Ciri’s face is the last thing he sees before blood loss overwhelms his senses.
Jaskier’s entire body pulses like a bruise except for the back of his scalp which feels as if daggers had embedded themselves in the bone. The scent of tree sap hangs thick in the air; arid to the point his nose cracks and bleeds when a sneeze startles both Jaskier and the person next to his bed.
Eyes closed in hopes of easing his headache, Jaskier turns his head when the opening of a door brings fresh air and the sound of flickering flames. Sweat clings to his body no longer being absorbed by the swatches of cloth he can feel wrapped around his torso and left thigh. Jaskier’s mind is a muddled mess of chaotic colors and faces he cannot stitch into a sensible story.
A familiar voice speaks before he can gather his wits, “His fever is still high. Give me the yarrow tincture.”
“Wha…?” he slurs before his jaw is tilted back to prevent the bitter mixture from spilling between his heavy lips. It burns his raw throat and the taste of bile lingers from an incident he can’t recall.
“Hopefully he’ll keep that down.”
There’s another voice which hums in agreement; its memorable timbre sending chills racing down Jaskier’s spine until tender hands tuck a blanket around his body.
“Close the window.”
Mistaking Jaskier’s trembling as a reaction to the cool breeze, Geralt soothes his hands over the wrinkled cloth until Jaskier attempts to wiggle away from the affectionate gesture.
“Jaskier, lie still or you’ll reopen your wounds.”
Believing the voice to be a delusion, Jaskier pays it no heed until he’s able to quiet the buzzing in his brain. Fighting against the potent poppy he can taste on the tip of his tongue, Jaskier’s eyes flutter open long enough to catch a glimpse of a face he’d spent years memorizing.
‘I never did finish that song about his eyes,’ Jaskier muses as his heart pumps a painful rhythm beneath his aching ribs.
A cool hand rests itself on his fevered brow and the scent of lilac assaults his nose until he sneezes again dusting the blanket with tiny blood drops. Yennefer takes a damp cloth to his chin, wiping away the spatter, and after dipping it in cool water she places it on his forehead.
“The air’s too dry. We need humidity otherwise his nose will keep bleeding.”
“We’re in the mountains Yen: Not much I can do about the air quality.”
“There’s a pity,” she tsks, “I doubt your witcher friends would take kindly to me conjuring a thunderstorm.”
Jaskier can picture their facial expressions perfectly and snorts softly when he’s able to keep his eyes open long enough to be proven correct. Geralt’s unimpressed frown does little to sway Yennefer’s playful smirk, which softens when her eyes make contact with Jaskier’s.
“How are you feeling?”
His face twitches, lips twisting into a complicated shape causing Geralt and Yennefer to trade concerned glances. Jaskier’s confusion is only compounded by the realization that his hand is being held by Geralt; thumb gently caressing his bruised knuckles in a gesture most would assume Geralt incapable of.
Jaskier didn’t subscribe to the general populous’ belief that witcher's had no emotions, but he’d been under the impression that this particular witcher wanted nothing to do with him.
There’s a light tapping at the back of his mind and Yennefer’s eyes widen as she takes stock of his warped recollection.
“Geralt,” she begins, but Jaskier beats her to it.
Slowly he slides his hand from Geralt’s grasp and tries not to feel guilty at the wounded expression that flashes across his face.
“Not that this reunion isn’t lovely and all, but would either of you care to explain where I am and what happened to make me look – and feel – like a butcher’s trade?”
Geralt looks to Yennefer with something akin to panic in his eyes; an emotion Jaskier didn’t know he was capable of. Suddenly Jaskier feel as if he’s missing something vital when Yennefer flies from her seat to call for someone waiting in the hallway.
“Triss, we need your help.”
Jaskier tries to see what the two women are up to, both rushing over to a table littered with bottles and bowls of herbs. Candles burst to life and Jaskier yelps in surprise, nearly missing the scent of lavender that quickly fills the tense atmosphere.
His hand is engulfed once more and Jaskier stares into Geralt’s eyes barely making out what’s being asked of him.
“Jaskier, what’s the last thing you remember?”
The urgency is lost on Jaskier who is suddenly too tired to play this game. He wants the world to reassert itself and make sense again; he wants to wake beneath the willow he’d taken shelter beneath on his way to Velen.
“Jaskier,” Geralt squeezes his hand tight between his own and Jaskier’s focus is pulled back by the commanding tone, “answer the question.”
“Geralt,” Yennefer admonishes, “he might not even remember who you are.”
Jaskier wants to laugh because of course he knows who Geralt is, but the look of despair on Geralt’s face is too much and the words tumble recklessly from his mouth.
“Of course I know who he is! He’s the White Wolf – Geralt the mighty Witcher, savior of dangerous witches and bards who overstay their welcome.”
The bitterness pooling in his saliva has little to do with the medicine and everything to do with the man whose grip on Jaskier’s hand has loosened. Yennefer approaches him slowly, eyes seeming to beg Jaskier to stop, but he cannot.
“Oh great slayer of selkimores, master of djinn’s – he’s the protector of dragons and cursed princesses, but not bards. No, no, no not bards who pluck their lutes too loud and piece lyrics together haphazardly in hopes of changing the common folk’s opinions about the lone hero determined to wander alone.”
Vitriol pours unbidden from Jaskier’s lips until his words begin to blend together once Yennefer touches the crown of his head gently in an attempt to hasten his descent into unconsciousness. His speech slows to murmured verses he composed for an invisible audience that grew with every step he put between him and Geralt.
“I miss him in the weeping of the rain; I want him at the shrinking of the tide…” Jaskier’s eyes slide shut and his words trail off until they break into tiny pieces determined to make their listeners bleed.
“But last year’s bitter loving must remain… no memory of him here.”
Jaskier sleeps for three days.
Water slowly trickles down his throat, pulling him towards the morning light with a groan of relief.
Someone giggles next to him, but they are rushed away by Yennefer who settles next to Jaskier with his latest medicinal dose. Before he can ask, she shoves the bottle to his lips, forcing Jaskier to swallow the concoction
“No, it’s not poisoned. The only reason I’m not taking offense is because I know you’ve lost your memory: A year’s worth if my calculations are correct.”
Jaskier nearly tears the stitches in his side when he shoots forward, “A year! Is this some sick joke? Is Geralt in on it too?”
He can read the desire to strike him in Yennefer’s glare and the tic in her jaw makes his own muscle twinge in sympathy. Refusing to cower beneath her stare, Jaskier straightens his shoulders until he feels a sharp pull and winces.
