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Faking It

Chapter Text

This is a bad idea, Jaskier thinks as he drags the handsome stranger built like a brick wall who smells of leather and smoke and the kind of booze that doubles up as paint stripper into his hotel room, joined at the mouth and hoping to be joined in other, more intimate places as the night goes on.

It’s always a bad idea. An unkind person might say that Jaskier has more bad ideas than good ones.

A truthful one might say he’d never had a good idea.

But right now, right now, in this moment, it feels so good.

Mr. Sexy feels solid and warm under his hands and can take it when Jaskier bites his lip and grinds against him, needy, demanding.

He had a name, Jaskier’s sure of it. George? Gordon? Gerald?

Something with a G. Maybe. Or a J. Could’ve been an M?

Doesn’t matter. Not when he kisses like a drowning man, not when his hands are warm and broad and strong enough to lift Jaskier clear off the floor, leaving him scrambling to get his legs around a waist that really has no right to taper like it does.

“Hello, darling,” he coos, looking into citrine eyes that glint in the light of the streetlamps just barely bright enough to see by. Getting his card into the little box that turns the lights on wasn’t a priority on the way into the room.

Still isn’t.

Mr. Sexy wrinkles his nose, one shockingly white eyebrow raised.

“Not darling?” Jaskier asks.

“Not darling,” Mr. Sexy rumbles.

Jaskier is more than happy to call him whatever he likes if he’s allowed to peel those pleather trousers off and fuck him like he means it, which he is under the impression he will be.

“Sexy,” Jaskier decides.

Mr. Sexy’s eyebrow inches up, but his nose goes back to being really quite lovely. Jaskier pecks the tip of it, aware he’s still three feet in the air, supported entirely by Mr. Sexy’s goodwill toward him.

Another low, unintelligible rumble and then suddenly all the breath slams out of Jaskier’s lungs at once as his back hits the wall, Mr. Sexy pinning him in place, hard-on grinding against Jaskier’s own through those ridiculous trousers that might well be the most attractive thing Jaskier’s ever seen on a man.

Jaskier plans, more or less, to plough him like a field that’s lain fallow for the past three summers, which feels like the approximate length of time it’s been since he last got laid.

In fact, it has been ten days, three hours, and change.

“Bed,” Jaskier orders, and his voice does not go to the deliciously low register Mr. Sexy’s does, but it does have the effect of making his eyes light up and his hips press a little closer.

Jaskier’s legs wobble as he’s let down, the keycard finally makes it into the slot on the wall, the lights come on too bright at first and he nearly breaks the switch dimming them back down to mood-appropriate levels.

Mr. Sexy looks at him like he’s the walking disaster he is, but he’s not walking away.

There’s lube in the bedside table, because of course there is, what kind of barbarian would stay in a hotel more than one night running and not put it there?

Jaskier's attention is torn between the bedside table and the lube and the increasingly exciting possibility that Mr. Sexy is going to be gorgeously hung, the front of his trousers providing ample evidence that this is actually true.

Jaskier’s hands land on the button of them, and perfect chiseled abs jump under his touch, a low needy moan sounding in the back of Mr. Sexy’s throat.

Perhaps he, too, has gone ten or eleven days without getting laid.

“Are you always like this?” Mr. Sexy asks, and the syllables that aren’t nearly inaudible because of the rumbling are surprisingly polished, and Jaskier stores that thought away for later because there are more important things happening in his life right now.

Like the discovery that Mr. Sexy isn’t wearing any underwear.

Also that his pubes are as white as the hair on his head, which is impressive dedication to the look.

“Like what?” Jaskier asks, looking up at him.

“This,” Mr. Sexy says, which is the opposite of helpful.

“Probably,” Jaskier allows, because the question is probably are you always this eager or this much of a slut and the answer is yes, absolutely, sorry not sorry.

He’s immediately distracted by the nicest cock he’s ever seen, which is what he thinks about every cock he ever sees.

“Oh yes,” he murmurs, and the praise is evidently enough to stop the interrogation.

Pillow talk after, orgasms first.

More kisses as Jaskier pushes them both toward the bed, stripping the white t-shirt off Mr. Sexy’s stunningly ripped torso, complete with a couple of wonderfully dangerous scars.

“You,” Jaskier says between kisses. “Are about to come your brains out, and you absolutely deserve it.”

This earns him another grunt in return, but he’s past caring as he fumbles for lube and condoms and drops half a packet on the floor in his haste, promising himself he’ll pick them up so the cleaning staff won’t have to experience that particular indignity.

Jaskier can’t get enough of kissing this gorgeous man under him, a man who clearly likes to be kissed. He can never get enough of kissing anyone, and it’s nice to have accidentally picked up someone who doesn’t seem to mind.

Long hair turns out to be the perfect grip as Jaskier rides strong, thick fingers in preparation for an even thicker cock, hot and hard and rubbing against his thigh, leaving sticky trails of precome until he manages to tear a condom packet open and roll it on between them.

Safety first.

Those incredible eyes that have to be special effects contacts widen as Jaskier sinks down, fingers digging deep into the flesh of his thighs, heat and pressure overwhelming for a moment, sweat beading on his forehead.

A satisfied grunt escapes him as he bottoms out, thighs already straining, knees locked tight against that ridiculous waistline.

The needy little whimper that spills from Mr. Sexy’s lips as Jaskier starts to move tells him he could, actually, have fucked this man, and if he stays after that might just happen.

No more words, Jaskier’s all out of words as he rolls his hips, biting his lip at the incredible perfect fullness he’d had ten whole days to forget was so good, clenching around the gorgeous cock inside him just to feel Mr. Sexy gasp into his mouth, helpless now. Helpless to do anything but lie back and take it, which Jaskier gets the impression is what he usually does.

