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. . . and Rose

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Wild rose softens the areas that we tense to protect ourselves, unraveling emotional tension patterns that get locked in the body. Rose naturally works in places where ‘flow’ is impeded. Rose unwinds the stuck-ness that is often rooted in old grief, old trauma.

-Herbal Monograph on Rose, HerbMentor

 

Lullaby tunes graced the air with vibrant beauty, kissed by the crackle of the fire, while the clouds over the forest canopy sealed the night in close--just the glow of the fire and illuminated tree-trunk sentries. Geralt leaned against the saddle on the ground, propped half-sitting. Jaskier rested against him, head on his thigh, as he played.

A few more notes filled the stillness as Jaskier ended the song, and then he touched his hand to the strings to quiet them. After a moment, he sat up, taking his pleasant weight and warmth with him, and rolled onto his knees to put the instrument away. Geralt watched him work the latches and lay the instrument carefully down. He touched the soundboard briefly with his fingertips before lowering the lid.

A private benediction. Something so simple. So him . Geralt felt himself vibrating still with the pleasure of the melody and the grace of its sweet airs.

“I love you,” he said quietly.

The fire popped as Jaskier went still, then slowly turned to look at him. Deep shadows cut across his face, but Geralt could see wide, night-dark eyes.

“What?”

“In Houndstil,” he said, and shifted against the hard ground, “you said I didn’t love you. I told you that wasn’t true.” He lifted one shoulder, holding Jaskier’s gaze. “But never said what was .”

The shadows altered into a small frown, and the bard moved closer, shaking his head a little. “Geralt, that was months ago.”

He couldn’t tell from the look or the tone if that was accusation or bewilderment--if he owed an apology alongside. But Jaskier’s pulse quickened, and his chest rose and fell with light breaths more tentative than angry.

“I know,” he offered, voice rough even to his own ears. He gripped his hands searching for a way to say that the starless sky and the rustling leaves and the crack of the fire and the beauty of the song and Jaskier’s scent and closeness were the alchemy of a feeling well-brewed and stabbed him with homesickness for the present. Like he lived it and lost it at once and thought this , this sweet slipping of a moment was the heart of the thing. 

He ached with the emptiness of the words.

But Jaskier saved him, like he so often did.

“Say it again.” And swallowed hard, staring at him, glowing in campfire light.

A smile eased across Geralt’s face, the tension ebbing from his chest. “I love you,” he said, blinking slowly. The words rolled out like warmed honey, and he tipped his head, watching the bard’s face. “I have for years,” he admitted. “For decades.” His palms opened and turned skyward in a shrug. “Until the tavern, I always thought you knew.”

Jaskier’s expression transformed. 

He hesitated over a smile as his pulse rocketed. Eyes filled. And a dented laugh bubbled out of him. A sore-joyous thing that seemed to hurt and glow at once. He blinked out tears as he shook and clamped a hand over his mouth as the laughter rolled into a sob. 

Jaskier tipped forward, burying his face in Geralt’s chest and wrapping his arms around shoulders and middle. He sucked a breath and laughed and sobbed in dizzying fractals.

Geralt held him, cautiously, then harder. Kissed his hair in stunned silence. And rubbed warmth along his spine through the thick, rough fabric of his borrowed shirt. Eventually, Jaskier sniffed and pulled away far enough to look at him. Wiped at his eyes.

“I wouldn’t have thought,” he said, voice thick. “It would mean so much to hear it.” His breathing hitched, and a few more tears traced down his cheeks. “I guess it does.”

He might’ve felt guilty for making the man wait. But it wouldn’t mean anything if the pieces hadn’t been right--if he hadn’t wanted to, in the moment. So instead, Geralt brushed his fingers along Jaskier’s hairline and touched his face and drew him down until their foreheads touched. And Jaskier slipped a leg over and settled onto his lap, as graceful as if they had orchestrated it. 

A witcher shows his honesty by keeping his contracts.

A witcher shows his bravery by killing great and terrible beasts.

A witcher shows his compassion by the lives saved by his sword.

A witcher shows his love with his hands and by his deeds.

