Lambert wasn’t sure what he hated more. Kaer Morhen cold, ugly, empty, and full of holes as it usually was, or Kaer Morhen as it was now: cold, ugly, full of holes and full of people that didn’t belong in it. Not for the first time this morning he silently cursed at the fate that had landed him here. Screw other people’s Gods, screw fate, screw his dad. He tried to squeeze his way into the kitchen in search of some breakfast so he could return to his room to hide out and wait. There was a sorceress in his way though, partially blocking the door.
“Lambert. Good morning.” Triss greeted him with a polite smile.
He cast his eyes at her, his usual scowl not lifting, “Merigold.” He held his hand forward as if motioning her into or out of the doorway. He wanted food, preferably today.
Triss uncrossed her arms and shuffled politely into the kitchen to rest her hip against the table instead of the door and continued the conversation she had previously been engaged in with Vesemir. Lambert strolled in and looked over the table. Papa Vesemir was putting out a right feast for all the visitors. He hadn’t had this many mouths to feed in decades. Not since the school had been attacked and decimated. Lambert whistled appreciatively before grabbing a plate and loading it up with a sticky spoonful of corn porridge. He topped it off on the sides with bits of all of the different kinds of toppings Vesemir had laid out on his welcome-visitors-to-your-last-meal breakfast buffet. Chopped bacon, crumbled eggs, bits of sharp cheese, spices, goat’s milk cream to drizzle on top, he took a spoon at the end then cracked a smile winking at Vesemir on his way out.
“Thanks Papa Vesemir!” He called from the main hall as he headed up to his own room to devour his feast in private away from all the people crowding into the keep. Lambert had to hand it to the old man, the food was decent, better than he’d had in the inns while he was with Geralt hunting down Jad and the others who had killed Aiden. He hadn’t eaten well in a while.
As he ate he made a mental list of the things he needed to do while they all waited for Mr. White Hair fancy pants to show up. Must be nice to be famous Lambert thought, Geralt asks and the world turns for him. Hell they were all here waiting for him, to help him, help ensure Ciri stayed safe. He’d never admit it out loud but he cared deeply about those two. The little brat he had helped train, who had an attitude to match at least half his own, and Mr. White Hair even. He’d been devastated when that idiot had gone and gotten himself killed last time, at least the brat had the smarts to save his stupid ass. There were only so many of them left, his motley little crew of weirdos the world didn’t want, and Lambert didn’t want to be any more alone than he already was, even if he would never say so out loud.
He needed to grind up the dimeritium for extra bombs, they would go through a lot. Given that this was a critical mission, he would forgo the joy of doing it under Yen’s megascope this time. If they survived there would always be another time to screw with her stuff subtly. Vesemir wanted him to explore the old armory if he got a chance, see if there was anything of use there. It was ancient history shit, there wasn’t anything useful there but the man fed him breakfast so he wouldn’t bitch as loudly about it as normal. Then he needed to put the bombs together, test one out for good measure. He still needed to check over his potions stock and re-brew anything truly lacking too. It wouldn’t be a good idea to face the wild hunt with half empty bottles. He felt a knot in his gut at the thought. The wild hunt. This was a spectacularly shitty idea. It was going to get them all killed. He really didn’t enjoy his life getting spit on and screwed over as one of society's outcasts, but he didn’t have a death wish either. He wished there was something he could do to soothe his raw nerves at the thought of facing the unbeatable.
He did have a bottle of moonshine in his nightstand. Nah. Papa Vesemir would frown upon that so early in the morning. After the bombs and the armor though…
Grinding the dimeritium was slow going and time consuming but Lambert hardly noticed. If there was one thing he actually liked about being a witcher it was the excuse to play with explosives. He was sure that given the time and some extra coin he could come up with a few newer and even more creative bombs that the boys would love and Vesemir would shake his head at. It was almost noon when he finished up. He headed over to the armory and was mildly amused to find that after he dug out some broken beams and shifted some debris around there was a chest loaded with some pretty decent silver swords. Still antiques as far as he was concerned but probably pretty sharp antiques.
Heading in to the keep proper again he made his way to the kitchen. Fewer sorceresses this time thank the Gods. No Vesemir either. But food, Vesemir had put out another thanks-for-risking-your-lives-with-us spread of cured meats, cheeses, breads, dried fruits, and even some smoked fish Lambert had blown out of the lake with a bomb. A few tankards of ale sat at the end of the table this time. Ah yes, we are past Papa approved drinking time, Lambert thought to himself. He took a plate again and loaded himself back up taking a tankard even though he still had every intention of cracking open some moonshine too. A little ale wouldn’t even do a witcher any good.
