They were lying in bed together. It wasn’t anything new, of course. For years they had been sharing beds. When they were short of coin, when autumn was cold, and lately when they just wanted the feel of having the other close.
With a creak of the bed, Jaskier turned onto his side, so that he was facing Geralt. There was something Geralt couldn’t name in his eyes, a softness that after all the years he was still surprised to find there.
“Geralt?” he asked softly, as though he wasn’t sure if Geralt was even still awake.
Through the dark, Geralt could see Jaskier’s tongue darting out to lick his lips nervously. “I, um… I know you don’t really like to get touched all that much …” He trailed off.
Geralt’s breath hitched. There it was. The reason why Geralt had never made a move on Jaskier, despite how much he wanted to tell him how much he meant to him. Despite how obvious it was that Jaskier liked him too. Because Geralt didn’t like to be touched in the way Jaskier did.
He stiffened, waited for Jaskier to continue.
“But I was wondering…would it be alright for you, if we, I don’t know, just held each other for a bit?”
“What?” Geralt’s voice was hoarse. Jaskier wanted to just hold him?
“We don’t have to, of course,” Jaskier was quick to answer, almost sounding nervous.
Geralt didn’t answer, he didn’t know what he was supposed to say. He couldn’t remember a time where anyone had asked him for a cuddle.
So instead of saying anything, he moved closer to Jaskier and opened his arms a bit, inviting Jaskier.
The smile that Jaskier sent him was enough to light up the night. After only a heartbeat of hesitation, Jaskier snuggled closer, wrapped his arms around Geralt and pressed his head against his chest, letting out a content sigh.
“Thank you.” His voice was muffled against Geralt. “I really needed that. It’s nice being close to you.”
Geralt’s heart sped up. Jaskier was right. It was nice. In fact, it was the nicest thing Geralt could imagine at the moment.
Geralt hummed in agreement and felt Jaskier’s arms tightening around him. It was strange. The way they laid together like this…it felt so intimate. So loving. But it couldn’t be. All of his life, Geralt had been told that the only way – the right way – to be intimate with someone, was to have sex with them. So he had done it. Time and time again, he had wanted to be close to people, he had wanted to feel loved.
It hadn’t worked. Having sex didn’t feel loving to him. It just felt uncomfortable and even repulsive at times. It had been years ago, that Geralt had decided that apparently, he just didn’t like and want intimacy.
But oh, he wanted this. Whatever he had with Jaskier at the moment filled him with warmth and he wanted to do it for the rest of his life.
Somehow, Jaskier snuggled even closer, humming a soft melody. Geralt’s fingers twitched and he couldn’t resist running a hand through Jaskier’s hair.
He felt Jaskier smile against him.
“I like that. I like that a lot.”
So did Geralt. He wanted to say it back, and yet… Guilt crept through him. If he said that he liked touching Jaskier, Jaskier would surely assume that he would like more as well. He would maybe hug him more often, which would be wonderful. He would maybe kiss him, which would be fine. And then, he would expect them to sleep together. And Geralt wouldn’t be able to do it. He had thought about it, of course. He had considered telling Jaskier how he felt and living with the fact that if Jaskier felt the same way, sooner or later he would have to sleep with him, if that’s what it took to keep him by his side. But he didn’t want that. The thought of having sex was enough to send an unpleasant shiver down his spine, but it would be unfair to deprive Jaskier of something that was important to him.
Jaskier made a small sound of happiness, as he nuzzled against him and Geralt tensed. He couldn’t keep doing this. He was leading Jaskier on. As much as he ached to hold Jaskier like this every minute of his life, he couldn’t pretend that he wouldn’t disappoint Jaskier eventually. He had done it before. When he had been sore from riding all day, Jaskier had massaged him, rubbing chamomile all over him. It would have had been the perfect opportunity to make advances. Geralt had tensed under Jaskier’s hands, dreading that the touches would change into something Geralt didn’t want. They hadn’t. Jaskier had not touched him in any way that wasn’t intended on anything other than releasing the tension in his muscles. It had been a relief, and still Geralt had felt like he had let Jaskier down in some way. Just as he was about to now.
The arms around him loosened a bit. Geralt’s heart clenched painfully, when Jaskier pulled back and looked at him with a frown.
