iorveth’s voice is low and harsh, an animal growl from the base of his throat. “Then take me.”

He pushes inside and Geralt grunts, back arching. Full. Iorveth is hilted in him, their hips locked together. “Take me, Gwynbleidd,” murmured above him. “That’s it.”

“Come on,” Geralt urges again, and finally Iorveth starts to fuck him.

The gentleness is gone, Iorveth bent over him, hips pumping, Geralt grabbing his ass and pulling him in.. Almost too much—almost. Iorveth is deep inside him, every stroke—Geralt swears and squeezes himself—setting off a tight pulse of heat in his groin. He realizes that he isn’t in control of his own pleasure, can’t predict what the next thrust will do to him. Instead it’s Iorveth drawing these moans from him, making his cock throb with need.

Iorveth’s mouth at his neck again, sucking at the thin skin—a twinge of pain, and Geralt tilts his head back, baring his throat to be marked. Teeth scrape and then Iorveth’s tongue follows as if hoping for blood. Geralt hikes his legs up and Iorveth responds instantly, pumping into him faster—Geralt curses again and his grip springs open, his cock smearing a line of precum across his stomach. Almost came there but Iorveth’s not done with him yet.

Short, hard thrusts, purposeful and unfaltering, each plunging across his prostate and making him want to beg for—something. Reprieve, release. Anything. Iorveth rises, hands braced on the bed. His lips are parted, twisted by the ragged scar. Half his face is in shadow but firelight dances in the empty socket, restless and alive. He could almost be a monster, something once human tortured into a creature hungry and grotesque.

Geralt raises a hand and cups his face, stroking his cheek beneath the ruined eye. “Iorveth—Iorveth—“

“Gwynbleidd—“

Not monstrous. A plea like a prayer, and even beneath the gnarled skin Geralt sees how his face softens, what he needs when he leans down—so Geralt kisses him hard and grunts in surprise when Iorveth’s cock angles up into him. His legs sprawl on the rumpled blankets, his strength gone. It feels too good, what Iorveth’s doing to him. He reaches down and grasps himself loosely, too dazed to say anything—

“Gwynbleidd.” Quiet and desperate. “Gwynbleidd, I’m close—“

“Yeah, Iorveth, come in me, come in me.” Has no idea where that desire springs from but he needs it almost as much as he needs to reach orgasm, and he jerks himself between their bodies as Iorveth plunges into him faster, faster, faster—

Iorveth lets out a broken cry, his body bent over Geralt like a man beaten. Geralt wraps an arm around him and holds on for all he’s worth as his own orgasm thunders through him, his back arching up off the mattress, feet scraping over the blankets. He clenches around Iorveth with the rhythm of his climax, and Iorveth pleads with him, “Gwynbleidd, Gwynbleidd, you’re so tight,” and keeps fucking into him with short, fitful thrusts.

But Geralt’s orgasm doesn’t cease, fueled by Iorveth’s cock still filling his ass, and without meaning to he lets out a long, shuddered moan, gasping out Iorveth’s name. His stomach is streaked with his own seed.

After Iorveth pulls out of him at last they curl into each other in the same instant, Geralt’s arms around Iorveth’s back, Iorveth’s around his waist. Their eyes meet, finding each other in the faintest flicker of the dying fire. Iorveth smiles like a man long imprisoned, free at last. “Your hair..it’s like moonlight.”

Geralt thinks that might be one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to him. He’s still thinking about it as he drifts off to sleep.

——

In the morning the sounds of revelry have disappeared, and it’s only birdsong coming through the window—no musical warbler but rather the piercing call of a jay. Geralt groans and rubs his eyes.

Iorveth has woken too; he pushes his hair out of his face and rolls on his back. “Hm. Morning already?”

“Yeah.” Geralt rises, the blankets falling away, and stretches his arms up above his head. “Better get up.” He smiles down at Iorveth, hair mussed, face pink with warmth. “We’ve got a queen to save.”