“So nice to see you again, Yennefer,” Jaskier says, putting on one of his many fake smiles.
“Jaskier,” she replies with a smile that almost looks genuine but Jaskier is pretty sure that it’s not. Which she confirms a few seconds later by saying: “Shouldn’t you be dead already?”
“I see you’re as kind as always, my dear. But don’t you worry, Geralt is doing a very good job when it comes to protecting me.”
“Hm,” Geralt sighs resignedly, clearly regretting his decision to spend the night in an inn instead of the middle of a forest.
To be fair, it was Jaskier who suggested it, claiming that he refused to be eaten by angry drowners, no matter how many times Geralt tried to explain to him that the probability of finding a drowner in the middle of a very dry forest is extremely low.
If Jaskier knew they were going to run into Yennefer in the inn, he would have risked the drowners.
“I don’t doubt that,” Yennefer smirks. “But seriously, how old are you, bard?”
“No idea. I stopped counting after fifty, I think.”
“You know, you don’t look fifty,” she says.
“Oh, well, my mother had an elf lover before I was born, so there’s a fifty-fifty chance that I’m not gonna age anytime soon. Sorry,” Jaskier smiles again, sweetly – and this time, it’s genuine.
“As if,” Geralt grunts.
“I’m sorry, dear?” Jaskier blinks.
“Come on, Jaskier, it doesn’t work like that. You’re a viscount, that means your father must have been a viscount, too.”
“You don’t know much about nobility, do you, Geralt?” Yennefer snorts.
“Hm,” Geralt grunts. “Still, he’s not a half-elf.”
“Let me guess, you’re a Witcher, therefore you could smell it if I was? I hate to break it to you, dear heart, but you’re going to have your nose checked.”
“You’re not a half-elf, Jaskier,” Geralt repeats. “You’re not immortal, you just… look young.”
“Yeah, right, you got me,” Jaskier shrugs. “I just look good because I moisturize. Happier now?”
“Much,” Geralt nods. “See? You can be honest if you want.”
“Yup,” Jaskier nods. “Honesty personified. Now please excuse me, I need to go and moisturize some more. Internally. With ale.”
“I’m actually a mermaid, you know?” Jaskier grins the next time he’s asked, this time by a very confused and very old Valdo Marx.
“A siren, Jaskier. Not a mermaid,” Geralt sighs, praying to Melitele to give him strength. “And you’d know that, of course, if you actually were a siren.”
“Just so you know, the term siren is actually quite offensive to my people.”
“You mean idiots?” Geralt chuckles. “You’re not a siren, Jask.”
“Can you prove that I’m not?”
“Well, last week you tripped and fell into this creek that was like… knee-deep, and you nearly drowned.”
“I was in shock!” Jaskier proclaims dramatically. “But I have a proof that I am, or at least could be a siren.”
“Well, my lovely voice, of course!”
“Not as lovely as you think it is,” Valdo Marx snorts.
“Come on, Jaskier,” Geralt sighs, ignoring the old troubadour. “You have much better voice that any siren I’ve ever heard.”
“Geralt of Rivia!” Jaskier gasps, clutching his chest. “Was that a compliment?!”
“Fuck,” Geralt mutters. “I didn’t mean…”
“Really though, Jaskier,” Valdo says. “How?”
“That’s a secret I’ll take to the grave, I’m afraid,” Jaskier grins. “Once I manage to reach it.”
“Keep on with the bullshit, Jaskier,” Geralt growls, “and you can reach it tonight.”
“Fifty years traveling with him, and he still thinks he can scare me. Cute, isn’t he?” Jaskier laughs. “Oh, Geralt you could never.”
“All right, I’ll tell you my secret,” Jaskier winks at Ciri, who lifts an eyebrow. “I’ve got this neat… magic ring.”
“Hmmm,” Ciri observes. “Looks like a normal signet ring to me.”
“Well… Yeah, well, it looks like it, all right, but actually–”
“Jaskier, I was born a princess. This is clearly a Pankratz family signet ring.”
“Damn,” Jaskier groans. “Like father like daughter, eh?”
“Sorry,” Ciri shrugs.
