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Just Because I Left Doesn’t Mean That I’m Not Still There

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1 - Hengfors

It’s been weeks since the unfortunate incident on the mountain, and even if there were much longer stretches of time in the past twenty years where he hadn’t seen Jaskier, this time it was different. Never before had they parted like they had in Caingorn, with Geralt furious and Jaskier defeated. He hadn’t seen Yennefer since either, and even if their parting had been equally bad, it hadn’t left him with such a doleful feeling. 

The last expression he’d seen on Jaskier’s usually so joyous face has been imprinted on his closed eyelids so he has to look at it every time he tries to sleep. If he manages to drift into sleep regardless, it haunts his nightmares. Jaskier looking at him, dirt on his face, tears welling in his eyes. 

Jaskier’s broken, “Well, that’s not fair,” echoes through the fog that are his thoughts these days. He was right, of course he was. Jaskier had been right about so many things, some of which Geralt is now ready to admit, at least to himself. He’s practiced apologising, even. 

“I’m sorry,” he’d said to a dying fire in a dark forest mere days after Jaskier had left.

“I’m sorry,” he’d told the setting sun a few evenings ago.

“I’m sorry,” he says now as he watches Jaskier through a dirty tavern window. 

The bard is sitting on a table in the middle of the crowded room. He’s singing a quiet, maudlin ballad Geralt hasn’t heard before, barely moving and with his eyes closed. The people gathered around him are watching him captivated, some are swaying slowly to the melody, one woman is wiping tears from her eyes.

It’s dark outside, there’s no chance Jaskier would be able to see him. So he stands there a bit longer, in the rain, until Roach nudges his shoulder with her head.

“I know,” he says to her, patting her wet neck. “He's not ready yet. And I don't think I am either."

She snickers, and nudges him again, harder this time.

“We’ll find him again,” Geralt says, and leads her out of the village into the night.

 

 

2 - Near Vartburg

Geralt doesn't stop when he hears a cheerful tune and an all too familiar voice from what must be this village's marketplace. He holds Roach on tight reins and wills himself to go on.

In the middle of the small square, Jaskier performs on a stone bench in front of a well and the crowd is cheering him on, singing and clapping along to what clearly must be a very popular song.

Geralt looks up at him and is immediately reminded of their fight at the mountain. Always on higher ground, his bard.

Anyone who hasn't heard Jaskier perform hundreds of times wouldn't notice that his heart isn't in it, this time. The people love him regardless; there's plenty of coin in his lute case on the ground, someone must have also thrown flowers at him judging from the yellow petals lying around. One petal is tangled up in Jaskier's hair and Geralt wants to brush it away.

The very moment their eyes meet, the music stops and Jaskier jumps from the bench in an angry fury, managing to make it look graceful with the surprised crowd parting for him.

He storms towards Geralt, eyes gleaming with anger and he's pointing at him with his lute, which is never a good sign.

"You!" Jaskier yells and it sounds thunderous, a tone Geralt has rarely heard him use. He doesn't sound defeated at all. "Why are you following me, you boorish plonk?" Jaskier growls.

Gerald quietly stands his ground when Jaskier stops merely inches away and points the handle of his lute into his chest.

"I'm not." Which is at least partly true. Geralt is heading south-east anyway and Jaskier doesn’t need to know that Geralt is aware of the annual bard tournament taking place in this area and he’d hoped to run into him on this particular route.

"Don't lie to me, Geralt. You taught me well, I notice when I'm being followed. Or lied to. I have plenty of reasons to be really fucking cross with you, let's not add lying. Now stop following me and don't expect another farewell from me, I only had the one for you."

"You said 'See you around', not farewell," Geralt says, hoping this might be a test. But it wasn't, since Jaskier's eyes flicker with hurt for just a short moment before the hardness of the anger takes over again.

"I don't care what I said. It's no use talking to an old dalcop like you. Just go fuck yourself you..." He pauses, waves his arms around and is about to poke Geralt with his lute again but thinks better of it, using the palm of his other hand instead to slap him on his chest. "You mean witcher." His clear blue eyes sparkle like lighting in an angry storm.

It's not the physical force of it that makes Geralt stumble backwards. Pain starts blooming in his chest, is pounding behind his ribs, threatening to break free and he tries his best to contain it all, swallow it all down so it won’t pour out of him and leave him even weaker. 

Geralt takes a deep breath, his fists tighten in his gloves to relieve some tension until the scrunching of the leather is audible. He lets Jaskier storm away, looks after him to see him kick open the door to the inn. Then he goes over to the abandoned lute case, collects the coin that's lying around on the ground and then looks at the gaping crowd around him. He spots a woman with an apron and a kitchen cloth over her shoulder, pushes the case into her hands accompanied with a bit of his own coin. 

"You work at the inn?"

"Yes master witcher, sir," she says, her eyes nervously flicking down at his medallion.

"See that this reaches him. I will be able to smell it if it doesn't.” This nonsense always works, even after two decades of noble songs about him. And poetry. He isn’t sure if Jaskier is aware that he knows about the poetry too. “Here is some extra for you, and this is for all his expenses at the inn today. Should be enough to cover food, ale, bath and bed."