So pretty, but not a lot going on behind those clearly-fake eyes. Just the way Jaskier likes them. Men with steel-hard cocks, pretty faces, and candy floss for brains are the best kind.

He wraps his hand around his own cock as he gets close, but his beautiful stranger bats it away and jerks him slow and steady, then hard and fast, spurring them both on until there’s a choked-off cry, arched hips, bruising grip, sigh, hitched breath, broken moan, sticky mess.

His forehead is pressed to Mr. Sexy’s as he rides out the aftershocks, eyes screwed shut, lip bitten hard, muscles clenching to wring the last few drops of pleasure out of the whole thing before he lets himself collapse onto the waiting, solid chest.

Dusted, as well, with white hair.

Serious commitment to the look, then.

Not that it’s a bad look. Definitely worth committing to. Jaskier’s never seen anyone half as striking before.

A broad hand splays over his back as his skin cools and his breathing evens out, warm and strangely comforting, and Jaskier isn’t used to being comforted by random hookups, but he’ll take it. It’s been a long week on tour, he’s tired, and it took a lot of effort not to shout at the top of his lungs and save his voice for tomorrow night.

A little stress relief was exactly what he needed. Maybe it hasn’t been a bad idea after all.

“Again?” Mr. Sexy asks with that voice like tyres on gravel.

An experimental grind tells Jaskier that this marvel of a man is already half-hard.

“Oh, you’re going to be so much fun.”

Chapter Text

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?”

Chapter Text

Oh no.

Oh no.

Say his name, say his name, please god say his name before I have to.

“You know each other?” Vesemir asks.

Say his name, Jaskier pleads silently, sweat beading on the back of his neck.

“Uh,” Mr. Sexy grunts, because that’s what he does, he grunts and rumbles and hums and speaks in monosyllables and it’s very attractive but Jaskier doesn’t remember his fucking name.

He’s still wearing the trousers. He’s still wearing the fucking trousers and that’s unforgivably hot for nine o’clock on a Wednesday morning, thank you, and Jaskier knows he’s still wearing them because he came straight here from his hotel room.

Oh god. What if he says that? What if he tells his little security company friends, who might actually be bigger than he is, and they laugh about him like a fucking bedpost notch and—

“Umm,” Mr. Sexy adds, which is still not his name.

“Oh, yeah, we’ve, umm, met before,” Jaskier says, since Mr. Sexy clearly isn’t up to lying. “Right, umm…”

“Geralt,” Mr. Sexy supplies.

Well no wonder he couldn’t remember that. What kind of a name was Geralt?

“Right, Geralt,” Jaskier says, hoping like hell he isn’t blushing as obviously as he feels like he is. “Sorry, it’s been, uh…”

“A while,” Geralt says.

Covering for him.

That’s… a surprise.

A promising surprise, even. Definitely leaning toward good. Mildly to moderately positive.

Geralt sips his coffee, and his forearm flexes, and it’s all Jaskier can think about for a handful of seconds, oblivious to everything else going on around him.

“… can be in charge of personal security, then,” Vesemir says, and Jaskier feels like it would’ve been good if he’d caught the beginning of that sentence.

The way Geralt’s eyes just widened confirm that yeah, might’ve been nice to know what the first bit was.

“It will not be like last time,” Vesemir says, pointedly.

“No, sir,” Geralt says, focusing on his coffee cup.

“Good. You two with me, Geralt can run Jaskier here through how we do things. Come on.”

The other three file out of the room, leaving Geralt and Jaskier suddenly, painfully alone.

The first half of that sentence, Jaskier realises, was probably something along the lines of in that case, Geralt.

Geralt.

Right, well. He’s not going to forget that again now, is he?

“What happened last time?” Jaskier blurts out, control of his tongue about average when he could really have used a little more than normal.

“Slept with the client,” Geralt says.

Jaskier blinks at him.

Geralt shrugs.

It might be funny. It might be quite funny, really. If Jaskier didn’t feel a little bit like a rabbit staring down a wolf.

Except he’s not, and he knows he’s not. Geralt’s… sexy. And great in bed. And quite sweet really. Generous. Gorgeous.

The fact that he looks one wrong word away from homicide is probably an effect of the awful coffee Jaskier can smell from here.

“Well,” Jaskier says. “Lucky that won’t happen again.”

Geralt snorts, and that finally makes all the tension snap, and Jaskier laughs, and it’s the first clue he’s had that maybe this could actually be all right, and not three awkward days in hell.

“Firstly, wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole,” Jaskier teases, on a roll now.

“Ten foot might be overestimating,” Geralt interrupts, glancing at Jaskier’s crotch.

No, leering.

Jaskier’s phone number’s still written on Geralt’s arm in permanent marker. It’s a little faded now, but it’s not gone by any means.

Okay. Maybe a little awkward.

But, like, sexy-awkward instead of embarrassing-awkward. Jaskier can live with that. The title of his autobiography could have been sexy-awkward.

“Secondly,” Jaskier says. “Umm, secondly? Secondly I’m, uh, a professional. I’d never sleep with someone I’d hired.”

“You didn’t hire me,” Geralt says simply. “Your manager did.”

As if summoned by Geralt’s words, the sound of swearing in a thick Scottish accent comes around the corner, preceding Zoltan Chivay. Short, grumpy, hollow-legged despite his height, bite like a bulldog but business sense like no one else in the business. Zoltan, Jaskier was fairly sure, could smell the gold in a pound coin.

