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Crammed In With You

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The first time they shared a bed together, it technically wasn’t a bed.

They were camping out in the forest, which was generally what happened when they were in between towns or out in the backwoods with nothing but villages. Villages had a tavern for drinking in, sort of a communal living room situation, but those taverns didn’t have rooms to rent out and the families didn’t really have extra space in their homes. Geralt didn’t like taking advantage of people’s hospitality and he wasn’t all that comfortable sharing such a small space with humans, even if those humans were paying him to get rid of a monster and were generally nicer to him than they had been in decades past.

Geralt was perfectly comfortable in his bedroll, but Jaskier kept shivering in his, curled up into a miserable little ball.

And… well. The bard was getting used to the rough life out on the road, Geralt could admit to that—he could even admit to admiring Jaskier’s tenacity and adaptability—but it seemed he was still getting used to the weather, and the bard was only human, after all.

“Jaskier.” Geralt pushed himself up onto an elbow. “Get over here.”

Jaskier turned and stared at him for a moment in confusion, and then scrambled to obey once he realized what Geralt meant. Geralt had only intended for Jaskier to put their bedrolls next to each other, but instead Jaskier climbed right in with Geralt, curling up in the Witcher’s arms with a small, contented sigh.

And, well. If he was so content, Geralt hated to correct him.

It did something weird to his heart, to see this human—this fragile, young human, only nineteen—laying his head on Geralt’s shoulder with such trust. Jaskier never considered for a moment that Geralt might hurt him. Geralt had seen another trust him, be unafraid of him, a young girl who had inevitably bought into Stregobor’s lies and turned on him same as everyone else. Geralt had promised himself he’d never trust like that again, never believe again that this time, the human would stay trusting, stay unafraid.

But not Jaskier. Jaskier was sleeping on him, nuzzling into Geralt’s chest and snoring, even after Geralt had punched him, insulted him, and been generally as cranky as it was possible for a person to be.

Geralt gingerly wrapped his arms around Jaskier, daring to hold him, and tried not to feel like he was holding glass.

 


 

Geralt rolled his eyes as he tramped up to their room, Jaskier continuing to yell despite the fact that he was slung over Geralt’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “And another thing—!”

Whatever his other thing was, Geralt didn’t find out, because he kicked open the door and dumped Jaskier onto the bed. Jaskier let out a squawk of protest. “Honestly, Geralt, why you let them talk about you like that—”

“It’s fine.” His voice was gruffer than he would’ve liked.

For nearly five years he’d known the bard, and he was resigning himself to the fact that he would never get used to how Jaskier was willing to bodily throw himself at anyone who insulted Witchers. You’d think that Jaskier was the one whose honor was being impugned with how he shouted.

What could Jaskier possibly see in Geralt that was so worth defending?

“Fine.” Jaskier sniffed. “You deserve better than fine, Geralt.”

“I’m used to it.”

Jaskier looked up at him from the bed, his eyes soft. “Well, you shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be something you’ve had to get used to.”

Geralt didn’t know what to say to that, so he didn’t say anything at all. It was a fairly good strategy, he’d found.

He could feel Jaskier’s gaze on him the entire time he was getting ready for bed. It was just the one bed, again, and that was normally not a problem. He’d gotten used to it, traveling with Jaskier. But normally, they weren’t going to bed right after Jaskier had tried to smash a chair over a man’s head—to defend Geralt.

It shouldn’t be something you’ve had to get used to.

Everyone had told him this was the cost of the Path. This was what he had to be braced for. This was what he had to accept. Except for this bard, who called Geralt noble, who said Geralt smelled like heartbreak, who looked at Geralt like Geralt was something special…

Behind him he could hear Jaskier moving around, grumbling to himself as he got ready for bed, and Geralt’s heart felt like it was in a vice. Jaskier never complained about sharing a bed with a Witcher. He just flopped on top of Geralt like he knew Geralt would hold him, same as he would throw himself at Geralt to tackle him knowing they might go flying into a river or crashing onto the grass but that Geralt would always, always make sure Jaskier didn’t hurt himself. Jaskier treated Geralt like a fucking crash pad, and Geralt would’ve been annoyed with it except that it meant Jaskier trusted him, and he was trusting Geralt now, climbing into bed with no weapon to defend himself, knowing that Geralt would never hurt him, and that if someone else came through the bedroom door to try, Geralt would get in between.

And what on earth was Geralt supposed to do with that?

It was after he’d checked his swords again that Jaskier clucked his tongue. “Geralt, really. I doubt the man’s going to come bursting in here looking for revenge. It’s only the irate spouses that do that.”

Geralt turned to Jaskier, glaring, and Jaskier rewarded him with a sunny smile. Sometimes he wondered what it was that made Marilka so easily persuaded that her Witcher friend, the man who saved her life, was indeed a butcher, and what it was that made Jaskier so very stubborn, that literally nothing Geralt did could turn away his open heart.

Jaskier patted the blankets in front of him. “Just come and rest, Geralt, you fought four drowners and a sea hag today. Even you need sleep.”

“Technically, I could just meditate.”

“But it wouldn’t feel as good, would it?” Jaskier pointed out shrewdly, scooting back as if he was genuinely going to keep to his side of the mattress and not end up using Geralt’s chest for his bed instead.

Geralt climbed in and Jaskier proceeded to immediately arrange Geralt’s limbs to his liking, like Geralt was a gigantic pillow, his head tucking neatly under Geralt’s chin and his ear pressed right over Geralt’s heart. It’s soothing, Jaskier had said once, when Geralt had grumpily asked him what the fuss about listening to Geralt’s heartbeat was for.

