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#geraskier fic
samstree · 3 months ago
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“What do you mean he’s faking it? Geralt gets headaches, you should know! Lambert, he’s your brother!”
“Oh, believe me, I know my brother, Buttercup. Pretty boy has you wrapped around his finger. He’s just pretending so you’d be like…this. All touchy-feely and cuddly.”
The air shifts when Lambert must be gesturing wildly at Jaskier and Geralt’s general direction, where the witcher is resting his head on the bard’s thigh. The argument is muffled by the hand Jaskier presses on Geralt’s ear protectively.
It’s too comfortable to move, with Jaskier’s lap as the pillow and his doublet draped over Geralt’s shoulder. The fainting couch he’s lying on practically becomes a cocoon—one that is warm and nice and made from a bard’s love, but Geralt can only get it if he has a headache. Which he conveniently does, recently.
So Geralt duly keeps his eyes closed. He’s supposed to be resting for the pain, after all.
“His senses are heightened,” Jaskier protests, his voice low and careful. “You’ve seen him get overwhelmed by all the smells and noises. Don’t you at least have sympathy for a fellow witcher?”
“My senses are heightened too, and I can tell he’s a shit actor. He’s not even asleep!”
“Shh!” The hand that covers Geralt’s ear tightens. “You’re going to wake him!”
“Ugh, how do I tell you this, you can’t wake someone pretending!”
“Get out.”
Jaskier’s whisper remains low, but the determination seeps into those two words. Even without looking, Geralt can imagine the frown on the bard’s face easily. Oh, Jaskier is getting angry.
“You are not listening, he’s—"
“Out, Lambert.”
Properly angry. Even the younger wolf does not have a retort for the finality in Jaskier’s order. With a few muttered curses about gullible bards, Lambert’s footsteps retreat into the hallway. A door slams shut behind him, and Jaskier flinches even though it’s far away.
Geralt hums unhappily at how much Jaskier has tensed, so he hugs the thighs under his head closer. Gentle hands fuss all over him, tucking in the corners of the doublet and stroking his arm, shoulder, hair. He’s so toasty he could melt right here.
A good person would never take advantage of Jaskier’s affections like this, Geralt knows. Shame he’s not a good person.
Now he can bask in the presence of his bard without interruption. Geralt keeps his face neutral and relaxed, but the triumph makes him almost giddy at the knowledge that Jaskier will take his side every time—
“You know I know, right?”
Jaskier’s whisper comes from above, still soft and gentle and full of love. And perhaps, a hint of amusement.
Geralt freezes like a statue. His breathing stops for a long, long time. It’s a good thing witchers don’t need to breathe that much; it’s bad that his face is also heating up rather quickly in the process.
“Alright, then,” Jaskier says after a moment. His deft fingers trace Geralt’s jawline and give it a little pat. “Sleep tight, witcher mine.”
There is the sound of fabric rustling when Jaskier tries to find a good place to rest his head on the fainting couch. His snores come soon after.
Geralt blinks open his eyes after a while, not daring to move a muscle with Jaskier under him, still a vital part of the nice cocoon. Gradually, the toastiness is bordering on being too hot. He wonders if he’s able to panic while staying completely still, because it certainly fucking feels like it. There’s even sweat on his forehead now.
He does end up developing a headache, and it’s probably well-deserved.
Lambert must never find out.
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not1-2write · 4 months ago
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warmth
He doesn't mention his hand when the dust settles.
There are bodies to clear away, people to mourn. Jaskier steps back for that- he's not a Witcher. He doesn't know these men but he does know what they meant to each other and he knows he has no part in whatever mourning they need to do. So he steps back to allow their rituals.
He finds a bucket and scrub brush and gets to work clearing the blood from the stones while the others are gone. He can be useful in other ways.
His hand burns every time he dunks it in the hot water but he ignores it for as long as he can, scrubbing until the water is dirty but the floors are mostly cleared of blood.
He's trying very hard not to think about how it's getting harder and harder to move his index and middle fingers as the days pass. It's the cold, he tells himself. It's got to be. Every other part of him is stiff and cold and trembling just a bit with the way the wind howls through the newest holes in Kaer Morhen's walls. He's only human. Of course he's affected by the cold.
Jaskier uses his left hand to scrub when the burn gets to be too much, his right to steady the bucket as he washes the blood away. Yennefer could probably magic the stains gone but she's only just gotten her chaos back and she's still a bit unsteady. Besides, she's healing up the surviving Witchers. Jaskier can do this for them if nothing else.
He's careful to remove himself from the hall before they come back down the mountain. He doesn't want to be in the way if they're going to drink and mourn and fight out their feelings. He might get caught in the crossfire or worse, interfere.
The Witchers are people and they've lost brothers tonight. Jaskier will not do anything that upsets their grieving process.
He scuttles up to his room- or well, the room he was shown when he arrived with Ciri in tow, the princess vouching for him when she'd marched inside, all hot anger spilling over at Geralt going off with Yennefer without her.
Jaskier knows the feeling. Isn't insulted by Ciri's lack of interest in him.
She's a princess with Elder blood and magic in her veins being trained by a whole host of Witchers, a daughter of surprise to one of the most powerful Witchers on the continent. Of course a simple bard with no instrument to his name is beneath her notice.
He leaves Ciri to her own devices, getting the distinct impression she'd prefer it that way when she glances up at him. He does offer her a small smile as he passes. It wouldn't do to seem rude and he doesn't want her to think he's afraid of her.
Well. He is afraid of her but in the same way he's afraid of Yennefer; she's terrifyingly powerful and he accords her the respect she deserves due to that. But Ciri is also just a child and she's a little lost right now so he smiles and tells her goodnight as he slips away. A simple kindness costs him nothing.
His hand throbs with each step he takes.
"Fuck's sake," he mutters, clenching his teeth together and trying to breathe through it.
People have died tonight. Men were cut down, cut through, thrown through walls and tables and dripping blood as they stood back up to face down basilisks and all kinds of horrors coming though the monolith. He'll deal with his hand privately and without fuss.
It's not even his hand. It's two fingers and his palm. He still has three good fingers, still can move them slightly even if it makes him hiss in pain. He can deal.
There are more important things, more important people to take care of.
But he is only human. And he's tired.
He doesn't bother building up the fire that's burnt out. He'll wake up freezing but he doesn't have matches or anything to light the logs that are stacked beside the fireplace and he's not about to go all the way back downstairs to ask Geralt to come up to his room and build a fire for him.
He's got a blanket. If he drapes his jacket over the fur it'll provide some extra warmth and he'll leave his socks on.
He doesn't want to listen to the sound of the fire snapping and crackling all night anyway. It might...
He doesn't feel like remembering that right now, so close to the edge of sleep, body and mind both exhausted. No telling what kind of nightmares are lurking in the edge of his mind right now.
Firefucker. Ciri possessed. Basilisks slithering out of a black void. He's not going to add the memory of his own flesh blistering and burning to that, the sound and smell of a fire so close- too close- to his head.
The bandages he hastily wrapped around his fingers earlier are wet now and tinged red with Witcher blood. Jaskier barely has the energy to unwrap them before he's collapsing backwards onto the thin mattress. He's asleep before his head hits the pillow.
He wakes up burning.
For one horrifying second he thinks firefucker has found him again and simply set him entirely alight this time. No need to wheedle information out of him, no secrets to pry out, no. Burn him and be done with it. But when he fights out of the blanket and claws his way to consciousness he becomes aware of two things. The first is that he's drenched in sweat and covered in a burning cold sensation that starts somewhere around his bad hand and ends with his teeth chattering.
Is he cold? Is he burning? Jaskier clenches the fur in his good hand and tries to breathe. Tremors wrack his body, every part of him trembling from whatever nightmare he'd clawed his way out of. It's probably for the best that he doesn't remember.
Sweat drips from his temple, the tremble of his jaw enough to dislodge the bead traveling down his chin so it lands somewhere on his lap.
The second thing he becomes aware of is that he's not alone in the room. Ciri stands in the doorway, anxiously twisting her hands together.
"Everyone's afraid of me now," she says softly, eyes huge and green and landing somewhere near Jaskier's waist. "They won't even... they can't look at me."
"Oh."
She looks up at him then, something close to fear lurking in her gaze. "You looked at me. Last night. You smiled and bade me goodnight like it was nothing."
"It was nothing," he says gently.
Jaskier feels gross and sticky with sweat, not at all how he usually feels when meeting a princess but he shifts over and pats the fur beside him.
Ciri only hesitates for a brief second before padding over to join him.
"It's cold in here," she says.
"It's cold everywhere in Kaer Morhen. I suspect the Witchers might be part ice to be so unbothered by it." Jaskier nudges her shoulder with his. He gets a small smile. "Geralt's never seemed affected by the cold in all the years I've known him. But you should see him when he gets a hot bath. He purrs! The man purrs like a kitten when presented with a tub full of steaming water."
Ciri's eyebrows wing up. "There are hot springs under the keep. Maybe they all go down there to thaw every once in a while."
This is the first Jaskier's hearing of it and he's insulted it wasn't included in the list of things he should know about. He wonders if he's allowed to go looking for the springs. If not he might just go hunting for them anyway. He'd love a soak in a hot spring after the week he's had.
"Sounds wonderful," he sighs wistfully, hand over his heart. "A bit of warmth in this cold place, some comfort for the people who claim they don't need it."
For all their claims about not needing much the Witchers do partake in a few creature comforts. Well seasoned food (that could be more seasoned in Jaskier's expert opinion), clean dry clothes (that could be cleaner in the opinion of Jaskier's nose), a hot spring, spirits strong enough to knock Jaskier out after two pulls from the bottle. They like to have fires burning in the hearths, soft furs on their beds, the best metals to make their swords.
And they mourn. When they lose one of their own they do not simply move on. They grieve, they cry, they hang the medallion in a place of honor and carry themselves forward.
"Lambert showed me," Ciri says, burrowing into the fur Jaskier drapes over her shoulders. "They're big enough for me to swim in."
"I think I need to see these hot springs immediately."
"I can show you."
If he clenches his jaw the trembling stops. If he fights the urge to curl his hand into a fist the pain is less. If he keeps still and doesn't fidget he won't notice that he can't bend his index finger. He puts the burning feeling out of his mind. Ignores the way his right hand shakes despite his best efforts.
He wonders if Ciri noticed the bloody bandages on the floor when she came in and kicks them under the bed when he stands. He bows deeply and with flourish, pleased when Ciri laughs and accepts his offered hand. She stands and curtseys back, face painted in the regal lines that suit her status. She's got dirt smeared on her cheek and her hair is all but exploding out of the braid she'd so obviously slept in. Jaskier smells like sweat. He can feel the pillow crease on his cheek.
They stare at each other for exactly one second before dissolving into giggles.
"Come on then, let's see these springs."
They're magnificent and warm and Jaskier wants to live in them. Ciri splashes around in a pool to his left, dunking her head under to scrub at her hair. Jaskier's claimed a deeper one that's a touch more warm than Ciri's swimming hole and soaks his weary bones, right hand held carefully out of the water.
He cracks one eye open when he hears Ciri swim up to the natural rock border. She peers at him over the ledge, arms draped on the stone, head pillowed on her elbow as she studies him.
"You're really not afraid of me."
"On the contrary my dear: I find you terrifying." Jaskier flicks water at her and grins when she crunches her nose. "You're more powerful than Yennefer, a Witcher-trained princess and much smarter than Geralt. Who wouldn't find that terrifying?"
When she smiles like that Jaskier can see Pavetta.
They linger for a bit in the springs, warming their frozen toes and washing the previous night from their skin. Jaskier doesn't have any other clothes to change in to but he feels better having washed his hair and wiping the sweat off his brow.
His right hand throbs the entire time he dresses and makes doing his clothes up much harder than it should be but he manages after several minutes of struggle. If he uses his thumb and ring finger he can do the laces on his pants. The buttons on his shirt he does left handed and hopes Ciri won't notice or ask.
"What's wrong with your hand?"
Of course.
"Ah, well." Jaskier isn't about to tell Ciri anything having to do with firefucker right when she's started to get the color back in her cheeks. "Burned myself," he lies easily, wincing theatrically when he attempts to flex his fingers. They barely bend, his pointer finger swollen and too stiff to move. "I'll manage."
"When did that happen?" a gravelly voice asks right behind Jaskier.
He yelps, jumping on the spot and spinning with a hand pressed to his heart. "Geralt-! Fuck's sake I'm going to put a bell on you one of these days, see if I don't! Melitele's flaming tits, you can't just sneak up on people like that."
"I heard him coming," Ciri says, the traitor.
"Oh well, thanks for the warning. And here I thought we were friends."
The corner of Geralt's mouth twitches, face morphing into something fond and amused when his gaze slides to Ciri. She manages a tentative smile back and Jaskier's heart warms at the sight.
Geralt might have fought against destiny kicking and screaming for years but it's clear these two need each other. He's glad they wound up where they needed to be, here in the drafty halls of Kaer Morhen. He doesn't seem any different around Ciri now- a little wary to be sure but that's nothing new. Geralt's always been wary around children, unsure how to approach them or even if he should. Jaskier supposes it's only fair that extends to his nearly teenaged Child of Surprise as well.
But Ciri uncurls at Geralt's gaze, standing taller and smiling wider when Geralt brushes a hand down her damp hair.
"Found the springs, did you?"
"Jaskier didn't know about them."
"Hmm."
Jaskier takes the chance to slink off. Geralt and Ciri should have a moment to speak without him listening in. He needs to re-wrap his hand anyway.
And he should probably pack, plan his next move. He heard Geralt and Vesemir last night, he knows Geralt isn't staying any longer than necessary and he's taking Ciri with him. With Yennefer here that probably means they're portaling out as soon as they're packed.
Which means Jaskier needs a plan.
He can't stay here without Geralt. He can barely stay here with Geralt. The others had put up with his presence because he'd arrived with Ciri and the news of Geralt's whereabouts. He suspects he was only let in the front door because Ciri had pulled him inside and announced he was "Geralt's bard friend" to the cluster of intimidating looking Witchers that had surrounded him.
("Ah," Vesemir had said, face clearing. "You'll be Jaskier then.")
He doesn't have much to his name at the moment: the clothes on his back, the jacket in his room. Geralt had taken him from the prison and they'd left immediately and then he'd gone straight to Kaer Morhen. So maybe packing is a bit of a stretch but he does need a plan.
Namely he needs to figure out how to get off this damn mountain before Geralt leaves.
He's had enough of Geralt leaving him on mountains to last a lifetime.
Maybe he can ask Yennefer to portal him to Oxenfurt. He can continue his smuggling operation from there, get the Elves stuck in the North somewhere safe. Maybe not Nilfgaard now, all things considered, but there are places the elves would be safe. He's got a few captains of ships willing to smuggle for him- it costs a pretty penny to get them further away but he can't just abandon the elves that will come looking for safe passage.
How is he going to earn the coin to pay for this if he can't play? His lute was lost when firefucker nabbed him and his hand...
His hand is...
His hand will heal. He'll get another lute.
What he's doing is too important to walk away from.
The warmth from the springs has leeched out of him by the time he finds his room again (really who designed this place? so many twists and turns, so many places to get lost. it's a wonder he's only gotten turned around twice so far) so he shrugs into his jacket the moment he steps foot over the threshold. It doesn't do much against the chill- it was designed to look good not function- but it helps a bit.
He ignores the burning pain shooting up his arm when the leather brushes his fingers. It's fine. He's fine.
It's very cold.
"Jaskier," Geralt calls from the doorway. Ciri is beside him, hand in Geralt's. "You should come eat."
Jaskier takes two steps towards them and then pauses. "Lambert didn't cook it, did he? I might pass if he did." He's not entirely sure he can stomach any food at the moment, much less what Lambert tries to pass off as cooking. He'd rather eat the meat raw and unseasoned.
"Vesemir," Geralt informs him, mouth cocked in that half smile he gets when he's amused. "Lambert's not allowed to cook after he gave half of us food poisoning a few weeks back."
Ciri rolls her eyes. "They were fine- I puked up my guts," she tells Jaskier, releasing Geralt's hand to latch on to his. Jaskier does his best not to wince when she brushes his fingers, subtly adjusting her hold so she's wrapped around his palm instead. "Coen told me to aim for Lambert."
"Sounds like he deserved it."
"It was gross," Ciri says cheerfully, pushing open a door to reveal the mess hall.
Yennefer is waiting at a table, a steaming bowl of something in front of her and a much too nice goblet of very nice wine at her elbow. She offers Jaskier a smile, Ciri a wider one and turns back to her meal.
She's sitting a bit away from everyone, stiff and awkward and unsure. Jaskier knows the feeling.
He accepts the bowl Vesemir hands him with a muttered thanks and tries not to look relieved when Ciri releases his hand. He can't feel much besides the burning still lingering in his fingers and focuses on the food in front of him instead. It smells much better than the food Geralt manages on the road and looks a sight better than how Ciri had described Lambert's cooking.
Ciri seems to be making a point when she goes to sit with Yennefer. Geralt hesitates but Jaskier hurries to join them. They're further from the fire than his chilled skin would like but it sets his mind at ease to have the cracking heat a good distance away.
After a moment's pause, Geralt slides into the seat between Ciri and Jaskier and digs into his meal as well. Jaskier is startled when Lambert comes ambling over to them and plops himself onto the bench across from Ciri, Coen on his other side and a Witcher he doesn't know the name of sliding closer.
Ciri looks startled but pleased. Jaskier hides his grin by taking a bite of the stew. It's awkward to eat with his left hand but he manages not to dribble all over himself. He doesn't think the Witchers will care- Lambert is, in fact, chewing with his mouth open at this exact moment, talking through a mouthful about some monster he slayed before coming home for the winter- but Jaskier has standards, damn it.
And only one set of clean clothes. He should probably figure out how to wash them before he leaves. Maybe he can borrow some of Geralt's clothes. If Geralt has any other clothes. Jaskier isn't about to walk around this freezing keep naked while he waits for his clothes to dry.
Apparently Lambert has been on laundry duty since the food poisoning incident.
"No wonder none of you smell clean," Jaskier mutters.
Lambert scowls but Coen bursts into laughter. "Honestly Lambert, do you even use the soap?" he asks, nudging his brother.
"Of course I use the fucking soap! Ain't my fault all you smell so fucking bad it leeches into the clothes."
Jaskier shivers, spooning more stew into his mouth. His stomach clenches and demands that he stop but it's nice and warm and he's so damn cold that he wants the heat from the food more than he wants the food itself.
Beside him, Geralt shifts and frowns. "You're shivering," he notes.
Jaskier does his best to huff indignantly. "Well it is cold here. I know you Witchers run hotter than we humans do- and Yennefer is nothing but a block of carved ice- but I'm far more delicate than you all. Plus my hair is still wet," he sniffs, taking a sip of the water to settle his stomach. Vesemir had offered him an ale but he'd turned it down. Too strong smelling. He suspects it would have made him drunker than a skunk even if he'd only drank half of it. "I'll be lucky if I don't catch a cold with the way it's so drafty."
"Hmm." Geralt's gaze is a little too piercing for Jaskier's liking. "You should sit closer to the fire."
His gut clenches, stomach rolling. A bead of sweat works its way down his spine. He drops his spoon. "No," he says far too quickly. "No."
On the other side of Ciri, Yennefer straightens. "Jaskier-" she starts and he really doesn't want to hear it whatever it is. Because Yennefer knows. She saw. She's the one that got him out but now everyone is staring at him, everyone is looking and his hand hurts, it burns and he's so fucking cold-!
Jaskier nearly trips over his feet in his haste to stand. He's halfway up the stairs before he realizes where he's going. It's a miracle he makes it to his room at all, lungs wheezing, chest tight and hand burning burning burning all the way down to his bones.
He slides to the floor in front of the cold hearth and shivers. His hand feels hot and numb and it burns. The skin hisses and splits open, blisters forming and bursting as it all burns. He burns, he's burning-!
A large calloused hand slides over his shoulder gently.
"Jaskier."
He'd know Geralt's voice anywhere. Jaskier comes back to himself with a gasp, body trembling, chest heaving. He's shivering in the cold but he's sweating, undoing all the good the soak in the hot springs had done.
"Jaskier." Geralt looks lost, hand still pressing against his shoulder as he kneels on the cold stone. "Breathe."
Jaskier digs his fingers into the palm of his burned hand to keep himself from reaching out to grab Geralt. He sucks in a deep, desperate breath of air and holds it, keeps it in until his lungs ache and blows it out slowly. His body tries to immediately suck in another deep breath, fast and choppy and he doesn't let it. He focuses on the pain in his palm, the feel of Geralt's hand between his shoulder blades instead.
"Fuck," he manages, thumb digging harder into his hand.
He's in Kaer Morhen. He's cold. His hand hurts.
He's not burning.
"Jaskier, what happened to your hand?"
He bites his lip. Geralt has enough to worry about. He has Ciri and the others, he has Yennefer. The keep still feels like magic and smells like death and they're all pretending to be more okay than they are. Why isn't he allowed to pretend? He can pretend for a little while.
He's fine.
"It's nothing."
"He was tortured," Yennefer announces from the doorway, marching in like she has every right to be there.
On Jaskier's back, Geralt's hand jerks.
"I'm fine-"
Yennefer kneels in front of him, skirts billowing out over his legs and into the hearth. She doesn't seem to care that ash stains her hems. She reaches for Jaskier's hand but stops short of actually touching him.
"You're not," she says simply, lavender eyes boring into his. "I saw what firefucker did you, Jaskier."
Geralt is outright growling. "What happened?" he demands, fingertips pressing slightly into Jaskier's back through his jacket. Jaskier focuses on those five points of contact and breathes. "When did this happen?"
"Oh stop growling," he says, chancing a look at Geralt's furious face. "It was before you found me in the prison. Yennefer got me out."
"Not before he'd burned you," Yennefer oh so helpfully reminds him. Her fingertips brush over his, carefully peeling the clenched fingers of his left hand away from his palm. "And I didn't have the chance, or the ability to heal you before... everything else happened." Gently, far more gently than Jaskier had thought her capable of before now, Yennefer runs a her hand over his. "Let me help you now."
He swallows and, feeling like he's not got much of a choice, allows Yennefer to bring his hand up for inspection.
The blisters are ugly, the skin red and angry and split. Pieces of him are flaking off, jagged edges burned into his fingertips. His palm is cracked, the blisters and welts spreading down to his life line.
Geralt's hand fists in his jacket, his other hand coming up to grip Jaskier's elbow.
"Jaskier," he breathes, like the sound has been torn from his throat. "Why the fuck didn't you say something?"
"When?" Jaskier demands, eyes on the stones they're all kneeling on. "When we were looking for Ciri, when I took her to Kaer Morhen? When we were under attack from those big scaly monsters and people were dying? It's just a hand, Geralt. It's nothing that won't heal. There were more important things to worry about."
"Jaskier."
"Tell me I'm wrong." He meets Geralt's gaze then, steadily ignoring Yennefer's probing touch. "It's just a burn."
"It's infected."
That would explain the cold burning sensation he's been feeling. "Well I was crawling around on the floor. The disgusting floor- when was the last time any of you cleaned it? Do Witches not have mops or something? It could do with a good scrub. I did what I could with the brush but I'm not about to be on my knees for days scrubbing decades of grime off your floors- ow, fuck Yennefer!" He jerks, attempting to get his hand away from the newest pain but between Geralt and Yennefer he's well and truly pinned in place. "Warn a man!"
"I need to draw the infection out before I heal this," Yennefer says, completely ignoring him. "Wait here, I need a few things."
"Things?" Alarmed, Jaskier burrows backwards into Geralt as Yennefer stands and stalks from the room. "What things? Yennefer! Gods, she's going to enjoy this far too much. To think I saved her life."
Geralt's grip on his elbow is unyielding. "You've been hurting," he growls, head bowed. His forehead is nearly on Jaskier's shoulder. "This whole time you've been- you didn't say anything."
Geralt's actually nice and warm all pressed up against him like this. Jaskier shamelessly burrows further into his chest- partly to warm up his numb skin and partly so he can turn to look at Geralt without dislodging the other man's grip on him.
"Yes, well." He shrugs. "There were... things happening. All so fast, too. I didn't realize it was this bad until after the whole deathless mother, basilisk, black portal thing and then it was-" He bites his lip. "I don't know. Small? It seemed like nothing in comparison. People died. My hand was burned. It's nothing."
"You were tortured."
"That's..." nothing, it doesn't matter, it was days ago, he's fine.
His hand burns, even under Geralt's careful touch.
"Yes," he says to Geralt's bowed head. Sword calloused fingers cup the back of his hand. Geralt is so much bigger than him, his bulk surrounding Jaskier without trying, his chest easily broader than Jaskier's back and warming him where they're pressed together. He shivers again, warmth seeping into him after so long of being so cold. "Yes I- I was... I was tortured."
The hand on his back slides down to cup his hip, Geralt's grip nearly bruise tight.
Geralt's never... held him like this before.
Not the time, he reminds his foolish heart as it begins to beat wildly in his chest. Geralt can probably hear it pounding away behind his ribs. It will never be the right time for this, for his unrequited feelings to rear up and kick him in the chest. There are other things to worry about and he just got Geralt back.
He's not about to chase him off because he was foolish enough to fall in love with the man.
Geralt's head comes up slowly, gold gaze meeting Jaskier's. "You were tortured," he says slowly, in that low voice of his that Jaskier can feel deep in his bones, "because of me."
And well. There's not really a way around that.
"He thought I might have some information about you," Jaskier allows. He doesn't look away. Doesn't let Geralt either, good hand shooting out to turn his face towards him when Geralt flinches and starts to shift back. "I didn't give him anything," he promises. "I didn't-"
"I know." Geralt's hand spasms around Jaskier's hip once before his arm loops around and hauls Jaskier into his lap properly and oh, that's nice. That's very nice. "I know you wouldn't."
Jaskier swallows around a very dry throat. "To be fair, I didn't have any information to give. He wanted to know about you and Ciri. I didn't even know you had Ciri yet, so-"
"You knew enough." Geralt's eyes close now, his head tipping forward to rest gently against Jaskier's forehead. "We've parted ways at the base of the mountain before. You know the type of inns I prefer to stay at. You know that I go North for the winter, what path I take to get there. You might not have known where Kaer Morhen was until now but you knew enough."
And that... well. Jaskier hadn't thought about that but it's true enough. He'd put all thoughts of Geralt out of his mind for so long that even during the torture he'd refused to bring his memories to the front, determined to keep them out of the hands of that beast. He hadn't known what firefucker was looking for- or rather, who- but it didn't matter. He would never betray Geralt.
"I wouldn't have- I didn't say anything," Jaskier says again, his own eyes slipping closed. "I begged," he admits, feeling Geralt flinch and tighten his grip. "Screamed a bit. But Yennefer found me in time."
She finds them now, just like this. Jaskier in Geralt's lap on the floor, Geralt gripping him tight and breathing him in. Jaskier flushes but doesn't attempt to move away. Geralt's very warm and the room is very cold and he doesn't seem to want to let go of Jaskier any time soon anyway.
"You can keep clinging to him but I at least need his hand," Yennefer says, sounding amused. To Jaskier she says, a bit softly, "This is going to hurt."
Wearily suddenly, Jaskier holds out his hand and collapses fully against Geralt's chest. "Doesn't it always?"
