Geralt has been around for a long time. Not as long as some people, sure, but long enough that he shouldn’t keep getting thrown headfirst into new situations that he has no idea how to navigate or deal with. It might have gotten worse once Jaskier entered his life, but at this point he might just be trying to find a way to justify this kind of shit.
They’ve been traveling through Redania. In fact, they’ve just left Oxenfurt, after an exhausting week spent there. Geralt isn’t entirely sure why he’d bothered sticking around — there weren’t enough contracts to justify it, really — but… well, he actually is sure, he just doesn’t want to admit it. He stuck around because he didn’t want to leave Jaskier behind.
What he is willing to admit is that they’ve got a good thing going. It was rough at first, sure — neither of them knew how to deal with someone quite like the other, and they’re both more stubborn than a rock troll. Learning to deal with one another and finding a sort of common ground had been far from the easiest thing, but once they had, it was worth it.
He never really realised just what he was missing, traveling the Continent alone. Now that he has Jaskier by his side, he can’t quite imagine going back to that solitude when he has to. They’ve got a good thing going, so he simply isn’t going to think about the end.
If anyone could teach a witcher — especially this witcher — to live in the moment, to enjoy what he has while he has it, it’s Jaskier. And the irony of Jaskier essentially teaching Geralt to enjoy their time together without really realising it, well, it isn’t lost on the witcher. It’s not always easy for him to realise that he can have good things, but he’s learning.
He and Jaskier have just left Oxenfurt maybe a week back. Jaskier had joked one time about making a stop in Novigrad as well, but Geralt made it very clear that he can only handle so much. Thankfully it was a joke, and they’ve been more or less sticking to smaller towns and villages, aside from the nights that they spend on the open road.
The more they travel in this direction, the more it becomes apparent that Jaskier is at least somewhat familiar with the area. This wouldn’t be noteworthy if they were traveling toward Oxenfurt — the city does house his alma mater, after all — but they’re going away from it. Geralt isn’t sure he wants to ask. Usually Jaskier talks about things that he wants to, and if someone tries to pry information from the bard that he isn’t willing to share, he becomes so tight-lipped that he could give Geralt a run for his money. (Well, not really — more accurately, he’ll talk that person’s ear off about literally anything else until they get too annoyed or distracted to continue their line of questioning. The two of them really are opposite sides of the same coin.)
Jaskier has done wonders for his reputation during their long friendship, just as the bard had said he would. Where before, people would spit on him, call him a freak, run him from their village even if they needed him more often than not… well, they still do that, but far less frequently. With Jaskier around, he’s almost guaranteed a bed, if only because the bard is so good at sweet-talking his way into the things he wants. And even when they aren’t together, people still treat Geralt more kindly than they had before Jaskier had started singing his praises, both literally and figuratively.
It’s nice. Now that they understand each other, things are going well, more than they ever have in Geralt’s life. Where before he would complain about the bard with every other breath, he finds he can’t help but praise him whenever he’s brought up in conversation. Well, in the most Geralt way possible, of course. That is to say, strangers probably think he tolerates the bard at best, and those who know him might think he’s in love.
Incidentally, he is. It’s just not something he’s going to admit to.
Thirty winters ago he’d probably said something like, “That fucking bard keeps following me around. One day someone’s going to choke him out with his own lute strings, and I can’t be sure it won’t be me.” Now, he’s more likely to say, “Jaskier could charm a beggar out of his last oren. Makes it damn near impossible to keep him out of trouble.”
To strangers, it comes across as annoyance, a complaint. People who know him well would see the implications behind it, however. These implications are that Geralt finds him charming, and that Geralt finds him worth protecting. It’s high praise, coming from him, and he’s teased about it mercilessly whenever he sees his whoreson brothers.
Tonight, hopefully, Jaskier will not need protecting. The bard secured them room and board in exchange for a performance. It’s the kind of thing he used to do because they were low on coin, and does now because he enjoys performing, as well as the concept of his work having that kind of value. Geralt is honestly in no mood for a crowd, still overstimulated from their stint in Oxenfurt, so when the bard stopped for a break he mentioned that he was heading upstairs. Jaskier had simply waved him off with a smile and a promise to see him later.