If… if Geralt thought about it (which he didn’t), he might’ve liked to turn them on their sides, Jaskier’s back to his chest, so that he could hold him and press his nose to Jaskier’s neck at the same time. It was where Jaskier’s scent was strongest, the light, warm scent that reminded Geralt of a breeze off a river. He could still be between Jaskier and the door that way, still keep him safe, keep him warm, but with just that—that little bit extra.

But he didn’t think about it, and it was foolish of a Witcher given so much trust and companionship to try and ask for more.

Speaking of which, actually… “Thank you.” Geralt rested his hand on Jaskier’s hair, feeling the softness of it. Jaskier put a lot of work into his hair, to the point where Geralt had joked Jaskier had more hair products than Geralt had Witcher potions.

“What?” Jaskier asked, his voice deepening in that way it got when he was sleepy. “What for?”

“For… you don’t have to do that, you know.”

“Oh, oh. What I—downstairs? Well of course I did, Geralt.” Jaskier wormed himself closer, completely plastered against Geralt’s side, his fingers sliding up to idly twist in the strands of Geralt’s hair that spilled down Geralt’s shoulder. “You deserve to be treated better.”

Geralt was glad that his heartbeat was slow enough that Jaskier probably couldn’t notice the fact that it was racing by Witcher standards. “Hmm.”

Jaskier seemed to take that as a suitable answer, because he didn’t say anything more. Geralt tightened his hold on the bard once he was asleep, listening to Jaskier breathe.

It was a surprisingly soothing sound.

 


 

If Jaskier had ever had bad dreams, he’d never shown a sign to Geralt about it. Despite knowing each other for a decade, and sharing a bed more often than not during that time, Geralt hadn’t seen Jaskier in the grip of a nightmare once.

Until now.

He’d been dead asleep when he’d heard a noise that had his eyes flying open, his grip tightening on Jaskier instinctively as his hand crept down to grab his swords hidden under the bed.

It was only a second later that he realized the unusual noise wasn’t someone trying to sneak into the room (people stupid enough to try and steal from a Witcher were rare, but they did exist, and sometimes the would-be thief didn’t realize this was a Witcher’s room until they were already inside)—it was Jaskier.

Geralt sat up a little and stared down as the bard whimpered, eyes screwed shut, mouth twisted into an unhappy mew. He looked fucking miserable.

“Jaskier.” Geralt had nightmares, of course he did, but he had never seen anyone else have one. He never went to sleep with anyone else. Never saw someone with their guard down like this. “Jas, hey, wake up.”

He stroked his fingers through Jaskier’s hair, not wanting to startle him by shaking him, and Jaskier curled up into a tight ball, making a noise of pain like someone had slapped him. Fuck. Geralt had no fucking clue what to do. What would he want someone to do? In a world where someone actually cared when he had a nightmare?

Carefully, feeling like an idiot, he pulled Jaskier into his chest and kept stroking through his hair.

Was he supposed to say something? It’s not real, you’re okay? Wake up, it’s just a nightmare? I’m here, you’re safe?

The physical touch seemed to work, though, thank fuck, because a minute later he felt Jaskier’s heart kick into high gear and his breathing shift as he inhaled swiftly, going stiff in Geralt’s arms.

“It’s me.” Y’know, just in case Jaskier forgot where he was. Sometimes Geralt did that, after a nightmare.

Jaskier was frozen for a second, then tore himself away, and Geralt thought—perhaps he’d been the reason for Jaskier’s nightmare, or he’d helped him all wrong, or—but Jaskier was just moving up to grab onto Geralt’s face, to hold it between his hands and stare at him, wild-eyed.

“Sorry,” he said, after a moment. “Just had to check and… make sure it was you.”

“Who else would it be?” Geralt asked, not unkindly. He wanted to know—Jaskier seemed to have no darkness in him, no shadows lurking in the lines of his face or the corners of his eyes, what could he be having a nightmare about? Were there ghosts that Geralt had somehow missed? Jaskier spent so much time learning about Geralt and the Path, put so much effort into singing of Witcher deeds. It seemed that Geralt had been remiss in not learning as much about Jaskier in return.

The bard’s eyes turned down and his hands slid from Geralt’s face to his chest. “Ah. No one.”

“Jas.” That was a lie if he’d ever heard it.

Jaskier kept staring at the hollow of Geralt’s neck. “My parents.”

Geralt couldn’t recall seeing any scars on Jaskier, but then, some abusers were careful and never left permanent marks. Or perhaps it was that Jaskier’s parents had died? Surely if he had such a tragedy in his past, Jaskier would’ve said something?

Jaskier inhaled slowly. “You know… you know the feeling of screaming but nobody can hear you? And everyone else is behaving normally but you know that it’s not normal and it’s not all right, and you’re just… trying to say that it’s wrong, but nobody… just over and over…” He shrugged. “That’s what I was dreaming about. I was back home. And everyone was acting like it was all fine, but it wasn’t. And I screamed, but no one listened. They all acted as if… as if I was the one who’d gone mad.”

Geralt did know a little something about that. About feeling like the only sane person in the room, about feeling like everyone had labeled him and judged him and so nobody would listen no matter how much he tried to make them.

“You don’t have to talk about it,” he offered, feeling clumsy, like he’d been asked to hold a tiny baby bird while shot full of mutagens.