“What’s wrong?” His eyes flickered over Geralt’s face even though he wouldn’t be able to see in the dark. “I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable. We can stop, if you don’t like this.”
Jaskier made to lie back into his own side of the bed. He looked so crestfallen, with his eyes downcast and the nervous laugh a pitiful attempt to mask his discomfort.
Panic surged through Geralt. He needed Jaskier to understand.
“I don’t want to have sex with you.” Geralt froze. He wanted to take the words back as soon as he had blurted them out. He was so stupid. Jaskier deserved to know, of course, but this was the worst way to tell him. In the best case, Jaskier would be insulted, thinking that Geralt didn’t like his appearance. In the worst case, he would finally realise that witchers had no emotions, that Geralt’s mutations had broken him and that Jaskier would be better off leaving him.
“What?” Jaskier haltered in his movement. As far as Geralt could see, there was no hurt on his face, only confusion and surprise. But he couldn’t be sure. Jaskier loved having sex. He had to be disappointed.
“I think you’re pretty.” The words escaped him, without thinking. The urge to explain what he didn’t even understand himself, became overwhelming. “Your eyes are beautiful and your hair is so soft I want to touch it and seeing you smile makes me happy. But I…I don’t want to have sex with you.”
“Alright,” Jaskier said slowly. “And thanks, I think you’re pretty too.”
A blush crept over Jaskier’s face. He clearly didn’t understand what Geralt had just said.
“I like what we just did. But I don’t want to have sex,” Geralt repeated, the words still feeling foreign and bitter on his tongue. Never before had he admitted this out loud, but it was important that Jaskier understood.
“Great,” Jaskier said lightly and he even sounded a bit…relieved? No, it couldn’t be. “To be honest, I don’t really want to have sex with you either. I mean, I’d be happy to, if you wanted to, but I much prefer just cuddling. I don’t really look at people and want to sleep with them. So, like I said, you are beautiful. But when I look at you, I mainly see that you look like you give wonderful hugs. And I was right.”
Something warm spread through Geralt’s chest. It was strange, but knowing that Jaskier didn’t think of him in a sexual way made relief wash over him. Relief and confusion.
“But…but you are human,” he said carefully. “Humans are attracted to others. That’s what everyone says. I know I am different. Witchers aren’t human, we don’t have emotions. We don’t love.”
“Yes, you do,” Jaskier said firmly and sat up in bed, looming over Geralt with a hint of fury in his eyes. “Who you are attracted to sexually, has nothing to do with being human or being able to love. You are not less human for not wanting sex.”
“So it has nothing to do with me being a witcher? It is me who is broken?” The words tasted bitter in his mouth.
“No. Nothing about you is broken, Geralt.” Jaskier’s tone became soft. “I am like you. I don’t need sex to love someone. I don’t mind it either, it feels nice and it’s fun, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am not attracted to people that way. Do you think I am broken?”
Geralt shook his head. How could wonderful, caring, beautiful Jaskier ever be broken?
“And I am human, yes?”
“And I love you.”
Geralt’s heart skipped a beat. His mouth went dry. “You what?”
“I love you. And I don’t want to have sex with you. Do you think I love you any less because of that?”
It was too much. Geralt’s eyes started burning. Jaskier loved him. He wasn’t broken and Jaskier loved him and he didn’t expect Geralt to give him something he wasn’t comfortable giving.
“I love you too.” Geralt’s throat was tight, as he pressed the word forth. “This is really enough for you?” It couldn’t be true. It was too good. Too perfect.
“You are enough for me. More than enough. Would sleeping with me make you happy?”
“I… no, It wouldn’t.” Something in Geralt’s chest loosened, as Jaskier smiled at him. It was so freeing finally saying it and not having guilt sweep over him because of it.
“Then it wouldn’t make me happy either.”
Carefully, Jaskier laid back down, his head tugged into Geralt’s shoulder and his hand resting above his heart. He was so pretty. So loving. He was more than Geralt deserved or ever thought he would have. Gently, Geralt pressed a kiss into Jaskier’s hair.
A smile flashed over Jaskier’s face. “You know what makes me happy though?” Jaskier said quietly. “Just this. What we have right now. Just laying here with you. Loving you. Holding you. That’s more than enough for me. That’s everything.”
Geralt wrapped his arms around Jaskier, pulling his closer.
“You are everything to me too.”