Geralt's arms wrap around him to keep him in place when he arches and curses through Yennefer's ministrations, swearing the witch black and blue while she ruthlessly douses the open sores in a foul smelling concoction that burns nearly as much as the flames did.
"Melitele's burning balls," he yells, gritting his teeth and turning to burrow his face into Geralt's shoulder. "You gods-damned goat-witch."
"Mm-hmm," Yennefer agrees placidly, her grip nearly as iron as Geralt's and just as useful in holding him where she wants him. "I know, I know."
"No you fucking don't- fuck!"
"Breathe," Geralt murmurs into his hair, one hand running through the sweaty strands in a soothing motion when Jaskier's vision begins to blur. "I've go you, Jas. You're okay."
"I hope your hair falls out," Jaskier whimpers pitifully. Yennefer has the audacity to laugh at him but she puts the bottle down. "Please tell me you're done."
"Nearly," she assures him. Jaskier groans, digging his teeth into his lip. "The hard part's over with now."
"Thank the gods for that. I didn't mean it," he says, blinking to clear his vision and seeing Geralt above him. "About your hair. Your hair is lovely."
Yennefer purses her lips at him. He's almost sure she's hiding a grin.
"But I am a gods-damned goat-witch?"
"Oh most definitely."
"Well, at least that's cleared up then." She bends to examine Jaskier's palm carefully. Something soothing follows her fingertips, Jaskier's split skin knitting together, a cool balm flowing over him where she touches. "Bend your fingers," she orders.
He does. He can. It doesn't hurt nearly as much, the digits responding to the movement with barely a flare of pain.
"I can't do much about the scars," Yennefer is saying, unrolling a bandage and beginning to wrap his hand. "I'm afraid those are here to stay but the rest is as healed as I can make it."
Jaskier licks his lips to wet them. "I- will I be able to play? In the future?"
Geralt's breath hitches. Jaskier hears the stutter in the Witcher's too-slow heartbeat. Feels the way Geralt's arms squeeze him that much tighter, bring him that much closer.
If he didn't see it he wouldn't believe it but Yennefer softens right before him even as her fingers stay busy wrapping the bandage tightly around his hand. She squeezes his hand gently, just once, when she's done.
"You'll play again," she promises him. "I expect a song about this."
"My lady, I will write you a ballad."
Yennefer swirls out with a swish of her skirts and leaves them sitting on the floor, Jaskier still perched in Geralt's lap, all but melted into his chest. Since Geralt hasn't let go and doesn't show any sign of doing so in the near future, Jaskier nestles in against him with a happy hum. He's tired, weary down to his bones but his hand doesn't burn anymore. He can move his fingers. He'll play again.
Maybe he can keep helping the elves after all, his songs bringing in enough coin to smuggle them safely out to... wherever they want to go. He needs to find better ways for them to travel on land but it's easier to smuggle people on ships than it is in carriages.
"You're shaking," Geralt notes.
"Oh. So I am."
Geralt frowns down at him, one hand maneuvering out from under him enough to rest against Jaskier's forehead. "No fever. Yen would have said." He hums thoughtfully and hitches Jaskier more firmly against him. "Are you cold?"
"A bit. It's a lovely place, Kaer Morhen, but it's very full of holes and the wind does nip a bit."
"Hmm."
Jaskier smiles, closing his eyes.
"Will it panic you if I light the fire?"
His eyes snap back open. "Um," he says through numb and tingling lips. "I honestly don't know."
Geralt hums again, chin coming to rest on the top of Jaskier's head. "You need a fire," he says.
He knows. It's far too cold in this room to not have a fire even with the furs and his coat and he knows that but. But the heat against his skin... would it remind him of ropes around his wrists and ankles or would it simply warm him up as it's meant to? Would he wake from a nightmare again and hear the fire crackling and be unable to keep in his screams?
"Jaskier. I'm right here."
Jaskier shudders once. His newly healed hand fists in Geralt's shirt. "Light it," he orders into Geralt's neck.
Geralt does. Jaskier feels him shift to cast Igni but doesn't turn to see the flames catch the kindling, refuses to open his eyes to the brighter light that suddenly fills the room.
Slowly the fire grows. The warmth fills the room, the stones under Jaskier's feet and Geralt's thighs growing warmer as time passes. He thinks Geralt might remove himself soon or at the very least pull Jaskier out of his lap but he does neither. The only movement Geralt makes is to carefully run his hand up and down Jaskier's back in jerky movements, like he's unsure of the motion.
It takes close to an hour for Jaskier's death grip on Geralt's shirt to loosen. Another ten minutes for him to convince his eyes to open. When they do, when his body relaxes enough to glance up, Geralt's gaze is focused on him.
"I'm okay," he says and almost means it.
"Hmm."
Geralt doesn't stop sweeping his hand up and down Jaskier's back. He doesn't loosen his grip on Jaskier's hip or shift the bard from his lap. They stay there on the dusty, dirty floor and hold each other in front of the fire. Jaskier feels the heat of the flames against his back and pretends that his increased heart rate is because of it and has nothing to do with the way Geralt leans forward to bury his face back into Jaskier's hair.
"Can you... will you stay?" he asks, voice shaking just a bit.
"As long as you like."
Jaskier finds it in himself to huff out a laugh. "Dangerous thing to promise," he says, ignoring the way his nose brushes Geralt's neck from this position. If he mentions it Geralt will most definitely pull back and Jaskier can't even begin to say how much he doesn't want that. "What if I want to stay like this forever?"
Fingertips brush the back of his neck, sliding into his hair to cradle the back of his head and encourage him to tip his head back.
"As long as you like," Geralt says again, voice low, eyes on his. "For as long as you need."
And that... it gives him the strength to pull himself up. Not out of Geralt's lap because he's in Geralt's lap and he's going to stay there as long as he's allowed, thank you very much, but he turns to face the fire.
Geralt's arms are still around him, one slung low over his hips, the other draped almost casually across his chest. Geralt's nose brushes the back of his neck, his breath ghosting across Jaskier's skin and jacking his heart rate up even more.
But he looks at the fire. Into the flames. He feels the heat across his skin and watches the wood crack and burn and doesn't feel the need to run.
"I'm okay," he says and his teeth don't rattle with the lie.
Geralt's grip on him does not loosen. He does not pull away.
Jaskier reaches up with his bandaged hand to grip Geralt's where it rests against his shoulder. Geralt hums and threads their fingers together carefully, mindful of the bandages and the lingering burns Yennefer wasn't able to heal, his thumb brushing over the cloth of the bandage again and again.
"Next time, say something," Geralt breathes against the back of his neck. "You should never have to suffer in silence. Not around me."
"I could say the same for you," Jaskier says just as quietly, hand gripping Geralt's tightly. "You always suffer so quietly, Geralt. You're allow to feel your pain too." He feels Geralt's hum against his neck and has to suppress a shiver. Gods, does the man have any idea what he's doing to him? "Everyone is suffering right now. I guess I felt like my pain was... less. I could keep quiet about it so everyone could mourn or do whatever it is you Witchers do when you're pretending you're alright."
Geralt's head comes to rest against Jaskier's shoulder. "You cleaned up the blood in the main hall."
"I had to do something."
"You didn't." Geralt unfurls his legs slightly and presses his thighs against Jaskier's so they're both sitting on the floor but Jaskier is still surrounded by him, still held by Geralt, boxed in by his legs on either side and his arms around his chest. "But it was appreciated."
"Oh. Well." Awkward, slightly embarrassed, Jaskier wiggles back into Geralt's chest. Feels the other man chuckle slightly. "You're welcome."
He doesn't hide the wince as well as he hopes when one of the logs cracks loudly, his hand spasming against Geralt's. Geralt hums low in his chest, the sound becoming a growl when Jaskier's breath hitches.
"What did he look like?"
"What?"
"I need to know who this man is so I know to kill him slowly if I ever see him."
"That's... sweet of you Geralt but I'm pretty sure Yennefer burned half his face off."
"I'll remove his head from his shoulders," Geralt promises him, lips brushing Jaskier's ear and making his breath hitch for an entirely different reason. "He'll never touch you again."
"Hmm," Jaskier says, sounding so much like Geralt the other man outright smiles against Jaskier's skin. "You can't protect me forever."
Geralt buries his face into the curve of Jaskier's neck. "Watch me."
That's frighteningly sweet and speaks of a future Jaskier has only dared dream of before now.
"Thank you. For Ciri. She was- she said you helped."
Blinking, Jaskier cranes his neck to meet Geralt's gaze. "I didn't do anything. She mentioned the hot springs and I really needed a bath. And on that note I can't believe you never told me about the hot springs. I would have come up each much earlier if I'd known you got to soak in hot springs all winter long. They're marvelous. How do you get anything done? I never wanted to leave."
"She was frightened."
"Well. Yes. It's a frightening thing, all that power. I can't even imagine. But she's still- well I'm not going to say just a child because Ciri isn't just anything, but she's so young still. I know you're all big and tough and strong- and yes I am including Yennefer in that- but Ciri needs to feel it still. Needs to know that it's okay to feel whatever she's feeling and that there will be people around her who will let her feel what she needs to. She's lost so much already. Let's not take any more from her, hm?"
"Hmm," Geralt says and it sounds like an agreement.
Impulsively, Jaskier stretches up to press a chaste kiss to his cheek. "Thank you," it's his turn to say. "For staying. For this."
Geralt's stunned look stretches Jaskier's smile wide. His lips are tingling again, this time at the memory of Geralt's cheek under them, the feel of his stubble catching ever so slightly.
He's not expecting Geralt to cradle the back of his head again, to tip Jaskier's face back towards his and crush their mouths together. He can't help the whimper that escapes him, can't stop his hand from reaching to fist in Geralt's hair, can't keep his eyes from sliding closed or his mouth from opening under the assault. Geralt kisses like he fucking means it, all hard teeth and tongue and unyielding pressure and Jaskier helpless beneath it all.
He gives as good as he gets, sinking his teeth into Geralt's bottom lip like he's dreamed of doing for years, for fucking decades and now he can. Geralt hums, his chest all but vibrating under Jaskier's hand and tips them further back, stretching out in front of the fire, kissing and kissing and kissing Jaskier until he has to pull away to catch his breath. He doesn't pull his hand from Geralt's hair and is delighted when Geralt only pulls back far enough for the bard to catch his breath before he dives back in.
Gods above the man can kiss. The floor is hard underneath Jaskier's back. He can smell the dirt and dank of the room but it doesn't matter because Geralt's arm is under his neck, his hand in Jaskier's hair, his other arm bracketing Jaskier's body to pull him closer. His tongue is in Jaskier's mouth, searching out every taste hiding in the corners, teeth scraping against his lips and tugging until Jaskier moans against him.
"Geralt," he gasps, hands coming to cup the Witcher's face. "Fuck."
"If you like."
"Gods don't make promises you don't want to keep-"
Geralt kisses him again, softer now, fingers gentling in their journey down Jaskier's sides to carefully work their way up under his shirt. Jaskier shivers, arching into the touch. Gods it's even better than he's dreamed.
"I want," Geralt promises against his mouth.
If Geralt is going to touch then Jaskier gets to touch too. It's only fair. He wastes no time getting his unbandaged hand under Geralt's shirt, clutching at the muscles he's admired from afar and stitched up and rubbed soothing balm on but never been allowed to explore before. Geralt shudders at the touch, pulling back, no no pulling away- but he yanks his shirt over his head before crawling back over Jaskier again and sealing their mouths together.
Jaskier moans, loud and wanton when Geralt gets him out of his jacket, undoes the buttons on his shirt with blinding speed to let it dangle open. He presses his mouth down Jaskier's neck, biting slightly teeth scraping and catching all the way down his chest.
"Geralt," Jaskier moans, hands fisting in his hair.
"Again," Geralt growls around the massive hickey he's sucking into Jaskier's chest. "Say it again."
"Geralt-"
And then Jaskier can't speak, can't even think with how thoroughly Geralt is kissing him, how carefully he takes Jaskier apart.
"Jaskier," Geralt murmurs against Jaskier's skin. Against every part of him. "Jaskier."
Later, curled up in the bed and tangled around each other so tightly that Jaskier isn't sure where he ends and Geralt begins, Geralt presses his mouth carefully to the bandages still tightly wound around Jaskier's hand. He kisses each finger, each knuckle, down to Jaskier's palm before taking his time to mouth at Jaskier's wrist.
Jaskier hums happily, pulling Geralt up for a proper kiss. The fire crackles behind them merrily, warm and burning bright.
And as Jaskier slips into sleep, Geralt wrapped around him and practically purring, he's warm.
                                                         fin
                                                   (ao3 link)
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geraltshumblebard · 5 months ago
Text
geralt realizing one day after jaskier got hurt by something (literally like. anything. he pricked his finger on a rose stem or smth) and realizing that his bard is MORTAL which he never actually internalized before, and he just can't have that. not a second of acceptance is happening. so he proceeds to visit every single mage he knows, trying to find the cure for mortality. and absolutely no one can help him and he's completely devastated. meanwhile jaskier, who is a absolutely not mortal half elf is living his best life trying to figure out why the FUCK geralt is treating him like he's on his deathbed
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welcomemysentence · 6 months ago
Text
something healing
(2.8k, rated t, post s2 geraskier hurt/comfort fix it because i am weak and wanting. i promise there’s a happy ending! also on ao3, and now with a sequel)
The library is cold and candlelit in the night. It’s one of the cozier rooms in the keep, at least as far as Jaskier’s concerned, lined as it is with wall-to-wall shelves heaped with crumbling books and intricate bestiaries.
If only he’d be allowed to explore it.
“What is it, Jaskier?” Geralt grunts without turning around. “I’m busy.” He’s poring through a large stack of the oldest-looking books, no doubt searching for more information on what might be coming next, how best to protect Ciri. Jaskier swallows. The cruel trick of it is that this is a task he might’ve actually been able to help with. Would’ve been good at, even.
“I know,” Jaskier says, quietly. “I wouldn’t bother you in the midst of your very important world-saving parenting, of course, if I—had another option, ha.” He swallows. “Could I perhaps…borrow a shirt, and a pair of trousers? A fur if you’ve got one around, perhaps.” He chuckles, running his finger through the dust on the nearest table, taking care to keep a good distance away from Geralt’s. “Though I’m not sure if it’ll really count as borrowing, given while I would return whatever unfashionable monstrosity you deemed appropriate to give me, I’m not sure I’ll ever see you again, which would make it rather difficult to complete the act of borrowing. So. Maybe something you wouldn’t mind parting with?”
It hurts.
Of course it does.
Jaskier wishes it were a dull ache, a scar on its way to healing, the way the ones on his fingers are turning shiny. He could tell himself it had been, and then Geralt ripped it open into a fresh wound when he came back with nothing but empty words and questions about Yennefer.
But the truth is, it’s never gotten close to healing.
Geralt hms without lifting his head from the books.
“Had enough of the keep?” he rumbles, and that’s so fucking unfair Jaskier actually chokes back a laugh, his eyes horribly filling with tears yet again.
“It’s had enough of me, clearly.” He tilts his head back to keep them from spilling, sniffing once into his right hand on instinct and flinching at the pressure on his burns. “Look, if the answer’s no, fine. It’s just that I’ve been in this outfit for days and it’s been through torture, prison, a freezing mountain climb, and an actual demon attack, so I thought it wouldn’t be out of line to ask for a favor.”
Geralt, at last, turns. His brow furrows.
“Torture?”
It’s Jaskier’s turn to frown.
“What, Yennefer didn’t tell you?”
Geralt rises, the chair creaking on the stone. He takes one step forward and then stops, peering at Jaskier.
“She said…trouble. I didn’t think—and it meant the firefucker was after Ciri, so—”
“Right,” Jaskier nods, too quickly. “Yeah, of course.” The annoying thing is that he can’t actually blame Geralt for being so focused on protecting the child. It’s…good. It’s right, for him. It’s just—if the man was going to develop the ability to actually act on caring about other people after all these years, it can’t help but sting that it hasn’t extended just…just a bit farther.
Geralt looks Jaskier over as if he’s seeing him for the first time. Gazing with those lamplight eyes, glowing brighter than ever in the dim library. Burn, butcher, burn, Jaskier thinks furiously. Burn, butcher, burn, burn, burn.
And then, helpless, like always, I’m weak, my love, and I am—
Jaskier can’t handle being looked at like this. He scoffs, turning back to the dust on the table.
“When I told you Yennefer was in Oxenfurt saving my life, did you think I was just being dramatic?”
“Yes,” Geralt says at once, sounding irritated. “How many times did I save your life from a jealous partner—”
“But she told you it was the firefucker!” Jaskier can’t help but say, a sorry sort of laugh catching in his throat. “What, you assumed he was there lighting birthday candles for me? That we were having a chummy barbeque together, fuck—he wanted information about you and Ciri, Geralt, what the fuck do you think he did to me?”
Geralt seizes Jaskier’s wrist. Jaskier jerks away, clutching it to himself. Geralt’s touch feels like another burn. It’s too late though, Geralt’s seen. He stares at Jaskier in open horror and disbelief.
“Fuck,” he growls. “We’ve got herbs that’ll help with that, come on—”
Jaskier shakes his head, his eyes very hot still.
“Just the clothes. Please.”
Geralt snorts.
“C’mon, don’t be stupid. How’re you going to play the lute like that?”
Of course, that’s what sends the tears spilling down Jaskier’s dirty cheeks. He rubs them away furiously.
“Well, you don’t have to worry about that, because that fucker broke my lute over my head when he kidnapped me. So I just need the clothes so I can get out of here, please.”
Geralt stares at him. Each moment feels like another burn.
“Fine,” he says at last. “Fine. You want to leave. You should…leave.”
“Yeah,” Jaskier says, his body a vessel for the wound that is his heart.
“I’ll find you something to wear. But I do expect it returned, bard. We don’t exactly have an abundance of clothes here at the keep.”
That’s what does it. Jaskier gives a harsh laugh, more at the way his heart can’t help but squeeze with foolish, useless hope.
“When d’you think I’ll have the opportunity?” he says. “When you’re looking for more information on Yennefer you can only get out of me, because that’s the only thing you’d ever need me for?”
Geralt hesitates. Doesn’t look at him. When he speaks, Jaskier could swear he’s not hearing right.
“Friends come back.”
“What?” Jaskier says in disbelief.
“I’ll see you again. Because that’s what you said, friends—”
Jaskier makes a sound, somewhere between a sob and a hysterical, choked-off laugh.
“Oh, so you did hear me? You still don’t get it, Geralt!” He shakes his head, biting his lip so hard it hurts. “Yeah, exactly, friends come back, and you didn’t come back for me! You didn’t even think about me, did you? I am sorry, Jaskier, bullshit! That’s not an apology, it’s an end to a conversation you never even wanted to start.” Now that Jaskier’s started, he can’t stop. Dimly, he thinks, what else is there to lose? “You blamed me for everything you chose in your life—the djinn you fished out of the river, the wish you made, the Law of Surprise you invoked for yourself, the witch you bound yourself to without her consent—who deserves better than your bullshit, by the way—and you left me with nothing! Nothing, after twenty fucking years, witcher!” He’s crying properly now, tears warm on his cheeks. “Yeah. Friends come back. And that’s the fucking bitch of it, don’t you see? After waiting and hoping and giving up and hoping again, I finally got to have you come back to me. But it was worse than if you hadn’t at all. Because you didn’t come back for me, you came back for you. So where does that leave us? No, you know what?” He takes one last shuddering breath, his world crumbling, crumbling around him. “I’m done asking that question. Goodbye, Geralt.”
He walks out of the room.
He glances back, he can’t help it.
Geralt’s still staring at the table.
*
Jaskier makes it halfway down the mountain before he has to stop. The snow is coming down hard and he’s freezing in his jacket, as he knew he would be, though nowhere as bad as his feet. They’re going near numb freezing in the winter’s night, his trusty boots finally on their way decidedly out. The burns on his fingers are still tight, aching terribly in the sting of the frost. He huddles beneath a thick tree and tries to stop sobbing, as the tears freeze to his face.
Focus, he tells himself. Focus on the Sandpiper. Focus on the elves, focus on what you can do. On what you have. We find a new purpose, that’s what he’d told Yennefer.
Except fuck it all, she got back everything she lost. Her magic, and—well, he’s being a bit prickly about it, sure, but he’ll go back to her.
He always does.
And she deserves it, she deserves it, it’s just that—
The wind howls, and Jaskier tugs his coat around himself as best as he can, shivering violently. Even though the cold is a different pain entirely, just the physical act of shivering reminds him of the other day, as does the sting of it.
It’s just that…does Jaskier deserve this?
He knows he has to keep moving. He knows he can’t spend the night out here, or it’ll all be over by morning.
But he’s so, so tired.
And when he makes it back down the mountain, he won’t even have his lute.
He gives up on trying not to cry, and buries his face in his arms.
*
When Jaskier wakes up, he thinks he’s dreaming.
This is probably because he’s had this dream before.
He’s wrapped in Geralt’s cloak, cradled in Geralt’s arms and pressed to his chest.
“Fuck, you’re awake,” Geralt growls. Jaskier can hardly hear him over the roar of the storm. “You idiot,” he says, sounding relieved. “Almost back to the keep now. Just hold on.”
And Jaskier would, he really would, but he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to hold onto anymore.
Jaskier’s eyes flutter shut. The last thing he remembers is the sound of Geralt swearing again.
He thinks, dimly, he wouldn’t mind if it were the last thing he heard.
*
The next time he wakes up, he’s in front of the hearth at Kaer Morhen, wrapped in furs.
The fire pops, and fear cuts into Jaskier’s consciousness like a knife.
He tries to scramble back as far as he can as fast as he can, only to discover his limbs are still stiff.
“You’re all right,” comes Geralt’s voice from nearby, but Jaskier doesn’t stop squirming.
“The fire,” he chokes out, “please.”
It takes Geralt a moment, but then he seems to realize.
“Oh. Oh. Fuck.”
And then Jaskier’s being picked up, furs and all. Geralt settles onto the floor with Jaskier in his lap, far enough from the sparks, but close enough to still catch some of the warmth. He rubs Jaskier’s arms, warming him, coaxing the feeling back into them. When he reaches Jaskier’s hands, Jaskier flinches. Geralt pulls away, rubbing Jaskier’s ears instead.
He still feels like crying.
He buries his face in Geralt’s chest instead, because Geralt’s shucked all but his shirt and trousers to give Jaskier access to more his body heat, and Jaskier’s nose is fucking freezing.
“I’m sorry,” Geralt murmurs, so softly Jaskier thinks he might be imagining it again. “I’m so, so sorry. You’re right.”
Jaskier sniffs.
“Say it again.” And he must’ve looked really pathetic under that tree, because Geralt does.
“You’re right. I’ve been fucking selfish. I thought I was getting better.” Geralt sighs, letting Jaskier snuggle in closer and tuck his cold toes under Geralt too. “And I think I was. Just not with you.”
“Lucky me,” Jaskier says dryly.
“You’re different,” Geralt says. “Not like—
“Yennefer.”
“Any of us.”
“Yeah, I know. Not magic. Not powerful. Not useful.” Jaskier sniffs again. “You know, if you’re trying to make me feel better, you’re fucking terrible at it.”
“I thought the best thing for you was…less of me,” Geralt says quietly. “You’re pretty much the only one in this keep who’s not bound to me by some sort of destiny, Jaskier.”
“Yeah, I’m the idiot who fucking chose you. Thought you wanted me to.” Jaskier swallows. “Thought you were choosing me too,” he says in a smaller voice.
Geralt hums, and holds him tighter.
“I was,” he says. “...I am.”
Jaskier shakes his head, huffs a little laugh.
“Fuck. Am I dead? I froze out there, right, that’s what’s happening, or else your daughter did me in, wouldn’t that be fitting—”
“I don’t want to lose you again.” Geralt says it soft. “Not again. Not anymore.”
Jaskier isn’t sure what he’s hearing. With anyone else, he would know, not that there’s properly been anyone else for years and years now. But with Geralt—
Yet his hands are so warm on Jaskier’s frozen skin, his frozen heart. Not fire-warm, but something else.
Something, perhaps, healing.
Jaskier knows hope, he’s choked on it enough. Every time Geralt gave it to him, every late night falling asleep on each other, every morning on the Path curled in each other’s arms, every laugh, every bit of confidence Jaskier squirreled away and clung to, it was always, always followed by pain.
He cuts to the point.
“What about Yennefer?” he asks.
Geralt, to Jaskier’s surprise, gives a little snort, the look on his face suggesting he’s not quite sure what to make of the new softness between the two.
“She saw you leaving the keep. She was going to go after you herself, only—”
“What?”
“She told me I should. I said I wasn’t sure you wanted me to, and then she hit me on the arm and told me to stop being an ass.”
It’s Jaskier’s turn to chuckle.
“And then she told me,” Geralt continues softly, his hands still warm on Jaskier’s body. “If you still want it—I should give you what I’ve wanted to give you for a long, long time.”
Jaskier squirms. He suddenly feels very, very warm indeed.
“What’s that, the bloody time of day?” he says, his voice going high. “A modicum of respect, perhaps? A spare shirt so I don’t freeze to death on the next fucking mountaintop you push me away on—”
“Yeah,” Geralt says. “And also, this.”
It’s the gentlest kiss Jaskier’s ever had. Brief and soft, Geralt’s mouth ghosting over Jaskier’s wind-chapped lips.
Jaskier feels like crying again, but for a very different reason.
“Sorry,” Geralt says hoarsely, and fuck if Jaskier could get used to a Geralt who actually apologizes like he means it. “Do you want—”
“I don’t know,” Jaskier says, his heart singing in his chest. “Why don’t you try it again?”
Geralt grins. A wonderful, fond sort of grin, one that Jaskier once knew very well but hasn’t seen in far too long. Geralt grins that silly grin, and tries it again.
*
They end up in the hot springs, not too much later. You deserve a proper bath, Geralt had said, so I still stink, is that it? Jaskier had, and it’s a testament to the new shape of this thing between them that Geralt hesitated before saying that’s not the only reason.
It is, in fact, a fantastic bath. Much better than that damn freezing waterfall. It’s steamy, and Geralt’s got all sorts of herbs Jaskier’s fairly certain Yennefer had gotten prepared, they don’t seem standard for witcher-bathing.
Best of all, he gets to sit in Geralt’s lap while Geralt washes the blood and soil from him. Geralt’s hands are surprisingly careful as they pour water over him, as they card through Jaskier’s hair.
“I like it long,” he murmurs, and it’s Jaskier’s turn to hum, relaxing into Geralt’s touch.
Geralt promises to tend to his hands tomorrow, after Jaskier’s had a proper night’s sleep. They should have enough to make the medicine for it in the keep, but if not, he’ll ask Triss. Yennefer, apparently, had planned on it, but wanted to ask Jaskier first.
“Wait here,” Geralt says, pressing a kiss to Jaskier’s cheek. “I’ll bring you some of my clothes.”
Jaskier swallows.
“For the way home?”
Geralt flinches, his arms tightening around Jaskier’s bare waist. Holding him close, carefully, tenderly.
“No. To sleep in,” he says. “To…stay. As long as you want.”
He’s so warm. It’s strange, how natural it feels to be pressed together like this after so much longing. It’s thrilling, or course, but more than anything, it’s a comfort. Like Jaskier can finally, finally exhale.
Geralt kisses his cheek again, and then his forehead, the side of his nose. Jaskier turns his head, gazing straight on into those lamplight eyes. And then he lets his eyes flutter shut, as Geralt’s mouth finds his again.