“Geralt!” Zoltan booms, and to Jaskier’s complete and utter shock, Geralt smiles a genuinely warm smile at him.

… he’s very pretty when he smiles like that, and that’s information Jaskier could have lived his entire life without knowing.

“Zoltan Chivay,” Geralt says, voice just as warm as his smile.

“You two know each other?” Jaskier asks, sounding much more surprised than Vesemir had minutes ago.

“Aye, Geralt’s the best in the business,” Zoltan says, clapping Geralt on the arm.

Jaskier’s fairly sure anyone else doing that would have been risking death or dismemberment, possibly both.

“Best in the business?” Jaskier asks, with exactly the right amount of skepticism, in his humble opinion.

“Reliable, never let a client down yet, humble, undercharges,” Zoltan says. “Ignore the sourpuss act and you’ll be fine.”

Geralt doesn’t seem to know what to say to that, which makes it Jaskier’s turn to rescue him from an awkward situation.

“He does look appropriately scary,” Jaskier agrees, and Geralt shoots him a look so sharp it might’ve killed if there was any intent behind it.

“It’s the hair, laddie,” Zoltan soothes, patting Geralt’s arm again.

Jaskier thinks it’s the eyes, actually, but doesn’t say so.

“I’ll look after him,” Geralt promises, and this time the look he gives Jaskier outright smoulders.

“Not sure about these,” Zoltan says, poking Geralt’s pleather trousers. “Not really the look our crowd goes for, is it?”

The look in Geralt’s eyes turns pleading.

Jaskier, remembering that comment about ten foot being overestimating—and okay, he’s more than willing to admit that he doesn’t have a ten-foot cock, that’d be wildly inconvenient, but it’s the principle of the thing—looks away.

“Actually, I think I like them,” he says, grinning as horror dawns over Geralt’s face. “We were thinking about going a little edgier, weren’t we? Could see how people react to… this,” he finishes, gesturing broadly at Geralt.

Zoltan looks Geralt up and down again, and shrugs. “One night. We’ll check fan reactions and reassess tomorrow. Sorry, Geralt,” Zoltan says, genuine sympathy in his voice.

Jaskier wonders if he’s gone too far.

When he accidentally meets Geralt’s eyes again, he knows he has.

He can almost read the words this means war written in them.

Chapter Text

“So,” Eskel says as he passes Geralt a tray with something called a protein bowl on it, but which Geralt is fairly sure would be best described as fodder. “You managed to sleep with the client before you even knew he was the client.”

Geralt looks up from his bowl of assorted whole grains and one single slice of dry chicken breast, horrified.

Eskel chuckles. “Knew it. Lambert owes me dinner, thanks.”

“Don’t thank me, you’ll have to eat dinner with Lambert,” Geralt says without missing a beat. “How did you know?” he asks before Eskel can process the fact that his win is bittersweet at best.

“Saw the look you gave him, saw the look he gave you, saw you were still wearing those trousers. Plus, he knew you, but he couldn’t remember your name. A person introduced to you under normal circumstances couldn’t forget your name.”

“You ever think about giving this security thing up and becoming a detective?” Geralt asks.

Eskel shrugs. “Wasn’t hard. Pretty sure Vesemir knows.”

Geralt sighs and pokes at his chicken. “Let’s assume he doesn’t, and try to keep it that way,” he says.

“Well, Lambert’s about to. I’m not giving up free food, not on what we get paid.”

“Fine,” Geralt says. “But that’s it. It stays between the three of us.”

“Four. Client knows, too.”

“Four, whatever,” Geralt says, spearing his chicken with the sad disposable bamboo fork that came with it. “He’s got a name.”

“You’d know, since you were moaning it last night,” Eskel teases.

“Was not,” Geralt says, then pauses to think back. Was he?

No. No, he remembers because it was the first thing Jaskier told him, which he now realises—belatedly—was actually meant to mean something to him.

Geralt hadn’t had a single clue who he was, aside from someone hitting on him.

“He seems nice,” Eskel continues as though Geralt never spoke. “Not your usual type.”

“Hey!” Geralt says, but he doesn’t have anything to say to defend himself, there. His exes, in general, could not be described as nice people.

On the other hand, he hadn’t known or cared whether or not Jaskier was nice last night. Only whether or not he was interested.

And he had been. Very interested.

The sex really had been good.

“I’m just saying, you could do worse,” Eskel says, cracking open his bottled water with a hint of aspirations of lime.

“We’re not dating,” Geralt says.

Eskel shrugs. “You could be.”

“He forgot my name.”

“I’m sure he remembers it now,” Eskel insists, ever the optimist when it comes to Geralt’s love life.

Geralt snorts, and eats his lunch, and wishes it was a bacon roll, and doesn’t think about Jaskier for almost twenty minutes.

Things, as they are wont to do, go to shit as he’s walking back to the hall.

Jaskier is outside—which is fine, he’s allowed, he’s not a prisoner—but there’s an older man towering over him, body language threatening, voice raised.

Geralt doesn’t run—running frightens people, frightened people escalate—but he does put a little more speed in his steps as he approaches, pulse already picking up, anticipating a fight.

“Is there a problem here?” he asks in his mildest confrontational tone, which is still usually scary enough to make people shit themselves and walk away.

The man—red-faced and angry—only glances at him out of the corner of his eye, his attention otherwise laser-focused on Jaskier.

“This little weasel-faced turd had it off with my girlfriend,” the man says, half an inch away from actually poking Jaskier in the chest. It’s a shame he hasn’t gotten closer—the company rule is you don’t touch them unless they touch the client, then you can do whatever you like to stop them.

Geralt shoots a murderous glare at Jaskier, but turns it on the other man when he realises just how frightened Jaskier actually is.

