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The Grass is Greener

Chapter Text

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. 

Chapter Text

Jaskier was pacing around the living room. If the carpet was any good he probably would have been wearing a hole in it, as it was the carpet was coarse and worn down already. He was practicing his guitar fingering on his thighs, a nervous habit he’d picked up years ago and had never managed to shake. 

Geralt, lovely, gorgeous, ever patient, Geralt was sitting on the sofa with Ciri babbling away in his arms, watching Jaskier have a little bit of a breakdown. 

“What’s the time?” Jaskier asked for the thousandth time. 

“Approximately three minutes after the last time you asked.” Geralt chuckled and bounced Ciri on his knee.

Jaskier turned to glare at his new pretend boyfriend, and maybe hopefully future real boyfriend. Well, he meant to glare. What actually happened was that he got lost in Geralt’s stunning amber eyes that were looking at him with such affection and amusement…

It was going to be hard to forget that they weren’t actually dating if Geralt kept looking at him like that, but Jaskier reminded himself that Geralt was just getting into character already. Jaskier supposed he should do the same. 

“How long have we got?” He asked.

“She’s due at four?”

Jaskier nodded and chewed on his lip. 

“About twenty minutes.” Geralt grunted. “Sit down, Jaskier.” 

Geralt’s voice left no room for argument so he did. He plopped himself down cross-legged on the carpet where he was standing. 

Geralt raised an eyebrow at him. “On the sofa.”

Jaskier blushed. “Right, yes. Of course.” He scrambled up to join Geralt on the sofa, keeping a safe distance away from him. 

He didn’t want to assume anything just because they were fake dating. 

Geralt hummed. “I don’t bite.”

“Pity.” Jaskier heard himself saying before he could stop himself. “I didn’t mean that!” He buried his head in his hands. 

Geralt just laughed. “I don’t bite unless you ask nicely.”

Jaskier wanted to die. 

He was pretty sure this was how he was going to die. 

He groaned and hide behind a pillow. “Geralt!”

“What? You’re my boyfriend. I’m allowed to say things like that.” 

Jaskier’s heart felt like it was going to explode. “Geralt!” He whined. 

“You started it.” Geralt reminded him. 

“Yeah well, I didn’t mean to.” He snapped. “Oh god, how are we going to convince my mother this is real?”

Geralt hummed. “Hold Ciri?”

“What?” Jaskier stared at his new friend, and yes they were using friend now. Only a friend would agree to this nonsense. 

“When your mother arrives.” Geralt added. “And you’ll probably have to kiss me.”

Jaskier’s brain drifted as he pictured that. He had imagined kissing Geralt far too often and now the man was sitting in his house, on his sofa, and talking so frankly about them kissing as if it were the normal thing to do. God he wished it were their normal. 

“We should practise!” He blurted out. 

Geralt scoffed. “Practise?”

“Yes! It makes sense!” He grinned at Geralt and waved his hands at Ciri. “Go put her in her cot or something.”

“Shouldn’t we work on a backstory?” Geralt asked not moving. 

“We’ve been dating for six months. You asked me out when you gave me a lift to work that time and we went to an open mic night for our first date. At the end of the night you kissed me and I’ve been in love with you ever since.” Jaskier explained hurriedly. “Now kiss me!”

Geralt still didn’t move. He stared at Jaskier with narrow eyes, his gaze so intense that Jaskier felt like all the air was being sucked out of the room. He licked his lips and tilted his head at Geralt. “What?”

“You’ve thought about it.” Geralt stated.

Fuck.

He supposed he had come up with that rather quickly. Luckily he was used to making up shit for his songs and poems.

“Geralt,” He sighed and patted the mechanic on the shoulder that Ciri wasn’t resting on. “I’m an artist! Stories are my trade, I simply just muddled the truth around. Easy as pie!”

Geralt hummed and stood up. 

Jaskier leaned to watch Geralt as he moved over to Ciri’s cot, Jaskier’s mouth suddenly felt dry and he was fairly certain he was about to have a heart attack. “Geralt? Where are you going?”

