What makes a monster a monster? Is something that isn’t human, considered a monster just for being what they are? Even if they do have humanity, kindness, love? Even if sometimes their actions are more human than humanity itself?
Can a human not be a monster then? With their violence, greed, hatred, bigotry? Even as their humanity fails them?
Does that mean a monster is bad by its very nature, and a human good? If so, what of the monsters that fight that nature, and love fully? And what of the humans that forget their intrinsic goodness, forsake it, and tear it to pieces?
Teeth too sharp, eyes too bright, nails too long - what makes a monster a monster?
Their actions, the way they look, both?
Jaskier looks human.
Acts human too. Mostly.
And he is kind-ish; yes he hates freely, but loves freely even more, is there anything more human than feeling deeply?
But he isn’t human.
Does that make him a monster after all?
It’s a conundrum, an unsolvable puzzle really, after all it all comes down to semantics and the meaning of words, how people view the subject. Everything becomes far more ridiculous when he hears them call Geralt a monster. Soft-hearted Geralt, a monster. Sweet, wonderful, albeit gruff and mostly unresponsive Geralt. It’s ridiculous is what it is.
Geralt was born human, and even if he might have become something more than that, monster is certainly not the right word to describe him.
How can the man who cuddles against Jaskier’s chest when he has nightmares be a monster? The man who helps people in exchange for scraps? Or worse, helps people and gets spat on and kicked out.
Jaskier truly believes murder should be allowed in certain attenuating circumstances. Like, someone calling his beloved a monster. He’s certainly punched a fair amount of them, at least.
Who is the real monster here?
It’s just one of those nights, after an especially tiring and shitty day, and Jaskier can’t stop the barrage of stupid, philosophical thoughts from pouring out as he stomps all over the room. And of course Geralt stops sharpening his sword and looks at him fondly, with a slightly worried eyebrow raise, “Does it matter? People will think what they think, hate what they hate, with no rhyme or reason. You should have gotten used to it by now.”
Which no. Believing people can’t change, won’t change, is just something Jaskier- he can’t. If the world cannot improve, and grow, and be better, then what’s the point? They’re taught behaviors, learned; after all you’re not born an absolute fucknugget.
But then, that would bring up the whole nature versus nurture subject, which is a whole other thing, and Jaskier doesn’t have the mental capacity to actually have a proper conversation, because he’s infuriated. So instead, he just says, “No.”
“No?” Geralt huffs, amused.
“No.” Jaskier repeats, “No. I reject that. I do not agree with it. I do not care for it. Thank you very much, but no.”
“That’s not how things work in the real world. But I guess Jaskierland is different.”
“You- You’re not as funny as you think you are, you know?” Geralt smiles at that, and Jaskier knows he’s totally thinking that he’s actually even funnier, but Jaskier is not giving him that satisfaction, and continues, “Besides less people think of you as a monster nowadays, because of yours truly and his beautiful voice, and enchanting music. Things can change. Things will change. By all the Gods, I will make them change myself if I have to.”
Geralt is silent as he stares lovingly at Jaskier, knowing that he has never and will never love anyone else in quite the same way. The optimism is adorable, and even as he can’t quite see the world in the same bright way, it’s nice to-
“If some people die along the way, that is just life.”
“It’s just a joke. Well-” he starts, trying to justify that some people are better off dead, but stops himself when he notices Geralt’s unimpressed look, “Fine, you’re no fun.”
“You feeling better now?” Geralt asks, getting back to his sword.
And no, he’s not. But he sits next to Geralt anyway, needing to feel his warmth to calm down.
“You’re not a monster.”
Geralt sighs, and puts his sword away. Kissing Jaskier’s head, he wants to say a million things, I’m not a monster to you, you make me feel normal, I love that’s how you see me but reality is different, I love you, but he understands that what would make Jaskier feel better is none of that. What he wants, needs, is far simpler, “I know.”
Years ago those would be words said to stop the conversation, words not meant, but now- Well, now Geralt is starting to believe them. To believe Jaskier. He isn’t completely there yet, doubt still plague his mind.
What makes a monster a monster?
But how can he be a monster, when Jaskier loves him so? When he looks at him as if he’s his whole world. When all Jaskier’s words are full of love, and passion, and dedication, for Geralt and no one else. If you hear enough times how kind you are, beautiful, the loveliest creation on the Universe, your self-hatred starts to chip away slowly.
Jaskier smiles, pleased, his heart less heavy now. And he kisses Geralt. A barely there kiss. Just- a touch of lips. An ‘I’m here, and I’ll always be here, close enough for this’ kind of kiss.
They both know this conversation will never end. After all, they’re both right in their own ways. People will hate. For no reason at all. But they can also change. The world can be better. Never perfect, no. Just...better. Less hateful.
And fuck, at least they have each other.
Can change some minds along the way.
Be happy in each other’s arms.
What is a monster?