There are many things that Jaskier is good at.
He is very good at singing, he is a terrific lute player and poet. Depending on the amount of wine he consumed he might even give philosophy a new go.
It is fun and all, but what he is the very best at is storytelling.
Now, to get yourself a good story you can either use your imagination (which is safe) or you can go out in the world (less safe), or, in Jaskiers case, find and desperately cling to a witcher (very unsafe).
The latter is not a common practice and more often than not closely connected to death. Somehow Jaskier managed not only to stay alive but to befriend said Witcher. And honestly, there might be something more going on there.
They don’t talk about it, they don’t talk to others about it, but there is this little spark whenever they are close. Which is another thing, because they usually are. Somewhere along the way Jaskier realized that he might even be in love with his witcher.
A good story is usually kicked off with a drink, a bet, a contract, or a pair of beautiful eyes.
This story is kicked off with baking.
It is a cold afternoon at Kaer Morhen, frost decorating all windows and even indoors the air has a bit of a bite in it. Jaskier was invited to stay with Geralt this winter, which is new. Pleasant, but unexpected.
It was supposed to be pleasant in any way, but it is so bloody cold in this keep that Jaskier has started wearing his cloak at all times. Sometimes he wears Geralt's cloak too, just because.
He soon learned upon arriving that the keep is mostly destroyed and therefore there are somewhat limited livingquarters in use. It doesn’t really matter, Jaskier and Geralt are used to sharing anyway. And it is so cold.
The other witchers staying at the keep, Eskel, Lambert and Vesemir, are a funny lot. Jaskier have only been here for two weeks, but he is starting to compare it to living with overgrown cats. Rude, antisocial and with a very specific kind of humour. It gives Geralt's behaviour some very needed context. It’s cute, really.
This afternoon Jaskier took it upon himself to do some baking. It is another thing he is very good at, and there is this new spice mix that he would like to try.
The kitchen is steaming hot now from the ovens burning. His fingers are sticky from kneading the dough, and he is sweating just a little bit. When he brushes a lock of hair out of his face some of the dough on his hands sticks to his forehead.
It is a messy process. Jaskier is not used to this kind of kitchen (really, it’s ancient) and when he finally gets the buns in the oven there is a lot of cleaning up to do.
Which is something Jaskier is bad at.
The actual story begins when Jaskier actually gets to serve said buns at dinnertime. They are eating in a study with a big fireplace, cozy with a thick rug and big bookshelves. Jaskiers lute rests against the wall next to a big plush chair that he claimed for himself since he arrived. Lambert sips wine from a goblet, smiling at the snark going on around him. Jaskier chatters away as usual, with Eskel and at Geralt.
It is nice, the witchers are relaxed and appreciative of his baking. It feels very nice. Jaskier leaves for the kitchen for a moment (one can not simply have a nice time with an empty goblet) and when he returns there is something wrong.
To begin with, Lambert is sitting on the floor. Kneeling, in front Jaskiers lute, head cocked. Like he is listening to something he can almost hear.
Confused, Jaskier looks at the others around the table for answers. There are none to be had.
If anything, Jaskier gets more confused.
Eskel has taken at least three buns and is pressing it to his face, looking incredibly happy. He hugs them to himself, humming, stroking them and getting flour on his cheek and arm.
Vesemir looks up to see Jaskier, and gets the biggest smile. Jaskier never, ever in these two weeks saw Vesemir smile, not like that.
The older man gets up, stretching his arms out wide.
“My boy!” He exclaims, and hugs a stunned Jaskier. “Our little bard, I'm so glad you are back!”
“I uh, thank you?” Jaskier is perplexed, not sure if he should hug back. What the hell is going on? He settles on patting Vesemir awkwardly on the back, seeking help from Geralt.
Geralt is staring at him, intently. Unblinking, unmoving.
Jaskiers heart starts pounding. Geralt has that effect on him. It’s that spark again, crackling under his skin.
“Aaw, Vesemir, I want a hug! Hug me!” Jasker hears Eskel complain, and is finally let go.
“Of course Eskel, my little rascal!” Vesemir booms, and goes to put his arms around Eskels shoulder, buns and all.
Jaskier can’t look away. Not even when he can hear the telltale sounds of strings being plucked on his beloved lute. It doesn’t matter. Let Lambert have his fun. Are all four of them drunk? He never took any of the men present for lightweights, he’s seen how much it takes for Geralt to get sloshed.
Speaking of, Geralt still hasn't stopped staring at Jaskier. It’s like he’s never seen him before. Jaskier can feel a blush spreading, warmth spilling over his cheeks and ears, down his neck. Eskel and Vesemir still seem to cuddle with the buns, and something suspiciously like purring is coming from Eskel.