“I’m going to have to return to my duties as the Sandpiper eventually, you know,” he says presently. Geralt nods.
“Go when you need to, and let me know if I can help,” he murmurs. “But come back if you want. I want you to.” He swallows, Jaskier can feel it, his back pressed to Geralt’s chest. “I need you to.”
“No, you don’t,” he whispers.
“Yes,” Geralt says, at once. “Yes, Jaskier. I do.”
Jaskier smiles and kisses him again. He parts his lips this time, and Geralt licks into his mouth, tentative and hungry.
Jaskier’s hands feel better already. And he is warm at last.
“Jaskier?” Geralt asks.
“Hmm?”
“...what the fuck is the Sandpiper?”
Jaskier laughs. Oh, at last, at last, it feels like their story’s finally begun.
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lambden · 6 months ago
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Jaskier leaves Kaer Morhen wearing new boots on his feet— well, new to him, anyhow. But judging by how weary Eskel had looked when he handed them over, no one will miss these. They’re close to his size, and a damn sight more fitting for the journey down a mountain than any he’s owned before.
Other than footwear he leaves in the same outfit he came in, and the jacket he used to treasure so much. He means to ask Yennefer for an easy portal— or at least to say goodbye, since apparently the two of them are friends now. Will wonders never cease. But when he asks the few remaining witchers about her location they direct him to one of the high walls of the fortress, where he finds the sorceress nestled up close with Geralt and Ciri on a parapet. They look like a family. 
It churns Jaskier’s stomach to even contemplate interrupting, so he sets off on his own without saying a word to anyone. His new boots will suit him well, and thanks to Vesemir’s generosity his pack is stuffed full of dried meat and other fare to keep him fed until his next performance. Jaskier can’t imagine when that might possibly be, but he’s sure he’ll find some way to twist all this into an epic ballad. The great ballad of Voleth Meir, as well as some shit about Spheres…? A poor rhyme, but drunkards won’t give a shit.
Jaskier stops in the courtyard of Kaer Morhen, not to bid farewell to any of the living or dead witchers but to look for an old friend. But Roach is gone, and in her place stands a new black mare. Jaskier approaches the stable, finding himself surprisingly overwhelmed at the sight of Geralt’s new steed. At no point on their journey had Geralt clarified to Jaskier, nor any of the dwarves, the fate of his last horse. But he knows how attached the witcher is to his horses; on the Path, they’re his dearest confidants. Over people, even!
To hold a jealous grudge over any animal would be ridiculous, so Jaskier sighs and resolves himself to be kind to this poor mare. He roots around in his bag for suitable sugarcube substitutes and instead finds some preserved slices of apple. “Good enough,” Jaskier hums, placing the fruit in his palm and extending it into the stall. He smiles as the horse instantly and eagerly accepts the treat. “Oh, you’re friendly! Nothing like the last one. You should’ve told us you were friendly, Yarpen and I would have spoiled you rotten.”
As if she can understand him, the horse huffs and kisses his palm again. Jaskier obediently and absentmindedly reaches for another slice. “Has he named you yet?” he asks, but New Roach doesn’t offer any sort of response. “Perhaps it’ll be Dace this time. Or Carp, gods forbid. You’re too pretty for Carp. Maybe he’ll pick a pretty name!” 
Looking at the curly, elegant black mane, a certain pretty name does jump to mind. Snorting, Jaskier gets another piece of apple. “Well, that’s off-limits, obviously… Perhaps he’s already named you,” he muses pensively. “I mean, not like I would know. We travelled all that distance together and barely talked. And you know he couldn’t even see fit to offer me a proper apology? He wouldn’t even dismount from his fucking horse— no offence, darling— and look me in the eyes and say he was sorry. And I just took it, because… of course I did, I’d take his scraps and call them a feast. Fuck. All this time, and nothing really has changed, has it?”
The horse snorts back at him. Jaskier stops cooing, retracting his hand and wiping it off on his trousers. “What am I even doing,” he mumbles, pulling his bag onto his shoulder. “New horse, new big scary demon problems, same stupid old bard. I swore things had changed, but who was I even trying to fool? The second I saw him again… Well, I won’t bother you with this, darling Carp. I’ll be on my way.”
New Roach falls silent as he departs, only neighing when he reaches the gate. Jaskier raises a hand to wave without looking back. It’s stupid, because he knows Geralt can’t actually have meaningful conversations with his horse, but… Jaskier doesn’t want anyone to see the tears gathering in his eyes, turning his lashes frosty. Not even a horse.
The wind picks up almost immediately after he leaves, leading him to curiously wonder if the witchers have protective magic around this place to prevent terrible weather. He pulls his leather coat tighter around himself, thanking Eskel silently for the boots. As the relentless and brittle wind whips about his ears, Jaskier could swear that he hears a distant cry from behind him. 
Wishful thinking. Definitely just wishful thinking. He steels his jaw, wipes his angry eyes, and keeps walking.
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therogueheart · 7 months ago
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Dear Doppler
Its a doppler.
Its about time they tried this trick, honestly. Jaskier would've thought it would be the first damn page of the book. Kidnap him, rough him up a little, have 'Geralt' swoop in and save him.
That there's a Geralt in the doorway at all is a dead giveaway its a doppler, but the creature also didn't get quite get the shade of Geralt's eyes right.
Aureolin. But Geralt's eyes are somewhere between lemon and gold.
Its been... Months? Seven Hells, maybe even years. Jaskier's hair threatens to kiss the dimple on his smile line now. Its probably been years.
It feels like its been years.
"Jaskier. You're alive."
"Disappointed?" he asked blithely. Geralt had said that before, way back when. Just before he made that godforsaken wish and ground up what remained of Jaskier's bleeding heart.
"So what brings you to my humble abode?" he continued, cutting off whatever the doppler might've thought to say next.
"We need your help."
He barked a laugh and let his head loll, staring up at the stone above.
"Ahh, wow. Okay. You're good. That is definitely why Geralt would bother to be here. 'We need your help'. Fantastic."
When he looked down 'Geralt's' mouth was a thin line, wary stare tinged with confusion and concern.
"Jaskier, its me. I'm here."
"Oh, how I've closed my eyes and heard you say that in a thousand ways over a thousand days," Jaskier sighed, rubbing at his mouth. "You've told me you're sorry. You're here to take me away. My personal favorite is when you tell me you've missed me. That one keeps me going for a few days afterwards, silly little words that they are."
"Jask--"
"Don't."
He shifted, let his gaze drop. "It was a good attempt, I'll hand you that. You even got the crease between his brows right. But there's one fatal flaw in your grand design, dear doppler."
Silence for a time, and then, so softly;
"What's that?"
He smiled.
"Geralt would never come for me."
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ladysesame · 3 months ago
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You’re Pretty
Also on AO3
“His condition is stable.”
Jaskier all but leaps to his feet as the healer emerges from the room, bag in hand as she brushes off her apron. “Oh thank the gods,” the bard says, breathing a sigh of relief. “I was worried that he finally did himself in this time.”
“Well, he did manage to get himself torn up pretty badly,” she says, “but I stitched the wound and was able to stop the bleeding.” She hands him a small tin. “Apply this salve to the wound every few hours and he should recover quite quickly if the rumors about witcher vitality are to be believed.”
Geralt had been extremely insistent on taking a contract for a wyvern, despite Jaskier’s protests that he was still recovering from the injuries he’d sustained on his last hunt. Geralt, the insufferably stubborn ass that he is, insisted he was fine. Jaskier of course knew better, but there was only so much arguing one could do with a surly witcher, and eventually the bard just decided to keep his mouth shut lest he get banned from tagging along altogether. In the end, the wound in Geralt’s leg gave way mid fight and the wyvern had gotten in a few good slashes with its claws before he could kill it.
He’d been bleeding so much, Jaskier has no idea how he didn’t throw up at the very sight of it. But in the end, the bard had no choice but to pull through for his friend and haul the incoherent witcher back to their rented room. They were just lucky that the town happened to have a healer.
“Thank you,” Jaskier says, taking her hand in his and squeezing for emphasis. “I don’t know what I would have done without you, my dear. You’re a godsend. Truly. Now, how much do I owe you?” He hastily reaches for his coin purse, but the old woman grabs his wrist and stops him.
“No payment necessary.”
“I insist! You saved my friend’s life!”
She just smiles warmly at him. “And your friend saved the whole town. Melitele knows what might have happened had he not killed the creature. Please, you’ve done more than enough already.”
“Oh. Well, thank you, I suppose. We really are grateful for your help.”
“Of course. He should be feeling better soon enough. Keep him on simple foods for a while; broth, cooked vegetables, plain breads-- anything easy to digest.”
Jaskier nods and tucks away his coin purse, thanking her again.
“Oh, there is one thing you should know,” the healer says before she leaves. “I had to give your friend some very strong herbs to help with the pain. They only just kicked in, but the effects may grow stronger over the next hour. Until they wear off, he may not be himself.” And with that she bids him farewell and heads down the stairs.
The sight that greets Jaskier when he enters his and Geralt’s room is one that’s highly unusual. The witcher is sprawled amongst the pillows, white hair splayed around his head like a silver halo and is lounging quite comfortably as he stares blankly at the ceiling. He’s noticeably relaxed-- a sight which Jaskier is sure he’s never seen before considering that the witcher operates with a stick permanently shoved up his ass. But even more shocking is the bleary look Geralt gives him as he enters the room, lifting his head, and then in a slow, delayed reaction, a toothy smile spreads on the witcher’s face.
“Jaskier.” Geralt sounds almost surprised to see him. The witcher’s voice holds a certain warmth to it that Jaskier has only ever heard him use with Roach or small children-- what the fuck?
The greeting makes Jaskier’s mouth gape in shock. Not himself, indeed.
“Geralt,” he greets, cautiously approaching the bed. “How are you feeling?”
The witcher grunts, then goes back to staring at the ceiling. “Warm,” he says at last. “And floaty.”
“The healer gave you some herbs for the pain,” Jaskier replies, sitting on the edge of the bed. “She said you may feel a bit odd until they wear off.”
Geralt scoffs. “Don’t need painkillers. M’ a witcher. M’fine.” Okay, maybe he is a bit himself after all.
“Your severely lacerated rib cage would disagree.”
“Would've been fine.”
“Would’ve--” The bard sputters at the indignity of it all-- “You nearly bled out! I think what you meant to say was, ‘thank you, Jaskier, for not letting me become a bloody smudge on the forest floor! Whatever would I do without you.’”
Geralt is silent after that, turning his head away so Jaskier can’t see his face. The bard sighs, scooting closer.
“Geralt, dear, remember that conversation we had about taking care of yourself?”
Okay, admittedly it was a “conversation” in the loosest sense, and was more Jaskier taking advantage of Geralt’s immobility the last time he’d been bedridden to lecture him about self preservation. Perhaps he nags a bit, but Jaskier doesn’t want to lose his best friend, even if he is a grumbly, stoic, brute of a witcher.
The witcher just hunches his shoulders, and grumbles under his breath in a way that reminds Jaskier of a grumpy teenager.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“I said you’re right,” Geralt repeats a little louder, still not making eye contact, “Thank you, Jaskier.”
The bard just sighs. “You know I’d do anything for you, right? Please don’t put yourself at risk like this again. Next time there might not be a healer around to save you.”
Though Jaskier would still try. And he’d take care of Geralt no matter how many times he gets himself nearly killed being stupid and self sacrificing. Unfortunately that’s just a symptom of love.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, changing the subject when there’s a long and awkward pause between them. “The healer said you could have some broth. Maybe a little bread. I could go down to the kitchen and fetch something.”
“That'd be nice,” Geralt says quietly, “thanks.”
 Two ‘thank yous’ in one day? Who are you and what have you done with Geralt?
“I’ll be right back, then,” Jaskier says, standing quickly as he tries to avoid the urge to kiss the witcher on the forehead before parting.
He goes down to the kitchen and acquires a tray with two bowls of soup, one that’s normal, and one that’s been strained down to broth, and two small bread rolls. Then he heads back to the room. Geralt is sitting up once again, and gazes longingly, sniffing the air in a way that almost makes Jaskier chuckle as he sets the tray down.
“Here,” Jaskier says, carefully handing Geralt the bowl of broth and a spoon. He takes his own bowl after, settling himself once more on the edge of the bed-- close enough for companionship during the meal, but more importantly to help Geralt if something happens. His witcher may seem more or less fine at the moment, but who knows what those herbs could do once they kick in fully, the last thing Jaskier needs is Geralt spilling hot soup all over himself.
“I’ve been thinking, Geralt,” Jaskier says between spoonfuls of soup, “While not the most convenient turn of events, our mandatory stay in town while you recover provides us with ample time to plan our next location accordingly. Since we don’t want a repeat of this again, I say we wait until you’re fully recovered before taking another contract. Now, I know what you’re going to say--” he lowers his voice an octave in a mock Geralt impersonation-- “‘we need money, Jaskier,’ and I agree. So I suggest we go to a larger city where my performances will surely-- w-what are you doing?”
Heat rises in his cheeks as Geralt, who finished his broth halfway through Jaskier’s speech, has set the bowl aside and is now leaning dangerously close to him, eyes blown wide in that hyper-focused state when the witcher is really paying attention to something.
 Gods, if Jaskier didn’t know any better he’d think Geralt was sizing him up to kill him.
“You’re pretty.”
The words hit him like a punch to the gut.
“I-- what?”
To Jaskier’s absolute bewilderment, a hint of a smile curls at Geralt’s lips. “You’re pretty,” the witcher repeats, voice far away and pensive. “Talking ‘bout all that stuff. You get all…shiny.” He waves a limp hand in Jaskier’s direction as if that somehow explains it.
 What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?
Geralt grunts, sitting back against the pillows with a drunk smile. “So shiny,” he slurs. “Like the sun. Makes me feel warm. Makes me wanna kiss you.”
 Good gods, he’s lost his damn mind!
And yet Jaskier is frozen in shock, unable to do anything as Geralt smiles up at him, his stomach doing somersaults as hope flutters in his chest.
He’s just being delusional. Yeah, that’s it. There’s no way Geralt actually likes him back…right? But holy fuck, Jaskier has wanted him, dreamed of having him for so long--
No. Stop it. That’s not what this is. Poor Geralt is just having a really bad trip. He probably thinks he’s talking to Yen or something.
“Geralt,” Jaskier asks cautiously, “are you feeling alright?”
The witcher only smiles wider. “M’great. All floaty. My stomach feels like butterflies.” He reaches out a hand and starts clumsily trying to pet Jaskier’s hair.
Jaskier catches his hand and places it back into Geralt’s lap. “Ooooohhh-kay, you, sir, are definitely not great. Let’s get you to sleep, huh? Before you start hallucinating.”
 Before you say something that makes things even more confusing.
The witcher pouts a bit as Jaskier makes a mad dash to clear away the dishes and get him situated comfortably in the bed. He looks kind of ridiculous once Jaskier is finished, a hulking, scowly man like Geralt pouting in a nest of blankets and pillows.
“The healer gave me some salve for your wounds,” Jaskier tells him, bringing over the tin. “I’m going to apply some and then you can sleep.”
Geralt huffs and makes a show of rolling his eyes, but remains pliant under the bard’s instruction, lifting his arm obediently so that Jaskier can access what he needs to.
The sight of the long, sewn up gashes along the witcher’s ribcage still churn his stomach a little. Thankfully though, it’s still miles better than it had been initially, when Jaskier had dragged him in here limp and bloody. The bard forces himself to take deep, even breathes as he gently dabs the salve over the injured area.
“Jaskier.”
Jaskier glances up from his task to find Geralt staring at him. “Am I hurting you?”
“No.” There’s a pause, then, “why do you do that?”
“Do what?”
“That. Clean my cuts. Buy me food. Make me sleep.”
“Because I care about you, of course,” Jaskier replies with a chuckle. “You’re my friend, Geralt.”
Geralt frowns as if struggling to connect the dots. “You’re always taking care of me. No one's... ever done that before."
It feels like an invisible hand is gently squeezing Jaskier's heart. He's always known this, of course, but the witcher has never actually spoken it out loud before, only quiet grumblings or writing off the bard's affections entirely. A small part of him had always hoped that by some miracle Geralt would have been able to experience at least some semblance of another's care before he came on the scene, but it is far more likely that a Witcher would go their whole life without it.
"I want to take care of you," Jaskier says eventually, "you mean a lot to me. It's only the right thing to do when there's someone important in your life."
The witcher shoots him a bit of a disbelieving look, but says nothing more on the matter as the bard tucks him in against the raggedy old mattress. Once Jaskier has made sure that the other man is comfortable, he places the tin of salve on the bedside table. When he turns back, he finds Geralt staring at him once again.
"I never do those things for you, " the witcher says. His voice is so quiet it sounds as if he is whispering a secret. "Even though you mean a lot to me."
Jaskier’s breath catches in his throat. He doesn't mean what you think he means, he reminds himself. "It's all right, Geralt. I don't expect anything from you, just your friendship."
He can see that Geralt is thinking over his words. The witcher's face is normally so devoid of emotion and yet under the influence of whatever drugs are in his system Jaskier can read him like an open book. He can see something like regret deep behind the witcher's gaze.
"How about you get some rest," Jaskier suggests, wanting to change the subject before it becomes too painful to endure. "You take the bed, I'll go down and see if the Innkeeper has any other rooms available. Hopefully we have enough funds left from the contract to make it until you're better." He turns to go, but Geralt grips his wrist, stopping him before he can get more than a foot away from the bed.
“Stay."
Jaskier hesitates, despite the fact that his stomach is doing somersaults. "I can't. There's only one bed and you're injured.”
"Stay," The witcher repeats, tugging him closer. "Stay with me.” Suddenly Jaskier finds himself yanked backwards until he falls onto the mattress. He tries to stand but Geralt throws around his middle, pinning him to the bed before immediately curling into him like a child would hold its teddy bear. "Stay," he says, more insistently this time.
All of the sudden Jaskier's senses are on high alert; his heart pounding in his chest as he takes in their close proximity, the witcher's strong chest pressed against his back. He's dreamed about this for years, but he never thought it would happen, especially not like this. And oh, It's just as fantastic as he'd imagined. Somehow their bodies fit together perfectly, and Jaskier's senses are enveloped by Geralt; the strength of his form, the gentle scent of earth, wood, and leather, combined with the feeling of closeness--  he feels just as floaty as the witcher.
Deep breaths, Jaskier reminds himself.
He’s frozen, too afraid to move lest it shatter the moment. Against his back the witcher remains completely calm, as if unaware of the effects his actions have. He can hear the other man's breathing slow as Geralt finally allows himself to relax.
"Jaskier," Geralt says suddenly, "you're scared." There's sadness in his voice and it makes the bard's heart clench. "I did something wrong."
Jaskier takes a deep breath, gently removing the witcher's arm from around his middle and turning over to face him. "You didn't do anything wrong," he replies. "What makes you think that?"
From the look on Geralt's face, it's obvious the witcher doesn't believe him. "Your heartbeat," he whispers, "I can hear it."
He feels a flutter of panic. In all their years of travelling together Geralt has never mentioned that his enhanced senses allow him to hear Jaskier's heartbeat. Does he know? Has he been able to hear Jaskier's heart hammering in his chest every time they're together? Guilt turns in his stomach. And for all those years did he think that Jaskier was afraid of him? From the way the witcher refuses to meet his eyes, he has a feeling he knows the answer.
"I'm not scared, Geralt," Jaskier says gently.
"Then why--" The witcher lifts his head, eyes wide. For a brief moment he can see realization wash over the witcher's face. Then Geralt's lips are on his.
He’s not expecting it, and a squeak of surprise leaves his mouth as his brain catches up to process the fact that Geralt of fucking Rivia is kissing him holy shit. And his lips are warm and softer than they look, feeling like plush velvet against his own. The bard lets out a little sigh as Geralt cups his jaw and lets himself melt into it-- the witcher’s mouth is so hot and inviting, Jaskier is already kissing back before he realizes it.
Sweet Melitele, how he’s dreamed of this moment. For years Jaskier has longed for their friendship to blossom into something more, hoping with baited breath that one day Geralt would see how much Jaskier needs him, but the witcher has seemed blissfully uninterested until tonight.
Wait--
That thought is enough to wrench Jaskier from his kiss-drunk haze, making him pull back.
 What the fuck are you doing, you idiot! Geralt is high on painkillers, you can’t just kiss him!
Geralt makes a wounded sound as Jaskier breaks the kiss. He stares at the bard with furrowed brows and pouted lips, a hurt expression crossing his face. “I don’t-- I don’t understand. I thought that you’d--”
Fuck. “I do,” Jaskier assures him quickly. “But not like this. Not while you’re…” he hesitates looking for the right word, “not yourself. Ask me again in the morning.” Then I’ll know that it’s really me you want.
Somehow that just seems to Geralt more confused. “So you…do want to kiss me?”
“Yes. And if you still want to kiss me in the morning, then I’ll spend the rest of the day doing it.”
Geralt stares at him for a long moment, then gives a curt nod.
“Right then,” Jaskier says, interrupting the awkward silence and attempting to get up, “I’ll just--”
“No.” Geralt clings to him fast, trapping him. “Don’t want you to leave.”
“Geralt, I--”
“Stay. I won’t try’n kiss you again. Promise. Just don’t leave.”
There’s something in the witcher’s gaze that’s pleading, and it tears against Jaskier’s heartstrings, making him nod against his better judgement. “Okay,” the bard says quietly. “I’ll stay.”
That seems to make Geralt happy, there’s the faintest upcurl to his mouth as he tucks himself around Jaskier, snuggling into the nest of pillows and blankets. “G’night, Jaskier,” Geralt mumbles into the back of his shirt.
The bard sighs, taking a deep breath as he steadies himself. “Goodnight, Geralt.”
Jaskier forces himself to stay calm and slowly begins to let his mind drift. As nice as this feels, he shouldn’t let himself get his hopes up. He’s sure that when they wake in the morning, Geralt will distance himself once more.
--------------------------
Jaskier wakes to sun in his face and an empty spot beside him. He blinks, wiping the sleep from his eyes with a groan as he rolls onto his back, stretching his limbs across the bed. Geralt is gone, just as Jaskier knew he’d be. Of course it was all too good to be true.
Suddenly the door to the room opens and Geralt walks in carrying a tray of something that smells delicious.
“Oh,” he says, golden eyes settling on Jaskier, “You’re finally awake. I thought you were planning to sleep the whole morning away.”
Jaskier groans again, shielding his eyes as Geralt places the tray down and opens the curtains, letting bright light rush into the room and blind him. “Yes, well, I happened to be up very late last night taking care of a certain witcher that’s too stubborn for his own good,” he snaps haughtily.
 Ugh fuck. Who invented mornings? Jaskier is going to find them and kill them.
The witcher just chuckles and sits down next to Jaskier on the bed. “I know,” he says, handing Jaskier a bowl of porridge from the tray. “Here, I brought you breakfast.”
Jaskier accepts the bowl enthusiastically, and begins to eat. “How are you feeling?” He asks Geralt in between bites.
“Finish your breakfast, then we’ll talk.”
Oh, Jaskier thinks. Yes, of course. Geralt is trying to let him down easy. The food is just an olive branch to smooth things over before Geralt explains that last night had been a mistake. Something sinks in his chest, but he forces himself to finish the porridge. Once he does, Geralt takes the bowl and puts it off to the side.
“Thank you,” Geralt says quietly. “For everything.”
“I take it you’re feeling better then?”
The witcher nods. “Thanks to you.”
“Oh, good. That’s, uh…good.” A moment of silence passes, then, “Geralt, about last night, how much do you remember?”
He’s too afraid to meet the other man’s eyes, but then suddenly, Geralt is grabbing his chin and tilting his head up. Where Jaskier expects to see anger, a hint of a smile paints his lips, his eyes seem to glint in amusement.
“Enough,” he says, pulling Jaskier in for a kiss.
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lets-play-gwent · a year ago
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thank you to every single fucking person on this god forsaken site that has ever posted your own art or writing. You really put a vulnerable, important part of yourself out in the open on the hellscape that is the internet and if that isnt an act of bravery and a labor of love I dont know what one is
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caspipart · 21 days ago
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Just an illustration for a future fanfic I’m working on. It came out very nicely
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julek · a month ago
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mortician au meet-cute. (is it a meet-cute?). read the series on ao3!
Geralt is giving Renfri some nice neck scratches when Aiden comes in through the door, the little bell above it giving a nice little chime. 
“Morning,” he says cheerfully, dropping a crisp newspaper on Geralt’s kitchen table and making a beeline for the old moka pot, stainless steel glinting in the grey morning light coming through the window. Geralt still wonders when it was, exactly, that Aiden became a permanent fixture in the Morhen house. 
Probably around the time Lambert started messing around with spells, rites, and harmless, bloodless sacrifices.
Probably.
“Morning,” he answers, his voice still a bit rough with disuse. “Please, help yourself to some coffee,” he says, eyebrows raised, as Aiden begins pouring himself a second cup. 
“Got anyone in today?” He wonders, nodding to the dark green door that leads to the mortuary downstairs. “The paper says there’s been a car crash.”
Geralt shakes his head. “No one in yet. But I’m sure they’ll start coming soon.”
Aiden nods sympathetically. This is why Geralt likes him, he’s reminded — anyone else would shudder at the dark yet accurate prediction, but he simply shrugs and begins snooping around Geralt’s kitchen, as he often does, lifting pot lids and making spoons clatter against the marble tabletop. 
“Lambert is in The Room,” he says gently, mentally nudging Aiden out of his kitchen and into his brother’s embalming room, affectionately and ominously nicknamed The Room. “If you were looking for him.”
“Oh.” Aiden deposits his mug into the sink, frowning slightly at it, and then looks at Geralt in belated recognition. “Yes! That’s why I came in, in the first place, of course. Thank you for the coffee.”
Geralt shakes his head at his retreating figure. “No problem.” The newspaper is still sitting on his table, and he turns back to Renfri, who’s looking up at him with curiosity painted on her green eyes. “Looks like we’ll have some work to do today, hmm?”
-
His apron, a sensible black, stares back at him from where it’s hanging on its little hook. The tiny and slightly crooked Morhen Mortuary embroidery at the front — Nenneke’s gift for who knows which birthday — makes Geralt smile, and he’s still smiling as he walks the stairs down to his own room. 
The car crash Aiden had noted had unfortunately taken the life of a young man, according to the paper and the EMTs who had driven the body to the funeral home. The man, they had explained, had been riding on his bike downtown when a truck appeared out of nowhere and made it impossible for him to avoid crashing into the left headlight. 
It had been a painless death, they said. Geralt could only hope so, for the victim’s sake. 
The light switch creaks slightly as he flips it on, the fluorescent bulbs flickering to life above him. Immediately, the strong scent of embalming fluid envelops him, and he breathes it in like one would a nice spring morning on a field. Nothing like a work-laden morning to bring his spirits up.
(Or sideways, he doesn’t know). (He’s been learning some interesting things with Lambert’s new hobby). (Half of those are lies, he knows, but still). 
(It’s nice to pretend).
The body on the table looks… rough. Whatever remains from the man’s clothing is rumpled and dirty, the fabric tattered and covering his body in uneven patterns. There are bruises all over his right side — his legs, his abdomen, up his neck and littering his face like a child’s painting. His handsome features are obscured by the blood trickling down his forehead.