So, he makes his way up to their room alone. It’s not something that bothers him, nor is it something he isn’t used to. If anything, he’s glad that a social butterfly like Jaskier can get the human interaction he needs without dragging Geralt into it. He likes the fact that, although they are very different people with very different needs, they can respect those differences and work together in a way that they both get what they want. Right now, he’s looking forward to taking his armour off and meditating until the bard comes back to their room.
That’s why it’s so fucking jarring when someone else is sitting on his bed.
And if he’s being honest, Geralt has no fucking clue how a succubus had gotten into their room, or why she would bother. At first he thinks maybe he’s come into the wrong room — while they don’t usually rent out rooms in the middle of human settlements, succubi aren’t really violent creatures by nature, and since there’s no contract for one he assumes she isn’t bothering anyone. As far as he’s concerned she can do what she pleases, and it’s none of his business if ‘what she pleases’ is renting a room in a backwater inn. However, their things are already in there, so it definitely is not her room, and yet she gives him this look, like she’s been expecting him.
“Hmm,” she purrs, full lips quirking up into a sultry smirk. “So you’re Geralt of Rivia.”
“Seems you have me at a disadvantage,” he says, crossing his arms.
She laughs, and it makes his medallion hum just a little. Seductive magic, really? He’s not impressed.
“My name’s not important, big boy,” she answers, crossing her furry legs, one hoof over the other. “What’s important here is you.”
Well, that sounds fucking ominous, no matter how sexy she tries to make it. He takes a moment to look at the woman on the bed. She’s voluptuous, as their kind tend to be. Her long, chestnut brown hair is braided into a crown around her head, over which her horns curve backwards from her temples. She’s wearing nothing but jewelry and a smirk, and her blue eyes shine with some emotion he can’t really place.
The emotion in them isn’t the only thing about her eyes he can’t place. They look jarringly familiar, but for some reason he can’t quite figure out why. It puts him on edge.
She must realise that he isn’t going to say anything, because she sighs, though even that seems performative, little more than a reason to draw attention to her ample chest. “Well, the rumours about your conversational skills are certainly turning out to be true.”
“Why are you here?”
The succubus laughs yet again. “I hope conversation is the only time you skip the foreplay. My dear, I’ve already said why I’m here. I’ve heard a great many things about you, and I’d love nothing more than to… test… those rumours…”
As she speaks, she slinks towards him, which he does not like. He knows she’s trying to be sultry, but it’s really just kind of creeping him out.
Perhaps another man would jump at the opportunity. Jaskier probably would, knowing him. It’s just that… well, he doesn’t want to. Aside from the way this all feels like a very weird and elaborate trap, the thing is that sex, to Geralt, is one of two things: a need to take care of quickly so he can get on with what he needs to do, or something he wants to share with someone close to him. With Yennefer, it had been both, for a while. Now, though, he is not in one of those needy moods, so he doesn’t need to scratch any itch, so to speak. And, though it’s embarrassing to admit, he is only really attracted to people he loves, and simply put, this woman is not Jaskier.
He isn’t sure why he’s like this. It might be a result of the Trials. After all, he’d gone through more mutations than his brothers, so it would stand to reason that he would come out… wrong. It might just be a Geralt thing, though. He’s tried bringing it up with others before, but he can never make it make sense. It comes across as him wanting to stay loyal to someone he isn’t even involved with, but that’s not it. He isn’t some blushing maiden. It’s just that he can’t really enjoy sex without an emotional connection. If he has feelings for someone, he wants to sleep with them. If he doesn’t, then he doesn’t, prostitutes aside. It’s sort of the opposite of Jaskier, who seems to want to bed anything with a pulse.
Okay, he really needs to stop thinking about Jaskier while a succubus is trying to seduce him. Mostly, he needs to pay attention to said succubus.
“I’m not interested,” he says flatly.
The succubus pouts. “I’m not trying to hurt you, witcher,” she says. “In fact, I’m trying for the exact opposite.”
“I appreciate it, but I’m still going to decline.” She opens her mouth to argue, and he adds, “Look, honestly, there’s someone else, but if you’re that intent on it, try my friend. He’s got a more fitting reputation, and probably won’t say no. But I won’t.”
The look on her face is almost comically confused. “What friend?” she asks.
As if on cue, Jaskier walks in. A few things happen at once.
Jaskier is saying something, but stops mid-sentence and freezes like a statue. The succubus somehow gains a sense of modesty, perhaps the first of her kind to do so, and covers herself from the bard’s strangely horrified gaze with her hands. Geralt looks between the two of them and suddenly figures out why her eyes had struck him as so familiar.
