It’s the Wolf’s fault.
Letho doesn’t congregate with other witchers when he can avoid it. There aren’t enough Vipers left and the rest of the schools are fucking annoying to deal with. He makes due on his own, but then he just had to fuck around and wind up owing Geralt his life. Letho hates walking around indebted to anyone so when he saw the Wolf’s barker, Jaskier, about to have his head taken from his shoulders, he figured—perfect. Save the Bird, deliver him to the Wolf, call it even and never speak again.
That was months ago now.
“So,” Jaskier says, sitting at his camp like he has any business there at all. “Exactly how poisonous is your blood?”
Letho doesn’t pause where he’s bandaging his own wounds after having to draw a sword to keep the bard from trying to do it for him. He’s considered killing him several times—not the first of which when Jaskier said Geralt might pay more for him dead than alive—but hasn’t given into the temptation yet. He’s not sure why. He’s also not sure why he keeps responding to him. “To humans? It’d burn your skin. If I coat a blade, it’ll kill in minutes even if I don’t bleed you out.”
“Oh, lovely,” Jaskier says flatly. Then after a moment of drumming his fingers against his lute. “What if I’m not fully human?”
That certainly explains a few things. Letho had thought Jaskier smelled a little too much like ozone underneath all the bullshit oils he slathers on himself. “You’re human enough.”
Jaskier hums. “Is it true what they say about snake venom?”
“What?” Letho snaps impatiently.
“You know,” he says, twirling his hand meaninglessly, and Letho definitely doesn’t know. “That if you drink it enough, you’ll be immune to snake bites?”
Letho actually looks up at him and is forced to contend with the idea that he’s being followed by a lunatic. “It’d kill you first.”
“What about other fluids?” Jaskier replies, undeterred.
“Well, I can’t tend to your wounds if your wounds could kill me,” Jaskier says like it should be obvious, before continuing right over Letho attempting to say he doesn’t need some bard’s help. “So, they need to not kill me. Is your saliva poisonous?”
“Not enough to kill,” Letho says, tying off his bandage, lucky fuckin’ cockatrice. He gives Jaskier a smile, knowing full well his smiles never come across as friendly. “Want me to spit in a cup for you?”
It succeeds in making Jaskier gag, shaking his head as if to clear the thought. “You’re a savage, there are far more pleasant ways to—” His expression brightens a second later, previous disgust entirely forgotten. “Oh! What about your semen?”
Letho lets the smile fall. “Fuck off, bard.”
“Fuck off, as in of course it is or fuck off, of course it’s not?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Letho snaps, standing and shouldering his pack.
“How wouldn’t...?” Jaskier’s eyes go wide. “Wait, Letho, are you—?”
Letho would laugh at the implication of him being allowed to have any honor worth defending, but he gets why it’d be hard to imagine anyone willingly under him. “Other witchers are immune,” he cuts in, turning to walk away, “and I’ve never tried to kill anyone with my dick.”
Jaskier scoffs. “I’m sure there’s some murder novel written about that,” he mutters dismissively, jogging to catch up. “But what if I kiss you every day? Could I increase my tolerance to your blood?”
“What if I cut out your tongue?” Letho says, not the first time he’s threatened to silence Jaskier permanently, but the threats never appear to have any effect. Jaskier has yet to smell properly scared of him since that first night. It wore off within an hour. Letho would be concerned he’s losing his touch if he wasn’t fully certain Jaskier is insane.
Point in case, threatened with violence, Jaskier just gets closer to him. “Come on, it’s not that bad, is it?” he wheedles, as close to Letho as he can get without touching him or tripping himself. “Even if I’m not your type, it’s a utility! I can safely bandage your wounds—”
“I can bandage my own wounds,” Letho says firmly.
“And what if one day you can’t?” Jaskier pushes. “I’d rather not try fumbling with putting your insides back in while your blood is blistering my hands. Wearing gloves would make stitches far too difficult to—”
Letho stops walking sharply, impressed when Jaskier manages to stop without crashing into him, but too annoyed to comment on it. He towers over Jaskier, looking down at him blankly. “What’s it matter to you?”
Human emotions are hard for Letho to parse in general, but Jaskier is so damn expressive it’s like getting a crash course. Confusion and pain. Letho’s words confused and hurt him.