Then he pauses and reaches into his pouch again. 

"And wine."

"Yes, of course, yes, I'll see to it personally. Right away, sir."

“Thanks,” he says, but doubts she hears it as she’s hurrying away. He watches her until the tavern door closes behind her and turns to Roach who is already close, bumping her soft nose into his neck.

“Only because I am ready doesn’t mean he is,” Geralt tells her, sits up and urges her onto the way out of the village. He doesn’t look into the inn’s windows as he rides past.

 

 

3 - On the road to Tretogor

Jaskier tightens his fist around a handful of coin until it hurts, takes a deep breath that annoyingly doesn’t calm him down at all, and pushes open the tavern door with force. He trips over a loose floorboard and stumbles a bit, curses under his much too fast breath and is glad Geralt sits at a table on the far corner with his back turned towards the entrance. 

He wonders, for a split second, why. Because since when does fucking Geralt of Rivia turn his back towards any entrance? Then it hits him. The tosser probably smelled him before he even entered the village and then sat down like this so Jaskier could choose to avoid him. But he’s not here to avoid him, doesn’t want Geralt to be so damn considerate. This time, it was Jaskier who followed him, tracked him down, and still it was Geralt being one step ahead of him, practically waiting for him and being polite about it.

It makes Jaskier even more furious and so he strides on, as proudly as he can manage, and throws the coin in his hand at Geralt’s back.

Geralt doesn’t turn around, doesn’t even flinch, the wanker, so Jaskier does the most mature thing he can think of and starts yelling.

"You can't buy me, you berk. I had almost a year to master getting angry at you, and don't think for a moment I'm done yet. Do you think I can't earn my own coin? Do I really look so old? Ah how would you even know you century old coxcomb, with your tight trousers and stupid ponytail. You could barely get some ale in an inn before you met me. Just fuck off and do your witchering far, far away from me."

Geralt takes all this in without moving before he finally turns towards him. He doesn’t look angry at all, only tremendously tired. And sad? He doesn’t want to see him sad, damn it. Jaskier wants to scream and wants Geralt to scream back, at least for a while. Sadness in Geralt’s eyes takes the wind out of his sails, somehow, makes this less satisfying than he hoped it would feel.

“You followed me this time, Jaskier,” Geralt says, softly.

Fuck, hearing his name like this hurts, dissolves his anger into something else he can’t deal with right now. Especially not with Geralt looking so sad and tired and like he could need a nice bath and a foot rub. 

“Of course I did, to return your useless coin. As if I need an old pillock’s alms! Seriously?” Jaskier splutters, desperately trying to keep his rage. He pulls more coin out of his pocket and throws it aimlessly at Geralt. “Keep it, keep it all and just fuck the fuck off to… To wherever. I don’t care, I don’t want to know.” He turns and stomps off theatrically, but then stops, turns on his heel, looking at the floor because he can’t bear to look at Geralt again. “I wish I could just forget you.” He can’t, he won’t, ever. Not even a djinn could make him.

Jaskier runs out of the tavern, eyes starting to flow over and him crying is nothing he can let Geralt see. He stumbles towards where he’d left his horse, half blind with tears, unties the reins with shaky fingers and spurs the mare on to dash out of this place as fast as possible.

 

 

4 - On the road to Tretogor

Geralt had to follow him this time. Jaskier left in a state that would only get him into a lot of trouble around here. He’d already seen some contracts on the town’s board and they all sounded nasty. 

It takes him two days to find him, because Jaskier is good at hiding his tracks if he wants to, two worrisome days. It’s already dusk and he can make out Jaskier’s silhouette before the fire. He’s sitting on a log, wine bottle in hand, and he’s been talking all kinds of drunken nonsense since he first came into Geralt's hearing distance a few minutes ago. It’s incoherent babbling, but it seems it’s all aimed at Geralt directly, as if he's talking to him.

Geralt walks closer, as silent as he can so as not to scare Jaskier. He succeeds, Jaskier hasn’t stopped talking even as he sits down on the log beside him.

"And then I started tossing coin at you, did you even get the irony? Because I fucking didn't until just now. I tossed a coin at my witcher and you didn't even look at me. And then when you did, you looked so fucking sad. I wish you hadn’t looked so sad, then I'd still be yelling at you, you fobdoodle."

"I'm glad you're not still yelling," Geralt tries, and it works. Jaskier goes on as he has before Geralt sat down, staring into the fire.

"Oh yes? Be careful then, I might change my mind again any moment now. Maybe even before this bottle is empty," Jaskier slurs, attempting to drink another sip out of the bottle but stops in confusion. He looks into the bottle instead, with the one eye that he has closed shut to have a better view into the bottleneck.

“It is empty,” Geralt states the obvious, trying to make this all feel like a normal night at the campfire.

“Ah shit, you’re right,” Jaskier sighs, throwing the bottle weakly on the ground. “You know how much I hate it when you’re right?”

"Yes, I know.” Jaskier doesn’t say anything to that, so Geralt tries to get the conversation going again, which really isn’t his strong suit. “So tell me, Jaskier, are you a master at getting angry at me, now that you’ve stopped yelling?"

