Geralt rubbed Jaskier's back gently as they lay in the bed together, Jaskier sprawled over his chest not quite asleep yet, but just content to lie there, his heartbeat slow and rhythmic in his ears.
Eskel had left earlier in the day to head back onto the path, Jaskier had been upset and hugged Eskel repeatedly, much to the delight of the other Witcher who had enjoyed the casual and caring touches from someone that was not one of his brothers or Vesemir. He had promised to see the Bard soon, and Jaskier had promised him that he had a surprise for him, the song Jaskier had been working on for Eskel to give him his very own song.
They were here for a couple more days while Jaskier handed over to the other professor, and then they would be setting out themselves.
"What's wrong?" Jaskier asked softly, resting his chin on Geralt's chest.
"I spoke to Eskel the other week about something," Geralt hummed.
"How we are with each other isn't...it isn't like friends are with each other, even ones that travel together," Geralt said slowly, and worried when he felt Jaskier tensing rapidly in his arms. He went to pull away but Geralt tightened his arms around him, stilling his attempt to escape.
"I am sorry, I knew I was taking advantage, I just...I hoped that it would be ok to have this much, even though I know it can't be more, and I thought, I thought there was no harm, I am sorry Geralt," Jaskier said a little frantically.
"What?" Geralt blinked a little confused.
"I know you're not used to interactions like this, and I knew that you wouldn't realise that this wasn't normal for a friendship, I never wanted to make you uncomfortable but I thought that I could have a little contact like this with you,"
"I'm not uncomfortable, I like it, I am happy with it. I want more," Geralt said and Jaskier's blue eyes snapped to him.
"What?" He breathed.
"Eskel told me that I was an fucking idiot, but in a much nicer way. He told me that I was an idiot for not seeing that we were like an old married couple and that I was stupid for not seeing that you felt for me the way that I felt for you, and that I was an idiot for the way I am with Yennifer,"
"Geralt…" The hope that had been building in Jaskier face shuttered and pain crossed his features before he managed to smother it down to look at him with false neutrality.
He really was an idiot for not having seen this before.
"I care for Yennifer, and until she figures out how to undo the Djinn wish we are going to be bound together, after I would like to stay friends with her. But I don't love her, not how I love you. You're the most important person to me, and the person that I am in love with, I think you're the only person that I have ever been truly in love with," Geralt licked his lips nervously, scanning his eyes over Jaskier's face, taking in his widening eyes and dropped jaw. "You're the only person I want to be with,"
"Oh...oh…" Jaskier for once seemed to be at loss for words, but then he was nodding. "Yes, me too, all of that...I love you," He laughed happily leaning up and pressing their lips together.
Geralt slid his fingers into Jaskier's hair and held him close as he kissed him, both of them smiling into the kiss as they lay there lazily kissing and exploring each other, learning each other, what the other liked, what drew the best noises from them. They knew that they had time, more than enough time together, they had the time to take this moment by moment, to really enjoy their relationship and learn each other.
"Geralt have you seen my…"
"I've already packed it,"
"Eskel's bedroom," Geralt yawned turning his page as down the corridor Jaskier raced from their bedroom across the hall to Eskel's, coming out with his favourite red doublet.
"How did it even end up in there?" Jaskier huffed ten minutes later dropping his pack onto the floor next to Geralt's and then flopping onto the sofa dropping his head onto Geralt's legs.
"Melitele only knows," Geralt snorted amused closing his book and reaching down to comb his fingers through Jaskier's hair.
"Did you have fun with Morag?" Jaskier asked.
"She told me more stories about student you, the one about you streaking around the campus and nearly getting thrown out twice, once for getting caught and once for making a song about it," Geralt chucked a deep, rumbling laugh when Jaskier groaned in mortification, but he did not take his eyes off the smile on Geralt's face, his eyes warming like warm embers and his face looking boyish and gentle.
"What?" Geralt asked tilting his head.
"Just love how beautiful you are when you smile," Jaskier smiled up at him, not a hint of a lie on his face, he really thought that.
"Morag gave us enough food to last till next winter to take with us as well," Geralt said awkwardly. Jaskier just smiled at him and nodded.
"She frets about me leaving for 'the wilds' of the world, now she will frett about you as well, she is going to miss your weekly tea chats," Jaskier hummed.
"So, are you ready to be Jaskier the Bard again instead of Professor Pankratz?" Geralt asked.
"More than!" Jaskier groaned stretching his arms and legs. "My feet are so twitchy it is ridiculous, I can't wait to get out and about again!"
"Me too, I have enjoyed this winter, but it is always nice to get back on the road again after being able to relax," Geralt dropped his head back onto the sofa.