Jaskier’s hand smoothed over Geralt’s collarbone, his chest, his sternum. “No, it’s… it’s all right. I know you’ll understand.”

How could Jaskier be so sure?

Fuck, he didn’t know how to do this. Vesemir was… caring in his own way, but gruff and distant and not—not like this. “Do you… need anything?”

Jaskier’s fingertips were scratching gently at Geralt’s skin. Geralt found he didn’t mind. “No. Just. Takes time. Remembering that I’m not there anymore, that it’s not real. That this is real.”

Geralt nodded. He kept stroking through Jaskier’s hair, since that seemed to help, and after a time, Jaskier slumped forward, his nose nestling into the hollow of Geralt’s throat.

Geralt stayed awake the rest of the night, but Jaskier didn’t have any more nightmares.

 


 

Fire flared in his leg and Geralt woke with a grunt, teeth clenched against the pain, hands scrabbling for—for something—

“Geralt, Geralt, stop.”

Jaskier grabbed his hands and held them. “It’s the infection. It’s all right. You can’t pick at it.”

Geralt panted, heart racing, the world slowly becoming clear as he woke up more. Ghoul bite. Infection. Jaskier hauling him half-dead onto the bed.

It was all a cloudy mess after that.

“Honestly, you’d think you wanted to die, messing with your bandages like this.” There was far from a lot of room on the bed, but there was far from a lot of room in this tavern in general, and Jaskier was making do, pressing the back of his hand to Geralt’s forehead as his other hand rummaged around in their packs.

Jaskier’s hand was so cool against his skin, it was almost like ice. Geralt would’ve groaned in relief if he’d had the voice for it, but his throat was dry and tight. It hurt. Everything hurt.

“Ah! Here we go.” Jaskier’s hand left his forehead to gently seize his jaw and open it, tipping something cool inside his mouth. “Swallow.”

Geralt needed help with that part. Fuck. It wasn’t often that Witchers could get sick, but it was impossible to vaccinate against everything, and ghouls carried a particularly nasty bite.

“Good.” Jaskier’s voice was soft. “You might not believe it but you’re on the mend, Geralt. I can see you this time.”

What the fuck did that mean?

Jaskier gently pushed Geralt’s hair back, out of his face, nails scraping gently along the scalp. “When I look in your eyes, I mean. You’re in there, now.”

Geralt’s throat closed up again and it had nothing to do with the infection. Had he gone completely feral? Had he hurt Jaskier?

He inhaled carefully, the action making his lungs burn, but he got a good whiff of Jaskier. No hint of pain, or fear, or anger. Just… Jaskier. Fresh, light breeze, warm sun, fresh bread. Jaskier.

The bard patiently changed Geralt’s dressings as Geralt faded in and out of consciousness, the pain making his mind go blank from time to time. After minutes, or hours, Jaskier settled back on the bed, propped up by their packs, and carded his fingers through Geralt’s hair.

“You can hold onto me,” Jaskier murmured. “It helped earlier. When you were trying to claw your leg off.”

Geralt grunted, and slowly, tentatively raised his hands up to the forearm that Jaskier had draped around him, holding on. Jaskier hummed appreciatively and Geralt realized, belatedly, that he was as good as lying in the bard’s lap.

Well, it was far from the most intimate or awkward position they’d been in while sharing beds up and down the Continent. And Jaskier’s fingers in his hair were rather soothing.

“Healer said if I keep this up, infection should be gone by tomorrow morning.”

Geralt tilted his head up, or tried to, but the action made him dizzy. “How long…”

“Three days.”

“Have you… slept?” Each word felt like it was scraped out of the bottom of his throat.

“Shh.” Jaskier didn’t answer, just tugged lightly on Geralt’s hair. Chastising. “Sleep, or I’ll start singing.”

Geralt didn’t know how to tell him that was far from a punishment. Even if his throat had been at its best, which it wasn’t. But he stayed silent, drifting, and after a bit he felt the fingers in his hair shift from mindless tugging to weaving, and he realized Jaskier was… braiding his hair. Keeping it out of his feverish face. Humming snatches of songs while he did so.

I want more of your voice, he thought, but he couldn’t say it, couldn’t explain why all of it felt like so much when it was really nothing much, just humming, just braiding his damn hair. It felt like too much, though. Like more than he was allowed. And he was greedy, still. I want more of your voice. He wanted that lifeline.

And maybe Jaskier knew that, because when he fell asleep, he dreamed that he was floating, and that someone was singing to him.

 


 

When Geralt saw the one bed in the room, he paused—so abruptly, in fact, that Jaskier ran into him.

“Ouch. Geralt? Are the rats the size of dogs or something?”

Geralt grunted and moved aside so that Jaskier could get into the room and see for himself.

Things had been… fine, after Geralt had apologized. But he’d been without Jaskier for a year, and he’d only apologized this morning, and so he didn’t know… would Jaskier still want… would Jaskier still trust him enough to be that intimate with him? To let Geralt hold him? To sleep on him, to mingle their scents, to be vulnerable in that way?

Before, sharing a bed had been economical. It had been what they could afford, or what was available, or often what Jaskier needed if they were out in the wilderness and the bard was cold yet again. It hadn’t felt like anything other than an extension of their friendship, a way that that Geralt could show he cared without having to resort to words (which he so often got wrong) or other conventional means (which he often didn’t understand).