“Because I hardly want you dead, Letho,” Jaskier exclaims. “And while dying to save you would be very heroic of me, I’d rather not die young.”
“You’re almost forty,” Letho replies, for lack of anything else to say. Jaskier may be the only person alive who wouldn’t gladly see him dead, but he hasn’t got a clue what to do with that.
“Who told you that? Vicious rumor,” Jaskier dismisses, putting his hands on his waist and leaning into Letho’s space. “At any rate. Can I kiss you?”
There’s some tingle of intuition in the back of Letho’s mind that says this is a bad idea. Witchers don’t live long ignoring their gut instincts and Letho is no fool. Jaskier caring is… not right. It doesn’t fit into the view of the world Letho has put together and it shouldn’t be trusted. Thing is, Jaskier isn’t lying though. No anxiety in his scent, no stutter of his heartbeat. He genuinely just wants to be able to help Letho.
“You don’t even know if kissing me would work,” Letho reminds him, dumbstruck when Jaskier just grins.
“It would work in pleasing me if nothing else,” Jaskier sings and, bold as a fool, goes up on his toes to press his lips against Letho’s.
Letho hasn’t… actually done much kissing in his time. When they were snakelets, just figuring out how bodies worked, sure, but that was already rare and now it’s fewer and further between. The witchers that have come onto him since then aren’t looking for romance, they’re looking for the kind of hard fuck that would terrify most humans. The few that kiss as foreplay usually use teeth.
Jaskier’s mouth is as soft as anything.
It throws Letho for such a loop he doesn’t quite know how to respond right off, but Jaskier is gone before he gets the chance to try.
“Huh! I don’t feel poisoned,” he says, licking his lips and Letho’s gaze follows his tongue without thought. “My lips are tingly, but that could just be the usual kissing a handsome man sort of thing.”
Handsome, what the fuck is with this kid?
“Now, was that so terrible?” Jaskier says, stepping back out of Letho’s space, bringing his lute back around to his front. “Can we carry on or have I broken you?”
Letho sneers. “A kiss would never break me.”
“Excellent!” Jaskier replies, striking a chord on his lute with a flourish. He turns back in the direction Letho had been headed. “Where to now, my charming snake?”
Letho gets kissed every day. Usually, multiple times a day.
It’s… not horrible.
This is the most bizarre period of Letho’s life to date, but it’s by no means horrible. Jaskier never wakes up first, but when he wakes up, bleary eyed and sleep mussy, he looks for Letho immediately to greet him with a kiss. When Letho does something that makes him laugh—never intentionally, of course, but still—he’s rewarded with a kiss. When he hunts for them, when he completes a contract, when Jaskier’s figured out the words to a song he’s writing, when he’s bored, when he looks at Letho too long, Jaskier is quick to come forward with a kiss.
The kisses are increasingly thorough, but still so soft it… it trips Letho’s pulse, sometimes. He’s not made for softness, but Jaskier gives it freely and it melts something in his chest that he refuses to acknowledge.
Once, some alderman tries to bluster his way out of paying the agreed price, talking big like he isn’t pouring with anxious sweat, like he isn’t a foot and fifty pounds smaller than Letho. Ballsy, but useless; Letho is just considering how to leverage the fear in his scent when Jaskier suddenly pops like overheated iron in a forge. Hissing and spitting, Jaskier starts dropping hints of information that make the old man blanch like a ghost even though Letho has no clue how he’d know any of that. The man is in a hurry to pay then, though, and Letho winds up walking out with a heavier purse than he’d asked for in the first place.
“Fucking prick,” Jaskier is still steaming as they leave and Letho is struggling to keep his eyes off him. “Save his town and he tries to browbeat you! I should’ve laid him flat for that nonsense. ‘Mutant dogs get scraps’, may dogs eat his balls!! It’s always the ones with horrid interior design, too, I—”
Letho has very strong feelings about public affections. Jaskier has respected these, reserving his kisses for when they’re alone, even though it’s clear it pains him to resist Letho at times. Pains him, like somehow touching Letho, being near him is a good thing, which—he’s crazy, he has to be, but maybe Letho is, too.