He couldn’t have survived the crash, Geralt knows, but he has to check for vital signs anyway. He has no pulse, nothing but cold skin where Geralt presses his gloved fingers, and later, his stethoscope. His limbs are stiff and locked in place, and he’s unresponsive as Geralt touches his face, his eyes — incredibly blue — clouded. 
The perfect picture of death.
Sometimes Geralt wishes he believed in God. Any God, really — anything that could allow him to say a small prayer, to wish this person well in their path to… wherever they’re going, to honor their life and make it all mean something. 
But he doesn’t, so, naturally, he starts a conversation with the dead man lying on his table. 
“Hello,” he says politely, as he starts removing the man’s scraps of clothing from his skin. “My name is Geralt. I’m your mortician— well, I mean, I’m not your mortician. I’m… anyone’s. No one’s. It’s not like when you go to the doctor, you know— oh, yeah, that guy is my doctor. You can’t tell anyone about this experience, so I’m never referred to as anyone’s anything.” He tosses the man’s shirt aside. “But, you know, in case you do recall this to anyone, in the ol’ queue to the afterlife, you can call me your mortician. Or Geralt. Geralt’s fine.”
The man, unsurprisingly, says nothing. 
“I’m sorry I don’t know your name,” Geralt continues. “You came in without any personal effects— well, you were wearing that tiny Hello Kitty backpack, but there was nothing inside that could tell us anything about you.” The man’s jeans need to go next, but they’re so disfigured Geralt grabs a fabric scissor from the counter. “You kind of look like your name was… hmm. Nothing too generic, I don’t think. Balthazar, maybe? Or Timothy. Valdo, perhaps? That’s a name you have the face for. The eyes, especially.”
He starts cutting the man’s jeans, pausing to chuckle at the fact that he momentarily gave the man jorts, and then continues until he can peel it all off. 
“Your clothes are nice. I’m sorry they got ripped apart, though. And, well, sorry I’m ripping them apart now, too.” He starts untying the man’s shoelaces. “I hope you get some nice clothing wherever you’re going. Do you think you’ll need money in the afterlife?”
The man’s hand falls to the table in response. 
Before, Geralt would’ve jumped at the movement, but now, seasoned as he has become, he knows it’s just a spasm. His heart hasn’t gotten the memo yet, though, hammering in his chest.
“Ah, love a good postmortem spasm,” he chuckles, sliding the shoe off the man’s foot. “Keeps me vigilant. Did you know people used to think these kinds of movements indicated the deceased person’s will to live? They used to say it was a sign of perseverance— how the strongest people kept fighting death until the end.”
He likes to think there’s some truth to it; that someone could have loved their life so much that they would hang on to it with every fiber of their being. That death could be defied by stubbornness.
He pulls out the man’s other shoe, and smiles at his socks: ice cream patterned, glittery bright pink.
“You seem like an interesting person,” he says, peeling the socks off, leaving the man in his — also brightly patterned — underwear. “Would have been nice to meet you.”
Geralt turns around and moves to the counter, making sure the hose is connected to the water tap, and arranging all his instruments to his liking. He can hear the music Lambert’s playing in The Room, some sort of old-timey rock he knows but can’t quite place, and he starts humming along in his low, gravelly tone. 
“Mm, you got me so I can’t sleep at night, mmm…” 
“The Kinks? Really?”
Geralt turns around, clutching the hose to his chest.
“I mean,” the man says, facing Geralt and laying on his side like a really stiff art subject, waiting to be immortalized in a canvas, “I would’ve expected a man of your complexion to listen to something… darker. Tougher? I don’t know.” 
Geralt blinks. 
He really should have checked the carbon monoxide detectors last night.
“So,” the man says. “What kind of a place is this, anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I do, quite often, wake up half-naked in places I can’t recognize, but this is a new level of kinky shit. What is this table?” He props himself up on his hands, with effort. “Why are my movements so… bad?” He frowns. “Why’s my tongue… wrong? What is going on?”
“You’re… alive,” Geralt says, eloquently.
The man’s eyebrows shoot up into his hairline, and he’s still so pale and mangled, it’s grotesque. Like a really bad makeup job for a school play. “Well, I mean, I know that? Because if this is heaven — and I’m definitely not complaining about the view — it’s quite… underwhelming?” 
Almost automatically, Geralt surges forward and grabs the man’s head between his hands. “Don’t move like that,” he says, smoothing down the man’s skin. “The rigor mortis won’t go away for a few hours. You could get stuck like that.”
The man’s face falls. Well, tries to. “Rigor… mortis?” 
Geralt drops the man’s head like it’s on fire. It should be on fire — the man’s skin should melt into bone and he should put on a funky leather jacket and ride his black motorcycle straight into hell and out of Geralt’s humble and sensible funeral home. 
Upstairs, an old Dire Straits song starts playing. As if the world is supposed to just go on, while the very dead man that was laying on Geralt’s embalming table mere seconds ago is now making something akin to lively conversation with him.
He was dead. Geralt checked his pulse, looked into his very dead-looking pupils. He was about to inject fluid into his arteries, for goodness’ sake. 
“So,” the man says, sitting up, and finally looking down at himself. He pokes at a purple bruise on his ribs. “Either this is all part of a very elaborate joke on one of my friends’ behalf, or you’re just a very good-looking psychopath who will now proceed to make me witness my own autopsy, or something.”
“I’m…” Suddenly, Geralt has no clue what to say. How does he break it to the man, that he was about to write down ‘John Doe’ on a nametag and tie it to his ankle, without sounding absolutely insane and/or possibly psychopathic? He feels a sudden urge to take off his apron, not feeling so fond of the embroidered information on it right now. “You were in an accident.”
The man gapes at him, his blue eyes bluer, somehow. “I… was? What happened?”
Geralt takes a tentative step forward. He was trained on how to deliver painful and sensitive information to the bereaved family; he was not, however, trained on how to deliver it to the deceased themselves. 
“The EMTs said it was a truck. You were riding your bike.” 
“Okay…” The man nods to himself, taking the information in. “Why am I not in a hospital, then? I mean— I don’t mean to assume, but this doesn’t really look like the conventional emergency room, or what have you.”
Geralt looks around the dark walls of the basement, cringing internally at the framed You look good — open-casket good sign Eskel got him for Christmas. 
“You’re… This is…” Geralt leans back against the counter, steeling himself for whatever will happen next. “This is a mortuary. My name’s Geralt. I’m… I’m your mortician.”
The man’s eyes are so wide Geralt fears he’ll pop a vein. “A mortician…”
“You died,” Geralt says gently. “When you crashed into the truck. It was a painless death. Instant.”
“And now?”
Geralt grimaces. “And now… you’re alive. Allegedly.”
The man splutters. “Allegedly?!” He hops down from the table, and Geralt manages to catch him before his legs give out. “You mean to tell me I was dead and now, supposedly, I’m alive?”
This close to the man, Geralt can see small green dots in all that sea of blue fury. He shakes his head. “Yes. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do. This doesn’t happen.”
“You don’t say!” The man sits back up on the table. His bruises are slowly fading away, and his cheeks are bright red, whether from the blood flow or the indignation, Geralt doesn’t know. “So it’s not routine for a legally dead man to come back to life on your table? I wouldn’t have guessed.”
“I’m sorry,” Geralt says, sheepish. “How are you feeling?”
“Oh, aside the whole hey Jask, remember everything you thought you knew about life and death? Well, scrape all that, because it’s bullshit thing? I’m just peachy,” he snaps, glowering at Geralt. “And cold.”
“Of course. Sorry,” Geralt apologizes. “I’ll go get you some clothes.”
“You do that,” the man says as Geralt walks to the door. “And do stop apologizing so much.”
His hand on the door, Geralt looks back at the man. “Sorry.”
-
“So, your name is Jaskier?”
They’re sitting at Geralt’s kitchen table now. After offering the man a pair of Lambert’s sweatpants and a t-shirt, and showing him the guest bathroom, he emerged a new person, his hair curling at the edges and his skin soft-looking.
“It is,” Jaskier says with a shy smile, pulling his knees up to his chest on his chair. Geralt feels an immense urge to wrap him in a hug. The closest thing is pushing a mug of coffee in his direction. “And you’re Geralt.”
“That’s me.”
“And I was dead,” Jaskier says, recounting the incidents. He’s calmed down now. “And now I’m alive.”
“Yeah.”
Geralt wishes he had something more eloquent to say.
“And this has never happened to you before? You’re certain?”
Geralt snorts. “I think I would have realized if any of the people I poked at with needles were alive.” 
“Okay, okay,” Jaskier replies with a smile of his own. “Just checking.”
Now that Jaskier is officially alive, Geralt can allow himself to really look at him. He’s young — maybe in his late twenties — and there’s something about his eyes that just draws him in; something other than the way they’re blue the way the ocean is when it’s about to storm, no, it’s something about the way they move. About the way they look at things, about the way they look at Geralt. Piercing yet unobtrusive, harsh yet soft.
He should really stop watching so many romantic films. 
His brown hair falls into tiny waves, shining in the mid-morning light pouring in through the windows. The hand that’s gripping the mug is dotted with freckles, his fingernails black and chipped. He’s swimming in Geralt’s shirt, an old one from his university days, and there’s something about his small smile that makes Geralt’s heart try to skip a beat.
They sip their coffee in comfortable silence. Geralt offers him an apple, and Jaskier takes it with grace. 
“So, what now?” He asks between bites.
“What do you mean?” Geralt replies.
“Well,” Jaskier says, leaning forward on the table. “I can’t die. For now. I’ll sort out the specifics later. But— what comes next?”
Geralt doesn’t know. “Well, what do you want to do next?”
Jaskier considers it. “I think, after I finish eating this apple, and after I’ve washed my cup and thanked you for your hospitality — ha, hospitality,” he snorts, “I would very much like to ask you for your number.”
Geralt chokes on his coffee. 
“Unless you’re already seeing someone, or you’re not into men,” Jaskier says immediately, “or just not into someone who came into your home as a dead man and came out walking of his own volition. Also because you kind of saw me in my rubber ducks underwear which I love but man I should really think about what I wear under my clothes because you know, my mother was right, you really never do know where your day will go— I would completely understand that. That would make you a very reasonable person, but it’s just that I’m very scared for my life— and my death, I guess, too, fuck— and I would like a friendly face around me. I can tell you I have not had any of those lately— but, just, you know, I understand if—”
“Jaskier,” Geralt says. “I would be honored to be a friendly face.”
Jaskier breathes out slowly. “Thank you.” 
“It’s no problem,” Geralt says, reaching for his hand.
Jaskier twines their fingers together, looking at him with a sweet smile on his lips. It belongs to one of Geralt’s movies, this moment.
But Jaskier breaks it almost immediately.
“Actually, you know, I’m glad you said yes, because you kind of owe me, anyway, because some memories are coming back to me now and I have the distinct recollection of you telling me I looked like my name was Valdo, and boy do I hate—”
tagged: @writingmysanity
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hale-of-stiles-heart · 3 months ago
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9. Character A puts private rules in place for interacting with Character B in order to curb their desire, with geraskier? maybe one of them discovers the list the other one made(because they wrote it down on physical paper) and their whole system gets destroyed as they're forced to come clean
So sorry this took so long! Also on ao3! And I’m gonna tag @roughentumble just because!
Geralt’s thumbing through one of Jaskier’s many songbooks in search of the contract Jaskier had tucked away in his bags earlier when he finds the list.
They had stopped by the town notice board as soon as they had entered Eysenlaan, searching for any contracts amid the other posted notices clamoring for space on the board, mostly shopkeeps searching for more employees and other townspeople posting advertisements for goods they were willing to sell or trade for. Amidst the other postings they had found a contract as they had hoped, for some type of ghoul or another, but after two rather rigorous back-to-back contracts in the past week alone – first an alp by Mount Carbon and then a chort by a small farming village outside of Aldersberg – Geralt hadn’t bothered reading all the pertinent details at that very moment.
Instead, he had just ripped it down off the notice board and handed it to Jaskier who had immediately tucked it into the pages of his songbook for safekeeping. Then, with heavy sighs and aching feet, they had headed directly to the nearest inn for some food and much-needed rest.
Now, in the pale light of the mid-morning, Geralt peruses through Jaskier’s bags in search of the contract. He’s not certain which songbook exactly Jaskier had tucked the contract into considering most of them look nearly identical with the same dark brown rough-hewn leather covers and exposed twine binding.
It’s nearing the fall, a touch of autumn chill on the wind at night, so Jaskier’s bag is full of multiple songbooks and various other journals; he tends to fill them over the course of the spring and summer into fall, then stores the filled songbooks in his lodgings at Oxenfurt during the winter, typically buying a new songbook in the city at the end of the winter term, a blank slate for the next year on the Path. For all the years that Jaskier has traveled at his side, Geralt would be rather hard-pressed to describe Jaskier’s wandering about the Continent any other way. He walked the Path just as surely as any witcher.
With Jaskier currently out and about the city, gallivanting around the bustling marketplace no doubt – he had mentioned something about a particular craving for sticky buns before swanning out of their room on what he had insisted was a ‘supply run’ – Geralt has helped himself to look through Jaskier’s bags. It’s not at all unusual considering how deep in each other’s pockets they always are while traveling together, sometimes, like now, rather literally. It was quite often that Jaskier went digging through Geralt’s bags to borrow a shirt or fetch a potion for Geralt when he tagged along on contracts, or that Geralt scrounged a pinch of seasoning from Jaskier’s bag while cooking or retrieved a shirt Jaskier had borrowed and never actually returned, lest he never sees the damn thing again.
Geralt gently thumbs through each songbook one by one, catching snippets of finished songs and blurbs of brainstorming, rhymes and extraneous lines of poetry jotted down in the margins, and words harshly crossed out and accented with critiques like ‘trite’ or ‘drivel, utter drivel’. For all that Jaskier complains about Valdo Marx deriding his work, he’s often his own harshest critic, Geralt’s teasing comments on his singing aside.
He’s down to the second to last of the many songbooks when a slip of folded up paper falls out from betwixt two pages, falling to the bed he’s standing over. Geralt sets the songbooks aside in favor of picking up the slip of paper and carefully unfolding it, making sure not to tear the paper.
It’s not the contract. Geralt can tell by the look of the paper alone. The edges are tattered and frayed and the paper is tinged slightly yellow by age, the sweet earthy scent of old paper filling his nose. There are smudges of black ink in one corner along with a faded red stain that Geralt’s sure would taste of Fiorano wine if he raised it to his lips. Jaskier’s scent is soaked into the paper, more so than any of the songbooks he’s always scribbling in, as though Jaskier touches this single piece of paper much more frequently.
It’s an intriguing enough notion that Geralt can’t resist reading what’s scrawled on the paper. He immediately regrets it.
It’s a list, penned in Jaskier’s distinctive hand, the tails of letters elegantly looped and capital letters written with a particular fancy flourish he’s only ever seen from Jaskier. It’s not the larger slanted scrawl Jaskier adopts when writing quickly, when inspiration has struck and he composes a new song in one sitting or when he thinks of a good line and must immediately jot it down before he forgets it forever. Rather, it’s the meticulously neat scroll he uses when preparing lectures for his winter courses or revising his compositions, or the times he had painstakingly taken notes on the preparation of Geralt’s many potions after a rather close call with a higher vampire had been complicated by the lack of White Honey or Golden Oriole in Geralt’s kit.
Geralt’s intrigued, but what Jaskier’s written in the list makes his chest clench painfully tight as he reads it.
Don’t look at Geralt too much. Or too often.
Don’t touch him too much.
Don’t let him touch you too much.
Don’t get too uncomfortable around him or stay too long.
Always keep your guard up around him, slipping up is dangerous.
Don’t let him know how you really feel about him.
Follow your own advice for once, it’s for your own good.
Every word makes the pain in his chest even worse, like he’s being pressed to death and each consecutive word is another bone-breaking, heart-crushing stone cast upon him. It’s a rather harsh wake-up call, that he’s allowed himself to become so complacent, so comfortable, thinking he had actually found someone who didn’t see him as a monster. Believing that Jaskier was truly unique in his acceptance of Geralt. Because clearly, he had been wrong.
He should’ve known better. He should’ve. He’s known the cruelty and hypocrisy of humans rather intimately, reviled by strangers and lovers alike, the bogeyman in stories told to children by the same people he had risked his life to save.
More than that, he knows Jaskier. He knows how skilled an actor the bard can be. Has watched him perform for years, charming audiences and kings alike with his sweet words and unassuming air. He’s a charmer, perfecting the craft of knowing just what someone wants to hear and telling them just that. It’s how he’s seduced so many wives and escaped the clutches of their vengeful husbands, able to play the innocent scapegoat as well as he does the prowling tomcat.
And yet Geralt had thought he knew the real Jaskier, all his layers of showmanship and glamor peeled away like the intricate cut of his expensive doublets, leaving him intimately bared before Geralt. Enough for Jaskier to share stories from his childhood and seek comfort after his nightmares when he was still frightened by phantom images, to admit things to Geralt he claimed no other person knew. Fuck. Vesemir would have his hide for his naivety.
Geralt rereads the list with his jaw clenched so tightly his teeth grind together painfully, his anger mounting and providing a useful cover for his hurt and heartbrokenness. Anger at himself and anger at Jaskier, genuine, burning, marrow-deep anger.
What a stupid little fool Jaskier is to believe the utter drivel about witchers.The rumors about their unnatural yellows eyes turning people to stone with too long a look. The whispered warnings that a witcher’s touch, or gods forbid a kiss, would scar or decay or leave one sterile. That lying with one would give someone fleas and mange and lice. Fucks sake, perhaps Jaskier even believes Geralt has horns he keeps filed down and a tail he hides in his trousers, maybe an appetite for human flesh and cloven feet to complete the picture of a consummate devil.
Geralt wants to shred the list or toss it into the fire, wants to destroy it but instead, he reins in his anger, at least momentarily, and refolds it. He sets it aside, then finally fishes the contract out of the last songbook, and waits for Jaskier to return.
🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕 🎕
Jaskier returns to their room in a whirlwind of deep teal finery and the scent of cinnamon and pecans, brandishing a covered wicker basket and cheerfully announcing the baker gave them a few extra sticky buns without additional charge, rambling about how he had complimented her eyes and smile while ordering. Geralt remains where he’s sat at the table in the corner, rubbing oil on his sword in preparation for his hunt.
Jaskier sets the basket on the opposite side of the table, pulling back the cloth draped over top, revealing an alluring collection of fat golden brown sticky buns topped with chopped pecans and raisins. They do look rather good, Geralt must admit, but he spares them only a fleeting glance, finishing oiling his sword before sheathing it.
“Don’t you know? Witchers only eat children,” he growls, before stalking across the small room to fetch his other bag. From where he’s standing by the table, Jaskier just rolls his eyes.
“So, my dear witcher,” Jaskier drawls, replacing the cloth on the basket to keep the sticky bun warm. “What sort of terrible beastie monster are we hunting today?”
“We are not hunting anything,” Geralt returns with a sneer, his anger rekindled by Jaskier’s genial mood. It’s infuriating now that Geralt knows the truth of Jaskier’s feelings about him, his bigotry disguised by friendly familiarity. It makes Geralt’s stomach turn as he grunts, “And the only monster here is me.”
“Darling, what in the world has gotten into you?” Jaskier asks, turning, and the endearment only serves to incense Geralt further.
“Enough of your acting, bard,” Geralt snarls. He grabs the folded-up piece of paper, that damnable fucking list, and flicks it at Jaskier. It hits him in the chest and falls to the foot of the bed. “I found your list.”
“Oh,” Jaskiers says dumbly, picking up the piece of paper. He drags his thumb over one of the frayed edges of the paper in a way that Geralt can only describe as affectionate, as though he’s truly fond of the list. The knife lodged in Geralt’s chest twists cruelly.
Jaskier lifts the list a bit higher, holding it gently with both hands, carefully pinching it between his fingers as though he’s worried it will crumble to dust in his hands. He doesn’t unfold it. Geralt doesn’t really expect him to. He’s sure Jaskier’s had ample time to memorize the list, years, judging by the age of the paper and the frequency with which he must’ve read it for his scent to be so ingrained in the fiber of it, and he sincerely doubts Jaskier’s had reason to pen more than one such list. Geralt’s the only monster in his life.
“So you know…” Jaskier trails off with a heavy swallow, not elaborating any further. Geralt doesn’t need him to.
“That you think I’m some monster?” Geralt elaborates for him with a snarl. “That you had to write yourself a list of warnings to protect yourself from being sullied by my mere presence? Yes, Jaskier, I fucking know.”
“What?!” Jaskier screeches, finally looking up from the list to gawk at Geralt. “No! Geralt, that’s not what this list is at all! I could never see you as a monster! Never!”
Geralt scoffs his disbelief. He’s had enough of Jaskier’s bullshit. “Then what is it? Your shopping list?”
“The list is for me! To keep myself in check!” Jaskier insists, growing more visibly frustrated with every syllable.
“Speak plainly, bard. I’m not interested in any of your pretty lies.”
“The list, the rules, they’re… A guideline,” Jaskier explains though it makes no sense to Geralt. “A guideline. For me. So you wouldn’t ever find out!”
Geralt grits his teeth and growls again, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. Better anger than agony. “That you think I’m a monster.”
“No!” Jaskier cries, frustration and desperation in equal measure bleeding into his voice as he looks up at Geralt with wide eyes, the beginnings of tears gathering in the corners. “So you wouldn’t find out that I’m in love with you!”
Geralt’s mind goes blank. Then it starts racing. Like a panicked horse with nowhere to go, his thoughts fly around his skull, a murmuration of spooked starlings, wheeling and darting from one disbelieving response to another. Brows drawn together, all he can manage is blurting, “What?”
Jaskier looks properly distraught, eyes shiny with unshed tears and desperation writ across his face, his hands curling into fists, crumpling the edges of the list. His bottom lip trembles, wobbling pathetically just before he says, “I’ve been in love with you for years. I never wanted you to know because I know you don’t feel the same way and I didn’t want to ruin things. I was so worried that I’d be too obvious – that I’d touch you too much or you’d catch me staring – and you’d realize how I feel and you’d send me away. So I… I wrote the list to remind myself what not to do, so I wouldn’t be too obvious and ruin everything.”
He sniffles and looks down at the list with its frayed crumpled edges and wine stains. “But now you know. And I promise I won’t hold it against you if you want me gone. I can’t blame you.”
A tear rolls down his cheek and he sniffles again but he defiantly meets Geralt’s eyes as he says, “But I would rather be separated from you forever than have you believe for even a minute that I could ever see you as anything other than what you really are. You’re not a monster, Geralt. You’re the kindest, most selfless, wonderful man that I’ve ever known. It’s why I fell in love with you.”
Geralt’s stunned. Beyond stunned. Petrified and left gaping at Jaskier like he’s just sprouted wings and announced he’s part peacock.
He has no idea what to do, still processing everything that Jaskier’s just said to him. It doesn’t make any sense, not really. What in the gods’ names could Jaskier ever see in him? It makes no sense. And yet it does.
Because it explains why Jaskier’s stayed with him for so long. Why he’s never found another muse or grand love affair to take him from Geralt’s side for very long, always returning even when he did have a whirlwind romance. Because why would he leave and stay gone when he was already beside the one he loves?
Sniffing again, Jaskier sits down heavily on the foot of the bed, cradling the list in his lap, thumbs sweeping over the impression of the words written so long ago. His voice barely a whisper, Jaskier says, “I’m sorry.”
And more than anything else today, it completely shatters Geralt’s heart.
Immediately, he’s dropping his bag and his sword, ignoring both in favor of kneeling by the side of the bed in front of Jaskier. His hands come to rest on the sides of Jaskier’s calves, squeezing gently.
“No, no, no,” Geralt hushes him urgently, stroking his palms up and down Jaskier’s legs. “Don’t apologize, Jask. I’m not upset. I’m not-I’m not gonna send you away.”
Not again. Never again.
“You’re not?” Jaskier asks quietly, wiping at his eyes as he looks up just enough to meet Geralt’s eyes. “You’re not mad?”
“No, no, I’m not mad,” Geralt assures him. His next words are heavy on his tongue but he knows he will feel lighter for speaking them into the world. “I misunderstood. When I saw the list, I assumed the worst. Because it made more sense than anything else, than to think you could ever feel the same way about me, as I feel about you.”
“Feel…? About me…?” Jaskier asks, brows pinching together. He looks at Geralt cautiously, shoulders tensing as he warily tacks on, “Geralt… Are you having a go at me? Because it’s really not funny.”
“What? No! Jask, I wouldn’t do that,” Geralt insists, admittedly a bit wounded that Jaskier could think he would ever do something so cruel. Then again, he had assumed that Jaskier do something as cruel as view him as naught but a monster so he supposes they’re rather even now.
“You can’t be serious,” Jaskier insists in turn. He looks absolutely miserable as he asserts, “You don’t even like me.”
Geralt wants to kick himself for that. Instead, he simply says, “I do. Of course, I do. I-I like you so much I have my own list of rules.”
Jaskier blinks at him, clearly taken aback.
“And it’s not because I think you’re a monster,” Geralt teases. He takes a deep, steeling breath, mustering his resolve. Then he softly admits what he never dreamed he could, breathing the confession like a prayer. “I’ve never written it down or anything but I go over it in my head so much I don’t need to. I tell myself not to let you see me dosed up on potions, because I know I look monstrous and I don’t want to scare you off. I tell myself not to be too honest about how much I love your voice, whether you’re singing or just talking about whatever crosses your mind, because I know it’ll make the silence more unbearable when we’re apart. I always turn down the sweets and pastries you offer me because I worry tasting something so sweet would make me think too much about what your lips taste like.”
At that, Jaskier draws in a sharp breath. His grip goes slack, the list falling from his hands into his lap. He reaches out to gently skim his callused fingertips across Geralt’s cheek, then tuck a strand of hair behind his ear, meeting Geralt’s gaze with those painfully blue eyes of his. 
Then, it’s Geralt’s turn to have his breath hitch as Jaskier shifts closer, his intent unmistakable but astounding nonetheless as he leans in to press his lips to Geralt’s. Lists be damned, Jaskier’s lips are the sweetest thing Geralt’s ever tasted.
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samstree · 28 days ago
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“It’s strange.” Geralt frowns, pressing his forehead to Jaskier’s. “Your fever still hasn’t broken.”
Jaskier’s skin flushes hot, his breathing quick and labored, his scent threaded with exhaustion. His body is slumped against a mountain of pillows but still needs to borrow support from Geralt to stay upright. It’s truly pitiful how weak the human body is if a simple cold can last this long.
Geralt checks his temperature every time Jaskier looks slightly better, but every time he finds Jaskier’s skin burning against his, and now is no exception.
“Perhaps I…” Jaskier exhales, leaning into Geralt’s space. “I just need more time.”
“Hmm.”
Geralt pulls away, opening his eyes. The sight of Jaskier sick is not something he wants to see for long—his face is unhealthily red, his eyes glistening with ever-present tears. Some deeply buried part of Geralt’s heart aches when thinking about Jaskier in pain.
“Oh,” Jaskier says, “You are staring at me.”
For some reason, his face becomes even redder. Ever the shells of his ears are pink now, so Geralt touches it, tucking the stray hair away from Jaskier’s face.
“I don’t understand,” Geralt answers, feeling the warm air between them. “The healer said it should be down two days ago, but every time I check it seems to spike again—”
“Don’t think too much of it!” Jaskier interrupts, his voice rather panicked. “We humans are like this, you know that.” he laughs without humor. “Unreasonably fragile and all.”
