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you are in my blood

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Jaskier is . . . nontraditional, one might say. For starters, he doesn’t avoid humanity or crowds or daylight, and he sings very different songs from his sisters.

Also, well, he’s a he. He’s been scoffed at for that before, but he prefers it, so he really doesn’t care. Oh, he can see the point of being a woman sometimes—it’s certainly come in handy once or twice—but regularly? Day to day? No thank you, he’s not interested. Nothing wrong with it, of course, but it’s not for him at all.

“How do you even hunt like that?” one of his sisters sneers once, and he doesn’t bother explaining his process. But humans don’t find a man alone on the road unusual or interesting, and it’s easy to flit from place to place, devouring who and what he pleases and singing the songs he likes. He avoids leaving any particular trail of bodies and avoids unnecessary death in general, and he lets himself be seen in bright sunlight and he lets himself be known as a lover and not a fighter, and no one spots him as anything strange.

So, Jaskier is nontraditional. And he doesn’t have, perhaps, the most developed survival instinct.

At least, that’s what he blames for his reaction when he first catches scent of a witcher in the tavern.

It’s not his fault, alright, that witchers apparently smell delicious. He’s never met one before—he’s young, and they’re rare—but Geralt of Rivia is downright mouthwatering. Jaskier has never wanted to eat a human more.

Well. Not quite a human, perhaps, but human enough to smell mouthwatering.

It’s not even hard to get the man alone.

He’ll let him kill his devil first, Jaskier thinks at the time, so his blood is up. Witchers, apparently, have very slow heartbeats. They’re probably better savored, but of course savoring one implies giving them an awful lot of time to kill you in. Jaskier just wants a quick little nip, really, that’s all. A little snack.

Well, no, Jaskier actually wants to make a banquet of this witcher, but he does have some survival instincts. He isn’t as paranoid as some of his sisters, but he very much does want to live.

So it’s a problem, a bit, the whole thing with the elves.

Jaskier’s just debating how much trouble he’s actually in when Geralt, marvelously, talks them out of it. After that, well . . . Jaskier still wants to eat him very badly, but he supposes it’d be a bit ungrateful of him.

Geralt isn’t very impressed with the song he writes for him, unfortunately—which, rude—but doesn’t try to run off and leave him either, so . . .

Well, Jaskier’s a bit smitten. A delicious-smelling witcher who can talk his way out of being murdered is very impressive.

And he always has wanted a pet.

“Really, I think this has been a very auspicious beginning for us,” he says as they meander down the road together, barely resisting the urge to reach up and try petting the other’s thigh. Might as well try and pet something feral. He’ll have to earn a bit of trust before he can expect to get away with anything like that without getting bit for it.

Jaskier’s the one who does the biting, thank you very much, and he’d prefer to keep it that way.

“Do you now,” Geralt says dubiously. Jaskier strums a little tune on his lovely new lute.

“Oh, yes,” he says. “Except perhaps for the part where you gave them all of your money, anyway. That was a bit unfortunate.”

“Hn,” Geralt says. Jaskier is definitely going to be carrying the conversations. He doesn’t mind that, though; he’s quite good at carrying a conversation. Anyway, no pet is perfect.

He’s probably going to have to stop feeding on so many humans with a witcher around, though. Jaskier assumes it’ll be more like having a cat than a dog, but a cat can smell blood just as well as any beast, and he doubts a witcher would appreciate that kind of thing. He’d hate to miss out on such a lovely creature because he couldn’t control his own appetite.

It is, it turns out, more like having a cat than a dog. Geralt wanders off constantly, for weeks and months at a time, and Jaskier is always having to track him down and make sure he hasn’t gotten into any trouble. Being Geralt, he usually has. Being Jaskier, he tolerates it. He knew going in that Geralt would be a difficult creature to tame, after all. If he’d wanted an easy pet, he’d have picked just about, oh, anything else?

The amount of times he has to patch him up after he’s gone and gotten in a scrap with something twice his size is genuinely ridiculous, though.

“Why do you smell like that?” one of his sisters asks suspiciously, one day while he’s passing time among a small group of their kind. He doesn’t usually bother—he’s young, yes, but he’s strong enough not to really need a flock, and other bruxae don’t tend to get on with him particularly well anyway—but they’re crossing a rather dangerous mountain pass at the moment and he could use a few sisters at his back in case they run into someone dangerous.

“It’s my pet,” he replies distractedly, more concerned with tuning his lute.

“No,” she hisses. “You smell like witcher.”

“. . . it’s my pet?” Jaskier repeats, giving her a skeptical look, and she makes an incredulous noise.

“You have a pet witcher?” she demands.

“Yes,” Jaskier says. “He’s quite lovely. He’s got the prettiest eyes.”

“You must be joking,” another sister says. “You expect us to believe you tamed a witcher looking like that?”

“I quite like the way I look, actually,” Jaskier says, mildly offended. Admittedly, he’s climbing a mountain in brocade while everyone else is disguised as ordinary village women, but he’s done sillier things. Also, he still has no interest in being female, thank you very much. “And I never said he was tame, did I? He’s like . . . oh, a barn cat, maybe. Bit feral, but he’ll come when you call. Sometimes, anyway.”

“You’re mad,” the sister says incredulously. “A witcher’ll kill our kind as soon as look at us.”

“Not him,” Jaskier says, because he knows Geralt a bit better than that by now. Oh, he’d certainly kill him if he thought he deserved killing, but Jaskier’s been on very good behavior, as a matter of fact. He hardly ever kills humans anymore and never killed that many to begin with, except for the occasional unavoidable incident. Geralt would hardly murder him over a dead bandit or two.

Or six.

But that aside.

“What does he taste like?” the first sister says, her dark eyes glittering with curiosity. He should really know their names by now, but none of them had seen fit to introduce themselves when they’d first met, so he hadn’t bothered either. It was enough that they knew they were kin, anyway; that was all that really mattered.

“Oh, I don’t eat him,” he says, waving the question off. “I like him, and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t be able to stop if I started.”

“You have a pet witcher and you don’t even eat him?” the sister demands in disbelief.

“It does sound a bit funny when you put it that way,” Jaskier admits with a faint frown. Still, he’d rather have Geralt than a good meal, no matter how good a meal it might be. “Well, there are plenty of delicious creatures in the world. There’s only one of him.”

“What a waste,” the second sister says, shaking her head. Jaskier shrugs, then goes back to tuning his lute.

Like he said, he doesn’t usually get along with other bruxae.

They sing as they travel, though, and it’s lovely to hear their voices.

The next time he manages to track down Geralt, he needs his cat to be a bit more of a dog. Specifically of the “bruxa’s best friend” variety. Extra specifically, a guard dog. It's not that Jaskier can't deal with potentially murderous nobles, it's just he'd really rather not make a mess. Killing people in the middle of a party never goes over well. He's learned that lesson, certainly.

Also, Geralt can probably do it a lot less messily, if it comes to it, and might get run out of town for being a mutant but probably won’t get set on fire for being a monster.

Look, it’s not Jaskier’s fault he has talons and fangs and inhuman strength. He just works with what he’s got, as you do.

Unfortunately, the night doesn’t go particularly well overall, and Pavetta it seems screams even louder than he and his sisters can, and now Jaskier has two pets, he supposes, which is very inconvenient because he has enough trouble with Geralt, he doesn’t need to be raising a baby on top of things. Geralt seems perfectly happy to leave it with its parents, though, and really Jaskier can’t argue with that. A prince or princess is a bit . . . much, really. And their current lifestyle really wouldn’t support a baby, either, and he’s certainly not settling down with it. Just—no, definitely not.

Well, humans don’t live very long, so he supposes he could spare a few decades for the process, but still, he’d really rather not.

That’s another problem, really; humans don’t live very long. He doesn’t want to get attached to the thing and have it die on him five minutes later. At least witchers have actual respectable lifespans.

Still, it is his responsibility, he supposes. Wouldn’t be a very good owner if he behaved like the child surprise was just Geralt’s problem.

He’s the only reason Geralt was even there, for one thing.

Jaskier visits Cintra fairly regularly, every two or three years, and performs in its court on occasion. Several people there seem to assume he’s spying for Geralt, which is hilarious, but the queen doesn’t forbid his presence or say anything particularly alarming about it so he keeps going back. It’s unfortunate about Pavetta and Duny, but the child surprise herself—Cirilla, what an adorable name—seems to be growing up well enough. Hasn’t screamed down any banquets yet, as least as far as Jaskier knows.

He doesn’t have to worry about her, really. Letting a pet grow up a pampered princess is far from the worst fate, even with as intimidating a grandmother as Calanthe around. Calanthe seems to dote on her, anyway.

Once or twice Jaskier does consider taking her, because destiny and fate and all its whims, but he doubts Geralt would get on with a child and that would be a problem, obviously.

Maybe when she’s older.

Yes, that seems reasonable.

The djinn, now—that’s definitely on Geralt, and he won’t hear otherwise. Jaskier certainly isn’t the one who tried to solve a minor problem with major magics. Who knows how long Geralt might’ve ended up sleeping if Jaskier’d actually let him make that wish. A week? A year? A century?

Definitely best that didn’t happen.

Yennefer is unfortunately annoying, but that’s how it is when you have a pet: sometimes they run off and get in trouble and make friends you don’t much like.

By the time they get to the dragon, well . . .

Never mind the dragon.

After that, Jaskier spends some time wandering as usual, but just a little heartbroken. He’s grown very fond of Geralt, and he’s done his best to take care of him—seeing him reasonably safe and properly rewarded and appreciated for his work. He thought Geralt . . .

Well, clearly Geralt didn’t.

A different bruxa would’ve reacted very differently to losing a pet that way, Jaskier knows, but he doesn’t want to react like that. He just wants Geralt, difficult as he may be, and if he can’t have him . . .

Well. Then he can’t have him, he supposes.

It’s a bit unfair, Jaskier thinks, but such is life.