"Yeah, and then suddenly it got really boring to be angry at a stupid mumpsimus like you. So I stopped that, too. Doesn't mean I'm done with the yelling business, though. Might still yell, now and then, you know. When it's necessary. And oh boy is it necessary with you sometimes. I just didn't, most of the time, you know, back in the day when I thought we were friends. Because usually there's no point, you wouldn't yell back. And then one time you did yell, and I hadn’t even started it."

Geralt feels like a poisonous dagger is stabbed right into his heart.

"We're still friends, we always were, and I'm..." Geralt says, voice tight, but hesitates just a moment too long.

"Oh yeah?" Jaskier cuts him off, but he's still not yelling. "Is that why you followed me after I told you to fuck off?" With that, Jaskier turns his head to look Geralt straight in the eyes. "Friends respect each other's wishes, Geralt. Please leave."

Geralt watches him for a long moment, how the weak firelight dances shadows across his face and it hurts to not see him smile. He used to take Jaskier’s smile for granted, a mistake he’ll never repeat after such a long absence.

“As you wish, my friend,” Geralt says, gets up, and leaves to where he left Roach a few feet away.

 

 

5 - Oxenfurt

Jaskier just wants to go home. He’s run into three people already who asked him why he didn’t attend the last tournament of troubadours and bards and then, without waiting for his reply, told him how spectacular Valdo Marx’s performance had been, how merited his win. 

He probably shouldn’t have come to Oxenfurt, but well, he’s got a permanent room here at the university and it’s nice to sleep in one's own bed for a change. Not that he’s here often enough that it feels like his own bed, mind.

The extra coin for doing some lectures is always welcome, though, so he'll stay a bit longer and endure the people's talk. He knows he was in no state to enter any competition and it's nobody's business but his own.

He’s just a few street corners away from falling face down into his clean, white sheets when he hears him. Jaskier stops so fast, he almost falls face down onto the cobblestone instead.

Is he dreaming already? Geralt’s voice is so present in his dreams, that it’s entirely possible. 

He walks ahead slowly, following the voices. Geralt must be in the alley around the corner, talking to someone, his tone is strained.

“That’s not even half of what we agreed on,” Geralt says grumpily, and Jaskier can hear how a coin pouch is shaken.

“Take it or leave it, freak,” says the other man and Jaskier recognises him now, too. 

Fury is starting to boil inside of him at anyone who insults Geralt like this. Jaskier reacts on instinct, pulls his lute from his back to his front and starts strumming an overly cheerful tune as he rounds the corner.

“Oh hello Tymon, hired a witcher for your little problem, have you?” Jaskier singsongs, walking closer. 

“Master Pankratz! I um, I mean,” Tymon stammers, taking a few steps back, while Geralt is staring at Jaskier in surprise.

Jaskier can’t for the life of him restrain himself from winking at Geralt. He does love it when he’s in a position to help Geralt out of some shit, and even if this seems like such a minor thing, it still pleases him. Also, he has to admit to himself, it feels good to see him. Especially since Geralt is for once not covered in monster entrails nor blood of any kind. 

Jaskier strums a final, dramatic accord, which doesn’t really fit the tune so much as it does his intentions, and steps closer.

“Pay him what you owe him, Tymon,” Jaskier says in his most serious professor voice. “And a bit extra if you don’t want me to sing about your ugly secret in the market square tomorrow,” he adds with just a touch of threat in it, which should be enough for the kind of coward Tymon is. 

Jaskier knows he’s a respected professor among the students, and they know how much influence he has in town. For nasty, spoilt bullies like Tymon, he sure isn’t afraid of using it to his advantage. He knows Tymon’s family, knows he can with no doubt pay a small fortune for whatever business he needed a witcher for. Jaskier honestly doesn’t even want to know.

Geralt doesn’t interfere, and Jaskier is relieved that he doesn’t give him a new reason to be angry with him.

“Yes, of course professor Pankratz, sure, I’ll pay him tomorrow, I swear,” Tymon splutters, walking backwards.

“Not so fast,” Jaskier growls, pointing a finger at Tymon and follows him in a wide stride. “Pay him now, I know you have enough coin on you. You always have.”

Tymon stops and then just stands there, rooted on the spot, eyes wide looking in shock at Jaskier. How he despises people like him. No respect for a witcher, who could kill him with his little finger, but afraid of someone who is able to ruin his reputation and family honour in a heartbeat. 

Jaskier walks closer until he reaches him and pokes him lightly in the chest. “Pay him now, you knobhead,” he hisses.

Tymon is shaking now and produces another pouch with trembling fingers. 

“Here,” Tymon says hastily, throwing the heavy pouch into Geralt’s direction. “Now leave me alone, both of you.”

“Yeah, no problem,” Jaskier calls cheerily after him as Tymon rushes out of sight. “See you in class tomorrow, then.” He even adds a little wave, just for the dramatic effect of it all, and turns around to Geralt, who is still standing rooted to the same spot and hasn’t picked up his reward yet. 