Geralt didn’t answer. Instead he gently put Ciri down in the travel cot that he’d brought over. She squealed a little as he attached the rattle toys on the bar across her lap but settled down quickly. 

“Geralt?” Jaskier asked again, more quietly this time as Geralt stalked back across the room, never taking his eyes away from Jaskier. 

Jaskier’s heart was racing, he was almost sure that Geralt must be able to hear it. He could feel it in his chest, right down to the tips of his fingers. His tongue flicked out between his lips in anticipation and he smirked when he noticed Geralt’s gaze drop down to his lips. God, this was actually going to happen. Geralt was going to kiss him. He shuffled forward so he was on the edge of his seat. His breath caught in his throat as he felt the air crackle between them and Geralt leant down to kiss him. 

Jaskier kissed back with as much passion as he could muster. This may just be the only chance he would have to kiss Geralt and he was not going to waste a single second. He gripped onto Geralt’s t-shirt, hoping to prolong the moment for as long as he possibly could.The kiss deepened, Jaskier parting his lips instinctively to let Geralt’s tongue explore his mouth. Geralt tasted like sweet coffee and there was a small part of Jaskier’s mind that panicked. Should he have brushed his teeth first? or had a mint, that was what people did he films right?

But Geralt’s hands were in his hair and all doubts left him. Their noses bumped slightly as Geralt moved closer to him. Jaskier couldn’t help the moan that escape his lips. Geralt pulled away with one last bite to Jaskier’s lower lip that made him feel weak at the knees. 

“Practice enough for you?” Geralt smirked as he brushed his thumb along Jaskier’s cheek.

Jaskier was breathless, not to mention speechless. He nodded, blinking up at Geralt and wondering what the fuck had happened to his life?

This was probably all some ridiculously realistic dream, right?

Geralt rolled his eyes and went back over to pick Ciri up. 

Jaskier shamelessly let his gaze drop to watch Geralt’s arse as he walked away, like the man had said they were boyfriends now, he was allowed to do that. 

He swallowed as the power of speech came flying back to him. “Well, I think that went rather well, don’t you think?” He raised an eyebrow at Geralt and flashed what he hoped was his most charming smile. Geralt hummed, which Jaskier took for agreement. “At least we don’t have to worry about chemistry.” He mused. 

Geralt didn’t reply. He just handed Ciri to Jaskier. Jaskier squeaked but took the baby in his arms. She was still babbling away and reached out to Geralt with tiny little hands. Jaskier peered down at the tiny human and chewed his lip. God, she was so fragile, so tiny. She watched the world around her with an intelligence in her eyes that surprised him. He’d not spent much time around children before, he’d just assumed babies were just, well, a bit useless? And it had been a few weeks since he’d seen Ciri, she hadn’t been nearly as alert before. 

She had more personality now. She clearly loved her father and she was not best pleased to be dumped in Jaskier’s arms and started to whine, not quite a cry but definitely not happy baby noises. Jaskier cooed at her and caught her little fingers in his hands. She gripped onto his finger and stared up at him with the most adorable pout. 

“She’s amazing.” He whispered as he stared back. 

Geralt hummed. He was watching them both with a peculiar expression. 

“Yeah.” He grunted. 

Jaskier laughed. How was it that the man could go from unbearably charming one moment to completely ineloquent the next? And why did Jaskier find it so endearing?

He opened his mouth to say something but he was cut off by the door bell ringing. 

“Oh shit!” 

He ran to the door, balancing Ciri awkwardly in his arms. “Geralt can you make sure there’s wine in the fridge?” He called back as he reached the door. 

“What kind?”

“Any!” He groaned and then plastered a faker-than-his-boyfriend smile on his face. “Mother!” He greeted the woman the door. 

She scowled at him, then at baby Ciri, which was just rude, and swept into the house like the hurricane that she was. “Julian, why are you holding a baby? Babysitting, I assume. I always knew that you weren’t cut out to be a musician.”

“Mother!” He pouted. “This is Ciri. I’m not babysitting, actually there’s something I wanted to tell you.”

