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A Broken Bond

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Jaskier was a surprisingly colourful child. He couldn’t see the colours but when his parents were around they taught him how to pair different shades, without looking like a fool to those who had already found their soulmates.

People always asked him who or where his soulmate was, shocked to find he didn’t have one. His colourful attire paired with the way he gave his love so freely gave any passer-by the idea that he had already found his soul mate. Of course, he hadn’t. And he wishes he never did

***

It all started when Jaskier had been performing a bit of an improvised song in the tavern in Posada, then he saw the witcher. Your typical tall, dark and handsome, brooding loner. Jaskier had walked over in hopes of getting a story or two, and maybe a good roll in the sheets.

“Love the way you just, sit there and brood,” he said, a little less smooth than was intended but salvageable.

As soon as the witcher uttered the words “I’m here to drink alone,” Jaskier’s world burst into colour.

He was sure that the other man’s world must’ve done the same, he’d never heard a true story of one-sided soulmates. But if that were the case, the witcher made no comment on it, he didn’t even look at Jaskier.

Determined to bond with his alleged soulmate, Jaskier continued talking

“Good, yeah good. No one else hesitated to comment on the quality of my performance, except…” he walked towards the table “for you. Come on. You don’t want to keep a man with… bread in his pants waiting,” he took the empty seat at the table, “you must have some review for me. Three words or less.”

And so it began.

***

Despite the lack of response from the witcher, Jaskier was determined to follow him. Either the witcher hadn’t seen colours yet (and there were tales of colours taking weeks or months after a first meeting to appear), he was keeping the fact that they had hidden, or Jaskier was chasing a one-sided love story (and he desperately hoped it wasn’t that).

Often when the pair were walking together, Jaskier would comment on the colour of things around them. “The sunset is beautiful today” or “look at those lovely dandelions” or other similar things. He never quite revealed that he could see colours, not wanting to risk the embarrassment of a one-sided soul bond, but all he could ever seem to muster out of Geralt were small hums or grunts.

***

As soon as he walked into the Posada inn and heard the bard singing, his world burst into colour. Great. His soulmate was a bard.

He seated himself alone at a table, wishing to drink in peace. Of course, destiny (that bitch) had other plans. The troubadour approached him and spoke.

“Love the way you just, sit there and brood,”

Geralt saw the moment that the bard saw colour. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Jaskier’s face light up and a small smile painted the bards lips. Geralt, of course, didn’t comment on this. In fact, he did everything in his power to get the poor bard to leave. He acted as subtly intimidating as possible but the bard wasn’t deterred in the slightest.

Geralt wasn’t acting in selfish interests, he would go as far as to say it was the opposite. He was trying to protect the bard. Didn’t the fool know how dangerous a witcher's life can be? Who cares about soulmates, pursuing something that would almost certainly end in you dead is stupid, and Jaskier should know that.

Geralt’s will caved quicker than he liked, but the bard had such puppy dog eyes and now that he could see colour, the vibrant blue was hard to say no to. Of course, there were many times Geralt regretted his choice. Whenever Jaskier ended up caught in the crossfire, or got injured, or grew weary of travelling, Geralt regretted letting the fragile human follow him but every time he tried to leave Jaskier behind in their room at a tavern, he couldn’t. He would look over and see Jaskier dozing peacefully, his mouth slightly open, his hair a mess and it always struck a chord in him, he always ended up staying.

***

The two had been travelling for nearly 2 years when they joined the dragon hunt. Jaskier was more than a little upset that he didn’t know whether Geralt was his soulmate or not, but at this point that didn’t matter. Over the time that they travelled together, Jaskier had grown fond of Geralt. Although he travelled with the other man out of hopes that they were soulmates, he found himself staying for other reasons, like the friendship he and his witcher had built, or the rather constant source of stories for ballads (not to mention a rather steady flow of coin).

The longer they travelled though, the harder it became for Jaskier to hide the fact that Geralt was his soulmate. Especially during moments where Geralt finally let down his walls a bit, like when he let Jaskier wash and comb his hair, or when the two shared a bed (for no reason other than the tavern being short a room, of course). Jaskier prided himself on his ability to keep such a large thing so hidden, despite his increasingly obvious nods to the soul bond the two men shared. But every then and again, he slipped up.

He was sitting beside Geralt, trying to comfort the man. The witcher was clearly shaken about not being able to save Borch, Tea or Vea. and Jaskier did his best to help

“You did your best. There’s nothing else you could’ve done.” he anxiously licked his lips before continuing “look, why don’t we leave tomorrow? That is, if you’ll give me another chance to prove myself a… worthy travel companion.”

Geralt, unreadable as ever simply hmmed in response, Jaskier took this as a sign to continue

“We could head to the coast, get away for a while.” he took a beat of silence before he continued “sounds like something Borch would say, doesn’t it. Life is too short. Do what pleases you, while you can..”

“Composing your next song?” Geralt finally spoke.

“No, I’m just, uh… just trying to work out what pleases me.” he looked longingly at Geralt but his gaze fell on blind eyes as the witcher was looking away.

***

Jaskier saw Geralt and Yennefer talking, heard Borch say something about losing someone and after a few beats he saw Yennefer storm off, tears streaking her face. He quickly stood as she passed him and looked confusedly at Geralt. Geralt looked at him for a second, then looked past him, he then turned to talk to Borch again. Borch stood to talk to Geralt and it was now that Jaskier decided to approach. As he got closer it seemed the two had finished talking, as Borch walked away.

Geralt turned to look out over the mountain and Jaskier wondered what he was thinking, what he was seeing. He stepped slightly closer, careful not to intrude Geralt’s precious personal space.

“Phew, what a day!” he said, trying to lighten the mood, “I imagine you’re probably-”

Geralt spun around and it was as if something in him had finally snapped after being wound tighter than it should be

“Damn it, Jaskier!” he yelled, now angrily stalking towards the bard, “Why is it whenever I find myself in a pile of shit these days, it’s you, shovelling it?”

His eyes stung and he blinked away his tears as he spoke “Well, that’s not fair,”

“The Child Surprise, the djinn, all of it! If life could give me one blessing, it would be to take you off my hands.”

He walked away, sword and armour clinking as he turned to face away from the bard, more or less ending the conversation (if you could even call it that)

“Right. Uh…” he didn’t know what to say, he was hurt, and at a loss for words. Tears began to pool in his eyes “right then. I’ll…” he blinked away unshed tears “I’ll go get the rest of the story from the others.” He rubbed his fingers together, desperately trying to keep it together, “see you around, Geralt”

He took a shuddering breath, he knew Geralt could hear him and that only made it worse, that Geralt knew what he did, and wasn’t making any effort to apologize. Not even in the slightest. As he was walking away to grab his lute and follow the others back down the mountain, he began to think that maybe this truly was a one-sided soul bond.