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Jaskier remembered vividly the first time it happened, always a constant memory lingering in the back of his mind.

It wasn't long after he had met Geralt; they were walking through the woods and suddenly he was hit with urge to vomit out of nowhere. Geralt looked mildly confused as he turned toward him, watching as Jaskier leaned over, hands on his knees, retching loudly.

He coughed, throat burning, until finally he felt good enough to open his eyes, an odd taste in the back of his mouth, almost like dirt.

And then he saw them, yellow petals at his feet. 

Geralt's approaching footsteps and Jaskier moved before he could think better of it, heart pounding, kicking dirt over the flowers. He was so panicked he didn't even think of using magic to hide or get rid of the petals. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

And then an awkward: "Are you okay?"

Jaskier smiled tightly. "Wonderful," he replied brightly, walking away from the scene and feeling grateful when Geralt followed without a word.

*

Jaskier knew what was happening, of course. Just like he knew this wasn't something he could tell Geralt for two reasons. That would mean admitting the cause of the petals that kept forcing their way up and out of his mouth. Unrequited feelings.

But also it wasn't something he would be experiencing at all if not for his true nature, another secret he'd been keeping from the other man.

He wondered if Geralt had ever heard of it: Hanahaki Disease, a common disease for Fae.

If he had, or hadn't, didn't really matter to Jaskier. He wouldn't be telling him about it and he would hide it as long as he could, which wasn't too hard most days. He found that the coughing fits happened most, now, when Geralt was close or touching him.

When he started coughing, Geralt would awkwardly step back, looking out of place and stiff. Thankfully that helped Jaskier; he would turn away and empty himself of the petals before now - instead of just covering them - using a little magic to get rid of the petals entirely.

It wasn't too bad, beyond the constant burning in his throat and the bitter taste in his mouth and the fact that there was no more denying that his feelings for Geralt had slowly grown beyond that of friendship.

He had known, of course, deep down that he was falling for the man - so gruff, and yet so kind in his own way - but he had done a pretty good of denying it so far.

Now it was out in the open - for him, at least, and he found himself constantly thinking about it when he watched Geralt, heart tight in his chest.

Jaskier had never experienced Hanahaki Disease before. He had been in love, certainly, but never unrequited and more often than not it wasn't love he felt at all, but lust. He had heard about the disease when he was younger from elders, but never thought much of it. It wasn't common from his understanding.

Now he tried desperately to remember the details of it as he sat around the fire long after Geralt had retired for the night. It was a show of his trust, maybe, that now he would sleep before Jaskier.

Jaskier couldn't remember most of the details, like the meanings of different flowers, but he remembered the most important thing: If the love is never returned, and you don't or can't fall out of love, you will die. Usually by suffocation, if he remembered correctly, too many petals - then flowers - gathering in the person's throat, unable to get out quick enough.

He almost wanted to laugh. Of all the ways to die...

Burying his face in his hands, he heard a grunt from Geralt as he rolled over in his sleep. His throat convulsed, at the edge of a coughing fit. 

He had only one option, obviously. Geralt would never return his feelings, which meant he would have to fall out of love with him. Easier said than done, of course, but certainly he could do it. Lifting his head, he stared at the flickering flames of the fire with a new resolve. He could do this. He could rid himself of these pesky feelings and be what Geralt needed: a true friend.

*

The petals did not stop, but they did lessen over time. Once or twice a month he would have a coughing fit, but he could handle that. Geralt still continued to worry for him in his own way, even bringing him some medicine with a pinched expression. 

"What is this for?" he asked with a hint of amusement, taking the bottle. 

Geralt grunted, eyes flickering around their campsite. "For your throat."

Jaskier stiffened, fingers tightening around the bottle hard enough to hurt. "What do you mean?"

"You have a sore throat, right?" he asked, eyes finally stopping on him. He almost looked embarrassed, which was unfairly endearing. Jaskier felt like a selfish man for wanting more than what he already had. Geralt didn't care for very many people and Jaskier was lucky to be one of them. 