Today, Letho is the one pained, so he picks Jaskier up like he weighs nothing—he’s a solid man, which is something of a surprise, but no match for a witcher’s strength—and turns down an alley.
“Letho?” Jaskier says, startled perhaps, pulse pounding, but not afraid, never afraid.
Letho steps just out of sight and kisses him for all he’s worth.
It’s not quite the softness he’s learned as of late, but it’s not the roughness he’s been known to give before. He holds Jaskier aloft and tastes his tongue, fire sparking down his insides when Jaskier moans, delighted, and wraps his arms around Letho’s neck. It doesn’t feel like a threat, doesn’t even register as one when Jaskier returns his kisses so eagerly.
This is a weakness he should not allow himself, Letho thinks, before he decides he does what he wants, fuck anything else. He growls and Jaskier shudders, but that spiced scent coming off him is still very much not fear.
“You’re insane,” Letho tells Jaskier, and also himself.
Jaskier looks dazed, but not enough to keep from smiling. “And you like me, so what’s that say about you?”
If Letho ever figures it out, he probably still won’t admit it out loud. He doesn’t examine the part of himself that is loathed to put Jaskier back on his own two feet, nor the part that thrills when Jaskier leans close to his chest to steal another kiss before they leave the alley.
Generally, Letho wouldn’t consider himself an ‘in for a copper, in for a crown’ sort of guy, but if he’s not scraping the bard off his shoe anytime soon, he may as well…enjoy it.
Letho leans into kisses, lets them linger. He doesn’t comment when Jaskier sleeps closer and closer to him at night, leans against him when they’re alone. Jaskier wants to share meals, makes up flimsy excuses about his little immunity quest when he bites into Letho’s food or sips his ale. The spiced rum smell of his arousal makes Letho’s mouth water some nights, or in the mornings when Jaskier hasn’t woken yet, sleep soft and dream hard against his side. It’s torture. Clearly this is hell.
“So,” Jaskier says one morning, voice still rough with sleep, his back pressed against Letho’s side. “Is it my modesty you’re trying to preserve or are you still worried about your corrosive cock?”
“I doubt you have much modesty left,” Letho answers, not bothering to dignify the second part of that question. He looks over when Jaskier rolls over to face him. He’s hard, entirely shameless about it, but he doesn’t press any closer.
“We’ll never know if we don’t test it out,” Jaskier says.
There’s a loose nail under the bed. Letho had noticed it when he was putting his swords down last night, reaches back to find it without looking.
“What are you—? Oh, Letho!” Jaskier chastises, sitting up when he sees the tiny gash of blood on Letho’s thumb. “That’s not what I meant!”
“Would you rather find out in one spot on your arm or all over your face?” Letho snaps, gratified by the way Jaskier goes pink at the insinuation. When Letho holds out his hand, Jaskier places his wrist on Letho’s palm trustingly and Letho—just has to breathe for a second.
Letho draws a line of blood up Jaskier’s forearm. He watches him get goosebumps from the sensation. “Hurts?” he asks, prepared to lick it off if needs must, but the skin doesn’t peel or blister on contact.
Jaskier shakes his head. “No, just… tickles a little?” he looks away from the red line on his arm and his pupils are surprisingly wide. “I like feeling like you marked me, though.”
Heat fills Letho in a startling rush. He’s almost annoyed at how fast his cock perks up at that sentence. “Fuckin’ tease,” he snarls, but far from threatened, the smell of Jaskier’s arousal just increases.
“It’s not a tease unless you want it to be,” Jaskier replies, glancing between his arm and Letho’s crotch before he meets his gaze pointedly. “Is this proof enough of concept to let me suck you off?”
Fuck, that’s almost enough to make Letho cave. He’s hard and Jaskier wants, but—
What’s happened to him? He’s loathed to risk Jaskier’s health even a little.
“No,” he growls, but before Jaskier can let the pouty look on his face come out of his mouth, Letho kisses him. Even when he’s annoyed, Jaskier always melts a little for kisses, makes the most delicious sounds. “If you’re not a brat about it, I’ll get you off.”
Jaskier actually pauses. “Can I use my hand to get you off?”
Letho doesn’t understand this man at all, but it’s not like he’s going to say no. “Sure,” he replies. “Might need both hands, though.”