“Oh come on, take it!” Jaskier hauls his lute back onto his back, then puts his hands on his hips. “I didn’t go through all this trouble for you to play the humble witcher now,” Jaskier says, not walking closer. It would be a mistake.

“Thank you, Jaskier,” Geralt finally says, and bends to pick up the pouch. It’s the first sound Jaskier has heard him make since he rounded that corner.

“You are welcome, Geralt,” is all Jaskier is able to say. He wants to say so much , but it would be a mistake as well. 

Getting closer now would mean he’ll have to put distance between them again. Talking would mean he’ll have new fuel for that voice in his dreams.

So what he does is, give Geralt an honest smile, and then take a few ambling steps backwards. He lingers a bit before he turns around and walks away slowly but steadily. 

He doesn’t look back, and Geralt doesn’t follow him.

 

 

+1 - Novigrad

Jaskier doesn’t look for a room when he enters the town at dusk, he longs to see the coast first and heads straight to a particular pretty spot he knows on the rocky cliffs overlooking the sandy beach. The light is especially lovely and soon the sun will set, the mild orange beams are tingling on his face.

After taking it all in with his eyes, Jaskier closes them and focuses on his other senses. The wind ruffles his hair and carries a few stray drops of saltwater that he welcomes on his skin. He listens to the rush of the waves, the blowing of the wind, the cries of the seagulls. He smells the salty air, mixed with seaweed and the earthy scent of wet sand. 

This is exactly why he loves the coast. He can lose himself in all the sensations, free his mind. It’s his own kind of meditation, where he can send all his sorrows overseas, everything that he doesn’t want in his head anymore, to have a few moments of peace.

Well, at least this used to work. Right now, something is holding him back. Jaskier can feel a presence beside him, accompanied by a very peculiar smell, which doesn’t quite fit into this whole coast scenario. He can clearly smell damp leather, sweet arenaria and a hint of chamomile. 

It almost burns in his nose, that’s how much it hurts because Jaskier thought if he had to come here alone, it would at least help him to get over Geralt. Well, not over over, that ship has sailed long ago, but maybe a little bit, tune it all down to a manageable degree of yearning again. Instead it’s worse than ever, feels more real than in his dreams.

He opens his eyes to blink away the gathering tears and he sees an open palm resting on the stone inches away from his thigh. Waiting patiently.

Jaskier looks at it and it looks so real; the calloused skin, the fine scars, and a spot that looks like a very recent burnmark. If this is real, they’ve been apart for so long he doesn’t know where Geralt got burned, and that realisation makes him ache even more. 

For a short moment Jaskier debates whether it’s safe to look up. If Geralt is just an illusion he might vanish, so if he doesn’t move he can pretend a little longer, hurt a little longer. But when he’s real… Jaskier does the brave thing and looks up to see Geralt looking right back at him. His expression is open, his eyes wide, his jaw seems tense and moves slightly, like Geralt is nervously grinding his teeth.

Jaskier, uncharacteristically so, doesn’t say a thing, but the corners of his mouth turn up slightly. There’s nothing for him to say here, so he waits, patiently, and looks into the golden eyes he has missed so much.

“I’m sorry, Jaskier,” Geralt says in a rush, fast and awkward, like the words were trapped in his mouth for a while and now needed to get out all at once. Maybe they were. Maybe there are more, so Jaskier waits some more, smiles a little more.

“Please forgive me, for everything.” Geralt pauses, takes a breath, sighs. Jaskier waits a little longer. “I don’t deserve your forgiveness, and I have nothing else to offer you but my hand. If you choose to take it, I promise I won’t let go again.”

“And when I take it, where will it lead me?” Jaskier asks, finally giving in to the urge to be an actual part of this conversation. He reaches out and runs the tip of his index finger over the soft skin of Geralt’s wrist. Geralt doesn’t flinch, but takes in a deep, shaky breath.

“First, to a room in a decent inn. Clean room, white sheets. Then to Cintra, because that’s my only other obligation besides what I promised you. Then? Anywhere you’d like me to lead the way,” Geralt’s voice is as rough and deep as ever, but it’s also shaky with uncertainty.

“Sounds like a pretty big offer if you ask me,” Jaskier says, allowing hope to bloom in his chest. 

“Would it be something that pleases you?” Geralt’s voice breaks at the last words and Jaskier can’t leave him hanging like this any longer.

“You know that nothing pleases me more than to be with you. I was just never sure it would go both ways.” He draws circles on Geralt’s palm now. “But then you rejected me, made it pretty clear to me that it’s a one-sided pleasure, always has been. What else should I have done but leave?”

“You can leave right now and I will never follow you again. I’d understand,” Geralt says, quietly, and Jaskier knows he means it.

“I won’t leave, but I want you to tell me why you want me to take your hand. You know me, Geralt. I’m a man of words. After what you said to me on that mountain, I need you to tell me some pretty words so I can forget about the others, the nasty ones. They cut something out from me and it needs to heal.”

“Jaskier," Geralt's voice is breathy and low, it sounds like a plea. "Fuck, I'm shit at this," he manages and looks down to where Jaskier is still stroking patterns on his hand.

