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The Ways of Nobler Men

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"Think of it as ... parting a fool from his coin." Jaskier said, resting his knuckle on his chin.

"You heard that, did you." Geralt flinched, then turned to glare at the tailor who had jabbed him with a pin.

"Don't scowl at the nice man, Geralt, it scares him."

"If I wished to be pinched and prodded I would reintroduce myself to the dungeons of Garramone."

"One can hardly believe this is the same man who has been stabbed so regularly they’ve named a strain of gut rot after him," Jaskier said to the tailor, who valiantly pretended he heard nothing.

It was hard to tell who was more relieved when the measuring was finally finished and the tailor moved to peel the jacket off of Geralt to finish the final touches. It was, Geralt admitted reluctantly to himself, a good piece. Solid and warm, with high-quality leather spelled to resist elements. The trousers that Jaskier had purchased were likewise nicer than Geralt had ever been able to afford - butter-soft and fit close to Geralt's ass in what Jaskier assured was the latest style.

"I can hear your protests now, and believe me I have an answer to every one." Jaskier said cheerfully as he paid for their purchases.

When Geralt said nothing, Jaskier began a two-way conversation on his behalf, doing a mimcry of Geralt's voice that sounded like he'd been gargling rocks.

"What's wrong with what I have on now? Oh you mean the rags that are more stain than cloth, held together by spite? It's too expensive. Think of it as an investment. My investment in you not shaming me with your terrible clothes."

"We wouldn't want that." Geralt grunted, following Jaskier down the street.

"Great, we agree." Jaskier said, "Next, boots!"

``

"Sorry," Jaskier made a face. "I'm going to say no to that suggestion."

"Wasn't aware it was one." Geralt said, dismounting Roach and leading her to the small spring to drink.

"Sleeping on the ground? For two nights? In a row?" Jaskier inclined his head down the hill, where a smattering of lights signaled civilization in the growing dusk. "When there's a perfectly - hopefully serviceable, most likely mediocre - inn in the valley?"

"Inns take coin." Geralt said, folding his arms across his chest. "In case you haven't noticed, the last job didn't exactly pay well." Or at all, since their patron had not been pleased to find that the werewolf terrorizing their livestock had been, in fact, his wife. And with him dead and her slain there really wasn't anyone to collect from anymore, unless they wanted to contend with the disgruntled townsfolk they had all but run away from.

"Speak for yourself," Jaskier said smugly, "Lupina, the Farmer's Wife has been extremely well-received." He held out his pouch, jingling it invitingly. "I'm more than happy to share, if you'd like a warm bath and a soft bed instead of a single, sad, blanket over cold, rocky soil." When Geralt didn’t seem to budge, he added, “And think of Roach, quietly resenting you for standing in the way of her nice … hay.”

"Roach would never." Geralt muttered, but, as he was finding himself doing more and more, wound up following Jaskier.

All the way down the gentle slope, Jaskier belted his newest ballad into the night air, with Geralt correcting him on the actual events in question every few lines.

``

Good enough”, Jaskier said with a sniff to the most opulent room the inn had to offer.

"I remember the time when floor bread was good enough." Geralt said, the hint of a smile playing at his lips. He hid it when Jaskier glanced over. His ego was bloated enough without feeding.

"Yes, when I was young and foolish, a babe out of Oxenfurt." Jaskier said, hands on his hips as he examined the cleanliness of the sheets. "As I reach my twilight years, I find that I appreciate the little bit of comfort that coin can bring."

"Jaskier, you're 33."

"Hey! If we’re to be slinging around insults I must say you smell!" Jaskier said. "The bath is drawn and you are welcome to it."

Geralt couldn't think of a response that sounded more than the protestations of a petulant child, though he allowed himself a glower as he stripped off his clothing with little thought for modesty. Jaskier had had many chances to ogle before then. And most of those times, he took them.

Jaskier sauntered over as Geralt lowered himself into the steaming water, his sore muscles easing in pleasure and the ache in his bones seeping away. He didn't realize that he had closed his eyes until he felt Jaskier's fingers against his scalp, gently massaging a sweet-smelling soap into his hair.

"I'm perfectly able to do that myself." Geralt said, groaning inadvertently at the touch.

"Your everyday appearance says otherwise," Jaskier answered. His hands were clever, his fingers long and calloused, drifting their way down Geralt's nape, to his shoulders. "I've found smaller knots on sailor's rope." Jaskier said, his breath warm against Geralt's ear. When he dug his fingers into the tight, painful muscle under Geralt's left shoulder, Geralt couldn't help but release a shuddering moan.

Jaskier laughed softly.

"Don't say it." Geralt warned, but thought that Jaskier was welcome to do as he wished, as long as he kept his hands on Geralt.

``

Even the way he ate fruit was different.

Geralt, damp hair curling at his nape as he polished his silver blade by the fireplace, tracked Jaskier's slow, looping walk from one end of the room to the other. Jaskier was talking, as always, peeling the apple in his hand with a knife. The peel came off in one, long strip and fell like a discarded ribbon on the ground when Jaskier began delicately carving the apple’s white-gold flesh into wedges.

"Does it taste better when vivisected?" Geralt asked dryly.

"Why don't you try?" Jaskier asked, spearing a slice and crouching down to offer it to Geralt on the tip of his knife.

Geralt, with both hands on his work, leaned forward to slip the cool fruit into his mouth, flicking the dull side of Jaskier's blade with his tongue as he looked into his eyes.

The apple’s sweetness paired well with the scent of Jaskier's arousal.

"Sit with me." Geralt said softly.

With a smile, Jaskier folded his legs under himself and fed Geralt the rest of the apple, slice by slice.

