Certain hardships come along with being immortal which simply aren’t advertised.
And no, this isn’t at all about the horrors of watching everyone you love wither and age around you (the people Jaskier loves generally don’t wither and age), nor the torturous boredom created by unending centuries (Jaskier hasn’t run out of things to keep him entertained yet). It’s not even about that whole silly ‘falling in love with a seventeen-year-old human mortal angst’ that seems so popular in literature nowadays but which, quite frankly, strikes Jaskier as incredibly unrealistic (You wouldn’t catch him dead at a school. Kids are mean. They’d probably mock his singing. They’d probably mock it accurately).
No. The true secret hardship that came with being immortal was the historians.
Historians were the worst.
In Jaskier’s most humble opinion, historians were nothing but terrible gossips, good only for getting their facts muddled, making unfair judgements on events they weren’t even privy to and – worst of all - stealing his shit.
It wasn’t mere trinkets they were taking either. The British History museum had his second favourite lute. The American Smithsonian had somehow gotten hold of a couple of his early songbooks. The Museum under the main square in Krakow had gotten hold of a few of the jewels he’d once been gifted by his dearly departed Countess de Stael.
Assholes. The lot of them; gossiping and playing ‘finders’ keepers’, like children on a playground.
Jaskier hadn’t yet worked out a way of getting his stuff back. What was he supposed to do, stroll up to the help desk and tell them the truth? If they believed him he’d be shipped off to a lab for scientific testing or if they didn’t, he’d be put down as mental and shipped off to the nearest hospital. For all this age was so completely, mundanely magical (you could talk to people on the other side of the globe with the ease of a few dialled numbers on a thin black box) they quite resolutely refused to believe in things ‘out of the ordinary’.
“We could organise a heist,” Yennefer had suggested one dull Monday morning, emerging from Geralt’s room to peer at Jaskier’s laptop screen, the monitor displaying the British Museums catalogue. Jaskier wasn’t surprised to see her, though it was the first time he had for…how long was it this time? Six months? A year? She came in and out of their lives over the centuries like the turn of the seasons. Jaskier missed her when she was gone, but he was always sure of his return. Her and Geralt couldn’t stay away from each other for long.
Geralt and Yennefer: world record holders for the longest on-again-off-again Romance ever had.
He snapped his screen shut a little too firmly, shaking his head, “useless. By the time we finish, they’ll just have unearthed more of my most private possessions to flag to the world.”
He watched as she stretched her lithe body upwards to grab herself a mug from above the cabinet, the dark grey fabric of shirt riding upwards slightly to reveal the smooth skin underneath. Luckily, Jaskier was apt at pretending he wasn’t staring. He’d grown quite good at that, over the years spent with Geralt and Yennefer at his side.
“Could be fun though,” she pointed out.
“I’ll think about it.” She was right; it could be fun.
“No. You won’t,” Geralt’s gruff voice alerted them to his presence at the doorway (or altered Jaskier at least. Yennefer was rarely caught off guard by anything).
“You’re no fun anymore,” Jaskier pouted, “we barely even go on contracts nowadays. And you’re all against me getting famous. Old age has truly mellowed you.”
Yennefer handed Jaskier a mug of tea, then Geralt his morning coffee: made to perfection, despite her years of absence, “there aren’t as many monsters left,” she reminded him.
“Ah, but how I miss the days when there were,” Jaskier leaned back in the chair. Of course, central heating and vaccines were good too. Fair trade-off, he supposed.
“You complained back then too,” Geralt grunted, offering a kiss to Yennefer as a silent thank you for his coffee.
Jaskier didn’t steal a glance. He didn’t.
(Which he could say without lying because it was a bit more of a stare than a glance. But. Semantics. What could he say? His best friends were hot.)
They were getting off-topic, Jaskier thought. He wanted attention for his woes, not a morning of reminiscing and pining. “It’s just not right, that’s all. All those people looking at my private things.”
“The Great Bard Jaskier not basking in the attention? Why, are you feeling quite well? Been replaced by a doppler?” Yennefer quirked an eyebrow, removing herself from Geralt’s grasp to take a seat beside Jaskier.
“It’s not attention, though,” Jaskier whined. “It’s a bunch of tourists taking pictures they’ll never even look at when they get home, thinking how quaint life must have been way back when lutes were an easy commodity. Fucking hell, do you know how hard it is to find a lute nowadays? I can’t believe they’ve gone out of fashion.”