“I doubt it,” Geralt says, and personally he has no confidence that what he’s saying is true, but he manages to make it sound confident.

The man’s attention finally swings away from Jaskier and onto Geralt, and his eyes widen like he’s just realised he’s talking shit to a very scary man.

“And who the fuck are you, then?” the man asks, apparently not entirely worried about the very scary man thing.

Geralt wonders what exactly’s making him look soft enough to try it with today. Maybe he looks tireder than he thought, or more ridiculous in the pleather trousers.

“His boyfriend?” the man continues, snarling the last word like it’s some kind of insult.

And that, that’s enough to raise Geralt’s hackles. Three seconds ago, this was about defending a client—and all right, a client he’d shagged the night before, but he hadn’t really been planning to do it again on account of liking his job.

Now it was personal.

“I am, actually,” Geralt says, perfectly, dangerously calm. “So if you want to keep that finger unbroken, you might stop pointing it at him.”

The red-faced man looks down at his own finger as though he didn’t realise it was there, looks at Geralt, looks at Jaskier, and shoves both hands in his pockets. Possibly so he can’t point with the other finger by accident.

“And then you might piss off,” Geralt growls, taking a half-step forward.

With what looks like a phenomenal effort of mental calculation, the man looks Geralt up and down, glances sidelong at a still-cowering Jaskier, and then turns and, as Geralt suggested, pisses off.

Jaskier slumps against the wall he’d been backed up against, breathing a sigh of relief. Geralt can almost hear his pulse racing, rabbit-quick, and for half a moment he feels a pang of sympathy.

He’s not a big man, Jaskier. He’d be scrappy in a fight, but he wouldn’t have terribly many advantages.

“Tea,” Geralt says, because it’s the only remedy for shock he’s aware of. Strong tea with plenty of sugar.

He’s not sure that’s medically sound in any way, but it’s always worked before.

“Tea,” Jaskier agrees, finally pushing himself away from the wall, dusting down his jacket more as a reflex than because there’s anything on it.

Geralt grunts, and leads the way back into the hall, fairly eager to get his hands on a cup of tea himself after everything else that’s happened today.

“Geralt,” Jaskier says, jogging a step or two to catch up.

Geralt slows his stride, but doesn’t think about why he feels he ought to.

“Mm?”

“Thanks.”

Chapter Text

Jaskier has been hiding in a dark corner backstage since he heard Zoltan bellow his name ten minutes ago, and so far he’s gone undetected.

But it’s only a matter of time.

The sound of footsteps—heavy, familiar footsteps—make his stomach knot up, except normally Jaskier already knows what he’s done and has an excuse and a promise never to do it again at the ready.

Keeping those promises is another matter, but he likes to know why he’s in trouble before he’s in trouble.

This time, it’s a mystery. Unless Geralt’s ratted him out, but then why would he? That wouldn’t make any sense.

“Jaskier,” Zoltan says, gruff and sharp as ever.

There’s fondness between them—Zoltan likes Jaskier and sometimes Jaskier wonders if he sort’ve sees him as an adopted son—but right now he’d like to be almost anywhere else.

Contrary to appearances, he doesn’t actually enjoy disappointing Zoltan.

“What have you done?” Zoltan asks, face like thunder, thrusting his phone into Jaskier’s face.

It takes Jaskier a moment for his eyes to focus, and then…

No. Oh no.

Shit.

“This wasn’t me!” he defends, staring in horror at tweet after tweet about his new boyfriend. “Geralt!” he calls at the top of his lungs, standing to project his voice. “Geralt!”

Geralt’s approach is nearly silent—he moves very quietly for a man as big as he is—and he’s ready for a fight when he arrives.

Jaskier feels very slightly guilty, but he’s not the one who should be in trouble here. This is Geralt’s fault.

“What?” Geralt asks, frowning as he looks between Jaskier and Zoltan.

Zoltan passes him the phone, eyes narrowed.

A few moments of silence pass, Geralt’s impossible eyes—and they have to be contacts, don’t they?—getting wider and wider as he scrolls.

“Fuck.”

“He says this is your fault,” Zoltan says, hands on his hips, obviously more than confident that he’s in a position to tell Geralt off.

Geralt looks up, glancing between Jaskier and Zoltan, mouth opening and closing, tongue darting out to wet his lips.

Jaskier does not think about his tongue, or anywhere it’s been on his body. Especially not there.

Or there, either.

“I was… it… how did… how does the entire world know?”

“Aha, see!” Jaskier says, pointing at Geralt. “He admits it.”

Geralt gives him a look that suggests he doesn’t appreciate the finger pointing, literal or metaphorical.

Zoltan raises an eyebrow.

“Some prick out in the street asked me if I was Jaskier’s boyfriend when I stepped in to defend him over sleeping with his girlfriend,” Geralt explains. “I said yes because I didn’t like his tone.”

Zoltan’s attention swings right back to Jaskier with twice the intensity.

“I didn’t sleep with his girlfriend,” Jaskier says.

Knowingly, he adds in the privacy of his own mind.

Zoltan makes a sound that says he doesn’t believe him, but he also knows it’s not worth arguing, and turns back to Geralt.

“News travels fast, Geralt,” Zoltan says, exhausted sympathy in his voice. “Especially news like this one having a new fancy piece.”

Geralt wrinkles his nose, presumably at being called a fancy piece. Jaskier doesn’t love that description, either.

“Well, there’s nothing for it,” Zoltan says. “Geralt, congratulations. You’re his boyfriend now.”

Geralt, understandably, gapes.

