Jaskier had missed playing for an audience who wasn't paying by the credit. Though, he supposed those front row seats were worth an equally ridiculous amount of money. His pay certainly didn't reflect it but it was still a hefty sum. Essi had made sure that he and the other musicians were very well compensated.
She was an absolute force on stage and it was a privilege to both watch and perform beside her. The heat of the stage lights, the roar of the crowds shaking the large indoor theaters in the east and the outdoor amphitheaters in the west. The experience was something Jaskier had imagined as a teenager and being able to live it out without the stress of being the main attraction was a dream come true.
He perhaps hadn't missed the rough calluses, especially when the two people who perhaps would rub and tenderly sooth them were a few states away. That was all right though. Jaskier could wait. He’d be back before the start of the spring semester. The holidays weren’t too long at all, to the chagrin of his students.
And in the meantime, there were phonecalls and video chats and text messages. Sometimes all three of them-- three tiny windows of faces, or occasionally two during the times when Yennefer and Geralt were in the same spot.
In lieu of that, Jaskier found a routine on tour. Texting Geralt and Yennefer every day, both separately and in a group chat that they were still trying to work out the logistics of. In every city, he found a ridiculous magnet for Geralt's fridge. He scoured old antique shops for vintage local postcards to send to Yennefer's apartment.
On the rare nights that he didn't sleep on the bus, the band would arrive at a hotel where the concierge had already been heavily bribed by Yennefer for special upgrades for Jaskier's room, including extra desserts, sweet drinks that he would never have ordered for himself, and the special throat lozenges he kept a stash of. They were a specialty brand and a nightmare to find on the road but essential to his health.
Jaskier hadn't sung this much and with such vigor in a long time. But Yennefer managed to send a packet of the elusive cough drops to every hotel desk on the tour stop.
“You don’t have to do that. I don’t need...things," he said quietly one night, awkwardness seeping into his tone. They all still had these bouts of fear, nervousness. He imagined it would happen for quite some time. Especially when they were apart.
"You send us things, right?" Yennefer asked. Her voice was gentle. She sounded like she had been prepared for the question and just waiting for him to ask it.
"I. Well. Yes."
Geralt hummed over the line. He was working on a sculpture during their call. The humming was his way to show he was still invested in the conversation even if he was distracted. That he was building his way up to a response if they'd only just wait a moment. And they did.
"We're allowed to do things for one another. It's nice. It is not for any reason besides us wanting to," Geralt's voice was steady and Jaskier knew Yennefer was staying in her own apartment but still he wanted to be there with both of them, in the same place. "And besides, I think it's a nice challenge for Yennefer. Like a complicated math problem."
Yennefer's laughter came through so loud on Jaskier's tiny phone speaker that it took a sharp decrease in quality. But he didn't move away or turn down the volume. He missed them, speaker feedback and all. "If Jaskier is headed towards Toronto on a flight that should get him to a hotel by 2 o'clock in the afternoon..." Yennefer trailed off.
"You're right. It is. It is nice," he said quickly, wanting them to know that before they moved onto whatever topic would come next. Message both received and understood. Gods. Imagine that.
The next time the band stopped in a hotel, it wasn't just the throat lozenges waiting for Jaskier at the check-in desk.
"Oh my gods." Jaskier didn't drop his bag but it was a near thing. Yennefer and Geralt were standing shoulder to shoulder, both leaning against the desk as if some sculptor had just carved two of Jaskier's dreams and left them in the lobby.
"Go on then," Essi nudged. The rest of the band whistled and hooted, getting them plenty of dirty looks from the other guests waiting to check-in.
Jaskier jogged towards his partners, grin on his face so wide that it hurt. He really did drop his bag at their feet then, letting himself fall into the two of them, knowing in his bones that Yennefer and Geralt would not let him fall. He hugged them tight. It was not the comfiest of positions, with his arms around their opposite shoulders, pushing them together. They didn't complain though. They just hugged him back and ignored what he'd never admit were sniffles.
"I'd say get a room but we've already gotten you one," Essi teased. She handed Yennefer the room key which, while it was the right decision, still had Jaskier glaring her. "Soundcheck is at 3 in the afternoon tomorrow. Don't be late. Bring your two plus-ones."
"I think it's just a plus two then," he told her.
"Are you really arguing with me right now?" Essi asked, eyebrow raised. Jaskier felt someone comically tug him towards the elevator, only soliciting yet another wolf whistle from the drummer as a result.