"You're doing just fine," Jaskier encourages him, cups Geralt's chin with his other hand to make him look him in the eyes again and smiles. He puts everything he has into this smile, all his love and longing, all his trust and affection, the yearning and the heartbreak. He'll tell this muted ox how much he’s loved every day, multiple times, maybe hourly if he can get away with it. But he has to hear something , before he can do so. 

"Jaskier," Geralt gasps and swallows, then takes a deep breath. "Whenever we were apart in the past, I always carried you with me in the heart you’ve always told the world I have. What I said is unforgivable, and I broke your heart, but I broke mine as well. Please take my hand.” And Jaskier does not only that, with his other hand he draws Geralt in for a desperate kiss.

Geralt holds his hand in a death grip, opens his lips for him with a sigh and there goes all of Jaskier’s self-restraint-- which he’s meticulously built up in the past two decades and which after the past few minutes is now ready to burst at the seams-- off the cliff. Fuck it all, he thinks, and throws one leg over Geralt and plants himself in his lap. 

"I love you too, you soft, daft idiot. We’ll mend our broken hearts just fine like this," he says just before leaning in for another kiss, softer this time, with more finesse. 

Jaskier’s knees frame Geralt’s hips and he presses himself flush against his solid body, both hands raking through the white hair the way he’s always wanted to. He pulls a bit, too, and Geralt responds by moaning into his mouth. Strong arms tighten around his waist and back and squeeze him hard enough to leave him short of breath. He hears how the silk of his new doublet rustles in the tight grip of Geralt’s fists.

Jaskier laughs into the kiss, and then because he suddenly feels absolutely giddy with it, throws his head back as far as he can and when he can see the horizon upside down, he laughs out as loud as his confined lungs allow. It’s the best coast view he’s ever seen.

When he looks back up, Geralt is watching him in wonder. His mouth is red and wet, his hair all over the place, and Jaskier puts their foreheads together, takes a moment to bask in the knowledge that he made Geralt of Rivia look positively dishevelled from just a minute of kissing.

"I don't deserve you," Geralt says, hides his face in Jaskier's neck, nosing the spot behind his ear and inhaling deeply.

“Maybe not, but luckily, I don’t give a fuck. I want you, Geralt, and since you’re offering so nicely, I’m just going to take you, regardless of what you deserve.”

“Hmmm, ” Geralt grunts, grabs Jaskier’s bottom possessively with his big hands and grinds their bodies together. There is absolutely no mistaking how turned on Geralt is in the confines of his annoyingly tight trousers.

“The um, the part with the taking? M-Maybe just not right here, hm? You said something about white sheets, yes?” Jaskier manages to whimper. His trousers might be much more comfortably loose, but that doesn’t mean he’s in any better state.

“Hm. Yes. I have a room,” Geralt says, clearly having some difficulty detaching his mouth from Jaskier’s throat.

“Then let me propose a relocation. As much as I’m a friend of a good old tumble in the wild outdoors, this place might be a tad, um, exposed?” Jaskier says, seeing the docks and outskirts of town close by over Geralt’s shoulder. It’s an ordeal to even think of disrupting their newfound closeness like this, but he wants more than a desperate and clothed rub off. “I, ah, might need a moment before I’m decent enough to walk back into town, but I do think we’ll have plenty of opportunities in our future to fuck with a view.”

Geralt snorts, looks at him and then he actually laughs out loud, which is such a rare sound that Jaskier’s heart flutters even more than it already did.

“Let’s relocate. I’ll carry you, it’ll be quicker,” Geralt, the prettiest horse’s arse on the Continent, picks Jaskier up and hauls him over his shoulder.

“Yeah, that will certainly leave my dignity intact,” Jaskier yelps and wriggles but then resigns himself to his fate when it means he can watch Geralt’s arse flex in aforementioned trousers with every step he takes from this up close.

 

*

 

“Geralt,” Jaskier gasps in surprise when he sees where Geralt is leading him, now tugs him inside by his hand because Jaskier falls behind, staring up at the facade of the best inn in town. “They let you in here?”

“Someone must have sung my praises too loudly in this area. And I had some spare coin from my last contract, as you are well aware,” Geralt mumbles, grips his hand tighter and Jaskier stumbles up the stairs behind him, grinning.

Once inside their room, Jaskier doesn’t even get to have a look around before his doublet is shoved off his shoulders and he’s jostled against the nearest wall. Geralt’s hand comes up to cradle the back of his head as he presses in close for a hungry kiss, and Jaskier rests his head there, between Geralt’s hand and his mouth, between the wall and Geralt’s body. He closes his eyes and lets himself be kissed like this, his hands roaming the hard leather of Geralt’s armour, blindly finding all the places where it’s fastened, locating all the straps and buckles, pulling them loose until the different pieces fall on the floor with heavy thuds.

Jaskier has helped Geralt out of this wretched thing countless times, it’s all muscle memory. What’s new though, is being also free to run his hands up and down Geralt’s back afterwards, one hand slipping under his shirt and up again, the other trailing down over his arse, gripping firmly until Geralt moans into his mouth.