Now, though. Now he’d spent a year without Jaskier and he didn’t know what to do with the idea of the bard pressed up against him, soft and warm and trusting, not when he’d grown to hate the silences that Jaskier used to fill, not when he understood, now, why he felt that overwhelming melt in his chest like hot butter when he looked at Jaskier and—

“Looks perfectly clean to me,” Jaskier announced, bounding into the room and setting down his lute. “Can’t see what’s got all your knickers in a twist.”

“Hmm.”

Jaskier glanced over at him, his fingers halfway towards the collar of his doublet. “Um… unless… does it bother you?”

“What.”

“The bed. Does it—”

“I can sleep on the fl—”

“I can take the floor if—”

They both stared at one another. Geralt felt like flinging himself out the window. The window was too small to fit his shoulders through but he’d make it work, somehow. “Take the bed.”

“Ah, no, I won’t have you sleeping on the floor, you always pretend it’s fine but you have nightmares when you do.”

Did he? Geralt hadn’t really noticed that pattern. He certainly hadn’t realized that Jaskier noticed when his dreams turned dark and sour. “You deserve the bed.”

Jaskier tugged at the hem of his doublet. “So you… ah… don’t mind sharing?”

“Do you?”

Jaskier got an odd look on his face and for a second his scent went—it spiked with something, but it was gone before Geralt could identify it. Somehow, though, the brief impression reminded him of moss on a stone. “No, no, not at all.”

Yeah. The bard was still a horrible liar.

Well, Geralt had fucked this up. If it took time for Jaskier to trust him again, that was understandable. He slung off his supplies and set them up as usual, swords under the bed, packs by the headboard.

“Here.” Jaskier got onto his knees on the bed, waving for Geralt to come closer.

The armor. Jaskier always used to take it off for him.

Geralt felt like the air in his lungs had turned solid, stopping him from breathing.

He walked over, and stood still as Jaskier worked the buckles, his brow furrowed in concentration, his bottom lip caught between his teeth. A year later, and he still knew how to do it.

Silence reigned as Jaskier patiently worked off the pauldrons, bracers, greves, gorgets, and all the rest, tugging Geralt around to get him where Jaskier wanted him to undo and remove the next piece until it was all carefully set on the floor.

“There,” Jaskier said, sitting back on his heels, but it was said quietly, without the usual flare.

Geralt nodded, taking the armor and wiping it off with the cloth and water at the basin, and setting it all in front of the fire to dry. Behind him, he could hear Jaskier undressing. He’d seen the bard do it a hundred times, and thought nothing of it. Now… it took everything in him not to look. His face felt hot, and it had nothing to do with the fire he was crouched in front of.

Two decades of roaming around with the man and it took his absence and Geralt’s own hasty words to make him realize…

“I’m sure that fire’s fascinating,” Jaskier noted, “but you should probably come and lie down at some point.”

He could hear the slight tremble in Jaskier’s voice, the one that he got when he was nervous. Geralt doubted that anyone without Witcher senses could hear it, or that Jaskier even realized it was there.

Did Jaskier—did he think Geralt didn’t want to join him?

Leveraging himself up, Geralt moved back over, taking off his boots and changing into a clean set of clothes. He was used to sleeping shirtless, since Witchers ran hot, but he wasn’t sure if—what the rules were, now. With Jaskier.

He wasn’t sure about anything now with Jaskier.

Geralt lay on his back, the way he always had, but Jaskier didn’t arrange himself to drape over him the way he had in the past. Instead the bard lay on his side, one arm tucked underneath his head, and it seemed like he was going to stay that way.

It made Geralt’s entire chest, his throat, and even his teeth ache.

He closed his eyes and tried not to think about it, tried not to think about the trust he’d lost, and the emotion he hadn’t even known he’d carried, and somehow, through sheer willpower, he got himself to fall asleep.

Only to wake up sometime in the early morning with a warm, heavy weight on top of him.

Hardly daring to breathe in case he startled him, Geralt opened his eyes to find Jaskier curled against him, his head on Geralt’s shoulder, his fingers tangled in Geralt’s chest hair like he’d been petting through it, their legs tangled up together. The bard was snoring lightly, and there was drool leaking out of his mouth and soaking into the skin of Geralt’s collarbone.

It felt like his heart turned into a bird and flew straight out of him, settling underneath Jaskier’s skin instead.

Slowly, very, very slowly, Geralt moved his arm out from underneath Jaskier and wrapped it around the bard, his hand resting around the curve of Jaskier’s bony hip.

Jaskier didn’t stir.

Geralt closed his eyes and slept better than he had in a year.

 


 

“So,” Jaskier asked, following hot on Geralt’s heels as they walked into the tavern, “how much trouble do you think Ciri and Yennefer are going to get into at Aretuza?”

Geralt didn’t bother answering that. The answer was probably a lot, but he wasn’t going to dignify Jaskier’s question with a response. Instead he walked up to the bar, nodding towards the stairs that presumably led up to the rooms above. “How much for a room?”

The barkeep named his price, glancing over at Jaskier, who was standing behind Geralt and looking around like he was already sizing up the patrons and wondering how much money he’d get out of them. “Two of you?”

“Yes.”

The barkeep named his price, Geralt paid, requested a bath, and was told they had the room at the back on the right at the end of the hall. He didn’t think anything more of it until they got up to the room, and both he and Jaskier paused.

“Ah,” Jaskier said, rather eloquently.

There were two beds in the room, one on each side, with enough space in the middle for a bath and a fireplace on the opposite wall from the door.

Two beds.

Right.