“We can thank the world for small blessings,” Geralt muttered.
Jaskier smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
Over a millennium, and still, Geralt was an emotionally stunted, dry-witted arse. Over a millennium, and Yennefer was still a beautiful, powerful bitch of a woman.
Jaskier loved them for it. He wouldn’t have them any other way.
Well— alright, not true. There was one other way he could imagine having them, and it involved him being a little bit more than simply a roommate to Geralt and a little bit more than simply an annoyance to Yennefer.
Still, things could be considerably worse. He wasn’t complaining. At least, he wasn’t complaining often. Not about that.
He’d complain about historians all he bloody well-liked though.
Arseholes the lot of them.
“You’re a traitor, a filthy, filthy traitor,” Jaskier hissed as he strolled up to the front desk of the British Museum.
Triss rolled her eyes, exasperation and fondness playing on her features in equal measures. He’d long since gotten used to people looking at him that way; it was the most common expression he inspired. “You asked me to tell you if anything showed up. I’m only here while they’re sorting through the collection of ancient plant samples. You’re lucky it all lined up.”
“And which one of my misplaced possessions has found its way into this house of stolen goods?” Jaskier’s voice was perhaps a tad too loud for dramaticism but sometimes you had to take one for the team and become the excentric mad man in the room when nobody else was willing to do it. Those teenagers in the corner could giggle and shoot him glances all they wanted.
“You’re a drama queen, you know that, don’t you?” Triss murmured, already turning to head back to the office she was working in, “they have a display on love through the ages. Third floor. Try not to get too flustered when you see it.”
“Flustered? By a bit of love poetry? Triss, what do you take me for?” Jaskier was a true romantic and had been falling in and out of love to varying degrees since he was but a mere mortal man. He wasn’t going to get flustered. Nothing could get him flustered anymore.
Ten minutes later, he had a rather pronounced blush on his face to match the speeded heart rate and the quietly muttered ‘no, no, no’ leaving his mouth like a mantra.
Certain hardships come along with being immortal which simply aren’t advertised.
The love letter you wrote to your best friend and his on-again-off-again-girlfriend showing up in a display case of a national museum? No one told him about that particular brand of down-side when he signed up for this gig.
This is so much worse than the lute, and the song-book and the jewels.
Oh, he is so screwed.
So far he’s managed to concoct and execute three cunning plans to get the love letter safely out of the display case and away from the public (the public that he’s very aware includes Yennefer and Geralt) eye.
Considering he’s in a holding cell at Scottland Yard waiting for Geralt to come and bail him out? Yeah. He can probably write all three off as a failure.
The first plan was to ask the attendant if the display would be up for much longer. Keeping Yennefer and Geralt from a museum they rarely frequented for three weeks wouldn’t be too much of a challenge, particularly if he had Triss on his side.
Today, the Gods were clearly not on his side. The attendant informed him that the display had proved a huge attraction and they had no plans of taking it down for the foreseeable future.
The second plan was to march into any office he could find and demand the letter be removed. It was his letter. This was a violation of his privacy. He had every write to want it removed from a display case.
Which was all well and good until the poor museum curator asked him why he was so instant that a five-hundred-year-old letter be taken down and – when Jaskier could give him no good answer – proceeded to believe he was being pranked.
“You’re one of those homophobes, aren’t you, young man? We simply won’t have that. The letter is a lovely display of impassioned bisexual polyamorous feelings and it’s not going to be censored by the likes of you.”
Jaskier would have respected him for that if it didn’t get in the way of his plan.
The third plan was to simply smash the case and run away with the letter, head across the seas (he hadn’t been to Asia in quite some time it might be nice to go back) and come back in a few decades when everyone had forgotten about a petty museum thief.
Except hitting frantically at a glass case in the middle of a crowded exhibit? Maybe not his smartest idea.
“What the fuck did you do this time?” Geralt growled. It was the same question he’d growled down the phone when Jaskier had first rung him and asked him (very nicely, he might add) to come and pick him up. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the option of simply hanging up this time around.
Jaskier decided to bow out of answering the question with a good old diversion, “That’s just rude. This time. Like you expect me to get into these situations.”
Geralt fixed him with a glare which, alright, maybe he deserved. He did tend to get into these situations rather frequently, but one had to spice life up now and then.