"Are you...is this…" Jaskier started to say before biting his lip. Geralt tugged on it with his thumb until Jaskier released it. "Is this going to change? Once we're out there again?"
"No, I promise," Geralt leant down to kiss him despite the awkward angle, and when he pulled back Jaskier was beaming at him, trusting him to his word.
Jaskier was talking away excitedly, his hands waving, his expression bright and happy as he filled Geralt in on the Bard competition that was taking place in the nearby city, what songs he was going to play, and what he hoped they could do with the winnings.
Geralt was humming to show that he was listening as he turned the rabbit on the spit, mentally planning where they could stay that was a little nicer than the places they usually stopped at. It would be a nice treat for Jaskier and put him in a good headspace for the competition.
All that happiness faded when there was a ping from Geralt's pack, his Xenovox from Yennifer. Standing his made his way over and dug it out, aware of how quiet Jaskier was.
"I need you to come to me in Velen, I will send a portal for you in half an hour, be ready to come." The message relayed.
"You know the city may be a little loud for you anyway, I didn't think about that," Jaskier said a second after the message finished, and the smile on his face looked painful when Geralt looked at him.
"What is it you need me for?" Geralt sent back on the Xenovox before standing and making his way to spin the rabbit again.
"What do you mean, what is it I need you for? I need you!" Came the ping back.
"I won't step through the portal unless you tell me what it is you need," Geralt watched Jaskier face fall from the hope that had built there, but before he could explain the Xenovox pinged again.
"I need you to gather some ingredients for me for a potion I want to make for a beauty product for a client!" Came the huffy response, and then it pinged again. "I have promised them I will make this for them, they will be angry if I do not,"
"Really Geralt I…" Jaskier smiled even brighter.
"Sorry, I have prior arrangements with Jaskier, you are going to have to find another way to collect them," Geralt responded.
"Geralt!" Jaskier blinked.
"I am not going to collect ingredients to make potions for her to make money," Geralt snorted. "Especially not when we have plans,"
"It is just a competition Geralt, there will be others," Jaskier shook his head.
"And I want to be there to see you win the competition, and have plans for us there as well, stay somewhere nice, have a little time together," Geralt shook his head.
"What do you mean a prior arrangement?" Yennifer's annoyed voice interrupted them.
"We're having a romantic weekend together. If you need me for life or death situations I will of course come, but for nothing else,"
"Romantic as in…"
"As in we're together, exclusively," Geralt responded to her message.
"About time, I am not happy about you leaving me in the lurch for a 'romantic getaway' but fine!" Yennifer's voice huffed and Geralt tucked the Xenovox away knowing that was the conversation done.
Then he turned to Jaskier who was blinking at him stunned. It hurt him to realise that Jaskier hadn't really believed that he would choose him over Yennifer, and he mentally made a note to buy Eskel the nicest daggers he could find for pointing out how his relationship with Yennifer was perceived, and warning him about exactly this type of thing happening.
Standing he made his way over to Jaskier, gently tugging him to his feet and against him, holding him close and pressing his nose into the crook of Jaskier's neck, breathing in his sweet scent.
"A romantic getaway?" Jaskier asked sounding a little awed.
"Yes, I know a nice inn there, I saved the owner from being eaten by a Griffin fifty years ago, he will let us stay there for a decent price, we can relax, spend time in the city, you can compete, we can celebrate your win, and then head out again refreshed," Geralt nodded.
"And you were planning this huh?" Jaskier clenched Geralt's shirt in his fists.
"From when you told me about the competition and where it was," Geralt nodded. He gripped Jaskier's chin and made him look at him. "Jaskier, you are the most important person to me, and you will always be my priority. If she was in serious trouble, of course, I would go because she is my friend, and I think you would want me to do that as well, but outside of serious danger, you will always be my priority,"
"I love you, completely," Geralt said softly, aware his cheeks were burning with the unusual declaration he was making, but then Jaskier was kissing him, and it was like a filter had been taken away, something that had been holding Jaskier back was gone, and he sank into Geralt, surrendering into the kiss and throwing himself completely into it.
It was something clicking into place, it was the final piece in a puzzle that Geralt had been waiting for his whole life, Jaskier fit into his life and filled it in a way that he had never hoped to feel, in a way he had been sure was not for him, that he would never be allowed to have.
But here was Jaskier in his arms, in his life, sharing his life with Geralt.
"So, romantic getaway, a few more weeks of travelling, and then we're at winter again," Jaskier said ten minutes later as they were sitting pressed against each other eating their meal.
"Yes we are, would...would you be ok spending it together again?" Geralt asked.
"I was hoping you would say that!" Jaskier beamed wrapping his arm around Geralt's.