“Oh, fuck—” Jaskier groans, but the words cut off as he presses forward for another kiss, clambering over Letho’s lap.
For all that Jaskier appears to want to meld their bodies together mouth first, there’s still something so tender about it compared to what Letho is used to. Warring instincts surge up within him, the urge to grab hard enough to bruise, and bite instead of kiss, to overpower because that’s what his body is good for. All of that bumps right up against the reality of Jaskier, warm and close in his lap. He shudders when Jaskier’s hands cup his cheeks, coming up to the back of his head and stroking gently. The way his body moves in unhurried rolls as he lays his arms over Letho’s shoulders, pressing their arousals together as he sucks Letho’s lip. He pulls away with a little love bite, leaves a trail of nips up Letho’s jaw until he can suck at his throat.
Letho flat out refuses to spill in his smalls from necking.
With Jaskier clinging to him, it’s a little hard to wedge his hand between them, but when Jaskier gets the hint of where he’s going, he mewls right against Letho’s ear, sending lust pouring right through his core.
Humans have made all kinds of noises at Letho before, but nothing like this. Jaskier is moaning with pleasure. He smells aroused and happy—the thick spice-and-honey scent filling Letho’s nose as he gets a hand in his pants.
Letho’s hand is big enough to nearly entirely cover—gods.
“Please, darling,” Jaskier begs, already leaking against Letho’s palm. He shudders at the slicker slide of Letho’s hand, or maybe the way Letho growls against his shoulder. Letho doesn’t bother trying to figure out which, just strokes Jaskier off with all the urgency encouraged by his quickening breathing. “Feels so good, Letho.”
“You talk a lot,” Letho says, feeling overheated.
Jaskier’s laugh is as dark and sweet as chocolate. “Shut me up, then,” he says, voice lower than Letho is used to.
Letho kisses him again. Until Jaskier is breathing too quickly to kiss back, until he’s moaning, far louder than a hand job should warrant, probably. Letho looks down between them to watch Jaskier’s come shoot over his fingers.
The thought that he wants to lick his own hand clean blindsides him, the thick smell of Jaskier’s arousal and joy making his heart pound. His hand is already in his mouth before Jaskier even registers what he’s doing.
“Oh, who’s the tease here!” he complains breathily, but is quick to pat at Letho’s shoulders, urging him back. Letho falls back against the bed agreeably, licking his hand hopefully like he’s being a tease and not like he’s savoring the taste. He watches lazily as Jaskier fumbles his cock back into his pants before going for Letho’s crotch. “Mock me with what I can’t have, see how long I make you wait now.”
Jaskier doesn’t make him wait long at all, drooling onto Letho’s cock in a way that is somehow not gross at all before he takes him in his hands. For such a beautiful singer, he’s got one hell of a filthy fucking mouth and details every single thing he wants to do to Letho’s cock.
Suddenly, Letho has a bucket list.
Letho comes with a low sound that Jaskier echoes sympathetically, pumping Letho’s cock until he reaches down to stop him.
“Fuck, you come a lot,” Jaskier says, looking down at his hands.
Sensing Jaskier’s urge to be a brat, Letho is quick to catch him by the wrists and clean his hands himself.
“Spoilsport,” Jaskier snaps, but his voice is soft and fond as Letho laves attention on his fingers. He eyes the skin carefully, finds it possibly a little tender, slightly pinker than normal, but nothing worse. The skin under the smudge of blood once Letho cleans it is similarly unharmed.
“Fuckin’ stupid that this is working,” Letho grumbles against the inside of Jaskier’s wrist without thought.
“I have good ideas sometimes!” Jaskier says happily, kissing Letho on the nose and… Letho is pretty sure that’s actually a first for him.
There are a lot of firsts he gets to have with Jaskier, most of them far tamer than he ever would’ve ever even thought about or considered counting before.
There are perfectly chaste places that he’s never been kissed before and Jaskier adorns all of them. Letho is particularly shaken when he’s standing shirtless in a river and Jaskier walks up, arms around his waist, for no more reason than to touch him, and presses his lips between Letho’s shoulder blades. Jaskier is the first person to bathe him since Auckes when he was sick to death after The Trials, but Letho isn’t sick this time. Jaskier just bought nice soaps and wanted hands on him. Jaskier is the first time Letho is serenaded, the first time Letho picks someone’s safety over a payout, the first time someone calls him ‘my love’ and Letho is so—He’s so something that he almost wants to up and walk away from the weight of the words, said sweetly against his chest in the middle of the night. He doesn’t, though, because for the first time he clings, wraps around Jaskier as tight and protectively as he can. Letho wants and Letho has.
