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Redemption

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There was a window in his cell, set high up in the wall.  It let in daylight, and the sound of distant birds. When he first arrived, Jaskier kept track of the days.  When he first arrived, Jaskier sang to himself, first dirges to mock his fears, then jolly tunes to keep his spirits up.

Now he lay where he had been tossed, straw digging into the side of his face.  He lay still, breathing shallow and every ache in his body turning into one long keen of agony.  There was still a song in him, but his muse was busy rhyming with pain and agony, with only his pulse to keep a slow beat.

He’d lost track of days.  His stomach was a pit of agony, and he swore he could smell water, his parched mouth cemented shut around a sticky tongue.

It was light again when the door squealed open.  Jaskier hated that sound. He tried to wriggle, muscles incapable of any real defense.

‘“Someone here for you, you little worm,” his jailer jeered.  

Jaskier moaned, peeling his eyes open to watch as his torturer approached.  The sounds of the jailer’s boots drummed a song of horror in his brain.

A second voice interrupted the scene.  “Touch him and you’ll lose your limbs.”

The second voice was gruff.  Familiar. Jaskier gasped, wept in relief.  His feverish brain painted Geralt of Rivia, the White Wolf, the Butcher of Blavikan, standing in the doorway of his cell.  The vision was in full armor, grey-white hair tumbling at his shoulders and glittering gold eyes cutting straight into Jaskier’s soul.

It was a scene Jaskier hadn’t even dared dream.  His savior.

“I’m already dead,” Jaskier whimpered.  Death hurt a lot more than he expected. Hells, he swore he could even smell the witcher - that particular smell of horse, dried blood, bitter herbs, and a faint note of chamomile.

There was a scuffle of noise, the jailer said something and Jaskier blinked and lost track of time.  He felt his arm wrenched and he wailed as the jailer dragged a few feet. There was a flash of light reflecting on a blade, and the crunching sound of a sword slicing through flesh and bone. Jaskier dropped from the jailer’s grasp.  He smelled the coppery scent of fresh blood, and heard the thud of a body hitting the ground.

But then silence.  Jaskier lay breathing, staring at the ceiling.

“You’re in bad shape, bard,” Geralt said, and the witcher was looking down at him.

“You’re real?” Jaskier wondered.

“Hmm.”

“Thought you never wanted to see me again,” Jaskier breathed.

Geralt grimaced, squatted down next to the prone singer.  “I am sorry about that.”

“Sorry bout that,” Jaskier whispered, then he whimpered as the witcher started to move him.  “I can’t move.”

“I see that.”  Jaskier wailed as the witcher manhandled him, pulling him up over his shoulder.  He retched brokenly, nothing in his empty stomach to even lose. “Stay with me, bard.” 

Jaskier blacked out again.  He felt movement, but everything was a blur.  He still hurt, but the smell of the witcher gave him comfort.  His pain was lessened, as if his body knew he was safe in Geralt’s arms.

When he came to again there was a soft bed beneath him, blankets wrapped around his body.  Soft candlelight lit the room, and he could hear a fireplace crackling somewhere in the room.

“You’re paying for an inn?” Jaskier wondered.  Geralt came into view, armor off and his shirt soft-looking.  He was holding a small bottle.

“Drink this.”

Jaskier, parched and nearly dead from dehydration, shyed.  “Witcher potions are poison to humans.”

“Not a witcher potion.”  Geralt frowned. “ Jaskier .  I wouldn’t poison you.”

“Course not,” Jaskier whispered, and let Geralt tip the bottle into his mouth.  It tasted sharp, his mouth stung as the moisture absorbed into the parched flesh.  He could feel the potion sliding down into his belly, warmth spreading out immediately.  It felt so good that it hurt.

“Yennefer made it,” Geralt said, turning away to put the bottle down.

Jaskier gagged, scraping his tongue against the roof of his mouth. The warmth in his belly was bleeding out through his body - erasing aches, soothing pains.  Jaskier swiped at his arms, as if to wipe it out of him. “Ughh,” he groaned, sitting up and bed and trying to ignore the fact that he felt better than he had in days.  