"Maybe, if you could, next winter you could come to Kaer Morhen to meet everyone, if you could take the time off, I know this winter would be short notice," Geralt flushed again realising he was rambling a little.
"I can definitely get that sorted this winter, I would love to come with you to meet everyone!" Jaskier beamed brightly, clearly excited.
"Good, yes, wonderful," Geralt nodded gruffly, and Jaskier chuckled realising that he had reached his emotional limit.
"This...is...heaven!" Jaskier groaned.
"Hmm," Geralt grunted from behind him, his normal hmmm utterly relaxed.
They were in a sunk-in bath in their hotel room, filled with steaming water that Geralt was keeping at the perfect heat for them with well controlled Igni signs. The smell of the bath salts and oils that Jaskier had picked up for them filled the room, relaxing both of them.
Geralt was sitting propped against the wall of the bathtub, Jaskier between his legs resting his head back on his Witcher's strong shoulder, they were both limp with relaxation, from the few days of rest that they had had, the heat from the water, and the closeness of the other, just being able to relax back and enjoy being with each other.
Jaskier had won his competition, by a mile, and was high off of the win, Geralt was high off the pride that his Bard had won, his lover. The one that had had bread thrown at him when he had first met him, was now a recognised and celebrated Bard.
A Bard who won a competition singing songs about Witchers! The new songs that he had written for Eskel and Geralt had gone down well, being debuted at the competition, and he had been thrilled to see Eskel in the crowd standing next Geralt. He had sent for his brother to meet them for the competition as a surprise for his love, and had been happy to see Jaskier so excited and pleased to see his brother and to see how moved his brother was when he heard the song that Jaskier had written for him, the Black Bear.
Eskel had been even more moved when they had been celebrating Jaskier's win in the inn the lovers were staying at, and both Witchers ears had picked up dozens of people humming the song, and he realised that his name was going to go down in history.
He had had to leave them the next day, and the two of them had continued their little holiday, enjoying their time together, it was a unique experience for Geralt in all his long life.
"Heaven," Jaskier sighed drooping further against Geralt, starting to rub his Witcher's scarred thigh under the water as Geralt cast another Igni to eat the water back up for them.
"Hmmm," Geralt couldn't help but agree.
"Geralt! Can you get that please!" Jaskier shouted from the kitchen.
"I'm already moving," Geralt grumbled.
"Gods above you're grumpy today!"
"You were flirting!"
"I was charming!"
"It is the same thing!" Geralt growled before tugging the door open and then blinking at what he found.
"Eskel was right, you're like an old married couple!" One of the men standing on the doorstep snorted before shoving his bag into Geralt's arms and shouldering his way into the house, the other just following along leaving Geralt to turn open mouthed after them.
"Geralt who is it? Geralt?" Jaskier poked his head out the kitchen when there was no answer, and blinked to find not one but three Witchers standing in their living room. "Erm…"
"I am Vesemir, this is Lambert, sorry for the imposition, but we could not put off meeting you to next year, I hope it is ok if we stay with you," The older Witcher said as though it wasn't really a request but more of an order.
"I…" Geralt opened and closed his mouth as the grin on the younger, brown-haired Witcher's face grew, mischief burning in his cat like eyes.
"Of course it is ok!" Jaskier clapped his hands excitedly, and Geralt smirked when the mischief that had been building in Lambert to no doubt mock Geralt died away when he found himself being hugged by an enthusiastic Bard, even Vesemir's neutral expression fell for a second, and fell further when he also found himself on the end of a hug. "This is so exciting!"
"You could have written," Geralt grunted dropping Vesemir's bag in a chair.
"Now none of that, family can just show up. We just need to get the room ready for you, you will have to share I am afraid, unless we can get you another room, Morag just lives down the road she would probably love to have one of you if you didn't want to share, but we can make do for tonight, I just started supper so I can put extra on for you, you must be hungry!" Jaskier babbled before hurrying to the kitchen leaving the two new Witchers staring after him, both with their arms raised from where he had hugged them, and Geralt looking smug.
At least he was looking smug until…
"Geralt can you…"
"Yes I am going,"
"I won't forget!"
"Yes I will pick up more of your damned tea!" Geralt huffed yanking on his cloak and slamming the front door.
"How many times Geralt don't slam the door!" Jaskier bellowed and Vesemir and Lambert heard Geralt grumbling to himself as he stomped out into the snow to apparently go shopping.
They shared a look before a bright smiling bard appeared in the doorway. "Right let me show you to your room!"
Neither of them had fully believed Eskel accounts of his winter, but now...it was definitely going to be an interesting Winter. Cohen and Aiden would not believe them when they told them about it!