He retreated to his room. He was grumpily munching away having already drained the tankard and refilled it with his private stash. His bomb making supplies and the large pewter bowl of freshly ground dimeritium were stacked on the table in his room, far enough from the fireplace to be safe but opposite the freezing balcony doors. Who the hell decided the school needed to be in the middle of the fucking mountains anyways? He hated the cold.
He could here Merigold and Yennefer downstairs loudly arguing over magical strategies and who was best for what. He really didn’t understand why Geralt had an interest in either or both of them. Loud, bossy, scheming, they couldn’t be that good in bed. Hookers or hands were good enough for him. He didn’t like being around people long term anyway, well except Aiden. There had been something about that Cat, his cynicism, that let Lambert keep him around. He had seen everyone for what they were, including Lambert. Hadn’t tried to make Lambert be more than what he was, hadn’t tried to force him to be happy with life. Cat was good with his hands too. Had been able to bring Lambert to a peak so fast he hadn’t even known what was happening, what had hit him. It was like Aiden had stolen those orgasms right out from under him. Lambert had never done anything like that before, never looked at a man that way. Then just when he’d started to Aiden was gone. Fuck Jad Karadin.
He drained his moonshine and went over to his table to work on assembling the bombs. Now he was really in a foul mood. He shouldn’t have let his mind wander.
Lambert stayed in a foul mood all the way through dinner. Vesemir wanted everyone to gather in the dining room and eat together. Like it would boost moral or something. Lambert dreaded having to see all those people. Some he could tolerate like Zoltan, but others like Letho… Melitele on a meat pie. What in the Seven Hells was Geralt thinking when he asked that man for help of any kind. He’d sooner stick a dagger in your back. And Geralt wanted Lamber to fight next to him?! For fucks sake. What was this shitty world coming to? Roche was there, tension high in his back, clearly not certain of his place with anything but that woman next to him in her half open shirt. The sorceresses were tittering. All three of them. Gods, it was like a fucking convention.
It was loud. Everyone’s voices echoing off the normally empty walls of Kaer Morhen’s main hall. Lambert thought he was doing an admirable job of shutting it all out. Eskel was looking at him patiently, calming sitting forward on the bench, elbows resting on the table, careful not to smile and jar his scarred face. Eskel’s lips were moving but no sound was coming out. Lambert raised his tankard to his lips, frowning when he found it empty.
“-another ale Lambert?” Eskel’s rich voice broke in. The sounds all came clashing back. Loud and jarring.
“I asked if you needed another ale Lambert.” Eskel repeated, “You look like you could use one.”
“Oh, yeah, sure. If you’re offering to do the walking and let me do the drinking, why not.” Lambert scrunched his face up but raised his eyebrows in appreciation. He held out his empty tankard to Eskel who was coming around the table to gather it up.
Eskel wandered into the kitchen where the cask was and refilled both his and Lambert’s, even though his own was barely half empty. He returned and plunked Lambert’s tankard back down in front of him.
“Weird havin’ this many people in here again isn’ it?” He said lowly where only the other witchers could hear it. Lambert nodded in return, glad to know he wasn’t the only one who’d noticed.
After dinner Lambert shuffled back up to his bedroom to hide from it all again. Higher up in the keep meant colder though and he regretted that. He hated the cold, everyone knew he hated the cold. He piled extra wood in his fireplace and stoked it to life with igni on his fingers. He pulled the table chair up close to it and got his swords settled onto his lap. With a cloth and some cleaning oil he buffed them to a high shine, swiping the cloth slowly over them in the firelight until they were gleaming. Papa Vesemir would be proud. Except they had already been clean he was just bored and out of things to do and he hated waiting. He felt impotent with nothing left to do except sit and wait for fancy pants to show up and order them around. He’d do it and gladly when the time came, but for now he would grumble about it to himself because there was nothing else for him to do.
