Geralt had been watching the camp for over an hour.
Jaskier, he had discovered, was unusually quiet while Geralt was away on a hunt. Geralt had told him to be, of course- but Jaskier didn’t always do as he was told, and Geralt had sometimes wondered-
A shadow flitted between Jaskier’s fire and the knoll where Geralt was crouched. Jaskier. Pacing. It made sense. Geralt was now much later than he expected to be when he left. It was faint from this distance, but Geralt could smell Jaskier’s worry.
He cursed himself and rose, heading toward the camp. A twig snapped under his foot- he was making no effort to be silent- and he called out. Once he hadn’t and Jaskier had hit him with a rock.
Mostly he’d been impressed with the bard’s aim. Though nothing larger than a fox would have run.
Maybe I didn’t think it was anything larger than a fox.
Geralt had glanced meaningfully down at the point on his chest where the rock impacted without saying a word.
Oh, come here, Jaskier had said, hands all aflutter. My, that is a nasty gash.
“Geralt?” he asked into the darkness now. “Are you all right?”
Geralt wasn’t sure if he could truthfully say yes. Equally, he wasn’t sure if he could say no. In the end, he just grunted. He had intended to keep his distance even longer, but he hated it when Jaskier fussed. That was how he’d explain himself if asked, anyway- though he liked it well enough when Jaskier fussed as long as Jaskier’s hands were on him while he did it.
“That was not descriptive, Geralt. Do you even- oh-”
“It’s not my blood,” Geralt said quickly. Jaskier reached for him and his fingers unerringly found the punctures in Geralt’s shoulder plate. “It’s mostly not my blood,” Geralt amended.
“Oh, very nice,” Jaskier muttered, but his gaze kept sticking to Geralt’s face in a way that it didn’t, normally. Geralt shut his eyes. He couldn’t believe he’d almost forgotten the reason he meant to stay back in the first place.
“Potion’s not wearing off like it should.”
“I can see that,” Jaskier said. There was a note of deliberate calm in his voice, but Geralt knew how it normally felt when Jaskier helped him undress after a hunt. His fingers were shaking. “Do you know why?”
“Could be toxins.” Geralt nodded to his shoulder. “From the bite.”
“First it’s not even your blood, now there’s toxins?”
Geralt thought about reminding him that, really, there were always toxins. The potions he took before a hunt would themselves kill a human being. Jaskier didn’t like to hear that sort of thing, however, so Geralt kept it to himself. He hummed instead.
Jaskier hissed as he worked the plate of armor loose. “Sit,” he said, maneuvering Geralt over to one of the logs he had set up around the fire. He had some water heating there and a rag. As he cleaned the wound, Geralt's blood came away streaked with black at first. Geralt disliked the sight of it, especially now. It reminded him of the dark tendrils he knew still spider-webbed out from his eyes.
Eventually the blood ran pure red and Jaskier wrapped the wound. His hands grew steadier as he worked. He moved on, efficiently stripping off the rest of Geralt's armor, salving bruises and cleaning cuts. Though even to Geralt’s normal eyes- such as Geralt’s eyes could ever be described as normal- the night was barely dim, Jaskier was always particularly beautiful in the firelight. And tonight, potions still coursing stubbornly through him, Geralt's awareness of Jaskier, always intense, grew knife sharp. Jaskier settled between his legs, pressing close to check Geralt’s back as he peeled Geralt's shirt from him, baring feverish skin to the cool night air. It was then that Jaskier noticed something Geralt had felt happening the moment his traveling companion started to touch him.
Geralt was hard.
“S’all right,” Jaskier murmured. His blood picked up.