“I’ll, um.” Jaskier was fidgeting with his lute, even though it was still in its case. “I’ll take the one on the left, then?”

It was the one farther from the door, which made sense. Jaskier was well aware by now that Geralt would always put himself closer to the door. He just usually did it by sleeping on the edge of the bed, with Jaskier between him and the wall, his head on Geralt’s chest or shoulder or…

“Hmm.” Geralt moved around the bard to start putting his things in order.

It was fine. Really. It was only that he’d just gotten used to sleeping with Jaskier in his arms again, and thing weren’t awkward between them anymore, and he just about had his ridiculous feelings under control, and now… this.

Jaskier started fussing around, the way he normally did, and Geralt had to clench his teeth against the realization that it wasn’t going to be for their bed, but for Jaskier’s. He shoved his swords under his own bed and set his pack down. Just breathe through it. So he was… felt… this for the man who’d been his loyal friend for two decades and had forgiven him for his missteps. He could handle it.

Bath taken care of, hunt ready for the next morning, everything settled, Geralt realized that he was stalling actually going to bed. Of all ridiculous things.

Jaskier was sitting on the edge of his own bed, doing and undoing the buttons on his doublet. “Ah. Well. Then. I suppose you’ll be up early?”

“Hmm.” He usually was, so that he could get to the sight of whatever monster by the time sundown arrived and the monster emerged to hunt. Most creatures were nocturnal that way.

“Right. I should probably get to bed then.” Jaskier stripped with awkward speed, climbing into his bed. “Goodnight, Geralt. Sleep well.”

“Hmm.”

Geralt got into his own bed, staring up at the ceiling. It wasn’t a large bed by any means. It was, in fact, the same size as most beds they slept in. But there was no warm body against him, no soft snores, none of Jaskier’s sweet lemon-and-honeysuckle scented hair.

It had taken him a while to notice that Jaskier’s chosen scents had changed. At first he’d used lavender, and that had driven Geralt to distraction while they’d shared a bed. It was too strong. Most scents were, in fact, too strong, to the point where when he paid for a whore for the night he would request that she wear no perfume or scented soaps. Not that he’d paid for one in a long time, but—the point was, Jaskier had once smelled just as annoyingly strong as anyone, and then his shampoos and soaps and perfumes had all shifted like crazy for about a month, and then finally he’d settled on this lemon and honeysuckle combination that Geralt… rather liked. The lemon scent was acidic and balanced out the sweetness of the honeysuckle, and there was never too much of either to overwhelm his nose.

And now he couldn’t smell it, and it was driving him fucking insane.

Across the room, he could hear Jaskier shifting around, like the bard was trying to get comfortable. Geralt wanted to go to him so badly he ached with it, like he’d been hit so hard that his bones were reverberating with it, but he couldn’t. He’d ruin everything if he did.

It was hard not to notice, though, as they lay there, that he couldn’t hear Jaskier’s breathing deepen and even out into sleep. He was stuck awake, but so was the bard.

Geralt tried counting the cracks in the ceiling. It was fine, falling asleep alone, but to have Jaskier here, so close and yet—it was worse than not having him there at all.

“Geralt?”

“Hmm.”

“Oh, thank gods, you’re not asleep either. Listen, I was wondering… if it’s not too much of a bother…”

Geralt waited, but Jaskier never finished the sentence. “Spit it out, Jas.”

Jaskier mumbled oh fuck this in a voice that he probably thought was quiet enough Geralt couldn’t hear it, and then he said, “May I sleep with you?”

Oh, thank fuck. “Get over here.”

If the words came out in more of a commanding growl than he’d intended, Jaskier didn’t seem to mind, scampering across the room and burrowing right into Geralt’s bed like the mattress was filled with the finest of feathers and the sheets were made of silk. The sigh of contentment that the bard let out seemed to sink into Geralt’s skin and make the tightness in his chest loosen.

“You really don’t mind?” Jaskier asked, sitting on his haunches and staring at Geralt in the dark. With the moonlight coming in through the curtains, the bard’s eyes glittered. “I know it’s ridiculous of me and I don’t want to impose…”

“You’re not. Imposing.”

“Oh! Good. Excellent.” Jaskier beamed at him, his smile glowing, and Geralt felt like he might come undone with the desire to reach out and grab and take.

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Sharing like this, it was only a matter of time— “Actually.”

Jaskier’s face fell. “What’s the matter?”

Geralt had no idea how to proceed, what to say. How did you tell your best friend I only recently realized I’m in love with you and so sharing a bed has rather wildly different connotations for me now?

Jaskier seemed to take his silence for its own story. “…ah. I. I had wondered, you know. If you’d figured it out. Seemed ridiculous that you hadn’t.”

What?

“You don’t have to worry. I don’t expect anything.” Jaskier started to climb out of the bed. “Really.”

Geralt grabbed the bard’s wrist. “What are you talking about?”

“What are you talking about?” Jaskier stared at him. “My—how I—the way that I. Feel.”

“Feel? About what?” The bed sharing? Geralt felt like he was missing a vital piece of monster lore right before he was about to go into battle.

“About you, you great idiot.” Jaskier didn’t try to take his wrist away from Geralt, but Geralt could feel the bard’s heart rate tick up. “The fact that I’m—I’ve been—well. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been sharing a bed with you every night.”

“Yes.”

Jaskier gave him a deadpan look. “Which means that I haven’t been in anyone else’s beds, Geralt.”

Maybe he’d been tumbling people in the daytime, how was Geralt to know?