“I got myself cursed.”
Triss Merigold lifts an eyebrow.
“Somebody cursed you to live forever, is that so?” she asks and her voice is almost dripping with disbelief.
“More like cursed me,” Geralt murmurs.
“Oh, shut up, Witcher, you know you couldn’t live without me,” Jaskier smiles brightly, and Geralt has to bite his cheek to stop himself from smiling back.
“Hm,” he says instead.
“Eloquent as ever,” Jaskier nods.
“Would you like me to...” Triss clears her throat. “You know, try to lift the curse?”
“No!” Geralt yells before he can stop himself.
“See?” Jaskier beams. “You could never live without me!”
“A bruxa,” Jaskier repeats to a young man who claims to be his son, but looks older than his supposed father.
“You’re not a bruxa, Jaskier!” Geralt whines.
“Excuse me, and how would you know?”
“Because I’m a fucking Witcher?!”
“Well, you’re clearly a fucking horrible Witcher if you haven’t noticed until now!”
“I think I’d notice if you tried to sneak out of the camp at nights to feed,” Geralt comments, crossing his hands. “You can’t even sneak out to take a piss, Jask.”
“Maybe I do that on purpose!”
“Besides, bruxae are mostly women.”
“Mostly being the important word here.”
“Fuck’s sake, Jaskier. You won’t even eat a piece of meat if it’s not so well-done that it’s almost cremated.”
“Do you know how disgusting the blood is, Geralt?!” Jaskier groans, and then immediately blinks when he realizes what he just said. “I meant…”
“Case closed,” Geralt nods, satisfied.
“Oh, dear,” Jaskier mutters. “I fucking hate you sometimes.”
“Uhm, my lords, if I may,” the young man says.
“Hate to break it to you, kid, but if you’re aging like a normal human, you’re probably not my son,” Jaskier shrugs. “Sorry. I get it why your mum might be confused, though. It was quite a night, with at least four–”
“And that’s enough,” Geralt says, grabbing Jaskier by the collar and pulling him away from the man. “You know, lifting the curse seems like a good idea now.”
“There isn’t really a curse, Geralt,” Jaskier laughs.
Geralt sighs, his lips curling into a tiny smile that Jaskier cannot see.
“You see, we were in a crazy mage’s tower and I saw this bottle and I thought it was slivovitz, so I drank it, but it seems that it actually was some sort of an immortality potion,” Jaskier explains to a lady at the ball, whose grandmother he’d apparently fucked once, when said grandmother was still a young, unmarried woman.
Geralt only blinks, because it’s the first truly plausible explanation for Jaskier’s mysterious immortality.
“Oh, that must be so horrible to watch everyone you love die!” the woman nods enthusiastically. “Perhaps you’d like to tell me about it in private?”
“Of course, my dear…” Jaskier smiles. “Just… wait a second. How old is your mother?”
Jaskier’s lips are moving silently for a few seconds while he counts, and then thy turn into a wide grin.
“No reason, dear,” he says, offering her his arms. “Shall we?”
When Jaskier and the lady flee the ball, Geralt pulls out his flask of White Gull and pours its contents into his empty tankard.
So, a potion…
“There is no such thing as an immortality potion, Geralt,” Yennefer shakes her head.
“How can you be so sure?” Geralt asks. “Maybe this mage really did find a way to at least make the human life longer!”
“And why would he do that?” Yennefer scoffs. She has been doing that a lot since she finally ended their relationship for good about twenty years ago. (He later found out that she had left him for none other than Triss Merigold, but Yennefer still doesn’t know that he knows, and he’s having way too much fun with it to break the fact to her. So right now, he is pretending he doesn’t notice that Triss is eavesdropping on their conversation behind the door leading to Yennefer’s bedroom, and that he absolutely believed Yen when she claimed that the loud thud a few minutes ago was caused by a cat.) “We are immortal, Geralt, unless killed. There is no reason for any of us to make a potion that would make a human live forever.”
“Well, perhaps this mage fell in love with a human and wanted them to stay with him!”
Yennefer pauses, inspecting Geralt from head to toe and back again, and then she sighs.
“Oh, Geralt. Really?”