He nodded, relaxing. "Thank you, Geralt," he said and - just for show - he popped open the lid and took a few gulps of the medicine. It was horrible, tasted more like dirt than the petals, but he braved it with a smile. 

Geralt nodded curtly, looking pleased - or as pleased as he ever did - before returning to his spot.

Jaskier sighed, licking his lips, back of his throat itching painfully. He forced it down. He wondered how much longer he could do that. Hopefully until they parted ways for the colder months, at least. 

*

They parted ways a few months later and Jaskier went in search of help. He found a sweet mage in a small town and sat with her, explaining his situation. 

"Do you not have magic of your own?" she asked kindly. 

Jaskier swallowed. In his hand was one of the petals he had coughed up last night. He twirled it. "I do," he admitted, "but nothing that can help with this."

That was the point of the disease, he supposed, that their own kind couldn't get rid of it. But maybe a mage with their own - different - magic could do something about it. But when he looked up, he had his answer and it wasn't the one he'd been searching for.

She was frowning at him sadly. "I can try," she said, "but I've never even dealt with your kind before."

Jaskier smiled tightly, standing up. "No," he said, "I understand. Thank you for your time." He reached for his bag, intending to pay her for her time, but she quickly stood up, shaking her head with that same pitying frown. 

"Don't," she said gently. "I'm sorry I couldn't help."

Nodding, he turned and left her modest cottage. Once he was outside under the dark sky, he squeezed his eyes shut and took a few deep breaths. He would have to do it the old-fashioned way, he supposed, just like he'd originally planned. Opening his eyes, he smoothed some wrinkles out of his shirt and continued out of town. 

*

When they met up again, Jaskier tried his best to move on, squash his feelings for good. It was impossible, of course, but at least he could say he tried. He continued to hide his feelings fairly easily, especially considering he was pretty sure Geralt had a slight phobia of vomit of all things - always looking away when Jaskier started retching - which actually kind of made sense based on the story Geralt had told him of when he had first taken to the road and saved a girl.

Who had quickly vomited and passed out.

Thinking he could get through this, even with his throat constantly itching, he accompanied Geralt to a river.

"What are you looking for, exactly?" he asked, following him as he threw a net in the water over and over again. "I didn't know you were such a big fan of fish."

Geralt didn't snort, as he usually did nowadays, which was a little hurtful, but Jaskier shook it off. He stopped with a loud sigh, turning to look at him. "I can't sleep," he said, looking vaguely embarrassed. "I've tried everything, but." He sharply looked away. "Nothing is helping."

"Oh." Jaskier was just about to offer to help; that was something his magic could help with, though he would have to come up with a cover, but then Geralt was tugging the net back out of the water and his eyes fell on what looked like a canister. "Um. What is that?"

And that was how they ended up meeting Yennefer, which would turn out to be the ultimate downfall for Jaskier.

She saved him, sure, but later when he opened his eyes and saw them in the doorway, talking in hushed voices, he kind of wish she hadn't. Sitting up, he retched petals everywhere. He was barely able to swipe it away with magic, hand shaking, before they both turned toward him.

His heart squeezed painfully in his chest as Geralt rushed to the bed, eyes bright. "You're awake," he breathed with what sounded like relief. "How are you feeling?"

Jaskier swallowed thickly. "I'm - okay," he answered with a small smile that he hoped was convincing. 

"Get a bit more rest," he said gruffly, leaving no room for argument. "We can leave in the morning."

*

Jaskier walked alongside him. He really did feel better, almost as good as new if only he didn't still have the lingering taste of dirt in the back of his mouth, a constant reminder of his unrequited feelings. He rubbed at his throat, staring ahead. "She was quite the looker, huh?"

Geralt slowed, side-eyeing him. "You didn't fuck her when I wasn't looking, I hope."

He cracked a small smile, unable to help it even as a weight settled on his chest. "Why? Jealous?"