“But—”

“No buts,” Zoltan says, firm. “He’s a bounder and a cad and managing his image is hard enough without him having a new boyfriend for a handful of hours. You put your foot in it, and now you’ll have to clean it up.”

“But—” Jaskier begins, only to be silenced instantly by a glare from Zoltan.

“What part of no buts wasn’t clear? If you’d ever given a second thought to your reputation, maybe there’d be some wiggle room, but no. No. You ever want another record deal, you’re stuck with Geralt. End of discussion,” Zoltan says.

And then he walks away, closing the subject.

Jaskier does, in fact, want another record deal. Several more record deals. He’s not finished yet.

“This is your fault,” he says before Geralt can recover. “I never asked you to say you were my boyfriend.”

The words are barely out of his mouth before he knows that he’s stepped in it, now. The look on Geralt’s face is somewhere between heartbreaking and pants-wetting.

“You didn’t seem to have a problem with it last night,” Geralt says, and that is most definitely scary voice. “Or when I was saving you from having your arse rightly kicked an hour ago.”

Jaskier wants to say something—a comeback or an apology, anything, really—but Geralt’s already walking away.

Jaskier watches him go, and can’t even appreciate how good he looks in those trousers anymore.

Chapter Text

As soon as Geralt’s walked away from Jaskier, blood still pounding in his ears after the inexplicable adrenaline rush of more or less telling him to go fuck himself, he feels like shit about it.

Firstly, it is not, actually, Jaskier’s fault.

Geralt suspects this is very, very rare, but it is nevertheless true in this case.

Secondly, why should he care if Jaskier doesn’t want to pretend to be his boyfriend? He doesn’t want to be Jaskier’s boyfriend, for fuck’s sake.

He also doesn’t want to examine why it felt like the sting of rejection, or why rejection stings so badly.

Instead of dwelling, he goes to to give a description of the man who threatened Jaskier earlier to on-site security—Geralt doubts he’d come back and it feels like the least of his worries, but he hasn’t built his reputation on half-arsed jobs and he’s not about to start getting soft now.

Jaskier is still the client. Not getting him killed, injured, harassed or otherwise inconvenienced on the security side of things is Geralt’s job. Whether he likes it or not.

He pokes his nose into the room set aside as Jaskier’s dressing room—stage outfit hung on a rack, table and mirror set up, battered old acoustic guitar propped in the corner behind a newer, nicer, shinier one that he’ll obviously use for the show.

Geralt wonders, briefly, why he doesn’t use the old one. At least it has a bit of character.

But then no one cares about character anymore, do they?

As soon as he thinks it, Geralt realises he’s getting old.

The door hinges creak just as he’s about to leave, and he turns to see Jaskier standing in the doorway with a cup of takeout coffee in each hand.

Silently, he offers one to Geralt.

Geralt hesitates, thinks about telling him to fuck off again, and then thinks better of it, for once in his life.

He doesn’t want to yell at Jaskier, it feels like he imagines kicking a puppy would.

If he ever caught someone actually kicking a puppy, they’d regret it for a very long time.

“It’s awful,” Jaskier says as Geralt accepts the coffee from him. “But all I could get out of your friend was that you take your coffee with milk but no sugar.”

“It’s always awful,” Geralt says. “Haven’t you played here before?”

Jaskier shakes his head. “For a man who does music biz security, you don’t know very much about the business, do you?”

Geralt grunts, because what Jaskier says is true. This is a job. It’s his job, and he’s good at it, and he even likes it, but he imagines other people would enjoy the free show part of the gig.

To Geralt, it doesn’t even make an appearance on the list of perks. He likes having half the week off and still getting paid enough to live alone, close enough to the inner city that travelling to work isn’t a nightmare.

He likes the late nights—it means he has the world to himself when he finishes up, and he’s always been a fan of the dark. People don’t stare so much. He fits in at night.

And he fits in with the music crowd, too, in a strange way. He’s weird. They’re weird. Everyone involved has a sort of silent agreement not to notice the other’s weirdness.

“They’re not contacts, are they?” Jaskier asks, because apparently he’s never met a silence he didn’t feel the need to fill. “Your eyes, I mean. I thought they were at first, but then…”

“They’re not contacts,” Geralt says.

“And your hair is naturally that colour, isn’t it?” Jaskier continues.

This would normally be the part where Geralt squares his shoulders and growls, but he’s already been through the stomach-sinking feeling of growling at Jaskier once, and he’s not eager to repeat it so soon.

“Yes.”

Jaskier grins. “See, the hair, the eyebrows, even the pubes, I would’ve believed those were all dyed, but no man would dye his chest hair. Too much trouble. You’d just shave it off.”

Geralt raises an eyebrow.

That statement brings up a lot of questions—you’d dye your pubes? at the top of the list—but he’s not sure he wants to know the answer to any of them.

“Sorry. Talking. I know, I know I’m doing it, I just can’t help myself. Nervous. And… and guilty,” he adds. “For blaming you. For this. I mean, it is your fault, you’re definitely the one who started it, but you were trying to help me and not a lot of people would’ve bothered and even fewer would’ve laid any kind of claim to me and—”

“Jaskier,” Geralt interrupts. “Apology accepted.”

Jaskier blinks at him, burnt-smelling takeout coffee halfway to his mouth.

“Yes,” he says, because nothing, Geralt begins to realise, can ever truly silence him. “Yes, right. Sorry. That was the general gist.”

“It’s a genetic mutation,” Geralt says, because apparently Jaskier’s need to fill silences is contagious. “The eyes. And the hair.”

Jaskier nods slowly. “Right. So you’re…”

“A mutant,” Geralt says, bracing for that sting of rejection again.