The fire crackled and hissed at him. He could feel the cold draft seeping in from his balcony. Despite the fire and the fact that it was a relatively mild night and not winter he could feel the cold seeping deep into his bones. It left an empty ache there he felt like would never warm. It was always that way. Had been that way as a child when they hadn’t had enough wood for the fire because his dad was too drunk to gather and his mom was beaten to badly go get any herself. When his clothes were too thin for the snows and his belly not full enough to keep the meat on his bones. And it stayed with him. That feeling of cold. So that even a draft in Kaer Morhen brought it all back, even when it wasn’t yet winter. The bone chilling ache inside him was there, settling into his joints and making a home for itself like it always did.
Lambert bemoaned that fact that his moonshine stash was gone. He wasn’t about to go peruse through the kitchens to find anything else either. People were still milling about down there in their own nervous tension. He didn’t need them sharing it with him. He had enough of his own.
Lambert slid his swords back into their sheaths and walked over to his bed. He leaned them up against the nightstand. He toed off his boots, leaving his woven socks on to keep what heat he had. He unbuckled his chest armor and laid it on the nightstand, followed shortly by his hard leather trousers. Leaving him in only his socks, shorts, and a rough linen shirt. None of which he was willing to part with before getting under the chilly covers and pulling them up to his chin. Pillows stacked behind his head he sat leaning up against them, furs pulled up high, waiting for his bed to warm up to him. Fuck it was cold.
Twenty minutes later and just as he was starting to warm up there was a quiet rapping on his door. He ignored it. He wasn’t getting out of his nest of blankets to see what they wanted now. It could wait until morning. The door scraped open, wood on stone floor. Bastards! No respect for privacy.
“I know you’re in here.” Eskel’s voice was quiet like he didn’t want to wake the house, even though it was a damn keep and everyone else was pretty far away. “Cold?” He questioned looking at Lambert in his cocoon of furs.
“Fucking always. You know that Eskel.” Lambert huffed. He didn’t bother to be quiet, the only two with a hope of hearing them were Letho and Vesemir. He didn’t give a shit what the first heard, and the second had heard it all before.
“Brought you something to warm you up.” Eskel smiled then, letting it crinkle his scars in a way he never did in public. Only the other wolf witchers ever saw that. He brought a bottle of vodka around from behind his back and held it up in front of him. “But maybe you don’t want it.” Eskel’s eyes had a mischievous twinkle in the amber.
“Fucking get over here you lout.” Lambert demanded.
Eskel swaggered as he went over to the bed and sat down on the edge. He kicked off his boots before swinging his legs up. He leaned lazily up against the headboard crisscrossing his legs in front of himself and uncorked the full bottle of vodka. After a long pull he handed it to Lambert.
“About time, Gods, I thought you were gonna drink the whole thing.” Lambert groused, taking it out of Eskel’s hand and allowing himself to enjoy the burn as it slid down his throat and settled in his stomach. He took a second swig, then a third.
“Hey now, gotta share.”
Lambert passed the bottle back to Eskel. He noticed Eskel was only in his leather pants and a linen shirt.
“How are you not… freezing? Walking around without your armor on in this windy hellhole after dark.” Lambert mused out loud.
After a long pull Eskel handed the bottle back to Lambert to shut him up. “I’m not you. Not cold all the time. S’not even winter yet Lambert.” Eskel laughed quietly still not wanting to disturb the others. Lambert meanwhile was busy sipping away at the vodka bottle. Well maybe more than sipping. It was warming him up, even if it was a false sense of heat.
“Not my fault they built this school on a Gods Damned frozen mountain.” Lambert said defensively.
“Not your fault you ended you ended up here either.” Eskel added thoughtfully.
“Never said it was.”
Eskel stole the bottle back and took a few big drinks himself offering it back up to Lambert. It was three quarters gone and he was just starting to feel a fuzzy buzz. Right where he wanted to be.
“Rest is yours.”
“Why, Eskel, you’re an angel.” Lambert made a face at him, chin upturned, amber gold eyes big as he held he bottle to his chest with a smug smile on his face.
“Jus’ wanna make you warm.” Eskel said and it came out a little more husky than he intended, startling himself. He leaned back against the headboard with a dull thunk.
Lambert’s eyes narrowed a little bit, not sure what to make of the tone of voice he heard there. This was Eskel, but for a moment that tone reminded him of his Cat. He was feeling at most a bit more than fuzzy, so maybe he was imagining things. He had spent time reminiscing over that lost opportunity earlier so that might be creating some wishful thinking. He guzzled the remainder of the bottle and leaned back against the headboard as well.