Rolling her eyes, Yennefer gently maneuvers Jaskier onto his side so she can check his bandages.
“You’re an idiot,” she scolds, “but I would not joke about something this serious. Triss is searching for a magical cure however the mind is a delicate thing Jaskier. We could end up making it worse if we’re not careful.”
The severity of the situation sinks into Jaskier’s waking mind until, distraught, he comes to an unsettling conclusion.
“My songs! There’s no telling how many I’ve forgotten in a year.”
He can feel Yennefer’s eyes burning holes in the side of his head. Her voice is cold and clipped though her hands remain gentle as they take stock of his injuries.
“You clearly witnessed Geralt’s reaction to the gaps in your memory and your first concern is your music?”
Her tone drips with disdain and Jaskier can feel his cheeks flush in embarrassment until he begins to fidget. He wants to run away from this conversation, but he gets the feeling if he were to leave the bed he’d collapse on the floor.
“You couldn’t even crawl to the door, bard.”
Jaskier bites his tongue, an automatic reflex that surprises him given the fact he never hesitated to trade barbs with Yennefer in the past. He doesn’t remember how she healed his body after the djinn attack, but something tells him it wasn’t with the same level of care she was currently displaying.
“Are we friends now?”
Yennefer pauses, before slathering the back of his neck with a cool balm. Her hands work the mixture into his hair and Jaskier’s body releases the tension it’d been hoarding since he woke. Mint seeps into his skin providing instant relief against the sensation of flames licking at his scalp.
She clearly wants to say more on the subject, but Jaskier’s stomach chooses that moment to release the loudest growl he’s ever heard. It takes him a minute to realize the soft sound he hears afterwards is Yennefer’s laugh and Jaskier wonders briefly if he’d fallen into a dream. He’s rolled onto his back; pillows fluffed until he can sit up and enjoy the stew without straining himself.
As he eats, Jaskier watches Yennefer flip through sheets of parchment. He’s able to make out a handful of Elvish words, but each time he begins to lean over to get a closer look Yennefer pulls them to her chest and stares until he resumes eating.
Deciding his curiosity would best be served elsewhere, Jaskier studies the room. Light from the open window pours onto the wooden floor illuminating the gray stone walls littered with tapestries depicting battles with ancient beasts. Jaskier vaguely recalls the stories his mother regaled him with as a child when his eyes linger on claws and teeth.
The hearth glowed from a hearty fire; flames licking the bottom of a black cauldron which emitted the pleasant aroma of honeysuckle.
In the far corner was a tub so large it could fit him, Geralt, Yennefer, and probably Roach if the horse were amenable to such a thing. He didn’t need a witcher’s nose to know he smelt rank like the inside of a drowner for sure, but the realization he would need assistance to utilize the amenity makes Jaskier reluctant to bathe.
His mind briefly conjures the image of Geralt washing his back and Yennefer leers at the flush dusting his cheeks.
“Quit reading my mind,” Jaskier grumbles when she begins to chuckle when his fantasy refuses to dispel.
“Oh Jaskier,” she coos, “I don’t need magic to realize who you’re thinking about right now.”
“W-w-well maybe if he’d quit skulking outside the door like a ghoul,” Jaskier sputters, “My mind would finally settle!”
Yennefer shrugs and then drops a bomb at his feet, “Of course Geralt keeps coming around. These are his quarters after all.”
Jaskier nearly chokes on his spoon, coughing hard enough that Yennefer reaches over to remove the bowl from his lap before it can tip over.
“This is Geralt’s room?”
Her grin is downright wicked and Jaskier groans, letting his head fall back until all he can see is the ceiling and a handful of webs from spiders long gone. A knock on the door pulls Jaskier from his moping and he’s greeted by a wild head of curls bracketing a soft smile that warms the room by several degrees.
“Hello Jaskier, do you know who I am?”
Yennefer vacates her spot beside his bed drawing Jaskier’s eyes long enough to see her block someone else from entering the room: Someone who swears under his breath and storms down the hallway until Jaskier can no longer hear his steps.
Gut twisting, Jaskier pushes Geralt into the back of his mind long enough to address his new company.
“I’m sorry my lady I do not; which is a shame because no one should ever forget such a lovely face.”
Yennefer exhales loudly before leaving the room; the sound of the heavy door sliding into place nearly overpowers his companion’s gentle laugh.
“My name is Triss Merigold. We met in Temeria seven months ago and you saved my life.”
She watches him digest her words, waiting patiently for the reaction she knows is coming and Jaskier does not disappoint.
“Me?” he asks incredulous before puffing out his chest with pride, “Well of course I did! I’m more than just a pretty face and angelic voice…obviously.”
“That you are Jaskier,” Triss agrees; eyes fond as she places a palm on his forehead. He watches her brow crinkle and then smooth. “Your fever finally broke, which is good news.”
“Yennefer says you’re searching for a way to cure my memory problems.”
Triss leans back, hands folding themselves in her lap, and nods. He waits to her to continue, familiar with the pensive look on her freckled face. Like Yennefer, it’s obvious that Triss is holding back what she truly wants to say. Jaskier isn’t sure what’s stopping either of them, but he has an inkling that is has something to do with Geralt.
“The risk of causing greater harm is a viable threat and my reluctance is felt by everyone here. I could destroy every memory you’ve ever had if I’m not careful so you’ll understand why we want to try other methods first.”
Fear grips Jaskier and squeezes until he can hear his heart pounding in his ears. Triss’ hand on his forearm pulls him back and the determination on her face helps him breathe again.
“I’m not going to stop looking Jaskier – none of us will.”
‘She means Yennefer and Geralt too,’ Jaskier thinks faintly and the surprise must show on his face because Triss looks away quickly as if steeling herself.
“I know you have questions, but there are things we’d rather you remember than be told. I’m hoping that we can trigger those memories by spending time with you. Magic is the last resort.”
There’s finality in her tone that leaves no room for argument, not that Jaskier feels the desire to fight anyone as his mind processes what he’s been told.
“Last night Geralt asked me what the last thing I remembered was,” Jaskier begins, throat suddenly dry. His tongue darts out to wet his lips and Triss waits for him to continue.
“I’d stopped for the night on my way to Velen. I was headed there to meet an old friend who knew the best taverns in the area; ones looking for entertainment and who paid well.”
“Had you been traveling on your own for long?”
The reluctance in Triss’ voice helps Jaskier realize that she must know the truth: She must know about what happened on that mountain and how thoroughly wrecked by the whole ordeal he’d been.
“It’d been two months since…” he trails off, but Triss already knows what he’s going to say.