This is why he hates the feeling, he knows. Secretly, he knows it’s because he’s used to it feeling like a smack in the mouth over something he can’t control, and can’t ever change.

Jaskier’s eyes widen. “Like Wolverine,” he says, something akin to awe in his tone.

That.

That’s new.

People don’t react like that.

It takes Geralt a full fifteen seconds to remember that he’s supposed to respond, one way or another. “Sure,” he says, still reeling from the shock of someone responding to that particular bit of information with anything other than grudging acceptance at best, or undisguised disgust at worst. “Like Wolverine.”

Jaskier lights up like a little boy at Christmas.

“So cool,” he says to his coffee cup, but Geralt suspects it’s meant for him.

It’s just as well he doesn’t blush easily—pale as he is, he’d never hide it.

There is, finally, against all odds, a silence while they each sip their coffee.

For a brief, shining moment, it’s even comfortable.

“Zoltan says we need to get our story straight,” Jaskier says. “You know. About how we met and… stuff. So we don’t contradict each other.”

“And you don’t want to go with the truth?” Geralt asks.

“The truth where I propositioned you in a darkened pub and then forgot your name?” Jaskier raises an eyebrow.

“I assumed you forgot it because of how mindblowingly good the sex was,” Geralt says, sipping his coffee to hide his smile.

“Uh, well…” Jaskier begins, blushing along the ridges of his cheekbones, and maybe Geralt shouldn’t tease him, shouldn’t risk the uneasy truce they’ve reached, but it’s irresistible. He’s too easy, and too entertaining when he’s flustered.  “I’m not saying… that is, the sex was good, can’t lie about that, think you sort’ve know that, umm… but I forgot before,” he finally admits.

Geralt snorts.

“Mindblowingly good?” Jaskier asks, uncertainly.

“For you,” Geralt clarifies, but he’s fairly sure the smile he can’t quite wipe off his face gives him away. “Average, for me.”

Average!” Jaskier says, louder than Geralt thinks he means to, indignant. “Average?”

“Perhaps slightly above average,” Geralt teases, because again—Jaskier is too easy to get a rise out of, and it definitely hasn’t gotten old yet.

“And I suppose you think you’re god’s gift, eh?” Jaskier asks, clearly torn between going along with the joke and nursing his own wounded ego—which shouldn’t be wounded, since Geralt was only jabbing at it with a rubber knife.

Metaphorically.

“Well, I’ll have you know that you snore,” Jaskier says, as though it’s a war crime. “How d’you like that, hmm?”

“My snoring doesn’t bother me,” Geralt points out, very reasonably. “Most people don’t stick around long enough to hear it,” he adds, only realising once the words escape him how pathetic that sounds.

At that, Jaskier meets his eyes, and it feels like a moment of perfect clarity and mutual understanding pass between them.

“No, me neither,” he says.

The moment passes, but it happened. Geralt doesn’t know what it means, but he suspects it means they’re at a truce again.

“Right,” he says. “Met on the job, then.”

“Swept off my feet by your incredible charm?” Jaskier teases.

“You can just be in it for the sex,” Geralt says. “I won’t mind.”

“Might be easier to believe. You are very sexy.”

Geralt’s not sure what to say to that, so he grunts as noncommittally as possible.

“Jaskier!” Zoltan’s booming voice echoes down the hallway, startling both of them. “There you—Geralt! Just the man I need.”

The hairs on the back of Geralt’s neck stand up instantly at Zoltan’s tone.

“Right you two,” Zoltan says, giving Jaskier a shove into the room and pulling out his phone. “Get on with it.”

“Get on with—”

“Snog him,” Zoltan orders, silencing Jaskier with a jerk of his phone. “For the fans.”

Geralt only gets as far as thinking about objecting before Jaskier speaks up.

“You can’t expect me to just—”

Geralt remembers the trousers. He remembers them because they’re still chafing, and he’s still not wearing any underwear, and he’d really been hoping to nip home at lunch and change out of them, and if he had, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

He grabs Jaskier by the hair and kisses him, hard and biting, to shut him up before he can finish objecting.

Serves him right.

Jaskier whimpers, but it’s not a stop whimper, and they both know it’s not, and the smell of his aftershave or his hair or whatever that smell is sends a hot shudder of arousal rolling down Geralt’s spine and pooling hot and tight in the pit of his stomach.

“Good enough?” Geralt asks, pulling back before he embarrasses himself.

Zoltan is grinning ear to ear, which wasn’t exactly the reaction Geralt was expecting.

“Perfect, perfect,” he enthuses. “Geralt, the stage lost a fine actor when you went into security,” he says.

Geralt, who had taken exactly one drama class at college before deciding he’d rather stick his hand in a blender on a weekly basis, grunts.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Jaskier blinking, lips kiss-reddened, eyes glazed.

Good. Serves him right.

Chapter Text

Jaskier really, really likes this development where Geralt has to kiss him on command now and he’s not sure he’s supposed to.

It should be undignified. Inconvenient. Unpleasant, even.

But it’s not.

He’s even a little bit giddy about it.

He likes the messages he’s getting about how hot his new boyfriend is and how disappointing it is to thousands of adoring fans that he’s taken now, and Jaskier’s never really been taken, and that’s sort’ve nice, too. Even if it’s not strictly true.

Although, he supposes it is, technically if not emotionally, because Zoltan might actually kill him if, god forbid, he got caught cheating on Geralt.

So he’ll have to keep it in his pants for the foreseeable.

Unless…

No.

No, Geralt wouldn’t…

Would he?

“Jaskier,” a gruff, sexy voice breaks him out of his thoughts and makes him smudge his carefully-applied eyeliner.