The Wolf is never getting this Birdy back.
Letho is sitting with a human reclined in his lap. The dark woods around them are noisy to a witcher, but with nothing that could harm his… companion. He thinks this is another first for him, feeling relaxed with another body touching his. Jaskier is humming under his breath because he’s hardly ever silent outside of a job where it may get Letho hurt. He’s talked Letho’s hand into his hair, soft and warm as anything and…
“You know,” Jaskier says, eyes opening in the dim firelight to look up at Letho. “We never did sort out the matter of you coming in my mouth.”
Fuckin’ tart, Letho thinks, scowling, but Jaskier is already smiling at him, rolling onto his stomach between Letho’s legs.
“It’s like…” Jaskier pauses to catch his breath, cheek resting on Letho’s thigh as he stretches his jaw. “You’ve had numbing peppers?”
“No, but the name’s pretty on the nose,” Letho replies, heart still hammering from coming, hand still in Jaskier’s hair.
“Shush, they’re a delicacy,” Jaskier replies, nipping at Letho’s exposed hip. “I mean to say, I’m a little tingly inside, but I don’t feel like I’m dying.”
The next morning Jaskier is a little hoarse for a while, but that may be from Letho’s spend as much as the way Jaskier howled when Letho threw his legs over his shoulders and ate him out until he was begging for him to suck his cock.
Generally, Letho is not swayed by begging, but well. He fucked around and spoiled his bard; too late to train him any better. He’ll gladly suffer the consequences.
Sometimes the consequences are paid in blood, as is the price of being a witcher, but Letho pays these, too.
Fucking nobles, is all he can think, because Jaskier tried to warn him about this manor seeming off, but Letho got fuckin’ cocky and, lo and behold, another lord tried to fuck him over. The man had the gall to offer Jaskier’s life as payment, like he didn’t know that was a surefire way to wind up painfully dead. Bird is quick with a fucking dagger, though; pale faced and pulse racing, but fully willing to rid the countryside of its baron before heeding Letho’s order to run. The guards were no match for an enraged—oh, that’s the feeling, that’s new—witcher, but there were enough of them to get in a few good hits before he dispatched them all.
Letho doesn’t acknowledge the cool pit in his chest, it doesn’t mean anything, because Jaskier is fine. Even if Letho is bleeding too much to smell which way he went, even if he’s limping slower than he’d like, even if he has to trust Jaskier’s legs and good sense to keep him out of trouble until they find each other again.
Whatever else Letho may feel about The White Wolf, he’ll admit, he had his bard trained well from their years together. Letho follows his instincts to the safest place to hide away and nurse his wounds. A minute later, he hears footsteps pounding towards him. His sword is in his hand already, but he recognizes the gait before he can even lift it.
Jaskier reeks of anxious sweat, but he’s unharmed and coming at Letho with wide, relieved eyes. “Thank Melitele.”
Letho jerks back, startled when Jaskier reaches for his face. “M’bleedin’.”
“I don’t care,” Jaskier says and hauls him, kisses him. “I don’t care, Letho, I thought they’d—You had me scared to death.”
Something in Letho flickers with offence at the thought that a dozen guards would be enough to damage him, but it’s turned on its head by the idea that Jaskier was afraid for him instead of himself. This is madness, it really is, but Letho’s let Jaskier get into his chest too deeply to dig out now. He lets himself be kissed, unsure which if them is really being soothed by the action, until Jaskier has to step back to breathe.
Jaskier dazed and shaking with fading adrenaline, Letho’s blood on his lips is…
It’s sure something to see.
“Think you’re immune enough to stitch me up?” Letho teases, but the joke falls flat when Jaskier starts to fluttering around, shifted right back into indignant concern as he goes for his bag.
“Were you just going to stand there bleeding out while I kissed you!?” Jaskier exclaims, holding a rag that started life as a doublet against his thigh.