If it wasn't the penthouse suite, then Jaskier wouldn't have been able to even guess what would have been on the top floor of the hotel. Extra rooms they didn't need, including a full kitchen and dining room. Separate bathrooms, each with an opulent tub which was silly because Jaskier wouldn't want to take a bath without Yennefer and Geralt. Not here, where the most luxurious option would allow them all to fit together in one large tub.
They didn't need any of it, truly. Not just for the short time Jaskier would be in this city. But then they got to the bedroom and Jaskier realized why they had splurged.
The bed was the biggest he'd ever seen. The three of them hadn't yet slept in the same bed yet. Dozed, cat naps, a little farewell emotional cuddle session in Geralt's house right before he left. But nothing like this. It was large enough that the three of them could sleep comfortably apart, without touching and not even knowing the others were there. Not that Jaskier wanted to fall asleep that way tonight. If allowed, he would hold them both close until morning.
“I made friends with Essi," Yennefer said proudly. She was tucking her neat rolling suitcase on one side of the enormous bed. "In case you couldn't tell."
“God help us all,” Jaskier said faintly.
"That's what Geralt said."
Jaskier laughed at that and let them both draw him in again. "I missed you both," he told them, though it almost got lost on account of being whispered directly into Yennefer's hair.
Neither of them said it back, not in words, but Geralt hummed at him and Jaskier felt it warm his body. Yennefer tugged him over to the large hotel bed, pushing Jaskier to lie back on it so they both could cover him, stroking his hair and feeling him settle.
Once Jaskier felt as though he could breathe again, they moved so they were bracketing him as opposed to being his personal weighted blankets. As long as they were close, he didn't mind how they did it. Both of his lovers in the same bed with him.
Not even just again. But being with them.
Jaskier had left on tour before he gotten a chance to be between them like this. First show of the tour had been the eve of Christmas Eve. They hadn't all been together in one space since they had driven him to the airport together.
He wished he wasn't exhausted so he could appreciate it more. Still, they would have the morning too, presumably. He squirmed around a little bit and Yennefer turned him to his side so she could spoon him. Jaskier curled into Geralt and took a deep breath of Geralt's crewneck sweatshirt.
Gods, he had missed them both.
"How long?" He asked, his eyes closed.
Jaskier was so close that he could feel the vibrations of Geralt's words in his throat. "We all check out together. Morning after next."
Jaskier popped his head back up. "You're coming to the show then? Not just sound check?" He asked excitedly. He twisted around to look at Yennefer too. She was smiling at him in such a quiet pleased way that make Jaskier pre-miss her already even though she was here with him now.
"Wouldn't miss it," Yennefer promised.
Geralt added, "I even brought those earplugs with me that you recommended."
"I love you," Jaskier said completely seriously. Yennefer bit back a laugh but Geralt, god help him, blushed ever so slightly. And well, that was an invitation for a kiss if Jaskier ever saw one.
"Good morning," Geralt grumbled, eyes still closed. He had graciously allowed his partner to watch him sleep for gods knew how long. Now he was just hungry and knowing Jaskier and Yennefer, they were probably both already prepared with the room service breakfast menus.
"You're both here," Jaskier said happily. He rested his chin on Geralt's shoulder so he could peer over their shared massive hunk of a man to look at Yennefer. Her long hair managed to take over her own pillow and a part of Geralt's arm. Jaskier wanted to reach out and run his fingers through it, so he did, all while leaning more and more of his weight on Geralt.
"Did you think you imagined last night?" Yennefer asked, voice somehow clear and not sleep-crusted at all.
"You cannot blame me, dear. If not imagined, certainly it's been something I dreamt about the last few weeks." Jaskier's voice was soft, dreamy. He seemed so elated and gods, Yennefer caught Geralt's eye. They wanted to keep him this way.
"Same," Geralt said quietly. He pulled Jaskier over him and right onto his lap. They shifted a few times after an initial large embrace with Jaskier inhaling both of them in a way that Yennefer might have found creepy if she hadn't missed his warm scent just as much.
Yennefer watched the two of them as she moved away to stretched. It certainly was a sight that she wouldn't mind seeing again— and often. She reached towards the breakfast menu on the nightstand next to the bed. Even with as big as the hotel room was, their bags created a field a debris around the bed as they all had searched for chargers and clothings before dropping to sleep in a heap the previous night.
A book in Jaskier's bag caught her eye. “What are you reading?” Yennefer plucked it from the duffel bag and read the title aloud, “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.” She passed it off to Geralt who decided to intensely read the whole back cover to himself while Jaskier watched with fondness.