Luckily, it’s pretty simple to get Jaskier out and they were let off with a warning and – for Jaskier – a lifelong ban from the British Museum. Jaskier has come to find life-long only really means about half a century anyway, so he can live it. Why would he want to walk into that den of thieves anyway?
“Were you trying to steal back your lute?” Geralt asks on the walk back.
“Um. Something like that, yeah.” Hopefully, he can play it off as just trying to steal the lute back.
“I said no heists.”
“You’re not the boss of me.”
“Someone should be.” Geralt fits his key into their apartment door.
Unsurprisingly Yennefer is home, lounging as if she contributes to the rent on their sofa, doing her nails some stunning shade of purple.
“Me next!” Jaskier exclaims, already forgetting about the woes of his brief stint as a criminal that afternoon.
Yennefer raises a perfectly manicured eyebrow, “Don’t think so, lark. Only good boys who don’t get arrested get their nails painted.”
“Says you,” Jaskier scoffs, “You’re hardly one to follow the law. We get magic Netflix, Yen, that we don’t pay for because of your-” he wiggles his fingers, “it has movies that haven’t even be realised yet on it.”
She waves her hand dismissively, “I didn’t say you had to follow the law, I said you had to not get caught. I’m never caught, therefore, I get my nails done how I like.”
Jaskier scowled at her as Geralt reached over to switch on the TV. Still, he couldn’t keep up his petulant act for long. He had missed her after all; the times when Geralt and Yennefer weren’t together were almost as bad as the times that they were. Jealousy vs. longing, ah, what a hard existence he led. She’d only been back now a week, but he was so glad to come home to her that they weren’t even bickering very much.
Their couch wasn’t really big enough for three without excessive cuddling, so he took a seat on the floor while Yen and Geralt curled up together, his back pressed up against their legs. At some point someone’s hand – Geralt’s, he thought – ended up carding through his hair. It was nice, familiar, affection that only came with centuries of knowing and caring for one another. Eventually, Geralt started critiquing the monster law on the crappy show they were watching, which prompted Yen to start critiquing the magic.
It was almost enough to make him forget about the museum. If there was one thing age had brought with it, it was a sense of domesticity which had been oh so absent in their first few centuries. Witchering, Barding, maging—all of that still went on, behind the scenes. But they no longer lived on the road, they no longer lived out of a horse’s saddlebags. They had a home. They had movie nights. They had a life.
Once upon a time, barely a decade into their acquaintance, he’d asked Geralt if Witchers ever retired. He’d been told ‘no’ and yet…here they were. It wasn’t quite retirement, but it was something close to it, more than any of them ever thought they’d get.
It was just what they needed Jaskier thought. A good, long life deserved a bit of a retirement package, even if that package came intermittently interspersed with monsters and Jaskier’s absolutely hopeless pining for Geralt and Yennefer both.
After the show ended, they each had a glass of wine. Jaskier pretended he didn’t want to join them when they disappeared behind the door to Geralt’s room, and that he didn’t hear them moaning each other’s names while he tried to settle in for the night.
If there was one thing he was good at, after all these years, it was pretending.
In the end, it was Ciri who fucked it up for him; an inconvenience as he’d never much been able to manage staying mad at the girl.
Cirilla didn’t spend all her time in London; she still had the wanderlust she’d inherited from all her adoptive-parents (Jaskier was proud to be included on that list), and it took her across the world. Her Instagram account was a mess of photos taken in location after location: the pyramids in Egypt, the mountains of Poland, the ruins of Rome. Recently, her posts had also featured a tall, rather stunning brunette. Jaskier figured that was her main reason for coming back to England; so they could meet her latest girlfriend. (Ciri also had a way with women and men alike, which Jaskier would like to think she’d adopted from him too).
He was thrilled when he heard that she was coming home. He’d taken the day to prepare the spare room in their apartment (one that hadn’t been there a couple of days ago; there were advantages to having a mage staying with them) and was just finishing up making the bed when his phone buzzed.
Is there a reason why a love letter to Yen and Geralt is in the British Museum signed from you?? -C
Fuck. Fuck, not good, not good. Ciri was many, many things, but among her traits, he would definitely put ‘meddlesome’ near the top.
Because Historians are nosey pricks. Do NOT tell your parents. -J
;) – C
The winking face of a semicolon and a bracket stared up at him, composed of unforgiving pixels. She wouldn’t, would she? No. No. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.