He waited, breaths mingling, while Jaskier’s thumbs brushed his cheeks and lips. Answered with touches to the bard’s hips and back. And when Jaskier finally kissed him, salty and sweet and full of small smiles, he groaned in relief. 

Let out a breath as lips moved to his throat. And winced with a grunt as their shifting weight dug the saddle into his back. Geralt pulled gently away, tapping twice on Jaskier’s thigh. And the bard swayed back to make space, smiling and breathless before he kissed Geralt once on the mouth and stood. 

They had laid their bedroll broadside to the fire to sandwich Jaskier between sources of heat. Geralt followed him to this small comfort. Crouched as Jaskier sat and started to take off the shirt too big for his frame. Geralt stilled him with a touch to the wrist. Leave it on. And with a curious smile, the bard laid back, fire light gilding him half gold. 

Geralt watched him gather a blanket into a pillow and considered. They had done almost everything over the years. Though the binding, that was new. They had belts. Reins. But he didn’t think . . . Jaskier watched him, animated and curious, and he didn’t think this was the night for such things.  

Instead, he let his knees touch the bedroll and undid the tie holding his hair, shaking out the strands. Because Jaskier loved something about his hair. Combing it. Brushing his fingers through it. And he liked that he loved it so much.

Geralt moved closer, and Jaskier made to spread his legs in automatic welcome, but with a touch, Geralt stopped him and caged him in with his knees. Stretched over him and sought another kiss, while his hair slipped from his shoulders and suddenly captured the heat from the fire, leaving his cheek to the chill air. He sucked the bard’s lower lip, slow and purposeful. Nuzzled at him. Stroked a hand down toward his groin while he kissed and started undoing buttons.

He could hear Jaskier’s heart quicken and nipped once at his lip before retreating. He crawled backward to give himself room and focus on his task. The fabric yielded, and Geralt drew Jaskier’s soft cock out. It twitched with interest at his touch, and he smirked a little when the bard’s whole body tensed. 

Some things they didn’t do quite as often.

This was one.

Without preamble, without checking or glancing, he bent and took Jaskier fully into his mouth. Soft flesh, still delicate and waking. The bard gasped and lifted his hips, and Geralt barred an arm across his body, pressing him back down with steady pressure. Strange satisfaction pooled in him as the swirling of his tongue became a moan on Jaskier’s lips, and he could feel him getting harder. Bigger. All too quickly, too much to swallow at once, and he drew back, sucking hard, flicking his tongue.

Jaskier’s thighs bundled with the need to thrust forward, seek more. He made a weak, frustrated sound. Settled. Panted.

It wasn’t just the wet heat. Lavving tongue. It was the magic imbued in a witcher’s flesh, animating radiant pinpricks of fire. Impossible sensation, it ruined Jaskier, always. And Geralt warmed with pride that his making, so costly, so monstrous, had provided this simple gift. 

Fingers burrowed into his hair. Caressing. Coaxing. Plaintive tugs when he got it just right. Sharp grips when Jaskier wanted more . Never pressing. Forcing. Never that . . . one of the courtesies . . .

The witcher worked to his own rhythm, knowing his partner would not last long. He swallowed him deep, the bard’s fingers clutching, and growled , the vibration filling his chest and throat.

“Oh, f-fuck . . .” Brittle, breathless. Jaskier tried to twist and buck.

Geralt peered up at him, a smile briefly touching his stretched lips before he sucked hard, toyed with the head, and felt a tremor through the bard’s body culminate into a moan. A ragged stuttering of breath. 

Jaskier tugged at his hair, trying to pull him up. “I’m--”

But he would not go.

Geralt --” A warning. 

He released the arm pinning Jaskier to the ground and let him arch finally, grunting and moving with the bard’s sudden motion. 

Hips rolled.

“I can’t--”

Reached.

Geralt held Jaskier’s hips with both hands, tasted pre-cum, and used his tongue just a little more.

A shudder. An arch. Sharp pain as fists pulled at his hair. 

He made the bard come into his mouth. Had no rules himself about such things. Jaskier collapsed into the strength of his hands, and he lowered him down, swallowing the seed that was more pleasant than half the witcher’s potions he drank for far less pleasurable reasons. He sucked as he drew off, leaving only a sheen of spit, swallowed again, and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. 