"It's about how to maintain healthy poly relationships," Jaskier told her. He tried his best to gesture extravagantly with both of his arms but it didn't have its regular effect since most of the space around him was taken up by Geralt. "Or really, any relationship really that isn't just monogamous or between two people. Any intimate sort of, well, you get it."
“Can I borrow this?” Geralt asked gruffly.
“I’m in the middle of reading it,” Jaskier said exasperatedly, affection still in his tone.
“I just ordered us copies.” Yennefer waved her phone at them. “They had an audiobook version for you,” she told Geralt. Jaskier beamed at her as he felt Geralt's arm tighten around his waist. He leaned his head back against Geralt's shoulder and reached to kiss his cheek. "Though," she said dryly, "I'm sure each chapter must end with an emphasis on communication."
"Wouldn't be the worst idea an editor had ever had." Jaskier held out his hand and she brought her phone and the room service menu back to bed with her.
"Is Ciri terribly jealous that you're here and she isn't?" Jaskier asked. “Last time we spoke, you had mentioned perhaps flying out with her so she could see a show.”
Geralt groaned as Yennefer answered with mirth, “Oh and she hasn’t let us forget it. She's leveraging it into bullying Geralt to let her move instead the basement. Bigger bathroom, more space. A proper little suite for our college kid who is debating switching to commuting next year or the year after.”
“Sensible,” Jaskier said. “It’s expensive to live on campus but if you start out there, you’ve got that foundation made and friends to crash with.”
“Those are almost exactly her words.” Geralt squinted at him. “Did you help her with that godawful PowerPoint presentation I had to sit through?” He danced his fingers up Jaskier’s thigh, letting his partner squirm away from the tickles, laughing the whole time.
“Well I didn’t very well know she was going to have such good leverage. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have told her to lay it on so thick!” Jaskier threw his head back in laughter as Geralt used his ministrations to tug Jaskier towards him for a kiss.
“It’s not the only reason she wants to move to the basement,” Yennefer reminded them. Jaskier frowned a questioning expression at her. Geralt held out a hand and she let him pull her into their circle as well.
“We don’t have to decide now. Or ever. But the thought is that perhaps if we start spending more time there...”
Jaskier caught on. “Ah, right. Moving in, you mean. Potentially.” He would be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about it. The idea of having the two of them close to him so often, coming home to them at the end of the long day. The image certainly was appealing. Almost as though Yennefer had been right about the whole dating thing.
"We haven't talked about anything concrete. And we don’t need to for a while. She really does want the basement regardless. But it crossed her mind and ours, certainly," Geralt clarified nervously.
“Yennefer too.” It wasn’t a question. Jaskier said it with such a stern tone and Yennefer loved him so much for it.
"Yennefer too," Geralt said seriously.
"We talked a bit in abstract. But, I like my space.” Which both of the boys knew but accepted that she needed to say it out loud.
"The book says it’s important to have your own spaces." Jaskier wiggled around and used his foot to point to the book. "I think it's a good idea to keep your apartment. I know we all have different work needs. Not to mention life ones.”
"Yes, that’s what I thought too. I could keep my place and also move in to the house. Theoretically. I'd be taking Ciri's old room as my own. For an office or anything really.” Yennefer ran her fingers through his short hair. He hadn't gotten the chance to get it cut before the tour and now it was longer than he'd had it in quite some time. Jaskier didn't mind the length but it did make the nights up on stage rather sweaty.
“Nice to know the apartment is there if you need it,” he murmured. He wished he could come up with another word besides security blanket. Because that wasn’t this. This was a known necessity. So Jaskier didn’t elaborate.
“Or if any of us need it,” Yennefer offered. She caught Geralt's gaze. "I know you have a workspace and the gallery but still. It would be a different kind of space." Turning slightly, she nudged Jaskier again. "What do you think then?"
“You’ve never lived with me," Jaskier pointed out nervously. "Either of you."
This had been one of the reasons he had been avoiding the conversation. Dating whilst long distance was one thing. Moving in was another. He doubted he’d make an official decision until the summer. He needed time with them all being in one place.
Yennefer was a neat person and so was her apartment. It wasn’t minimalist: she had things. But she also had a cleaning service. Geralt's house certainly wasn't tidy but it was...organized chaos. But in Jaskier's mind, that was acceptable because he was an adult with a child. He imagined the mess just moved in with the toddler and never left. As opposed to Jaskier's apartment and his office at the university. Which were both just an adult mess and regular chaos, in his mind.
“I’ve seen your apartment.” Yennefer's smirk reminded the other two just exactly why she had been at Jaskier's place.