“Oh Julian, you didn’t get a poor girl pregnant? I assume you asked her to marry you. Where is she?” She asked sharply and Jaskier was approximately ten seconds away from matricide when Geralt came out of the kitchen. 

His long hair was still tied up in a bun, but now he had a tea towel draped over his shoulder and he looked suspiciously like he’d been doing washing up… but Jaskier was certain he’d finished all of that before they’d started on the garden. Still it all felt so domestic all of a sudden, like Geralt was meant to be in his house, in his life, doing the washing up to help clear up before meeting his mother. 

He smiled soppily at his not boyfriend and then turned back to his mother feeling a lot more chipper than he had before. 

He really just needed to focus on not getting his heart broken. He was pretty certain that it was already too late for that. 

God, Geralt was just so handsome and now he was kind as well. It was quite frankly, not fair!

“Mrs Pankratz?” Geralt asked with a half smile.

Wait. Since when did Geralt know his surname? When had he told him that? God it must have been when they moved into the house over a year ago!

His mother looked stunned and nodded. “And you are?”

“Geralt Rivia. Jaskier’s boyfriend.” Geralt reached out to shake her hand. 

Ciri squealed in Jaskier’s arm. “Oh hey now, buttercup. It’s just my mother.” He cooed. “Did you want to go back to your dad?” 

Ciri cried again and gripped onto his shirt. 

“Alrighty, not just yet then.” He laughed and grinned up at Geralt. 

Geralt walked over, gently stroked the fine blonde hair on Ciri’s hair and then kissed Jaskier’s cheek. His heart flipped in his chest and he leant into Geralt’s side. “Geralt.” He whined with a pout and buried his face against Geralt’s shoulder. “Not in front of my mother.”

Geralt raised an eyebrow at him.

“You don’t have a boyfriend.” His mother peered at him with sharp blue eyes that were so similar to his yet full of ice and steel. 

Geralt growled. “Clearly, he does.” 

“Julian would never keep it from me.” His mother’s voice had risen to a shrill squeak and Ciri began to cry.

Jaskier panicked and began to sing, rocking the girl in his arms. Ciri’s cries settled into more of a distressed whine but it was a start. 

“And yet, here I am.” Geralt stared down at his mother with a fierce expression. “I wondered why he didn’t want me to meet you. It’s starting to become clear.”

“Ah Geralt, let’s not cause a fuss.” Jaskier hummed. “Dinner! I was thinking we could order in. I know you’ve never really liked my cooking, Mother.” 

“Of course, you wouldn’t make an effort for your mother.” She spat back and stalked out the room, probably to go and inspect the rest of the house. 

Geralt stared at the door after her with a thunderous expression. “What the fuck, Jaskier?”

“Geralt Rivia. Meet my mother!” He announced with a wave of one arm, he was getting the hang of this carrying a baby lark. 

“She shouldn’t talk to you like that.” Geralt growled. 

Jaskier nodded with a sigh, bouncing Ciri in his arms and she started to giggle again. “She’s my mother.”

Geralt scowled. “You were going to do this alone?” 

Jaskier nodded. “I didn’t think I had a choice, but I’m glad you’re here. You didn’t have to do this, any of this. We barely know each other.”

Geralt’s scowl was now ever-present. “I wanted to. You’re… a good neighbour.” 

Jaskier sighed. 

A good neighbour. Not even a friend. 

He’d promised Geralt he wouldn’t fall in love with him, which he guessed he wasn’t technically breaking seeing as he’d sort of maybe been in love with him for months already. 

“Come on then.” He took Geralt’s hand as if they were the partners that they were pretending to be. “Let’s go charm my mother.”

Geralt grunted, clearly not convinced. Jaskier just laughed. 

“This was your idea, Geralt. No backsies!”

“Fuck.”

Chapter Text

Dinner was an absolute nightmare. The food itself was delicious. They ordered from the lovely little Italian place in town that was one of Jaskier’s favourites for board game night with his housemates. Geralt and Jaskier both ordered pizza, which was the totally normal thing to do when ordering takeaway. His mother ordered sea bass with new potatoes, spinach and mediterranean vegetables. 