“Since Geralt broke your heart.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“He’s lost fourteen months.”
“Fuck,” Yennefer swears.
“How are his injuries?”
“He’ll need a crutch for a few weeks,” Triss begins.
“The risk of infection has passed, but the scars…at least now you both match.”
“Yen,” growls Geralt, “not helpful.”
She sighs, “He’s alive Geralt: Considering the condition he was in I’d almost say it was a miracle.”
“A miracle, really?” Triss laughs.
“I said almost. It was my magic that pried the bard from Death’s grip for a second time I might add.
“Would you like a shrine built in your honor?”
Yennefer scoffs, “Your glibness does you no credit Geralt.”
The trio falls silent for a few beats until Geralt grunts.
“Ciri wants to see him.”
Triss hums in consideration, “It couldn’t hurt. She might be able to trigger some of his memories actually.”
“What if one of those memories is the attack,” Yennefer argues, “it could be traumatic for both of them.”
“That’s what I’m worried about.”
“None of this is ideal,” Triss reasons, “but if she could help Jaskier…”
“She’d do it without hesitation,” Yennefer finishes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The sun casts long shadows along the ground until Jaskier’s is swallowed by the surrounding forest.
Plucking his lute with lackluster fingertips he meanders down the well-traveled path towards Temeria’s border. Violet blooms decorate the edge of the road, reminding him of a woman whose existence proved to be as hazardous as the poisonous flora beneath his boots.
“O’ belladonna eyes” he croons into the darkness, “overhead this lark cries a warning to those men, ensnared in Heaven’s glen… well that’s just shit.”
Grumbling to no none, Jaskier turns his focus to kicking stones until they vanish in the undergrowth. It’s not until he hears voices that he looks up to see a handful of bandits surrounding a kneeling woman. They don’t notice Jaskier, giving him time to scoop a handful of rocks and take refuge behind a tree before he strikes.
“Shit! What the fuck was that?” one of them swears when Jaskier’s aim proves true. Crouched down, hidden by a thick bush Jaskier waits until he can see the back of their heads to strike again.
“Who wants to fucking die?”
The unsheathing of swords makes Jaskier swallow around the lump in his throat and he readies himself to run before springing from cover. He hopes the woman was able to get away and feels the color drain from his face when he sees she hasn’t moved.
“That seems like a stupid question because I can’t imagine anyone ever answers with an affirmative.”
You’d be surprised what we can coax out of someone’s mouth with little effort,” the leader sneers, blood sliding slowly down the side of his face.
The bandits focus on Jaskier and he tries to gesture with his hand for the woman to run, but she curls forward. Her fingers sink into the soil and Jaskier wonders if she’s praying. A sword finds its way beneath his chin and the stench of the leader’s breath nearly makes Jaskier swoon.
"Any last words before I bleed you dry?”
“I have one word for you, well actually three words – brush your teeth.”
The leader snarls and Jaskier watches him pull his right elbow back, ready to pierce Jaskier’s pale skin when suddenly the bandits drop to the ground and begin screaming. Jaskier watches in amazement as vines burst from the grass and wrap themselves around the struggling men.
Eventually they still – the foliage having blocked their airways until they suffocated.
The woman dusts her hands on her skirt and grins at Jaskier, “That was brave: Reckless, but brave. You could’ve used your lute as a weapon to defend yourself.”
Jaskier gasps and pulls his lute close, “Sexy? No my good lady, I’d rather bleed a thousand blood drops than let this gift suffer a scratch.”
She studies him for a moment and while Jaskier is certain she’s questioning his sanity he still passes her test.
“I’m Triss, thank you for coming to my aid.”
The sound of a swiftly approaching horse interrupts Jaskier’s introduction and Triss watches, confused, as he takes shelter behind a tree. The rider continues past and eventually Jaskier’s heart stops trying to breach his chest.
“Are you on the run master bard?” Triss inquires, “From a jilted lover or a vengeful husband perhaps?”
Jaskier’s laugh is shaky and he leans forward, bracing his hands on his knees while taking deep breaths.
“Nothing so dramatic I assure you. We were – I mean I thought we were – friends and I have no intention of running into him. Nor the opposite I’d imagine.”
“This friend of yours, he wouldn’t happen to be a witcher would he?”
Jaskier whips around, “Is he with you? Is that why you’re in the forest? Sylvans’ balls!”
Triss holds out her hands in hopes of projecting an aura of calm and is quick to assure him she is alone. She grabs a basket he hadn’t noticed earlier and gestures down the road with the tilt of her head.
“Let me buy you a pint and you can earn some coin. The people here are in desperate need for some cheer and I’m certain the bard responsible for ‘Toss a Coin’ can rouse their spirits.”
No longer looking over his shoulder in apprehension, Jaskier agrees and together they spend the night trading stories between songs. His performance earns him a free room for the night above the tavern which turns into a week after its patronage increases with his presence.
Triss provides more details about the striga, much to Jaskier’s delight and after three nights of drinking he eventually tells her what happened to end his travels with Geralt. She is a comfortable shoulder to lean on, her own eyes speaking of the spell Geralt cast on her years ago. When she mentions being friends with Yennefer he nearly slides off his stool in shock. “Will I never be free of them?” he moans into his ale.
“Is that what you truly want Jaskier; to never see Geralt again?”
He squints at Triss whose sympathetic smile softens the edges of his ire long enough for him to groan in defeat.
“No, that’s not what I want.”
“I could ask Yennefer…” Triss trails off when Jaskier shakes his head so violently she fears he’ll become dizzy and crash to the floor.
“Absolutely not; technically we didn’t part on good terms either and I’ll not have that witch hex me into the next decade for asking a favor. It’s better to leave wounded animals be.”
Triss respects his wishes and she walks him to the edge of town four days later when he decides to leave for Toussaint. They embrace, both reluctant to part ways given the connection they’d formed.
“If you get into any trouble, break this on the ground and I’ll know where to find you,” Triss shoves a vial into his gloved hands. Green mist swirls within its confines and Jaskier tucks it into his breast pocket.
“Keep an ear out for my latest ballad about the timeless treasure that lives at King Foltest’s court.”
Triss rolls her eyes at Jaskier’s declaration and watches him stroll down the dirt path, lute secure beneath his arm as he composes. When he turns around she is gone and Jaskier smiles sadly before continuing his journey south.
“My heart is warm with the friends I make; and better friends I’ll not be knowing. Yet there isn’t a road I wouldn’t take; no matter where it’s going.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Your vines had already wrapped themselves around their ankles before I showed up, hadn’t they?”