He avoids tracking Geralt down, but he still sings about him, even when he’s alone except for the road ahead and random birds in the trees. Geralt’s in all his best songs, so of course he does. He misses him, fiercely, but he still doesn’t track him down. He’s always been very good at tracking Geralt down, because he wouldn’t be a very good owner if he weren’t, and not doing it now is . . . upsetting.

But Geralt doesn’t want him, not anymore—not if he ever even did—and Jaskier might be a bit merciless and a bit of a liar and a bit of a monster, but he won’t force Geralt to stay when the other wants to go. Not even after all this time.

No matter how much he wants to.

“Are you hungry?” one of his sisters says, fresh blood on her face from the lovers staying in her isolated cabin. Jaskier plucks out a discordant melody on his lute. He stumbles across his sisters rarely and even more rarely gets on with them, but usually he’d be happy to see one anyway. Lately, though . . .

Well, it’s been a while since he felt particularly happy about anything.

“Not hungry, no,” he says, still plucking at his lute.

“There’s still enough to go around,” she says.

“I appreciate it, but no.” Jaskier shakes his head. He’s eaten plenty today already.

“Then what is it?” she asks, looking skeptical—as if being hungry is the only possible thing that could be wrong. She’s even younger than him, though, so she probably thinks it is.

“Nothing, really,” Jaskier says. “I just . . . mislaid something. It’s fine. Would you sing with me tonight?”

“Of course, sister,” she says, because no bruxa has ever turned down that request.

“Brother,” Jaskier corrects reflexively, and she wrinkles her bloody nose.

“Brother,” she repeats doubtfully. “Alright.”

They sing for a long time, and it does help. She even keeps calling him “brother”, which is not always something a sister will do for him. Jaskier feels a little more settled in his bones, and his blood doesn’t thrum with the same sense of loneliness, as if he’s never gone this long without Geralt around before. He’s gone far longer, in fact; Geralt was always a wanderer, and he wasn’t any different himself.

It feels different this time, is all.

He moves on in the morning, of course, because that’s what he does, and he doesn’t pay attention to where he’s going.

He doesn’t have anywhere in particular to go, so . . .

Maybe he’ll visit Cintra again, he thinks. Geralt might not want him anymore, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have certain responsibilities. How old must Cirilla be now? Ten? Twelve?

Maybe old enough to pick up and take away, come to think of it.

He thinks he’s just thinking about that because he’s lonely, though. Geralt’s not that easily replaceable.

It turns out, though, that Cintra’s not there to be visited anymore. Jaskier learns this in a pub on his way there, from furtive whispers about Nilfgaard and the reward for a lost princess.

“Oh . . . hell,” Jaskier says, and leaves the pub and starts looking. He has no idea how to find Cirilla, but he damn well knows how to find Geralt, and this is both their problem.

Not to say he doesn’t keep an ear out for descriptions that might match a princess, though.

It’s a lot of fruitless searching packed into a very short amount of time, in the end, and in the end he doesn’t find either of them; he finds a flock of his sisters in the deep dark woods, and the scent of fresh blood on the air.

His sisters, however, have found both of them just fine.

Maybe that’s destiny, he thinks.

Geralt’s wounded and crouched low on the ground, his head and arm both bleeding sluggishly from slashed claw marks and hand clutching a torch, and Cirilla is huddled down behind him, white-faced and terrified. She isn’t screaming, which is unfortunate for them because that’d probably have helped—assuming she takes after her mother, anyway. Maybe it skipped her too.

Either way, Jaskier’s sisters can scream just fine themselves, so . . .

One of them steps forward, her talons long and red in the torchlight, naked except for the dried blood on her mouth and breasts. Geralt tenses, and Cirilla flinches. Jaskier . . .

Well, he does the obvious thing. Obviously.

Jaskier spends a lot of time acting human, but this time it doesn’t even occur to him to try.

“MINE!” he hisses furiously as he bolts out of the dark trees, and his sisters all recoil in startled alarm at his presence. They’re weaker than he is, he can already tell, but there’s far more of them and they are, of course, a flock, and he is, of course, not.

But never mind that.

“Jaskier?!” Geralt says in disbelief, and Jaskier bares human-shaped teeth at his sisters, who’ve clearly recovered from their initial surprise and are starting to bristle.

Our hunt,” one of them snaps, lifting her talons.

My pets,” Jaskier snaps back, still baring his teeth.

“They don’t smell like yours,” another sneers.

“Well, they are,” Jaskier says, lifting his jaw. “So leave now, or I’ll let my witcher butcher you all.”

Some of them laugh. Some of them don’t. Not necessarily the single-minded type of flock, then. Still a flock, though.

Jaskier doesn’t actually know if Geralt can kill this many other bruxae at once. He knows he can’t, though, and they know it just the same. Geralt, though—a witcher isn’t so easy to judge the strength of. If nothing else, this flock might really, really regret testing him.

But he’s got Cirilla to protect, of course.

The smart thing to do would’ve been to grab Cirilla and get her out of the way, Jaskier’s realizing now, but he isn’t, admittedly, the smartest creature he could be.

You leave,” one of his sisters says. “We don’t share.”

“This really didn’t have to be difficult,” Jaskier says, and then screams at them.

Not his fault they’re all standing in a knot.

Half of them are thrown backwards by the force of his cry, and half of them screech in rage and throw themselves at him, and Geralt leaps forward with his silver sword out and oh, then things really get exciting. Jaskier really isn’t much of a fighter and never has been, but he has talons and fangs and he is very, very fast.

He’s still absolutely buried under angry sisters, though.

It’s a bit of an issue.

“Get off!” he shrieks, which buys him a little breathing room as they’re forced back, but of course they shriek back and that slams him painfully into the ground. Oh, that’s so unfortunate.

He can hear more screaming from behind them. Whatever Geralt’s doing over there, though—presumably something violent—it’s not being helpful with the situation over here, and Jaskier needs to do something very, very clever very, very quickly.

Too bad he’s had his bell rung too hard to be thinking of anything clever.

One of his sisters tries to gut him with her talons. He makes an indignant sound and kicks her off. Being gutted wouldn’t exactly kill him, but it would be very inconvenient and hurt very badly. Just—so badly.

There’s a lot of screaming and chaos, and a lot of desperate scrambling on Jaskier’s part, and he can smell far too much blood around them, and who the hell even knows where Geralt and Cirilla are right now or how much trouble they’re all actually in. A lot, probably. “A lot” seems like a safe guess right now.

Jaskier really never does get along with other bruxae all that well, unfortunately.

He hears one of his sisters’ screams cut off in a brutal gurgling sound, and hopes that’s a good sign. The rest of the flock does not take it well, unfortunately, and they all howl in a furious cacophony. Jaskier’s ears might be bleeding a bit, which is saying something because his ears are in fact used to that kind of howling. He hopes Geralt and Cirilla are still conscious. He hopes Geralt and Cirilla are still alive.

Another sister tries to gut him. He punches her in the face, which isn’t very bruxa of him but does, mercifully, do the job and send her reeling. Unfortunately, there’s still quite a few more of them clawing at him.

This is bad. He’s been lucky so far, but lucky only goes so far, and who knows what’s going on with Geralt and Cirilla, and who knows how many pieces he’s about to be torn into, and—

Someone screams.

It’s not one of his sisters, and it’s definitely not him, but it’s a very familiar scream all the same.

Cirilla sounds just like her mother.

He claps his hands over his ears and huddles down against the ground as a wave of sheer force overcomes him, and his sisters all shriek in terror and flee, which is probably the wiser course of action. The echoing scream seems like it will never end, right up until it cuts off and he hears a sob, which he’s fairly certain is from Cirilla, and he lifts his head warily. Geralt is on the ground again, bleeding from even more places than before, and Cirilla is standing over him and the pieces of a few dead sisters, shaking in place.

“That remains impressive and terrifying,” Jaskier says faintly, attempting to adjust the lay of his doublet and hissing in pain as his fingers collide with a nasty wound across his neck that he hadn’t even registered getting in all the fuss. His shirt is wet, he realizes belatedly, and looks down at it.

Hm. Well, that’s an unfortunate amount of blood to have lost. His neck is cut far too deeply, and the defensive wounds on his arms aren’t much better. This jacket’s a goner for sure. He forces his blood to less of a gushing and more of a slow ooze, and clears his throat. Unsurprisingly, it’s painful.

“Are you alright?” Cirilla asks, trembling. “Geralt?”

Geralt grunts, and gets a hand against the forest floor and pushes himself up a bit. Blood drips out of his mouth, which makes Jaskier want to kiss him. A lot of things do that with Geralt, though, so he shrugs the feeling off and rolls to his feet.

“What a mess,” he tsks, dusting off what little of his clothing isn’t soaked in blood. “You know, I don’t know why so many vampires waste so much food by maiming people, you’d think more of us would be a little smarter about that kind of thing.”

“Ciri,” Geralt rasps, and she makes another cracked sobbing sound and drops down to throw her arms around him. He puts one around her in return, which Jaskier is so startled to see that he nearly forgets to keep his blood in his neck. Not that he’s never seen Geralt hug someone, just . . . actually, wait, he may never have seen Geralt hug someone. Maybe Yennefer? Maybe?

Are you alright, Geralt?” Jaskier says, walking over to them. He stays a bit back, though, because who knows how Geralt’s going to react right now. He wouldn’t expect the other to attack him, but he is currently clinging to his child surprise who just probably nearly died at the hands of Jaskier’s own kind, so . . .

“Fine,” Geralt grunts, staring up at him guardedly. Jaskier doesn’t miss the way he pulls Cirilla closer.

“Wait, I know you,” Cirilla says in confusion, peering up at him. Geralt’s bleeding all over her, but neither of them seem to have noticed. “You’re the bard. Jaskier.”

“At your service, Your Highness,” Jaskier says, bowing neatly. He’s a little surprised she bothered remembering his name; it’s not as if they’ve ever spoken before, and he only came through Cintra every few years.