Geralt had learned- had had to learn, for his own sanity- the difference between Jaskier worried for him and Jaskier frightened of him. The scent of it was similar, the quickening pulse too, but they were not the same. And it was only ever the latter if it was dark and Jaskier was startled, like the time with the rock. It was only ever if Jaskier didn’t know it was Geralt that had frightened him to begin with. And it still wasn’t the latter, not even now, nor even-
Geralt had never been close to anyone like this. He had never considered it. But even if he had-
He couldn’t imagine anyone- anyone- who wouldn’t be alarmed by him, like this. Bone white face shadowed weirdly in the firelight, eyes pits of black. He knew how intimidating he looked, how inhuman, even at the best of times. He always felt too big, too strong- built for a fight but useless for anything tender- outsized, wrong. Jaskier wasn't the only one to believe otherwise, but he was the only one there, always there. The only one actually touching Geralt so carefully, even while he really was everything they said he was. A creature of instinct and violence. Powerful. Dangerous. He could take whatever he wanted, easily. And oh, how he wanted. Even the smell of Jaskier’s concern, collecting heavy in his nose, wasn’t enough to cool the heat that pooled in his gut at Jaskier’s very nearness. His ministrations felt so good. More would feel even better.
Jaskier shifted back carefully. One of his hands slid up and down Geralt’s arm, more alluring than soothing. Jaskier’s tongue flicked out over his lips. Geralt wanted to catch it in his mouth, taste it. He was looking down, into Geralt’s lap. “Should I ignore that?” he asked, like he actually hoped otherwise.
Geralt could only stare at him for a moment. It was difficult- perhaps even impossible- for Jaskier to lie to him like this. Certainly, he could say words that weren’t true- he did it all the time with his ballads- but at the moment Geralt could hear not only the smallest shift in tone of voice but every spike in heart rate as well. Geralt could smell his sweat. Jaskier was worried for Geralt, not himself. This turn of events surprised him, but he was curious too, perhaps even pleased, and he-
He wanted, too.
The correct answer to Jaskier’s question, of course, was yes. It wouldn’t seem to come out. Geralt wondered if Jaskier understood that this had never happened before. He had never become aroused with one of the potions still coursing through his veins. There had never been anyone to want, let alone to make him feel wanted.
Jaskier watched him carefully, thoughtfully. Geralt knew he could be hard to read, especially like this- eyes blank, face immobile. And yet Jaskier didn’t seem to be having much difficulty. He swallowed. Geralt saw it, heard it, wanted to reach out and touch it too, feel Jaskier’s throat bob under his fingertips. Again he knew he ought to say yes, ignore it, ignore me, keep away from me. Again the words failed to take shape on his tongue, let alone spill from his mouth. “Do you trust me?” Jaskier asked at last.
“Barely,” Geralt replied.
Jaskier laughed and it was as if some thread which had been pulled taut between them went slack. Geralt even found a tiny smile in answer.
“I do,” he said. “I do.”
Jaskier’s smile, only teasing a moment ago, only the leftovers of that laugh, softened. Sweetened. “Hands here,” he said, patting the log Geralt was sitting on at either side of his thighs.
Bemused, Geralt obeyed.
Jaskier briefly laid his hands over Geralt's as though he was checking they were secure. It was silly, but in Geralt's present hyper-sensitive state that moment of connection felt absolutely wonderful. Geralt’s heart stuttered in his chest; his blood pumped furiously. He recognized this sensation from the hunt and it was strange to have nothing to do with it.
Well- nothing to do with it but keep his hands exactly where Jaskier told him to.
Again Jaskier seemed to read more than enough off Geralt’s altered face. His smile, never gone, developed a teasing lilt once more. It was gentle, though. His fingertips, still damp but warm from the water, slipped across the backs of Geralt’s hands and were gone. Geralt wanted to follow them immediately, seek out that pressure, that heat, that tantalizing slide of skin against skin. It was burdensome to realize that he couldn’t, he promised, but it was freeing too. All he needed to do, all he could do, was wait.
Jaskier’s smile broadened further. “Let me know if it gets too much,” he said, off-handed and weighty at once. It was an odd reversal of their usual traveling dynamic, Geralt’s superior endurance leaving him out of a touch with a normal person’s capabilities, and Jaskier- rarely shy of complaining- still likely to volunteer himself for tasks actually beyond him.