Jaskier sighed. “Geralt, it pains me to say this, although I am slightly mollified by the fact that despite my absolute transparency and inability to disguise my emotions you’ve managed to not notice, but I’ve been rather devoted to you for some time. It’s annoying, I will admit, this whole unrequited love business is really not all it’s cut out to be, at least not in the long run. But I’ve gotten used to it, don’t worry. In fact I was quite certain that you had noticed and you simply weren’t saying anything to spare my feelings.”

Geralt—felt a bit like he’d been knocked upside down. “How—how long?”

“Oh, gods only know.” Jaskier waved it off. “I tried telling you on the mountain, you know. After we thought Borsch had died. You were so cut up about it and to be frank so was I, and I thought… life is so short, it’s now or never, and I’d been pining after you for decades already so… but then you went to Yennefer, and I thought, well that’s it then.”

And then Geralt had gone and made it worse by taking his anger out on Jaskier. Fuck. He’d had no idea that was a declaration.

Offering to get away from it all, to go down to the coast on a vacation? Jaskier’s soft words, I’m just trying to work out… what pleases me.

Fuck. He was an idiot.

Of course, at the time he hadn’t realized his own feelings for Jaskier, so gods only knew how he would’ve reacted if he’d understood what Jaskier was saying, but… the point remained that Jaskier had risked himself, and Geralt had then turned around and gone to Yennefer, and then said hurtful things to Jaskier the next day on top of it all.

“I…” He swallowed, and found that his thumb was rubbing back and forth along Jaskier’s inner wrist. “All this time?”

Jaskier nodded. “I thought maybe I had a chance. Of sharing you, at least. My hubris isn’t quite enough to lead me to believe I was enough to steal you away from someone like Yennefer. But sharing, perhaps. Because… you held me. Every night. And when I had nightmares… and you trusted me, or seemed to. You let me bathe you and sew up your wounds.” The bard looked down at his feet, a bittersweet smile stealing across his face. “I did everything I could to make sure you kept sleeping with me. I changed my shampoo what felt like a hundred times until I got a scent that stopped you wrinkling your nose at me. I think I tried a dozen lullabies until I found the one you liked while you were healing from a wound.” He gave a laugh, a tiny, painful one. “I was pathetic.”

Pathetic? No. Geralt was the pathetic one, the one who didn’t see what was literally right in front of his face, in his arms, that entire time.

He sat up fully, tugging on Jaskier’s wrist. “I always ruin things,” he admitted, unsure how else to say it, and Jaskier looked confused for a moment before Geralt sealed their mouths together.

Jaskier tensed like he might literally jump up in surprise, but then he sank into it, following when Geralt pulled him into his lap, wrapping his arms around him as he had so many times in the past, but now better, so much better.

Jaskier’s fingers stole into Geralt’s hair, tugging a little, which was far from surprising seeing as he would pet Geralt’s hair every chance he got. How had Geralt not realized? He’d just thought that Jaskier was tactile, that he was affectionate—

He kissed harder in response, trying to shove everything into it that he couldn’t say, didn’t know how to say. He wouldn’t let anyone else share his bed like this, he wouldn’t trust anyone else to watch over him while he healed. Jaskier wasn’t like anyone else. He never stopped looking at Geralt with that wide-eyed excitement.

If Geralt asked him, he was sure Jaskier would still, after all this time, say Geralt smelled like heroism and heartbreak. Because Jaskier still talked about him, still looked at him, the same as he had that first day.

Gods, he’d been blind, blind, blind.

Jaskier made a small noise in the back of his throat and Geralt realized he’d been all but crushing the bard to him, hands fisted in the back of Jaskier’s undershirt, his tongue shoved down the other man’s throat. He started to pull away, to make an apology, but Jaskier made a wounded noise and surged closer again, nails digging into Geralt’s scalp, and oh, oh. Jaskier liked it.

Geralt could admit that while (paid whores aside) he tended to only sleep with people for whom he had deep emotions, he tended to jump into sex with those people rather quickly. But if Jaskier had been truly—for so long— Geralt didn’t want to assume anything. Maybe Jaskier wanted to take it slow, maybe Jaskier—

But judging by the way Jaskier grasped at him and the hard cock he could feel pressed against his hip, Geralt was pretty damn sure that Jaskier wasn’t in the mood to wait, either. Which, y’know, thank fuck for that.

Although this did present a logistical problem. Fucking someone, especially another male someone, required a shift in position. But Geralt had no intention of letting Jaskier move more than, oh, say, half an inch away from him. Jaskier kissed like fucking wildfire, and Geralt was drunk on it. This whole time, he’d have the bard’s warmth and weight and he’d be thinking fuck, if only, and now the ‘if only’ had arrived and he didn’t want to lose it, even if, rationally, he knew Jaskier wasn’t going anywhere.

“Fuck, Geralt…” Jaskier had said those particular words in that particular order on many occasions, usually right before some monster leapt out at them or after said monster had taken a chunk out of Geralt’s armor, but they’d never sounded like this. Geralt couldn’t have stopped the purr in his chest if he’d tried. Jaskier sounded breathless and needy, and his scent was spiked through with that dark, heady lust smell, like mulled wine. He wanted to keep hearing Jaskier sound like that, keep smelling his scent like this, every night. He felt like he had two decades to catch up on.