"You're bleeding," she says.

"A bit, yes," Jaskier agrees. "Seems to be going around, you know how it is."

“You know him?” Geralt says, clearly missing the very unsubtle hint about his own wounds.

“Yes,” Cirilla says. “He’d come to court, sometimes. My grandmother hated his songs.”

“I suspect she hated me, all things considered,” Jaskier says.

“You went to Cintra?” Geralt says, his voice sounding odd.

“We didn’t all decide to spit in the face of destiny, Geralt,” Jaskier huffs. “Of course I did.”

"'Of course'?" Cirilla echoes. Jaskier bows to her again.

"Of course," he says. "Geralt was only there to claim the law of surprise because of me."

"He was?" Cirilla says, glancing anxiously at the wound in his throat. Jaskier ignores it. It hurts, admittedly, but as long as he keeps it from bleeding any more he'll be fine.

"Yes," he says. "I brought him. None of that's your blood, is it?"

"Wha—oh!" she says, looking distressed as she looks down at herself, then at Geralt's wounds. "You're still bleeding!"

"I'm fine," Geralt says.

"Really?" Jaskier says. "Because only one of us is bleeding right now, and it's not me or the princess."

"You should be bleeding," Geralt says. Jaskier shrugs dismissively.

"Not really," he says. "You really need bandaged up."

Geralt stares intently at him, silent. Cirilla slips out of his arms and looks around anxiously, then hurries to a dropped rucksack deeper in the trees and brings it back.

"You do," she says. "You might need sutures."

"Hn," Geralt says. He's still staring at Jaskier, who holds his hands up harmlessly. They're covered in his sisters' blood and some of his own, which probably doesn't help him look harmless, he realizes belatedly.

Ah well. No use crying over spilled guts.

"I don't know how to do stitches," Cirilla says. "Is it anything like embroidery?"

"I have no idea what embroidery is like," Jaskier says. "So maybe?"

". . . I wasn't very good at embroidery," Cirilla says, looking worried.

"I can do it myself," Geralt says.

"Including your forehead?" Jaskier asks skeptically.

"Yes."

"If you say so."

Geralt drinks a potion and cleans his wounds and does, in fact, stitch them all himself. Cirilla watches, grimacing but clearly taking mental notes for the future. Jaskier waits as patiently as he's able. Geralt would've already killed him or chased him off if he was going to, so . . .

So, he supposes.

It takes Geralt some time to stitch himself up, but he does well enough with it. Jaskier really wants to lick his wounds for him but doubts the gesture would be appreciated. Not his fault; Geralt smells delicious.

Well, he always does, of course. Jaskier’s used to it by now.

"You’re a mess," he says frankly, eyeing all the blood on the other. It’s not all his own, obviously. Geralt grunts, possibly even in reply.

“There is a lot of . . . there’s a lot of blood," Cirilla says, grimacing again. “Is their blood dangerous?”

“No,” Geralt says, packing away the remaining bandages and sutures. There aren’t many left, after all that. “The teeth are useful, though.”

“You’re going to take their teeth?” Jaskier says, making a face and covering his mouth.

“Yes,” Geralt says, glancing at him before getting to his feet. “They’ll just rot here otherwise.”

“I mean, that is true, yes,” Jaskier says, still making a face as the other heads over to his dead sisters with obvious intent. “But it’s still unpleasant.”

“They’re monsters,” Cirilla says.

“So am I,” Jaskier says, pointing at his mouth. “I’ve got the exact same teeth in my head, in fact.” Cirilla looks alarmed.

“You’re the same thing as them?” she asks.

“Yes,” Jaskier says. “We’re called bruxae.”

“But they’re monsters,” Cirilla says. “I thought—you aren’t another witcher?”

“Not even slightly,” Jaskier says. He supposes she must’ve thought his scream was some sort of witcher spell, and she probably didn’t get a good look at his fangs and talons when he had them out. And, well, he was stupid enough to fight a whole flock of bruxae, and Geralt did know him. He’s heard less logical conclusions, at least, even if he’s unarmed and unarmored. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t kill people, mostly.”

“Mostly.” Cirilla looks like she’s worrying about it.

“Unfortunately, sometimes in life we may encounter people who need to be killed,” Jaskier says with a shrug. A shadow crosses Cirilla’s face, and she nods.

“We need to move on,” Geralt says, coming back over to them with a fistful of bloody teeth. “We don’t want to be here if they come back.”

“Oh, definitely not,” Jaskier agrees. Geralt whistles for Roach, who appears out of the trees and turns out to even be the same Roach Jaskier saw him with last. Has it really been so little time?

It felt much longer, somehow.

They leave the area, Cirilla riding Roach as Geralt leads them and all of them still bloody messes. Jaskier lets Geralt stay between him and the other two. He has been lying to him all this time; not explicitly, exactly, but still. He doesn’t blame the other for not feeling particularly trusting at the moment.

He should apologize, he supposes, but he doesn’t. He’s done far worse things in his life than act a little human.

Anyway, Geralt could apologize for a few things too, if they were doing that.

They travel until sun-up, and only then does Geralt let them stop. Sunlight isn’t really a deterrent to bruxae, but Jaskier hasn’t met many sisters who like it either, so hopefully the flock’s gone to ground for the day. He doesn’t relish the idea of meeting them again.

They stop by a river to do their damnedest to get the blood out of their clothes and off their skin. Considering Jaskier looks like a murder victim and Geralt doesn’t look much better, he doubts it’s going to make them especially more presentable, but at least it’ll be something. There’s a town not too far from here, but they need to not do things like show up to civilization completely soaked in blood. Another lesson Jaskier has learned very well.

Cirilla isn’t too bloodied, at least, and Jaskier has spare clothes. He doesn’t know if Geralt does.

Cirilla’s gone upstream a ways, Jaskier assumes out of some sense of modesty, and Geralt’s attention is all very clearly fixed in that direction, listening for threat or danger. Jaskier assumes she’d scream if there was any, and that would probably handle the issue.

Jaskier takes off his shirt and jacket. He doesn’t, usually—not in front of people, that is—but they’re soaked in blood and not in the fun way, so it’s a bit unavoidable this time. Anyway, it’s Geralt.

Geralt’s eyes flicker briefly to his bound breasts but don’t linger at all, which immediately makes him like the other even more than he already does.

“It’s fine, you can look,” he says, eyeing his ruined shirt with some resignation before moving on to taking off his equally bloody breastband. “I don’t mind.”

“Jaskier,” Geralt says carefully.

“Yes?” Jaskier blinks questioningly at him, dropping the breastband on the bank of the river. Geralt doesn’t seem to know what he was going to say.

“Are you alright?” he asks finally, and Jaskier laughs a bit and displays the bloody, half-healed slash across his throat.

“Fine,” he says. “Just a mess. Won’t even affect my singing voice.”

“That should’ve killed you,” Geralt says.

“Should it have?” Jaskier raises his eyebrows at him with a wry look. “Geralt. Come on. It’s been twenty years, and neither of us look a day older than the day we met. You must’ve noticed.”

“I thought you had elvish blood,” Geralt says.

“Well, I don’t,” Jaskier says with a shrug. “Not currently, anyway. Can’t say I’ve never had it. Though really I don’t have much blood at all right now . . .”

“Are you going to finish healing?” Geralt says, stepping in close enough to touch the wound in his throat but not making any kind of move to. Jaskier licks his lips.

He really doesn’t have much blood right now. It’s making him a bit . . . well, hungry. He’s good at controlling his blood flow, of course, like any bruxa, but he was a bit distracted during all the fuss and let a bit too much bleed out of the wound.

Too bad there’s nobody to eat around.

“Eventually,” he says. “Won’t kill me in the meantime, though.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Geralt says.

“I mean, to be fair, you never asked,” Jaskier says, maybe a little guiltily. Geralt glares at him, which, well—probably deserved. “Look, you never told me what you were either, I’m just a better guesser than you.”

“Jaskier,” Geralt snaps, then pauses for a moment, glare darkening. “Is that even your real name?”

“. . . actually, no,” Jaskier says with a wince. “But it is what everyone calls me, so . . .”

“I don’t know anything about you,” Geralt says.

“You never asked,” Jaskier says, a little defensive. “I haven’t lied to you.”

“You’re a vampire!”

“So are a lot of people!”

“And they don’t lie about being human for anything good!”

“Just because your stupid medallion can’t detect bruxae doesn’t mean I lied!” Jaskier says, bristling angrily. “And anyway, we lie about being human for all sorts of reasons! Do you think humans would listen to my songs if they knew what I was? Do you think humans would suffer me to live if they knew what I was?!”

“You don’t have to live among humans!” Geralt says.

“Where should I live, Geralt?” Jaskier demands, stepping forward and jabbing a finger into the other’s chest. “In some overgrown old forest or neglected ruins? Some miserable cave in the mountains?”

“With your sisters,” Geralt says sharply, and Jaskier bristles again. As if Geralt knows a thing about his sisters.

“Well, they don’t want me either!” he snaps, glaring up at him hotly. “So why shouldn’t I do as I please?!”

This is stupid. He knows Geralt doesn’t hurt things that don’t deserve the hurting, at least not unless he’s lashing out like an idiot over a woman who didn’t love him enough. He certainly isn’t going to kill him over a few lies of omission. This is a useless fight, and they’re both being idiots, and he just wants to wash the blood out of the other’s hair and sink his teeth in his—

“You can’t just go around hurting people and expecting it all to be fine,” Geralt says.

“Look who’s talking,” Jaskier says tightly. “I’ve never hurt you. I took the best care of you I could.”

“I’m not talking about me,” Geralt says.

“Well you should be!” Jaskier says. “You insufferable brat! Everything I did for you, and you throw a hissy fit because you can’t have one thing you want!”

“I didn’t ask you to do anything for me!” Geralt says. “You weren’t even being honest with me!”

