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It happens just because Jaskier has no self-preservation and is either insane or extremely brave.

It was a rough hunt and Geralt is a little worse for wear. The bard is finishing patching him up, after cleaning up the blood and wrapping the bandages and Geralt prepares to get up when Jaskier surprises him once again by just wrapping his arms around the Witcher and holding on.

Geralt freezes, too shocked to do anything, but Jaskier tugs a bit harder and then Geralt’s face is in Jaskier’s neck and he smells nice and comfortable and a bit worried and oh, it’s nice.

Almost against his will, the Witcher relaxes into the hold, and Jaskier makes a small happy sound that makes Geralt smile. They stay like that for a long time, until it’s time to add wood to the fire and Geralt turns to face his companion. Usually, he avoids talking but now he’s just too curious.

“Why?”

Jaskier shrugs bashfully, a bit pink but still relaxed. “You looked like you needed it.”

“Hmm.”

There’s nothing more said on the topic but it becomes a habit. Jaskier hugs him after Geralt returns from hunts, be it dangerous or routine and Geralt starts expecting it. He doesn’t freeze anymore, simply relaxing into his bard’s hold and the stand like that for some time.

He starts associating Jaskier’s smell with safety and comfort and warm touches he never experienced so freely and Geralt hates how quickly he’s getting used to it.

He tries to be harsher to the bard, to make him leave before he completely gets Geralt addicted to his touch, but Jaskier just narrows his eyes at Geralt and smacks him until the Witcher apologizes.

The sad, blue eyes may also have something to do with it.

Slowly, Geralt stops trying to push Jaskier away and instead moves a bit closer. When the bard finishes his performance, purse fat with coins, Geralt pulls him into an awkward hug.

“Good performance,” he says gruffly, feeling very out of place.

The smile Jaskier gives him is more than worth it so the Witcher makes it a habit to hug the bard more often.

He tries not to do it where other people can see, but Jaskier doesn’t seem to have the same problem, wrapping an arm around Geralt’s shoulders when they sit next to each other, poking his thigh when he’s riding Roach, almost hugging his arm as they walk side by side.

It’s too much for his heart to bear but Geralt loves every second of it.

He starts getting used to the touch and it’s very dangerous but somewhere along the way, Geralt stopped caring. He just basks in the hugs and the warmth of the other man pressed against him, the easy smiles and the smell of him.

When Jaskier bathes him, Geralt unabashedly pushes into the touch, making Jaskier laugh every time. The bard gets more daring, playing with foam to create shapes on top of Geralt’s head, braiding his hair, playing with it when he’s thinking and Geralt happens to be sitting lower than him.

There’s something more than friendship that Geralt stopped denying, something almost like a low burning of a fire, like the smell of an oncoming storm but they’re not in a hurry. Geralt has no idea what he’s doing and he doesn’t want to fuck it up.

As always, it’s Jaskier who makes the next step by kissing him on a cheek in thanks for taking care of his lute for him. Geralt freezes once again, a fierce hat blooming from the spot the bard kissed but he doesn’t growl or turn away and Jaskier smiles. 

It’s a different smile, soft and full of something Geralt has no idea what to name, but it makes him feel wanted and warm and soothed.

Eventually, Geralt starts hugging him just because.

“What is it for?” Jaskier asks the first time it happens, already returning the embrace.

Geralt shrugs and that’s it. They don’t talk about it, the Witcher just craves affection sometimes and Jaskier is always ready to give it, hugging him more often in turn.

At some point, Geralt decides to try helping Jaskier bathe, to return the favour. It’s actually pretty nice, taking care of someone like that and the bard is putty in his hands, baring his throat easily, trusting Geralt to keep him safe.

That amount of blind trust is staggering and Geralt’s suddenly breathless, hands shaking where they’re resting on Jaskier’s head. The bard turns to face him and sends him a smile, flushed from the heat and bright-eyed.

“Jaskier,” Geralt says quietly, overwhelmed.

Thankfully, the bard knows what to do, and with a laugh he tugs the Witcher toward himself, splashing water everywhere. They’re chuckling and then they’re not, because they’re kissing, warm and wet and way too messy.

Geralt closes his eyes and gets lost in the affection, happy with where they’re going. Maybe one day they’ll address the feelings between them, name them and tame them.

It’s not that day yet, but it’s more than enough. Kisses to add to the hugs, another form of affection that Geralt will have the time to get comfortable with.

There’s always time for more.