Jaskier’s hands returned then, sliding over Geralt's arms, his chest, his torso in the same deliberate fashion as before, only hunting out which places felt good, now, instead of those which hurt. And yet at first the storm of sensations was remarkably similar, every touch intense enough that good and bad were much alike. But Geralt wouldn’t trade that intensity for anything. He felt the callouses across Jaskier’s fingers from his lute and his pen, and the softness everywhere else from the creams he indulged in when he had extra coin. Jaskier leaned closer, pressed his lips to Geralt's jaw, and there were new sensations. Wet. Heat. The heady scent of Jaskier's enthusiasm as Geralt turned his face to meet him.
Geralt found a pleading noise in his throat that he would have been ashamed of, were it not for its immediate results: Jaskier’s mouth found his.
His tongue tasted every bit as good as Geralt thought it might.
It was strange, though- kissing someone without touching them. Geralt felt unmoored for a moment, and then one of Jaskier’s hands came up to steady him, fingers curling into his hair. And then it was nothing but good, because he could let go, enjoy. Sink into how much he wanted this without being afraid he would crush Jaskier too powerfully against him.
He lost track of Jaskier’s other hand a while as their mouths moved together, but then it was there, a whisper over his stomach that left him aching- for what he hardly knew before Jaskier had given it to him, those clever fingers working upon his breeches and curling around his cock at last.
Geralt's breath caught in his lungs. His hips worked him up into Jaskier's hand, and he only kept his own on the log through sheer force of will.
Jaskier sighed against Geralt's lips and turned his head to press further kisses across Geralt’s jaw. “That’s it,” he murmured, thrumming with pleasure as if he was the one being touched. “That’s good.”
It was. Geralt was hard-pressed, in fact, to remember the last time anything felt quite this good.
Jaskier hummed in his ear, setting a barely there rhythm as he stroked Geralt's cock. The sweet sureness of Jaskier's grip, the delicate dance of his fingers- both were familiar from countless claps on the shoulder and pats to the knee, yet rendered alien by this new intimacy and the way all Geralt's senses had caught on fire. It was such a light touch, and yet Geralt was half mad with it. All of it. The lingering taste of Jaskier's lips, the smell of his arousal, his fondness, his care. The thrum of his heartbeat, elevated now for all the right reasons. The certainty that Jaskier was touching him so slowly and softly not to tease him, but to give him at least a moment to enjoy it before all that intensity wrenched him to completion.
Jaskier hummed again, just a low vibration across Geralt’s skin. “I love how you feel,” he said. His voice carried tones Geralt fancied had never been heard before. His mouth was soft and wet at the hinge of Geralt's jaw, just below his ear. “I love how you taste too. Shame there isn’t time for me to get my mouth around this.” He gave Geralt’s cock a squeeze.
Geralt groaned as much at the image that conjured as the press of Jaskier's hand. His bard's mouth was as clever as his fingers and likely as well exercised, and perhaps he would love it every bit as much as he claimed- to lay Geralt back and play him like his lute. But sometimes Geralt frightened himself; sometimes the extremity of what Geralt wanted from Jaskier terrified him. He might always feel too big, too dangerous, too inhuman, but in those moments he could think only of how easy it would be to take. To hurt. To be everything people fear.
Before these thoughts could take any deep hold, though, there was Jaskier’s voice again: “But you don’t need it, do you? Not now. So damn sensitive.”
It would be embarrassing how true that was, if Jaskier's voice wasn't so thick with approval.
"Another time," Jaskier said. That, and a flick of his fingers was all it took.
Geralt jerked in Jaskier's hand, nails boring down as he held on and spilled across Jaskier's fingers. There was the faintest spark of pain then, from wood splintering under his hands, letting him know that the potions were belatedly fading.
“There you are,” Jaskier said. “All good?”
“Yes.” Geralt was a little surprised by how true it was, how true it stayed.
Jaskier’s warm fingers found Geralt’s hands again, stroking. Even as his over-sensitivity slipped away it still felt wonderful. “I’m not afraid of you,” Jaskier said. “But I’ve got you, when you’re afraid of yourself.” He patted Geralt’s hand gently. “You can let go.”
Geralt knew he meant the log, but it was more than that, too.
Geralt let go, and reached for Jaskier.