``

"I suppose that after the nice night you've shown me you'll be expecting a lover's ending," Geralt said as they prepared for bed. He couldn't force any dry levity into his tone. For a while he had known that Jaskier ... wanted. In another life, perhaps, he would have wanted as well. But Jaskier was soft - fragile and young. He would be a memorable fuck and then ... a bittersweet memory. Better to leave the threads untied, so there would be no tangles when Jaskier left.

"I do not expect anything." Jaskier said, catching Geralt's gaze. "Naught but a good night's rest." He walked over to Geralt's side of the bed, and Geralt had to turn to keep watching him, stomach squeezing at the way the firelight played over Jaskier's hair, the broadness of his shoulders, the shadows of his mouth. Jaskier's eyes were glowing, a trick of the light, as he moved into Geralt's space, the invisible length to which he held everyone, which had started shrinking ever since he met Jaskier, until now, with their faces close enough for Geralt to smell the sweet wine on Jaskier's breath, it seemed hardly to exist at all. "Lest..?" And Geralt could feel every letter of the word against his lips.

Geralt’s eyes flickered closed, and from one breath to another, they melted into a kiss.

Geralt was used to being pushed into bed, but Jaskier lowered him, easing Geralt from vertical to horizontal so stealthily that Geralt suspected this trick was responsible for many a noblewoman's bedding. But Geralt was no noblewoman.

He flipped Jaskier onto his back, taking control.

"You think I'm your vassal, to order about as you wish?"

Jaskier’s soft smile shook Geralt unexpectedly. When Jaskier pressed his hand to the side of Geralt's face, Geralt found himself leaning into the warmth.

"I would order you around as you wish." Jaskier said quietly. Geralt thought of hearing Jaskier's heart quicken when they accidentally touched, the smallest tremor in his voice when he jokingly introduced Geralt as his Witcher.

Jaskier pushed himself up and Geralt let him, jerking back to sit on his haunches.

"I would order you to do the things you already wanted to do, but didn’t think you deserved.” Jaskier said, as conversationally as if he were ordering a pint of ale. “I would pleasure you under the guise of my own, so that you could accept gratification, after convincing yourself it was service."

Geralt swallowed, and thought of the cold sweat on his nape whenever Jaskier's stupid, breakable human body propelled itself straight into the middle of danger, the brief pain in his chest whenever he saw Jaskier turn his bright smile in someone else’s direction.

Jaskier smiled crookedly, pulling on a lock of hair that had curled into Geralt's eyes. "Better than the cold woods, right? I told you so."

``

Geralt thought that giving into Jaskier meant taking his cock, but Jaskier surprised him, sliding oiled fingers behind himself, moaning breathily as they found and hooked into his hole.

"If you could move your knee ... more to the right. And slide up-"

"Just position me yourself." Geralt growled through his teeth. Having allowed Jaskier to tie his wrists, his cock was ache-hard and entirely untouched. Jaskier had spent a long, loving time on the other parts of his body, bringing Geralt to near-orgasm thrice before denying him, causing Geralt to sling around threats, each more specific than the last. But though he could have with a flinch, Geralt never broke his ties.

"My hands are pretty oily, but if you insist," Jaskier said cheerfully, moving towards Geralt.

Were he not aroused to the point of begging, Geralt would not have conceived what Jaskier was doing to be manhandling, but there was a strange weakness to his limbs tonight, a longing quiescence that made Jaskier's strength impactful.

Jaskier's body was lean and hard with muscle, his body hair electrified where it brushed Geralt's skin. He smelled of soapy bathwater and freshly broken grass, of firewood, and healthy male sweat.

Jaskier settled his knees by Geralt's sides and began lowering himself onto Geralt's cock, rocking back and forth with little satisfied noises. By the time Jaskier had taken it all inside himself, Geralt was suffering - panting, drowning in Jaskier's scent, every single one of his heightened senses snapping into focus on only the body moving on top of him. Jaskier moved his hips with greedy little rolls that were too achingly shallow to give Geralt release, fucking his thick, pink cock into his fist.

Jaskier blinked when Geralt released a small puff of laughter.

"I didn't think this performance was a comedy," Jaskier grinned, panting through the words.

"I thought you'd have a foppish way of self-abuse," Geralt said, grinning. He tried unsuccessfully to demonstrate with a bound hand, his hands curling around an invisible cock with the pinky up.

Jaskier joined him in laughter, touching his forehead to Geralt's, then noses, then sliding their mouths together, pushing small breaths of laughter against his lips.

"I need to come," Geralt groaned. He was shaking, pressing his face to the crook of Jaskier's neck. "Please."

Jaskier cupped Geralt's nape, forcing them to look at one another. "I’ll take my pleasure first." He smoothed Geralt's hair from his face. "I want you to watch me. I want you to see what you do to me."

"I ruin you." Geralt slurred, fingers twisting in his bindings as he struggled to do what Jaskier asked, as he's always done his entire life, rising to the unthankful task, the bitter expectation, until Jaskier, in his university silks, wandered into his life and gave him a light to follow.

"You flatter yourself if you think I wasn't already." Jaskier said, voice rough as he leaned back, letting the light catch his sweat-slick body as he stroked himself to completion, his hole shuddering around Geralt's cock as he came.

And Geralt, as always, followed.

``

Jaskier enjoyed flowery pillow talk.

That's what Geralt figured, since he found himself the recipient of lots of hair stroking, promises to immortalize his prowess in a ballad, and additional comforting chatter. Geralt was habituated to falling asleep quickly after sex, but found himself blinking awake again and again just to hear Jaskier call him good, until Jaskier put his hand on the side of Geralt's face and laughed "Sleep".

And Geralt did.