Chapter six

"Geralt?" Eskel said casually, but immediately his brother was on the alert like he had heard a Shrieker scream in the distance.

"No," He said, narrowing his eyes at the calm and neutral expression Eskel was wearing.

"We have been spent nearly the whole winter here now," Eskel just carried on.

"I said no,"

"And as your brother, I care for you and feel the need to assist you,"

"You really don't," Geralt growled storming to the door, Eskel shifted easily and lodged his foot against it.

"You really need to talk about this," Eskel smiled brightly. Geralt growled and tugged the door but Eskel had managed to lodge it shut, the only way that he could get out would be to smash it, and Jaskier's reaction to that would be…

"What is there to talk about?" He growled.

"Jaskier," Eskel said, and all the fight went from Geralt.

"What about him? Is everything ok? Has he said something?" Geralt fired off quickly, narrowing his eyes.

"Sit down Geralt," Eskel said nodding to the seat near him. Reluctantly he dropped into the seat and narrowed his eyes further at his brother, worry clearly forming in his eyes. "How do you feel for Jaskier?"

"What?" Geralt blinked, clearly not having expected that. He was so blindsided that his normal prickles didn't come up. "He is my friend,"

"A friend who you share a bed with?"

"Yes,"

"Bathe together?"

"Yes,"

"Travel together?"

"Yes, wh…"

"Share a coin purse?"

"Yes, bu…"

"You have risked your life for him a lot in the past?"

"Well yes but he…"

"And Jaskier has risked his life for you?"

"Yes b…"

"You have ridden near halfway across the continent when you heard Jaskier was in trouble that time, nearly missing winter at Kaer Morhen?"

"Yes, you know that!" Geralt was clearly getting annoyed.

"And he abandoned a nice cushy, well paid month-long job in a court because he heard that you had gotten into trouble, and managed to get himself across the continent to you,"

"He...did, when?" Geralt frowned.

"Geralt, my dearest brother, those are not the actions of friends," Eskel said gently.

"We're...not friends?" Geralt frowned deeper, looking so hurt that Eskel was quick to speak, reaching over to clasp his hands.

"No Geralt, those are the actions of people who have a very different relationship,"

"We're not like...he doesn't…"

"Geralt, he does," Eskel smiled gently, he had suspected that his brother was well aware of his feelings for the Bard.

"He doesn't, I would know, I am the one that spends all my time with him, and have you seen any indication that he holds anything back?" Geralt huffed tugging his hands away and looking to the door that was still lodged shut.

"Maybe you are too close to it and too involved to see what is under your nose. And sure, he isn't backwards in coming forwards, except for the things that matter. Then he is cautious. I think that he is worried that you do not feel the same way for him, especially the way that things have been with you and Yennifer,"

"What about me and Yennifer?" Geralt asked confused.

"Geralt…" Eskel huffed a sigh. "You fall into bed frequently with a very powerful, very beautiful woman who you leave Jaskier for whenever you cross paths and who you tied yourself to. What about that would give Jaskier the impression that you want a proper relationship with him?"

"But it is just sex, he sleeps with people,"

"He sleeps with people plural, not the same person, and not frequently. Honestly, Geralt, until I saw you with Jaskier I thought that you and Yennifer were a thing,"

"But...really?" Geralt asked.

"Yes, and Jaskier thinks that as well, which is why I bet he hasn't said anything to you about how he feels because he thinks that he doesn't stand a chance against Yennifer and the thing you and her have,"

"There is no comparison between the two of them, Jaskier is…" Geralt drew off with a soft look on his face.

"Yes?" Eskel urged gently.

"The first time I felt something for him other than confused annoyance...it was a few months after he started following me, and I realised that he wasn't going to change his mind, start seeing me as a monster the way others do, get bored and wander off, or realise that being on the path with me was dangerous and leave for the safety of a Court somewhere now that he had started making a name for himself. But he didn't, and he never smelt of fear around me,"

"Go on," Eskel smiled gently when Geralt paused to look at him.

"I had...I had been trying to be as good a version of myself as I could, without really thinking about it to try and keep him around. I stopped looting from the bandits that I came across because I thought Jaskier would be disgusted with me for killing them and then stealing from them, even though they attacked me. And then I had to kill some of them in front of him. I was cleaning up and turned around, and there was Jaskier emptying their pockets, he was bloody humming to himself as he made his way around them, and then the camp, taking everything that we could use or sell. He looked so damned excited when he found some new trousers for me that was the right size and would offer me better protection. And I just…"

"Started falling in love," Eskel offered gently.

"Do you really think he feels the same way for me?" Geralt asked quietly.

"Geralt I know he does," Eskel snorted. "You two are more like an old married couple than actual old married couples,"

"But…"

"Geralt I spoke to him, the way he talks about you, the way he sees you," He shook his head. "He is madly in love with you. Do me a favour, do yourself and Jaskier a favour and tell him what he means to you,"

"I will think about it," Geralt nodded and Eskel took it as a win, standing and walking away, before turning back and clasping Geralt's shoulder.

"Do me a favour though, when you tell Jaskier and you two get together, do not go running to Yennifer when she snaps her fingers, do not leave Jaskier out of conversations when you are with Yennifer, do not allow Yennifer close into your personal space, and stick up for him if she insults him,"

"What?" Geralt blinks at him.

"Jaskier has mentioned all those things over the winter, well I managed to sneak the information out of him, those are all things that have hurt him in the past," Eskel patted Geralt's shoulder.

"What…"

"I love you, but you can be very obtuse sometimes, honestly I wonder if I got the brain cell out the two of us from the mutations," Eskel shook his head walking away.

"What?" Geralt called after him right before his bedroom door shut.

"Geralt!" Jaskier called a second later slamming the door open and bouncing in.

"No!" He growled.

"I haven't said anything yet!" Jaskier whined hurrying over.

"You don't need to I know that expression," Geralt huffed planting himself harder into the seat when Jaskier started tugging at his arm.

"I just need you to come look at this horse with me, and maybe glower just a tiny bit to get the price down,"

"You're not getting a horse!" Geralt growled.

"Please, I think Rosemary would be perfect for long journeys," Jaskier whined.

"You named it already?" Geralt groaned.

"Please Geralt, please please please please, I am human! And getting older, all that walking is too much for my old bones!" Jaskier pouted.

"Jaskier you're twenty-eight and I watched you go a backflip off a table in the tavern last night," Geralt snorted as Jaskier carried on tugging at his arm.

"Then it will prevent me from wearing myself out and let me perform at my best, earn us more coin, get accommodation for cheaper, which means we can have nicer food, better rooms, more baths, I won't be grumpy, you won't get annoyed with me and…"

"Jaskier no!" Geralt groaned but then Jaskier put on the full pout and looked at Geralt with wide blue eyes.

"I promise I won't cry this time!" Jaskier begged.

"You will! I know you will!" Geralt huffed but he allowed himself to be tugged to his feet.

"I won't, I promise! Please Geralt, please! She is so lovely, please!" Jaskier brightened at the give in hope.

"Jaskier! If you cry this time I swear, no more horses! I swear!" Geralt growled furiously snagging his coat and shoving his feet into his boots. He could hear Eskel laughing in his bedroom, furiously.

With a huff he snagged Jaskier and led the beaming bard out of the house, trying to ignore the thought that he would do pretty much anything to keep Jaskier this happy.

"Let's go buy this fucking horse!" He grumped storming away, Jaskier skipping happily beside him, tugging him in the direction they needed to go.

An hour later Rosemary was stabled happily between Roach and Scorpion.