Tipping the bottle neck back and forth between his fingers so Eskel could see that it was empty he scrunched his face up into that muted smile again and said, “You wanted to keep me warm, but unfortunately I think you’re plan has run empty.”
“I can think of lots of ways to make you warm, Lambert.” Eskel rumbled lowly unable to stop himself, “That was only one.” The buzz was too good, seeing Lambert wound up in the furs with that half ass smile, waggling an empty bottle at him. Eskel wanted to pull that shirt over his head and wind it around his arms behind his back and fuck him into oblivion. Unlikely to ever happen though. Lambert would shank him before he gave up that kind of control.
When Eskel looked over at Lambert his eyes were hungry though, his lips were parted and his tongue darted out between them to wet the lower one.
“And the others?” Lambert was still holding up the empty bottle like it would protect him from what he might be asking for.
“Lambert.” Eskel ground out through his frustrated haze.
“Eskel.” Lambert mimicked back, unable to resist.
Eskel grabbed Lambert by the knees, faster than Lambert had anticipated, pulling him down the bed. His head bounced back on the pillows and his arm flopped over the side of the bed the bottle jarring loose and tumbling to the floor. The thick glass clattered on the stone floor but didn’t break before it started to roll away. He was focused on the sound of the bottle and the way his breath had left him so suddenly when he was shocked out of it by the feeling of Eskel’s lips over his. Dry and smooth but demanding. Not perfect, he could feel the soft ragged edges where Eskel’s scars crossed his mouth. He came to his senses enough to push back, Aiden never kissed him. They never made it passed quick hands in the night, before-
“Whoa!” Lambert’s hands were shoved up against Eskel’s chest. “I never said you could kiss me.” Somehow Eskel’s hips had found there way in between his legs though and there was an undeniable hardness resting behind leather there. A moan bubbled up from Lambert’s mouth as he raised his hips a tiny fraction seeking some relief for his own sudden aching stiffness which was blatantly obvious under his shorts.
“If you’re gonna rut up against me, I am gonna kiss you.” Eskel stated pressing his hips down to meet Lambert’s seeking thrust. He leaned in slowly taking Lambert’s lower lips in his mouth, savoring it. Kissing him slowly this time.
“Weird.” Lambert breathed out against Eskel’s mouth.
“I won’t tell if you don’t tell.” Eskel smiled against Lambert’s mouth before pressing in exploring its depths with his tongue. His hand traveled up under Lambert’s linen shirt exploring the lean hard abdomen there. Fingers and thumb rolling and threading over dense scar tissue. His hips rested against Lambert’s not really moving but letting Lambert grind up to find some satisfaction there. The small breathy moans escaping the man underneath him letting him know that Lambert did want this.
Eskel slid his hand behind the small of Lambert’s back, using his knees for leverage and his other hand he rolled them together landing Lambert on top of him, no longer under the covers. He put his other hand under the shirt as well and made quick work of pulling it off. Lambert’s wolf medallion swung freely over Eskel as Lambert crowded against him to conserve what heat he had left.
“Cold!” Lambert hissed, “Damnit Eskel, you’re supposed to be war-”
His train of thought was entirely derailed by Eskel’s exploring hands, both of which sunk under the waist of his shorts to grab handfuls of his ass. Lambert shivered, he wasn’t sure if it was from the cold. His shorts were sliding down Eskel’s hands, leaving his ass exposed to the chilly air. Just when he was about to start bitching again, Eskel rolled him back over so he was underneath him again. The covers were pulled up over them both now and Lambert felt himself bathed in the heat of not only his furs, but Eskel as well. His shorts were shimmied all the way down and he kicked them off his feet. He’d find them lodged in the bottom of the bed under the covers tomorrow now doubt.
Eskel was leaning in to claim his mouth again, and it was less strange this time. His breath warm against Lambert’s face and he worked his way from lips to jaw to neckline, sucking deep kisses against his skin. One of Eskel’s hands was busy trying to pull his own shirt over his head. Once it was gone he continued moving down Lambert’s body, mouthing over his collarbone, sucking a hardened nipple into his hot mouth. And fuck if that wasn’t way better than Lambert ever expected. His fingers found Eskel’s hair of their own accord and held him there while he laved at that pebbled bud.
“Fu- uck.” Lambert was finding his voice harsh.
A quick sharp nip at that bud caused Lambert to suck in his air. “Shit!”
Eskel laughed greedily as he moved his head even lower, “Sorry, couldn’t resist.”