“You didn’t know that!” Jaskier thunders, loud enough that Geralt staggers back a step under the force of it and lands on his ass in the river with a splash. Probably Cirilla heard that. Definitely Jaskier does not care. “And look who’s talking about being honest, I bet the last time you expressed an honest feeling somebody had to fuck it out of you!”

“Watch your mouth,” Geralt growls. He doesn’t get up. Jaskier wants to kick him, he thinks. No, he definitely wants to kick him.

“Why should I?” he says derisively. “You didn’t watch yours.” And what Geralt said on that mountain hurt a damn sight more than the minor indignity of getting a little wet.

He's . . . so upset. More upset than he really thought he was.

This is so stupid.

"This has nothing to do with that," Geralt says. Jaskier wants to bite him again, but not in the way he'd like. Geralt is always so difficult—and yes, he signed up for that, but that doesn't mean Geralt just gets to be a bastard about every little thing.

"You belong to me, you know," Jaskier says, looking down at him. "I take care of you, don't I? I make sure no one mistakes you for a monster. I see you paid fairly and respected, and you're never chased out of town when I'm around."

"That doesn't mean I belong to you," Geralt says. Jaskier tilts his head, dropping into a crouch in front of the other.

"Then what does it mean, Geralt?" he asks. "And if you call us friends now, I'm going to scream."

Geralt glares at him. Jaskier glares back. He wants Geralt to say something he won't want to kick him over, but chances are looking slim.

"I'm not yours," Geralt says. Jaskier throws his hands up in the air in exasperation.

"Well you're not yours!" he exclaims. "You take the worst care of yourself! But that's not even the point, the point is you're being a brat!"

"You've known me more than twenty years," Geralt says.

"I've noticed, yes!"

"What did I do?" Geralt says.

"Um, I know you know that—"

"Not on the mountain," Geralt interrupts. "What did I do before that, that made you not trust me."

"What?" Jaskier says, blinking at him. That is . . . not a question he's understanding.

"You didn't trust me enough to let me know what you were," Geralt says, leaning forward. "Not after the elves, or the banquet, or the djinn. Not after anything. So what did I do?"

"Nothing," Jaskier says. "It's just . . . not safe. To tell people."

"You didn't feel safe with me," Geralt says, which isn't actually what Jaskier said, but, well . . .

"No," he says. "I didn't."

Geralt stares intently at him. He doesn't get back to his feet. Jaskier looks back at him, not sure what else to say. Geralt's not wrong, after all. He's always known Geralt wouldn't kill him just for being what he was, or at least almost always known that, but . . .

But.

"Why did you stay, if you didn't feel safe?" Geralt says.

"I never feel safe, Geralt," Jaskier says. Not about that kind of thing, anyway. "It's not like it was anything new."

"Hn," Geralt says, not particularly helpfully. Jaskier sighs. Well, he can only expect so much conversation out of Geralt, really. Especially when the conversation's something like this.

"What, are you angry?" he says. "It's not anything you did."

"I'm not angry," Geralt says. Jaskier has a hard time believing that.

"So what are you, then?" he says.

Geralt, being Geralt, doesn't answer. Jaskier sighs again. He really picked the most difficult pet he could've, he thinks.

Well, no. He picked Geralt. Everything else was just . . . details.

"Geralt," he says. "What are you?"

Geralt still doesn't say a word. He gets to his feet, and Jaskier looks up at him, tall and strong and half-soaked in blood and river water, and just . . . doesn't know. He thinks about standing up too, but instead he shifts to his knees and puts his hands on the other’s thighs, muscled and tight and lovely, and Geralt’s expression goes strange.

After everything else, though, Jaskier is really not worried about that.

“Come here,” he says, leaning in close. Geralt doesn’t move, and Jaskier sighs yet again. So difficult, always. “I’m not going to bite you. I would’ve done it decades ago, if I was going to.”

“Hn,” Geralt says. He puts a hand on Jaskier’s shoulder. Jaskier hums, low and sweet, and then kisses the inside of his arm. Geralt doesn’t stiffen, but he doesn’t soften either.

Jaskier wonders what it would take, exactly, to get what he wants out of this man.

“Geralt,” he says as tenderly as he thinks it’s safe to, and Geralt squeezes his shoulder.

“Stop,” he says.

“Which part?” Jaskier says, because really, there’s more than a few options. Geralt sets his jaw and lets go of his shoulder and steps back, and Jaskier lets his hands fall away from the other’s thighs, which is an unavoidable shame.

“Just stop,” Geralt says.

“Shall I just disappear?” Jaskier says. “Is that still what you want?”

“That’s not what I said,” Geralt says.

“Mm, not this time, but you said it,” Jaskier says. “So? Shall I? I can leave right now.”

Geralt says nothing, his expression turning strange again. Jaskier considers touching him again, and a lot more intimately this time. He’s always held himself back from that kind of thing with Geralt, never sure of his welcome or particularly interested in pressing his luck, but after everything else, well . . .

Why not?

“You know, you need to say something,” he says. “Little offended that you’re not, honestly, it’s not like I get on my knees for just anyone.”

“You called me a pet,” Geralt says stiffly.

“Yes,” Jaskier says.

“You called me your pet,” Geralt says.

“I take care of you, don’t I?” Jaskier says. He reaches out again after all, putting a hand back on Geralt’s thigh. Geralt . . . doesn’t step back, at least. His thighs tense. “I do. I’d do more if I thought you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about it.”

“More,” Geralt echoes, his fingers curling in on themselves.

“Quite a lot more,” Jaskier says, and what he means is he’d feed him better than he feeds himself and buy him things he needs and pour chamomile oil in his baths and write more songs about him, but also what he means is, well . . .

“Jaskier,” Geralt says, reaching out towards his shoulder again, and Jaskier catches his hand and presses a kiss into the palm of it and hums up at him. Geralt has scars even here. But where doesn’t he, really? “Mm.”

“Mm?” Jaskier kisses the inside of his wrist. Geralt’s fingers curl. Jaskier’s not being very subtle, perhaps, but he doesn’t really care. This is Geralt, who he can and can’t trust with his life and certainly can’t trust with his heart, so it doesn’t matter. He won’t get an apology out of him, and he won’t give one himself.

He’s almost certain he can get this much, though.

“What are you doing?” Geralt says.

“What does it look like?” Jaskier says, raising an eyebrow at him.

“I don’t belong to you,” Geralt says. “I don’t belong to anyone.”

“Wouldn’t you like to, though?” Jaskier says.

Geralt grits his teeth. Jaskier drops another kiss into his palm. Geralt is very, very still for a moment, and then very carefully kneels down in front of him. Jaskier waits for him to do something, which, unsurprisingly, involves a lot of waiting.

It’s very worth it when Geralt leans in, though. Jaskier does the same because obviously he does the same, putting a finger under Geralt’s chin to coax him into tilting his head. He couldn’t say which of them brings their mouths together first, but it doesn’t really matter because then their mouths are together and they’re kissing, and that’s really the only thing he cares about in this situation. His pants are wet and uncomfortable and the river water is very cold and he’s very hungry, but none of those things are important anymore. He just kisses Geralt, and Geralt kisses him back, and that’s really all he cares about.

He puts his hands on Geralt’s thighs. Geralt grips his shoulders. It all feels very good, but—

“One thing,” Jaskier says, breaking off the kiss for a moment and internally thrilling over the soft sound of disappointment that escapes Geralt’s mouth as he does. “Just to be very clear, before anything else happens: I’m not a woman.”

“I know,” Geralt says, frowning faintly at him.

“Good,” Jaskier says in satisfaction, and kisses him again. He’s met enough people who didn’t understand that; he’s very pleased not to have to add Geralt to the list.

They keep kissing. It’s godsdamned lovely. Jaskier would happily keep it up all day, but at the same time he already wants more and he doesn’t know how much time they have before responsibility comes calling—meaning, before Geralt decides they need to go back to camp and check on Cirilla and Roach. Which, really, will be a fair decision, so . . .

Jaskier pushes his hands up under the soaked mess of Geralt’s shirt and over his stomach and chest, and Geralt hisses at the contact. Jaskier kisses the corner of his mouth and jaw and rubs his thumbs over his hard nipples, and Geralt hisses louder, gripping his shoulders tight.

“Jaskier,” he says roughly, which is the best way he’s ever said it.

“I want more,” Jaskier says, nuzzling behind his ear; rubbing his thumbs over his nipples again and wondering if that’s the cold or arousal. Geralt’s breath catches. “That alright?”

“It’s fine,” Geralt says, squeezing his shoulders again. Jaskier gives him another kiss and pinches his nipples, tugging lightly at them. Geralt seems to like it, though being Geralt he doesn’t actually say that. If he’s sensitive there, though . . .

“Good,” Jaskier murmurs, and ducks his mouth down to the other’s chest, holding his shirt up to let himself mouth at one of his nipples and dragging his tongue across it. Geralt jerks. Jaskier gives serious consideration to just playing with Geralt’s tits until the other shoves him off, but again, he doesn’t know how much time they have here. He pushes a hand down the back of Geralt’s pants to squeeze his ass, and Geralt jerks again.

Jaskier could do a lot of things here, really, but the thing he wants to do most immediately . . .

“I want inside you,” he says, lifting his head to kiss Geralt again and sliding a finger between the cheeks of the other’s ass meaningfully. Geralt blinks, looking faintly startled, and then bites a groan in half as Jaskier finds his hole and rubs a fingertip against it.

“How?” Geralt manages, and Jaskier grins crookedly at him.

“I have my ways,” he says, pressing in teasingly with that fingertip. Geralt shudders.

“Okay,” he says. Jaskier considers just finger-fucking him right here until he comes in his pants—they’re already ruined, after all—but the temptation of more is very hard to argue with.

He wonders what a witcher’s stamina is like. Can they last longer than a human? Go more times? Keep up with a bruxa?

He’s definitely looking forward to finding out.

