~ The Secret Dance of Snakes ~

Geralt awoke to the sound of a pained groan. At first he assumed the sound must have come from Jaskier, but the bard was sleeping peacefully beside him. On his other side, Yennefer was curled up with her back to him, clutching her stomach as another strangled sound of pain escaped her.

"Yen?" he put forth tentatively.

"Geralt," she whined in reply.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't feel right. My stomach hurts. Something's wrong with my vision. My neck itches. I'm cold."

He brushed her hair away from her neck. He wasn't sure what he expected to find there, but the small outbreak of fine green scales which he did find were so outside of his expectations that he didn't know how to react.

Yennefer turned her head to look up at him, and said, "What's happening to me, Geralt?"

As if he could answer. As if he should know.

Looks like you're turning into a snake or a dragon or something was hardly a reassuring thing to say aloud, and so he kept that thought to himself as he stared down at her eyes. Their color had not changed, but the irises had consumed the whites, and the pupils had narrowed to thin slits.

"Yen, what did you do?"

Jaskier was still asleep, gently snoring, until the moment Geralt exited the bed by climbing over him.

"Where are you going?" he asked, nonplussed, as he watched Geralt strap on his armor and sword.

"Out," Geralt replied tersely.

"I'll go-"

"You'll stay and look after Yennefer until I get back."

And, with that, Geralt left the room, shutting the door behind him. It was at that point that the bard finally noticed anything about Yennefer at all, and was surprised to discover her curled up in a ball, clutching her stomach and occasionally emitting small sounds of pain.

Of the two of them, he was the one who first noticed the puddle of slime soaking through her skirts, which apparently she did not feel due to her senses being consumed by the pain in her abdomen.

By the time Geralt returned, several soft slimy orbs had been expelled from Yennefer's nether regions, and Jaskier had finally figured out what was going on with her. Although he still had no idea why such a thing would be happening.

"Geralt!" Jaskier cried out as soon as the Witcher entered the room. "Yennefer is laying eggs!"

"Don't panic," Geralt said, which did nothing to stop the bard from panicking. "It turns out that the one who gave her womb to Yennefer was actually a lamia."

"Which is why all the..." Jaskier paused and made a vague hand gesture as he scrabbled for words. "...snake stuff is happening?"

"Yes. And that should fade once she's done laying her eggs."

Yennefer's only input to the conversation was a low moan as she struggled to push out another egg.

Geralt left the room again, and came back several minutes later with a basket that was lined with soft cloth, to serve as a nest for the eggs.

"Are you... alright?" he asked, somewhat awkwardly.

"I feel fine now that they're all out of me," Yennefer answered, although she looked utterly exhausted from the ordeal.

Jaskier helped her clean herself up as Geralt moved the eggs from the bed into the basket. The bard was singing to himself under his breath, composing lines for a new song, as he assisted Yennefer in washing the birth slime from her lower body and change into clean clothes.

As Jaskier was just starting to brush Yennefer's hair, Geralt was gazing thoughtfully at the basket of eggs and remarked, "Eleven. Not bad for your first clutch."

"First...?" Yennefer repeated faintly.

"Well, if you plan on keeping that womb, you're going to lay eggs once a month whether they're fertilized or not."

"Of course I'm keeping it," Yennefer said.

At the same time, Jaskier blurted out, "They're not fertilized, right?"

"-even if it means my children will be part snake," she finished her sentence before answering the bard's question. "No, they're not fertilized."

"But why did a lamia give you her womb in the first place? And why did you take it?" Jaskier asked, still wondering how this whole situation had come about.

"She heard me saying I wanted mine back and she offered me hers. Said she wasn't doing anything with it anyway and was tired of the monthly cycle. I sensed that she was fey of some kind, but I didn't realize she was a lamia. She had legs."

"And you accepted the offer, because...?"

"The dragon said I'd never get mine back, not that I'd never have one again."

While that still didn't entirely answer the question, Jaskier concluded that Yennefer was simply unreasonable when it came to the subject due to the intensity of her desire to reclaim what she'd lost. Even if that meant laying eggs and having snakey babies, apparently.

Geralt had strictly forbidden him from performing his latest song in public, but Jaskier treated his partners to a lively rendition of it during Yennefer's monthly egg-laying from there on out.

You may be quick and politic
In battle and affairs of the state
But in matters of the heart
You're sadly not so slick.

Your desires are like blinders
Keeping you not so swift on the uptake
And that's how you got fooled
Into accepting the womb of a snake.

But she looked like a human!
No scales, and she even had legs!
Yes, she took that form and now
Once a month, you'll be the one laying eggs.

And so the moral of this story is
No matter how good of a deal it seems
You probably shouldn't accept internal organs
From strangers you meet standing in streams.