“Worse ways to go,” Letho replies, but when Jaskier looks up at him, shocked and pink, he feels like that was too much of an admission. He motions impatiently. “You wanted to be able to stitch me up, do it. I gotta put my fingers back in place.”
It’s a long night.
Letho can’t pretend it’s not worth it, though, even curled up on the floor of a half-rotted farmhouse. Jaskier is losing the sour smell of anxiety, back to his usual ozone and honey, a tinge of Letho’s blood still on his breath.
…The memory of that lingers.
Once Letho is convinced he won’t accidently poison Jaskier, it takes embarrassingly little provocation on Jaskier’s part to get himself fucked. Still loathed to hurt him, Letho spends more coin on oil than he ever has in his life to this point, but also spends more time on his knees eating Jaskier out until he cries. He’s okay with both these developments.
Jaskier has managed to charm their way into an inn tonight. They’re thankful to be out of the howling rain, even if they’re sleeping on the floor because the bed is too short for Letho. They’re on their bedrolls in front of the fire and the crashing thunder outside is hardly loud enough to cover Jaskier’s caterwauling.
“Gonna get us put out,” Letho warns lowly, but he’s balls deep and not pulling out for anything less than Jaskier telling him to.
“Fuck, Letho!” Jaskier whimpers, still too loud, hands slipping on the sweat on Letho’s back, before he smothers the next sound by pressing a sucking bite into the crook of Letho’s neck.
A low groan jumps out of Letho’s chest at the dull feeling of Jaskier’s teeth. Witchers have no loyalty to anyone but their schools; they certainly have no masters, no one who’d claim them, but—Letho wants. “Bite harder,” he finds himself saying, closing his arms around Jaskier to keep him close even as he fucks into him.
Jaskier lets out a curious little moan, but—for once in his life—does as he’s asked immediately and Letho’s cock throbs inside of him.
“Fuck,” Letho says, snapping his hips forward again as Jaskier sobs through his teeth, into Letho’s shoulder. “Harder, Birdy, I want—” he loses his words for a second, grabbing Jaskier’s hips to lift him into a new angle that makes him squeal. “Draw blood.”
There’s a split second of hesitation. Just long enough that a tingle of doubt starts in the back of his mind, but it’s obliterated a second later by Jaskier gasping in a breath before he goes back in and sinks his teeth into Letho’s skin.
The sound Letho makes is more animal than man as the sharp pain radiates from his shoulder, the smell of his blood mixing with the smell of sex hanging heavy in the room. He curses a blue streak, nearly understanding what the Cats talk about when they feel frenzied. Jaskier is clinging to him with everything now, legs tight around his waist, nails digging into his back, his teeth—Letho’s blood—Jaskier is coming beneath him—
Letho shouts as he comes, grinding as deep as he can into Jaskier’s heat, pleasure nearly making him blind with it. “Jaskier,” he breathes, with the reverence humans usually reserve for prayers.
Jaskier’s chest is still heaving, his breath hot against Letho’s neck. He lets go of the bite he’s dug into Letho’s shoulder only to lave his tongue over it in the next motion.
“Fuck,” Letho grits, a little aftershock spasming his hips against Jaskier’s again, drawing out a shocked little sound. “You got any vampire in you?”
Jaskier laughs breathlessly. “Not that I’m aware of, I think I’d have noticed that by now,” he says, licking across the wound on Letho’s shoulder, the sting tingling through Letho’s whole body. “That was delicious, though.” He falls back into the furs lazily, blood smeared across his mouth, his own come splattered across his stomach.
It makes Letho’s mouth water. “Can you go again?”
If there were ever a night where Letho would have thought Jaskier would decide this was Too Much, Letho thinks it would’ve been that one. It would’ve been the strange, animal intimacy of bloodletting with teeth during sex, the intense way Letho bore down on him, wanting to fit their pieces together in a way that was more than physical. It would’ve been when Letho growled “You’re mine,” into Jaskier’s chest, squeezing like a constrictor with no intention of ever letting go. It should’ve been too much to ask, because everything else, being a companion to a witcher, to The Kingslayer is already a lot, but… Jaskier hadn’t been scared. Jaskier was elated—and very well sated, as it were—but he wasn’t scared off.