He pulls his hand out of Geralt’s pants, internally thrilling again as the other makes that same soft sound of disappointment, then gets to his feet and pulls Geralt to his, tugging him towards the shore and their abandoned packs. Geralt follows him out of the water, his clothes clinging to him in very distracting ways that really make Jaskier want to see him out of them.

Well, he wants that anyway, obviously.

"I have some supplies on hand, fortunately," he says, stopping by their packs and tugging Geralt closer by the waist of his pants. "Well, necessarily, really. Makes it much easier to make oneself a reputation as a respectable lover when one's prepared."

"Your reputation isn't respectable," Geralt says dryly. Jaskier gives him an offended look.

"I am terrifically respectable, I'll have you know," he says huffily, dropping into a crouch to go through his pack. "Not my fault some people get upset so easily."

"Over you fucking your way through half the continent?" Geralt says, cocking an eyebrow at him.

"Yes," Jaskier says primly, setting his small bottle of oil on the ground next to his pack and his harness next to it. Geralt gives it a blank look, clearly not recognizing it for what it is. "It's hardly on me if people with jealous lovers and overprotective family members are naturally attracted to me."

"You're the common factor there," Geralt says. Jaskier huffs at him, then pulls his carefully-wrapped cock out of his pack and unwraps the padded fabric around it. Geralt's eyes flick to it immediately. It's a rather pretty thing for what it is, Jaskier's always thought: all smooth polished wood and carefully carved. "Hn."

"Do you like it?" Jaskier asks, holding it up for inspection. Geralt presses his lips into a thin line, folding his arms.

"It's . . . big," he says after a moment, looking awkward.

"Look who's talking," Jaskier says wryly. He's seen Geralt naked enough times to be quite familiar with just how much the other's packing, and he's definitely bigger. "Was that a compliment or a complaint?"

"It's just—big," Geralt says.

"We can do something else," Jaskier says, searching his face for discomfort. Geralt's ears redden.

"I've just never had one that big," he mutters. It takes far too much of Jaskier's willpower to keep from grinning at him.

"Oh?" he says lightly. "But you have had one before?"

"Yes," Geralt says stiffly, looking at his cock again. Jaskier turns it so he can see the whole thing, resisting the urge to preen but very pleased with his life choices at the moment.

"I would love to hear that story later," he says. "For the moment, though . . ."

"I don't want to do something else," Geralt says. Jaskier grins.

"Well fortunately, I can arrange that," he says. "Come here?"

Geralt kneels next to him. Jaskier kisses him, because he's a man with his priorities in order. He lays his cock and its padded wrapping on top of his pack, shimmies out of his wet pants, and picks up his harness. Geralt frowns at it.

"I don't want tied up," he says.

"While that is a beautiful image and very worth revisiting in the future, it's not for you," Jaskier tells him as he starts fastening it around his own hips. Geralt's frown deepens and he tilts his head. He is definitely not familiar with the point of a harness, Jaskier thinks wryly.

He isn't often completely naked in front of a partner, especially not when said partner's still fully dressed themselves, but he finds he doesn't particularly mind with Geralt. Geralt isn't going to stop seeing him as a man now, if he can still see him as one after finding out he's not human.

Well, he hopes not, anyway.

He finishes fastening the harness in place and Geralt reaches out to touch it, still frowning. Jaskier lets him, of course.

"What's it for?" Geralt asks skeptically, running his fingers up one of the straps.

"For this," Jaskier says, then picks up his cock and fits it into the harness before tightening the straps to secure it. Geralt's eyes widen. How he's gone a hundred years without anyone ever pulling out one of these for him, well—that's a tragedy, Jaskier thinks. "It's nice, don't you think?"

"Hn," Geralt says. His fingers are still on the strap, and his eyes are still on Jaskier's cock. Jaskier decides to take that as a compliment.

"Anyway, I'm going to fuck you stupid with it," he says conversationally, and Geralt inhales sharply. "Oh, that's a nice reaction. I'm good at it, don't worry. Lots of practice."

"You talk too much," Geralt says, leaning towards him. He wraps a hand around Jaskier's cock and strokes it, and Jaskier immediately pushes into it. He doesn't think he's ever had a partner do that unprompted before, and he is just . . . all about it, it turns out, hell.

"Oh, that's lovely," he sighs dreamily, running a hand up Geralt's arm. Geralt strokes his cock again, probably just familiarizing himself with it but very much pleasing Jaskier all the same. He wonders if Geralt would suck it, if he asked.

Definitely something to consider.

"I'm going to fuck you," he says again, and Geralt visibly tightens his grip on his cock. "I'll make you feel so good, pet."

"Hn," Geralt says. He doesn't say not to call him that, and Jaskier smiles widely. He is definitely going to take advantage of that.

"Geralt," he says, hands catching in Geralt's waistband and tugging meaningfully. Geralt's more than half-hard in his pants, and he's even bigger than Jaskier expected him to be. "You're a delight, if I haven't mentioned it recently. How do you want me?"

"Now," Geralt says. Jaskier smiles wider.

"Gladly," he says, then kisses the other again. Geralt still has a hand around his cock; is still running his fingers over it. It's very, very gratifying. Jaskier can't even decide how to touch him, there's so many options, but "as much as possible" is looking like a good place to start. He puts his hands on Geralt's sides and slides them up under his shirt and kisses him as thoroughly as he can, and Geralt kisses him back and keeps stroking his cock.

Jaskier is going to fucking die, he likes that so much.

"Don't stop," he says, kissing him again and again and dragging his hands over his ribs. Geralt grunts into his mouth, leaning into him and yes, still stroking his cock, and Jaskier godsdamn adores him. "Oh, you're so good. Come here. Let me touch you."

Geralt already is, of course, but Jaskier wants to touch him even more than this. He wants to touch him everywhere he can. Wants to make him shake, and tremble, and fall completely apart.

Probably Geralt won't let him do that in the middle of a random vampire-infested forest with Cirilla to worry about, but it's a nice thought anyway.

He strokes Geralt's sides, and Geralt grunts again. Jaskier nips sharply at his mouth, then pushes his hands up his chest.

"I can't wait to get inside you," he murmurs, tugging at the other's nipples. Geralt hisses and bites his lip. "How does it feel? Good?"

"Jaskier," Geralt says roughly. Jaskier wants to play with his tits and make him suck his cock and all sorts of other distracting things, but he'd much rather fuck him while he's got the chance.

"Lay down for me?" he asks. Geralt shifts back slowly with a careful nod, and Jaskier smiles at him. "Good boy."

Geralt doesn't say a word, just lays down right where he is and rolls onto his stomach, pushing his hips up. He shoves his pants down around his thighs in the process, exposing his gorgeous cock and baring his ass for easy access, and Jaskier wants to bite him so badly. He leans over him and runs a hand up his spine, pushing his shirt up, and Geralt grunts into the grass.

"Good boy," Jaskier says as he wraps a hand around the other's cock, his voice coming out lower than he means it to. Geralt's cock spits precome and Jaskier strokes the full length of it. It might just be the biggest one he's ever seen, and it's definitely the biggest one he's ever had his hands on. "Oh, what a treat to be keeping from me all this time. I should've done this the day I met you, right in that tavern. Fucked you right in front of that unappreciative audience. Maybe they’d have tipped for that.”

"Jaskier," Geralt groans. Jaskier kisses up his spine, then lets go of his cock to reach for the little bottle of oil. He wants to take his time with this, but he wants to fuck him even more.

"Hell," Jaskier says as he slicks his fingers, his eyes trailing down Geralt's body to his perfect ass and tightly clenched thighs and waiting hole. It's a beautiful sight. "I want you to come on my cock. Will you do that for me?"

"Hn," Geralt says. He fists his hands in the grass. Jaskier rubs an oil-slick finger against his hole and Geralt audibly chokes.

"Well?" Jaskier says mildly, rubbing again. He can be patient, if he has to be.

"Yes," Geralt croaks. Jaskier smiles.

"Good boy," he says again, circling the other's hole with a finger. Geralt chokes again, and then Jaskier pushes that finger inside of him and he moans. Jaskier could listen to that all day, he thinks. "So good for me. Spread your legs a little more?”

Geralt does, at least as much as his pants allow him to, and Jaskier sighs contentedly, curling his finger inside him. Geralt starts panting. It’s a lovely sound.

Jaskier works another finger into him carefully, and Geralt pants louder, his fingers digging into the grass again. Jaskier wants to fuck him very badly but knows better than to rush this part when he’s still so unfamiliar with Geralt’s body and what it wants—and can take.

He really, really wants to fuck him, though.

“Alright?” he checks, and when Geralt grunts in assent he scissors his fingers inside him. Geralt moans, his head dropping forward against the ground. Jaskier's teeth itch with the desire to sharpen and bite, but he keeps them in his mouth. Geralt isn't some random stranger or one-time meal; he's Geralt.

Also, he's still not really sure he could stop, if he started.

Jaskier twists his fingers, earning another moan out of Geralt, and preens smugly at the sound. Gods, but Geralt's beautiful. It took long enough for him to let Jaskier touch him, all things considered, but the wait's already proven worth it.

He works another finger into the other, and Geralt hisses loudly and pushes back into them. His body is greedy and inviting, and Jaskier already loves its reactions. He crooks his fingers, stroking inside him, and Geralt lets out a louder moan. Jaskier grins.

"You're so good," he praises. "You make some of the best sounds I've ever heard. Keep it up, won't you?"

"Okay," Geralt rasps, and Jaskier thrills. He rocks his fingers into Geralt's body and Geralt gasps for breath, rocking back into them. Jaskier sneaks an admiring peek at the other's cock, and it's hard and dripping and godsdamn gorgeous. He might've said that already, but it more than deserves the admiration.

"Your cock is gorgeous," he says, because why wouldn't he, and Geralt's ears redden again as he ducks his head. "Really, someone could've carved that out of marble. I could definitely write an ode or two to it."

