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Faking It

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Geralt wakes alone, tangled in strange bedclothes, with the sunlight hitting him directly in the face.

He lifts his arm up to shield his eyes and jumps when he sees black markings all over it, but recognises it as a phone number a moment later.

Right. Jaskier’s phone number, no doubt.

That’s flattering.

When he sits up, a post-it note falls off his forehead and into his lap.

Early morning, had to run, text me!

Geralt snorts, folds the note neatly, and sticks it on the bedside table so that the blank side faces up. A moment’s search turns up a hotel pen, and he pauses a moment, wondering what to say.

Thanks, he writes eventually.

He’s not sure what exactly he’s thankful for—some combination of the sex and the note, possibly—but it seems like the sort of thing to say.

If there’s a better thing, he doesn’t know about it.

Sticky, sore, and smelling of sex, he pads into the shower and turns it on, humming happily under the surprisingly good pressure and instantly near-scalding water.

For several long minutes, he lets the water run down his back and leans against the shower wall, testing muscles that hadn’t been used quite like that in a while.

Last night was like being hit by a hurricane, but even as he thinks it, a smile makes his lips twitch.

The number, thankfully, doesn’t wash off. It looks like permanent marker, and it smells like permanent marker, so that’s probably what it is, and it’ll take more than water to get it off in any kind of hurry.

Eventually, he curls his fingers around the tiny hotel soap, wondering if Eskel has a trick for getting permanent marker off like he does for everything else.

… after he’s put the number in his phone.

The fact that he’s in a hotel probably means that Jaskier isn’t from around here, but that doesn’t mean he’s not staying a few days. Another night or two of that could easily cure everything that ailed him and more besides.

Eskel had been right. What he needed was simple, uncomplicated sex. First step to getting back on the dating horse was being sure you could still make a partner come.

Geralt was currently washing the last of the evidence that he could definitely do that off his stomach.

The towels are fluffy and warmed by the rail, and this is the first time Geralt’s bothered to take notice that this is a nice hotel. Really nice.

Interesting.

Jaskier hadn’t exactly looked like the nice hotel type—Geralt had almost expected to end up in a mixed dorm in a youth hostel, and he’d told himself he was too old for that and would’ve walked out—or dragged Jaskier back to his own flat, only that was forty-five minutes on the tube and then a bit of a walk, and by then, Jaskier might’ve changed his mind.

There are three texts on his phone from Vesemir when he gets out of the shower, asking where he is with increasingly threatening punctuation.

Fuck.

Start of a new job today, right. With some… up-and-coming musician kid. Geralt hadn’t been listening to the details.

A forty-five minute trip home for clean clothes isn’t an option.

… which meant the pleather and white t-shirt uniform from the last gig were going to have to be good enough. Geralt had hoped to absolutely wreck those trousers last night so he didn’t have to wear them again, but fate obviously had other ideas.

Fine, fine, he’ll just… wear these, let the client think he’s secretly into some low-rent leather daddy kind of thing, do his job, and then go home. Lambert will give him hell, Geralt will put chilli powder in his coffee, Eskel will back him up when Lambert whines to Vesemir about it.

He’s had more humiliating mornings at work, he thinks as he squeezes onto a crowded tube.

On the one hand, he’s not quite big or intimidating enough to get on without having to shove his way between close-packed bodies. On the other hand, he is big and intimidating enough that if anyone has anything to say about the trousers, they keep it to themselves.

The darkness of the Royal Albert Hall being set up for a performance proves a relief from the uncharacteristically bright sunlight outside, the weather itself determined to test Geralt’s patience.

Geralt likes working security here. It’s familiar, there’s always something on, and Wolf Security is called on more often than not when an act that doesn’t come with its own security rolls into town. Sometimes even the acts with their own security bring them in, as local consultants.

Unfortunately, sometimes they have wardrobe requests. Where request means wear it, or don’t get the next job.

Pleather isn’t Geralt’s style. The ancient leather jacket hanging in his wardrobe doesn’t count, thank you very much—leather jackets are a very different thing to pleather pants.

There’s chafing happening, here. Anyone who so much as looks at Geralt the wrong way today is at serious risk of close acquaintance with his knuckles.

Eskel passes him coffee as he finds them backstage, hovering around while they wait for the client to show his face.

“Wow, I thought you hated those pants,” he comments, fully aware of why Geralt’s still wearing them.

“Someone got lucky last night,” Lambert says, waltzing past and snatching the last coffee, drinking it down at a temperature that would have melted the throat of a normal man.

Geralt holds the cup in both hands, breathes in the slightly-burnt scent—the barista at the Costa on the corner isn’t improving, and might actually be getting worse—and sighs.

“Unlike the rest of you, yes,” Geralt says, letting his eyes fall closed for just a moment, pressing his nose to the coffee cup.

Bliss. For just one second, bliss.

“Cute?” Eskel asks.

Geralt hums an affirmative, ears pricking up as he hears two sets of footsteps approaching. Vesemir’s unmistakable tread, and a stranger.

He waits for them both to enter the room and opens his eyes again.

Oh no.

Oh no.

“Gentlemen,” Vesemir begins. “This is—”

“Jaskier?”