His explorations must have encouraged Geralt to explore Jaskier in return. He’s trailing  kisses down Jaskier’s throat, nudges away his halfway unbuttoned shirt with his nose to get access to his bare shoulder, then his collarbone. Geralt’s lips are eager and soft, his stubble rasping deliciously rough along his skin. 

Geralt’s hands have also found their way under his shirt and are pushing it impatiently over his head, then going straight to the small of his back to unfasten Jaskier’s breeches. He’s fumbling and curses into Jaskier’s neck.

“How the fuck do they come off,” he growls and Jaskier laughs as Geralt’s fingers tangle the leather laces into more knots than before.

“You don’t undo fine men’s trousers often then, I take it?” Jaskier asks and does an impressively quick job of unfastening the five buttons on the front of Geralt’s trousers instead of helping Geralt with his own. 

“Not recently, no. Now help me or I’ll rip them off,” Geralt groans impatiently and bites down on Jaskier’s collarbone, making him moan at the sensation as well as the suggestion.

“Hng, that would be unbelievably hot, Geralt, but these were quite expensive,” Jaskier pouts and quickly brings his own hands behind his back to help. “I’ll let you know when I don’t wear my best ensemble and you can rip anything off me you like.”

“You’re always wearing your best ensemble,” Geralt says dryly, then licks over the now sensitive spot, soothing the bitten skin.

“You know me too well. I’d get some rags just for the experience, though,” Jaskier says airily, finally finished with untangling the strings. “You do know that these have simple buttons on the front, too?” Jaskier adds, laughs at Geralt’s frustrated hum and unbuttons them quickly. He puts Geralt’s hands on his hips, guiding them to push his breeches and underthings down. 

“You may proceed,” he sighs, loving the feeling of Grealt’s broad palms on his thighs as they push the fabric away. They stroke down his legs until they are stopped by his boots and Geralt kneels down to help him out of them.

Watching that sends an intense wave of lust through him. Jaskier sees his own naked and aroused body, and Geralt, still mostly clothed, on his knees before him, looking up with hungry eyes which then travel down his chest appreciatively. Geralt’s hands stroke up his legs again and when they reach his hips, they pin Jaskier sharply against the wall. A very welcome support because when Geralt puts his mouth on Jaskier’s cock, his knees would most certainly have given out without it.

“Sweet mother of gods, Geralt,” Jaskier cries, pushing both his hands into Geralt’s hair. First to hold him in place, but after Geralt has sucked him down from root to tip a few times, Jaskier almost loses his mind with how amazing it feels and he realises this has to stop soon or it’s going to be over embarrassingly quickly for him.

"Geralt, stop!" It takes him all his self restraint to grip a handful of Geralt's hair and pull hard to make him understand.

Geralt pulls off and looks up, his wet lips glistening in the candlelight of the dim room. “Let me.”

Jaskier has to swallow, close his eyes for a second against this gorgeous sight.

“Oh Geralt, don’t think for a moment that I don't want this,” Jaskier says, and goes on because rambling is distracting him from his throbbing cock which is still much too close to Geralt’s mouth. “I’d say this ranks among the top five of my fantasies about you, which also means if you put my cock back in your mouth, I’ll come down your throat in less than a minute.”

Geralt frowns, his fingers digging into Jaskier’s hips. “And the problem is?” Geralt asks, his voice is rough and he sounds genuinely confused.

“The problem is, my dearest witcher, that I am a forty year old human male, and thank you very much for making me remind you of this fact right now . It means when you go on like this, I’m done in a minute and would need a nap before round two. And you are not even fucking naked!”

Geralt, the bastard, has the audacity to smirk up at him. “And the problem is?” he repeats and pokes his tongue out to lick the top of Jaskier’s cock.

“Uuuuh uh uh, um, I might have forgotten where the problem is, actually,” Jaskier stammers weakly. 

“Then let me do this and you can have me any way you like after your nap.”

“Yeah, alright. Only you can say something extremely hot and something that makes me sound like an old man in one sentence and get away with it.” Jaskier’s never been good at denying himself the fine things he craves, so why start now? His fingers in Geralt’s hair tighten as he pulls him closer again.

Geralt keeps eye contact as he opens his mouth but Jaskier has to look away to not let this end even quicker. He lets his head fall back against the wall as Geralt swallows him down again and growls loudly.

“Fuck Geralt, you feel so good. Yes, just like this, so good,” the praise tumbles from his lips unconsciously. What Geralt does with his tongue and lips is efficient, and has Jaskier trembling and panting. His pace is inexorable, he’s not teasing, takes him deep into his throat over and over again.

“Oh Geralt,” Jaskier breathes, before all words are lost to him. He lets the rising pleasure build, wash over him, expecting to reach the edge any moment now. 

Just when he braces himself for release, his shaking hands tighten in Geralt’s hair to press him impossibly closer but he meets resistance when Geralt holds against the pressure to let Jaskier’s cock slip from his lips-- not one moment too late.

Jaskier gasps as cold air meets his hot cock, his eyes fly open to find Geralt smirking up at him yet again.

