He’s always known that humans could be fragile creatures, but sometimes he forgets just how fragile they are. Perhaps it has to do with how he has spent the past decades on the Path relatively alone that he has forgotten that humans are more susceptible to the elements than Witchers. It wasn’t that he didn’t notice the changing of seasons and the growing chill in the air, but he knew he felt it less keenly than humans. After all, he has never had the chance to notice that detail in close quarters until a certain bard made it his personal mission to tag along on what he dubbed as ‘adventures’.
All this is to say, Geralt can’t fucking sleep with how loud the bard was shivering, though wrapped up in blankets as he was. It was loud enough that he was sure even a regular human without his enhanced senses could hear it.
Heaving a weary sigh, he turned his head just enough to glance at the bundle of shivering bard. He found himself torn; he could either pretend to ignore the other man, or go over there and offer his own body heat for warmth. One option was much easier than the other, and far less awkward as well. Yet, a tiny part of his mind determinedly whispered that it would be bad form to allow one’s travel companion to freeze to death. Besides, he grudgingly admitted to himself, the bard’s songs had helped. Lately people addressed him more often as White Wolf and less as Butcher , and it was relatively easier now to collect the payment he was due.
A particularly severe bout of shivering had him growling under his breath with annoyance and finally propelled him to a decision. Emerging from the warmth of his own bedroll, he stalked across the camp. Jaskier’s eyes peered up at him in confusion as he approached ( only confusion, not fear, never fear ), the only visible part of the bard body with how securely tucked into his blankets as he was. After a few moments of glowering down at him, Geralt finally realized that Jaskier wasn’t going to understand his intention with him speaking the words.
“Move over,” he grunted out.
Jaskier’s eyes widened. “S-sorry?”
The bard yelped in surprise as Geralt ignored him and dropped down beside him. He tugged the blankets over the both of them with one hand and pulled the younger man closer to himself with the other.
“Now, Geralt, y-you know I’m flattered, but usually people say something first-”
Jaskier was still talking, which made him growl again. He just wanted to sleep, damn it. He tightened his grip around the bard just a little. “Shut up.”
To his complete surprise, Jaskier did as he was told. In fact, he had proceeded to curl his entire body around Geralt like he was some sort of living furnace. A small pleased sound escaped the bard as he finally warmed up again, and Geralt made a valiant attempt to ignore the feeling it stirred within him.
Despite wanting to sleep very badly, he found himself staying awake as he listened to Jaskier’s breathing and heartbeat slow as he drifted to sleep. It was… calming. Perhaps it was because he finally had blessed silence once more.
After a while ( he could not have said how long they had laid there, perhaps minutes, perhaps centuries) , Jaskier’s full-body hold on him grew vaguely uncomfortable. He was fully unprepared for the way the bard’s arms tightened like a vice around him when he shifted away slightly.
The words were almost too quiet to catch, Jaskier clearly still asleep, but the message was clear.
It was laughably easy for Geralt to maneuver himself out of the hold, yet he found himself with no desire to do so. When was the last time someone who wanted nothing from him had clung to him like this? The answer was probably never.
Without waking, Jaskier buried his face against Geralt’s chest and murmured again, “not yet”.
There was no real reason for Geralt to deny him that request, and so he stayed. A peculiar feeling of contentment washed over him as he looked down at Jaskier, looking so young and tranquil in slumber.
In that moment, with an armful of sleeping bard and the reassuring sound of another heartbeat in his ears, he felt peace.