“Still, maybe I’m checking the wrong way.” His hands are normally colder due to his slower heartbeat, so Geralt has been using his forehead. It should be more accurate. “Let’s see again.”
With that, he cups Jaskier’s cheeks in his palms and rests their foreheads together once more.
A gasp escapes Jaskier’s lips. It must be his body’s reaction to the discomfort.
“Geralt…”
“Don’t move.” Geralt nuzzles, trying to calm Jaskier but his heart rate is picking up, his breaths also coming in deep and shuddering. “Can you take deep breathes for me?”
Jaskier does as he is told, and Geralt concentrates on catching signs of the lingering illness.
This time, Jaskier is scorching hot under Geralt’s fingertips, even worse than a moment ago.
It’s strange indeed.
“Your breathing doesn’t sound right,” Geralt muses. “Let’s hope it’s not an infection.”
“There’s…ahem,” Jaskier clears his throat. “There’s nothing major, I promise.”
But worry only creeps up in Geralt’s chest. “Your voice has gone deep.”
Jaskier croaks, “it’s not dee—”
“There.” Geralt catches the rasp in Jaskier’s voice. “Now it’s all hoarse too. Your fever has been burning for days, and it’s getting worse. It doesn’t make sense.”
At that, Jaskier flinches nervously like he’s trying to hide something, and Geralt can’t help but soften. It must be hard with the fever coming and going. On top of it, there’s the discomfort of his quickened heart and irregular breathing—all terrible symptoms from the cold.
Jaskier must be reluctant for Geralt to see the lingering effects of his sickness, so he doesn’t get left behind.
“I’m fine,” Jaskier says, straining his voice carefully like he’s putting on a mask for a performance. Even his pupils are blown wide. It must be the delirium from the fever, but he’s still trying to reassure Geralt.
Geralt dislikes this very much.
“Hey.” He runs a hand down Jaskier’s back. “It’s okay. We’ll stay for as long as you need. And I’ll be here and take care of you.”
“You will?” A hint of smile tugs at Jaskier’s lips, so Geralt nods gently.
He gestures for Jaskier to make space on the bed and places himself on top of the covers. Jaskier’s cheek presses against Geralt’s collarbone, waves of heat still coming off of him, and every time Geralt tries to soothe him with more touches, Jaskier lets out a small, high-pitched, sad sound. So Geralt touches him more.
“You are so good to me when I’m sick.”
“Hmm.” Geralt tilts his chin so Jaskier is more comfortable. “Don’t get used to it. I’ll need to check you every day, and as soon as the fever is done, we will prepare for leaving.”
“You’ll have to wait for a long time,” Jaskier mumbles through a yawn.
“What?”
“Nothing.”
Jaskier is not even thinking straight anymore. With his strange cold somehow getting worse for no reason at the most random times, he must be exhausted.
The poor bard.
Geralt hums softly as he strokes Jaskier’s hair and nape until he drifts off. A smile blooms on Jaskier’s face in sleep, and Geralt should only be proud.
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dont-touch-the-phlebotinum · 5 months ago
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Congrats on the follower milestone!! I've been trying (and failing) to come up with a good prompt so, based entirely on my recent shopping habits - perhaps something where Geralt decides to buy Jaskier a weapon? (Or Jask just goes and does it himself). Something about swords/daggers and training and "oh my god who gave the bard a deadly weapon??"
This ended up being less 'wacky hijinks' and more 'let's traumatise the bard some more!', so I hope you like it! (Also sorry for taking approximately 20 years to write this, real life has been A Lot)
CWs for blood, violence, aftermath of torture. Contains S2 spoilers.
.
Jaskier doesn't know why he stops. The market square is too busy, too loud around him, and not in the fun, inviting way it always used to be. Yet despite his every instinct urging him to retreat to the safety of his lodgings, Jaskier remains in place, letting himself be buffeted by the crowds as he stares down at the stall in front of him.
In the cold midwinter sunshine, the daggers on display glitter like jewels.
There are long, curved blades; daggers small enough to be secreted within a sleeve and unleashed with deadly accuracy; ones with ornate, gem-encrusted hilts, more akin to a betrothal gift than anything one might sully with bloodshed. Yet Jaskier's eye is drawn to one of the more unassuming offerings: a small, slim blade with a simple hilt, made from polished steel. It reminds him of the knives Geralt carries.
"Half price," the stall's vendor says, jolting Jaskier from his thoughts, and as she leans in closer so that only he can hear, she adds, "for a friend of Xin'trea."
Jaskier looks back to the dagger.
He should turn away. Pull up the hood of his cloak and slip from the market – and perhaps Oxenfurt itself – before he attracts any other undue attention. Instead, he reaches for his purse.
The dagger is a strange weight at his side as he ducks his head and hurries back through the city.
.
It's a simple precaution, he tells himself as he tucks the knife into the waistband of his trousers each morning before he sets out for the day. Oxenfurt has always had its unsavoury sides, of course, but there are shadows lurking in the alleyways now; scarred faces looking back at him in the crowd, gone the moment Jaskier turns to focus on them. He's glad for the press of the dagger against his hip when the bodies filling the city's streets press in too close around him.
It feels like safety. Like comfort.
Where once he had his lute to occupy his idle hands, more and more he finds the dagger slipping into them. He turns it over between his fingers as he waits for news of the next ship to Xin'trea. He presses his fingertips against the cool steel when the burning in his scars grows too fierce to ignore. He wakes in the dead of night, flames behind his eyes and his own screams still echoing in his ears, and reaches for the blade where it's tucked beneath his pillow, clutching it tightly until his heartbeat slows again.
The fire in his lonely room has died out while he slept, turning the air frigid. Jaskier doesn't bother to get out of bed to relight it. His hand still curled around his dagger, Jaskier reaches for the bottle on the nightstand and drains it. It's foul stuff, the cheapest liquor he could nab from the tavern below, but it goes a little way to fending off the cold.
He burrows back beneath the sheets and closes his eyes again, praying that sleep will return to him in a kinder mood.
.
Someone else entertains the patrons in the tavern each night now. He's good – his voice clear, his modest collection of songs rousing enough to capture the crowd's attention – but he's not as good as Jaskier.
One day, Jaskier tells himself, as he rubs at his scarred fingers and tries not to look towards the spot across the room where he'd been gifted them. One day he'll make his triumphant return to the stage.
But not just yet.
He's tucked away in the darkest corner of the room, waiting for the last stalwarts propping up the bar to finally shuffle on home before he can find out if there are any in need of passage tonight. He doesn't expect there to be. The number of elves fleeing Redania has been steadily dwindling for weeks. Jaskier prays it's because so many have already made it to safety, and not – well, not the other thing.
He keeps his head down, hoping none of the patrons will recognise him, sipping his drink in grim silence as the evening drags on. It's a little like being Geralt. The thought brings a shadow of a smile to Jaskier's face.
The troubadour ends his set to a polite smattering of applause, and one by one the bodies filter out of the room, until only one figure remains sat at the bar. Jaskier watches the man nod to the barmaid and she promptly disappears out of sight.
For an awful moment as the man pushes himself up from his stool and begins to turn towards Jaskier, he expects to find the firefucker standing over him once again.
The reality doesn't turn out to be much better.
Jaskier's back slams against the wall of the alley behind the tavern hard enough to knock the air from his lungs and make his head spin. Before he can slump to the ground the man hauls him up with an oversized fist curled in Jaskier's shirt.
"Been looking for you," he says.
"Always nice to meet a fan," Jaskier chokes out. He licks his lips and tastes blood.
The man sneers back at him. Instinctively, Jaskier's hand closes around the hilt of his dagger. He focuses on the feel of it against his palm; the familiar contours of the cool metal; the criss-crossing pattern of the leather wrapped around it. Its usual calming effect is lessened, somewhat, by Jaskier's current predicament.
"There's people in this city who'll pay a king's ransom to have the Sandpiper personally delivered to them."
"On the condition of me being alive, I'd wager."
"I'm sure they'll forgive a little damage occurred during transport," he says. He closes his fist around Jaskier's throat and squeezes tight. "Make a fuss and we'll find out."
With his free hand Jaskier claws at the man's wrist but his hold doesn't loosen, and he drags Jaskier away from the wall, towards the street and whatever unthinkable fate awaits him elsewhere in the city.
He doesn't wait to discover it. His hand is moving before his increasingly foggy mind can catch up with it, yanking his dagger from its sheath and plunging it into the man's neck.
Blood spills, hot and thick, over Jaskier's hand.
He's watched Geralt do it a thousand times. Always quick and clean, one stroke and it's done. He made it look easy.
Jaskier doesn't know how many times he clumsily jabs and slashes until the pressure around his throat releases. His attacker sinks to the ground, and Jaskier almost tumbles down with him, sucking down great lungfuls of air as he waits for the world to stop spinning beneath his feet. The continuous hubbub of the city all around him is oddly distant, muffled by Jaskier's pulse thundering in his ears.
"Jaskier," a voice says from somewhere behind him.
He whirls, the knife still outstretched, his heart beating so fast it might kill him before anyone else gets the chance.
Geralt is standing at the mouth of the alleyway, watching him with an expression Jaskier can't decipher.
Jaskier could sob with relief at the sight of him. Maybe he does – he can't really tell anymore. His mind and body feel like they're in two entirely separate locations. "You've got a funny sense of timing," Jaskier hears himself say, and then he's pressed into the solid wall of Geralt's chest, his armour cold against Jaskier's burning skin.
"Come on," says Geralt.
This time as Jaskier's dragged away from the alley, he doesn't fight it.
Geralt steers Jaskier through the streets with an arm around his back, the only thing keeping Jaskier in step beside him, and if he says anything as they hurry towards wherever Geralt's taking him then Jaskier doesn't hear it. He's wrapped in Geralt's cloak, he realises belatedly, and he frowns as he tries to remember Geralt draping it around him.
It smells like him; like pine needles and horse and the musty depths of Geralt's pack where it remains shoved for weeks at a time when the weather on the Path turns favourable. Jaskier breathes it in.
It's not enough to rid him of the stench of blood.
Jaskier stumbles over his own feet and the hand on his flank tightens, pulling him closer against Geralt's side. Geralt's grip doesn't loosen again until he's pushing open a door inside a quiet building Jaskier doesn't recognise and ushering him into the room.
"It's all right," Geralt says as he sits Jaskier on the edge of the narrow bed and kneels at his feet. "We're safe here."
Jaskier nods. He lets Geralt peel the cloak from his shoulders, and only as he gently prises Jaskier's fingers open does Jaskier realise the dagger is still clutched in his hand. The blade and hilt are both dark with blood. It's beginning to dry on Jaskier's hands by now, thick and sticky, and bile rises in the back of his throat at the sight of it curdling on his skin. Yet he can't tear his eyes away.
"I've never–" he manages, before the thought chokes him.
Geralt takes the knife from him and sets it aside. With cautious fingers he brushes the hair from Jaskier's eyes, but instead of drawing away again he cups Jaskier's face in his hand, the rough pad of his thumb wiping the wetness from Jaskier's cheek. Jaskier presses into the touch as Geralt's hand lingers.
"You did what you had to," says Geralt, softly.
Jaskier's lost count how many times he's said the same to Geralt over the years. His lips twitch at the memories. "Does hearing that ever help?"
"Not really," Geralt admits with a wry smile of his own.
There's a bowl and ewer beside the bed and Geralt reaches for them, dipping a cloth in the water as he takes one of Jaskier's bloody hands in his own. It's no different from anything Jaskier's done for Geralt, so accustomed to tending Geralt's wounds after a hunt that he doesn't flinch at the blood he cleans from Geralt's skin, doesn't bother to ask if it belongs to Geralt or something else. Yet the sight of Geralt kneeling in front of him now, clutching Jaskier's stained hand like he's afraid he might break it… it's all wrong.
But even as Jaskier wills himself to pull his hand away his body refuses to cooperate.
"You don't have to," he says instead.
"I know."
Geralt dabs the cloth against Jaskier's knuckles, his touch so impossibly gentle Jaskier has to bite back a sob.
"Why did he call you Sandpiper?" says Geralt after a long, quiet moment.
Jaskier shrugs. "What are you doing in Oxenfurt?" he says. He forces a grin as he meets Geralt's gaze again. "I know you're not here for the poetry."
The room slips back into silence as Geralt purses his lips, his eyes downcast, but from the deep furrows between his eyebrows it seems he's actually trying to muster up an answer. "You left Kaer Morhen so quickly," he replies. "We didn't have time to…"
He trails off then, and doesn't seem inclined to chase after the rest of his sentence, but before Jaskier can decide if he has the energy to press the matter Geralt turns Jaskier's hand over to clean his palm. He stills at the sight of the burns on Jaskier's fingers, the scars as vivid as the memories, almost as stark against Jaskier's fair skin as the blood staining it.
Jaskier yanks his hand out of Geralt's. "Barely hurts anymore," he says with a tight smile.
Geralt just stares, pale brows tilted in concern, his lips a thin, severe line.
"I'm fine, Geralt," Jaskier insists. "I can take care of myself."
He's proved that tonight, at least. Perhaps in the morning that thought will bring him some comfort.
Geralt sits back. His gaze flicks from the bloody dagger to Jaskier's hand still clutched against his chest. "Jaskier," he begins.
Those vivid yellow eyes peer back up at him. Jaskier tries not to see flames within them.
"I think you need to tell me everything."
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seidenbros · 2 months ago
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❛ can you look at me? please? ❜ from that prompt list for geraskier? 😊
Thank you for this request, Jess <3 I had a vague idea, but it kind of.... well, went a little differently than I had actually planned (because I seem to like seeing Geralt vulnerable) and it came out like... this. I hope you like it.
(I’m always happy to receive requests, so if you want to, send some in. If you need inspiration, here are some prompt lists )
Pairing: Geraskier (Geralt x Jaskier) Warnings: hurt/comfort Word count: 1116
_______
He'd fucked up. Jaskier had fucked up during the hunt and he knew it. It wasn't the first time that Geralt had let him be a part of the whole thing, but... this time he'd been distracted, and that had nearly gotten himself killed. If it hadn't been for Geralt, Jaskier would now be lying in the forest in his own blood. For a moment, he'd been in shock upon that realisation, but afterwards, he'd started to apologize frantically to Geralt. He'd talked and talked and talked, and the Witcher hadn't reacted to any of this. In fact, he hadn't even looked at Jaskier so far, which had made the bard shut up at last. He'd realised that his apologies fell on deaf ears, so he didn't want to screw the whole situation up even more.
He didn't know how long they'd been walking next to each other, separated by Roach between them, but it was probably the longest time, Jaskier had gone without saying any word in Geralt's presence. Even if the Witcher didn't react to anything he said, Jaskier usually still kept on talking or singing. But right now...? He didn't even want to open his mouth, take his lute and sing some tunes. Right now, he was walking on eggshells around the man he'd known most of his life, because he didn't really know what else he could say. Maybe, Geralt just needed some more time...?
Only that he'd still not said a word, when they finally set up camp for the night. Not even a word to Roach – though Jaskier believed that they didn't need words to communicate anyway.
For a while Jaskier stayed away from Geralt, glancing over at him. The silence was deafening for him, for someone who was usually surrounded by words, by music. Jaskier felt himself grow anxious, he started fidgeting around, but then he couldn't stand it anymore. He walked over to where Geralt was sitting and crouched down in front of him.
“Geralt, I am truly sorry about what happened. I know I screwed up, and I know what could have happened. I'm just... I didn't want to put you in danger, that's the last thing I would ever want to do.” The bard took a deep breath, staring at Geralt, who was looking at the fire, not even glancing at Jaskier. That was what worried him the most right now. He didn't talk to Jaskier, didn't look at him, and Jaskier couldn't stand it, couldn't deal with it. “Can you look at me? Please?” His voice was pleading, the pain evident in his words, which was probably what made Geralt look his way. What he saw there, though, wasn't anger. The Witcher looked tired, sad even, if Jaskier didn't know it any better.
“I know I disappointed you and put your life in danger as well as mine. While I would love to say that it won't happen again, I cannot make that promise. I can only promise you that I will better myself. I didn't-”
“Jaskier...”
“No, no, let me please explain.”
“You've already said more than enough,” Geralt said with a sigh, ran a hand through his hair before he looked back at Jaskier again. Oh, he had been angry to no extent right after it had happened, even when they'd gotten on the road again, but hours had passed now, and Geralt had calmed down. Anger was better than fear, and that was what he'd felt more than anything else.
“You're angry, I understand that. You have every right to be.”
“I'm not angry.” Geralt took a deep breath. He almost had to smile at Jaskier, who looked like a lost puppy trying to find his way back home, only that he already was home. His home was with Geralt. “At least not anymore,” Geralt eventually admitted, because Jaskier knew him better than any other person. “I was just...” The Witcher shook his head trying to find the right words, but in the end, he just said what was on his mind, bearing his soul. “I was scared, Jaskier.”
“You? Scared? I don't think I've ever seen you scared.” The Bard mused, trying his best to lighten the mood a little but, but Geralt didn't smile.
“I'm scared all the time, I just know how to mask it.” They both shared a smile, before Geralt got serious again. His eyes wandered to the fire, while he was wringing his hands. “I could have lost you, Jask...”
This was not what Jaskier had expected of him, not at all, and for a moment, he was the one who was at a loss for words.
“I don't know what I would have done, if...” The Witcher trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence, when he turned to look at Jaskier again.
“But you didn't,” Jaskier quickly reassured him, reaching for his hands, covering them with his own, only to find that they'd been trembling. “I'm right here thanks to you. I don't know where I'd be without you.”
“Probably somewhere safe and not faced with monsters of all sorts, putting your life at risk.”
“My dear Witcher, you know that this is not true,” he scoffed, rubbing his thumbs over the backs of Geralt's hands. “I would probably already be dead, because I angered some nobleman.” They both knew that this was likely true, and his words managed to make Geralt's lips turn up into a tiny smile. “And don't forget, it was my choice to follow you around, so you weren't even able to get rid of me, and I knew what I was getting myself into.”
“I wouldn't want to get rid of you. I did, yes, but by now... who would annoy me with their singing, then?” There it was, the smile, a real one, that Jaskier had missed all day long, and right now, it was soothing all the sore spots inside him. This was what he'd been longing for, to see Geralt at ease again, to see him smile, to know that everything was good between them.
“You won't ever lose me, okay?” Jaskier said once again to reassure the Witcher. “You're stuck with me.” His words were followed by a chuckle, that made Geralt's face light up even more.
“Like I would want to get rid of you.”
Jaskier felt it, that tingle that started from where their hands were touching and moved up through his body, settling in the pit of his stomach, spreading warmth everywhere. He was happy. They both were in the presence of the other one.
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welcomemysentence · 6 months ago
Text
The Sandpiper
a fairytale, of sorts
for and with the magnificent @srapsodia — when i said i think “the sandpiper” is the cutest codename jaskier could give himself, they said ‘what if someone heard the nickname and curses jaskier into the bird’ and then they drew the incredibly adorable art you’ll see that i’m obsessed with <3
(2.6k, t, post-season 2 geraskier fixit with a side of fairytale, also on ao3)
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much, you have been a stunning crowd! Toss a coin if you can, and I’ll see you at the bar…” Jaskier chirps, swooping into his next verse to an adoring audience.
It’s been a month since the Voleth Meir incident, meaning it’s been a month less three days since Jaskier decided no one would miss him if he left Kaer Morhen. They’re a family, after all, and he’s not a part of it. He’d…tried. Yen tried, honestly, he saw it, but…Geralt’s focused on what’s to come with Ciri. Planning, training, trying to predict and protect. No time for pleasing things or proper apologies, apparently.
He’d needed Jaskier’s help. He got it, it’s done. That was it.
So, Jaskier left.
It’s probably for the best. Yen made him a new lute once she got her chaos back, so he can return to what he’d been doing. The elven refugees need the Sandpiper anyway. It feels good to be useful. And, admittedly, appreciated too.
After his final number, Jaskier sets out for the secret hiding place where he’d meet the night’s elves.
He never makes it.
*
Jaskier wakes into a nightmare. He’s in the dark with his wrists tied to a chair, his ankles bound, all too fucking similar to the day that’s been haunting him since it happened, the scars on his fingers still twinging at the sight of candlelight.
“Oh, fuck.” He can feel himself start to panic, his heartbeat throwing itself against the cage of his chest. Not again, not again, not again, especially because—once, what feels like a lifetime ago, whenever he got into any sort of trouble, he always could trust that a big, grouchy witcher would come bail him out of it before he got really hurt. And that’s not true anymore, and that hurts near as much as the fucking fire fucker did, because it doesn’t stop hurting. And now he’s in trouble again and Yen’s up on a fucking mountain this time, and Geralt apparently doesn’t give a—
“Sandpiper,” hisses a reedy voice. Jaskier’s heart sinks. “Your days of helping those pointy-eared scum have come to an end.”
“Please,” Jaskier says, his voice cracking. He’s never been above begging, but especially now, when he has so little left. He’s shaking uncontrollably, forced at once to relive the memory of pain, excruciating, unsurvivable pain flaring in his fingers, spreading up his palm, his arm. “Please don’t hurt me.”
The voice laughs in the darkness, echoing, and Jaskier’s eyes fill with tears. What the fuck did he do to deserve this?
“Don’t worry, filthy little sandpiper. That’s not what I’ve got in mind for you. But rest assured…I’ll make you sing yet…”
Jaskier swallows.
“Then wha—ah—ahhhh!”
It doesn’t hurt. It is, however, without a doubt the strangest sensation he’s ever experienced. He’s twisting, breaking, reshaping, shrinking, his cry narrowing into a squeaky chirp.
The mage laughs and laughs.
A small, frantic coast bird flutters shakily through the window into the night.
*
Deep in the mountains, in a ruined old keep, Ciri is trying not to doze off into her breakfast.
“The key to proper sword maintenance,” Geralt drones, “is informed diligence. The more you know about the monster you cut with your blade, the more you know how to tend to its dulling.”
“You’d know a lot about dulling,” she grumbles, poking at her food.
“Cirilla.”
“I’m listening, I’m listening,” she sighs. And she tries, she really does, because Geralt’s insisted that the work is all in the details. But some details are more interesting than others, and Ciri keeps getting distracted. By the other witchers’ clatter down on the training pitch, by the sound of Yennefer clinking around with her potions in the other room, by the chirping of the birds at the window.
As Geralt rambles on, Ciri finds herself more and more distracted by the birdsong. It takes her a moment to figure out why, but then she realizes—she’s heard that sort of chirping before, but never at the keep, only back home in Cintra.
The birdsong disappears. Ciri sighs, trying to re-focus on Geralt’s lecture.
And then it gets much louder.
A sudden cheeping echoes throughout Kaer Morhen. The little bird must’ve pushed its way through one of the gaps in the stone, as it soars into the main hall with a plaintive sort of cry. It flutters and dips until it comes to land on the table between Geralt and Ciri, tilting its head up at Geralt.
“The fuck?” Geralt frowns at the thing, its gawky legs and its plump, round body. “This is a coastal bird. What’s doing up here in the mountains?” The furrow in his brow deepens. “Shit. Is this a sign of new mutant monsters—I’d better go get the others. Yen!” he calls out, “Vesemir!” He makes to swipe at the bird, which squawks indignantly and hops away from him.
Yennefer sweeps into the room.
“Vesemir’s out hunting,” she tells them, “What is it?”
The bird, for its part, just hops on the table with a sad sort of urgency, squeaking away.
“It doesn’t look like a mutant,” Ciri says, peering at it. “I used to see these on the Cintran coast. It just looks like…a sandpiper.”
Yennefer, oddly, gasps.
“What did you say?” she demands. She leans in close at the bird, who seems to get excited at the sight of her, flapping its little wings.
“Just that it’s a sandpiper?” Ciri shrugs. “Strange that it’s here, sure, but I don’t think it’s dangerous—”
“Oh fuck,” Yen mutters, “oh fuck, fuck, fuck. It can’t be—”
The sandpiper lets out its loudest trill yet, hopping onto Yen’s outstretched palm.
“Oh, you’ve really had a shit time of it,” Yen says in a soft voice, and the sandpiper squeaks. She extends a single finger and pets its head, very gently. The bird, which had been hopping around incessantly, seems to calm a bit at this. “Shit. All right, don’t worry. I’m thinking. It’s a mage curse, right?” The sandpiper trills again.
“What the fuck is going on?” Geralt demands, clearly irritated to be out of the loop.
“Keep your voice down,” Yen hisses, “d’you know how loud your yelling is for him right now?”
“Who!” Geralt snarls, though at an obediently quieter pitch.
“Jaskier,” Yen snaps, as if it should be obvious. Geralt blinks.
“What.”
“All right, human to animal transformations are challenging to say the least, but to do it to someone else is all the more so and requires a significant amount of energy, I would know, fucking Aretuza has it down to a bloody science. Undoing it is an entire other thing, especially when I don’t know when it was cast, how close the curse is to becoming permanent.” Yennefer says this very quickly, mostly to herself and, apparently, Jaskier, as she starts pacing with him sitting plaintively in her palm. Ciri watches in awe and curiosity as Jaskier ruffles his feathers anxiously. None of the magic she’s been learning has touched on anything like this.
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“That can’t be Jaskier,” Geralt growls, as if he’s trying to convince himself. “Yen. It’s a bird.”
“Yes, well, he’s been cursed, hasn’t he, do try to keep up!” Yen bites her lip. “Oh bloody fuck it all. That—shit.” She heaves a sigh and stops her pacing, staring down at the bird. “Yeah, of course that’d be the way out. A sandpiper. Fuck. Easy enough to break in the right circumstances, literally impossible when someone’s broken-hearted, and someone has been singing about just how broken-hearted he is every fucking night.”
“He’s been what?” Geralt asks, his voice going strangely rough. Ciri squints at him.
Yennefer gives a long groan.
“This really isn’t my place,” she tells the bird. “But there’s nothing for it. I know you should have gotten the chance to tell him yourself. Just know that I had no choice, all right?”
Jaskier squeaks and hops as if he’d really like to know what’s going on. Geralt looks like he’d like to do the same.
Yennefer turns to Ciri with an apologetic look on her face.
“My dear, just know, even though you may have noticed your father and I aren’t as…romantic as you might have thought we would end up being, I will always be here for you, and we will protect you, together—”
“Yeah, I know. I figured it out when I saw you sleeping in your own room last week,” Ciri shrugs. “What’s that got to do with Jaskier?”
Yennefer levels her gaze at Geralt.
“The curse can only be broken by true love’s kiss.”
Several things happen at once. The sandpiper gives a shrill, woeful sort of whistle and buries his face in Yen’s palm, turning its tailfeathers up in a very silly fashion. Something clicks into place in Ciri’s head, about why Geralt, who’s been very forthcoming with everyone else in the keep, gets tight-lipped and furious whenever Jaskier gets brought up. And Geralt coughs and sputters on what seems to be nothing at all.
“So he’s dying a bird then,” Geralt grunts.
“Geralt.” Yen says, clearly losing her patience. Geralt glances at the bird, shaking his head.
“It won’t—that’s—I’m not—”
“Oh for fuck’s sake, are we still doing this?” Yen snaps irritably. She cups her other hand over the little bird, shielding it from her raised voice. “You’re so fucking stubborn. This man has been to hell and back for you several times over and you have utterly refused to confront your own damned feelings because you think if you dare let yourself have anything you weren’t destined for the whole world will go to shit, and it won’t unless you sabotage it yourself.”