“She’s seen your apartment?” Jaskier wasn't sure he had ever seen Geralt pout before this day. It was very charming. He tilted his head up for a mollifying kiss.
“It’s 50% plants and 50% instruments you’re tripping over,” Yennefer informed him.
“Like the man in that movie Ciri used to make us watch? With all the dogs?" Geralt asked.
Jaskier looked at them with such fondness that Geralt didn’t quite know what to do with. Luckily, Yennefer swooped in to kiss him while he was distracted so Geralt could move in for the final blow of encouragement.
He pressed his lips to the base of Jaskier's throat and kissed him. He whispered loud enough for both of them to hear him. “My house has enough room for your instruments. There's a whole spare office suite that will be yours. If you need more room, then we can put an addition onto the workspace out in the garage. Just something to think about.”
Well, he was asking so very politely. How could Jaskier refuse?
"Jas! Congrats! That's so brilliant" Ciri squealed into her mobile phone. "Oh, hi Mom! Yeah, she just walked in. Oh? What do you mean?"
Well, Yennefer didn't like that tone. That normally meant someone had gotten in trouble. Or was about to be in deep shit. But Ciri had also said "Congrats!" so perhaps she didn't have too much to worry about.
"Well, you can tell the dean to shove it when you get back if you've got the votes."
Now that caught Yennefer's attention. She whirled around and saw the beaming smile on her daughter's face. “Seriously? He got them to add another creative credit option?”
At that, she heard Jaskier's tinny wail through Ciri's mobile. “I was going to tell them tonight! It was a surprise!” He cried. “Essi! You surprise-ruiner!”
“I didn’t know it was a secret,” Essi’s voice came through the phone not even a little apologetic.
“Call me, Julek!” Yennefer ordered through her daughter’s phone. She headed right back outside to Geralt's work space.
“What’s going on?” Geralt asked, peering up from his desk. “I heard screaming.”
The black streaks of charcoal covered his fingers and hands as they traveled up to his elbows. It looked as though he had fallen right into his pallet. Perhaps he had. His latest work was full of intentional smudges. A three pronged piece with softened edges that didn’t need an explanation for Yennefer or Jaskier.
“You’ll see,” Yennefer promised. She set her phone on his desk and waited for Jaskier’s face to pop up.
Twenty minutes until soundcheck. Twenty days since he had seen them last. Enough time to send both Geralt and Yennefer separate text messages for them to see after their joint therapy session.
While Jaskier insisted he didn't deal in ultimatums, Geralt had liked Yennefer's idea of couples therapy. Not for all three of them, not yet, if needed at all. But separately, yes. And for him and Yennefer, also yes. He had, in his steady way, explained that he had missed Yennefer and perhaps as a parallel aside to their relationship with Jaskier, they could work through some old wounds and feelings to better understand each other.
“If you weren’t going to stay together for Ciri, I don’t know why you’d do it for me." Jaskier shook his head.
Yennefer's response sounded practiced. Like she had said it so often until she and everyone around her had no choice but to believe her, “We were better apart for Ciri.”
“I don’t know that’s true,” Geralt said quietly. They both waited patiently for him to find his words.
Yennefer bit back a response and instead, pushed that tension of her body. Waiting for Geralt was important. He mattered and they’d wait as long as it took because she knew now that Geralt wasn’t taking his time to spite her.
“I think it was a lot of changes at once. Ciri, my art, Yennefer’s new job. New at the time. I think we both...couldn’t figure out how to be together while being anything else. Everything else.”
He looked up at Yennefer. "I don't want to make the same mistakes. I want to be better."
He had taken him a while to get it out but when it was done, Jaskier couldn't help but be teary-eyed. Yennefer had gotten up and gone over to him. She took his hand in hers and said, "That sounds like a plan. We'll be better together."
It hadn't been easy, not that any of them had expected it to be but Ciri herself had texted Jaskier that while her parents had been getting along after meeting Jaskier, this was like living in a whole new world. Discussions and talking. And some yelling, sure. But nothing vicious. No harsh or spiteful insults that would have Ciri begging to go back to university before the dorms even opened back up for the semester.
Yennefer still was living in her apartment for now. She needed her space, something neither her nor Geralt had realized during their first time together.
"It also felt...not wrong, exactly. But the first night I stayed too late Geralt's house and had to sleep there, I wanted you to be there as well. I'm not saying..." Yennefer huffed, in such a Geralt-way, as she tried to articulate her thoughts. "It's not that I can't sleep at Geralt's without you. But so early in what we're doing here? And with you gone? It didn't feel right, not yet. We're doing this with you, remember?"
