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It had taken time to get to Yen’s and it had taken time to get back again. Enough so that Julian had felt the Fall settling in around their camps at night. His headaches were getting worse and every day it felt harder to look at Geralt and not understand what he was seeing there. Or not seeing. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.
“Please Geralt, you have to give me something to go on here!” He reasoned. “Why did I follow you before?” Julian took a step in front of him, making Geralt stop in his tracks. He realized fairly early that Geralt made a habit of not touching him. It made him ache.
“You wanted an adventure.” No. That sounded too simple. Julian shook his head.
There was a whisper in the back of his mind ‘If life could give me one blessing’ wrapped in the notes of a song he could no longer sing.
“Well, that does sound like me,” though not the whole truth, he knew. “But why? Why you, Geralt?” Julian pleaded. He was met with only a glare and Geralt shaking his head.
“Why did you follow me now?” he asks gruffly and it felt like it wasn’t directed exactly at Julian. Geralt stepped around him and continued on the road. “It will be getting dark soon. We’ll set up camp on that ridge.”
Julian looked down at his hands. He could see where the time had been taken from him, the scars and blemishes that he couldn’t recall seemed to mock him. His hands felt older than they should have been.
“I don’t know… I just knew I should.” He says quietly to himself.
Julian found himself humming the tune to that song again. He heard it called “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”. He heard that he had written it. Even twenty years later, it was probably one of the best known songs on the continent. Julian shook his head, wincing as another flash of searing pain pressed against his eyes. He wrote that song and he couldn’t remember why.
“If life could give me one blessing…”
He hadn’t realized he had been crying, sitting by the fire, his eyes pressed against the heels of his palms, Julian startled when he felt a hand settle on his shoulder.
“If life could give me one blessing…”
It was growing louder and Julian strained to hear anything that wasn’t the same bars to the song he didn’t know and knew so intimately and those same seven words.
“Jask-” It was another habit of Geralt’s he had noticed. The other name. It was always the first one on his lips but he always looked pained when he remembered himself. “Are you alright?”
“I don’t know what it is about you I’m trying to remember, but it’s splitting my head in two.” Julian groaned, returning to the safety of his hands.
Geralt hummed, pulling away. “Don’t bother. There’s nothing worth remembering and I gave you plenty of reasons to want to forget,” he murmured. Julian could feel him lean away. “We’ll be in Oxenfurt soon and I’ll be out of your hair and you can return to the life you should have had.”
“If life could…” “IF LIFE COULD GIVE ME…” “give me one blessing” “ONE BLESSING” “If life could give me one blessing!” “If life could give…” “… blessing” “BLESSING” “If…”
“Geralt… please” The pain behind his eyes felt like a hammer and the voices and the notes and the rushing of blood in his ears were building to a cacophony. “Just… Just tell me, what were we.” Julian… no. Not that one. “What was I to you?” Jaskier pleaded.
“Hmm.” Geralt didn’t meet his eyes when Jaskier managed to look up, squinting through the pain. Somewhere in him supplied the translation of ‘please don’t ask this of me…’
But he wouldn’t listen. He pressed in closer, his hands reaching out blindly for Geralt. “Why is it when I look at you the songs in my heart and in my head and the holes in my memory start to take shape?”
There was a moment of silence and Geralt seemed to be thinking on something before he finally decided. His hands came up, cupping Jaskier’s face and the wild din inside his mind seemed to quieten slightly before ramping up to a thousand.
“You… you were my friend. And I loved you,” Geralt said softly, as though he were trying to comfort an animal about to spook. “I still love you, Jaskier.”
It was barely a breath across his lips before Geralt pressed them firmly to Jaskier’s and it felt like being struck by lightening. And in the sparks that filled Jaskier’s mind, it brought the songs and the memories and the heartbreak he suffered and everything… Every moment he had been missing that was filled by knowing Geralt.
“If life could give me one blessing…” he whispered when they pulled away. He kissed the frown Geralt gave him at the words, smiling softly, “… I will never forget you again, Geralt of Rivia.”
And he didn’t.