“Mum!?” Jaskier squeaks.
“Julian,” answers the succubus, trying to act casual despite her furious blush.
“What the fuck?” Geralt says, because honestly, what the actual fuck?
It’s then that Jaskier turns to Geralt, looking confused and angry and maybe a little hurt. “Were you going to sleep with my mother!?” he demands.
“Your mother’s a succubus?” he asks. In hindsight, he probably should have answered, because Jaskier does not look pleased when he doesn’t.
“He wasn’t going to sleep with me, dear,” the succubus (who is apparently Jaskier’s mother) answers for him, and Jaskier rounds on her. Thankfully, she has managed to put underclothes on, and is now the most clothed succubus Geralt has ever seen.
“Were you trying to fuck my best friend?” the bard asks with no small amount of horror.
“Wait, you’re the friend?” she asks, incredulous. “I thought you two were lovers!”
Jaskier’s voice raises in pitch as he shouts, “So you thought you were trying to fuck my lover?”
She crosses her arms and glares at him. “I was trying to make sure he was good enough for my boy,” she answers, “but he refused my advances. Twice! Told me to try his friend instead, even!”
The bard gags. “You told my mother to fuck me?” he asks Geralt.
“What? No!” answers the witcher, confused and mildly horrified. “I mean, sort of, but I didn’t know she was your mother! You never told me your mother was a succubus.”
In retrospect, maybe he should have realised that they were at least related. After all, they look like they’re more likely to be siblings than mother and son — well, from the waist up, anyway, and minus the horns. Jaskier is the spitting image of his mother, albeit a more masculine, human-looking version of her. Still, how was he supposed to know?
“Okay,” Jaskier’s succubus mother cuts in, clearly trying to placate the two men. “Tensions are high. Let me finish getting dressed, and we’ll discuss this like rational people, shall we?”
Jaskier does not answer. Instead, he turns on his heel, facing the door, and glares at it with his arms crossed. It’s as much of an answer as anything, Geralt supposes, so he does the same. They both awkwardly stare at the room’s infrastructure until the succubus indicates that they can turn around again.
When they turn around, she looks like a human woman, horns notwithstanding. It turns out that goat legs and a tail are easy to hide with women’s fashion.
“A long skirt and a headdress can hide a lot from the public, witcher,” says the succubus — his best friend’s mother, as she seems to notice the way he stares.
“Hmm,” he answers. It makes sense. After all, humans do not tend to be very observant. And apparently, neither do witchers. Speaking of, he looks at the bard and says, “I can’t believe I didn’t know you weren’t human.”
Jaskier shrugs somewhat helplessly. “I didn’t mention it,” he answers. “Besides, I inherited dad’s physique, so you wouldn’t have guessed it.”
“Still,” says Geralt. It’s his job, for fuck’s sake.
“Your horns are barely nubs, too,” says Jaskier’s mother.
“You have horns?”
Jaskier’s cheeks, if possible, only become a darker red.
“Mother,” he whines, “please don’t embarrass me any worse than you already have.”
“Come now, darling, it’s not that bad,” his mother says. “Incubi have smaller horns anyway.”
“You have horns,” Geralt says again, perhaps a little more faintly. How the fuck has he never noticed?
The bard rolls his eyes, perhaps trying to hide his own embarrassment with sheer bravado. “Yes, Geralt, we’ve established this. I have a tail, too. Are we going to be talking about my body this entire time? Really, we’re focusing on that, of all things? Not the fact that you almost fucked my mother?”
Geralt opens his mouth to argue, but Jaskier’s mother beats him to it. “Julian, he refused. Emphatically. It’s a real blow to my self-esteem, honestly.” Contrary to her words, she sounds more amused than wounded.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” Jaskier snarks. “Hopefully one day you’ll recover.”
“Oh, don’t be like that. I didn’t sleep with your witcher.”
Honestly, Geralt is used to this sort of thing, where people talk about him like he isn’t there. It’s fine, mostly, because he doesn’t have to be part of it. At the same time, it reminds him of something.
“What did you mean, you thought we were lovers?”
Now, Jaskier is focused on the succubus as well. The both of them stare at her, expecting an answer, and she finally looks suitably discomfited.