He was sure of it.
“Where’s Cirilla?” Jaskier asked, his energetic bounce (which was partly built on the nervous energy of that damn winky face emoji what did it mean) slowing slightly when he saw their girl wasn’t entering with Yennefer and Geralt.
“She’s staying with Triss this evening,” Geralt explained, though really, that didn’t explain anything. Ciri and Triss got on excellently, but if she was coming home why wouldn’t she spend her first few nights catching up with them?
“But—we got her a room ready? Why would she do that? Oh, shit, what did you do? Geralt, if you were an ass to her about something then—” his words come to an abrupt halt as he notices that Yennefer’s left hand is curled around a piece of paper.
An old piece of paper. Practically parchment.
No, no, no, no—
“We got your letter,” there was a dangerous glint in those violet eyes that Jaskier didn’t know how to name. But he knew it didn’t bode particularly well for him. “Must have been an issue with the postal service, I think it spent half a millennium lost in the mail.”
“Ah. Well, yes, um—”
“And it’s really some of your worst prose, Jaskier. Completely dreadful. Let’s see…you compare Geralt’s eyes to ‘the burning sun of my desire’ a few times, and my hair to ‘the deepest waters poured from the holy grail itself’. Christian imagery? Really? What would the girls at Meleites temple think about that?”
“Um,” Jaskier doesn’t know what to say. Here he is, stood in his hallway, staring down what feels like an ambush and there’s nowhere to run. Yennefer and Geralt are blocking the door. So unless he feels like going full childish mode and locking himself in the bathroom…
It is really, really pitiful that he actually considers doing just that.
Instead, he bites at his lower lip, “In my defence, I was…very drunk?” He’d spent quite a lot of that century drunk if he recalls correctly. He was going through a bit of a rough patch. That probably isn’t the only letter out there, though he desperately hopes it’s the only one that any nosey historians have managed to get their grubby fingers on. He doesn’t need any more embarrassment.
Because right now? This is the most embarrassed he’s felt in his entire existence and considering all the time he’d been alive…that was really saying something.
“Why didn’t you send it?” Geralt asks, and his expression is – if possible – even more guarded than usual; more guarded than Jaskier has seen it since their first lifetime together.
“Uh, because, as Yennefer just pointed out it’s literally the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever written?” his cheeks must be on fire, with how red they feel. He wants to look anywhere put them, but they’ve always been like the flame to his moth, he can’t keep his gaze from them for long. “Look, we don’t have to, um, I mean, look, they’re just words and it was a really long time ago now so really we could put this whole thing behind us if you wanted to—”
Geralt, if anything, appears to close off even more.
Yennefer does not. In fact, she looks even more predatory. Jaskier has the unnerving realisation that he is the prey in this scenario.
Yennefer takes a step forward. Her outfit, he notes dimly, is perhaps one of the most stunning he’s ever seen her in. She never gave up her taste in dresses, but today she’s donned black trousers, a white blazer and sheer necked purple top which is doing everything to accentuate her figure. He feels a little like a deer trapped in headlights.
“Oh, so you wouldn’t be interested in joining us tonight? Pity. And Geralt was so excited about finally getting you in bed…”
“Wait, the fuck?” he can’t help it, it slips out, his brain trying to process what Yennefer just said.
You wouldn’t be interested in joining us tonight?
Geralt was so excited about finally getting you in bed…
He feels like he’s slipped out of reality and into some fairytale world. He tries to recall if he and Geralt have been on a contract with any fae recently that might have entrapped him, but it’s been a few decades since they faced anything that could do that.
He shifts, one foot to the other. “Uh…is this some sort of trap?”
Yennefer laughs, and despite her expression, it’s bright and warm and he wants to bask in it for all of eternity. He gladly would, if she let him. “No,” she murmurs softly, she’s at him now, stepped close, and he didn’t really notice her moving but all of a sudden her slim hands are reaching upwards to cup his cheek, “it’s not a trap. Jaskier, songbird, we’ve been flirting with you for centuries now.”
Okay, now he knows he’s dreaming, “What? No. No, see, you haven’t, because I would have noticed that.”
“We touch you,” Geralt finally speaks up, “we ran our fingers through your hair the other night.”
“Yes, platonic touching. You touch me platonically.” Jaskier’s world is tilting on his axis
“Geralt let you sit on his lap in that pub three years back.”