“Really what?” Geralt blinks, genuinely confused.
“Oh,” Yennefer murmurs. “Oh, no. Really?”
“Really what, Yen?”
“You mean you don’t… Oh, dear gods. Really?”
“Yen, I swear that I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Geralt grunts, frowning.
Yennefer rolls her eyes and tries counting to ten to calm herself down. She doesn’t even get to three before Geralt’s eyes go wide.
“Oh,” he whispers. “Fuck.”
“Fuck, indeed, Geralt,” she nods solemnly. “Fuck, indeed.”
“I found a djinn, he granted me a wish,” Jaskier says when Geralt asks him, about five minutes after his meeting with Yennefer. (He agreed to use a portal to get to the bard as soon as possible. A fucking portal!) The bard is sitting in a tavern and eating his dinner, utterly undisturbed by the sudden appearance of an angrier-than-usual Witcher.
“You never mentioned a djinn,” Geralt growls. “And after your last encounter with one, I sincerely doubt you’d engage with another.”
“You clearly don’t know me at all–”
“Besides, Valdo Marx, as far as I know, had an apoplexy while fucking a young student on his desk, and I don’t think you’d ever let him die like that if you had a choice.”
“You see, that was kind of a my mistake, since I didn’t specify the time and the circumstances of his apoplexy in my wish, so…”
“What was your third wish?”
“Your immortality, Valdo Marx dropping dead, that’s two. What was the third one? And don’t even try to mention the Countess de Stael, since you’d have to dig her up first.”
“That was disgusting, even for you, you know that, Geralt?”
“How are you immortal, Jaskier?!”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Jaskier puts a piece of bread in his mouth and grins.
“Maybe some other time, Witcher.”
“I am a fae,” Jaskier replies a day later.
“You’re not a fucking fae, bard.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because you fucking lie, Jaskier. All the time.”
“Fuck. Didn’t think of that.”
“You see, there was this artifact–”
Geralt closes his eyes, turning Roach around.
“Let’s consult Yennefer about this.”
“Oh, mother of…” Jaskier whines. “All right, no artifact, there was no artifact! Geralt, I’m telling you, there was no…”
“You’re not a succubus.”
“But it would be a perfect explanation, wouldn’t it?”
“You’re not succubus, because if you were, you’d know that a male one is called an incubus.”
“Oh, you and your stupid Witcher terms again.”
“You’re not an incubus, Jaskier, because if you were, I could never let you near Eskel.”
“All right… Explain, please?”
“I’d really rather not.”
“A dragon,” Jaskier grins victoriously.
“No,” Geralt says, shaking his head.
“No,” Jaskier agrees with a sigh.
“You know you could just tell me the truth and be done with it, right?”
“All right, enough is enough,” Jaskier growls that night in their rented room, tossing his doublet aside. “You’ve asked me three times today, Geralt. Why the sudden interest in my immortality?”
“As you said, enough is enough. You’ve been traveling with me for what, a hundred years?”
“A hundred and four.”
“Yes, and you still look the same as the day I met you in Posada!” Geralt growls. “And it drives me mad!”
“It wasn’t driving you insane for at least fifty years, so why the sudden change of heart?”
“Fuck off, bard. You don’t have to tell me. I don’t care.”
“But you do, Geralt,” Jaskier says, taking a step towards the Witcher. “Why?”
He’s standing in Geralt’s personal space, his chemise half undone, and he’s watching Geralt with those sincere blue eyes, and Geralt can’t fucking think…
“Because I love you, you idiot!” he snaps. “Because I fucking love you and I need to know if I can love you, or you’re gonna just drop dead one day without a warning!”
“Oh,” Jaskier whispers, his lips forming into a huge, happy smile. “Oh, fucking finally.”
“Fucking… what?” Geralt blinks, his arms suddenly full of an enthusiastic bard.
“I love you too, you silly Witcher,” Jaskier laughs. “I’ve loved you for a hundred years! Well, a hundred and four, but who’s counting?”
“You…” Geralt mutters.