“Cut it out,” Geralt snapped, coming back with a glass of water and a small bowl.  “Lay back. Yennefer’s saved your life before.”

“Why did you come back for me?”  Jaskier sat back, resenting his own returning health, resenting any mention of Yennefer.  He tried to pout, but he was still weak and he couldn’t hold the glass to his mouth. He was nonplussed watching the witcher tilt the water into his mouth, yet Geralt seemed unfazed by the indignity of feeding an invalid.

“Don’t drink too fast,” Geralt said, pulling the glass away and batting away Jaskier’s hands as the bard tried to bring it back.  “You need to take it slow. Even with the potion, it will still take time for you to heal.”

“Why did you come back for me, Geralt?”

“You’re like a weed, bard.  Always showing up where you don’t belong.”  The witcher offered a spoonful of gruel, and Jaskier’s hunger won over his desire to press the issue.   “I made a mistake,” Geralt said finally, warily. He looked away, watching his own hands as he refilled the spoon with more gruel.  “I made a lot of mistakes.”

“Geralt…”

“I shouldn’t have said that to you, Jaskier.”

“Because we’re friends?” Jaskier said.

Geralt’s eyes snapped up to his, holding his gaze.  But Jaskier didn’t back down. Somewhere, at the back of his mind, he wondered if he should fear the witcher.  He’d seen Geralt kill - hell, Geralt had killed Jaskier’s jailer earlier that morning. Most people quaked when faced with Geralt’s grim gaze.  Yet Jaskier felt no fear as he stared up into those yellow eyes. It was Geralt who backed down, looking back at the spoon.

“Because we’re friends,” Geralt said.

Jaskier could only gape, and Geralt used the opportunity to spoon more gruel into his mouth.  Wordless, Jaskier could only eat.

Half a bowl and the rest of the glass of water later, Geralt pushed Jaskier back into the pillows.  Sleep came before he could even argue, the muse in his head singing a wordless song of relief. He had not managed to come up with a rebuttal.  

Jaskier didn’t know how long he slept, but it didn’t feel as long as the first healing coma Yennefer had sent him on.  His body ached, but he could sit up, pull the blankets off of himself.

Geralt returned after Jaskier had used the commode and was in the middle of picking at his wrecked clothing.

‘I brought your things,” the witcher said.  Indeed, Jaskier’s pack was piled next to the door, and his lute.

“My lute!”  Jaskier tripped over, kneeling to touch her.  He’d thought she was lost when his torturers had taken her from him.  It was the lute he’d gotten from the elf-king, never a finer instrument he’d ever played.  She hadn’t even lost her tune; when he touched her strings she still sang clearly.

“Lucky thing,” Geralt said dryly.

“Geralt - I - thank you .”

The witcher harrumphed, looking away.  “Ordered you a bath.” Indeed, at that moment two burly men knocked on the door and brought in a tub, followed by women carrying buckets of hot water.

Jaskier was silent while the bath set up, touching the lute and watching Geralt out of the corner of his eye.  He could feel Yennefer’s magic still working inside of him, healing him. He remembered the violet-eyed sorceress, terrifying and powerful.  Selfish. She wouldn’t have worked the spell for Jaskier himself.

Last he’d seen, Yennefer had turned her back on Geralt.  Sworn to never have anything to do with the witcher again.

And - Jaskier’s heart twisted - Geralt had turned his back on Jaskier, in response.

Jaskier’s muse sang a song of destiny in his mind.  He wished he could write off the sorceress, ignore her place in Geralt’s story.  And in his own life. He’d nearly died, back when the Jinn closed his throat, and it had been her magic that had saved him.  Here again, her magic working inside him. 

At Geralt’s request.  Both times.

“Bath’s ready.”

The workers bustled away, and Geralt looked ready to lift Jaskier and put him bodily into the bath.

“I’ll go - I’ll go .”  Jaskier stripped quickly - his ruined clothing was destined for the rag bin.  Or the fire. He climbed into the water and groaned in relief.

Then yelped as rough hands grabbed him.