Ciri was snoring quietly in her pram. Geralt had popped home to get it whilst they were waiting for the food as Ciri threw a bit of a tantrum when they’d tried to get her back into her carry cot. 

They were eating on the patio table. Jaskier had insisted. They had spent over two hours trying to clear up the garden and his mother was going to fucking appreciate it, seeing as she’d found every reason to pull apart his house. 

The carpet was the wrong colour, the oven was shit, his bedroom was a mess (it wasn’t), the bathroom stank even through the jammy door (it kind of did, thanks Regis), the windows were filthy, there were too many beds…

It went on and on and on. 

Geralt, who was supposed to be helping to charm his darling mother, was just glaring at her across the table. Jaskier was trying to joke and make awkward conversation but the tension was just too much. He couldn’t do this. Everything he said was met was snide comments from his mother, who’s current favourite topic was Geralt being a single father, because how could Jaskier ever be good enough to help raise a child. Geralt didn’t once defend himself against his mother’s remarks which Jaskier found infuriating but he was immensely glad that Geralt was there to serve as a buffer. He was struggling to remember how he coped in past years without Geralt’s assistance. How on earth had he managed this battle on his own every year?

Geralt had held his hand throughout the entire dinner, which was both amazing and really awkward when it came to eating. Luckily pizza didn’t require a knife and fork. Occasionally, Geralt would lean in to kiss his cheek or brush Jaskier’s fringe from his eyes. Jaskier hadn’t known what to expect from fake dating Geralt. He’d assumed that he would be the better actor out of the two of them, but his mother was throwing him off and Geralt seemed to have slipped into the role as if he were born to love Jaskier, and didn’t that just make him feel all giddy?

Still he could do without the death glares being shot towards his mother whenever she said… well, anything really. 

“Geralt. A word, please.” He said firmly, squeezing Geralt’s hand and standing up. 

Geralt grunted and turned to flee into the house. Jaskier sighed. “Mother, can you watch Ciri?”

His mother nodded and stabbed at the poor dead fish on her plate. He nodded back and ran into the house. 

“Geralt!” He called after his neighbour. 

Geralt was now the one pacing in the living room. “What the fuck is her problem?”

Jaskier frowned. Why was he so angry? It wasn’t as if they were actually dating…

Jaskier shrugged and tapped out a rhythm on his leg with his fingers as he tried to recap an entire lifetime of terrible parenting as quickly as possible. “I’ve always been the problem child, according to my parents. I came out when I was sixteen after years of running around in my sister’s high heels and dresses. Mother and Father didn’t exactly welcome the news and proceeded to ignore it until I left for uni. When I said I was going to study music they all but kicked me out the house. Apparently being bi was tolerable but not having a ‘proper’ career was a step too far. After uni, I sofa-surfed for a few years until Pris suggested we all get a house together, that’s when Regis practically adopted us and… well… here we are. Present day.” 

Geralt put a hand on his shoulder and then pulled him into a hug. 

Jaskier yelped, surprised by the sudden show of affection. “Geralt?” He mumbled against Geralt’s chest, trying to ignoring the blooming love in his heart. 

“You don’t deserve that.” He grumbled. “Any of that.”

Jaskier pulled back and furrowed his brow. “Yeah, and how would you know?”

Geralt… blushed?

“Geralt?” Jaskier asked, cupping Geralt’s cheek. 

“When you moved in you made me cupcakes.” Geralt mumbled. 

Jaskier stared in shock at the man in front of him. He’d forgotten about that. They’d been a complete mess and the icing had leaked all over the bottom of the box, but they’d still been edible and Geralt had insisted that Jaskier stay for a cup of tea to try them.

It had just been Geralt in the house at the time. He’d still been waiting for the paperwork to be finalised to be approved as a potential adoptive parent and the house had seemed so empty. It was the same size as Jaskier’s and Jaskier shared with four other people, well, three others and Valdo Marx. Apparently, Geralt had come into some money following a death of a family friend and he’d been able to afford a family sized home. Jaskier had just seen the hot guy next door and decided to spontaneously make cupcakes in a half-baked attempt, pun intended, to get laid. It hadn’t worked and Jaskier had settled for pining for his hot neighbour instead. 