Jaskier smiled at her through the small phone screen. "Yes, I remember."
It was work, by the gods. But Jaskier had expected that. He rarely had the opportunity to get to this part of a relationship. He could argue a bit with the two of them and be smiling the whole time because he knew that whatever happened, they'd still be together. Even if that space included some space from one another. It was never for long and not without communication.
Jaskier could see it in their minds just the same as his own. They each had a mental checklist of support and reminders.
Making sure Geralt had time to verbalize his thoughts.
Making sure Yennefer didn’t have to do everything by herself.
Making sure Jaskier wasn’t a tie breaker.
He knew it would be different once he was back in the city but he was excited at the prospect. He couldn't wait.
"Professor Pankratz well, Jaskier has become a bit famous." Ciri waved her phone at her father. She kicked the workshop door closed behind her. Geralt shut his eyes and resisted a wince at the loud noise that hadn't changed since Ciri was old enough to put force behind her foot.
"What do you mean?" He obediently looked down when she placed the phone in front of him. It was tilted horizontally and opened to a shaky video of one of Essi's concerts. Clearly shot from the front row in the audience, Jaskier was at an odd angle but the video was clearly focused just on him.
He looked good. He was smiling off-camera at someone, presumably Essi. There was a guitar around his neck that slung low to around where his hips were. Tragically, the body of the guitar was blocking what Geralt knew were tight pants that hugged Jaskier's legs all the way down so he could tuck them into a pair of his beloved designer boots at the ankles. At least Jaskier had been gracious enough to leave most of his shirt unbuttoned but judging by the sweat, Geralt had to assume that was a practical decision to combat the heat of the stage lights. Still he was grateful for any opportunity to get a look at his partner's ample chest hair during their time apart, even if someone else had been doing the filming.
"Essi likes playing with him on stage. I mean, teasing him and flirting and stuff," Ciri explained as Geralt continued to watch.
'Playing' was probably the best term for it since ‘a strange version of musician chicken between two people who were both in committed relationships’ was rather long. Geralt supposed that the fans didn't know that bit though. Or didn’t care.
He scrolled through the comments, careful not to touch the video so it kept playing.
"The hot rhythm guitarist is also apparently, on occasion, the hot substitute violinist."
"The flames on the stage set are actually fueled by their sexual tension."
“He’s a professor?? Where at? I’m about to enroll.”
"She said in that Vice interview that he was taken but it sounded like a threat? How?? Why??? What could that possibly mean??”
Geralt smirked and nudged the phone back towards Ciri. "Forward some of those comments to your mother. She'll get a kick out of them."
It all felt unreal. Standing in front of Geralt’s house with his guitar and large duffel bag. Fresh from the airport and not quite understanding how his tired legs were still managing to keep him upright.
"You look exhausted." Yennefer didn't sound concerned though. She wasn't chastising him either. Her tone was low and warm, almost amused. Probably because now he was clinging to Geralt like a barnacle, knowing the man could handle it.
"Hmm? Reflects how I feel, I'd reckon." Jaskier didn't open his eyes or move from where he was resting all his weight on Geralt but he did reach out his hand towards Yennefer's voice. When she grasped it, he pulled her forward and let out a sigh when he finally had the two of them against him. Oh how he wished they were horizontal. Not necessarily for fun naked times but cozy sleep times. He wondered if all of his instruments had gotten off of the bus safely. He’d have a hell of a time getting them back to his apartment but that was future Jaskier’s problem. "Thank fuck."
"We've missed you."
Jaskier relaxed even further into their hold and Geralt's forehead furrowed at the release of tension. He looked at Yennefer who used her free hand to stroke at Jaskier's hair.
"You just missed the delivery truck too. Great timing."
"Delivery truck?" Jaskier murmured, his interest trying to overtake his exhaustion. He tried to open his eyes but gave up at the cost of the effort.
"Bigger mattress," Geralt grumbled and the sound in his chest like a rough purr had Jaskier shifting his head around Geralt's chest, searching for the vibrations.
When Jaskier realized what had been said, he didn't snap up but rather, he squeezed his eyes shut even tighter, curling into Geralt's chest more, and tugging Yennefer even closer.
"You can get bigger than a king size?" He asked, trying and failing to hide the watery tone in his question.
"You can when you order custom," Yennefer told him slyly, pressing a kiss to his hair.
"We didn't want to sleep in there without you," Geralt murmured. "It's our bed."
Yennefer couldn't tell if Jaskier's overwhelmed, bashful expression was something they had to worry about just yet but even if it was, he was home now, with them. They had time.