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Of Feathers and Bone

Chapter Text

The trip back took them almost a week.  They camped at the valley for two days.  The first night was spent keeping the snow clear from their tent so that it wouldn’t collapse and learning each other’s bodies.  Every time one of them woke, so did the other, and like magnets, they were drawn back to each other.

Jaskier couldn’t remember ever being so happy.  Or having so many orgasms in one night.

At some time during the night, the snow had stopped, and they slept curled together until late morning.  Geralt took him to the sheltered valley where deer and a few other animals gathered to weather the worst of the mountain snows and they spent the day setting traps for small prey and noting where the deer seemed to travel the most.

Then Geralt took him back to their tent, stripped them of all their clothes, laid Jaskier out on top of their furs, and proceeded to give Jaskier the most thorough fucking he’d ever received in his rather long life.  They spent the rest of the day talking, exchanging stories of their childhoods at their respective Schools and interesting contracts they’d taken.

By the end of the second day, they had several hares and a deer to haul back to the keep.  They did as much of the butchering as they could out in the snow, carefully packing the meat and furs into special bags they’d brought specifically for that purpose.

On the third day, they broke camp at dawn and began the slow trudge back down the mountain, tugging the sleigh laden with meat behind them.  It was difficult going, especially as weighed down as they were, but they persevered and made it nearly halfway back the way they had come before they made camp for the night.  Jaskier showed Geralt how to burrow into the deep snow, creating a warm cave with nothing but their oilskin and furs.

The next day dawned bright and clear.  Most of their journey would now be downhill and hopefully, if they made good enough time, they could make it back to Kaer Morhen a little after the sun set.

It was near midday when they saw a figure trudging up the mountain.  Fearing for the potential of an avalanche if they called out, they picked up the pace.  As they got closer, Jaskier made out the somewhat distinctive odor of goat.  He looked over to Geralt.  “Eskel?”

Geralt nodded.  “With the storm delaying us, they probably got worried and sent someone.  Looks like Eskel drew the short stick.”

He saw the figure wave as he drew nearer.  He waved back.  “Poor man, having to come out in this when we’re fine.”

They started walking again.  Eskel stopped and let them come to him.  No point in him walking further in the deep snow than he had to, Jaskier sympathized.

“Well met, Jaskier.  Geralt.”  Then he paused and took a suspiciously large sniff.  Jaskier felt the faintest bit of heat dust his cheeks.  He hadn’t planned on running into one of the others so soon.  His eyes narrowed and he focused in on Jaskier, expression concerned.  "Everything alright?"

Jaskier nodded.  "We, uh, talked."

Eskel grinned at them.  "Seems you did a fair bit more than talk."

“Shut up,” Geralt grumbled at his brother.

“Ah,” Eskel slung an arm across his brother’s shoulders.  “I’m glad you two worked it out.”  He grinned at them both.  “I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you,” Jaskier smiled back.

Geralt grunted at him before shaking off the arm.  “Come on, I want to get back to the keep before we end up having to spend another night out here.”

“Well, at least you found a way to stay warm,” Eskel joked.  He clapped Jaskier on the arm before moving ahead of them.  “And I’ve already cleared a path for you, so the going should be a bit easier.”

Eskel was right, the way down was much quicker since the witcher had already done most of the hard work from trudging up the mountain.  They made it back to the Kaer Morhen not long after dark, grateful to be back in the warmth of the keep.  The thudding of the heavy oak door must have alerted the others to their return, because they had only removed their heavy cloaks when Jaskier heard light footsteps running towards them.

He watched, amused, as Ciri launched herself at the white-haired witcher first.  “Geralt!  Jaskier!  You’re okay!”  She buried her face in the witcher’s stomach.  “We were so worried when the snow came.”

Geralt gently cupped her head to him in one large palm and settled his other hand on her back, rubbing soothingly.  “We’re alright, cub.  Just took us a little longer to get back.”

She let go of Geralt to give Jaskier a hug as well.  “I’m glad you’re back,” she said, muffled against the cloth of his shirt.

“Me too.”  He hugged her back.

Lambert came flying into the room next.  “I see the mountain didn’t kill you after all, Wolf.”  He stopped short of them and wrinkled his nose.  “Oh, for Huldra’s sake, couldn’t you have rinsed off a little before you came in.  You smell like a fucking broth- “

“Lambert!”  Geralt growled at his younger brother, then looked pointedly down at Ciri.

The younger witcher crossed his arms over his chest.  “Well, you do,” he said mulishly.

Eskel sighed.  “He does have a point, as much as I hate to say it.”  He reached for one of the packs containing the meat that Geralt and Jaskier had brought back with them.  “We’ll take these and put them away.  You two go to the baths.  You smell like Lambert’s feet after Vesemir’s made him run the gauntlet in the summer.”

Relieved of their burdens, they headed to their rooms to gather a quick change of clothes before meeting in the baths.  Swiftly, they stripped down and eased themselves into the washing pool.

Jaskier moaned.  “Oh gods, this feels wonderful.”  He grabbed one of the oils and started rubbing it over his skin, taking off the week’s worth of sweat and grime he’d accumulated from their adventure.