He slid his hands up and down Jaskier’s thighs, feeling the muscles twitch underneath his touch, the way that Jaskier’s legs clenched instinctively around Geralt’s hips, the bard spread wide and yet, holding Geralt close, vulnerable but greedy and brazen at the same moment, and wasn’t that Jaskier summed up in a nutshell. He was heavy, perfectly heavy on Geralt’s lap, same as he was when he lay on top of him, a comforting weight that calmed the anxious thrum that lurked in Geralt’s bones.

Witchers could hold their breath for an unusually long amount of time through a combination of mutations and training, but Jaskier was only human and had to yank his mouth away, panting, trembling all over. Geralt promptly dove into Jaskier’s throat, tasting his skin, scraping his teeth over the point where his pulse was loudest just to feel Jaskier twitch with sensitivity. Jaskier’s scent was stronger here, just like Geralt had always known it would be, thick and heady and Geralt wanted to fucking bathe in it.

“Oh, fuck.” Jaskier arched against him, sounding wrecked. If this was how he sounded right now, then Geralt was looking forward to how the bard sounded once they actually got to the main event. “I really—if you don’t fuck me now, Geralt, I swear to the gods—”

Well. If he was really that impatient.

He got his hands up, one between Jaskier’s shoulder blades and the other under his ass (couldn’t resist squeezing it, just for good measure) and used the grip and leverage to gently flip Jaskier over, rolling, getting the bard under him on the bed.

He’d never—if he’d done that with another lover, they would’ve panicked. Or at least he wouldn’t blame them if they did, and he figured they would, so he never tried it. And those who clearly wanted to sleep with the White Wolf for the novelty of having a feral fucking—who saw him as nothing more than a vessel to fulfill another kink, a notch in a bedpost—he had no intention of playing that role for them.

But Jaskier didn’t care. Jaskier wanted Geralt, not any Witcher, not any rough lover, not someone to brag about. And when he rolled them, Jaskier made a noise like he’d been sucker punched and kissed Geralt frantically, with everything he had, like his body was on fire and the only water was between Geralt’s lips, stolen from the Witcher’s tongue.

His body was burning where Jaskier was touching him, a long line up against his front, and he was almost shaking with how much he wanted this. To hold, to cherish, in a way that he was never allowed, the way that Jaskier has always allowed him, even when Geralt pretended he didn’t need it.

He was also quickly realizing he might be slightly addicted to Jaskier’s neck, licking shamelessly at it, nipping, seizing a mouthful and sucking, until he was sure that Jaskier had at least one obscenely huge bruise and the bard himself was moaning and rutting up against Geralt like he might orgasm just from this.

“Wait, wait, wait, come on…” Jaskier yanked on Geralt’s hair and shoved at the middle of his chest until Geralt obeyed and Jaskier could start undoing his clothes, yanking his pants down. That snapped Geralt out of it and he got to work on his own pants, nearly tearing the fabric because for once, he was not in full control of his own strength. For once, he was letting his guard down. It was Jaskier. It was all right to let go.

Clothes dispensed with, Jaskier yanked Geralt back down onto him, and that just about got rid of any lingering fears that Jaskier had reservations about a man three times his size pressing him into the mattress. The bard’s legs hooked around Geralt’s waist, bringing him closer in, causing their cocks to rub together, and Geralt wasn’t sure if it was one or both of them who groaned in response.

He wanted to be inside Jaskier, he wanted them to be completely entangled, wanted to feel the burning heart of him beating a wild staccato. “Can I…”

“Whatever you want,” Jaskier hissed, his teeth catching on Geralt’s ear, seizing, biting, tugging. “Gods, whatever you want, ‘m yours.”

How did he just give himself over to Geralt so easily? “Careful. You might not know what you’re agreeing to.”

“Would you ever hurt me?” Jaskier demanded, seizing Geralt’s face in his hands.

Geralt shuddered. “Never.”

“Would you ever ignore me if I told you no, or stop?”

“What? No.” How could Jaskier even ask such a thing?

Jaskier grinned up at him triumphantly, his expression easily readable even in the slivers of moonlight. “Then I know what I’m agreeing to.”

If he’d been an actual wolf, Geralt might have howled, warmth and triumph and something dangerously soft all surging up in him, choking his throat, but in a way that made him want it to never end.

He kissed Jaskier again, fumbling around one-handed through his pack. Oil, oil, somewhere in here… ah-ha.

“I can do it,” Jaskier said quickly, trying to take the bottle from him, but Geralt knew Jaskier’s impatient moods, and they always ended up with Jaskier causing chaos (and possibly bodily harm to himself or others).

“Hmm. I don’t think so.” Geralt sat back on his knees and pressed one of Jaskier’s thighs down into the bed, smearing his fingers in the oil.

Jaskier’s pout spoke volumes. He was not about to let the bard do a quick and dirty prep that was barely enough, just because Jaskier was an impatient and cock-hungry bastard. Geralt was going to take as much time as he liked with this, thanks.

Especially once he found he could lie on his side and pin Jaskier’s legs open, shamelessly fitting his teeth around the bolt of Jaskier’s jaw as he worked him open.

Jaskier, predictably, had opinions on this whole part of the proceedings. Geralt was called, among other things, a motherfucker, a bastard, a fucking bastard, a magnificent bastard, a horrid tease, a cockwaffle, a douchecanoe, and a thrice-damned son of a whore.

Frankly, Geralt felt like Jaskier wasn’t being nearly as colorful with his curses as he could be. He’d once heard the bard call someone a “pox-riddled whoreson with a shriveled cock and a slug for a brain.”