Triss startles and drops the jug of water, flinching when it splatters across the bottom of her dress. Eyes wide, she turns and beams at Jaskier’s pout.
Jaskier laughs when Triss rushes to his side and takes his hand in hers, squeezing it tight to convey her joy. She pokes and prods at his recollection of their encounter until she’s satisfied he’s recalled it perfectly.
“Have you remembered anything else?”
Jaskier looks away so he doesn’t see the way her face falls when he shakes his head, “It felt like a dream.”
There’s someone on the other side of the door which is cracked enough that a large shadow pours into the room.
“You’ve only been awake for a few days Jaskier, you’re making progress.” Triss soothes paying no attention to Geralt’s fist she can see clenched in the corner of her eye.
“Yeah,” Jaskier concedes, “doesn’t feel like it though.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ciri’s sudden appearance in his room nearly gives Jaskier a heart-attack.
“Someone should put a bell on you!”
Her eyes offer a silent apology which he accepts instantly when he sees she’s brought him dinner. It’s their third meal together since she reintroduced herself to Jaskier and he wonders if their conversations follow the same paths they did the first time.
“I still can’t get over how much you’ve grown,” he confesses.
Ciri, who had heard those words three months prior, grins through the ache his memory loss carved into her heart.
“If you had visited court more then perhaps it wouldn’t be such a shock.”
Jaskier laughs, “You’ve got me there.”
Since waking the startling sensation of déjà vu had become a constant companion to Jaskier and he notices the way Ciri’s eyes do not hold the same light as her smile. He frowns into his broth and tries to force his brain into compliance.
“You’ll only give yourself another headache,” Ciri cautions.
Exhaling sharply, Jaskier can do nothing more than nod in agreement as they eat in silence.
Unlike Yennefer and Triss, Ciri answers any question Jaskier asks. One night Jaskier heard Geralt cautioning her against revealing too much, but Ciri replied that she wasn’t going to treat Jaskier like he was broken just because he couldn’t remember their time together.
“He’s just as frustrated as we are,” Ciri said, “and refusing to tell him the truth is only going to make it worse.”
Geralt’s sigh slipped under the door and settled over Jaskier’s chest like a weighted blanket.
“It’d also help if you spoke to him more.”
“Ciri…” Geralt warns.
“He thinks you still hate him!”
Jaskier decided that a loud and painful cough was in order to stop that conversation in its tracks. It worked.
However, after that night Geralt went from being the phantom of the halls to a physical presence in Jaskier’s room whenever he pleased. It unnerved and satisfied Jaskier in equal measure especially since Geralt left his reticence at the door.
“How come you never mentioned returning to Cintra?”
Sunrise colored the sky with brilliant reds and Geralt stood in front of the window letting the glow create a pink outside along his body.
“You never asked about my adventures when we were apart,” Jaskier hedged, not lying per say, but not telling the whole truth either.
Sometimes when he closes his eyes, Jaskier can see Geralt’s frown with perfect clarity and it sours the day until someone comes to take his mind off the exchange.
Ciri clears her throat and Jaskier’s attention is immediately hers.
“Yennefer says you can start walking soon.”
“I think you meant to say limping,” Jaskier mutters before glaring down at his bum leg which twinges beneath the weight of his scrutiny.
“Look at it this way,” Ciri placates, “you’ll finally get a tour of Kaer Morhen.”
The thought of exploring the witcher sanctuary does lift Jaskier’s spirits considerably and he reaches out to tweak Ciri’s nose playfully.
“Right you are little cub.”
Her whole face crinkles with joy as she basks in his affection. She’s reminded of their travels north and the inextinguishable warmth both Geralt and Jaskier provided her even as winter bore down.
Flakes of snow drift silently from the gray sky, blanketing the withered stone in white. Ciri talks about her training with Geralt and the other witchers: Lambert, Eskel, and Vesemir.
“Were they already here or did they come afterwards?”
Ciri shakes her head, “Geralt says they always return to wait out the winter. Vesemir and the others drove off the second wyvern after Geralt killed the first one.”
“The one that attacked me?” Jaskier confirms.
“I thought you hated when I did that.”
Geralt’s voice startles Jaskier, but not Ciri who tries to hide her grin behind her bowl. Jaskier scowls, but his eyes hold no heat. She stands, hesitates, and squeezes his shoulder before taking his bowl. Jaskier watches her leave well aware that Geralt’s eyes haven’t left his face since he spoke.
“I do, but I’ve just realized how much it’s capable of communicating.”
Jaskier cannot stop his laugh in time and Geralt’s answering smile sets fire to the blood pounding in Jaskier’s veins. There’s something tender floating between them that hadn’t been there before; an unspoken secret Jaskier’s mind continues to withhold from him until it deems appropriate.
“Want to get out of here?”
Geralt gestures around the room and Jaskier wastes no time throwing the blanket off his legs.
His crutch is hand-carved, tailored to his body perfectly and sanded down until there was no chance of a splinter slipping into his skin. Geralt keeps close; his body a warm shield against winter’s harsh breeze as they stroll the ramparts.
At one point they’re standing so close Jaskier’s knuckles brush against the back of Geralt’s hand: The urge to lock fingers is so strong is makes Jaskier shiver. Longing crawls up his throat until he turns his head to see his reflection shimmering in Geralt’s golden eyes.
He wants to ask a question that’s been at the forefront of his mind since waking up, but Jaskier is afraid of ruining the moment. Instead he leans forward, not breaking eye contact, until his cheek makes contact with Geralt’s shoulder. Their exhales fill the silence and when Geralt eventually rests his forehead against Jaskier, their fingers tangle.
Hope flutters frantically beneath his breast, beating his lungs with every flap until he’s breathless.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Stubborn embers glow beneath the charred wood, barely illuminating the weathered shed which shakes beneath the storm’s wind.
He’s two days ride from Hawkesburn village, but Jaskier has the feeling this storm will delay his arrival.
‘Not just the storm,’ he muses when the fire roars to life with the snap of Yennefer’s fingers. They’d crossed paths in Lokeren and against his better judgment, Jaskier agreed to travel with Yennefer to the village where they’d part ways.
The rabbits he caught before the storm completely overwhelmed them left him sleepy and full, but he was reluctant to close his eyes.
“I’m not going to kill you in your sleep bard,” she doesn’t bother opening her eyes, but Jaskier imagines them rolling behind their lids.
“I’ll bet you say that to everyone,” he quips and tries not to preen when she huffs out a laugh.
“You’re right, but I mean it this time.”