Geralt stands in the doorway of his dressing room with a look on his face that says don’t test me as if it’s written in forty-foot letters lit up in neon.

Even Jaskier hesitates to try him just now.

“You’re on in five minutes.”

Jaskier looks at himself in the mirror again, sighs, and smudges the other eye in the hopes that it’ll look deliberate. Maybe he’ll start a trend. Maybe weird eyeliner smudges will be the new thing and it’ll be all thanks to Geralt for startling him.

“Is this what you do?” Jaskier asks, grabbing his guitar. “Sneak up on people for a living?”

It doesn’t make any sense, but his heart’s still beating in his throat, so sense is a little much to ask at the moment.

“Yes,” Geralt says, which makes even less sense, but Jaskier’s glad he hasn’t just started another argument.

The kissing thing is fun, but the thing where all this has done is highlight why he doesn’t actually have a boyfriend is a little depressing. No one would ever put up with him for more than a quick shag.

He almost feels sorry for Geralt.

Almost. Geralt did get them into this mess, after all.

“Why don’t you use the other guitar?” Geralt asks.

“Hmm?” Jaskier’s so busy thinking about how not-quite-sorry he feels that he’s only half-listening. “Oh, umm. The bridge is cracked. Never been able to find a replacement. Ought to throw it out, really, but… sentimental value, you know,” he says with a shrug.

Geralt gives him a look that suggests perhaps he does not know.

Right, well. He wouldn’t, would he? Not a musician—doesn’t care about music at all, according to Zoltan.

It does make Jaskier wonder what Geralt might care about, if not music. Everyone had to care about something.

Even big grumpy bodyguards who still, by the way, look fantastic in those pleather trousers.

“You’re not going to be sick, are you?” Geralt asks as they slip into the darkened backstage area, the warmup act still in full swing for the moment.

“What? No? Why?” Jaskier asks. “Do I look ill? Do I look like I’m coming down with something?” he holds the back of his hand to his forehead, but he doesn’t feel any warmer than usual.

“It’s just… sometimes people like you get sick when there’s a crowd like this.” Geralt shrugs.

Jaskier blinks at him.

“People like me?”

“Musicians,” Geralt clarifies.

Huh.

Well.

Nice of Geralt to worry about him, if that’s what he’s doing.

Probably more worried about the possibility that he’s going to be left to clean up sick, which, to be fair, Jaskier would also rather not do.

“You mean like… stage fright?” he asks. He’s never experienced it, so he’s not sure how it works, exactly.

Geralt shrugs, which Jaskier takes as a yes.

“Never bothered me,” he says, listening to the opening act thank the audience and remind them that they had a new album out this week.

“So, umm…” Jaskier begins, deciding it can’t hurt to try his luck. “Since I’m definitely not going to be sick, do I get a kiss? For luck?”

“Luck?” Geralt raises an eyebrow, and really, he makes a good point—Jaskier doesn’t need luck for this. He’d more or less just said so. He’s not worried, he’s not frightened.

This one thing, he’s absolutely positive he’s good at. People always say so.

“For the fans, then?” Jaskier tries.

Geralt snorts, but Jaskier thinks there’s the faint hint of a blush colouring those pale cheekbones.

“They can’t see us,” Geralt says.

“I’m beginning to doubt your commitment to this relationship,” Jaskier says. “It’s almost like you don’t want to be my fake boyfriend.”

Geralt’s eyebrow ratchets up another notch, and really, it’s impressive how eloquent that eyebrow is.

“Really?” Geralt asks, stalking a step toward him.

Half the air in the narrow corridor disappears at once.

Jaskier swallows as Geralt closes the gap between them, eyes fixed on the shiny little silver wolf’s head dangling from his security lanyard.

For a moment, he fancies he can feel the wolf in Geralt.

He’d be better off not poking it, probably.

“Really,” he says, meeting Geralt’s impossible eyes, because anything he’d be better off not doing is also the only thing, when push comes to shove, that Jaskier ever really wants to do.

Geralt’s eyes widen, surprise written all over his features, and the wolf is gone just as quickly as it appeared, rustling through the underbrush as it turns tail and runs away.

In its place is the big soft puppy dog Jaskier saw last night, the one he’d wanted to take home with him.

Most of today, he’d spent wondering what he’d seen in Geralt in the first place—he had a wonderful body, but so did lots of people, and Jaskier had never quite exactly cared about that, one way or the other, anyway.

But now he remembered. He remembered this look, this startled puppy cautiously wagging his tail because someone had approached him and not run at the sight of him, and Jaskier knows a little more about Geralt now, and he can see why that’d matter to him.

And he knows himself well enough to know that in any given room full of people, he was always going to want the person most desperately in need of a cuddle.

And he does want Geralt.

And they are very, very close.

Chapter Text

Geralt doesn’t like to compound a mistake.

However, like a lot of things Geralt doesn’t like—early morning tube rides, letting Eskel decide where they’re having lunch, getting a haircut—he does still do it, because some things are unavoidable.

Right now, he’s thinking about compounding a mistake.

Because Jaskier hasn’t flinched. Hasn’t so much as swallowed nervously. He’s calm and steady, meeting Geralt’s eyes like they don’t bother him—like he can see into Geralt’s fucking soul, and Geralt isn’t sure he likes that.

But he’d only have to close a couple of inches between them to kiss him, and he wants to.

Because Jaskier isn’t afraid of him, and that never happens.

“Jaskier,” Zoltan barks behind him, making him jump away. “Quit antagonising Geralt and get your arse out there.”

Geralt backs off, blinking in the low light of the wings as he comes back to himself.