“Calm down, bard,” Geralt snapped, big hands working soap into a lather over Jaskier’s shoulders.  Jaskier groaned.

“You’re a true friend, Geralt,” Jaskier said.  Sang, really. He’d drank, eaten, slept. Now he was getting a bath and a rough massage.  By a friend. “A true friend.”

“Shut up,”  Geralt grumped.

“Remember when I once bathed you, Geralt?”  Jaskier was getting his spirit back. As if he had not spent unknown days in a cell, bruised, starved and dying.  “When was that? Cintra?”

Destiny, Jaskier’s muse sang.  “Did you ever go back? For your child surprise?”

Hell, Jaskier remembered suddenly.  He’d heard that Nilfgard had invaded, swept across Cintra.  The city had fallen, King and Queen slain. What had happened to the princess?

Jaskier looked back at Geralt’s dark face, reading the line of the other man’s brow, the set of his shoulders.  The determined way the gold eyes would not meet his.

“Ah, good,” Jaskier turned back around to let Geralt continue lathering his back.  “I knew you would swoop in and save her. Good kid, I met her a few times. Cirilla.  She’s a quick one. They call her the little sparrow.”

“Jaskier,” Geralt’s tone was a warning, but the bard ignored it.

“I’ll need details of course.  You didn’t have to wait until the last moment, but that’s all the best for a dramatic reading I suppose.”  Jaskier began to hum.

Something about the Sparrow and the White Wolf, something something.  Jaskier’s muse twanged at the mention of an icy sorceress - Yennefer was involved somehow, but damned if the bard would sing a song about that bitch.

“Tell me, did you battle Nilfgardians to free the child from the chaos?  Or did you sneak in, before the attack, smuggle the girl away? How did Calanthe take it?  Did she give up her granddaughter willingly? She was very fond of the child, you know -- oof!”  Jaskier was suddenly underwater as Geralt dunked him, struggling against water and soap and the witcher’s strong hands.

Geralt hauled him out again.  “Stop asking questions. You nearly died, Jaskier.”  He brushed wet hair out of Jaskier’s eyes, almost gentle, brows drawn down.  “Does nothing shut you up?”

Jaskier breathed hard, staring into the gold eyes.  He crooked a smile. The magic was still inside him, warming him from the inside while the bath warmed him from out.  He could do anything.

“Nothing shuts me up, Geralt.”  He tilted an eyebrow, a risk he’d never taken before.  “Not unless my mouth is busy.”

He could play up his hunger.  Pretend he was talking about drink, food.

Blue eyes held gold, the only sound in the room the fire and the soft drip of water from Jaskier’s hair into the bath.  Jaskier’s heart rate spiked, and he took a breath, opening his mouth to speak again.

Then Geralt’s mouth crashed against his.  

Kissing the White Wolf was exactly as Jaskier could have imagined it - rough, hard.  Geralt kissed like he fought, with purpose. The witcher wriggled a tongue into Jaskier’s mouth and the bard groaned, opening his mouth and letting the other man in.

When the kiss ended Jaskier was breathing hard.

“Fuck,” Geralt said.  He stood, and Jaskier watched him walk away.

Jaskier sank back into the bath, tipped his head back and let his hair drift around his head.  He closed his eyes and listened to the way his body hitting the metal edges of the tub rang inside the bath like a bell.

Perhaps he’d write a song about water.

Fuck.

Geralt had kissed him. The witcher.  The White Wolf, the Butcher of Blavikan.

Kissed him, Jaskier.  The bard, the weed.

Jaskier popped his eyes open and sat up.  Geralt was standing over him, watching.

“I’m a weed?” he asked.  “Always popping up where I don’t belong?”

Geralt smirked, ducking his head ruefully.  He crouched.

“Yes, Jaskier.  A weed.” He tilted a hand against the side of Jaskier’s head, fingers dipping into Jaskier’s wet hair.

“Good thing you’re not a farmer,” Jaskier said, dizzy and grinning.    He had kissed Geralt, and Geralt was still there. Geralt hadn’t left.