"Do not," Geralt says.

"Spoilsport," Jaskier says. He rocks his fingers in deeper, and Geralt groans. "Fine, I'll just have to write one about how well you take my cock."

"You're not even in me," Geralt manages.

"That's hardly relevant," Jaskier says. It's easy to tell how easily Geralt's going to take him, as eagerly and greedily as he's taken his fingers. He's not worried about it at all. "You're so good at this, I love it. I should've done this years ago."

"You're still talking too much," Geralt says, then makes a protesting noise as Jaskier takes his fingers out of him. Jaskier pets his ass apologetically, then pours more oil into his hand to slick up his cock.

"This is definitely not the way to shut me up," he says. Options for that are admittedly limited, all things considered. He doesn't shut up much. Or, well, ever. "Ready for me?"

"Yes," Geralt says, his hips tilting meaningfully. Jaskier adores him.

"Of course you are, you're lovely," he says, leaning over him. Geralt twists his neck just enough to look back at him, and Jaskier spares him a crooked grin as he lines his oil-slick cock up to press against his hole. Geralt groans. It's very tempting to ask him to beg for it. Jaskier'd like to hear that. "You've never had one this big?"

"No," Geralt grunts.

"Only fair, really, I've never had one as big as yours either," Jaskier says casually, and Geralt's eyes flare, and Jaskier pushes in.

"Jaskier," Geralt grits out, digging his fingers into the ground as his shoulders start to shake. Jaskier's cock slides into him easily, to his entire lack of surprise, and Geralt groans louder.

"I want you to come like this," Jaskier says with a shallow thrust that makes Geralt gasp. "Nothing else, just my cock. Can you do that for me?"

"I don't know," Geralt says roughly.

"Never done it before?" Jaskier asks with another thrust.

"No," Geralt says, his voice cracking. He's still shaking. Jaskier runs a hand up his spine.

"I've got you, pet," he says soothingly. "I'll take care of you. You've been so good for me, you deserve it."

"Jaskier," Geralt says, his breathing ragged. Jaskier strokes his spine again.

"That's my boy," he says. "Don't worry, I'll make you come."

"Jaskier," Geralt repeats, practically a keen. He moves back into Jaskier's next thrust, and Jaskier puts his hands on his hips and holds him still. Geralt inhales sharply, body stiffening.

Right, Jaskier thinks. Geralt's not used to him being strong. He’s been pretending he wasn’t, after all.

"Alright?" he asks.

"Don't stop," Geralt says, which Jaskier is going to take as a "yes". He tightens his grip on the other's hips and Geralt pushes into it just enough to test it, then lets out a shuddering breath when it holds.

"Good boy," Jaskier says. He thrusts deeper. Geralt moans. Jaskier does the obvious thing, which is fuck him harder, and Geralt moans again, louder and longer. Jaskier is deservedly smug. "Oh, aren't you sweet. You flatter me, pet. How does it feel?"

"You're big," Geralt pants dazedly, hands fisting in the grass and tearing it up. Jaskier laughs.

"Is that it?" he says, rolling his hips.

"Fuck!" Geralt curses.

"Such flattery," Jaskier croons. He squeezes Geralt's hips and they jerk in his grip. He thrusts deeper, and relishes Geralt's strangled cursing and attempts to push back into him. "You're so eager, it's wonderful. That excited to come on my cock?"

"Just fuck me, you bastard," Geralt growls.

“Oh, I have no intention of stopping,” Jaskier assures him, and absolutely does not. Geralt makes noises. Geralt makes very good noises. “See? I can fuck you as long as you need.”

“Do it,” Geralt manages, trying to push against Jaskier’s grip again and pressing his forehead into the ground. Jaskier’s not actually sure how strong Geralt is, but so far, it hasn’t been strong enough to break his grip.

He’s not actually sure the other wants to, of course.

“Gladly,” Jaskier says, grinning wickedly. He doesn’t know how strong Geralt is or how much he can take, but he’s looking forward to finding out. He leans over Geralt’s back, gripping his hips more than tight enough to bruise a human, and thrusts into him roughly. Geralt curses at him. Jaskier figures that means he wants more, and thrusts harder. Geralt curses.

Jaskier could do this all day, given permission, but since he doubts Geralt’s going to give it he just fucks him harder. Geralt gasps and moans and struggles in his grip, and Jaskier goes at him almost as hard as he wants to. His nails dig a little too deep into the other’s hips, and he smells the faintest hints of blood where his talons are trying to come out and pricking sensitive skin. Geralt doesn’t complain, which makes it even harder to keep them in.

“Oh, Geralt,” he sighs, and Geralt bites his own arm to stifle a louder moan. It doesn’t work very well. Jaskier wonders, again, how much he can take. Because however much it is? That’s how much he wants to give him.

And maybe a little bit more than that.

It’s not often he has a lover that might be able to keep up with him. He’s going to enjoy it.

“Geralt,” Jaskier says again, licking his slightly too sharp teeth. He likes the way the other’s name tastes in his mouth: sweet, and good, and copper-tinged. “I’m not going to hold back.”

It’s a warning, maybe, but honestly it feels more like a promise.

Geralt moans like it’s a promise, so . . .

Jaskier licks his teeth again, and then he lets the barely-there tips of his talons dig into Geralt’s hips and leans into him, and fucks him deeper, and harder, and faster—

Meaning, as deep as his cock will let him, and harder than a human could, and definitely faster than a human could.

Geralt starts cursing again and claws at the ground. He tries to push into it, so Jaskier decides—well, that means he can keep it up, doesn’t it. Means he can go harder, and faster, and not stop.

Stopping, in fact, is the last thing he’s going to do right now.

“Tell me how it feels, Geralt,” he says, snapping his hips in tight. “Is it good? Do you like it?”

“It’s good,” Geralt rasps. “I like it.”

Jaskier might get a little bit carried away, hearing that. He braces himself to fuck Geralt harder and his talons dig in, leaving shallow scratches across skin that’s already bruising. Geralt bites down on his arm again, this time trying to muffle a shout. It works about as well as last time, and all it does is make Jaskier feel lit up and wild.

“Oh, you’re so sweet, pet, so good for me,” he croons adoringly, leaning down over the other. He’s going to fuck his brains out. He’s going to fuck him until Geralt feels as wild as he does. “You take me so well, I’m so proud of you. You make me want to get myself a bigger cock. Would you like that, if I went out and bought a cock just for you?”

“Yes,” Geralt pants, struggling against his grip again. Jaskier’s teeth lengthen without him meaning to let them, and his talons scratch Geralt’s hips again. It’s nothing like the half-healed wounds in his throat and arms, but it’s enough to bleed. More than enough for him to smell the blood.

“Tell me again,” he husks, that copper-sweet scent in the air making him feel drunk and lustful and hungry. “Tell me what you’d like.”

“Buy a bigger cock,” Geralt says roughly, his head hanging low and his hands fisting against the ground and his cock fucking drooling precome. “Just for me.”

Jaskier’s never wanted to bite someone so badly in his life, he thinks.

“Good boy,” he says, and fucks him harder and faster than he’d ever dare to fuck a human. Geralt lets out a strangled cry, his body shaking underneath Jaskier’s. Jaskier wants to bite him, and wants to bite him, and wants to—

“Jaskier!” Geralt chokes, and comes. That gorgeous cock of his spills all over the ground, and Jaskier fucks him through it, ‘til Geralt’s clawing at the ground again and his cock is going soft and he’s godsdamn trembling. Geralt doesn’t stop him.

So Jaskier doesn’t stop. Not until Geralt's keening. He fucks him in long, slow thrusts designed to drag out his aftershocks as much as possible, and Geralt keeps struggling to move into him and getting noisier and noisier. Jaskier licks his too-sharp teeth and drags his talons up Geralt's thighs. The barely-there smell of blood makes him want to godsdamn lose it.

"You come so pretty," he says, and finally pulls out of him. Geralt moans in disappointment. Jaskier almost wants to keep fucking him, but his cunt is achingly empty and he wants to know just how fast a witcher can recover. He drags at Geralt's hips, shoves the other over onto his back and throws a thigh across his hips, and Geralt sprawls across the ground, panting for breath.

His cock is still gorgeous, and only half-soft.

Jaskier licks his teeth.

"Can you get it up again?" he asks, eyeing the other's dick with predatory intent.

"Yes," Geralt says, still panting, and Jaskier grins. If his teeth are a little too sharp, then his teeth are a little too sharp. He wraps a hand around that big, beautiful cock and squeezes, and Geralt groans, pushing up into his grip. A stab of heat goes through Jaskier's gut. He's so wet he thinks he could take the whole thing without even trying, though given its size he's probably going to have to try.

He's looking forward to it.

Jaskier strokes Geralt back to hardness as the other chokes and curses, sorely tempted to use his mouth but holding off on it while his teeth are being so difficult about staying blunt. Geralt pushes his hips into his grip and his hands up his sides to cup and cover his breasts. Jaskier's never especially liked being touched there—just never has, really—but he likes the feel of Geralt's hands, all big and calloused and firm, touching him with confidence.

Yes, he definitely likes that.

"So sweet," Jaskier coos, leaning into Geralt's hands and pushing his thumb over the slick head of the other's cock. He hasn't bothered taking off the harness; it's not in the way yet, so it doesn't matter. "I'm going to ride your dick 'til it breaks."

"Do it," Geralt grunts, dropping his hands to his hips and tugging at them. Jaskier doesn't move, mostly to see the way Geralt's eyes flare at the likely-unexpected show of strength. It's a very nice sight.

"I'm going to," he promises, lowering his hips to rub his cunt against the other's cock. Geralt curses again, his fingers digging in against his hips. Jaskier grins down at him, grinding down again; Geralt shudders.

"Jaskier," he moans, his head falling back and exposing the vulnerable and delicious line of his throat. If Jaskier had a bit less self-control, he'd already have his teeth in it. A little part of him feels even hotter that Geralt would trust him like that, though it's hard to feel much hotter with a cock like this one between his thighs.