“Should I leave you alone?”  Geralt smirked.

Jaskier glared at him.  “Shut up.  It’s not like you don’t enjoy being clean either.”  He eyed the selection of bathing oils and tinctures Geralt had brought with him.  “I clearly remember you insisting I rub chamomile all over your arse.”

“It wasn’t on my arse,” Geralt protested.  “It was my hip.  And I had you do it because I couldn’t see the whole wound.”

“Because the cut ran over your entire right arse cheek,” Jaskier scoffed.

The other witcher growled at him but didn’t deny it.  They bathed in silence, both tired from their journey in the snow.  It wasn’t until they were in the rinsing pool that Jaskier broke the quiet that had settled over them.

“I’m tempted to ask if any of these oils are suited for uses outside of bathing, but I think I’m too tired for anything more than a good soak.”  The bard sighed.  “We’ll have to revisit the idea another day, I think.”

Geralt made a noise that sounded like agreement.  After a few moments in the rinsing pool, they skipped the soaking by mutual agreement, deciding they were both too hungry to put off dinner.  They gathered their belongings and headed back up the stairs to the main part of the keep.

By the time they made it to the kitchen, the smell of roasting meat had wound its way through the lower halls.  Jaskier followed his nose to the source of the delicious smell.  Vesemir stood guard over a spit, slapping at Lambert’s questing hands for tasty morsels.  The oldest witcher looked up at their entrance.

“Ah, you’re back.  And just in time for dinner.”  He turned back to Lambert and growled.  “Go set the table, whelp.  We’ll eat in a few minutes.  Surely your stomach can wait that long.”

Scowling, but clearly unwilling to push Vesemir any further, Lambert left to do as he’d been bid.  Soon, they were all seated around the large, heavy wooden table with trenchers of meat and boiled vegetables, all well-seasoned.  Yennefer asked after their delay, and Jaskier found himself recounting the trip, leaving out the parts unfit for young ears.

After dinner was done, Jaskier and Geralt were excused from the washing up that night as they’d just gotten back from a rather grueling hunting trip.  Personally, Jaskier thought that Vesemir was concerned that the bard might pass out and drown himself in the basin of water.  Geralt didn’t look much better.

They made their way to the tower where Geralt and Jaskier’s rooms were.  At Jaskier’s door, they came to a stop.  Awkwardly, Jaskier stood in front of his room, unsure if it was too soon to ask to stay with Geralt.

Before he could say anything, Geralt spoke.

“Would you, uh, like to see my room?”

Jaskier smirked.  “Really? ‘Would you like to see my room’?  That’s what you’re going with?”

Geralt scowled at him.  “I don’t see you coming up with anything better.”

The bard opened his mouth, ready to prove Geralt wrong, but shut it again just as quickly and shrugged.  “Yeah.  Alright.  I don’t really have anything.  I’d love to see your room.”

They trudged up the stairs, Geralt leading the way.  At the top of the stairs was a large, open room.  There was a set of doors along the far wall that led out to what Jaskier suspected was a balcony with a magnificent view.  The floors were covered in a mishmash of rugs and first.  Cedar chests stood against various walls and gave the room a pleasant, woodsy smell.  A fire crackled merrily on one side of the room and not far from that was a large, ornately carved bed frame with a rather plump and comfortable-looking mattress.

Geralt headed directly towards the bed, shedding clothes as he went.  Jaskier stopped a few feet from the top of the steps and watched as the man revealed a mouth-watering view of his muscled back.  Apparently realizing that Jaskier had yet to follow him, he glanced back over his shoulder at the bard.  “Coming?”

“Not yet, but I might soon,” Jaskier couldn’t help but quip.

Rolling his eyes at him, Geralt continued to strip until he was completely naked and then slipped under the covers.  Hastily, Jaskier pulled off his own layers and joined him.  They kissed for some time, hands roaming over warm skin, before Jaskier yawned widely into Geralt’s face.

He chuckled at the witcher’s slightly disgusted expression.  “Sorry, I don’t think I’m up for much more.  M’tired.”

Geralt turned so he was on his back and pulled Jaskier close.  “Not a problem,” he said, rubbing a hand soothingly down Jaskier’s back.  “It was a long trip.”

“Mm,” Jaskier rubbed his nose into the hair on Geralt’s chest, inhaling the unique and comforting scent of the other man.

“Besides,” Geralt continued.  “There’s always tomorrow morning.”  Then he pinched Jaskier on the arse.

“Oi!”  Jaskier slapped him on the stomach.  “Just for that, I ought to make you wait until this time tomorrow.”

“But you won’t,” Geralt said, settling down into the mattress more firmly.

Jaskier sighed.  “But I won’t,” he agreed.  “Mostly because I’d only be punishing myself as well.”

Geralt snorted in amusement.  “Good to know where your loyalties lie, bard.”

“They lie where they always have.”  Jaskier could feel sleep tugging at him now.  “With you.”

Just as he was about to be lost to sleep, he felt something soft brush against the top of his head.  And then so quietly he couldn’t be sure it was real, he heard, “and mine, with you.”

The soothing scent of cedar carried him to sleep.