“Fucker.” Lambert’s hands on Eskel’s shoulders were pushing him further down. He wasn’t really sure what he wanted. Hands were always so good with Aiden but that had been all he’d had. Maybe Eskel was offering his mouth. That would be hot and perfect to chase away the chill.
No sooner had Lambert thought it than he found himself swallowed to the root in Eskel’s warm mouth. Hips bucking up, Eyes squeezing shut, breath stuttering in a fight for control over his senses Lambert tried not to lose himself right there.
“Shit, warn me.” Lambert laughed quietly and even to his own ears it sounded a little like a mad sorcerer. His hands found Eskel’s hair again and he let his fingers card through it because it was warm and soft. At least that’s what he told himself. Breathing back under control to a degree, he let his hips rut lazily in and out of Eskel’s lips, savoring the feeling of Eskel’s tongue on the underside of his head. Fuck it was good, so so good. Eskel’s hands weren’t touching him, he was cradling Eskel’s head with his hands in his hair, slowly thrusting into the wet warmth. Then the wet heat was squeezing him tightly as Eskel drew his cock out of his mouth sucking clean on the way out. Kissing the crook of his hip after his dick fell out of Eskel’s mouth.
“No, no. That was good.” Lambert was begging him to go back. “Don’t leave me struggling.”
“Gonna make you warm. Promise.” Eskel said as he set down a small vial of oil on the bed next to Lambert’s head. Where the hell did that come from Lambert thought aimlessly. Oh well oil was good, Aiden used oil with his hand. Eskel was back up over him again, kissing him on the mouth. Lambert tried not to think of where else Eskel’s mouth had just been. He’d probably eaten dirtier food at inns. Then there was a slippery finger nudging up against his clenched asshole. Oh! OH FUCK NO!
“WAIT!” Lambert was shoving at Eskel’s chest again.
“Shhh.” Eskel’s voice was calming, “You’re gonna wake up Vesemir.”
Oh my Gods, if Vesemir ever found out what they were doing Lambert would die. Die of shame. “Eskel. Plea-” That finger was still there gently coaxing and touching but not pressing, not pushing, and Eskel was still above him. “You can’t touch me there!” Lambert hissed in a loud whisper.
“No one’s ever touched you here before?” Eskel asked softly close to Lambert’s face.
“Of course they fucking haven’t! Why would they?!”
“”Cause it feels really good?” Eskel circled his finger around Lambert’s entrance gently, still not pushing in.
“You can’t be serious.”
“Very.” Eskel kissed him again slowly. “It’ll make you feel warm inside.”
Lambert groaned deeply. “Gods you know me to well Eskel.”
“Yea, but if you hurt me-”
“Wouldn’t do that. Shhh.” And then Eskel’s mouth was over his again stealing his noises as that finger slid in. He whined into Eskel’s mouth against the stretch. He felt full even though he knew it was small. Eskel teased him, sliding out and tracing circles around the entrance before slipping back in and tugging at the rim. This went on for minutes until a second finger and third were added. Lambert moaning at the intrusion. When he was used to three Eskel leaned back on his heels and curled those fingers forward striking something inside of him that made him come off the bed with a start. His whole body went white hot and his hips jerked in the air helplessly.
“Told you.” Eskel laughed lowly. “Now to make you warm.”
Lambert felt Eskel’s three fingers moving in a well practiced pattern against that spot. If it were anyone else he would have freaked out, but Eskel had such good control. “Melitele, that’s…. Fuck, so good.” Lambert was babbling, “If you burn me…” The heat inside was perfect like the best bath water, not quite scalding. Warming his belly deep behind his cock, making his thighs tingle and quiver in a way even Aiden never had. Eskel had a hand down the front of his unlaced leather pants on his own cock stoking it slowly as he continued to work his fingers in the smallest possible ingi. Lightly, not fire, just heat right up against Lambert’s prostate.
Lambert was shaking with the effort of not jerking his hips up. Not wanting to lose contact with the warmth spreading in his gut. Deeper, so warm, like he might never be cold again. And then he was losing himself. His cock shooting thick white strings of cum up onto his chest before pooling small spurts on his belly. He could feel himself clamp down tightly on Eskel’s fingers as he settled his fingers still inside. He was still hazy when he felt the warm ropes of Eskel’s release landing over his own. Slowly far more gently than he needed to Eskel withdrew his fingers, and though Lambert felt empty he did not feel cold.