"I've got you, pet," Jaskier croons, dragging his cunt the length of Geralt's cock again and getting an even better moan out of him. "I'll take care of you. I'll make you feel so good."

"Fuck," Geralt grits out, knocking his head back against the ground. Jaskier grins down at him again, reaching down to get a grip on his cock and guide it where it belongs. Geralt digs his nails into his hips. Jaskier lowers his body carefully, exhaling roughly at the blunt pressure splitting him open wide.

Geralt's just as big as he looks, no surprise, and he feels perfect inside him. Jaskier groans, holding himself still as he tries to adjust. Geralt doesn't try to move, but he's struggling to breathe normally, and without much success. Jaskier rolls his hips just enough to let the other slip in another inch, and both of them get the breath knocked out of their lungs.

Understandably, Jaskier thinks.

He probably should've taken the harness off, but it's still technically not in the way, and it's far more important to fuck himself on Geralt's gorgeous cock. Everything else can wait. He sets a slow, steady rhythm, luxuriating in the rough and urgent way Geralt grips his hips.

"Patience, pet," he says, smirking breathlessly at him. "It's my turn right now."

"Jaskier," Geralt says, visibly forcing himself to loosen his grip on him. He still hasn't asked Jaskier his "real" name.

Jaskier likes him so much.

"Good boy," he says, rolling his hips down and taking a little more of the other. It's a reward, sort of, except he's enjoying it at least as much as Geralt is. He'd give him that kind of reward anytime. It'd spoil him, probably, but Geralt could use some spoiling.

Mmm, yes, he likes that idea. He'll have to remember to do a bit of that.

"You know, I don't know if I can actually take you all," he says musingly, bracing a hand on Geralt's stomach and working himself a little lower again. Geralt hisses, clutching at his thighs. It might be enough to bruise, which Jaskier would definitely enjoy. "You're so big, pet, how does anyone ever take care of you?"

"You figured something out," Geralt rasps, and Jaskier laughs.

"Good point," he muses, rolling his hips a little harder. "Maybe you're just meant to be fucked."

"Jaskier," Geralt says again, shifting underneath him. His hands are definitely bruising Jaskier's thighs.

"Mm?" Jaskier asks. Maybe he'll get a double-ended cock for next time, he thinks speculatively. Not that Geralt's doesn't feel amazing, he'd just really enjoy that, he thinks. And Geralt would too, with any luck.

"Don't stop," Geralt says tightly.

"Wild vampires couldn't drag me away," Jaskier assures him with a laugh. He rocks his hips a little faster. Geralt groans. Jaskier wants to take every last inch of him, and he's going to do his damnedest to. He wants Geralt to feel good. He wants to feel good.

And he wants Geralt to remember this.

"Your cock's perfect," he says, biting his lip. "I'm going to take it all."

"You don't have to," Geralt manages, and Jaskier scoffs breathlessly at him.

"I'm going to," he says firmly. "And you're going to love it."

"Okay," Geralt says, then gasps as Jaskier drops his hips. Jaskier bites his lip again and can't help but squirm. Gods, Geralt really is so big. He feels so full. And he is; he's full, and it's all Geralt.

That's a very nice thought.

"Don't come yet," he says distractedly, voice rough as he rocks his hips and takes Geralt just that little bit deeper. Geralt groans again, pushing his head back against the ground. His bared throat is so beautiful that Jaskier can't help putting a hand around it. Geralt swallows roughly, but doesn't tell him to stop.

Oh, that's dangerous.

Jaskier's talons stay in through sheer willpower alone, and his gritted teeth lengthen in his mouth. He doesn't trust himself to speak without doing something stupid.

"Jaskier," Geralt rasps, putting a hand on his arm and looking up at him through heavy eyes. Jaskier's aware that his own eyes are very wide, and his talons itch to sink into vulnerable flesh. He can still smell Geralt's blood from where it's smeared on his hips and thighs.

"Don't," he says sharply. He doesn't know what Geralt was about to say, but whatever it was—dangerous. All he can think is that it was dangerous.

"It's alright," Geralt says quietly, and Jaskier's talons itch. He's not a violent man, but . . .

"Don't," Jaskier manages again, and Geralt squeezes his arm, and he squeezes Geralt's throat. He wants . . .

Something dangerous.

Definitely something dangerous.

"Okay," Geralt says, his voice hoarse. He slides his hand up Jaskier's arm; grips the back of his elbow. Jaskier leans forward and fucks himself harder. Geralt does a damn impressive job of holding himself still, and Jaskier takes as much of him as he can.

He can't quite bring himself to let go of Geralt's throat, but Geralt doesn't seem to mind.

"Hell," he says, gritting too-sharp teeth and moving faster, more urgent, more desperate. He gets his free hand inside the harness so he can touch his clit, and it's almost too much. "Geralt. Pet. I want to ruin you."

Geralt moans. It comes out strangled. Jaskier isn't trying to choke him, but he might be choking him. He forces himself to pry his hand off the other before he hurts him, and his talons leave shallow little scratches on his neck.

He wants to lick the blood off them so badly.

He wants to scratch Geralt up worse. Wants to fuck him 'til he can't even walk right. Wants—

"Jaskier," Geralt chokes, and Jaskier sits down hard and takes his cock to the root. Geralt chokes again, and shouts. Jaskier cries out without even thinking about it and nearly knocks over a nearby tree. Which—whoops, yes, that's very unfortunate but Geralt is in him so big and deep and filling him to the damn brim and—and—

It only takes a few more rocks of his hips before he's coming, long and drawn-out and so, so good, and he cries out again, and this time the tree splinters and falls and the surrounding bushes suffer their own damage. Jaskier does not even remotely care. It doesn't matter at all.

He looks down at Geralt underneath him and the scratches on his neck and the faint, faint impression of bruises, and he tightens his aching and oversensitive body around him. Geralt moans loud and shameless and Jaskier loves it.

"Geralt," he groans, still rubbing his clit to draw out the aftershocks, and Geralt grips his hips and rolls them over on the ground and fucks him. It's all Jaskier can do not to yowl, which would be very bad, but it's so good. Geralt's cock fills him up again and again, over and over, and he might come again, maybe, it's a little hard to be sure.

He wants Geralt to come in him now.

"Geralt, Geralt, Geralt," he pants breathlessly, wrapping his arms and legs around the other and no doubt scratching up his back with his talons. Geralt fucks him harder, harder than any human possibly could, and Jaskier revels in it. "Oh, Geralt!"

It's very good.

Geralt fucks him 'til he definitely comes again, and then comes himself, wet and messy and wonderful. Jaskier has to bite his own hand to keep his teeth out of him. It bleeds. Geralt kisses the back of it, and Jaskier's blood smears across his mouth.

Jaskier growls.

Geralt is trying to kill him, he thinks, and can't help but lick the other's mouth clean. His teeth are as long and sharp as they can get, and it'd be so easy to just . . . bite.

He doesn't, but it'd be so easy.

"Fuck," Geralt murmurs lowly. Jaskier exhales shakily. He unwinds from around him. Geralt pulls out and moves off him and collapses on his side. Jaskier licks his lips, staring at him.

Delicious, he thinks.

"Mmm," he hums distractedly, squeezing his aching thighs together before carefully—finally—unfastening his harness to take off. He's a mess. So's Geralt. Witchers, apparently, can keep up with monsters after all.

He almost wants to go again.

Well. Not "almost".

"Not bad," Jaskier says, just a little bit speculative. Geralt looks over at him as he’s fixing his pants.

"Come here," he says, reaching out, and Jaskier very quickly ends up sitting on his face and getting eaten out like it's going out of style.

He definitely is too loud, and definitely does not care.

Geralt licks him clean and makes him come again, hard enough he's practically shaking with it, and he rides it out with full appreciation. Part of him wants to keep going, see what else he can get, but, well, they've got a child surprise to worry about, and Geralt's already taken very good care of him.

Jaskier picks up his cock and goes back to the river and rinses off, and Geralt undresses and follows him. Jaskier takes advantage to cop a feel, but doesn't pursue anything past that. Geralt eyes him, unimpressed, and he laughs.

It's nice, he thinks as they go back to shore. He packs his cock and harness away carefully, then debates what to do with his ruined outfit and finally just rolls it up into a damp, bloody ball and figures they'll just burn it or something. Or . . . whatever.

He's still hungry. That's a later problem, though. It's not like—

"Jaskier," Geralt says. Jaskier looks at him. He's wet and naked and so, so beautiful. "Your neck."

"Mm?" Jaskier touches the wound there absently. He's kept it from bleeding any more, obviously, but it's still only half-healed. "Oh, I'll have to bandage it, I suppose."

"Is it going to be a problem?" Geralt says.

"I don't see why." Jaskier shrugs. It still hurts, but he doesn't really care about that.

"If you need anything . . ." Geralt starts slowly, and Jaskier feels his pupils dilate.

"Anything?" he repeats, a little too alert.

"To feed," Geralt says. "If you need that, I can—"

"I can't," Jaskier interrupts him, skin prickling. Geralt frowns.

"You can't?" he says.

"You don't know what you smell like," Jaskier says, tightening his grip on his ruined clothes and feeling his talons sink into the fabric. "I can tell. If I got a taste of you, then . . ."

"Then what?" Geralt's frown deepens.

"Then I wouldn't be able to control myself," Jaskier says.

"You need to eat if you're going to heal," Geralt says.

"I can wait," Jaskier says.

"It's fine," Geralt says. "Just do it somewhere Ciri won't see."

Jaskier bites his tongue to the blood, and sharp copper-sweetness blooms in his mouth. The clothes in his hands rip. Geralt doesn't seem concerned.

"I can't," Jaskier manages. Geralt steps in closer to him.

"It's fine," he repeats, putting a hand on his arm. Jaskier stares up at him. Didn't he hear him? Isn't he listening?