Jaskier snorts, but settles down on his dry bedroll which Yennefer lined with magic to keep in the heat. He can hear their horses shuffle in separate stalls and hopes his mare Bluebell is able to get some rest in the loud deluge.
He isn’t sure how much time passes, but he tosses and turns until Yennefer breaks the silence.
“Would you like a potion to put you to sleep?”
He’s not surprised when she speaks, but her offer makes him pause before replying. “Chamomile?”
“Valerian root; I’ve found its effects take less time.”
“A mutual friend of ours told me Magnolia bark works as well.”
Yennefer hums, “It does. Triss is a wonder with herbs; could grow a willow from a grain of sand.”
Suddenly struck by the absurdity of their conversation Jaskier begins to chuckle until it tilts from amusement to hysteria. Yennefer watches him fall to pieces and then pull them back together in the span of seconds. Lightning flashes and by the time thunder crashes, Jaskier has calmed; face streaked with tears but his aura feels cleaner than it did when they locked eyes in the tavern three days ago.
There’s a lull in the storm and the rain sounds less like a torrential downpour and more like a sprinkling, giving Jaskier hope that they’ll be able to set out in the morning.
There’s a conversation they need to have, but instead Jaskier looks across the fire and waits for Yennefer to hear his unspoken compromise.
‘Sleep now and talk later.’
Eventually she nods, settling down on her own bedroll and curling into herself like he’d seen foxes do in their burrows.
When morning comes several hours later he feels refreshed and doesn’t hesitate to take the waterskin she offers. Yennefer nibbles on the jerky from his reserves while they ready the horses.
She hums along to the tunes she recognizes and when her nose wrinkles in distaste he asks for her lyrical input. It should feel awkward; they’d never been friendly before, choosing to snipe at each other like it was a competition for Geralt’s attention.
‘I think we both lost this time,’ Jaskier ponders and tries not to slide off his saddle when Yennefer’s loud bark of amusement interrupts his thoughts.
“I left the game of my own volition.”
She looks over and it may not be pity in her eyes, but it’s something along the same vein which makes him squirm.
“You didn’t get a say.”
Scoffing, Jaskier straightens his back and pretends not to feel the familiar flare of pain at her words.
“I walked away, same as you.”
Now it’s pity.
“He threw you out of the arena leaving you no choice but to lick your wounds elsewhere. It’s not the same.”
While he admits silently that Yennefer is correct, he refuses to say it out loud which she clearly expects because she continues.
“I’m not sure if this will make you feel better, but I’ve heard whispers of a witcher who stops in every tavern he comes across as if looking for someone. He never stays long and there have been some instances when a song has driven him from the village completely.”
The look she gives him screams, ‘you’re an idiot’ but he’s horrendously curious as to which of his compositions yield enough power to chase Geralt of Rivia from a warm meal.
“I’m weak, my love and I’m wanting…”
“Oh, that one.”
The back of Jaskier’s neck heats beneath her stare, but there’s nothing malicious in the air they share so he risks a glance in her direction.
Her gaze is a million miles away; violet eyes glowing in the sun’s light melt into enchanting pools that hold visions from another life.
“Your other songs distract with pretty prose, betting that the audience will get lost between metaphors and similes, but you went for it this time.”
There’s a grudging respect in her tone, but Jaskier decides not to question it choosing instead to thank her quietly. By midday they rest atop a hill; their destination resting at the base of the mountains they’d been following. Instead of parting immediately, Jaskier convinces Yennefer to stick around for a quick performance.
The wine is sweet on his lips as he twirls between tables, doing his best to rouse what started as an apathetic crowd. By the time he’s reached his final song tankards are lined up at the bar for him to enjoy later and coin jingles in both pockets.
Yennefer raises her glass when he glances over and Jaskier has no choice but to serenade her with a song written by a broken heart. The moment she recognizes the melody her eyes roll upward and he can hear her heavy sigh across the room. It’s the third time he’s performed this song and it’s a success.
“Cheeky bastard,” Yennefer corners him before he retires to the inn down the road and jerks her head toward the door. They walk the quiet streets, side by side, and do not part ways until they’ve climbed the inn’s stairs: His room on the left, hers the right.
Before he can wish her a good night, Yennefer turns sharply and shoves her finger into his chest, pressing deep, above his fluttering heart.
“Now if you’re finished playing the jilted lover I suggest you keep heading north. Nilfgard marches and I doubt it’ll leave dandelions in its wake.”
“What about you?”
The concern in his voice causes Yennefer to lean back slightly, but she waves it away just a quickly.
“After I get what I need from here I’m headed back south to Nazair. Something tells me you’ll be safe in Aedirn or northern Temeria - Visima would be best. Just stay north of the Yaruga.”
“Meanwhile you head straight into the danger? Sounds smart, just kidding that’s a bad idea!”
“Worried about me bard?” she teases.
“Yes actually, I am.”
“Yeah that’s pretty much where I’m at as well…” Jaskier trails off torn between bewilderment and anxiety. They’d shared five days on the road together and somehow their initial animosity had morphed into something unexpected.
“Yennefer, I think we’re friends now.”
She sneers, but doesn’t deny it – verbally at least – leaving Jaskier feeling poleaxed and a little bit like he’d conquered an outstanding obstacle.
“Yep, we’re definitely friends.”
He’s so preoccupied with his current revelation that he doesn’t realize she’s slipped a chain over his neck until the cold metal makes contact with his flesh.
“Press your thumb underneath until it stings and say my name. I’ll be able to hear your voice if you get into trouble.”
“Of course you’d give me something that causes bodily harm.”
“It’s just a drop of blood Jaskier,” she explains, “There’s always a cost to maintain the balance.”
Her words make him wonder about the vial Triss gave him, but he doesn’t have time for a magic lesson; the very idea of it gives him a headache. Yennefer turns to leave, but changes her mind quickly – her hair slapping Jaskier gently in the face making him sputter.
“One more thing, hear him out. I’m not saying to roll over like a dog whose master has come home from a long day, but don’t run out the door when your paths inevitably cross either.”
It’d been a year since he’d seen Geralt and the prospect of seeing him does terrible things to Jaskier’s insides. The terrible part is that it’s not a painful sensation anymore; Jaskier wants to see Geralt more than anything. He’s been preparing a speech in between the miles that separate them.
Seeing what she needs to, Yennefer squeezes his wrist and is down the hallway before he can say goodbye. She’s not there when morning comes, not that Jaskier had expected her to stick around longer than necessary. Over the course of their journey together it had occurred to him multiple times that she could’ve portaled and left him alone.