"I - " Geralt looked away. "No," he said unconvincingly. "She just seems..."

Jaskier snorted. "Unstable?" 

He side-eyed him again. "Something like that."

"Well, no worries there," he replied breezily. He hadn't been interested in sex with another person in - well, years. An odd contrast to the life he had lived before, but not all bad. No more jealous exes, at least. "If you want her, you can have her."

Geralt stopped suddenly. Jaskier took a couple more steps before turning to look at him. He had that pinched expression back on his face, a crease between his eyebrows that made him look a little older. 

"You okay, Geralt?" he asked after a long stretch of silence.

He blinked once. "What?" he asked before shaking his head. "I'm fine." 

Without another word, he started walking again and Jaskier followed, feeling like he'd said something wrong but not understanding what.

*

When he saw Yennefer next, he was on his own. He was surprised to see her in a dingy tavern in a small town, looking wildly out of place with her immaculate black curls and well-fitting dress. She walked through the tavern, ignoring the looks, and sat at his table.

"Um. Geralt isn't here," he said. They had parted ways about a month ago. 

Yennefer arched a dark eyebrow, leaning forward in her chair. "I know," she said simply. "I'm here for you, bard."

Jaskier never would've expected those words to come out of her mouth. Tense, he stared her down. "What do you want?"

"You haven't told him," she said, "have you?"

His heart fell to the very lowest depths of his stomach. There was no way she knew, right? She hadn't mentioned it all those months ago, or the times they had crossed paths between then and now. "What are you talking about?"

Yennefer stared at him, unimpressed. "You're not human," she said, sounding almost angry. "But I don't know what you are."

Jaskier debated lying. He had gotten pretty good at it over the decades, but she obviously knew the truth and could not be so easily manipulated. "How do you know?" he asked instead, swallowing thickly. At least she didn't seem to know about his other secret.

"When I healed you, I could tell," she answered breezily. "I didn't tell Geralt." A short pause. "You're welcome."

Jaskier looked up, smiling slightly. He really was thankful, and it wasn't like she had went out of her way to know his secret. "I'm a Fae," he said, cheeks warming at Yennefer's look of disbelief and - even more shocking - awe. 

"Like a fairy," she said but it wasn't a question.

Jaskier sighed heavily. "Like a fairy," he confirmed with a nod.

Yennefer sat back, eyes still just a little too wide. "From the stories I've read, Fae are usually nonviolent," she said, not waiting for a response between her musing. "Mischievous, maybe, but nonviolent - unless threatened, of course."

"That is - true," he replied finally, not understanding her point.

Yennefer pursed her lips. "Certainly Geralt would know that, talking as he have about encountering so many creatures." She leaned forward again. "He wouldn't kill you," she continued bluntly. "Why haven't you told him?"

Jaskier knew she was right. He had no worries about that. Geralt never killed unless he had to. If a beast or creature could be talked down, he would always try that first. "He might not kill me," he agreed quietly, throat itching, "but he may send me away."

Which was just as bad, really.

"Oh, please," she replied flippantly. "You didn't see him when I was working on you. He wouldn't do that."

"Maybe, maybe not," he said, "but I can't risk it." Standing up, he bowed slightly. "It was nice seeing you again, Yennefer."

She clicked her tongue. "Don't lie. You don't even like me."

Jaskier lifted his head. Yennefer was many things, not all good, but honestly he didn't think she was all that bad. She was brave and stubborn, and knew of her own beauty. If it wasn't for the way Geralt looked at her, he might not have minded her at all, but as it was... 

He could be a very selfish man.

"I don't not like you," he said with a small smile.

Yennefer waved him off. "See you later, bard." He hesitated, and her mouth twitched. "Your secret is safe with me."

Nodding, he turned and left the tavern. Once he was out on the road, he wretched, throat burning with each yellow petal that fell at his feet. Finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and whisked them away with a flick of his wrist.