“Alright, yes, perhaps I shouldn’t have assumed,” she says with a pout. “Really, though, the way you talk about him! Even your father thought you two were lovers, and you know how he can be. I love the man, but he can be frightfully dense with this sort of thing.”
“I— he’s my best friend, mum!” cries the bard.
His mother rolls her eyes. “Yes, so was Sofia, and she was your first.”
Geralt, not for the first time, feels like he’s intruding on something. Just as he’s weighing the pros and cons of attempting an escape, the two of them turn to him again. Fuck.
“Witcher, if your son wouldn’t stop talking about a man, about his skills and his physique and every blessed moment they spent together—”
“Mum, stop! Geralt, don’t listen to her—”
“Would you not think they were a couple?” she finishes, ignoring her son entirely.
“Witchers can’t have children,” he answers, if only because it’s safe.
“Bollocks,” snaps Jaskier, “you have Ciri!”
Geralt raises one eyebrow. He knows Jaskier is flustered, and likes to be contrary, and loves arguing with him on principle, but this seems to be against his current interests. Apparently, a moment later, Jaskier also realises this, based on the expression on his face.
His mother, however, looks nothing short of triumphant. “Well then,” she says, almost predatory, “this Ciri. If every blessed time you saw her or got a letter from her she was talking about a man, about how handsome and kind and misunderstood and self-sacrificing and frustrating and heroic he is—”
“I’d have a talk with her,” Geralt says, expression stormy. He doesn’t like the concept of his daughter talking about anyone like that. “And with him. A long talk.”
Jaskier’s mother seems to love that response. “So you’d think that she’s infatuated with him?”
“I resent this line of questioning.”
Jaskier snorts, and then says, “See? He doesn’t want to answer your ridiculous questions.”
“No,” his mother answers, “I’m pretty sure that proves my point.”
“You haven’t even made any point—” Jaskier begins, but his mother cuts him off.
“You’re in love with this witcher.”
It’s rare to see Jaskier speechless. In Geralt’s experience, it only happens when he has so many things to say that he can’t grasp only one of them, and this is no different. Indeed, the bard opens and closes his mouth several times, and he sort of looks like a fish. Geralt would laugh if it didn’t feel like his heart has just fallen into his stomach and jumped into his throat at the same fucking time, somehow.
Jaskier’s mother sighs. “Julian, he told me there’s someone else.”
Ah, fuck. That he did.
“He probably meant Yennefer,” spits the bard, with an almost confusing amount of venom. Geralt honestly doesn’t want to analyse it because he doesn’t want to allow himself to hope. “Didn’t you?”
“No,” he answers immediately. Fuck. He should have said yes. He could have saved himself this embarrassment, but now he can’t, and he honestly doesn’t want this to drive Jaskier away.
“See? He—” Jaskier cuts himself off, and stares at Geralt with wide eyes. “No?”
Well, in for a copper, in for a crown. “I don’t… I’m not with anyone.”
“So you… lied to my mother?”
This is the most difficult conversation he’s ever had, probably. “Yes. No. There’s someone else I have feelings for. I don’t… want to sleep with others. It’s not… It’s a me thing.”
Geralt can see Jaskier’s Adam’s apple bob as he swallows, can hear it as his throat constricts around nothing. “Who... No, sorry. You don’t need to—”
For fuck’s sake, why is he not thinking before he speaks? The whole room is filled with a tense silence and he really, really wants to run as far and as fast as he can just to save himself the pain and embarrassment that his honesty is going to—
Jaskier’s holding his hand. It’s enough to bring him out of the downward spiral his thoughts have started to go into, and they stare at each other with… something. A tense, hopeful sort of something.
“You… have feelings for me?” Jaskier asks.
Geralt truly, honestly wants to deny it. He wants to protect himself from the heartache that is surely about to come. After all, who would react favourably to being loved by a witcher? But for fuck’s sake, if he has a weakness, it’s Jaskier. It’s always been Jaskier.
“I do,” he answers.
And honestly, Jaskier is a good man. If anything, Geralt expects to be let down gently. What he doesn’t expect is the lips against his, the way he’s kissed softly. It’s almost as if Jaskier is unsure of himself, and if that’s the case, he’s a fool. Geralt kisses back with a fervour and passion that he barely recognises as his own.
“I told you,” Jaskier’s mother says, very smugly, when they pull apart. “There’s nothing like a mother’s intuition.”
Jaskier raises one middle finger towards her, before pulling Geralt into another passionate kiss.