“There weren’t many seats available! We were being economic with space!”
“We’re loud in bed when we know you can hear us,” Yennefer comments, and that one almost knocks the wind out of him.
“So…you knew. This whole time?”
Geralt steps closer now, “I could smell the arousal on you,” and wait, what? He knows Geralt can smell things like fear and pain and blood but arousal? A thousand-million moments flash to his mind, all becoming a hell of a lot more embarrassing, starting with his very first sighting of the man. “But we weren’t sure…”
“If it was more than that,” Yennefer finished for Geralt. They truly are the perfect couple, Jaskier thinks. He’s always thought that. Although sometimes it’s like something is missing from them, something that would make their on-again-off-again become more permanent, more stable.
They’re so close to him now. He can smell her perfume, he can feel the heat radiating from Geralt. It’s intoxicating. Fuck, fuck, if it didn’t feel so real he would be sure he was dreaming. “Okay…you’re going to have to give me a minute. And also, you’re fucking morons, you weren’t sure if it was more than arousal. I’ve—I’ve fucking been in love with you both for—the songs did you even listen to the songs? There’s like…so many songs I’ve written about you guys it’s unreal and—”
Yennefer shuts him up by kissing him.
Usually, he’d protest when Geralt or Yennefer try and shut him up. But this is a method he thinks he can get used to. Her other arm comes up to wrap around him, and he feels the fragile parchment brush the back of his neck.
“We should take this to the bedroom,” Geralt murmurs, low and he’s dropping a kiss to Jaskier’s neck and—
“Yes, yes, yes, enough time to talk later—”
Yennefer walks them backwards, and they stumble, and it’s messy and it’s wonderful and fuck Jaskier thought he’d felt all the pleasures of the flesh in his time but this…there’s nothing else like having the both of them.
Nothing else in the world.
“How did you even get it?” Jaskier asks a few hours (and more than a few rounds) later when they’re sweaty and panting and Yennefer has her head pillowed on Jaskier’s chest while Geralt plays with his hair.
“I’m a mage darling. And I did a little better than just trying to smash a case in, in broad daylight.”
“Hey! I was panicking!”
Geralt snorts. “You told me you were after the lute.”
“Which, by the way, if you can get the letter, you can get that back,” Jaskier narrows his eyes at her, “you could get them all back.”
She laughs and it is one of his favourite sounds in the whole world, “what would the fun be in that?” her fingers fiddle with his chest hair absently, “I like watching you squirm and suffer.”
Jaskier turns his head to press a kiss to her forehead. Fuck. He is so gone on her.
“And there is a vain hope that you might learn to take better care of your shit,” Geralt hummed, “teaching you a lesson.”
“The point is not that I take better care of my shit, Geralt, Gods how many times do I have to explain that it's about the principle of it all?”
Geralt rolls his eyes, shifts Jaskier’s head upwards and slots his lips against Jaskier’s again, lazy and content. He’s shutting Jaskier up again, but fuck, Jaskier can’t help but be glad of it.
“So, we’re dating now?” Jaskier murmurs, then frowns, “you can’t play on and off again with me. I am but a simple romantic soul, my heart won’t be able to take it.”
Yennefer and Geralt share a look. He’s not entirely sure what it means, but when Yennefer shifts closer and murmurs, “that won’t be an issue,” he finds himself believing her.
When he falls to sleep that night he is blissfully happy.
Ciri smirks her way through dinner, no matter how many times Jaskier calls her a traitor.
“It worked out, didn’t it?” She asks, green eyes far, far too innocent for her play in all of this. “Maybe you’ll have to forgive your grudge against historians now.”
“Never, Ciri.” He breathes, mock-aghast at the thought of dropping his grudge.
Still, at the end of the night when Ciri heads out to meet up with her current girlfriend, and Yennefer drags Jaskier by the collar to their bedroom, he will admit (privately) that perhaps she has a point.
This is the best thing that happened to him in all his long existence.
Yennefer doesn’t move out again, at least, not until Jaskier and Geralt do too. They stay together. There is no more on-and-off-again. It is like a hole was waiting to be filled all their lives, and now Jaskier is there and it’s like glue, keeping all three of them centred and – more importantly – communicating. So that changes.
Jaskier’s things keep turning up in museums. That doesn’t change (no matter how much he insists that he takes care of his stuff.) Some things never do.
Jaskier wouldn’t have it any other way.