*

He wasn't sure if he actually trusted her to keep his secret, but that changed when he met up with Geralt a few weeks later and he seemed the same as always, oblivious as ever. He had to ask, of course, just to be sure.

"Have you seen Yennefer lately?"

Roach slowed and Geralt peered down at him. "Yes," he said. "Why?"

Jaskier smiled brightly. "No reason."

They continued for a bit until the sky darkened and there was thunder in the distance. Geralt stopped Roach and looked down at him again. "Get up here," he said gruffly. 

Nodding, he mounted the horse and settled down behind him. 

"Hold on," he said over a crash of thunder. Jaskier's throat felt like he had swallowed a dozen thorns, which wasn't entirely off the mark. Sliding his arms around Geralt's waist, they took off toward the closest town. 

They weren't fast enough; rain started to pour after just a few minutes. Jaskier didn't really mind the rain, honestly. 

He leaned his head slowly against Geralt's back, sighing softly. Once he was sure Geralt wasn't going to tell him off, or shrug him off, he let himself close his eyes and relax, enjoying the cool rain on the back of his neck and the rush of wind in his ears. 

When he opened his eyes again, he realized they were in the town and Geralt had already climbed off Roach, watching him with an amused smirk.

"I can let you sleep out here if you want," he said. 

Jaskier stuck his tongue out before jumping down from Roach. They rented a room at the local inn before visiting the tavern. At the bar, they ordered food for both of them and sat. A bard was playing - badly - near the back of the establishment. 

"I haven't heard you play in a while," Geralt said after their food had arrived. Jaskier dipped his spoon in it. 

He hadn't even realized, but Geralt was right. He'd been so busy with everything else he hadn't picked up his lute in a while. Feeling almost ashamed, he took a sip of the stew. Not good, but edible. "I just haven't been feeling very creative," he lied easily.

Geralt nodded, mouth twisting oddly. He looked down at his stew and back up. "I've missed it," he said just as another loud crash of thunder rattled the building. 

Jaskier's heart jumped to the back of his throat, settling there. He must've misheard, certainly, but before he could ask - "Geralt?" A woman asked, approaching them with wide, sparkly eyes. She was pretty. Jaskier's stomach churned with jealously. "Oh, you are, aren't you? The White Wolf!" She clasped her hands together, bowing. "What a pleasure it is to meet you."

He watched as Geralt blinked at the woman, obviously out of his element. He wasn't usually approached with compliments but insults. 

"Uh, likewise," he replied stiffly, glancing at Jaskier for help.

Feeling kind of cruel, he slipped off his stool and forced a smile. "Have fun, Geralt," he said. "Don't worry about me."

Without waiting for a response, he left the tavern to the sound of the woman musing about Geralt's heroics. He should've been happy, maybe, knowing that she had heard about those heroics from his songs. He had done it - helped his reputation, like he had promised all that time ago. 

But all he felt was a pain in his chest. He tried to take a deep breath and found that he couldn't. He wheezed, bending over. Finally he was able to force the petals up, cheeks wet with tears. 

"Fuck," he whispered as he touched a hand to his throat. It was getting worse, somehow. 

Swallowing around the rawness, he made the petals disappear and rushed back to their room.

*

He wondered over the next few months what Geralt would think if he found his lifeless body. How he would feel. If he would bury him, mourn him. Probably. Maybe he would never be what he wanted to Geralt, but they were - now - close friends. 

He tried, hard, to get over him before that had to happen - sleeping with a new stranger every other night, going on dates when they were in the city - but it was all for naught. In the end, he was sicker than ever - now, he coughed up flowers, not petals - and still hopelessly in love with Geralt.

Geralt had noticed because he was emotionally constipated, not blind and deaf.

"Here," he said, crouching in front of him. He had another bottle of that medicine from before. "Helped last time, right?" 

Jaskier took the bottle, smiling slightly. It hadn't, of course, but he couldn't say that, especially with Geralt looking at him like that. "Right," he replied, popping open the bottle and taking a few gulps. Geralt watched him, eyes dark, until he lowered the bottle and licked his lips. "Thank you."