Geralt stares at her, wounded, but Yen just shakes her head.
“We’re out of time, Geralt. Are you actually going to let him live out the rest of his days as a bird?” From within her hands comes a forlorn coo. “The very least you can do is try.”
“Is it even going to work if it’s not mutual?” Geralt mutters. “My—feelings—aside, does it count as true anything if he doesn’t—if I’m not his—”
“Geralt,” Yen says, exasperated. “That’s precisely the kind of bullshit we do not have time for. No, of course it wouldn’t. It needs to be mutual. So go on and break the curse.”
Ciri watches, amazed, as Geralt gives a slow, incredulous nod.
“Fine,” he grits out.
Yennefer sighs in relief and opens her palms. The sandpiper blinks a few times, tilting his head at her.
“It’s all right, Jaskier.” She holds him up to her face, her voice tender. “I won’t let him hurt you.”
The sandpiper isn’t quite finished with her, though. He whistles a few more times, nuzzling his head into her palm. Yen gives a soft, amused chuckle.
“You’re sweet. You already know it’s all right.”
The bird chirps once more, gazing up at her adoringly. Then he flies to Geralt, who stretches out his hand just in time for the sandpiper to land on it. Geralt raises an eyebrow at him.
“Hm.”
“Go on already!” Ciri hisses. Geralt looks at her in surprise, then at Yen’s insistent look, then down again at the sandpiper.
“Fuck it,” he growls at last. He lifts the bird to his lips, and even though it shouldn’t be possible, Ciri could swear she sees the fluffy feathers of its cheeks go pink.
Gently, more gently than Ciri thought possible, Geralt closes his eyes and touches his mouth to that tiny, blushing cheek.
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It happens immediately. There’s no flash of light, no gradual uncanny shift from bird to man. One moment Geralt is kissing a bird, and the next, his mouth is pressed to Jaskier’s cheek, where Jaskier is standing very close to him, and very human.
“Fucking cock,” Jaskier gasps, still a hint of chirp in his voice. He stumbles unsteadily in his reverted size. Geralt catches him easily.
“It really was you,” Geralt rasps.
“Yeah, of course it was me,” Jaskier groans, clutching his head, “who else does this fucking shit happen to?”
“Thank fuck,” Yen says in relief, sitting down hard on the bench. She hardly has a moment to exhale before Jaskier’s going to her, wrapping her in an embrace. Ciri watches as Geralt stares at them, a complicated expression on his face.
“You saved my life again, you brilliant, terrifying woman,” Jaskier says, gazing at her with utmost gratitude. “I know the subject of my next epic song—the curse-breaker, Yennefer the Wise, the mage to end all other mages—”
“Please don’t,” she says, “the last thing we need is another target on my back.” But she’s grinning, and Jaskier’s beaming up at her.
Geralt clears his throat.
It’s Yen’s turn to raise a brow. She gently pushes Jaskier off her and reaches for Ciri’s hand.
“C’mon. Let’s give them a minute.”
Ciri’s eyes go wide.
“Yennefer—” she starts to whine. She’s never seen before Geralt look at anyone the way he’s looking at Jaskier now, his usual composure shaken. He’s out of his depth, it’s excellent.
“Now, Ciri,” Yen says, in a tone that brooks no argument. Ciri rolls her eyes and mouths good luck! at her dad before letting Yen drag her from the room. She shakes her off just outside the doorway though, peeking her head out to watch. Yen clucks her tongue, but smiles and leaves her to it.
“Boys,” she sighs, heading back to her potions. “Come find me for your lesson after they’ve sorted their shit out, all right? Before lunch.”
“Yes, Yen,” Ciri says obediently, watching Geralt and Jaskier with wide eyes.
“—so fucking tiny,” Jaskier’s saying, stuffing his mouth with what’s left of Ciri’s breakfast. “I was worried I’d have to eat worms or something or else perish of hunger, and worms are enormous when you’re a sandpiper—what was I thinking, should’ve gone with mountain lion as a codename or something—”
“Might’ve worked,” Geralt says mildly, watching him. “They’re not often found outside of Touissant. I might’ve noticed something was off.” His brow furrows. “Might not’ve been so inclined to kiss one, though.”
Jaskier stops mid-bite. He swallows, standing level to Geralt.
“We’re going to talk about it then, are we? I wasn’t sure, considering the very clear precedent you’ve set—”
“You’ve been singing that I broke your heart?” Geralt cuts in, his voice rough.
“Well—” Jaskier huffs. “Not in quite so many words, I—er.” Ciri can see his fingers fidgeting. “...yes.”
Geralt’s quiet, for a long minute. And then—he laughs.
“Just when I thought I’d found every excuse not to try it with you.” He shakes his head. “This one’s pretty undeniable, huh?”
Jaskier makes an anxious sound.
“True love’s kiss,” he says, in a small voice.
“Yeah,” Geralt says. “Yeah.” He hums. “If you’ll still have me, that is.” He looks at Jaskier, sincere. “This isn’t a fairytale. You don’t have to be with me just because of a curse. The choice is yours, Jask. I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to prove myself worthy, but if you’ll have me, I promise—”
This one’s a proper kiss. Jaskier leans in and seizes him, Geralt groaning into his mouth. Geralt’s arms going around Jaskier’s waist, Jaskier melting into him, and Ciri looks away, hiding her face.
“Yes, Geralt,” Jaskier says sometime later, out of breath. “Yes.” He chirps a laugh as Geralt presses another kiss to his cheek. “You’re right, this isn’t a fairytale. It’s never been. But somehow…it’s still finally a dream come true.”
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lambden · a month ago
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T, 4.9K, no warnings, also on AO3!
The startling rumble of a vacuum pulls Geralt’s focus away from his work, and he strains his neck adjusting his posture to try to divine the source of the noise. Usually the caretakers don’t begin cleaning until everyone else has left the building. Dread rises into his throat when Geralt meets the equally startled gaze of one of the night cleaners, who quickly shuts off their vacuum with a grimace. “Sorry, sir,” they mumble. “Didn’t expect anyone to be working this late!”
“I’m done now,” Geralt says, even though he’s nowhere near done. But he supposes he can resume working at his apartment— at least no one will be likely to scare him there. He shuts down his laptop and gathers his belongings: his nearly dead phone, his battered staff ID and the remainder of his lunch from around noon. Geralt regretfully sweeps the leftovers into the bin and puts everything else, along with his computer, into his messenger bag.
As he passes the cleaner he awkwardly offers, “Have a good evening,” and they just nod before starting up the industrial vacuum again. Geralt, more aware of his outdoor shoes now than ever before, flees.
The city outside is quieter than he expected, with most of the regular nightlife in this area apparently seeking other thrills. Geralt doesn’t mind the solitude; when he passes a small group of cheerfully drunk students on a patio, he thinks that maybe he’ll walk home instead of taking the train. With his mind still consumed by thoughts of work, he easily makes it several blocks without really thinking about it. When Vesemir first got him this job Geralt had walked home like this all the time in warmer weather— he can’t possibly imagine why he stopped.
Then a loud crack erupts from an alleyway right as he passes, and Geralt groans internally; this is why he doesn’t spend much time outside in the city. Without meaning to he glances over his shoulder but the entrance to the alley is no different; the pallets piled next to the dumpster don’t look particularly interesting, and there are no further sounds except for a strange fizz lingering in the air. But he might be imagining it.
No one emerges from the alley, even as Geralt waits ten seconds, then another, then another. He should just leave; take his own advice and mind his own business. No point getting involved. Not his business.
The crackling finally dissipates, somehow leaving the alley looking darker than before. Geralt mutters a swear under his breath before heading into the narrow side street, armed only with his messenger bag.
He doesn’t know what he was expecting but one lone person in a very long red leather dress is definitely not it. The stranger turns and Geralt sees that he isn’t wearing a dress, instead clad in a pirate’s coat that nearly reaches down to his boots. His dirty white collared shirt is hanging open to reveal a shock of wiry hair on his chest that matches the soft brown locks of hair framing his pretty face, and his small red mouth is hanging open too.
Before Geralt can say or do anything the stranger steps forward, wonder shining through his bright eyes— and, impossibly, recognition. “What sorcery is this, witcher?” His voice is soft but poisoned with fury, and his lips twitch as he stares at Geralt. “Couldn’t be fucked to come and find me yourself, had to get one of your witch friends to portal me away? And what the hell are you wearing?”
Geralt glances down at his incredibly normal business attire. Aside from his neatly shaved undercut and matching white goatee, he’s been reliably informed by Lambert that he dresses, quote, like a walking advertisement for cheap aftershave. He looks back up at the bizarrely affronted stranger. Geralt should just ask him if he needs help finding his way anywhere or, more sensibly, leave him to his own crazy devices. But the strange light hasn’t left those blue eyes, and instead Geralt blurts out, “Witcher?”
“Oh, forgive me, are we back on a first name basis?” It’s obvious that he’s somehow misstepped, although he can’t fathom how. The stranger steadies his hands on his hips, puffing out his chest. “My apologies. I rather thought our friendship was over after you let me leave after the battle of Voleth Meir without so much as a parting wave! But I guess you must need something again, right? Out with it. Is Ciri alright?”
Very little of the man’s words make any sense at all, and Geralt struggles to parse their meaning. He latches onto the last question, speaking calmly so he doesn’t cause any further alarm. “I don’t know what I did to offend you,” he promises, stepping closer. It doesn’t look like this stranger is armed, and even if he is, Geralt is much bigger and has taken self-defense classes. He thinks he’d be able to win a fight between them. “But I can try to help you find your way somewhere. Do you live nearby… Ciri, is that your name?”
Instead of relaxing, the stranger steps back, panic flooding his expression. “What are you talking about? You think I’m Ciri— have you been cursed, Geralt?”
Geralt’s blood runs cold. “How do you know my name?”
-
Over the course of his lifetime Geralt has made many, many stupid decisions. Bringing this crazy, babbling cosplayer into his apartment has got to top the list. But he doesn’t see that he has any other options, not when Jaskier— or so he calls himself— is obviously in the middle of a bizarre breakdown. Jaskier doesn’t have a cell phone or any identification in the many pockets of his jacket, and he reacts strangely to even the most mundane modern technology. Geralt has to drag him away from a blinking bus stop sign advertising vitamin supplements, and when the lobby concierge nods to them, Jaskier bows deeply before whispering against the shell of Geralt’s ear, “‘is that your innkeeper or a personal servant?”
In the elevator he clings to Geralt’s arm, which Geralt only begrudgingly allows because he doesn’t want the man to cause a scene on camera. Geralt leans forward and presses the button for his floor and when it lights up Jaskier inhales sharply, just as impressed by that as by all the other mundane sights they’ve seen in their ten minutes of knowing one another. The doors slide shut, and Geralt, fearing a large reaction, pulls Jaskier in closer and mutters, “Hold on tight.”
Sure enough when the elevator starts moving Jaskier squeaks, wrapping his hands around Geralt’s bicep like it’s a lifeline. He doesn’t bury his face in his shoulder, though, wide-eyed as he spins to look around the mirrored walls. “This must be magic,” Jaskier declares in quiet awe. Geralt stares at their mirrored reflection, trying to remember the last time anyone stood this close to him on purpose. Jaskier is of a similar height, and despite their very different garb they look good together. Fighting off a blush, Geralt is both disappointed and relieved when they reach his floor.
He leads the trembling man down the hall to his apartment and then finally releases him to fumble for his house keys in his bag. Even as he finally manages to open the door Jaskier still stands back, and when Geralt turns to follow his gaze he only sees the door number: 1168. Geralt frowns. “What?”
Jaskier frowns right back. “More than a thousand people live in this building?”
“What? No,” Geralt scoffs, then feels bad for judging the man. Whatever’s going on, he clearly has no sense of reality— Geralt shouldn’t think him stupid just for trying to make sense of things. “We’re on the eleventh floor.”
“You said you lived in an apartment,” Jaskier breathes. “This is a palace, then!”
Fighting with embarrassment, Geralt opens the door wide and gestures for Jaskier to enter. “Not exactly,” he murmurs. “I make good money, but the building isn’t mine— I rent a space in this condo. Uh, condominium.”
Jaskier doesn’t take the cue, still staring at the door. “For how long?”
“About seven years now,” Geralt shrugs. “I’m thirty-nine, if that’s what you’re asking…?”
“Really?” This shocks a laugh out of Jaskier, and he gives Geralt a look of consideration that makes his face heat uncomfortably. “You’re younger than me.”
Unsure how to deal with that, Geralt just steps into the apartment. Jaskier finally follows him, and when Geralt takes his shoes off he does the same— except his socks are threadbare, and handmade from some rough fabric. Geralt tries not to stare, hanging his coat on the hook and then reaching for Jaskier’s, helping him out of it. The red vest comes off with it, leaving him in only the stained white shirt hanging off his shoulders. Even though he looks like he hasn’t bathed in months he’s still very handsome. Geralt becomes aware once more of blood flushing through his cheeks, and he turns to face the closet to hide the warmth.
Jaskier passes him, walking into the apartment and examining everything closely. Geralt watches as he looks at the record player and the television with the same slack-jawed wonder, appearing completely unfamiliar with any of it. Then Roach, even though she’s usually shy around strangers, unfurls herself from where she’s been sleeping on the couch and hops down to come and greet him, and Jaskier whirls around to face Geralt. “You have a cat?”
“Yes,” Geralt answers, unsure why he feels embarrassed. Should I not…? “Are you allergic?”
“I love cats, but they hate witchers, so I thought… Never mind, this is clearly all some bizarre dream anyway. Maybe someone dosed me with godsflesh mushrooms before the show. Aren’t you a cutie?” Jaskier kneels to scratch behind Roach’s ears, and she eagerly accepts the adoration. “What’s your name… wait, let me guess. Roach?”
Once more that odd chill overtakes Geralt, and when Jaskier glances over at him for confirmation he forces himself to stand still; otherwise he’s going to march across this room and shake the man silly demanding answers. The most likely option is that he’s some sort of stalker but that wouldn’t explain the odd feeling in Geralt’s chest every time their eyes meet. And if he’s some weird RenFaire LARPer, then he shouldn’t know so much about Geralt’s little life. Geralt sucks in a breath. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you could use a shower.”
Jaskier frowns, puzzled. “What’s a shower?”
-
As Roach claws at the bathroom door for thirty minutes and Geralt does his best not to listen closely to the muffled singing, he does some research. The bad news is that none of Jaskier’s weird references have ever been indexed on the internet; not Ciri (did you mean ‘Siri’?), not Yennefer (‘Jennifer’?), not strange magic mushrooms (although that definitely messes up his search engine history), not Voleth Meir, not Kaer Morhen, not Melitele, not Novigrad, and not Jaskier. Witcher means ‘male witch’ in Slavic mythology, but Geralt is fairly certain that when Jaskier addresses him as such he hadn’t meant to call him a wizard, seeing as how he’d been dazzled by all the magic of this world.
His fruitless searches leave him even more lost, and concerningly, even more interested. He should be dismissing Jaskier’s words as delusions or the addled ramblings of someone on drugs, but Jaskier had only smelled of dust and wildflowers and he spoke with clarity and purpose. Geralt shuts his laptop and rubs his eyes, forcing himself to consider the other option here. The crazy option. Maybe he can suspend his disbelief in all this shit for long enough to figure out how best to proceed— what would he do if someone really did drop into his universe from another universe? And if they knew him in the other universe, what then? What if in another universe, he and Jaskier were friends?
Not friends, Geralt corrects. Jaskier’s initial reaction to seeing Geralt had made that obvious. Maybe they had once been friends on a personal first-name basis, but after whatever events took place to wrench them apart, Jaskier expected Geralt to only call on him when he needed help with something. The idea twists uncomfortably in Geralt’s chest; he’s been accused of similarly disregarding others before, and his friendships in this universe have suffered as a result. Even his family knows that he won’t reach out unless it’s urgent.
Jaskier’s singing isn’t too audible over the patter of the shower but Geralt listens anyway, hands still on his temples. He can make out the general refrain, although he doesn’t know the song— it’s an angry, sad ballad about burning and yearning. The rhyme should be cheesy but the raw emotion in Jaskier’s voice carries a surprising weight. Entertaining the fantasy some more, Geralt wonders what his alternate self could have done to make Jaskier capable of such fury. He hopes selfishly that whatever it was would surprise him— an utterly unthinkable action would comfort Geralt, because it would mean that he himself wasn’t capable in this world of causing that same harm.
He rises from his spot at the kitchen island, heading over to make two cheap instant cappuccinos with generous servings of cinnamon in both. It’s either this or wine, but Geralt doesn’t need his head any foggier than it already feels. As he stirs the powder in he realizes this is his first time hosting anyone who isn’t his father or one of his brothers in at least a year. The sobering thought makes him unexpectedly nervous, especially when the shower tap finally shuts off in the other room. Geralt hurries to carry the mugs over to the coffee table in his living room, sitting on the couch and trying to look more at ease than he feels. It’s impossible, even when Roach reappears to sit beside him and purr.
Jaskier emerges from Geralt’s bedroom a few excruciating minutes later, wearing the baggy band shirt and pajama shorts that Geralt had put out for him. His long wet hair is slicked back and his eyebrows are a mess, and he looks pink all over, from his freshly scrubbed arms to his flushed thighs. Geralt re-evaluates all the stupid decisions he’s ever made, because letting Jaskier wear his clothes is clearly the dumbest fucking one. Jaskier eyes him curiously, probably because he’s gaping like a starving man brought to a feast. Geralt quickly lifts his coffee and drinks half of it as fast as he can; anything to stop staring. “That’s for you,” he mutters. “If you’d like. It’s nothing special.”
“Thank you,” Jaskier says, so sincerely that Geralt has to take another long sip of coffee. “The shower was amazing. I’ve never washed like that before; I’ll have to talk Yen into inventing one. We’ll be rich!”
Geralt hums thoughtfully and the sound makes Jaskier shoot a sudden and sharp look his way, but neither say anything. Slowly the man moves over to sit beside him and Roach on the couch, folding his legs up underneath him and then reaching for his mug. Geralt watches him, mind still churning with too many thoughts, and finally he speaks, “So… let’s say you’re from a different world, and you somehow got teleported here. You… in your world, you know me.”
“Yes,” Jaskier nods.
Geralt stares. “You know me very well— well enough to guess what I’d name my cat.”
“Well, that one isn’t hard, you’ve named all your horses Roach, but… yeah,” he shrugs, sipping his coffee again. There’s a certain distance to his words that wasn’t there before, and Geralt violently hates it. He wants Jaskier to feel comfortable here, not to constantly associate him with this other Geralt who fucked him over.
“But we fell out,” Geralt prods. “Why?”
“We don’t need to discuss it, darling. I don’t think that would be a fun conversation for either one of us, especially when… well, never mind,” Jaskier sighs. Geralt wants to insist that he continue but the slump in the man’s shoulders is nearly too much to bear. “I don’t hate you or anything, if that’s what you’re worried about— I never could. Believe me, I tried. It didn’t take.”
The song that Jaskier was singing in the shower echoes again through Geralt’s mind, and he tries to imagine the circumstances. It’s easy enough to make the connection but when he does, it feels like piercing some soft, vulnerable piece of all this that until now has been allowed to grow unhindered. The cold realization makes sense, because as he looks at Jaskier wearing his clothes now, Geralt thinks that even in an alternate universe, he’d probably still feel the same way about this handsome, baffling man. “You loved me,” he accuses quietly. Jaskier tenses but doesn’t deny it. “Did I… return your affections?”
“It’s complicated,” Jaskier laughs without any mirth. Geralt reaches over to touch his shoulder gently in an attempt to reassure him but none of the tension drains from Jaskier; instead, he freezes. When he speaks again his voice is much lower, and he doesn’t meet Geralt’s gaze. “You can’t blame yourself for that, darling. There were a lot of factors at play.”
“Like Ciri,” Geralt guesses, not removing his hand from Jaskier’s shoulder.
But instead of growing angry or jealous Jaskier actually smiles at that, setting his mug down so that he can reach up and take Geralt’s hand between his warm, clean palms. “Yes and no,” he says. “In my world, Ciri— Cirilla of Cintra, rather— is your destiny. Or one of them, anyway. She’s your daughter.”
That makes Geralt blanch, expression twisting into something ugly that makes Jaskier laugh. Even at his loneliest, Geralt has never, ever seen himself becoming a father— it has been firmly out of the question his whole life. “But I can’t have children,” he replies stupidly.
“Oh, witchers are infertile,” Jaskier waves this problem away as easily as anything. “No, she isn’t yours by blood. You claimed her, invoking this ancient tradition called the Law of Surprise. And then you regretted it immediately, and you spent a good long while avoiding Cintra altogether. But destiny finds a way.”
Roach purrs between them, shattering the surprisingly intense moment, and Geralt reaches with his free hand to absent-mindedly pet her. Jaskier releases his other hand to take up his drink again and Geralt watches the line of his throat bob. “In your world,” he starts, “I’m a witcher. And I have… friends. People that I care for.”
Jaskier narrows his eyes. “Yes…?”
“But here, I’m not even friends with anyone at my work. I mean, my father worked with me, but he retired a few years ago so now it’s just me.” Roach jumps away, dissatisfied by his petting, but he makes no move to hold her back. Geralt’s hands are trembling slightly— he wrings them together, frustrated. “I don’t have… I’m single, and I don’t have any kids. And when I have had friendships, I just inevitably fuck them up, so I don’t… Why do I do that? Why am I alone here?”
“Oh, Geralt,” Jaskier whispers. He shifts closer on the couch, reaching to take Geralt’s shaking hands in his; it doesn’t entirely stop the shuddering but it helps. Geralt can feel his pulse thrumming through his fingers, and he clings to it, squeezing Jaskier’s hands back. They breathe as one, inhaling and exhaling in time. Once more, Geralt feels tremendously emotional and humiliated that he hasn’t been this close to anyone in so, so long. He fears that he might be doing it wrong, but if he is, there’s no indication on Jaskier’s kind, open face.
When he feels a little more steady Geralt summons his voice again, still gripping Jaskier’s hands tightly. “Tell me about her,” he pleads. “Cirilla. And the others— you mentioned, um, witch friends. I’m a witch too, right? A witcher— are there other witchers?”
“Yes there are, and witches, although I selfishly feel less inclined to tell you of those,” Jaskier says with a slightly maudlin smile. “But you have a family there too, and a good deal of people with stories about you. You’re close with the sorceresses Yennefer and Triss, and you keep in touch with the strangest people, ones I would never expect; you were friends with nobility like Mousesack and Nivellen, dwarves like Zoltan Chivay and Yarpen Zigrin, and a whole host of other weirdos, really. That isn’t even mentioning the other witchers, your family— that would include Vesemir, Lambert, Coën—”
“Hang on,” Geralt says. “I know Vesemir, and Lambert is my brother! Lambert and Eskel.” He squints. “Is there a witcher named Eskel in your universe too?”
“Yes, although I never met him,” Jaskier says a little too quickly. “You never brought me up to your home in the mountains until it was necessary; it was a very private location so guests were not allowed. You and Vesemir were always worried about an attack.” Lowering his tone, he admits, “Witchers are not… universally liked, in my universe.”
Geralt blinks. “Why not?”
“Um, you’re not… human?” Jaskier smiles uneasily, finally letting go of his grip on Geralt’s hands only so that he can reach up to cup the sides of his head. His thumbs brush back and forth over the short bristles on his skull behind his ear, and Geralt shivers again. “Witchers are mutants, and you’re one of the most mutated ones. You look mostly the same in this world, though; you’re just missing the golden cat eyes and the swords. And the medallion. And the supernatural senses… I mean, unless you have supernatural senses?”
“I emphatically do not,” Geralt promises, smiling back slightly.
“And witchers are trained to suppress their emotions,” continues Jaskier in an odd voice. “So many people think you don’t have feelings at all, but it isn’t true, it’s all a terrible myth that lets common folk treat you like shit while you protect them from unspeakable horrors! It’s not fair, and it’s fucked up, because after learning to hide your emotions for so long and being told that you didn’t have any, you started to believe it. And it isn’t true!”
The air between them is charged as Geralt reaches up to hold Jaskier’s wrists in place, carefully searching his eyes for any untruthfulness or deceit. He finds none, as he’d expected; it’s obvious that Jaskier cares passionately about this injustice. “You sound like you’ve made this your life’s work,” Geralt mutters. “Defending witchers.”
“Actually, I’m a poet.” Jaskier is still cradling Geralt’s head in his hands. He doesn’t try to shift away, and neither of them bring up the strange proximity, as they’re both glad for the closeness. “But I did try to spread the truth, um… then my emotions got involved. We don’t need to get into that.”
“Hmm.” Geralt traces a small shape on the inside of Jaskier’s wrist, watching the muscles in his arm flex as he does. “I took a poetry class in university but none of it stuck with me.”
“In my experience, you can’t escape poetry,” Jaskier says, finally sliding his hands down from Geralt’s head to rest them on his shoulders. Geralt follows him and holds on through the movement, then drops his grip on Jaskier’s wrists to let his hands fall into the man’s lap, pulling him closer by his hips. It must be a testament to Jaskier’s love of art and literature that he only stammers slightly as Geralt grabs him and brings him nearer. “Even when you think you’ve forgotten everything, it just-just takes the simplest push for you to fall right back into the poetry you swore against. I’ve written a whole book about that, actually— uh, in my world, I’m occasionally a professor.”
Geralt laughs; not meanly, just in amusement. “Occasionally? How can you find yourself occasionally a professor? What do you do the rest of the time?”
“Oh, you know.” Jaskier’s fingers dance over the muscles in his shoulders, tracing patterns through his shirt, and Geralt’s breath catches in his throat. “I travel, and perform. I find inspiration for my bardic compositions. And I— the politics of being an artist right now are more than a little concerning, so I help, where and how I can. Even though it’s rarely enough.”
“And occasionally, you get pulled into my bullshit,” jokes Geralt.
But Jaskier doesn’t joke back, nor does he grow emotional again about his failed relationship with the other Geralt. He just stares, blue eyes bright and earnest, and tells Geralt with frightening sincerity, “Those are my favourite parts.”
“I’d like to kiss you,” Geralt confesses before he can think any better of doing so. “I don’t know if this is even really happening, but I do know that I’d like to kiss you. Even if it isn’t my place to do so. With all the history you have… would it hurt too much to kiss me?”
Jaskier whispers, “I don’t know. Let’s find out, shall we?”
-
The next morning, Geralt wakes to the alarm he’d forgotten to turn off. In a sick rush of dread he panics about failing to finish all the work he’d meant to do at home last night; putting it off means that today he’ll undoubtedly receive some very unhappy, passive aggressive emails. He scrambles to slam the snooze button and gain his bearings, and in doing so he dislodges a warm weight on his chest that he had just assumed was Roach.
“What is that infernal sound,” whines a soft, sleepy voice from beside him. Geralt’s heart wells up like a balloon. “Do you choose to wake up like this every morning? I think I’d rather hire someone to stick pins in my feet to get me moving.”
Geralt reaches to pull Jaskier’s arm back around him, smiling broadly as he takes in the sight of the disheveled bard on his second, normally vacant pillow. He leans in to kiss the man’s cheek gently in apology, and finds Jaskier warm and pliant beneath him. Nearly giddy with affection, Geralt sits up so that he can reach down the bed to where Jaskier’s bare toes are peeking out from under the covers, and he starts poking them as fast as he can.