He takes her advice and heads for Temeria three weeks later when word has spread of Nilfgards’ attack on the south. Some say the army marches for Cintra which chills Jaskier to the bone. He thinks of Princess Cirilla and Geralt in equal measure as he travels with refuges desperate to leave war far behind.
He sings to distract, composes to deflect, and plucks at tense strings to give hope to anyone willing to listen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Stuff this,” Jaskier hisses as he flails out of bed after Geralt who’d left in a huff, “I’m getting a straight answer out of him if it kills me.”
He stumbles a little, reaching out with his good hand for the crutch leaning against the bed frame before falling in a heap on the floor.
“Need a hand?”
Yennefer, Triss, and Ciri stand in the doorway wearing similar looks of amusement on their faces although Ciri’s is tinged with worry. She’s the first one across the room, but Yennefer hauls him to his feet before anyone can blink.
“Western tower, be careful on the stairs.”
Jaskier nods and hobbles past Triss who squeezes his shoulder in support. The trek down the hall and out the southern door takes a lot of his energy, but frustration drives him further until he’s storming past the training area where the sound of clashing swords stops immediately.
“He’s going to kill Geralt,” Lambert chuckles.
Vesemir sighs when Eskel echoes the sentiment, “I warned him.”
They watch as Ciri peaks her head out of the door Jaskier just threw open and eagerly put the exercise on hold when Yennefer and Triss motion for them to follow. They’re far enough behind that Jaskier won’t sense their presence, but Vesemir doubts the bard is able to pay attention to anything other than his destination.
“What lit a fire under his ass?” Lambert asks Yennefer.
“Jaskier has been having dreams.”
“What kind of dreams?”
Vesemir has an inkling of where this is going, “He started to remember moments with Geralt that are in direct conflict with his last memory.”
Triss nods, “Exactly. He asked Geralt about them and he…”
“Ran,” Yennefer crows, “like a scared little boy. I am never letting Geralt live this down.”
“Only you would find the situation humorous,” Triss reproaches, “what if Jaskier aggravates his injuries and delays his recovery?”
“What if Jaskier never gets his memory back and this ruins everything!”
They stop and look at Ciri whose eyes are bright, cheeks flushed with anger on Jaskier’s behalf.
“I told him he’d only make it worse and Geralt didn’t listen.”
Yennefer pulls Ciri close, arms wrapped around her shoulders while careful hands run through Ciri’s windswept hair.
“Men are idiots sweet thing, better you understand that now rather than later.”
Before anyone can react to her words, the sound of crumbling stone pulls their attention to the west where Geralt’s panicked shout sends them running.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At first Jaskier had assumed the dreams were just that – dreams.
It wouldn’t be the first time he woke harder than a smithy’s hammer when morning pulled the sweetest visions of Geralt’s flesh pressed against his own. After a week of the same scene playing over and over at night Jaskier grew suspicious.
Ciri eventually admitted that his reconciliation with Geralt left tongues wagging in villages across the continent months after it occurred, but she refuses to give him a play-by-play.
“You’ll remember Jaskier, I just know you will.”
It’s impossible to be angry at Ciri; her eyes brimming hope – turning Jaskier’s insides to mush without fail. Triss and Yennefer throw him a bone from time to time during his week of rehabilitation as well.
“You could always kiss him and see what happens,” Triss suggest – a mischievous glint in her eyes when Jaskier jolts at the suggestion.
“Maybe if I wanted to lose my tongue!”
“What a pity that would be,” Yennefer deadpans.
His insulted screech is heard in the courtyard bellow and he’s teased about it for days. Afterwards, Jaskier does his best to utilize the art of subterfuge and tries to pry open the vault that is Geralt of Rivia with no success.
He finally loses patience in the middle of his second week of recovery after Geralt growls, “Jaskier enough.”
“Did we have sex?”
Bombs are more subtle.
Jaskier swears the sound of a feather falling could be heard anywhere within Kaer Morhen. He forges on when Geralt does his best impersonation of a statue.
“Because I am almost certain these dreams I’ve been having are not actual figments of my subconscious desires. My imagination is good Geralt, but not that good.”
Correctly interpreting the handful of expressions that Geralt wore, depending on the situation, was something Jaskier knew he excelled at. No one was as fluent in blank stares and grunts as Jaskier was – or so he thought. On anyone else, Jaskier would label the emotion on Geralt’s face was defeat.
Geralt’s voice is low and lacks inflection.
“You remember the sex, but not the conversation that came before?”
With that Geralt turns and leaves the room leaving behind a shell-shocked Jaskier. On the one hand, there was the confirmation Jaskier longed for.
On the other hand, “Fuck!”
The stone is weakest on the west side of the fortress; decades of weather and wear have caused cracks along the stone. His crutch catches the edge of a large gap and Jaskier nearly falls forward. Biting his lip when his shin smashes into an elevated step, Jaskier continues to climb ignoring the burn along his thigh.
The crumbling arch of the tower stands a few feet ahead.
Jaskier doesn’t see Geralt’s silhouette, but he’s not fooled for a second. Stopping long enough to take a deep breath and steady his trembling limbs, Jaskier shouts.
“You great big horses ass get down here and talk to me like a man!”
A few seconds pass before Geralt appears.
Fists clenched at his side, he stares at Jaskier with an intensity he saves for beasts crawling out of a swamp. The hair on the back of Jaskier’s neck stands at attention waiting for something to happen. Slowly the gap between them closes with every step Geralt reluctantly takes.
“What, bard got your tongue?”
It’s not particularly clever, but he chuckles internally when Geralt closes his eyes and takes a deep breath: Gathering the strength needed to deal with this confrontation.
To his horror Jaskier feels his eyes fill with tears and it only serves to enrage him further. There’s an echo in his ears as if his words are being said at two different times; whether it’s the natural acoustics of this space or his mind finally splintering under the weight of this life Jaskier could care less.
“Jaskier, I’m sorry.”
Vertigo strikes suddenly and Jaskier sways, foot sliding off the step which decides its time has come. The look of horror on Geralt’s face follows him down the crumbling stone until he’s weightless.
‘Not again,’ Jaskier mourns and darkness takes him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Lay not your heart against him or your lips to ease his roar: For the song of the White Wolf will always be sung alone.”
The sound of applause fills Jaskier’s ears and people bang their tankards on the rickety tables with abandon. While not as lively as his other hits, his latest song was well received by many who listened. Truthfully, Jaskier found comfort in performing more these days. Word that Cintra had fallen spread like wildfire, leaving devastation in its wake.