Boneless and sated, Jaskier drew deep heavy breaths, smiling as he studied the backs of his eyelids.

“You are . . . delightful,” he declared, sounding drowsy already.

Geralt offered an amused hum, surveying his handiwork. He reached out, and Jaskier’s eyes opened when Geralt started tucking him back into his clothes.

“Wh-- Hey!”

The witcher ignored him and found his place on the bedroll, stretching onto his stomach on the leeward side. He rested his head on crossed arms, and adjusted for comfort, a smug half-smile on his lips. He drew a deep breath and sighed, contentment spooling outward like ink in water, and let his eyes fall shut. Listened to the forest creak and chitter. The fire crack.

Jaskier’s clothes shushed as he shifted. “Um. Aren’t you maybe forgetting something?”

“No.” It rolled like a boulder off his tongue.

He could almost hear the bard’s scowl, and then a hand shoved at his shoulder.

“C’mon . . .”

“I don’t want to.”

He didn’t need to be flipped or mounted, sucked or fucked. He was here and heavy and languid. 

The world was small. 

The wars were far. 

Geralt thought he might sleep. Even dream. 

But then Jaskier’s scent went suddenly sharp and sour, and his pulse spiked.

“Are you . . . leaving?” he asked, voice soft, timid.

Geralt’s eyes popped open, and he lifted his head. “What?” Pressed onto his elbows. 

Jaskier stared at him, eyes wide and heart wild. “The . . . declaration. The . . .” He motioned to himself, and his expression turned stricken. “Is this good-bye?”

The witcher’s slow heart thundered as he frowned, went over everything he’d said. Done. Met Jaskier’s growing terror with a steady confusion. He hadn’t done anything , he was sure. Anything . . . recently. 

And it came into focus for him that his scope of consideration had been too small. That this was the yellowing of a purple bruise. 

He swallowed and let his expression soften.

“Tried that. It was miserable.”

“You do lots of miserable things more than once,” Jaskier replied, quick with a quip and utterly still despite the rabbiting of his heart.

Geralt pressed his lips into a hard line and met the bard’s gaze. Held it until he felt a pang of connection like a physical touch.

“No,” he said, earnest, unsure how to make himself more understood than this. 

The tension in Jaskier’s shoulders eased as he scanned Geralt’s face, illuminated by fire light. 

“It’s-- It’s all really all right?”

Geralt tipped his head to one side, fighting exasperation. As though he were above having to prove himself constant, again. Mended things are fragile in their own new way.

“Yes.” He motioned with a glance. “Lie down.”  

By torturous degrees, Jaskier settled, watching him warily. His pulse slowed and the sharp stress left his scent, and Geralt moved like touching a shy horse. Put his hand on the bard’s stomach and slid it as he drew into his space. Rested his head on Jaskier’s shoulder. Let his arm drape across the bard’s middle. 

Jaskier drew a breath and sighed several times, each one longer and slower than the last. 

“You are definitely going to put my arm to sleep like that,” he muttered. 

Geralt hummed. “Well, at least part of you will be well-rested.”

Jaskier snorted lightly, and after a few moments his fingers found their way into Geralt’s hair. Brushing over his ear. Drawing furrows down his scalp. 

Geralt sighed at the sensation sending shocks down his back and hugged closer. Such a touch would be ample foreplay in a different mood. It was hypnotic now, with the bard’s sense of rhythm, and it left him floating on the edge of pleasure and awareness, awake and seeming to sleep.

Jaskier had been right, though, about his arm, and they had to move eventually. Ended up curled together with Jaskier’s back to the dying fire and Geralt’s hair re-tied into a queue. The bard pressed his face between Geralt’s shoulder blades. A nuzzle. A press against his shirt that might be a kiss. He felt the heat of it. The light pressure. The fingers resting against his stomach lightly gripping his own.

Insects chirped and whirred in the dark, lulling his drowsiness deeper. The scent of wild roses carried on a light southerly breeze. And the last thing he heard before falling asleep was Jaskier. Whispering, smiling fond. 

“I love you too, moron.”