“People try to kill weeds, Jaskier.”

It took Jaskier a whole second to identify the set of Geralt’s mouth as worry.  His grin got bigger, his cheeks were starting to hurt. He. White Wolf. Worry.  For him.

He braved to lean forward, bringing his mouth closer to Geralt’s.

“You saved my life, Geralt.”

Geralt humphed.  “If you hadn’t been there, Jaskier -”

Jaskier leaned the last inch and closed his mouth over Geralt’s.  This kiss was softer, longer. Jaskier breathed out of his nose, closed his eyes and let their mouths move together.

Geralt moved like a dancer when he was fighting.  Pirouettes and spins.

Geralt’s mouth moved like a dancer against Jaskier’s, smooth and precise.  Perfect.

There was a song in that somewhere.

Geralt’s hand, in his hair, gripped - tugged gently.  Jaskier broke the kiss and let the other man tilt his head back.  He breathed as Geralt’s mouth moved down his neck. There was a soft lick at the bruises on his throat, a press of teeth against his collarbone.

Jaskier groaned.  A woman had once told him that it was sexy when men made noise in bed.  In return, Geralt growled and bit a bit harder, hand coming up to touch Jaskier’s nipples.  Jaskier whined.

“Geralt,” he breathed, then gasped as Geralt’s hand dipped below the waterline - scraping down his belly to wrap around his hardening cock.  “Geralt!”

Gods.  When was the last time he’d been with a man?  Rough hands on him, firm hands that knew exactly how to move him, tease him into wakefulness.  Jaskier could feel sword calluses and he humped up into the hands holding him. Water splashed out of the bath, wetting Geralt’s trousers, splattering his shirt.

“Let’s” Geralt said.

“Yes,” Jaskier gasped, splashing up out of the bath.  For the briefest second he felt his footing slip, but then Geralt caught him, setting him firmly on his feet outside the tub.  The witcher grunted, Jaskier let out a breathy laugh.

Then he was tugging on the laces of Geralt’s trousers, gasping and losing focus when Geralt’s hand reaffirmed its grip on his cock.  Geralt let out a huff of laughter himself, bending and biting at Jaskier’s nipples.

They tripped back toward the bed.

“Wait wait,” Jaskier whimpered.  “Wet! I’m wet!” Indeed, he was leaving a trail of puddles when he moved.

Geralt snickered, twisted his wrist and then had to hold Jaskier upright to keep him from crumpling.  “Fine,” the witcher growled, and let go to fetch a towel.

One quick wipe down later they tumbled into the pillows - Jaskier still far too damp and Geralt far too clothed.  Gasping and moaning, they kissed hard, Geralt’s hand on Jaskier’s cock and Jaskier giving up on the laces to press his fingers against the firm shape of Geralt’s penis through his trousers.  The bigger man groaned.

It was mollifying to know he had an effect on the other man.  Jaskier basked in every noise he wrenched out of the witcher, trying to keep his wits about him as the hand on his own cock wrung him of every thought and Geralt’s wicked mouth stole his breath from his lungs.

“Let me let me,” Jaskier whispered, but Geralt ignored him and kissed a wet swath down his chest.  “Oh no oh no oh oh oh.” The witcher’s wet mouth swallowed him whole, and the bard fought his urge to thrust up.  Jaskier was pretty sure he blacked out for a second; when he came to he was listing every deity he could think of.

Geralt pulled off.  “ Jaskier ,” he growled, and then swallowed him again.

Jaskier lost control, thrusting up, fucking Geralt’s wicked mouth.  The witcher didn’t pull away, instead he groaned over Jaskier’s cock, hands encouraging the bard’s hips to thrust deeper.

It didn’t take long.

“I - I - I’m - Geralt - I’m gonna -”

The witcher groaned again, and the vibrations pushed Jaskier over the edge.

Geralt milked him to the end.  When he was done, Jaskier lay spent.  He barely whispered when Geralt pulled his mouth away, only moving when he heard the sound of fabric on skin.