His fingers stung from the dozens of times he pricked them on Yennefer’s amulet. She never answered and Jaskier feared the worst. The only thing stopping him from breaking Triss’ gift is the fact he saw her leaving for Aretuza when he arrived. If she was fighting Nilfgard, the last thing she needed was his pestering.
“I heard that Sodden was reduced to ash! Witches set the woods ablaze and explosions killed dozens. I’d be surprised if anyone survived.”
“But King Foltest took his army south; surely they arrived in time to save the refuges.”
“It’s the end of days!”
“They say the royal family was slaughtered in the streets of Cintra; not a one survived.”
Jaskier downs the rest of his pint and slams it on the bar, startling those seated nearby. The circles under his eyes have darkened as sleep stayed far from reach. He wanted to leave the safe haven and get answers instead of rumors, but it was Yennefer’s words that kept him anchored in Temeria.
He debates whether or not to play another song when the sensation of being watched settles over him like a worn cloak. Expecting to find the eyes of a willing paramour taking in the contours of his body, Jaskier turns only to see an empty table.
Unease takes residence in his ribcage forcing Jaskier to wave away the handful of cries for an encore. Securing his lute, Jaskier’s eyes dart from face to face, searching for familiarity, before he leaves the tavern. The inn is a short jog across the square and he prays that sleep will keep him company.
He’s taken six steps exactly when something tackles him from behind.
Jaskier stumbles forward, but whoever – whatever – slammed into his body was much smaller than he was so he recovers quickly.
His hand almost reaches into his boot for the knife he acquired years ago, but when he sees it’s a child his heart stops. The blue hood falls off her head and he knows instantly who she is.
“Princess Cirilla!” he squeaks, eyes looking for any witnesses who might wish her harm.
“It’s Fiona in public,” she warns but her smile is brilliant in the darkness.
“Ah, of course that makes sense.”
Jaskier pulls back, taking her shoulders in both hands to get a proper look at Cintra’s heir. A bruise on her chin makes him frown and he runs his fingers over the edge of her hair looking for any lacerations. He notes a few abrasions here and there, but her skin is clean and her clothing is thick – perfect for the cold weather.
“I can’t get over how much you’ve grown,” he confesses. The mounting unease that’d been gathering in strength since he and Yennefer parted ways slowly evaporates with every second she’s in front of him.
“If you had visited court more then perhaps it wouldn’t be such a shock.”
His laugh attracts the attention of people stumbling home after having one pint too many: Laughter like that hadn’t been heard in months.
“We have a room at the inn, but I didn’t want to wait for you to show up.”
“We…?” Jaskier starts but he looks over her head in time to see five men dressed in all black block the road.
Jaskier doesn’t hesitate stepping in front of Ciri, arms splayed out to show them he was unarmed.
“Good evening gentlemen, if you’re looking to add some color to your mourner’s gear might I suggest the tailor Leon DuPuis? He has a lovely little shop in Toussaint, if you leave now you could make it by next week.”
“Kill the bard,” the middle assassin says, “Take the girl alive.”
“Yeah that’s not happening.”
“What are you going to do? Sing us to death?”
Jaskier’s smile does little to soften his words, “Your mother was still alive when I left her last night so…”
The far left assassin lunges forward and Jaskier quickly nudges Ciri a few steps back while wagging his right index finger.
“Ah, ah, ah I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“And why’s that?”
Quick as a nightwraith, Jaskier shrugs the lute off his shoulder and smashes it into the assassin’s head. Wood splinters and a body drops giving Jaskier enough time to free his dagger. The remaining men advance, swords ready to skewer him a thousand different ways. Before he can tell Ciri to run, a lone figure comes from behind the far right building and Jaskier nearly weeps.
“You boys are in for a real treat now, know why?
They continue to stalk forward forcing Jaskier and Ciri towards an empty stable. He keeps talking, voice rising to cover the sound of Geralt’s approach.
“They say on nights like tonight, crescent moon high in the sky, that one can summon a great white wolf by saying its name three times.”
The leader stops dead in his tracks when a cold blade presses into the base of his skull.
“Fortunately for you, I did that before leaving the tavern.”
Geralt is merciless; dispatching of the remaining men with little fanfare although he notices a handful of curtains move in the upper windows. Jaskier pulls Ciri in close using his body to shield her from the violence he’s certain she’s already witnessed, but it feels wrong to do nothing. Ciri buries her face into his shirt and relaxes as his fingers comb through her hair.
“I found a twig,” he tells her absently as if men weren’t choking to death on their blood not six feet in front of them.
“I tripped over a tree root.”
“Ah, I’ve done that a few times myself.”
“Nearly broke his ankle the first time.”
Not having heard Geralt’s voice in over a year, Jaskier savors the rough way it lights up every nerve in his body. There are a million things he wants to say, but there are bodies in the street and Ciri has started to shiver.
“And he still refused to let me ride Roach.”
Geralt opens his mouth, but Jaskier looks down to address Ciri, “Let’s get you somewhere warm and you can tell me everything.”
Humming in agreement, Ciri leads the way to the inn. It’s not until they’ve made it inside that Jaskier realizes Geralt is holding the broken pieces of his lute. Suddenly he cannot wait to have this conversation a second more.
Mindless of the patrons who’ve turned their attentions to the bloodied witcher and his company, Jaskier pivots on his heels and time stops.
“It’s not fair you know. I had this whole speech planned out for when our paths crossed. I’d be singing so beautifully it’d move your frozen heart to tears and after I finished you’d ask me – no beg me – to come back and I’d look into your gorgeous eyes and say no.”
Chest heaving, Jaskier is fearless and furious with every bottled word. Geralt does not flinch beneath his declaration – eyes fixed on Jaskier with a focus so powerful it morphs into a tangible presence between them.
“I’d say no and leave you behind of my own volition! Not chased away by a wounded wolf too proud to admit that maybe, just maybe, I was worth keeping around. I – I – I was going to make you work for it Geralt: Truly. But then you turn up and save my life again as if a year hasn’t passed and I think I like this version better.”
They’re standing so close; Geralt’s body radiating heat which sinks into Jaskier’s chest, warming his heart to the point he fears it may melt. Jaskier can feel the weight of a dozen eyes, but pays them little mind when Geralt’s hand suddenly wraps around his wrist. Surely Geralt can feel the way Jaskier’s pulse is pounding underneath his pale skin.
The silence is unbearable and maybe he’s read everything all wrong which churns the hope in his gut until panic is given form.
“Maybe, possibly, that is if you have something to say that could make this even more pleasant –”
Geralt cups the back of Jaskier’s head and they’re kissing.
