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Lightly Stabbed, I Didn't Want To Frighten You...

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Geralt woke to the sound of the door to the room creaking open. He tensed for a moment, ready to grab his sword if need be.

“Shit,” he heard Jaskier whisper at the creaking hinges. Good, it was only the bard. Geralt allowed himself to relax again, staying still in the hope that if he thought he was still asleep, Jaskier wouldn’t try and strike up a conversation at whatever ungodly hour it was.

Geralt was already facing the wall so he simply lay with his eyes open, listening as Jaskier moved about the room. Something seemed off with him however. Geralt couldn’t say what, but it was more than his usual drunken stumbling. Jaskier didn’t flop into bed like he usually might after wrestling to get his boots off, waking Geralt in the process anyway. Instead he stumbled over to the corner where their packs had been left, sat down with a dull thud, and began rummaging through one of the bags, clearly unable to find whatever it was he was looking for after a minute or so.

Geralt risked rolling over, doing so quiet enough that he went unnoticed. The room was dark and he was sure the bard must be moving almost blind. Geralt however could see him clearly. He was sitting with his back turned to him, one leg under him, the other stretched out in front, pulling things out of a bag one handed. There seemed something desperate in his movements, a tension Geralt couldn’t identify.

Geralt was about to ask what was wrong when he caught the unmistakable scent of blood. He couldn’t tell if it was Jaskier’s or someone else’s but he was sitting up immediately, lighting a candle with a snap of his fingers, startling the bard. Jaskier nearly jumped out of his skin before curling into himself slightly with a groan.

“Jaskier?” Geralt said, pushing the blanket off himself to go to Jaskier.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. Just go back to sleep.”

That immediately sent alarm bells ringing in Geralt's head. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

He was kneeling by Jaskier at this point and he could finally see what Jaskier was trying to hide. One hand was clamped over his left side, his fingers slick with blood. There was a slowly growing patch of crimson on his chemise from beneath his hand. Geralt looked from the wound to Jaskier’s face. His pupils were blown wide and Geralt suspected it was just as much from pain as the darkness of the room. He was shaking slightly, though from residual adrenaline or pain he couldn’t tell.

“Jask, what happened?”

Jaskier remained silent, going back to half-heartedly rummaging through the bag to avoid answering. Geralt gently took his arm, pulling it away and lowering it back into his lap. The witcher quickly located the pouch where he kept bandages and salves for healing. “At least let me help.”

Jaskier nodded. Geralt placed the pouch on the table before helping Jaskier to his feet. He may as well have just picked him up for all the help Jaskier was but he didn’t complain. He had no idea how badly Jaskier was injured but he knew it must hurt a lot. He pulled a chair out from the table before depositing the bard there. He was still clutching at his side as though he was trying to hold himself together. Geralt seriously that wasn’t the case. That was far beyond what he could deal with in their tiny room.

He had to prise Jaskier’s hand away, even after asking him to let go. The wound wasn’t too bad, much to Geralt’s relief. There was a single gash across his left side from his navel to just below his ribs. It wasn't deep but would definitely leave a scar. He quickly helped him out of his ruined clothes before he began cleaning and stitching the wound.

Throughout, Jaskier barely uttered a word, remaining eerily silent. Geralt could tell he didn’t want to talk about whatever had happened, but his damned curiosity got the better of him. “Jaskier,” he began. He felt the bard go tense, his heart picking up in his chest. “Tell me what happened. Please.”

He looked up to see Jaskier’s face. The bard looked away as soon as he made eye contact, staring down at the floor instead. “Jask…”

Jaskier let out a shaky sigh, clearly resigning himself to this fate. “I was just… Just coming back here but…” he paused. “They must have followed me from the tavern.”

“Who?”

Jaskier shook his head. “Some men. Didn’t really see their faces.”

“What did they want?”

“Money. Accused me of bewitching people into giving me all their coin. Said they were going to take it back.”

Geralt could piece what had happened after that. Jaskier was hardly one to back down. He must have tried to fight them off and ended up on the receiving end of a knife instead. He let his eyes scan over his exposed skin. Thankfully the bard didn’t seem to be injured anywhere else but it was clear he was badly shaken.

Geralt applied some gauze to the wound before wrapping his middle in a bandage. He stood to put away the pouch of medical supplies, retrieving one of his clean shirts while he was there. He handed it over to Jaskier to wear.

“This is yours,” he said, confused.

“Just put it on.” Jaskier did as he was told, slipping the dark material over his head with a little help from the witcher. “Come on,” he said, holding out his hand to help the bard up. He helped him out of his trousers then since Jaskier was unable to bend over to do it himself. He was left standing in only his smallclothes and Geralt’s shirt.

Jaskier still seemed to be in shock, remaining unmoving in the middle of the room as Geralt moved the bloodied clothes out of the way. Geralt placed a gentle hand on his back, leading him toward the bed. They hadn’t been able to get two beds that night but Geralt was grateful for that now, not sure he would want Jaskier away from him. He let Jaskier lie down first before joining him, pulling him close against his chest to make sure there was enough room for the both of them. He wrapped one arm across his chest, careful to avoid Jaskier’s injury. He couldn’t help the small smile on his face when Jaskier buried his face in the crook of Geralt’s neck.

He lay awake, listening as Jaskier’s breathing eventually evened out and his heartbeat settled. Eventually he heard soft snores from him and at last Geralt allowed himself to fall asleep.