“Silly, silly Witcher,” Jaskier repeats, pressing his lips against Geralt’s in a kiss that could be described as chaste, or at least the chastest Jaskier has ever been capable of. “We’re going to Lettenhove in the morning.”
“Oh, yes,” Jaskier whispers. “See, I’ve told you the truth about the source of my immortality once. But I think you need to see it to believe me.”
“Wait, you have? When?” Geralt asks. “Was it the artifact? Just tell me, I promise I won’t make you consult it with–”
“Shut up now,” Jaskier says, kissing Geralt again with way less chastity than before. “And in the meantime, believe me this – you can keep loving me, and I’m not planning on dropping dead anytime soon. Also, I’ve spent the last hundred years imagining fucking you senseless, so if you’re not opposed to the idea, perhaps we could, well…”
The kiss that this idea gets him is as far from chaste as one could possibly get.
And Jaskier definitely isn’t about to complain.
“You sure this is a good idea?” Geralt asks as they march towards the Lettenhove castle’s gates. He tugs at his doublet’s collar, way too tight for his liking. He’d much rather walk in there wearing his usual attire, but Jaskier insisted that Geralt must look presentable if he wants to meet his family.
It turns out that it only takes a single I love you to turn the bard into a manipulative bastard. Who would have guessed?
“Why wouldn’t it be?” Jaskier replies, grinning cheerfully. “And stop frowning, you’re gonna scare the servants, love.”
“How long it’s been since your last visit here, Jaskier?” Geralt says, his frown deepening. “Who rules Lettenhove now, hm? Aren’t you only going to be a distant relative, a great-great-uncle risen from the grave?”
“I sure hope not,” Jaskier chuckles, stopping in front of the guards by the gate. “Good afternoon, gentlemen. Viscount Julian, here to see the Viscountess Madeleine.”
“How can you still be a viscount?” Geralt blinks when one of the guards promptly disappears inside.
“We kind of decided to, you know, share the title,” Jaskier shrugs. “Seemed fair. Besides, father, well, the former viscount, insisted that I inherit the title, but he never mentioned anything about Mads not inheriting it, so…”
“How could your father have known who the viscount is going to be in almost a hundred years?”
“He really didn’t,” Jaskier chuckles. “See, it will all start to make sense once you meet her.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping for.”
The guard returns a few minutes later, telling them that the Viscountess will meet them in the garden.
Geralt, knowing a thing or two about nobility, think it’s a little weird, but isn’t about to protest. He only thinks he could have left the fancy clothes at the tavern.
“Oh, shut up, you,” Jaskier chuckles when Geralt voices this thought. “You look gorgeous.”
“I know. You’ve mentioned it a few times. But I didn’t have to look like that, because we’re going to meet the ruler of this land in a fucking garden, and–”
A woman in a long white dress throws herself at Jaskier, who happily catches her. Geralt’s first instinct is to reach for his sword, only to realize that he (luckily) left it in the tavern – because Jaskier insisted, of course.
“Madeleine,” Jaskier chuckles. “You haven’t aged a day.”
“Oh, yes. Shocking, isn’t it?” she laughs, pulling away from him, and for the first time, Geralt truly looks at her.
The woman is shorter than Jaskier, slim, and her dress is much, much simpler than Geralt would have expected considering the fact that is supposed to be a viscountess. She has dark, long hair and her face is so beautiful that it almost – but only almost – takes the focus off her pointed ears.
“Lady Madeleine,” Jaskier grins, “may I introduce Geralt of Rivia, my Witcher. Geralt, this is Lady Madeleine, the current ruler of Lettenhove and my younger sister.”
“You’re…” Geralt blinks.
“A half-elf, yes,” she nods. “Julian! You haven’t told him?”
“Hardly my fault. I really tried,” Jaskier shrugs. “But he just wouldn’t believe me.”
“So you brought him here to prove it to him, rather than to visit your beloved sister? You are a horrible, horrible sibling, Julian!”
“Your… sister,” Geralt mutters, all his thoughts speeding through his head, colliding and falling down, one over another.
“Yes, we definitely share a mother,” Jaskier confirms. “Most likely a father, too, and trust me, it wasn’t the old viscount. Madeleine got the elvish looks, I only got the non-aging bit. Well, apparently.”