There, at the end of the bed, was Geralt of Rivia.  The Witcher. The White Wolf. The Butcher of Blavikan.  Stripping off his shirt and his trousers, unloosing a truly impressive cock.  Naked. Completely naked.

Jaskier pulled his elbows under him, letting himself look.

Geralt scowled at the open admiration in Jaskier’s face, but the bard knew there was pleasure there.  Pleasure in being seen. In being admired. Desired. Geralt’s cock twitched - proof enough.

Jaskier leaned on one elbow and brought his free hand up, making gimme gestures.  “Geralt,” he said. “Geralt I want you.” 

Geralt smirked, crawling up onto the bed.  The move was so predatory that Jaskier moaned, knees falling open as the other man climbed over him.  “You want me, bard?” Geralt growled, mouth close to Jaskier’s throat. “What do you want?”

Jaskier dropped back and used both hands to explore Geralt’s skin.  The scars scraped against his palms, but Jaskier touched his nipples, the planes of his muscles.  Finally, his cock.

Geralt groaned, but held himself over Jaskier so that the bard could explore freely.  His cock was thick, heavy in Jaskier’s hand. It took a moment to find the right angle, but then there he was, twisting and pumping at a steady pace, listening to the witcher’s breath hitch.  A soft groan, a breathy swear.

When was the last time he’d been with a man?  The motion was familiar as breathing, the angle made his wrist warm but Jaskier put himself into it.  “I want you,” he breathed. “Fuck, Geralt.”

“Fuck,” Geralt gritted back, his arms barely even quivered - still holding himself up, muscles straining.  Jaskier twisted sideways so that he could lick and bite one ropey bicep. They were both breathing hard, now.

“What do you want?” Geralt asked, sounding winded.

“Everything,” was the honest response.  “I want to suck you. I want you to fuck me.  Fuck.” Jaskier twisted his hand and Geralt swore in response.  “I want to see you come, Geralt.”

As big and strong as the witcher was, it was easy enough for Jaskier to tip him off, get him onto his back and climb up onto him.  One hand still working Geralt’s cock, the other hand tracing muscles, Jaskier twisting to lick and bite at everything he could get at.  “I want you, Geralt.”

“Fuck, Jaskier.  Fuck .”  Geralt arched, muscles bulging.  “You have me .”

So many things to say to that.  Jaskier scooted back so that he could take the witcher’s cock in his mouth.  One way to shut him up, it turned out. Jaskier moaned around the cock in his mouth, and was rewarded with Geralt’s answering groan.

Geralt was big.  So so big.

Jaskier fit as much of Geralt’s cock in his mouth as he could, licked and drooled and stroked on the rest with his hand, moaning the whole time.  He got a rhythm of stroking up with his hand, then chasing it down with his mouth, then back again.

The muscles in Geralt’s thighs were tightly defined as the witcher fought the urge to fuck up into Jaskier’s mouth.  Geralt’s hands were clenched into fists in the sheets.

Jaskier lost himself in the rhythm, in the work of it.  His throat started to ache, and the warmth in his wrist turned to a burn.  He could feel that he was still weak, still recovering. But he was rewarded every time Geralt bit off a curse.

Jaskier pulled off, still working his hand.  “Is there - fuck, Geralt - is there any oil?”  He put his mouth back to work while he waited for the answer.

It had been a long time since Jaskier had been with a man.  It would take work, but fuck. The image of the witcher losing control, fucking into Jaskier’s open ass.  It was too enticing to ignore.

Geralt growled , one broad hand coming up to grip the base of his cock.  His free hand pushed Jaskier away, brusque and urgent. Jaskier rolled back onto his back, watching as the witcher got up - still holding his cock in a punishing grip - stalking across the room to their packs.

Jaskier was breathing hard, his cock starting to twitch again as it lolled on his belly.  Geralt climbed back onto the bed, to the side, letting Jaskier get a hand around his cock.  His hands were rough edged, but he was gentle as he pressed an oiled finger against Jaskier’s entrance.  Jaskier could only groan, trying hard to keep his rhythm steady on Geralt’s cock.