Geralt gets on his feet, and Jaskier swallows. He has no idea what to do, his heart is beating like crazy. Geralt walks up to him, still not breaking eye contact and takes the goblet out of his hands. He puts it on the closest surface, which seems to be a bookshelf, and then takes Jaskiers hand again.
It crackles, it burns, it makes his breath catch in his throat.
Geralt pushes past Jaskier, dragging him behind as he walks back out through the doors. As soon as the doors close behind them he crowds Jaskier against a wall.
There is barely a hint of amber in those eyes staring at him, pupils blown wide. Wait.
“What’s wrong with them?” Jaskier asks, voice all kind of breathy. Geralt lifts Jaskiers hand to his face, and presses his nose to his wrist.
“I think it’s that catnip you used in the bread.” Geralt replies, and takes a deep breath. It is almost like he’s smelling him.
“It’s not supposed to make humans react like that, though.” Jaskier protests weakly.
“We are not humans.” Geralt says, lips against the thin skin over Jaskiers wrist, and then seeking upwards over his palm and fingers. Breathing in deeply, eyes half closed.
“Our mutations make us react to the weirdest things.” Geralt adds, almost as an afterthought.
Through the door they can hear Lamberts playing, and he is singing now. He has a rather nice voice actually.
Jaskier is not sure what to do, what to say. If this is only the spice talking, he is not sure he wants this. Jaskiers heart is a tender thing.
“Is this your reaction to it?” He must ask, but he dreads the answer.
“No.” Geralt smiles, and it’s a wonderful expression. “My mutagens made sure I have a high tolerance. Bullshit, really. It’s so expensive to get drunk.”
Jaskiers mouth is dry, and despite the cold air around them he is burning. Geralt rarely talks this much, so he is definitely somewhat affected. His breath against Jaskiers hand gives him shivers down his spine. It takes all he has to not just cup Geralt's face, to not tread his fingers through his hair.
Geralt seems to read the question on Jaskiers face, and he really seems to be in a mood to talk.
“Apparently catnip gives me shitty impulse control though.” Geralt leans into Jaskiers hand, almost nuzzling it.
It is really, really hard to breath. Under Jaskiers fingers, he can feel Geralt's warm skin, his stubble. Rough fingers almost twining with his own. It is a harsh contrast, burning skin and cold stone against his back.Geralt's eyes are back on him and a small sound escapes him.
”I can smell it on you.” Geralt says. ”On your hand and on your breath.” He leans in, putting a big hand under Jaskiers chin and tips it up. His nose is touching Jaskier, just under his lower lip. He can’t help but part them a fraction.
”I just want to lick it off.” He whispers, and Jaskier full on shudders. It is a true wonder his knees haven't given out yet. Geralt drags his lips slowly over Jaskiers chin, pressing his body closer.
They are not kissing, not really. Jaskier really wants to lean in, but even more he wants Geralt to do it. To take that step.
He looks at Geralt through his eyelashes.
“Please.” He whispers.
Geralt crushes Jaskier against the wall, both on his hands now on his cheeks, his neck, his hair. The kiss is hot, messy, everything Jaskier needs.
There is a crash inside the study, like a chair falling over.
”I CAN HEAR COLOURS!!” Eskel shouts.
”It's the lute and Lamberts yowling you imbecill!” Vesemir shouts back.
Jaskier can’t help the small chuckle escaping him.
”Maybe we should go to our room?” He suggests. Geralt all but carries him there.
The day after is the punchline of this good story.
(The finish already happened three times during the night. But that part is for him alone.)
It turns out that Catnip not only makes witchers go haywire for a few hours. It gives them the worst hangover.
Jaskier comes down the next morning, he feels the need to check on the poor souls he accidently drugged. Geralt is right behind him, in case they got mad about it.
It was not necessary. It was, however, amazing. On a pile on the floor Lambert and Eskel lie tangled up. They seem to have built a fort with the things in the room, and somehow they managed to get Jaskier lute up on the chandelier.
Vesemir sits on the plush chair like it's a throne, fast asleep. He hopes. He looks a little dead.
Geralt steps in, looks around and gets a devilish grin on his face. He takes a big book and slams it down on the table.
Three groans of protests erupt around them, and all three grab their heads as the pain sets in.
Now, the art of storytelling is how you tell the story. And to whom. Jaskier will never tell it within earshot of any witchers, just in case. Messing with men brought up by the school of the wolf and then compare them to kittens is perhaps not the best way to stay alive. Especially not when you are the bard who drugged them.
But then again, a good story is rarely safe.