“But…” Geralt blinks. “Your father. The title.”
“Yen was right, dear heart, you really don’t know shit about nobility,” Jaskier snorts. “But I admit that even though our dear departed noble father knew that Mads wasn’t his daughter, obviously, it never occurred to him that I might not be his true son.”
“But you don’t age!”
“In his defense, that only became clear after his unfortunate passing.”
“And you aren’t going to start to age anytime soon,” Geralt mutters. “You really aren’t.”
“Told you so, didn’t I?” Jaskier winks, letting go of his sister and wrapping his arms around his lover instead.
“I… I…” Geralt stammers. “Fuck.”
“Maybe later, love,” Jaskier smiles. “Madeleine, my dear, wouldn’t you say that my return calls for a feast?”
“Absolutely. In fact, I have started the preparations the second my spies informed me that you have crossed the border.”
“Oh, so we have spies now?”
“It’s really only a net of nosy old ladies, but it works wonders,” Madeleine laughs. “I must admit, though, that I was only planning a feast to celebrate you coming home, but now I see we have a much better reason to party. Tell me, brother, did you finally get your stupid Witcher?”
Jaskier smiles brightly, turning his head to Geralt.
“Yes. I finally got my stupid Witcher.”
“Party,” the Witcher in question growls. “Is that why you made me dress like a pompous prick?”
“No, that was because while I find your usual self extremely attractive, you still look much better when your hair is properly combed and you’re not covered in monster blood.”
“Hm,” Geralt hums, but wraps his arm around the bard to hold him close.
“Oh, yes, about monsters,” Madeleine says with the most innocent expression Geralt has seen since Ciri broke Vesemir’s favorite vase at Kaer Morhen. “You see, we have a tiny problem with a cockatrice…”
“Right,” Geralt nods. “I’ll go grab my armor from the tavern.”
“That won’t be necessary. I have already arranged for your things to be brought to the castle. And your horse,” she adds before Geralt can even open his mouth. “You can leave for your quest as soon as the servants get here.”
“So much for you not being covered in monster blood,” Jaskier sighs.
“Hm,” Geralt grins. “Lady Madeleine, I suppose you happen to have a bathtub somewhere in the castle?”
“Of course. In fact, there is a private bathroom right next to Julian’s bedroom.”
“Geralt of Rivia,” Jaskier purrs. “You know me so well.”
“Yes, and I expect to get to know you even better. In another hundred years or so.”
Jaskier laughs, pulls Geralt closer to him and kisses him.
“Another thousand years, I’d say.”
“What… the… fuck?!” Geralt croaks, staring at the smouldering remains of the cockatrice that would have surely killed him if Jaskier… If Jaskier…
The bard looks at his hands, then at the cockatrice, and then back at his hands again.
“Geralt? I have a feeling that I’m not really… A half-elf.”
“I think I might be… Uhm…”
“Oh, shit,” Geralt whispers.
“I suppose, uhm, you know…” Jaskier stammers, wiping his palms on his trousers like he could wipe away the feeling of literal flames shooting out of them mere moments ago.
“Yeah. We’re gonna have to consult this with Yen.”
“Splendid,” Jaskier sighs. “Can it at least wait after the feast?”
“After more than a hundred years of you not even knowing, I think one feast will be fine.”
“Thank the gods. Madeleine would kill me if I tried to leave now,” Jaskier chuckles. “Let’s go, then. We need to get the fried monster remains out of your hair.”
“You’re… I was fucking right! You’re not a half-elf!”
“Yeah, you’re a great Witcher,” Jaskier nods, grabbing Geralt’s arm and dragging him away from the monster. “Didn’t notice I was secretly a fucking mage, but otherwise a great Witcher.”
“Explains a lot, though.”
“Does it now?”
“Yeah. I always had a thing for mages, you know.”
“Oh, Geralt. You’re such a fucking idiot,” Jaskier chuckles.
“Made you laugh,” Geralt shrugs, smiling.
Jaskier shakes his head.
“I’m so, so gonna drown you in that bathtub.”
“My love,” Geralt grins, “you’re more than welcome to try.”