It did take time.  Jaskier ended up twisting over so he could get his mouth on Geralt’s dick, licking and slurping, sucking hard on the tip to listen to the witcher groan.  The angle was awkward, but Geralt was patient and eventually they were rewarded with two thick fingers stretching Jaskier - the bard’s pelvis tilting up helplessly to let Geralt’s hand fuck into him.

Jaskier was hard again, his cock rolling and bouncing against his stomach.  He lost his rhythm on the cock in his hands, tipped his head back helplessly as he groaned.  “Geralt, geralt geralt please please pleeeeeaaaaah- ahhh”

The muse in him had gone silent, there was only his pulse and the feeling of Geralt’s hand moving inside of him.  He heard more than felt as the bed rustled around him as Geralt repositioned, the angle of the fingers inside of him twisting and moving.

Jaskier cried out in loss when Geralt removed his fingers.  He let himself be moved, doll-like, when the witcher bunched the blankets under his hips, then he whined with desire as he felt the dull pressure of Geralt’s cock on his entrance.

“Fuck.  Jaskier, you look…”

“Fuck me, Geralt.  Please.”

Geralt took his time.  More oil, slow building pressure.  Jaskier whined the entire time, tipping his hips up and begging.  Begging. Begging. He could feel Geralt’s cock stretching him, his own knees falling open and then back, to fit the bigger man between his legs.

Finally, Geralt was fully seated.  Jaskier’s head fell back. He felt full, could swear he felt Geralt all the way up in his throat.  He dared a wiggle, urging the witcher to move. Which Geralt did, slow at first, but then building.

Geralt was an impressively good lover.  Once he got speed, his strokes were hard and relentless, riding the line between too much and too much .  His hands gripped Jaskier’s hips, big thumbs digging into the bard’s pelvis, pulling him up into every stroke.

Jaskier could only take it, gone boneless and wanting, letting himself be fucked in half.  His cock, bouncing steadily on his belly, was a tease that put him right on the edge. He was caught between the ecstasy in his ass and the unequal pleasure from his dick.  He moaned hopelessly.

“Jaskier,” Geralt chanted.  He transferred the weight of the bard’s hips to one hand so that he could wrap a hand around Jaskier’s dick, tugging with an increasingly jagged rhythm while his thrusts started to lose cadence.  “Jaskierrr.”

Jaskier spilled just before Geralt slammed home and stopped, groaning wordlessly.  He could feel the witcher’s thick cock pulsing inside of him.

Jaskier whimpered helplessly when Geralt finally pulled out.

“Well,” Jaskier said.  His mouth was dry again.  His legs were boneless and they rolled uselessly.  “Yeah.”

Geralt chuckled, more a huff of air.  He was sheened with sweat, sprawled on the bed and truly the most impressive thing Jaskier had ever seen before.

Jaskier opened and closed his mouth a few times.  His muse was simply humming in pleasure, wordless and smug.

“Suppose that does shut you up.”

“Hey,” Jaskier said.  He tipped his head sideways, to see the smirk on Geralt’s face.  The closest the witcher ever really got to smiling. He could feel his stomach twist inside him.  He had thought he’d never see Geralt again, he remembered suddenly. 

What a tragedy that would have been.

Geralt’s eyes were half-lidded, glittering.

Jaskier felt himself sagging back toward sleep and he twisted, grunting.  “Geralt,” he said urgently, with no thought of how he would finish the statement.  His mind rattled with urgency.

Geralt grunted.

There were a thousand things he could say.  Gratitude for saving his life. Gratefulness that their friendship was renewed.  And acknowledged .   Appreciation for truly the best fuck he’d ever had.  Truly, Jaskier would write songs about their coupling.

“You have to tell me what happened.  In Cintra.”

Geralt groaned, eyes flashing open and then slitting into a glare.  “ Bard ,” he hissed.  “Shut up .”

“If I’m to write a proper ballad, I have to know the details, Geralt.  Or something!  Anything!” Geralt flailed, trying to put a hand over Jaskier’s mouth while the bard twisted away.  “You have to tell me, Geralt, I’m your bard!

