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The Grass is Greener

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Jaskier stared forlornly out at his garden. His mother was due to come over on her yearly visit and the next few days of his life were going to be hell. His mother was the sort to blast into his life like a fucking tornado, pull apart everything that he had built for himself and leave him broken, shattered into a thousand shards of glass. He wasn't even sure why he still let her in, probably some childhood trauma that meant he was desperate to please her, to make her proud, but what did he know? He wasn’t a therapist, much to her displeasure. Anything would have been better in her eyes than a musician and occasional bartender. 

He didn’t make much money. His band hadn’t taken off yet and only really had a small but dedicated following online that donated pocket money in exchange for small previews of new tracks or little poems that could be given to lovers or in greetings cards. Most of his rent was paid for in the tips he made at the bar. He was lucky to have the house at all really. He shared it with his housemates: Priscilla, his bandmate and ex, Essi, her younger sister, Valdo Marx, his former schoolmate, professional rival and absolutely twat face who lurked in his attic room and never really came out to talk to them, and last but not least, Regis, a kind scholarly type who had been living in the house before the other rooms had become available and most importantly made excellent homemade gin. 

Said housemates had agreed to fuck off for the weekend so he could pretend that the house was his in a last ditched attempt win over his mother.

Of course, none of them had helped to tidy up before leaving and he’d spent the last twenty-four hours deep cleaning the house, and bolting the door to Regis’s bathroom shut. The gin in the bathtub wasn’t ready to bottle yet and he wasn’t exactly going to drain the tub of his elixir. He’d moved the furniture in his friend’s rooms around enough to make it look like they weren’t extra bedrooms, more… rooms that just happened to have beds in case he had company. Priscilla’s room now resembled a music room, Essi’s room had been turned into a makeshift study, Valdo’s he’d left a mess and claimed it was just an attic, and Regis’s room was sort of a library if you squinted hard enough.

That just left the garden. 

“Bollocks!” He moaned.

None of them really cared much about the garden, apart from the box down the end which housed Regis’s herb garden for cooking. The rest of the garden a mess. The grass was practically a wild meadow filled with weeds. He quite liked it. He enjoyed looking at the dandelions, daisies and buttercups but his mother would have a fit.

Where was he even going to start?

Lawnmower. They must have one. He stumbled through his back door onto the patio and made his way to the shed that honestly barely lived up to its name. It was falling apart and leaked horrendously, but luckily inside was one rusty looking lawnmower. 

“Bingo!” He grinned and pulled the mower out of the shed. It was heavier than it looked but luckily Jaskier was also stronger than he looked. Even so he wasn’t entirely how he was going to start the damn thing. 

Perhaps Geralt would know…

Fuck. 

Geralt.

Geralt had just adopted a newborn baby. Her name was Ciri. Most of the time Geralt just called her ‘Cub’ which Jaskier found to be incredibly endearing, a fact that had nothing to do with his teensy little crush on the mechanic. 

He pulled up Geralt’s number in his phone. He’d been delighted when Geralt had given him his number, yes maybe it was because Jaskier kept turning up at Geralt’s doorstep after shifts at work because he’d forgotten his keys and none of his bastard housemates were answering the door and Geralt just happened to have a spare key, but the main thing is he had Geralt’s number.

After that they’d conversed a few times over text. Mostly if one of them was running to the shops and wanted to know if the other needed anything. Occasionally Geralt would text to ask Jaskier if he could watch Ciri for a short while if Geralt needed to leave the house. Once Geralt had even given him a lift to work because Jaskier’s bike had gotten a flat tire and he didn’t have enough time to walk all the way to the bar. So they weren’t exactly strangers but he wouldn’t really call them friends. 

In fact Geralt was still listed as Hot Neighbour in his phone. He meant to change it, it was just that you couldn’t argue with the truth. Geralt was his hot neighbour. 

J —Hey Geralt! Is it ok if I mow my lawn? I don’t want to wake Ciri if she’s asleep. :) 

He stared at his phone intently until about an eternity later, Geralt replied. 

G — The child must not be an obstacle. 

Jaskier snorted as he read the response. He read it aloud a couple of times trying to mimic Geralt’s rough husky voice and managed to give himself the giggles. 

His phone buzzed again. 

G — I can hear you laughing at me. 

“Oh shit!” He almost dropped his phone and his cheeks felt like they were on fire. “Sorry Geralt!” He called into the air. 

G— Hmm.

Jaskier scoffed. Who text back “Hmm”? And why did Jaskier still find that so attractive?

But never mind that! He had the green light. Operation Finally Make His Mother Proud, or FMHMP for short, and yes you could absolutely say that if you tried hard enough, was go! He was going to mow the lawn like a proper adult!