The handful of patrons cheer along with Ciri who, after clapping until her hands ached, speaks into a silver broach pinned to the front of her blue cloak. She then heads up the stairs to her own room to wait for Yennefer to arrive in the morning and collect her coin from Geralt.
Jaskier whimpers when Geralt eventually pulls away so they can breathe. Lightheaded he then stumbles forward into Geralt’s sturdy chest which rumbles in amusement beneath his ears.
“Come along Jaskier, we can continue this conversation somewhere more private.”
Geralt pulls Jaskier to the back of the room stopping only when Jaskier turns and bows to their audience.
“Hope you all enjoyed the show!”
Whistles and cheers follow them up the stairs and Jaskier feels drunk on something a hundred times more potent than alcohol. He wants to climb Geralt, latch on like a leech and suck every inch of skin until the sun comes up and do it again the next night and the next.
He almost asks where Ciri went, but Jaskier figures if Geralt isn’t worried he shouldn’t be either. They’ve barely stepped into the room before Jaskier’s shoved into the door; eager lips swallowing his moans. His hands tangle in Geralt’s hair, pulling it free from its tie and relishing the feeling of tendrils brushing against his flushed face. Jaskier knows he’s drenched in arousal, hissing in pleasure when Geralt breaks away to bury his nose in Jaskier’s neck.
He licks and bites the column of skin, holding onto Jaskier’s hips that grind desperately against his erection.
“Jaskier,” he groans when hands fumble with the ties of his leather armor – hands which grow frantic with every second they are denied access to his skin. Geralt pulls back, relishing in the wounded sound that escapes Jaskier’s mouth.
“Slow down Jaskier, we have all night.”
“I want more than a night.”
Reluctantly, Jaskier slows his hands and meets Geralt’s gaze head-on. His fingers tremble as they clench the bottom of his shirt; suddenly hesitant as if Geralt will vanish into the air like a specter.
“If this is just a passing fling Geralt – a moment of weakness or pity – then I don’t want it.”
Geralt cups Jaskier’s cheek, thumb running back and forth over his heated flesh until it rests on his bottom lip.
Jaskier’s tongue darts out, a quick taste, and is rewarded by a slow roll of Geralt’s hips nearly driving all language from his brain.
“Jaskier, I want as many nights as you’ll give me. I never should’ve said what I did: You didn’t deserve any of my bullshit Jaskier I’m sorry.”
The lump in Jaskier’s throat threatens to choke him as emotion swells until he could burst from it. His hands run along the inside of Geralt’s pants; touching every inch of skin he can while reveling at the way Geralt’s eyes darken with desire.
“Every night; Geralt I want to give you every night,” Jaskier leans forward to kiss his words into Geralt’s mouth – shoving the promise so deep it’ll take root in his bones.
He pulls back, eyes memorizing the tender look on Geralt’s face for days when he’s away fighting monsters and Jaskier’s left alone.
“And every morning too, Jaskier.”
Geralt presses his own promise into Jaskier’s flesh which blossoms beneath his teeth into vibrant purple petals.
“Every morning, my love.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Geralt’s face is the first thing Jaskier sees when memory leads him back to the waking world.
Sensing movement, Geralt lifts his head from where it rested beside Jaskier’s hand. His back aches from sleeping hunched over, but it’s a small price to pay when he sees the look on Jaskier’s face.
“How are you feeling?” Geralt asks softly, unwilling to break the peace which silence had granted him up to this point.
Jaskier chooses not to answer; instead he takes Geralt’s hand and positions it until his face rests against a warm palm.
The hope in Geralt’s voice is the sweetest thing Jaskier’s heard in days. He presses a quick kiss to Geralt’s thumb and slides his hands up Geralt’s arms until he’s able to pull him closer. Their lips meet for the first time in two weeks, but both silently agree it feels much longer. A dozen words pass silently between them as relief makes them melt into each other.
Geralt climbs onto the bed, careful not to put too much pressure on Jaskier’s body, and peers down at Jaskier’s satisfied smile.
“Maybe I should fall down the stairs more often.”
“It’s a little funny Geralt come on. You know, early on Yennefer suggested that a similar head injury could reverse the memory loss.”
“Pretty sure she only said that because you were annoying her.”
Jaskier pouts, “Well now I’m upset that it worked. She’s going to be more insufferable than usual.”
Geralt chuckles and lets Jaskier’s hands guide him until their bodies are flush. He nuzzles into Jaskier’s neck, pressing light kisses underneath his jaw and smirking when he feels Jaskier’s pulse increase.
“What else do you remember?”
Jaskier’s hands slide down until they rest on the swell of Geralt’s ass and he squeezes forcing Geralt’s hips into his growing interest.
“Why don’t I show you?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jaskier doesn’t want to open his eyes.
Part of him wonders if his wild imagination concocted the events from last night in an elaborate dream born of desperation. However, it’s a very small part since he can feel Geralt’s arm tighten around his middle, closing the inch of space that’d managed to survive the night.
“You’re thinking too loud,” Geralt mumbles, lips brushing against a particularly tender love bite.
“Interrupted your beauty sleep did I?”
Jaskier yelps when Geralt delivers a sharp nip to his sensitive shoulder, “If either one of us subscribes to that nonsense it’s not me.”
This time he’s expecting the bite and Jaskier leans forward nearly crashing onto the floor if Geralt’s arm hadn’t anticipated the move.
“I should’ve let you fall.”
Gasping in fake outrage, Jaskier twists until they’re face to face – tangling his legs with Geralt’s – and brushes their noses together.
“As if my body could handle another bruise, you great brute!”
Geralt cracks open an eye and takes in every inch of Jaskier’s body; his gaze feeding the constant embers of arousal Jaskier feels when they’re together.
“I don’t see a problem.”
Before Jaskier can reply a sharp knock startles them both. Geralt grabs the blanket they kicked off during the night and drapes it over Jaskier’s body, but their guest stays on the other side of the door.
“Ciri’s hungry and you owe me coin Geralt. Both of you get dressed and meet us at the tavern.”
Jaskier understands what Yennefer is saying, but Geralt is doing his best to distract him with deft fingers trailing down his stomach. Wondering just how long they can make her wait, Jaskier briefly entertains the idea of a quick dalliance but she’s quick to dispel that daydream.
"There’ll be plenty time for that later, now move it.”
Groaning, Jaskier throws the blanket to the ground and turns to kiss Geralt before removing himself from temptation’s grasp.
“Every morning,” Jaskier vows.
"Every night,” Geralt confirms.