When Jaskier got worked up, he got worked up.

But the less imaginative curses were probably because, two fingers in, Geralt figured out the exact angle that had Jaskier jolting in his arms and clawing at him with breathless demands for more and fuck, please. Watching the bard’s face contorting with pleasure was almost as good as the feel of him, tight and clenching, around Geralt’s fingers, or the weight of him up against every inch of Geralt. Another night—and there would be another night, and another one after that, every night if Geralt could manage it—he’d take his time and tease, see how long it took Jaskier to come like this, secure in Geralt’s hands, and he’d watch the bard wail and plead and gasp.

Right now, though, he was feeling a little impatient himself.

He shifted them back, planting his hands on either side of Jaskier’s head, nodding at him.

Jaskier didn’t have to be told twice. He took Geralt’s cock in hand, obviously thoroughly enjoying himself with that, stroking Geralt and toying with the foreskin until Geralt was clenching his teeth and glaring at the bard to get on with it, and finally guided Geralt in.

Geralt’s arms nearly gave out on him as it hit him like a kick to the chest. It wasn’t—he’d fucked men before, on occasion. He’d grown up a horny teenage boy surrounded by other horny teenage boys, it was frankly inevitable. And once in a while he’d go to a brothel and, if there was a man available, select him for the night, if his tastes were swinging that way. But those occasions were rare. It was generally women who were available, and so it was women that he slept with.

So it wasn’t the newness of it, and it wasn’t the fact that he was inside someone, either. Although that was near-overwhelming on its own since the last time he’d had sex had been with Yennefer on the mountain and that was… fuck, three years ago… but anyway.

Point was.

It wasn’t the sex, it was that—he was connected to Jaskier, he had Jasker in his arms, he was in Jaskier, in every conceivable way, they were connected. He stared down at the bard, watched Jaskier’s chest heaving up and down, watched Jaskier’s eyes going wide, his mouth parting as he sucked in air. Geralt was aware he was… proportionate, all over. Had he hurt…?

Jaskier must’ve read his thoughts, somehow, because without a word he drew Geralt down to him, dug his heels into Geralt’s ass, urging him deeper, and kissed him, slick and a little sloppy in that content, buzzing pleasure kind of way.

Geralt tested out a small thrust, and Jaskier groaned around Geralt’s tongue, and somehow they transitioned from that to a deep, rolling rhythm. We could go to the coast, Jaskier had said, and Geralt felt like his movements were waves, inevitable and steady, and he almost chuckled.

Jaskier encouraged him, pushed up into him with every movement. He tasted sweet, he felt sweet, setting Geralt’s teeth on edge like a spoonful of honey until it was too much and they could only pant into each other’s mouths.

There were definitely other positions that could probably get him even deeper inside, let him thrust harder, better leverage, but he wanted this. He wanted, selfishly, to be covering Jaskier. He wanted to see the bard’s face, he wanted to have Jaskier laid out before him like a fucking feast—

He hit something, just the right angle, and Jaskier sobbed, drawing Geralt even closer to him, and Geralt braced his hands in the headboard and buried his face in Jaskier’s neck, thrusting mindlessly that exact same way as Jaskier made a whole orchestra of noises in his ear. Jaskier’s cock was rubbing up against Geralt’s stomach now and he pressed down, flexing, giving Jaskier more to press against, and Jaskier made a noise like he’d been wounded and increased his pace, squirming, writhing frantically until he went stiff in Geralt’s arms and shuddered from head to toe, covering Geralt’s chest as he spent himself.

Geralt just about choked as Jaskier clenched around him, a good ten seconds from coming himself, but then Jaskier turned his face and combed his fingers through Geralt’s hair, kissing the joint where Geralt’s cheekbone met his eyes, and it was so unbearably fond and soft that Geralt found himself spilling over, hit like a bolt of lightning, a growl trapped in the back of his throat.

Jaskier gave a happy sigh, like he wanted nothing better than to be filthy inside because of Geralt, and the thought of that made Geralt’s cock twitch valiantly in an attempt to start another round.

Not just yet, though. They’d work up to multiple rounds. Jaskier was just a human.

Geralt rolled so that he wouldn’t crush Jaskier and fished around for a dirty item of clothing to use to quickly mop them up. Jaskier crawled on top of him, like always, only this time he pressed a kiss to Geralt’s chest, instead of only his hand.

Geralt grunted. “May I?”

Jaskier looked up at him. “Yes, of course, but may you what?”

Geralt gently maneuvered Jaskier around so that they were back to chest and he could bury his nose in Jaskier’s neck, still holding the bard, still keeping himself between Jaskier and the door.

“Oh,” Jaskier murmured, knowingly. “Glad to know that all my perfume experiments paid off.”

“It’s not your perfume,” Geralt replied. “It’s you.”

Jaskier stretched with all the leisurely, smug pleasure of a cat, and pressed himself shamelessly up against Geralt’s chest, tangling their legs. “You know, we do have a whole other bed.”

“Hmm.”

“One that doesn’t have a wet patch.”

“Hmm.” Geralt didn’t feel like moving. They could migrate to the other bed later.

Jaskier chuckled and took one of Geralt’s hands, pressing his lips to the knuckles. He didn’t say anything more. He didn’t need to.

Geralt tucked his nose into the soft spot just behind Jaskier’s ear and the curve of his jaw, inhaling deeply. Jaskier would be in his arms all night. And tomorrow night. And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

And when they next asked to rent a room, they would be sure to specify there be only one bed.