“You fucking bastard,” shrieks Jaskier, giggling maniacally as he curls up tightly to try to avoid Geralt’s tickling. “What’s wrong with you? Leave me be in your very, very comfortable bed, you brute! See if I ever suck you off again!”
That last threat proves the most effective but when Geralt relents, chuckling, Jaskier just pulls him back down to kiss him properly. They trade lazy kisses back and forth, rolling until Jaskier’s weight is mostly atop Geralt and their legs are tangled together again. Jaskier nips Geralt’s lip and he makes a deep, rumbling noise— half of pleasure, half to warn Jaskier. Pulling away, mouth still wet, he says as seriously as he can, “We can’t waste the whole day in bed, Jaskier.”
“That’s what you think!”
“There are other things that require our imminent attention,” Geralt intones, trying to sound fancy and classical like the bard. “For instance, I’d very much like to join you in the shower. And then we can raid the refrigerator to see about breakfast; I think I still have eggs, but we’ll have to check.”
“No idea what a refrigerator is,” Jaskier says, kissing him once more before pulling away. He yawns and stretches, and the long lines and curves of his bare body are enough to make Geralt reconsider his morning plans. “But I like the shower bit a lot; what a forward thinker you are! We’ll shower, eat, and then I’ll drag you back here.”
“Deal,” Geralt smiles. He rolls off the bed, frowning at the discarded clothes all over the floor for only a moment before he crosses to the closet. As he picks out an outfit he feels eyes on him, so he turns to look over his shoulder— Jaskier is still sitting in his bed, still looking perfectly rumpled and debauched and content. There’s a dark mark under the right side of his jaw that Geralt remembers leaving, and although the thin blanket is still wound around his legs, Geralt has no doubt that there are several other marks there too.
Before he can button up his shirt Geralt finds himself moving back towards the mattress and sinking onto it above Jaskier, claiming his mouth again just because he can. Jaskier arches towards him eagerly, like a sunflower bending towards the light, and spreads his knees so that Geralt can rest between them. The bard sighs into their kiss and Geralt feels a flood of emotion for that melodic, pretty sigh. He wishes that the two of them could stay together in this room forever, satiated by one another’s company and taking their comfort in each other’s bodies.
“Jaskier,” Geralt whispers against his mouth. “I want to tell you something.”
Before he can, a deafening crack from the living room interrupts them, leaving a strange but familiar fizzing, crackling sound in the air. Geralt turns to look at the open bedroom door just in time to see Roach run through it as fast as she can, hissing and making a beeline to hide under the bed.
Geralt turns back to look at Jaskier, who slams his head back down against the pillows. “Fuck.”
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smolalienbee · a month ago
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geraskier // absolute fluff // in which Jaskier puts some makeup on Geralt and Geralt is just... incredibly in love with him
The moment he walks in, the sight of him knocks the wind out of Geralt.
All because Jaskier is... gorgeous. Not that he normally isn’t, but his beauty is especially striking when he’s all dressed up and in full make up - blush on his cheeks, red lipstick, winged eyeliner that seems to stretch out all the way to his temples. Geralt feels like a weaker man just at the sight of him alone.
Jaskier, of course, notices Geralt’s eyes on him instantly and, bloody tease that he is, does a little twirl, showing off the lengthened tails at the back of his shirt, sparkling with the many tiny gemstones sewn into the fabric. Geralt is vaguely aware of him asking How do I look? but truthfully, he’s not paying much attention to the words at the moment, too enraptured by the look of him. His feet carry him forward on their own and then he’s pulling Jaskier into his arms. Jaskier is, naturally, completely pliant under his touch and only laughs at his affections.
“Pretty lark,” Geralt rumbles into his neck as he nuzzles close, breathing in the scent of Jaskier’s perfume.
“Geralt, you’re going to ruin both my make up and my hair if you keep pressing yourself up against me like this,” Jaskier whines, though makes absolutely no effort to push him away. Good.
“Your fault. For looking so... pretty.”
“Oh, of course,” Jaskier snorts. He pulls back, just enough so that he can cradle Geralt’s face in both of his hands. “Come here, you,” he hums.
He strokes Geralt’s cheekbones with his thumbs and leans in to press a kiss to his lips. They both linger there for a moment, Geralt nearly melting into the touches. When Jaskier pulls away, he tries to follow his lips with his own, but Jaskier stops him with a hand against his chin.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be going out anywhere,” Geralt grumbles while Jaskier busies himself with swiping his index finger against Geralt’s lips. Geralt raises an eyebrow at him, barely resisting the urge to nibble at the rough skin on Jaskier’s fingertip, toughened up after years of playing the lute.
“No, we definitely should...” Jaskier murmurs, but it’s clear by the tone of his voice that his thoughts are elsewhere entirely.
“What is it, Julek?” Geralt prompts gently.
“My lipstick,” Jaskier muses. “It suits you.”
He turns his finger towards Geralt to show off the lipstick that now stains it, clear proof that he had tried to wipe it off Geralt’s lips after they kissed. Geralt, as though on an instinct, leans in to press a kiss to it, but that is exactly the moment Jaskier decides to suddenly disentangle himself from his arms. 
Before Geralt has the time to complain about it or even figure out what’s happening, Jaskier is already grabbing his hand and pulling him further inside the flat rather than out of it.
“Jask, what are you -”
"Don't worry, darling, it won't take long!"
Jaskier moves like a whirlwind, his steps easy and smooth as he lets go of Geralt’s hand and twirls around so that he’s behind him and can, quite literally, shove him into the bedroom. Soon enough Geralt is being told to sit down and so he does, unable to deny his songbird anything. He watches as Jaskier continues moving around until there’s a ridiculously giant cosmetics bag in Jaskier’s arms.
“Really, what is it -” Geralt makes another attempt at the question, but Jaskier, entirely undeterred, plops down next to him and shushes him gently.
“Shush. Let me work.”
And work he does - which in this case means various powders and pencils and brushes passing through his fingers in a flurry of movement. Geralt can’t be sure what it is that’s being applied to his face and if it was anyone else, that thought would’ve made him incredibly uncomfortable. This, though, Jaskier’s giddiness, it’s contagious and Geralt can’t help, but relax under his attention.
Fortunately for Jaskier, it’s not at all difficult for Geralt to remain silent. Despite the lingering confusion, he doesn’t dare to question his lark - and that’s certainly made easier when the sight in front of him is so endearing. The way Jaskier grins, how he pauses just to scrutinize Geralt’s face. How he scrunches up his nose and sticks his tongue out as he focuses on keeping his hand steady to do Geralt’s eyeliner.
(At some point, Jaskier tells him to close his eye and Geralt does, but he still keeps the other one open, not wanting to miss even a second of it.)
Geralt doesn’t know how much time passes before Jaskier is done - though he’s fairly certain they’re very late by now, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell Jaskier that.
“Well, all done,” Jaskier hums as pulls away, smiling in that brightly fond way of his. “Now we’re ready to go, my dashing beloved.”
Geralt grunts an acknowledgement and then, with Jaskier still so close, he can’t stop himself from leaning in to press a kiss to his cheek. Before his lips can touch skin, though, Jaskier squirms away from him.
“No! No kissing,” he protests. “You’re going to rub off your lipstick if you do, dearheart, so kisses are banned for tonight.”
Right. Even with the unusual texture now coating his lips, it’s already slipped his mind that Jaskier had just slathered lipstick all over them. Geralt pouts and Jaskier gives him a warm smile and boops him on the nose.
“Don’t you look at me like that. It’s only for tonight, I’m sure you can survive. Come, now, see for yourself how pretty you are now.”
Geralt huffs at that - pretty, right. He certainly can’t be pretty when next to his lovely lark - though he doesn’t resist when Jaskier tugs him towards a mirror.
He doesn’t know what to really expect from his own reflection. Other than occasional eyeliner, Jaskier has never put much make up on him before (no one has, in fact). When he’s finally faced with a mirror, Geralt blinks owlishly, as though not quite recognizing himself. There’s blush on his cheeks, blue on his eyelids, dark red on his lips. He is...
“Gorgeous,” Jaskier breathes out. He’s hanging off Geralt’s arm still, chin rested on his shoulder as he too looks at the reflection.
While Geralt would not usually describe himself as such, this time he finds that he can’t really argue. With a slight smile on his face, he hums his agreement then turns towards Jaskier. Before his songbird has the time to realize what he’s doing, he plants a kiss to his cheek, leaving a deep dark smudge of lipstick on the skin there. Jaskier squeals loudly, tries to wiggle away, but there’s still bright laughter dancing across his lips and his entire face even as he does.
(And Geralt falls in love just a little more.)
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ladysesame · a month ago
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What Jaskier Doesn’t Know
Also on A03
There are many things that Jaskier does not know.
In fact, there are so many things the bard doesn't know that Geralt is certain he could fill a book with them.
Take for instance, his survival skills. Abysmal.
When the witcher first met the other man, rosy-cheeked and eyes bright with the wonder of youth, the only thing going through Geralt's head was, how in Melitele's name is this disaster of a man still alive? For Gods' sake he just would not shut up; chattering on about who knows what (seriously, Geralt stopped listening after the first sentence. He really has no idea what Jaskier is saying), completely unperturbed by the witcher's scowl which by now would have already sent any smarter man packing. Geralt remembers thinking, it was honestly a miracle that no one had killed Jaskier for his talking alone. Of course, it wasn't until the bard started following him around like a lost puppy that the witcher realized it was a miracle this helpless child hadn't died on the path already.
Making camp that first night is exhausting. Jaskier doesn't know how to start a fire-- doesn't even know how to collect firewood-- forages for almost entirely poisonous plants (a feat which is mildly baffling), and flinches at every snapping twig and sound of the forest. And he won't stop talking. Or following Geralt despite the fact that the witcher has made it very clear he is not interested in being followed.
He'll drop the boy off at a village in the morning, Geralt promises himself. Then hopefully Jaskier will stay there and find something better to do with his life then risk it in the wilderness.
But the one thing Geralt didn't account for is that Jaskier is very persistent. He sticks to the witcher's side like a leech, and before Geralt knows it, he's acquired a travelling companion whether he wants one or not. So yes, Jaskier's survival skills are abysmal. Though a little less so since Geralt has forcibly ingrained some better habits in his mind over the years. Even so, he's mostly helpless on his own.
There are many other things that Jaskier does not know, and they put his life in danger. The first, of course, is don't follow around a Witcher, but the bard chooses to ignore that one regardless how many times Geralt suggests it. The others make more sense.
Jaskier never had a witcher's training; he can't tell an alp part from a bruxa, can't identify potions by smell alone or do anything with a sword other than accidentally stab himself (Geralt tried to teach him sword-fighting once, he knows this from experience). He doesn't understand what it's like to live in a world that declares war on your senses. To have hearing so keen you can make out the steady thump of your companion's heartbeat in the stillness of the night, to have a sense of smell strong enough to detect a creature miles away, or catch that tiny hint of lavender that clings to the bard's form no matter how much sweat and grime and dirt he's covered in.
Jaskier doesn't know how it shocks Geralt's senses and quickens his breathing the first time he lays a slender hand on the witcher's skin, the feelings so intense after being starved of touch that it makes Geralt's head spin. After a contract gone wrong and Jaskier drags him back, bruised and bloodied to their shared room, he doesn't know that when his fingers graze the witcher's elbow and he quietly offers to help clean Geralt's wounds that no one has ever done that before. No one has ever looked at this life-hardened beast of a man and wanted to use their touch to help rather than hurt.
Geralt lies awake that night. His eyes are closed, and he's tucked under the mountain of pillows and sheets that Jaskier insisted he remain in, wagging his finger at the witcher each time he dares move a muscle. Geralt waits until he hears the bard's heartbeat slow to the state of sleep before cautiously cracking one eye open and studying his companion.
Jaskier is slumped in his chair, head hung and mouth hanging open as he slumbers. The damp cloth that he used to clean the witcher's injury is still clutched in his hand. Geralt stares at him for a long moment, then silently brushes his own hand across the spot on his arm that Jaskier had touched. How strange this human is, unafraid to touch a witcher. Geralt closes his eyes and takes a deep, shaking breath, imagining for just one second more that the hand on his arm still belongs to the bard.
For some reason Geralt expects that to be the end of it. But it's not. Things are never so simple when Jaskier is involved. The bard makes it his personal mission to tend to Geralt whenever he returns from the hunt looking worse for wear. He's actually surprised to discover that first aid is one of the few things Jaskier does know about.
"I was a bit of a disaster as a child," the bard explains when he asks. "I got into way too many things that I shouldn't have and got more bruises out of it than I can count. Eventually the maids got tired of dealing with it and I learned it was easier to just take care of myself."
Geralt doesn't say that Jaskier is still a bit of a disaster now as well. Instead, he hums and nods and that is that. As time passes, he also begins to grow used to letting the bard care for him in that way. He never says this out loud of course, but what Jaskier doesn't know won't kill him. After all, if it did he would be dead by now.
Surprisingly however, as Geralt gets to know him better, it turns out that there are a great deal of things Jaskier does know; they're just utterly useless when it comes to life. Geralt learns that Jaskier attended Oxenfurt university. He's educated in poetry, literature, classical music, and all sorts of other things that mean nothing in the world. If you want him to compose a sonnet, he's your man. If you want him to get a campfire going, you're better off just lighting the entire forest on fire yourself and saving him the trouble.
The art of "fine bathing" is one of these useless skills that Geralt learns of. Apparently, Jaskier spent a great deal of his summer breaks in Toussaint and became "very good friends" with a bathhouse worker there. The man insists on demonstrating the skill set to Geralt repeatedly until one evening the witcher is so dead tired that he no longer has the energy to fend him off and gives in, hoping the bard will finally leave him be if he does.
That's how Geralt finds himself seated in a large wooden tub, trying to slow his heartbeat as Jaskier's deft fingers lather soap into his hair. It's too much on his senses, suddenly the air is too warm, the sweet smell of soap and oils too vibrant, and the gentle sound of the bard's breathing impossibly loud behind him. But at the same time, it's...nice. And it scares Geralt how easily he falls into a sense of security despite his vulnerable position. But like it or not, after so much time spent together, he has developed a begrudging sort of trust towards the other man.
As usual, Jaskier is chattering behind him, completely unaware of Geralt's dilemma. He doesn't realize how big of a step this feels to be. He doesn't know that his mindless talk about god knows what has somehow become a pleasant white noise in the witcher's ears, even if he has no idea what Jaskier is talking about half of the time. That somehow, the bard became a cornerstone within Geralt's life, an ever-present entity that may have begun as an annoyance but is now something that Geralt could not live without.
As Jaskier rinses cool water through his hair, he doesn't know that the witcher stares at the stained ceiling of their inn room and starts to wonder.
He finds himself listening more when Jaskier speaks. He takes pity on the other man's hopeless survival skills and finally takes the time to sit down and teach him proper. Afterwards, the bard is still as inept as they come, but the smile he gives Geralt is so bright and warm that it melts something deep within him, giving way to a new, growing feeling that is entirely unfamiliar.
The days stretch on, and Geralt is soon thinking more than ever. Jaskier is not as annoying as he first came across. He's surprisingly helpful once he's learned how to be, and his companionship becomes a comfort during the long hours spent on the road. Besides, Roach seems to like him, and she doesn't like anybody, so that has to count for something.
He likes this bright, strange little man too, Geralt decides. And if he catches himself lingering on the bard's form in the dark hours of the night or breathing just a little bit deeper to catch that whiff of lavender when he passes, well, that's nobody's business but his own. Once again, what Jaskier doesn't know won't kill him, and Geralt can't help but notice that the bard's face is surprisingly pleasing, and his lips look soft and plush and oh so inviting. The thought is whispered in his mind like a most forbidden secret when Geralt realizes one day that he would very much like to know what Jaskier's lips would feel like on his own.
And then Geralt takes a contract for a cockatrice that doesn't go very well. The potions he takes are like fire in his veins and he knows with sinking dread, but he made a mistake; taken too much too fast and now the poisons he's ingested threaten to eat him from the inside out.
Half delusional and bleeding, the witcher stumbles his way through the forest, following the gentle scent of lavender and the quiet humming of its owner miles in the distance. It's because of Jaskier that he makes it back to camp. He clings to the sound of the bard's voice like a lifeline, and when he finally does emerge from the trees, Geralt braces himself because he knows that this has all been too good to be true. Now Jaskier will take one look at him and do what everybody else has done, and Geralt will have to watch as the bard's smile turns into a look of disgust as he finally sees the witcher for the monster that he truly is.
"Oh, darling."
The words make Geralt flinch as the bard rises from where he'd been sitting.
"I'll..." Something in the witcher's throat feels thick and heavy as he braces himself to say the words that he'd been dreading. "I'll go," he whispers, turning away. He's grown so fond of Jaskier's company, he can't bring himself to finally see everything come crashing down. But a hand on his arm stops him.
"Geralt. Are you alright? What’s wrong? What’s happened?”
The witcher shakes his head and makes some attempt to walk back in the direction he came, but his leg gives out and he stumbles forwards, hardly giving the bard enough time to catch his weight before he hits the forest floor.
"Geralt!" Jaskier's voice is panicked now. He wraps his arms around the witcher's shoulders, holding him against his chest as he heaves the other man towards his bedroll.
Geralt lands in a heap on his back and fights the urge to flinch as Jaskier leans over him, watching his cornflower blue eyes grow round as saucers. In the dark of the night there was a chance that Jaskier hadn't seen his face clear enough to make out the inky black tendrils curling out from the witcher's eyes, but there's no doubt that he saw them now.
The bard's breath catches in his throat as he reaches a tentative hand towards Geralt's face. "What--?"
"Potions," Geralt grunts, turning his head to the side to spare himself the shame. "Too many poisons the blood."
"What can I do?" Jaskier asks, insistent this time.
"Have to..." Geralt groans as his vision fades in and out of focus. "Have to...have to wait it out."
Jaskier offers him a small smile. "Then that's what we'll do."
Geralt wakes hours later to the early morning sun peeking through the treetops and the smell of chamomile in the air. He blinks a few times as his vision clears until he's able to make out the streak of blue nestled by the fire.
"Oh," Jaskier says, turning from the fire, "you're awake." He's holding a tea kettle in his hand which Geralt suspects is the source of the chamomile, which he pours into a wooden cup before handing it to the witcher.
"Jaskier," Geralt grunts, taking the cup. "You're still here."
The bard makes a face as if he said something ridiculous. "Why of course I'm still here. You're my friend; I would never abandon you in your hour of need." He pours a cup of tea for himself then shuffles closer, sitting cross-legged next to Geralt's bedroll. "Are you feeling better? It looks like the..." he gestures vaguely around his face, unsure of what to call it. "Well, it seems to have gone now."
Geralt blindly brings a hand up to touch the spot below his eyes. "Hmmm."
"You scared me," the bard says as he sips his tea.
The cold feeling of unease seeps through Geralt's chest. He can't bring himself to look Jaskier in the eyes. "You should never have had to see me like that."
The bard blinks. "I was worried about you. Because you were hurt. Not because of your appearance."
Geralt gives him an odd look. Huh. Well, that wasn't what he expected. He feels his heart quicken in his chest, and once more, ponders how strange this human is.
Jaskier doesn't leave him, even though Geralt was sure that he would after seeing what it really means to be a witcher. No, things seem to be as normal as they've ever been. In fact, it almost seems as though the bard sticks closer to his side than he did before.
Geralt is glad for it, though he would never actually say that out loud. And even though he never does, the witcher does begin to harbor a sneaking suspicion that Jaskier knows it anyway.
The two of them become closer until they reach a point in which Geralt doesn't mind calling Jaskier his friend, at least within the safety of his thoughts.
He starts paying more attention to the other man as well. Geralt notices that the bard actually does have quite a nice voice, even though he still claims it sounds like a filling-less pie. It grows on him, even if the witcher would prefer that Jaskier stop exaggerating for the sake of performance in his lyrics.
Geralt begins to feel the bard's absence more intensely. There are times in which they separate and travel on their own for a while, always agreeing to meet up somewhere else further on the path. At first those weeks of silence were a welcome refuge, but now they feel unbearable. Geralt never shows it, so Jaskier will never know that he misses the bard during the times when they're apart. He misses the soft humming and mindless talking that was a constant background noise within the bard's presence, misses the extra coin and kinder demeanor that the witcher is given with Jaskier by his side. But most of all, Geralt has just grown used to company, something that he never realized he needed until it was gone.
Come winter, Geralt returns to Kaer Morhen while Jaskier accepts a teaching position at Oxenfurt university. During their first few years together, Geralt took the season as an opportunity for some peace and quiet, though lately he's begun to notice it's almost too quiet. It didn't take long for the other Wolves to learn Jaskier's name and learn it well. Geralt began by complaining incessantly, telling Eskel and Lambert all about the doe-eyed human that refuses to leave him alone.
His youngest brother attempts to comfort him in his own unique way. "Cheer up, Wolf," Lambert tells him one night over dinner. "If this human is as hopeless as you say he is, he'll likely have got himself killed before spring."
The statement is not as comforting as Lambert seems to think it is, and something twists in Geralt's chest at the thought of anything happening to the boy. He may be a nuisance, sure, but for the most part the bard is as innocent as they come-- he was raised by nobility, it's not his fault he's practically useless on the path.
As the years pass however, Geralt begins complaining less about the bard and instead takes notice of the long silences that stretch throughout the keep. Even at night when Jaskier would have quieted in favour of sleep, Geralt finds things too quiet. It took a long time for him to become used to the steady heartbeat of the bard beside him, and for the first week of winter each year he's always surprised to discover that it's now difficult to fall asleep without the soothing rhythm he's grown accustomed to.
The last couple of years he's spent more time thinking about Jaskier than he's willing to admit. Even his dreams are filled with Jaskier.
"What's bothering you, Geralt?" Eskel asks him, when he's drifted off in thought yet again during their evening game of Gwent.
"Just thinking."
Lambert snorts. "Somebody better call Vesemir. Geralt's thinking."
"Fuck off."
"Thinking about what?" Eskel presses.
Geralt is silent for a moment. "It's quiet," he says eventually, "without Jaskier around."
Lambert raises an eyebrow. "You mean the fucking bard? I thought you were glad for the peace and quiet."
Geralt shrugs.
Across the table Eskel gives Lambert a look.
"You know... It's alright if you miss him."
Perhaps he does. He just grunts in response.
"Well, I'm glad you have a friend, brother," Eskel tells him.
"He's not my friend," Geralt grumbles. The statement is feeling less and less true these days, though it's not like it's going to admit that.
He meets up with Jaskier in their usual spot once the snows have thawed. Every year the witcher is nervous when spring finally arrives, and his head fills with uneasy thoughts that this will finally be the year that Jaskier does not show up. He's always wrong, of course, but that doesn't stop without them coming anyway. This time there's a new feeling as well, and Geralt's stomach swoops when he sees a streak of blue rounding the corner.
"Fancy seeing you here," Jaskier teases as he approaches the witcher. He offers Geralt a bright smile and the odd feeling in the witcher's stomach intensifies.
"Jaskier," Geralt greets with a nod. "Let's head out."
For some reason the strange feeling lingers for hours. Geralt begins to doubt that the rabbit he ate earlier that day was cooked properly.
The two of them stop in an average sized village a few days walk from the base of the mountain, and there Geralt takes his first contract of the year for some ghouls that had been digging up graves in the local cemetery. He makes quick work of the contract, polishing off around ten of the creatures with only a few minor cuts and scratches to show for it.
When Geralt returns to the inn, it looks as though Jaskier has just finished his performance. Lute in hand, the bard is seated casually at a table near the back of the room, arm draped over the shoulder of a young woman. Two tankards of ale are on the table in front of them and from the pink flush on Jaskier's cheeks it looks like he's had a couple drinks already. Geralt watches from the doorway as Jaskier says something that has the woman giggling. For some reason, the sight irks him. He's stomping halfway across the room before he can even comprehend why.
Jaskier greets him warmly as he approaches, smiling and laughing and completely unaware of the annoyed feeling curling in the witcher's stomach. Geralt slams a hand down on the table harder than necessary, making the pair jump and spilling a bit of the ale.
"Jaskier." he grunts, "Wounds. Need your help."
The bard nods. "Of course, Geralt. Why don't you head upstairs and I'll meet you there in a minute." He slides the witcher a key across the table that Geralt grabs quickly and shoves into his pocket.
"Hm."
By the time he's made it up the stairs, it occurs to Geralt that he really doesn't need help with his wounds at all, yet it gives him some sense of satisfaction knowing that Jaskier is willing to drop everything in order to tend to him. He removes his armour and sets out the supplies they'll need before making himself comfortable on the bed. Jaskier arrives a couple minutes later, breezing into the room with a wistful expression on his face.
"Right then. Let's get you cleaned up, shall we?"
The agitation that the witcher felt just minutes earlier fades away as he focuses on the warmth of Jaskier's touch against his skin. For once, Jaskier doesn't talk very much as he cleans and bandages Geralt's injuries.  He seems more content to finish the task at hand rather than engage in his usual one-sided conversation.
"I admit, I'm a tad surprised," the bard comments, as he ties the last of the bandages. "From the way you stormed in here, I thought you were hurt much worse than you appear to be. Had me worried for a moment there, but you seem to be doing alright considering your usual track record."
Geralt hums. "Couldn't reach." He shrugs his left shoulder where one of the ghouls got in a particularly deep slash with its claws.
It's not entirely true, witchers are very capable, and Geralt had been taking care of himself for decades before Jaskier showed up, though it is much easier when someone can reach those difficult spots for you.
"Of course," Jaskier says, as if that explains everything. "How silly of me. It must pull on the other injuries to reach behind yourself like that. I'm glad I was here to help."
Geralt sits back against the bed and watches as the bard puts away the supplies. His moment of calm however, slips away as he sees Jaskier head for the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Huh? Oh. I'm heading back downstairs. Sasha has promised me a lovely evening together and I'd hate to keep her waiting longer than I have to."
Geralt frowns.
"Don't worry," Jaskier assures him, "I won't bring her back here, I know you need your rest after a hunt. I made enough coin from my performance tonight to get us each a room of our own.  Her and I will take the one down the hall and you can have a night of peace and quiet all to your witchery self."
Geralt doesn't reply, partly because he's worried that he'll say something to offend Jaskier-- and the bard has been nothing but pleasant since they've met up for the season-- but the idea of Jaskier spending the night with that woman creates a hollow feeling in his chest.
"I'll see you in the morning for breakfast," the bard says before disappearing into the hall.
Geralt sits in silence, suddenly feeling frustrated and annoyed. Things like this have never bothered him before. In their time travelling together he and Jaskier both frequently take lovers (though in Geralt's case his are usually the kind you have to pay for). He's seen Jaskier fuck his way across the continent from day one, usually with unavailable men and women that results in the witcher having to rescue him from cuckolded lovers at every turn. It’s nothing new.
 Then why does it bother him today?
In the end, Geralt concludes that he's simply overtired from the harsh realities of the path after the long winter and goes to bed early.