Geralt, faster and unequivocally better equipped to win any physical match between them, got a hand over Jaskier’s mouth, other hand pulling the bard back against his chest.  “You are,” the witcher growled into his ear, and Jaskier could feel the rumble of the other man’s voice through his spine, “ annoying .”

Jaskier huffed at the hand on his mouth.  “Like a weed,” he said into Geralt’s palm.  There was something to that moniker. It would take some work, but Jaskier was certain he could turn it into something.

Geralt relented, and Jaskier twisted in his arms until they were nose to nose.

Geralt hated talking about his adventures, Jaskier knew that.  The witcher thought that he just did a job. He killed monsters, got coin.  That was it. Geralt thought that the deeds spoke for themselves, that he could live the rest of his absurdly long life through the simple transaction of corpse to coin.  Jaskier knew better.

The world turned, and it always turned on things that it didn’t understand.  To the average folk, witchers were barely better than the monsters they killed.  Often worse - because it took a bigger monster to kill the lesser, and Geralt killed every monster he faced.

It was Jaskier’s job to remind folk that Geralt was needed, that witchers were the lesser evil.  Frightening with their glittering eyes and cruel demeanors, they were all that stood between the evil in the world and the every day of normal life.  Witchers meant protection, safety. Witchers wouldn’t be corrupted by politics like normal folk. People needed to be reminded.

Jaskier firmed his jaw and glared back.

Geralt flopped back onto his back.  Deadpan, in a droning monotone, he began to speak.

“Went to Cintra before the war, but Calanthe wouldn’t let the girl go.  Tried to give me another child, disguised as the princess.”

Jaskier itched for his notepad, but the moment was so rare that he knew Geralt would stop if he tried to get up.  He nodded eagerly.

“She tried to have me killed.  Then she locked me up. I got out when Nilfgard broke through the walls, but the girl had already fled.”

There were so many details missing.  Jaskier knew he could fill in the gaps.  Dazzling displays of swordplay, the Queen’s impassioned and foolish diatribe against the witcher who would save her granddaughter.  The fleeing Sparrow.

Geralt chanced a look at Jaskier’s overeager face, and grimaced.  “Ciri is with Yennefer now.”

Jaskier groaned.  “ Geralt .”  That was hardly the end of the story.  Hell, the missing details were bigger than the scanty summary Geralt had provided.

Jaskier, ” Geralt growled back.  He poked Jaskier’s forehead with one finger.  “Go to sleep. You’re still healing.”

Jaskier snickered and wiggled his hips weakly.  The witcher rolled his eyes with a huff of annoyance.

But Geralt was right, without passion or the hope of further story to keep him alert, Jaskier could feel the magic pulling him back into a healing sleep.  His spent body was ready to surrender. Jaskier blinked once, twice, and then held Gerat’s gaze, trying to impart whatever he couldn’t put to words.

He was grateful, truly, but he knew that Geralt didn’t want to be needed and hated to be thanked.

“Go to sleep, bard,” Geralt said, gentler.  Then he tipped his own head back into the pillow and purposefully closed his eyes.

Jaskier let himself look a moment longer, letting the moment linger.

Then he pressed a kiss to the top of Geralt’s shoulder, and let Yennefer’s magic drag him down into the pillows, and sleep.



...epilogue…

 

Jaskier was not surprised to wake up alone.

He stretched, feeling the last of the magic in his limbs spark and then dissipate.  He felt better than he’d felt before being imprisoned, perhaps better than he’d felt in years.  He wouldn’t be surprised if the lingering ache he’d developed in his low back was gone.

He felt as good as he’d felt waking up after the Jinn had tried to kill him.

Fuck that harridan bitch, but she knew her craft.

He was surprised to find a flower in the dent on the cold pillow next to his.

It was hardly romantic - the plant wasn’t picked so much as pulled, dirt still clinging to the long root.  The flower itself was a bit bedraggled, but it was fluffy and yellow. Cheerful, despite being pulled.

A weed.

A dandelion.

Jaskier pushed his head back into the pillow and laughed.