His heart pounds in his head, and he’s really not used to that. Hasn’t been used to that.

Jaskier mumbles something unintelligible and backs off, sparing half a glance for Geralt as he stands hovering at the edge of the stage, waiting for his cue.

Geralt doesn’t stare at him.

He’s just making sure no one decides to mug him.

His heart’s still pounding, and he feels like a mess.

All over one moment of closeness with a skinny little popstar who probably thought of him like an interesting adventure he planned on telling people about at parties. That one time he slept with his bodyguard before he knew he was his bodyguard, and oh yeah, said bodyguard was a freak.

It shouldn’t bother Geralt. He’s had a lifetime to get used to the idea.

It’s never bothered him before, he knows the novelty is half the reason anyone ever takes him home. The novelty, and perhaps the barest edge of danger.

Except Jaskier isn’t afraid of him, and that was obvious last night, and it’s suddenly, startlingly obvious now.

Something in the pit of Geralt’s stomach twinges as he watches Jaskier take the stage, enthusiastically blowing kisses to the audience.

“I know he’s a pain in the backside,” Zoltan says at Geralt’s elbow. “But just… don’t kill him, all right? That’s all I ask.”

“You’re asking me for a lot more than that,” Geralt points out.

“A favour I won’t forget,” Zoltan says solemnly, and the thing is, Geralt believes him, and, Zoltan is the kind of person it’s very useful to be owed a favour by.

Besides, Geralt doesn’t have so many friends that he can afford to tell any of them to piss off, and Zoltan is, somehow, his friend.

He’s still not sure how that happened, but that’s where they’re at.

“How’d you end up his manager, anyway? Weren’t you working with that... they were from… Norway?”

Zoltan shrugs. “And going nowhere fast, aye. Thing is, Geralt, he may be a pain in the backside, but there’s talent there. Real talent. Not everyone’s taste, but very broad appeal, too. And I’d like to retire one day.”

“But this is his first time playing here,” Geralt points out, sure that means something.

“Aye, but it’ll also likely be his last. He’s right on the cusp of having it all, and I’d like to be hanging onto his coattails when he gets there, is what I’m saying. You mark my words, next time you see that boy in London, he’ll be in a stadium.”

“Huh,” Geralt says, because he’s not sure what else to say to that.

Might be a good story later, the time he kind of dated a popstar who’s a household name now.

He’d definitely rather think about that than how much he wanted to kiss Jaskier a moment ago.

Just to shut him up, he tells himself. Just for thirty glorious seconds of silence, when he wasn’t ribbing or teasing or being insufferable. That was all it was about.

Nothing more. Nothing else.

Not even the quiet, nagging little feeling that for once in his life, someone actually wants him to be their boyfriend. In public.

“I’m going to check our exits again,” Geralt says, mostly because he doesn’t want to talk about Jaskier anymore.

“Go, go,” Zoltan responds, inching closer to the stage—to watch Jaskier, presumably.

Geralt is just curious enough to be annoyed at himself about it, and so he entirely plans to avoid taking in any part of any of Jaskier’s performance.

It’s not that he’s avoiding Jaskier. It’s…

Something else.

Definitely.

He’ll figure out what later.

The steady hum of activity backstage is soothingly familiar—the warm-up act is already in the process of leaving, Lambert coordinating them with a look on his face that says he’s physically biting his tongue to save himself from another Talk with Vesemir about what level of threat is acceptable to a client.

Eskel, patient as always, is keeping one eye on him, and one eye on everything else.

They’ve got it under control, and there’s a breath of cool night air waiting for him while he checks the exit, which is well-known code for takes a breather. And all right, it’s night air in London and therefore calling it fresh would be a stretch, but it will at least have circulated further than the suddenly stifling heat inside.

A camera flash blinds Geralt the moment he steps outside.

He’s used to camera flashes, he’s even used to them going off like that and they don’t normally dazzle him, but the show isn’t over yet and he wasn’t expecting it, or the three that follow it up, or the chorus of tittering giggles.

What the fuck?

His senses come back to him well enough to see that there’s a small crowd gathered at the back already.

In the lead is one of those papparazzi wankers with the big fuck-off flash bulbs intended, Geralt thinks, to irritate security personnel the world over. His feelings toward said wanker are instantly not warm.

They get colder when he recognises the silhouette behind the camera.

That bastard. The one who got him into all this trouble earlier. The one who’d been standing over Jaskier and accusing him of sleeping with his girlfriend.

Geralt instantly hopes he really did, and that it was so much better than what she was used to that she left him.

“You,” Geralt growls, stalking toward the man. “I thought I told you to piss off.”

The man behind the camera looks at him with the kind of nasty smile that makes Geralt hesitate. It’s the kind of smile people with broken bottles in their hands smile.

“That’s him,” the man says, pointing directly at Geralt.

The screech that rises up from the crowd and what feels like a thousand phone flashes going off in his already sensitive eyes at once is so much worse than being glassed—Geralt knows, because now he’s experienced both and he’d take the broken bottle every single day of his life instead of this.

He stumbles back, covering his eyes and snarling, and feels like instantly like a monster being caught on camera.

A hand lands on his shoulder, pulling him inside, and he’s so grateful to whoever it is be could kiss them.

Once his eyes recover from the light overload and his ears stop ringing, he realises it’s Eskel.

He has, previously, kissed Eskel, but they’ve since decided they’re better off as friends, and so Geralt holds back that impulse.

“Heard the screaming,” Eskel says. “Guess you’re famous now,” he adds with a grin.

If the audience don’t hear Geralt’s groan of despair, it’s a testament to the architecture, and not his current level of self-control.