"I don't want to hurt you," he says.

"I don't care if it hurts," Geralt says.

"You should," Jaskier says. Why is it always on him to work these things out? "You need to take better care of yourself."

"You take care of me," Geralt says, watching him intently. Jaskier's heart beats double-time.

"That's very sweet, actually, but I mean it," Jaskier says. "I don't want to hurt you. I definitely don't want you thinking . . . I don't even know what you're thinking. Is this how you apologize? I've never actually seen you do it, so I'm not sure."

"I'm not apologizing," Geralt says. "You take care of me. Let me take care of you."

"Ngh," Jaskier says, his mind going momentarily blank. Geralt leans in closer, looping a hand around the back of his neck to tug him in. Jaskier drops his ruined clothes.

This is a bad idea.

"This is a bad idea," he says, because obviously he does, and Geralt just keeps watching him with those too-intent eyes. "Really. Very bad. You really don't know how you smell. Is that a witcher thing, actually, or is that just you? I've been wondering."

"Jaskier," Geralt says.

"It's a valid question," Jaskier says weakly. Because he's weak. He's very weak, and if Geralt doesn't let go of him and step back right now . . .

"It’s not a witcher thing," Geralt says, squeezing the back of his neck, and Jaskier just . . . drops. He hits his knees and pushes his face into the crook of Geralt’s hip and thigh, wrapping his arms around him tight. Geralt staggers slightly, but braces a hand on his shoulder and keeps his balance. His other hand is still on the back of his neck.

Jaskier wants to do something very, very bad.

“Should’ve guessed,” he murmurs, and sinks his teeth into the other’s thigh. Geralt hisses like it hurts, but his cock twitches noticeably. Jaskier wraps a hand around it almost on reflex and Geralt moans.

“I can’t go again,” he says. Jaskier ignores him and squeezes his cock. Geralt moans again, louder. Jaskier really enjoys it, but not like he’s enjoying the taste of the blood on his tongue, sweet and full and warm. Geralt really is just as delicious as he’s always smelled, and it takes far too much self-control for Jaskier to keep himself from taking big greedy gulps and tearing up his veins. He manages to be gentle, just letting the wound bleed naturally into his mouth, and doesn’t hurt him any worse than he needs to.

He tells himself that Geralt might let him do this again, if he doesn’t hurt him too much, and that makes it easier to keep his control. He tells himself that Geralt is trusting him with this, that Geralt is his, and then—well, then it’s not hard to keep his control at all, to his own surprise.

He pulls back, licking blood off his lips, and Geralt looks down at him with heavy-lidded eyes. His cock is hard and heavy in Jaskier’s hand, and Jaskier strokes it lazily, watching his thigh bleed for a moment before leaning back in to lap up the mess. Geralt tastes better than anyone else he’s ever tasted.

“Can’t go again, hm?” Jaskier says, smirking up at him with a bloody mouth. Geralt groans, his fingers tangling in his hair. Jaskier leans into the contact and keeps stroking that gorgeous cock. He wants it inside him, but not like he wants to stay right here with Geralt touching his hair and bleeding into his mouth.

He does touch himself, obviously, because he’s not made of stone.

It’s not unusual for bruxae to make a meal of their lovers, or lovers of their meal, and Jaskier’s no different from any of his sisters that way. It’s always been the easiest way to eat a decent helping without causing too much of a fuss. This is something he’s done a thousand times and will likely do a thousand more.

It’s still different with Geralt, somehow.

Jaskier drinks a little more, and strokes Geralt a little faster, and ends up with come all over his hand just like the blood all over his tongue. He licks it up just the same.

“You’re delicious,” Jaskier says, his teeth in his smile. Witchers bleed slow, interestingly enough. He knew that, technically, but it’s one thing to see it and another thing entirely to taste it.

“Do you need more?” Geralt asks raggedly, the idiot.

“No,” Jaskier says. He could probably get a few more mouthfuls out of Geralt, in fact, but he doesn’t want to accidentally take too much and end up with the other fainting on them on the road. Doesn’t sound like a very good idea, that.

He licks up the last of the other’s slowly clotting blood and fingers himself until he comes one last time, and Geralt strokes his hair and stays in close the whole time. Jaskier adores him, as ever. Couldn't not.

He kisses the wound in Geralt's thigh, then gets back to his feet and licks his fingers clean. Geralt kisses him. Jaskier noises contentedly into it and puts a hand on the other's face.

"You're delicious," he says, licking his teeth.

"Hn," Geralt says. He looks down at his throat, and his expression softens a bit. Jaskier touches it reflexively and finds the wound mostly healed. The ones on his arms are barely visible at all. Well, they should be, he thinks, after drinking someone like Geralt. At least he doesn't have to worry about controlling his blood flow anymore.

"Thank you," he says. "That really wasn't necessary, but I appreciate it."

"You were injured," Geralt says. "It'd be a problem if we got attacked again."

"It's adorable that you think I would be at all helpful in that situation, injured or not," Jaskier says.

"You were a distraction, at least," Geralt says. "And you don't die as easy as a human."

"Admittedly true," Jaskier allows. "Still."

Geralt kisses him again. He leans into it. It's very distracting. They need to actually get properly cleaned up and dressed; Cirilla's probably wondering where they are by now. That would mean breaking off the kiss, though, and Jaskier's not going to be the one to do that.

Geralt does, in the end, and Jaskier sighs in regret. Shame.

"You're very good at that, if I haven't mentioned it yet," he says. "I mean, I assume you know, but still. Very good."

"Hn," Geralt says again. His eyes flick over Jaskier's face, and then they finally step back from each other and actually get cleaned up and redressed. Jaskier's just grateful he has a spare breastband on hand. They need to get out of this forest and into a town, and he's not really in the mood to deal with a townful of people mistaking him for a woman. Just . . . no. Not at all.

Not that he ever is, really.

They head back to camp. Jaskier resists the urge to try holding Geralt's hand, since fucking him is one thing but that's affectionate, and Geralt is, of course, Geralt, and has never really allowed Jaskier anything like that.

It'd be nice if he would, Jaskier thinks, but he doesn't ask.

Cirilla is brushing Roach when they get back, her hair and clothes still damp in patches but looking clean and no longer smelling of Geralt's blood, and she looks up as they approach.

"You took a long time," she says, not exactly accusing or suspicious but clearly drawing attention to the fact anyway.

"That we did," Jaskier replies easily, because they did, and she's not stupid. He latches his hands together behind his back and heads over to peer at Roach. "I see you held down the fort alright without us, though. Have you eaten?"

"No," she says. "Have you?"

"Well, you should," Jaskier says, deciding for obvious reasons to avoid that question.

"We need to get back on the road," Geralt says.

"You should eat too," Jaskier says. Geralt ignores him to start packing up Roach, the idiot. Jaskier rolls his eyes. Fine. It's not going to be on him if Geralt faints.

They get back on the road and head into town looking like nearly respectable, minimally maimed people, and Jaskier debates writing a song about this whole incident but is fairly certain it would rather quickly devolve into that ode to Geralt's dick the other doesn't want him writing.

He steers them towards the inn immediately, and after Geralt's stabled Roach and stared down the stablehands Jaskier ushers him and Cirilla inside to make sure they're both properly fed. Or fed at all, even. Cirilla's table manners are pristine, but she eats like she won't see another meal for a week. Jaskier resists the urge to pet her, because it's adorable. Probably born out of stress and desperation and recent starvation, but adorable.

He does pat her arm briefly, but only briefly, and she eyes him warily for it. He gives her an apologetic smile. Another half-feral one to tame, then. At least Geralt's not deliberately standing between them anymore, so there's that.

They eat—well, the other two eat, and Jaskier nibbles for appearance's sake—and then reserve rooms for the night. Jaskier talks to the inn's owner and gets permission to play in the bar, and then finesses the place to the best of his ability. He turns a decent profit and tells some decent stories, and Cirilla listens attentively the whole time while Geralt broods in the corner and drinks his ale. Jaskier feels a bit like it's old times.

It's not, of course, but . . .

Well, he's not sure, really. At least Geralt hasn't run off on him or tried to chase him off again. He supposes that means the other's not going to complain if he sticks around for a while. Which is fortunate, because someone's got to keep an eye on these two, after all.

They are his responsibility, after all.

"Jaskier," Geralt says lowly that night, after Cirilla's gone to bed and they're standing in the hall outside their own room.

"Geralt?" Jaskier says, tilting his head. Geralt looks at him intently, but doesn't say a word. "Oh, you're as difficult as ever. Is there something you're trying to say?"

"No," Geralt says. "Just . . ."

"'Just'?"

Geralt glances both ways down the hall, then kisses him. Jaskier doubts that was actually what he was trying to say, but returns it gladly. Geralt leans into him, and Jaskier pushes him against the door with vampiric strength and smirks up at him. Geralt's eyes flare.

"So difficult," Jaskier says before kissing him again. Geralt melts into it, and Jaskier strokes a hand through his hair. Geralt pushes into the contact.

Jaskier's waited a long time for permission to touch him like that, and relishes having it now.

"Come to bed, pet," he says coaxingly, because he can think of a few things he'd like to do to him in it.

"Not a pet," Geralt mutters under his breath, and Jaskier strokes a hand through his hair again, smiling sympathetically. Geralt's so terrible at being taken care of.

"Mine, though," he says simply, because that'll probably be easier for the other to accept, and Geralt stares at him in silence. He's a lovely creature, as ever, and just as difficult as ever, and so worth all the trouble he's been. Jaskier can think of a lot of better pets and simpler people, perhaps, but none he'll ever feel like this about.

None he'd care enough to try to, honestly.

"You know that, right? That you're mine?" he says, searching Geralt's face. He must, by now. Surely.

"Yes," Geralt rasps, and Jaskier smiles again, his teeth a little too sharp in his mouth.

"Good boy," he says, and kisses his witcher again.