That night the witcher's dreams are filled with a set of striking blue eyes. The events that his mind concocts are vague, but somewhere along the way Geralt can make out the melodic sound of Jaskier's laugh followed by the bard's voice dropping to an octave that's low and dripping like honey, he can feel the comforting weight of the other man's arm draped across his shoulders, and for once, the witcher's body is flooded by a sense of safety and calm. When he rises in the morning the dream is nothing more than a distant memory, however, the emotions linger.
Geralt expects the feeling to fade, but as spring fades into summer and summer fades into autumn, the emotions toiling within him only seem to grow stronger. The odd feeling in his stomach, the fondness, the calm, the irritation, and the--- Jealousy? Geralt isn't really sure what that last one is, but he's been feeling it in Jaskier's presence more than usual. More days than not, he finds himself watching the bard with hawk-like precision as he dallies with whatever company he's chosen for the night, anger brewing within him. Geralt isn't angry at Jaskier, he doesn't think. After all, the predicaments that the bard's libido gets them into are standard procedure by now. It's annoying, sure, but it's never bothered the witcher this much in the past. So no, it isn't Jaskier he's angry with. Geralt is angry about...being angry?
No, maybe not that. But something.
It all comes to a head near the end of autumn when there's a chill in the air and the final leaves begin to fall.
"I've been offered the teaching position again this winter," Jaskier says as he walks next to Geralt. "I admit, I've grown to quite enjoy them. They help the season pass by faster."
"Hm." Part of Geralt wishes that he had something that would do the same. Winters at Kaer Morhen can feel endless at times, and while he appreciates the rest and the time with his brothers, these past couple of years Geralt has begun to dread the season more and more. The usual monotony of days spent training and doing chores has lost its appeal.
"I haven't sent my letter of acceptance yet though," the bard continues, "I know the season is passing swiftly, but it still feels too early. I suppose I'm always hopeful a more exciting offer will come around." He turns to Geralt, offering him a small smile. "Most things feel terribly dull after one has grown used to traveling with a witcher." There's an almost sad note to that last sentence that Geralt can't identify.
"Hm."
Jaskier chuckles. "You know, you really are verbose, my friend."
Geralt shrugs, but a hint of a smile tugs at his lips.
"Anyway, perhaps going to Oxenfurt is for the best. The Countess de Stael wrote me last week--"
--Geralt's nostrils flare at the mention of that woman--
"--I know, can you believe it? She has agreed to give me a second chance to rekindle our attachment. I suppose she doesn't even deserve a response after how things ended last time, but alas, I am weak when it comes to affairs of the heart."
A sudden, urgent feeling blooms in the witcher's chest. "Don't--" the word is out of his mouth before he can register it's happening.
Jaskier stops walking and turns to him, an eyebrow raised. "You don't think I should?"
 Fuck. What is he supposed to say to that? Who gave his mouth permission to speak?
"She was unkind to you," Geralt says carefully. "You deserve better."
At that, Jaskier's face lights up. "Awww, Geralt. You know, you can be surprisingly sweet at times. I'm glad I have you looking out for me. I think you're right. Though I imagine it will be quite awkward to be around her the entire season after rejecting her advancement." He groans, running a hand down his face. "But I have nowhere else to go."
"Winter with me," the witcher blurts out. "At Kaer Morhen."
He watches as the bard's mouth rounds into an "o" shape. "Really?" Jaskier perks up a little. "Would I be allowed?"
 Well, might as well dive in headfirst.
"Of course, you would be my guest. And there's plenty of room since there's so few of us left. Besides, my brother Eskel has been pestering me to bring you for years now."
"And you're sure they would all be okay with it?"
"More than. We would all welcome a new face. There's only so many times we can listen to Eskel tell the story of how he fucked a succubus."
"Well," Jaskier says, eyes alight, "I hope you can weather through it one last time, my dear, because I simply have to hear it."
"So, you'll come then?" Geralt asks hopefully.
"Geralt, darling, my very best friend in the whole wide world, I would be honoured to join you."
And that's that. Jaskier is coming to Kaer Morhen. Geralt feels light as a feather.
The next day Geralt begins steering them North. The number of contracts he takes starts to slow as the weather gets colder, and soon their days are spent walking and camping along the road as they make their way towards the blue mountains. Jaskier is practically brimming with excitement as they near their destination, asking Geralt so many questions about the upcoming season but it makes his head spin.
"Are there other witchers there?"
"Yes."
"How many?"
"Usually three others. My brothers, Eskel and Lambert, and our mentor, Vesemir. Sometimes Coen will also join us, and sometimes Lambert brings his 'special friend' Aiden."
"What do you do all winter?"
"Rest. Train. Help keep the castle from falling apart."
"Will I have to train too?"
"No. We don't want you stabbing yourself by accident again."
"What are your brothers like?"
"Eskel is nice. Lambert is an asshole."
"Do you think they would mind if I wrote a song about one of them?"
"You can ask them yourself when you meet them."
It goes on like that for weeks until they reach the village at the base of the mountain, and Geralt prepares Jaskier for the journey ahead.
"The path to Kaer Morhen is not like travelling on the road," he explains. "The pass through the mountains is dangerous; the trail is along sheer cliffs; the weather is freezing. Witcher trainees used to call it The Killer. You must stick very close to my side the entire time and do everything I say without question like your life depends on it, because it very well could."
For the first time since inviting him, Jaskier's face turns very serious. "I understand," he says quietly.
"Don't worry," Geralt assures him, "I'll keep you safe."
At that, Jaskier smiles. "I know. You always do."
They head out when dawn breaks, leading Roach along with a cart of supplies. Anticipation and worry looms inside Geralt.
Part of him is excited to share Jaskier with his brothers. The bard's friendship has opened his mind to so many new things, the man's tenderness and care turning the witcher's life upside down as he breaks down each and every barrier that Geralt has built to protect himself from the world. Geralt wants to share that with Eskel and Lambert. He wants them to know what it's like to be shown kindness from someone outside their pack, to know what it is when someone speaks to you with genuine interest instead of deceit and scorn. They would all love him, Geralt thinks, even Lambert. Jaskier is the kind of person one simply cannot help but grow fond of.
On the other hand, a darker, more selfish part of Geralt wants to hoard the bard all to himself. He knows that they're friends, that Jaskier cares for him deeply, but Geralt is so used to having every good thing in life taken from him, but he can't help but worry that he will one day lose Jaskier as well. His selfish instincts want him to keep the bard so that Geralt may bask in his warmth and kindness forever.
The long trek up the mountain is as treacherous as ever and Geralt is extra careful to always keep Jaskier close to his side. By the time they arrive at the wood carved doors of Kaer Morhen's main hall, Jaskier is half frozen, lips nearly blue, and clinging to the witcher's form to conserve what little heat he has left. Geralt knows that it's really the only option to keep the other man from freezing to death, but something about having Jaskier pressed up against him, bundled under the same cloak, makes him feel warm in a way that could never be overshadowed by the ice and snow swirling around them.
By the evening, after a cup of tea and a few hours spent bundled by the fireplace, Jaskier is back to his usual self, flitting around the witcher keep with the energy of a child on yuletide morning. He's easily enamored by the stories that Eskel and Lambert tell over dinner, asking questions upon questions about their conquests and adventures. Geralt can tell from the pink tinge on his brothers' faces that they are as taken aback by the bard's thunderous first impression as he was all those years ago.
They like him, whether they know it already or will discover it in time, and it makes Geralt swell with pride to show off his friend to the people he cares for the most. Jaskier and Eskel both share a love of literature. And all of Lambert's cutting remarks and insults are hurled right back at him with the same level of vigor and intensity of which they were thrown. Even Vesemir seems to appreciate their guest; Geralt catches the pleased look on the old man's face when Jaskier takes a genuine interest in the history of Kaer Morhen and its inhabitants.
Afterwards, when Jaskier has turned in early for the night after the exhaustion of their journey and Vesemir mysteriously disappeared when Lambert began cracking open the crates of moonshine, the confrontation begins.
"So..." Eskel muses as he leans towards Geralt, a shit-eating grin spreading across his face.
"..so?"
"Jaskier is nice."
"Hm."
"And you finally brought him to Kaer Morhen."
"I did."
"And...?"
Geralt frowns, slamming his tankard down on the table. "And what?"
Lambert shoves him with his elbow. "So, are you two fucking?"
Geralt nearly spits out his drink. "What? Of course not!"
"But you want to," Lambert presses.
"Jaskier’s not-- we're just friends."
The younger witcher's eyes narrow. "Friends. Right."
"We are!"
"You were staring at him for the entire dinner."
"I wanted to make sure he was feeling comfortable," Geralt defends.
"Uh huh. And he's staying in your room. Where there's one bed."
Heat rises in Geralt's cheeks. "He's a human! He gets cold!"
"Look, Geralt, Eskel and I both understand. If you're fucking the bard, you don't need to hide it from us."
"I think what Lambert is trying to say," Eskel cuts in, "is that we're happy for you."
"Well, don't be," the white wolf growls, "because there's nothing going on between us."
"Ooh-kay."
As Geralt storms off his ears feel hot with embarrassment. Eskel and Lambert don't know what they're talking about. There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything. So, what if he invited Jaskier to Kaer Morhen partially so he wouldn't return to the countess. She was always unkind to him; Geralt is just doing the bard a favour by looking out for him. And alright, maybe it did give the witcher a sick sense of satisfaction to know that he could have Jaskier all to himself this year, that the famous bard who could have any one of his choosing, chose him, stayed with him.
He and Jaskier are just friends. Friends. And that's all they'll ever be.
When Geralt reaches his room, Jaskier is already asleep, curled underneath the blankets with his knees tucked into his chest to conserve heat. That fluttery unfamiliar feeling bubbles up inside him, and for a moment, he just stands in the doorway, studying the sleeping form of his friend.
That's... not what this feeling is. Geralt has been feeling it all year. Surely, he would know if it was.
He makes quick work of changing into his sleep clothes before sliding under the blankets next to the other man. Jaskier is shivering slightly and the new weight on the mattress pulls him partway from his sleep. The tiniest smile spreads on his lips and he immediately curls himself around Geralt's arm, letting out a sigh of contentment.
"Jaskier," Geralt whispers.
The bard hums in response.
"We'll get you your own room in the morning.  Sorry we didn't have time this evening, but we can make do for one night."
"S'okay," Jaskier slurs, snuggling further into the witcher's heat. "You're warm."
Sudden heat rises in his face and Geralt falls asleep to the feeling of dancing butterflies.
It doesn't take long for the witcher to discover that having Jaskier at Kaer Morhen was as good a decision as he hoped it would be. Gone are the unfilled silences and dragging winter days that threatened to consume him with boredom. With Jaskier, the keep is livelier than it's been in decades. Vesemir gives him the task of reorganizing the library during the time that the others spend training, and it feeds the bard's interest in witchers even further. Everyday when Geralt returns from morning training, he's jumped by a whirlwind of questions and enthusiastic comments from the other man, all circulating around whatever book he's discovered now.
At meals, Jaskier livens up the conversation with some stories of his own, as well as gushing over every word that comes from Eskel or Lambert's mouth. The other wolves are surprised at first, Geralt knows how Jaskier can be and he's sure they've never had this enthusiastic of an audience since, well, ever. The bard hangs on their every word, and smiles, and showers them all in compliments commanding their bravery and perseverance.
In the evenings Jaskier will offer to sing for them. Lambert, of course, thinks it's fucking hilarious that most of his songs are about Geralt, and pesters him to sing Toss a Coin over and over until Geralt is ready to strangle his brother, or the bard, or both. Eskel likes when Jaskier recites poetry, and Vesemir seems very pleased indeed when he learns that the boy has quite an extensive repertoire of folk songs from his era. Jaskier promises to write them all a song of their own someday, holding strong to the belief that "all witchers deserve recognition for their work."
And Geralt, well, Geralt has been doing a lot of thinking lately.
Thinking about the strange feelings he's been experiencing the past year; the light, giddy feeling, the anger, the warmth. He thought he knew what those things were, that there has been a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything, but now he's not so sure.
He doesn't want to ask Eskel and Lambert-- they would just make fun of him again-- and Vesemir... That would be too awkward. So that leaves Geralt with the only other person in the keep, the expert himself.
He finds the bard in his room, sitting cross-legged on the road in front of the hearth, lute in hand and song writing book open on the floor. Jaskier is so absorbed in his composing, but he doesn't notice Geralt's approach, leaving the witcher to instead hover awkwardly in the doorway and debate whether or not he should flee before asking. He's nervous, but he doesn't know why. Jaskier is his friend, Geralt trusts Jaskier. And the bard would never make fun of him or berate him for what he doesn't know.
He takes a deep breath.
"Jaskier."
The other man jumps a little bit but the sound of his voice, clearly too focused on his task to have noticed that he wasn't alone. He turns his head, smiling as he sees that it's Geralt.
"Geralt," he greets cheerily, "what can I do for you?"
"I'm afraid I'm in need of your wisdom. In the...emotional sense."
Jaskier's eyebrows raise just a fraction. "Oh." He blinks, as if righting himself. "Of course. I'll do what I can." He pats the spot beside him on the rug and the witcher cautiously sits down. "Tell me, my friend, what's bothering you?"
"I've been experiencing feelings," Geralt explains, "that are unfamiliar to me."
He’s sure that anyone else would have laughed after a statement like that, but not Jaskier. Instead, the bard nods slowly, giving him a knowing smile.
"You must have a lot on your mind lately."
"Yes. I can't stop thinking about it. I thought I knew what these feelings meant, but now I'm not so sure. I didn't know who else to ask."
The bard hums thoughtfully. "And these feelings you're having, are they good?"
Geralt fiddles with the hem of his shirt. "Sometimes. They're sort of hard to place, but on occasion it's...pleasant?"
"Can you describe them to me?"
The witcher's eyes slip closed as his grip tightens on the fabric and his hands. "I feel...warm," he decides, "not literally-- though sometimes it is literal-- but more like comfort. The kind of warm you feel when you're content and at peace. And I get an odd feeling in my stomach, one that feels light and ticklish, but not like I'm sick."
"I see. And have you noticed any specific circumstances in which these feelings are stronger than normal?"
Geralt has to think for a long moment on that one. "I think... They seem to be more intense when I am around a certain person. Does that mean anything?"
Jaskier's mouth presses into a firm line. "It might. How do you usually feel when you're around that person?"
Geralt's stomach twists. His teeth worry at his lower lip as he stares at his friend's face. "Well," he says, "they're my friend. I enjoy being in their company and I want to spend time with them. I like to see them happy, and it makes me upset when they're sad. I want to protect them and keep them safe, thoughts of them fill my head constantly, and sometimes it's like every fiber of my being craves being near them. It's terrifying, but peaceful, and I know that I would do anything if it meant that I could stay by their side."
Jaskier nods as he explains, and once he's finished, places his lute off to the side and carefully takes Geralt's hand in his. "I know what it is you're feeling," he says softly, "I know it quite well, in fact."
"Tell me," Geralt pleads, "tell me what it is."
"You're in love, Geralt."
In love? Could that really be what this feeling is? He didn't think that it was possible, that a witcher could feel love, let alone find it, but as he meets Jaskier's eyes and feels that warmth spreading throughout his chest-- he isn't sure how else to describe it. That would explain everything; why Geralt feels so strongly for the bard, why he aches when they're apart, why he can't stand to see the man with anybody else.
He's in love with Jaskier.
But why does Jaskier suddenly look so sad?
"I..." he's surprised how shaky his voice sounds. "I think you may be right. What should I do?"
"If you want to pursue these feelings," the bard all but whispers, "you need to tell them how you feel."
I just did, Geralt thinks.
"But...what if they don't feel the same way?"
The bard offers him a smile but there's something strained behind it. "Oh, Geralt. Yennefer is an incredible woman-- albeit scary; I am almost certain she will return your feelings."
Wait what?
"She's not--"
"It's okay, Geralt. Really.  I know that her and I have never gotten along in the past, but I would never let something as meaningless as a petty squabble get in the way of your love for eachoth--"
"It's you," Geralt blurts out.
He watches as all the colour seems to suddenly drain from Jaskier's face. "I-- what?"
"It's you," Geralt repeats, "It's you who makes me feel these things."
The bard's expression morphs from one of surprise, to shock, to panic. He shakes his head, voice suddenly low and very serious. "I   never took you as someone to be cruel," he mutters. Each word stings more than the last. "Do not joke about things like that."
"Jaskier, it's not--"
"I should go," the bard says, standing and heading for the door.
No. The witcher's heart hammers in his chest. How could this have happened? He finally understood what everything meant and now Jaskier is leaving--
Before he can even think he's grabbing the bard's hand and yanking him back.
"Geralt--"
His voice is furious but the witcher doesn't wait to see what he was going to say before he presses their lips together.
In an instant, Jaskier's composure seems to crack. A strangled sound escapes from his throat as he goes limp in Geralt's hold. The Witcher pulls him closer, until their bodies are pressed flush up against each other, and slowly, slowly, Jaskier starts to kiss back.
Geralt deepens the kiss, and the bard's arms wrap around his neck. Jaskier whines, pressing into him as if suddenly desperate, like a man starving for water, and Geralt is the sea. They kiss like that until the witcher feels a hand on his chest, pushing them apart, when he pulls back far enough to lay his eyes on the other man, that fluttering feeling erupts inside him.
"This isn't a joke, is it?" The bard's eyes are wide, pupils round with a sliver of blue surrounding them. His lips are pink and glistening, hair tousled just so, and he looks at Geralt with an expression of awe.
"Every word was true," the witcher says.
"Oh, Geralt," Jaskier surges forward, kissing him again. "I have wanted you for so long," he gasps between kisses. "Dreamed of it since the day we met. I love you."
Geralt breaks the kiss, drawing back just far enough to press their foreheads together. "Yeah?"
"Yeah."
He presses another lingering kiss to the smaller man's lips. "I love you too."
They trade kisses back and forth, until Jaskier begins to grow desperate with it. His hips jerk forward and Geralt gasps as he feels a line of solid heat press against his hip.
"Ah-- sorry."
"No, no, it's okay."
"We don't have to..."
"But I want to," Geralt whispers against his lips. "I want everything with you."
They end up in bed together, Geralt sprawled amongst the pillows and Jaskier perched above him, kissing in an endless cycle so that each can no longer tell where one ends and the other begins.
“You’re very lucky,” Jaskier whispers when they break for air. “You’ve somehow managed to seduce the continent’s greatest lover into your bed.”
Geralt pulls him back down to a kiss filled with teeth and tongue. “I don’t want the continent’s greatest lover,” he murmurs. “I just want you.”
Jaskier is quick to smile in response but Geralt doesn't miss the way his eyes grow wet and shiny at the declaration.
They relieve each other of their clothes, trading kisses across newly exposed skin, touching each scar and holding each other close. Jaskier doesn't know that when he sits astride the witcher's hips that Geralt has never been with a man in this way before, but instead of apprehension and nervousness, everything is washed away by the love and trust he has with his partner.
Jaskier treats him with the utmost respect and gentleness. He opens Geralt up with oiled fingers, stroking spots so deep within him that make the witcher writhe and moan. He brings Geralt to heights of pleasure of which he has never known before-- ones that the witcher didn’t know were possible to achieve. And as Geralt gazes upon the face of his lover, kiss drunk and contorted in pleasure, he can’t help but feel that this is as good as it gets.
Afterwards, when they lie pressed together, tired and spent, Geralt ponders that feeling once more.
It is love.
Jaskier may not know how to wield a sword or how to fight a monster. He may not know how to survive on his own without the help of anyone else. He may not know everything that goes on in Geralt's head, his worries and fears that plague him even now. But the bard does know one crucial thing and that is how Geralt feels for him. How Geralt loves him.
There are a great many things that Jaskier does not know, but the love that Geralt has is not one of them.
156 notes · View notes
dear-ao3 · a year ago
Note
do you have any geraskier fic recs?
i in fact do. courtesy of myself and discord:
harrier by @agoodgoddamnshot: E, 31k, complete. jaskier is a witcher who meets geralt on the path, sexy times ensue.
a twist in time: E, 14k, complete. jaskier does not meet geralt in posada when he is supposed to. (mind the tags)
a full blown case of what is known by @crushcandles: E, 11k, complete. the relationship jaskier had over the winter affects his one with geralt. pining.
i will not kiss you by @a-kind-of-merry-war: E, 22k, complete. geralt gets cursed, he can't touch anyone.
the fear of falling apart by @storm-and-starlight: T, 10k, complete. jaskier is a selkie who pines for the ocean.
leaves by @all-hail-the-witcher: G, 2k, complete. geralt and jaskier separate early for the winter. geralt presses leaves to give him in the fall.
silver and steel: E, 78k (series), wip. jaskier’s father father tries to ruin his life by assigning a mysterious cassiline to guard him but the real mystery is why they aren't fucking yet
the god of scraped knees by @andthepeople: M, 8k, complete. jaskier used to be a sorcerer, but he doesn't want to remember what it feels like anymore. 
the courting season: M, 47k, complete. geralt realizes that he is in love with jaskier one winter and he and his brothers research how to court a minor noble, however, jaskier is romantically clueless.
homo homini lupus est (man is wolf to man) by @inexplicifics: T, 7k, complete. more than a year after the dragon hunt, geralt needs rescuing and jaskier might be the only person who can manage it.
the accidental warlord and his pack by @inexplicifics: E, 342k (series), wip. jaskiers family gives him to the white wolf, the warlord of the north. but it is not what jaskier was expecting. 
an exaltation of wolves by @round--robin: E, 124k (series), complete. jaskier comes to kaer morhen and discovers that the other wolves are just as prickly and just as deserving of love as geralt. 
heart exhange by @jaskiersvalley: E, 78k, complete. geralt meets jaskier and he is so different than any other dom he's met before that he decides to push the limits (mind the tags)
lock & key: E, 9k, complete. jaskier suggests a chastity device to make himself a worthy travel companion and gives geralt the key.
julian by @vands38: E, 22k, complete. jaskier is a child prodigy burnout, geralt is a ballet dancer who has had a career altering accident, geralt sees a potential dance partner in jaskier, jaskier wants to get laid.
a horny bard and a confused witcher by @geraltrogerericduhautebellegarde: M, 1.1k (series) wip. jaskier uses every single sexual tension inducing phrase and situation he can think of, but geralt just doesn't get it.
fuck indeed by @jaskierswolf: E, 8.7k, complete. jaskier starts an onlyfans account.
mom hugs and ice cream by @avengeful-bunny: T, 2.5k, complete. geralt gets dragged to a pride parade by his brothers, while there he comes across a woman giving out free mom hugs and meets jaskier.
cast a spell for your demon by @kueble: E, 11k (series), wip. geralt is a demon, jaskier travels with him.
time to wonder, do i dare? by @norationalthoughtrequired : M, 28k, complete. geralt owns a bookshop and allows jaskier to play outside. along the way they fall in love.
i dont like most people by @softdarlingjaskier: T, 2k, complete. geralt comes back from a bath upset, jaskier tries to make him feel better. softness ensues.
next to you by @lankygeralt: E, 42k, complete. jaskier is in college and falls in love with his best friend, ciris, dad. 
incubus jaskier by @dat-carovieh: E, 12k (series), wip. jaskier is an incubus who needs sexual energy to survive.
i try so loud to love you. you cannot seem to hear. by @dat-carovieh: E, 18k, complete. jaskier is not shy about his love for geralt, but geralt denys having feelings. pining ensues.
in this realm of blood and sin by @feedingmyinsomnia: E, 24k, complete. an angsty fix it where jaskier makes bad life choices and geralt tries to fix the mess he made. (mind the warnings)
the kink club au by @feedingmyinsomnia: E, 48k (series), wip. a series of one shots (nsfw and sfw) for the geraskier kink club modern au.
may the blood freeze in my veins (let me rot within my grave) by @feedingmyinsomnia: M, 5.4k, complete. geralt gets a contract in lettenhove and meets jaskier, but the contract is causing him trouble.
there's a harshness in your voice and a softness in your hands by @damatris: T, 2.6k, complete. jaskier gets hurt trying to defend geralt.
in your arms (i feel loved) by @damatris: T, 2.8k, complete. five times jaskier hugged geralt and one time geralt hugged jaskier.
the fae went down to touissant by @professorjaskier: G, 5k, complete. a fae claims that she can play the lute better than jaskier can. a devil went down to georgia au.
im only human after all by @ghostinthelibrarywrites: M, 87k, complete. geralt is a vigilante by night and a reporter by day. jaskier is his ex and obsessed with the witcher, geralts vigilante alter ego. but when geralt is blackmailed, jaskier gets involved. 
soulmates by @officerjennie: T, 6k, complete. geralt is on a self loathing streak and jasper is not taking any of his shit. (see warnings)
fingertips by @dapandapod: G, 1k, complete. jaskier is too stressed to sleep and geralt wants to help.
hollow by @dapandapod: M, 9k, complete. jaskier loses his memory of geralt, geralt tries to let him go but they get pulled back to each other.
fair by @comfyswitcherblanketfort: G, 1.5k, complete. geralt and jaskier are in love, decades of mutual pining and accidental love confessions ensue. based on fair by the amazing devil.
sweater weather by @wherethewordsare: E, 4.6k, complete. geralt leaves his hoodie at jaskiers and that's the last push they need to get together.
you're only brave in the moonlight (stay till sunrise) by @yoursummerfrost: E, 29k, complete. jaskier falls in love with his college roommate. a slow burn.
a warm reunion after a cold winter by @elliestormfound: T, 1.2k, complete. geralt and jaskiers first hug after the winter lasted a little longer than usual.
rugby geralt au by @reallooney: T, 68k (series), wip. geralt is captain of the rugby team, jaskier is a music student. they are together, but during one spring semester geralt befalls a series of unfortunate luck, the following fall, the same happens to jaskier. or: the boys take care of each other and its very soft.
i was burning up with fever ( i didnt care how long i lived): G, 4k, complete. jaskier has the flu. geralt, lambert and eskel (mistakenly) think that he's dying.
say yes to the dress au by @all-hail-the-witcher: T, 2k (series), wip. jaskier is a bridal consultant (or randy with the personality of david emmanuel) at kleinfelds. geralt is the mysterious dress designer that rarely makes public appearances. 
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not1-2write · 16 days ago
Text
Witcher fic masterpost
a masterpost of all my witcher fics. ship: geraskier
oneshots:
warmth, rated T, no warnings (tumblr) (AO3)
summary:  Jaskier scrubs the blood from the floor in Kaer Morhen and ignores the burning pain from his right hand. He’s so cold but he doesn’t dare light a fire.
clinging to the moment, rated T, no warnings (tumblr) (AO3)
summary:  Jaskier drags an unconscious Geralt up the mountain towards Kaer Morhen, cursing all the while. It takes a few days, some stitches and a fever (and stealing some of Lambert's ale) but eventually they do get a few moments of peace.
multi-chapter
just add music- complete, rated T, bakery AU, no warnings (AO3) (apparently i did not post it to tumblr)
summary: Roach steals a busker's sandwich and suddenly Geralt's life is full of music. Jaskier has his lunch stolen and falls in love with the dog, the little girl she belongs to, and her hot baker dad that owns the trendy café around the corner.
roots- complete, warlord AU rated M, brief mentions of torture, no descriptions (AO3) tumblr links- (ch 1) (ch 2) (ch 3) (ch 4) (ch 5) (ch 6) (ch 7) (ch 8) (ch 9)
summary:  Jaskier saves the Warlord's daughter. Despite his family ties, he's allowed to stay in Kaer Morhen while he recovers from his injuries. Eventually, it becomes home.
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