Nodding, Geralt sat down next to him. 

Jaskier stared at the flickering flames of the fire, heart pounding. He wondered if Geralt could hear it. 

"You're sick, Jaskier," he said after a while. "Really sick."

It wasn't a question, but Jaskier supposed that was fair. He could only hide his retching so much. "Maybe," he said lightly. "But I'll be fine. I mean, I'm a stubborn fellow, as you like to say. A little cold won't kill me." Except it wasn't a cold, and he knew his death was only a matter of time.

"We should visit a healer," Geralt replied quickly. "The next town we stop in."

Jaskier turned to look at him. He was watching the fire, mouth a thin line. "Geralt," he said softly, touching his arm. "I'm okay, seriously. No need for all that."

Geralt shifted toward him. "But if you died, Jaskier, I - " His eyes flickered to the side. "I don't know what I'd do."

How sweet, Jaskier thought, with a pain in his chest. He squeezed his arm once before turning away to grab his lute and drag it over. "I've been working on a new song," he said brightly. "Want to hear it?"

Geralt let out a quiet sigh before nodding. "Go on."

Jaskier smiled slightly as he strummed his lute and began singing his newest ballad all about a cursed man, cursed to cough up flower petals until his beloved returned their feelings. It was a bit on the nose, he supposed, but writing it had helped him come to terms with his fate. 

When he finished, he looked up. Geralt was watching him again. "So?"

Geralt's mouth twitched, eyes narrowing. "Not based on a true tale, I hope," he replied. 

Jaskier smiled, placing his lute aside. "Obviously not," he said breezily. "I mean, what kind of curse is that?"

*

Months later, Jaskier showed up at Yennefer's place of residence. Well, one of many. She had a tendency to jump around the Continent, never staying in one place for long. Luckily he could find her easily with the help of magic. 

"Jaskier," she said upon opening the door. He watched as her eyes flickered to his neck, covered in a red rash. "What the fuck happened to you?" she asked bluntly even as she stepped out of the way, allowing him in.

He sat at the table with a steaming mug of tea. Yennefer sat across from him, an odd look on her face.

"Are you sick?" she asked finally. 

Jaskier clutched the mug between his hands. "In a way," he admitted before coughing suddenly. He didn't even try to hide it. Yennefer's eyes widened as she stared at the dandelions on the table. 

"What the fuck, Jaskier?" she asked, leaning forward and reaching for one of them before thinking better of it. "Were you cursed or something?"

Jaskier almost wished that was the case. "Not exactly, no. Have you ever heard of Hanahaki Disease?"

Her expression was answer enough. 

"It is a Fae thing," he explained. "Not very common. I don't even know all the details. Basically when we experience unrequited love, we are diseased with it. We cough up flowers. Petals at first. Different kinds." He stared down at the flowers, still and bright yellow. "The only way for the disease to be cursed is for the love to be returned, or for the person to fall out of love with them."

When he lifted his head, his stomach churned painfully at Yennefer's look of pity.

"Jaskier," she said slowly. "Is it - ?"

He knew what she was asking. How could he not? "Yes," he answered quietly, honestly. "But that isn't why I'm here."

She nodded slowly. "Why are you here, then?"

Jaskier's eyes flickered to the side. "I need you to try and cure me."

"Is that possible?" she asked quickly. 

Jaskier shrugged helplessly. "I've never heard of it being done before, but - " His eyes flickered back to her. "You're one of the strongest mages I've ever met. If you can't do it, no one can."

Yennefer narrowed her eyes. "Flattery will get you nowhere, bard," she said, mouth twitching. "But I'll try."

*

She did try, and fail. 

"I somehow made it worse," she said, standing by the bed. "Why did you let me - gods, I should've known better."

Jaskier waved her off, bent over and coughing up more flowers. His entire lap was covered in the flowers. Finally there was a long enough break - for the first time in an hour - that he could lift his head and look at her. "It was going to happen eventually with or without your help."