He tried for about six years to turn the mower on but without any success. He kicked the lawnmower in frustration and the whole damned thing fell apart. 

“Fuck it!” He yelled as he hopped about on his good foot that hadn’t been battered by lawnmower. 

He sulked back into the house and flopped down dramatically on the sofa. It was over. His mother was going to hate him and he would die as a disgrace to the Pankratz name and the Lettenhove estate. 

He was half way through his pity party when the doorbell rang. He grabbed his phone to check the time. Strange, his mother wasn’t due for another three hours. 

“What the fuck?” He mused and padded over to the door. To his surprise Geralt was standing on his doorstep with Ciri tucked safely into a baby sling on his chest and behind him was a shiny lawnmower. “Ah. Geralt!” He grinned. 

Geralt turned to the lawnmower and back to him. “Thought you might need some help.”

Jaskier blushed. “Right. Yes. Of course. Come on in!” He stood back to let Geralt through. “Oh, actually do you want to come round the side gate? The lawnmower probably shouldn’t come through the house. I’ve just cleaned up.”

Geralt grunted but followed Jaskier around the side of the house and into the back garden. 

“What the fuck, Jaskier?” He grumbled when he saw the state of the lawn. “I thought you said you were mowing the lawn, not trying to find it!”

“Ah, yes, well. That is an excellent point.” Jaskier stammered, pulling at the hem of his shirt nervously. “You see my mother is visiting.”

Geralt raised an eyebrow. “Your mother, how old are you? Twelve?”

Jaskier gaped at his neighbour. “Geralt!” He whined. “I’m twenty-nine! Mother is just a cow.”

“Hmm. Fine. Let’s do this.” Geralt pulled Ciri gently out of her sling and passed her to Jaskier. “Hold her. I need to grab her stuff. This will take longer than I thought.”

“Oh hang on!” Jaskier called after Geralt but it was too late and Ciri began to cry. “Umm. There there.” He cooed and rocked her gently. “Shall I sing you a lullaby, cub?”

She didn’t answer, babies rarely did, so he decided a lullaby would be fine and began to sing in hushed tones as he rocked her in his arms. Geralt wasn’t long but he seemed surprise to come back to Jaskier rocking his daughter to sleep in his arms. 

“Hmm. She likes you.” Geralt noted. 

He was carrying Ciri’s car seat and a bag was slung over his shoulder. In his other hand was a large electric contraption with some nasty blades at the end. He dumped the scary looking monster and placed the travel cot on the patio table. Once Ciri was safely asleep they got to work. 

Or more accurately, Geralt got to work. Jaskier mostly just watched and made sure Geralt had all the refreshments he needed. He also kept the conversation going by listing all the grievances his mother had with him from her last visit, Geralt hummed and grunted but didn’t offer much in return but it didn’t matter. Jaskier was more than capable of holding an entire conversation by himself. 

“And then she starts wittering on about how my sister has a perfect husband and a darling little angel.” Jaskier moaned. “So of course then it’s ‘Julian why don’t you have a wife?’”

“Julian?” Geralt asked. 

Jaskier glared at his neighbour. “Don’t ever call me that, I beg of you.”

Geralt shrugged. “I won’t. Just asking.” 

“And I tell her, for the hundredth time, to say partner or spouse or lover or you know… not gender specific because she knows! Geralt! She knows. I don’t know how many times I have to tell her.” Jaskier sighed. “Oh, umm I’m bisexual just to give you some context there.”

Geralt nodded. “Right.”

“So of course she starts complaining that I always have to make everything gay, and I’m like… ‘Mother, I am gay!’” Jaskier announced with wide arms. 

Geralt looked up at him, pausing halfway down the lawn that was now starting to resemble a lawn. “So why not tell her you’re seeing someone?” He asked. “Solve both problems if you say it’s a guy.”

Jaskier put his hands on his hips and tilted his head. “Yeah.” He scoffed. “Until she asks to meet him.”

Geralt shrugged. “I could do it.”

Jaskier’s heart jumped in his chest. “You what? Geralt!” 

“My ex has been bothering me about finding someone.” He grumbled. “Two birds, One stone.” 

Jaskier narrowed his eyes at his insanely hot neighbour who was now apparently suggesting they… fake date??

“What exactly are you suggesting here?” Jaskier asked slowly. “You pretend to be my boyfriend for my mother’s visit and we what? Send a few photos to your ex to prove you’re moving on?”

Geralt smirked. “As long as you promise not to fall in love with me.” 

Jaskier’s jaw dropped. 

Well fuck.