How had he forgotten about that?

“Geralt.” He breathed. 

“And when I got the flu you came round with groceries and made soup.” Geralt added. 

Jaskier swallowed nervously. “I was worried about you. You hadn’t left the house for days and I don’t think I’d even seen you miss a day of work before. You leave every morning like clockwork.”

“You’re a great person, Jaskier.” Geralt chuckled almost nervously, in a way that was making Jaskier’s heart run far too fast in his chest. “And seeing you with Ciri, Jask, you’re incredible.”

Jaskier scoffed trying to calm the torrent of feelings in his poor bisexual heart. “This fake dating is getting to your head, Geralt.”

Geralt hummed and pulled away from him. “Right.”

“Can you please just try and get along with my mother until I can send her off to the hotel room she inevitably booked so she doesn’t have to stay with us, me, with me.” Jaskier stumbled over his words. “Please?”

“Then we can get the pictures for Yen and I’ll be out of your hair.” Geralt grumbled. 

Jaskier laughed nervously. Why did that suddenly sound like a death sentence? 

God, he was already addicted to Geralt being in his life. 

“Right.” He mumbled.

They both sulked back outside to the patio where his mother was cooing at baby Ciri in her pram.

Jaskier turned to face Geralt who had a matching confused expression on his face. 

“Geralt, she is just the cutest.” His mother cooed. 

“What the…” Jaskier muttered. 

“Thank you, Mrs Pankratz.” Geralt said slowly, as if he didn’t trust his words.

His mother bopped the young girl on the nose then turned up to look between Geralt and Jaskier.  “Now then, what’s up with you two? Julian, don’t tell me you’ve managed to ruin your relationship with this young man already!” She snapped. 

Jaskier gaped. What the fuck? 

This wasn’t his life. 

Dear god this wasn’t his life.

Geralt wrapped his arm around Jaskier’s waist pulling Jaskier towards him and placing a kiss on Jaskier’s temple. Jaskier’s heart fluttered in his chest he couldn’t help but lean into Geralt’s embrace.

“Not at all.” Geralt said in his lovely deep voice that made Jaskier’s insides turn to goo. 

“Geralt was just worried about me.” Jaskier chimed, the fake smile back on his face. “All sorted now.”

“Worried?” His mother scoffed and then turned to give Ciri a smile that, if Jaskier didn’t know better, would have been described as motherly. “Whatever for?”

Geralt smiled too sweetly. It looked wrong on his face. Jaskier gulped and looked between them. “He’s tried so hard to make you proud, Mrs Pankratz and you have not been kind. As his guest you should be grateful that he’s invited you into his home. Yet everything he does is flawed in your eyes. Makes me wonder, is there something wrong with your eyes? Because your son is… he’s one of the best people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet.” 

“Excuse me?!” Jaskier’s mother shrieked and Jaskier decided it would be rather lovely if a big hole would just open up under his feet right. 

“And yet, you look at my daughter as if she is an angel.” Geralt growled. 

“Oh well. She is rather amazing.” Jaskier mumbled. 

“If only you had treated your son with the same respect, maybe we could have gotten along better.” Geralt carried on as if Jaskier hadn’t said a word.

“You have no right!” His mother pointed at Geralt. “No right!”

Geralt shrugged. “Perhaps, but Jaskier was too good to say what needed to be said.”

“Geralt, love.” Jaskier squeezed Geralt’s hand, probably too hard. “You promised.”

Geralt closed his eyes and growled. “Jaskier, I can’t just sit here and listen to her bullshit.”

“Why not?” Jaskier pouted. “I’ve done it for years. One day, Geralt, you had to do it for one fucking day. Why couldn’t you?”

“Because I love you!” Geralt snapped. 

Jaskier froze and stared at Geralt. 

It was an act. 

It was all an act.

Except…. what if it wasn’t?