"I need to find Geralt," she said without missing a beat, and his stomach churned painfully.

"No," he said before bending over and coughing violently. 

He heard sharp footsteps and - when he could finally spare a glance - noticed that Yennefer had left the room. 

"No," he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut. He would rather die than see the look on Geralt's face when he learned the truth. Maybe he could lie, he supposed, and say he was actually pining after some random woman. Geralt wouldn't know any better, but somehow that thought just made him feel sicker. If he was dying, he might as well get everything off his chest.

*

Jaskier had managed to fall asleep after she left, awkwardly posed in the bed, still surrounded by flowers. 

When he heard a clunk, he startled awake with a gasp and immediately started coughing again. Thankfully it wasn't some burglar - or worse - or his death might've arrived a little earlier than planned as he was in no state to defend himself. 

Finally he could stop, throat burning. 

"Jaskier."

Jaskier lifted his head. Geralt stood in the doorway with Yennefer. She nodded at Jaskier once before leaving. 

Geralt was silent as he walked to the bed, hovering awkwardly and staring at the flowers with wide eyes. Well, wide for him. Jaskier waved his hand over a few of the flowers, making them disappear. "Surprise," he said weakly.

"She told me," he said as he finally sat, an odd tilt to his voice.

Jaskier's fingers twitched in his lap, anger bubbling in his chest. "That wasn't her secret to tell," he replied bitterly. 

"You should've told me when we first met," Geralt said with his own hint of anger. "You know I wouldn't have cared, Jaskier." Jaskier blinked slowly, not understanding. "You should know better than most that I don't hurt - or kill - anything unless I have to."

And suddenly the anger vanished like it had never been there. Jaskier nearly laughed. "What did she tell you, exactly?"

"That you're a Fae," he explained and then his eyes flickered to the flowers. "And about your... condition. I've read about it before."

Jaskier nodded. "You know about the cause," he said, not really a question. 

Geralt looked up. "I do," he said, oddly soft. "I don't feel it is my place to ask."

They were silent, awkwardly glancing at each other just to look away. Jaskier wondered if he should just take it - the out Geralt was so graciously giving him - or if he should just blurt the truth. He wanted to do both. His hands curled in the scratchy blanket Yennefer had draped over him earlier. 

"You," he said finally, breaking the tense silence. "I have feelings for you, Geralt."

At least - now - he could die without carrying that with him. A weight off his shoulders.

Geralt's head snapped up, looking at him like he'd just completely blown his world and maybe he had. Jaskier wouldn't regret it. He couldn't. Geralt blinked once, twice, before looking down at the flowers with an odd twist to his mouth. "No," he said under his breath. "No, that can't be - that doesn't make any sense."

Jaskier frowned, heart tight in his chest. "Yes, well, some things in life simply don't make sense."

"No, Jaskier," he growled, looking back up. "Isn't this whole thing supposed to be based on unrequited love?"

Jaskier stared at him. "Yes, obviously. What are you - ?" His heart stopped. Figuratively and maybe literally. "Geralt," he continued slowly. Hope was an ugly thing. He knew better. "What are you getting at?"

Geralt didn't back down, just kept staring at him with dark eyes, that twist to his mouth that made Jaskier's stomach do funny things. "I - I should've told you sooner," he said, eyes finally flickering away. "Fuck, Jaskier, I could've stopped all of this."

"Tell me what?" he said, begging, that full feeling blossoming in his chest, a warning. 

Geralt growled again. "I like you!" he exploded just as Jaskier bent over and coughed up more flowers. Geralt shuffled to his side, hand hovering awkwardly over his back. "Jaskier," he said worriedly. "Jaskier, did you hear me?"

Jaskier sat up, eyes wide and bloodshot. "That doesn't make any sense," he breathed. "How? I mean, you're - you like Yennefer! And - and look!" He gestured wildly at the flowers all around them. Suddenly understanding, he paled. "Geralt, don't lie. That won't fix any of this."

