Stop the World
I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally come up with the dumbest soulmate au ever.
“Stop the World I Wanna Get Off With You” - The Arctic Monkeys
no tws, just nonsense
When Priss and Essi had bumped into each other at one of Jaskier’s school recitals they had sung a gorgeous ballad about love and faithfulness, outlining their future adventures together and reassuring both women about their mutual compatibility. It had been a lovely, soft thing that ebbed and flowed like the evening tide. It hadn’t been very long, but it was gorgeous.
The dance they’d done as they sang together was simple. They swayed back and forth across the floor in each other’s arms, smiles brightening both of their flushed faces, two heads of nearly-matching golden hair shining in the flickering candlelight, Essi’s skirts swirling against Priscilla’s colorful tights.
Jaskier had been jealous of his friends’ early discovery, of course. He wanted nothing more than to meet his soulmate. Their song, whatever it was, would be beautiful! It would be fantastic! It would be something to cherish for a lifetime; he could feel it in his very bones. He and his beloved were meant for great things and he wanted to get started on their journey together sooner rather than later.
It was no surprise to anyone who knew Jaskier that once he’d obtained a degree in the seven liberal arts (with honors) from Oxenfurt University, he immediately took to the road. He hunted high and low across the Continent for his other half, crossing whatever borders necessary and sneaking into whatever parties or back alley gambling dens or theatrical functions he could to find out where his soulmate was hiding. He really did try everything, it seemed.
But Destiny helps those who help themselves, and Jaskier had been putting in a lot of effort.
He’d been on the road nearly two years before that fateful afternoon finally arrived. He was hungry, tired, and disappointed in himself. None of his original songs were doing very well and his funds from home were running out. When he finally reached an inn that would let him play, the patrons seemed less than enthused about his presence. He knew he needed to perform anyway; he hadn’t eaten in nearly two days and he hadn’t bathed in the last week either. Jaskier’s morale was very, very low.
Still, he needed some coin to survive. If not coin, perhaps the audience would be irritated enough throw some half-edible food his way, and that would be enough to get him to the next town. He strummed his lute and began his song, thrusting his hips and wiggling his eyebrows with every innuendo. Usually country folk loved the bawdy tavern songs, but Posada seemed to be an outlier. They hated it.
They hated him.
After he’d finished a handful of questionable ballads he knelt to collect the rolls they’d thrown. When he lifted his gaze to search for a place to take inventory, his eyes settled on a figure in the corner. A man with a relatively young, handsome face and an old man’s silver-white hair. He was glaring down into his mug with an expression like coming thunder and his nose was flared in annoyance with something.
The handsome stranger was moonlight-draped in the middle of an unusually warm spring and Jaskier felt his heart filling with something deep and unfamiliar as he stared from across the tavern floor. The sensation bubbled up from the depths of his soul and flooded his entire being from head to foot, magma-hot and thrilling. Like jumping from a sauna into a snowbank. Like falling from a great height into chilly water. Like- Like-
It felt exactly like falling in love all at once.
Jaskier could hear an unfamiliar heartbeat echoing through the back of his head, slowly transforming into a drumbeat, and he prayed that the stranger would look up. Quietly, a man nearby whispered, “Open Sesame.”
“We’ve places to go,” he sang, surprising himself. The words had ripped themselves out of his throat, unknown and unbidden until the moment of their conception. Oh! It’s happening! The music picked up and got louder. It’s really, actually happening!
Another line of song burst from his mouth: “We’ve people to see.”
“Let’s put ‘em on hold,” the villagers added, playing the part of Chorus harmoniously enough. The stranger in the corner was definitely looking at Jaskier now, his black-gloved fists clenched where they rested on the tabletop. The bard crossed the room in a rush, still singing, the predestination of their story taking over him: “There's all sorts of shapes that I bet you can make; when you want to escape, say the word.”
The stranger’s jaw clenched in an effort to bite back his line of the song and Jaskier’s heart, just a moment ago so full of love and excitement over this development, crashed to the floor and shattered into a million pieces. His soulmate was fighting their Destiny. He was refusing to sing along. Still, the lyrics persisted, flowing through Jaskier again, instead: “Well I know that getting you alone isn’t easy to do…”
“With the exception of you, I dislike everyone in the room. And I don’t wanna lie but I don’t wanna tell you the truth,” came the gravelly, soft baritone from his mysterious partner. When the stranger finally looked up, Jaskier noted that his soulmate’s eyes were a lovely honey-gold, shot through with lines of ochre. The bard, already head-over-heels and now suddenly more besotted than ever, gasped and smiled his way through his next line.
“I get the sense that you’re on the move and you’ll probably be leaving soon.”
“So I’m telling you,” they sang together. The stranger rose from his seat, fist unfurling slowly as he gently, nervously took Jaskier’s hand in his warmer one. They continued in harmony, “Stop the world cause I wanna get off, with you.”
“Stop the world cause I wanna get off,” Jaskier began.
“With you,” the stranger finished. They gasped when the music stopped as suddenly and strangely as it had begun. Their hands were still joined, fingers intertwined.
A few of the peasants clapped their congratulations to the new couple. Most of them shrugged and returned to whatever it was they were doing before, nonplussed by the predestined meeting of two souls right in front of them.
The world resumed its spinning and with it went Jaskier’s sense of stability. He stumbled forward, only to be caught against a broad chest by strong, capable hands.
“Why don’t we sit down and introduce ourselves?” his soulmate asked with that gloriously deep, sexy voice. Jaskier nodded and allowed himself to be guided gently into a chair.
“I’m Jaskier,” he smiled. The bard noted the heavy sheath leaning against the wall. It held two swords, each with a distinctive handle. His soulmate wore heavy black armor even in the midst of an unseasonable heatwave, and the wolf medallion around the man’s neck shone in the midday sunlight. Jaskier’s heart picked up its already frantic pace and he beamed. “You must be Geralt of Rivia, the infamous witcher!”
“Yet you do not flee,” the man raised an eyebrow. He was looking at Jaskier the way small animals looked at particularly boisterous children. Like he was curious but ready to run at any wrong movement.
“Why should I?” Jaskier shrugged. “You’re the one I was made to be with. Why shouldn’t I be with you?”
“You just said yourself that I am Geralt of Rivia, infamous witcher.”
“Infamy doesn’t do bards well.”
“No,” Jaskier smiled shyly. He held everything before him: his heart, his meager belongings, his education, his talents… He just hoped it was enough to tempt his devilishly handsome, silver-haired soulmate into giving him a chance to prove himself. “But love does.”
Al campo de los muertos
me trajo mi camino.
Aquí he de recogerme,
me dije en mis adentros.
Quizá, verdes coronas,
sois vosotras las muestras,
que al viandante cansado
la fresca fonda brindan.
¿Los cuartos de esta casa
todos están tomados?
Desmayo de cansancio,
de muerte vengo herido.
¡Ay fonda despiadada!
¿me rechazas entonces?
¡Sigue pues adelante,
fiel bordón, adelante!
Auf einen Totenacker
Hat mich mein Weg gebracht.
Allhier will ich einkehren:
Hab’ ich bei mir gedacht.
Ihr grünen Totenkränze
Könnt wohl die Zeichen sein,
Die müde Wandrer laden
In’s kühle Wirtshaus ein.
Sind denn in diesem Hause
Die Kammern all’ besetzt?
Bin matt zum Niedersinken
Bin tödlich schwer verletzt.
O unbarmherz’ge Schenke,
Doch weisest du mich ab?
Nun weiter denn, nur weiter,
Mein treuer Wanderstab!