"Thought I'd not be able to make you last longer, old man?"

"Oh you, you… You !" Jaskier tries but all insults have lost their meaning to him. There is an angry throbbing sensation in his groin and he feels how his body recedes from the edge, painfully slowly. 

It gives him the strength to shove Geralt back a fraction and make shooing motions with his hands.

"On the bed with you and your ancient arse, now," Jaskier says, voice soft around the edges because he feels dizzy and is still out of breath. 

He watches as Geralt gets up, takes both his hands and walks them backwards. Jaskier goes with him, small steps until Geralt’s legs hit the bed behind him and he sits down. 

Standing between Geralt's spread legs, he cups his face, drags one thumb over his wet lips. Geralt only hums and with one fluid motion he pulls his own shirt off and then gathers Jaskier close again for a deep kiss. He reclines on the bed, slowly, and Jaskier follows the warmth of Geralt's body until he's straddling him on the bed.

Jaskier's hard cock rubs against the muscles on Geralt's stomach as he moves slightly in rhythm with the kiss, and he hisses at the sharp sensation. 

"Come on," Geralt says softly in between kisses, and pats Jaskier lightly on his bottom, pulls him up to sit astride his chest.

Geralt guides him further until his cock breaches his lips and Jaskier grabs the headboard so he has something to steady his trembling body.

“Fuck,” Jaskier moans deeply as his cock is once again enveloped by the heat of Geralt's mouth. “Your mouth, like this, is exquisite, a revelation. Better than-- oh fuck . Better than anything...” 

Geralt taps the backs of his thighs, encouraging him to move. Jaskier sets his own pace then, slow and deep thrusts to drag this out as long as he’s able to.

Geralt's hands roam his back, knead his arse and Jaskier feels lost in sensation but anchored by Geralt’s closeness, his strength.

When he hums around Jaskier's cock, the vibration shoots through him and he chokes on a moan, his breath coming out in heavy gasps. Geralt does it again and Jaskier can’t cling on any longer, he has to let go, stuttering out syllables which only faintly resemble Geralt’s name as he spills inside his mouth.

Geralt makes more encouraging sounds as Jasier’s hips buck and fail in their rhythm. He hums and sucks and licks until Jaskier slows down and eventually goes still on top of him, catching his breath with his heart pounding like drums in his chest.

“Geralt,” he huffs and lowers himself down because all he wants now is to kiss and kiss and kiss.

With his arse now settled on Geralt’s groin, the hardness of his still clothed erection presses relentlessly against him. Jaskier rolls his hips a few times and Geralt breaks the kiss with a strangled moan. With one last soft kiss on Geralt’s chin, Jaskier crawls down his body and finally frees Geralt of all remaining clothes.

“Impossibly tight these fuckers,” Jaskier mumbles as he rolls Geralt’s trousers down his legs. “I’ve always enjoyed how funny it looks when you take them off yourself, though.”

“Of course you have,” Geralt says quietly, arches into the touch as Jaskier strokes his hands slowly all the way up to his chest. He stops for a kiss, cupping Geralt’s face and is held there by a strong hand between his shoulder blades.

“What do you like, Geralt, tell me,” Jaskier whispers into the kiss. 

Geralt takes his right hand and guides it down his body, places it on his cock. “Your hand here,” he says, voice hoarse, and bites back a moan as Jaskier starts stroking him slowly. 

Geralt’s hand wraps around his thigh and the pressure on the base of his neck increases as well as Geralt’s fingers dig into his skin and he growls, “and your mouth up here.”

“As you wish,” Jaskier breathes against his lips, darting his tongue out once against them before nipping along Geralt’s jawline.

He varies his grip on Geralt’s cock from firm to loose in the matter of a few strokes, and he adds twists on every upstroke to see how Geralt responds to a playful approach. Very well, as it turns out, even though Geralt doesn’t seem to express his pleasure in an excessively physical way, he’s mostly still. His hands not only seem to hold Jaskier in place, the points of contact also seem to ground him. With an iron grip he holds on, leans into the touch, arches into it, trembles with it. His moans are deep and rumbling, but not loud.

“Oh you are lovely like this, Geralt, beautiful,” Jaskier says into Geralt’s skin, bestowing kisses between his words and drinks in his hums of pleasure, his mortified whimpers for every praise. “I’m here, my love. I’ll stay with you, I’ve got you.”

Jaskier settles into a steady rhythm then, nips at his earlobe and licks his way back to Geralt’s lips, which welcome him in a passionate kiss.

Geralt’s hand moves from the back of his neck into his hair, his grip still strong but he’s not pulling, just holding him close. So Jaskier stays close, licks into Geralt’s mouth with the same tempo he strokes his cock, adds little teasing flicks with his thumb over Geralt’s nipple where Jaskier has his hand placed on Geralt’s chest to steady himself.

When Geralt comes, his whole body goes absolutely still for a moment, he pauses their kiss to press their foreheads together, looks deep into Jaskier’s eyes with his pupils blown almost entirely black. The moment is intense and Jaskier feels as if they shifted to an entirely different plane of existence, but then Geralt’s eyes close, his body shakes and he lets out a deep, thundering growl. 