"I'm not lying!" he said, quick and loud. "I've had feelings for you, Jaskier, for - for years."

Jaskier turned away and buried his face in his hands. "Stop it," he said, muffled and sad. "I am begging you."

Lies wouldn't work. The feelings had to be returned genuinely. Geralt's hand finally fell on his back, a heavy and warm weight. "You know me," Geralt said, an odd tilt to his voice, rough and low. "I wouldn't lie about this, Jaskier."

He took a shaky breath, tasting earth. "But if it was true," he said finally, slowly, "I wouldn't be coughing up flowers."

Not petals, but flowers. Nearing the end of the disease. 

Geralt was silent, obviously having no answer of his own. "Wait," he said suddenly. "Jaskier." He lightly patted his back and he finally lifted his head, looking at him. "The love might not have been unrequited," he said, "but you didn't know that."

Jaskier blinked. "Huh?"

"Maybe you just needed to know your love was returned for the disease to be cured," he explained, eyes sparkling with what looked like hope to Jaskier. He had never seen Geralt's eyes so bright and alive. 

"But - " Jaskier looked down at the flowers. He touched his throat. "Huh," he repeated softly.

*

Jaskier didn't want to believe it at first - again, hope was a dangerous thing - but after a couple weeks with no flowers, he had to admit: 

"I think you were right," he said. "I - I'm cured." 

It was almost weird knowing that, being free of the disease, when he had accepted his fate so long ago. 

Geralt sat on the bed, reaching out for his hands. Jaskier smiled at him, a little uncertain. "And you swear you were telling the truth?" he asked for the tenth, maybe eleventh time. 

He rolled his eyes. "I was telling the truth, Jaskier," he assured him. 

They hadn't kissed or done anything like that yet, but apparently this was enough - just the knowledge of their mutual love. Jaskier felt warm all over. He looked down at their hands; Geralt's hands were so much bigger despite their similar height, and covered in scars. "I was ready to die," he admitted quietly.

"I'm glad you didn't," Geralt replied instantly, squeezing his hands gently.

He lifted his gaze. "Kiss me," he said because they had waited long enough. 

Geralt snorted. "Finally," he teased before he leaned forward and lightly brushed their lips together, dry and rough. It was hardly the best kiss Jaskier had ever had, but he would always remember it. 

*

"Thank you, Yen," Jaskier said at the end of the third week. Finally they were leaving, and oddly Jaskier found that he would miss her. 

Yennefer narrowed her eyes. "Yen?"

"What?" he replied with a smirk. "Are we not close enough for nicknames yet?"

She rolled her eyes. "Just go," she said, gesturing at Roach. Geralt was already on her, waiting out by the road after his own personal goodbye with Yennefer earlier that morning. Jaskier had felt jealous for a total of two seconds before forcing that feeling away. He trusted Geralt, and - now - he trusted Yennefer. An odd outcome, but not an unpleasant one. 

"We'll see you again soon," he said, meaning it. "Take care."

Without waiting for a reply, he lurched forward and hugged her. She awkwardly patted his back. 

"Be safe," she said as he stepped back. If he didn't know better - but he did, obviously - he would say she was blushing. He nodded once before turning and rushing down the path. Geralt extended a hand once he was close and helped him up onto the back of Roach. 

He slid his arms around Geralt's waist, hooking his hands together in front of him. 

"Bye!" he called as they galloped away. Yennefer waved from the porch of the small cottage.

After they'd been riding for a few minutes, Geralt twisted to look at him. "Where do you want to go?"

Jaskier hummed thoughtfully. He felt brand new, like he could survive anything. "How about the coast?" he asked almost shyly. He always had loved the coast as a child, finding comfort in the warm sun on his skin and the sound of crashing waves. "I'm kind of tired of the woods. Too many flowers."

Geralt snorted fondly and changed directions. "Very well."