Jaskier lunged forwards and pulled Geralt into a bruising kiss. He needed to, he needed Geralt like he needed the oxygen in the air. He’d been pining after this man for a year and hearing those words, fake or otherwise, it was too much. He felt a prick of tears in his eyes and he sniffed. 

“Oh bollocks.” He mumbled against Geralt’s lips. “Fuck, Geralt, you made me cry. You bastard.”

Geralt pulled back to stare intently into Jaskier’s eyes, searching for the answer to some unasked question. “Jask?”

He sniffed and wiped the tears from his eyes. “I love you too, Geralt.”

Geralt brushed his thumb across Jaskier’s cheek and laughed. “You promised you wouldn’t.”

Jaskier snorted. “You promised to be nice to my mother.” He countered. 

They both ignored the squeak of protest from the woman in question.

Geralt scoffed. “Some promises are worth breaking.”

“Can someone please explain, what is going on here?” His mother snapped, causing the girl in her arms to start screaming again. 

Jaskier gave Geralt another chaste kiss and winked before turning to face his mother with his hands on his hips. 

“Mother, dearest. Please return Ciri to her father and kindly fuck off.” He sneered.

“You can’t talk to me that way!” She protested as Ciri was pulled from her arms. 

Jaskier tilted his head. “Oh ho ho! I think I can. You!” He pointed at her. “Kicked me out, or do you not remember that lovely little detail?”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“I’m really not. Now as wonderful as all this has been. You should know that this house is not just mine, I live here with my friends.” He snorted. “As if I could afford the rent on a house like this on my own, Geralt here, is not my boyfriend—”

“Yet.” Geralt added with a smirk.

“—Yet.” Jaskier agreed and winked at Geralt. “He agreed to help after spending over two hours mowing the lawn because it was so overgrown it resembled a small forest. The only reason he helped was because I have no idea how to actually do basic gardening tasks because I am terrible at anything that isn’t music and writing.”

“Jaskier.” Geralt growled. 

“Oh and falling in love with my incredible gorgeous neighbour before he even asked me out on a date. It’s an oddly specific talent but has served me remarkably well, I think.”

“Julian!” His mother gasped. 

“Oh and I did babysit Ciri a few times, but get this… I didn’t even ask for money!” He laughed at the shock on her face. “I did it because Geralt asked me to and she’s actually rather cute.”

“I can’t listen to this.” His mother started to head back to the front door. 

Jaskier was absolutely fucking delighted! Oh he should have done this years ago! He should never have let the woman back into his life. It had only hurt him, but then again would he have tried to fix the garden without her? Would he have ever worked up the courage to ask Geralt out?

Probably not…

He scoffed. 

She would hate that he had only gotten a boyfriend because of her meddling. 

“I’m leaving!” She called over her shoulder as she stormed out the front door.

“Thank fuck for that!” Jaskier waved after her and then turned to go back in the house. 

He almost ran straight into Geralt who was stood right behind him with Ciri in one arm. 

Thirteen years he’d put up with his mother’s torture. More than that if you counted the years before he’d come out. All that time trying to be someone he wasn’t just to please her when he could have just left her and his shitty family behind. 

Why had he’d been so scared?

Geralt pulled him into a hug and kissed his hair with a hum. 

Jaskier scowled as the thought hit him. “Geralt?”

“Hmm.”

“Did you really mean it?” He asked as he rested his head on Geralt’s chest, listening to his  heartbeat. 

“Yeah. Did you?” Geralt pulled back so they could see each other’s faces. 

Jaskier laughed and cupped Geralt’s face in his hands. “Oh, dear heart, I’ve never been more serious in my life.”

Geralt tilted his head and glanced down at Ciri. “And you don’t mind, about Ciri?”

 Jaskier giggled. 

“Geralt, darling.” He kissed his new boyfriend chastely and then crossed his arms, putting on his best scary Geralt face. “The child must not be an obstacle.”

Geralt shoved him and he fell over laughing, as Geralt stalked back into the living room. 

“I regret nothing!” He called after Geralt before scrambling to his feet and chasing after his grumpy, and still insanely hot neighbour/boyfriend.