Jaskier’s mouth had tasted like blood when he kissed him. “And you’re mine, dear heart,” he replied, easy as breathing, not like making a promise, like it was simply the truth.
It’s been two years and Letho still…has Jaskier.
Two years is nothing, not in the face of what Jaskier had with The Wolf before, not in the face of the long and arduous life of a witcher.
…It’s still long enough to feel like a miracle.
The Universe takes an opportunity to remind him that it is.
Jaskier is sitting behind him on the bed of their latest inn, presumably composing or something. Letho isn’t really paying attention until he says, “Darling, I think we should discuss your blood some more.”
“Yeah?” Letho answers, barely looking up from where he’s sharpening his dagger on the floor. “Why’s ‘at?”
Jaskier’s mug clunks against the table. “I’m fairly certain my tea was poisoned.”
For the first time that he can ever remember, Letho feels his heart drop. “What?” he exclaims as he whirls around to see the veins of Jaskier’s face streaked grey with toxicity. He drops everything as he launches across the room, snatching up the cup to sniff it. It’s got so many fucking rosebuds in it he almost can’t smell anything else, but underneath it, he thinks—
Letho’s ears start ringing, hands going numb. “Fuck,” he says, meaning for it to be a shout but it tumbles out weaker than anything he’s ever uttered before. “Jaskier, do you—?” he drops the mug, takes Jaskier by the face. “Fuck! How much did you drink?”
“Half the-half the cup, Letho, I—I didn’t—It just tastes like tea!” Jaskier sputters to explain. “I just started feeling weird.”
Letho blinks trying to think back to how long it’s been since he’d heard Jaskier start brewing this tea. Half a cup of hemlock, he should already be—Letho’s brain flinches away from the thought, back to the present where Jaskier looks concerned and ashen, but… bright-eyed and awake. “…Just weird?”
“I’m… a little tired?” Jaskier offers, looking at his hand before gingerly rubbing his stomach. “May need the privy here in a moment, but… I don’t feel like I’m dying?” He looks back up at Letho. “Do I look like I’m dying?”
Letho wouldn’t be able to do anything if he was. His knees nearly give out on him, but he tries to make it look like he’s just sitting down. He puts his hand on Jaskier’s throat; his pulse a little elevated, but not alarmingly so. “You can breathe okay?”
Jaskier takes a deep breath and it doesn’t sound tight or labored. He shrugs. “Yes?”
“And no pain?”
“No? Should it hurt?”
This flurry of emotions is starting to make Letho dizzy, but he thinks relief is winning the fight in his stomach. “A human, yeah,” he replies, stroking Jaskier’s hair back with a shaky hand.
Humming, Jaskier takes Letho’s hand between his. “Seems I’m even less that than I was before.”
And, well… Yeah. Jaskier was never fully human and he’s been microdosing on Viper mutagens for two years now. There’s a very good chance he’s not just immune to Letho, but a number of other poisons as well. Letho has never thanked the gods for anything, but fuck, he tosses up some gratitude today. He looks down at the mug where he had hardly even noticed it falling to the floor. “Who gave you that?”
If Jaskier is put off by the sudden coldness of his voice, he doesn’t show it. He just strokes up Letho’s forearm and replies calmly, “The healer said it’d help my voice.”
“Did he.” Letho replies, icy rage settled heavy in his chest. He ignores it for now, kissing Jaskier soundly, self-soothing in the sound of his heartbeat. The warmth of his lips is almost enough to disguise the tang of poison under the floral taste on his mouth. “Maybe he needs some help with his head.”
That night, Letho doesn’t take his eyes off Jaskier again. He stays close—even through a rather unpleasant trip to the privy—until the toxicity in his veins fades. Then gets closer until Jaskier’s face is pink from Letho’s attentions, eyes bright and happy. Letho watches him fall asleep as the sun sets. He breathes easy.
The next morning, the healer’s skull pops against the cobblestone behind his house and Letho leaves the mess for the buzzards.
By the time Letho gets back to the inn, Jaskier is standing outside, packed and holding out a bun for breakfast. He smiles as Letho walks up and takes it. “Ready?”
Letho grunts at him and starts walking, his songbird fluttering along beside him.
If the Universe wants his thanks, it’s got it as long as Letho’s got Jaskier.