Jaskier stays as close as possible, keeps stroking him, keeps kissing him until all the tension leaves Geralt’s body, his grip on Jaskier loosens. He curls up against Geralt’s side then, one leg and one arm thrown possessively over him.

Geralt turns his head, his nose brushing his hair and Jaskier can hear him take in a deep breath. He snakes one arm around Jaskier’s shoulders to tug him even closer, the other settles over Jaskier’s own arm, fingers closing around his bicep.

“Nap now, clean up later,” Geralt mumbles, and it sounds like he’s almost asleep already. 

“Yeah, alright,” Jaskier replies just as drowsy, compliant for once and not caring one bit because he’s exactly where he wants to be. As if Jaskier would be able to move now that he’s snuggled up so nicely. “Cleaning would be futile though, I was promised round two after my old-man-nap.”

Jaskier identifies the low rumble in Geralt’s chest as fond amusement. “Nap now, my bard,” Geralt says fondly and Jaskier feels a kiss placed on the top of his head just before he slips into sweet unconsciousness.

 

*

 

When Geralt wakes, the sun has set completely and only the candlelight illuminates the room. Jaskier is now sprawled on top of him, his weight and his warmth pressing Geralt comfortably into the soft bedding. Geralt’s hand is holding onto his bicep and going by their position, it’s likely it has been Geralt who pulled him closer like this. 

He loosens the grip now, runs his fingers over Jaskier’s shoulder just to feel the smoothness of his skin.

There had been plenty of times during their travels where they slept close to each other, sharing tiny spaces. Times where they lost one bedroll, or the inn had only one room left with a single bed. Jaskier, shameless and affectionate as he is, had never shown any qualms in those situations, had never feared to huddle against Geralt even before he fell asleep, and then when he slept had always, always drifted closer still. It had always been Geralt trying to keep distance between them, physically and emotionally, reminding himself that he doesn’t need anyone, doesn’t want anyone needing him. It had always been Geralt turning away, dismissing Jaskier with a simple hum, pushing him away. Until that one time where he had pushed too far and almost lost him.

And here he finally is, with Jaskier’s scent filling his nose, making Geralt welcome the want and the need because Jaskier told him he’ll stay, wants and needs him in return. 

Finding that being this close is still not close enough, Geralt arranges Jaskier on top of him. He moves his sleep-heavy limbs until their bodies slot together more comfortably and Jaskier stirs, huffs against Geralt’s chest but doesn’t move.

"'s nice," Jaskier slurs. "Can I wake up like this every day now?" The sensation of his hot breath and the movement of his lips on his skin leaves Geralt helplessly shudder through sparks of arousal blooming in his groin.

"If that's what you want," Geralt chuckles low in his throat. "Might not be the best idea in a cold forest full of monsters, with your bare arse in the air like this." He grabs a handful of Jaskier's arse cheek and kneads it appreciatively.

"Nah, you'll keep my bottom warm and safe," Jaskier says, wiggling his arse playfully.

"You're unbelievable," Geralt groans.

Suddenly Jaskier pushes himself up with both hands planted on Geralt’s chest. “Wait, but you do believe what I told you earlier, right? That I’m staying with you and all that.”

“Jaskier, why wouldn’t I?” Geralt asks, irritated by the sudden change of mood.

“Because I keep saying stupid shit all the time, I can’t help it. Hard to tell when I’m serious, I assume. And when I was angry,” Jaskier trails off, looking down at where his hands dig firmly into Geralt’s ribcage. “I’ve never been this angry before in my life, not even at Valdo Marx! Geralt, I called you some nasty names, not just the ones I said to your face, in my head as well. When people do that to you I get absolutely furious, and there I was, being just as scurrilous as any of them. I have to apologise as well, Geralt, I’m sorry.”

“Jaskier,” Geralt says, as softly as he can manage, and tilts Jaskier’s chin up to meet his eyes again. “You had every right to be angry and I deserve everything you said to me, and worse.”

“See, Geralt, this is exactly why I’ve always thought we are very well matched,” Jaskier says, his expression relaxing again as he wipes a strand of hair from Geralt’s forehead to tuck it behind his ear. “Your ability to say stupid shit is just as highly trained as mine, just on an entirely different range. Stop thinking about what you deserve or not, just let me love you.”

“I already let you do that for much too long without acknowledging it, and I do learn from my mistakes sometimes,” Geralt says, then pushes himself up. He’s pulling Jaskier in with one hand on his arse and one at the back of his head until he has him properly seated in his lap. With his lips pressed against his ear, Geralt whispers, “the things I would let you do to me are unspeakable.”

Jaskier quickly adjusts to their new position by wrapping his legs around the small of Geralt’s back and his arms around his neck. “Oh, I’ll find words for all of them, don’t you worry,” he says, his lips following the tender scar tissue on Geralt’s shoulder, making him shudder.

“Of course you will,” Geralt moans when Jaskier rolls his hips, holding him even tighter. “You always do.” He pulls him into a deep kiss and finds that it’s much easier than he ever thought it would be, to just let himself love Jaskier back.