Jaskier had been relatively young for his kind when he met Geralt for the first time. The Witcher had treated him like shit ever since but still, the words he was screaming at Jaskier at the mountain top hit hard. He could only stare in shock as the white-haired Witcher yelled. How ironic was it that he, the master of seven liberal arts, couldn´t find the words to express himself? To, at least, apologise for being the worst thing in Geralt´s life?
The only thing he was able to do was to run away. And then, after being far enough even the Witcher´s enhanced hearing could not pick it up, he screamed.
He knew he was acting as a child and was definitely embarassed after, but at the moment, screaming was the only thing that made sense. His hands moved to tug at his hair, hoping it would ease the pain he was feeling. He didn´t even know why it hurt so much. Yes, he loved the grumpy Witcher, the thing was he knew what Geralt was like. He knew what to expect but nothing could prepare him for the moment it happened.
If life could give me one blessing, it would be to take YOU off my hands!
He stood up, not remembering falling to the ground, and sighed. He had to flee as far from the mountain as possible and, what was more important, not to look back. He wanted to hate Geralt, he really did. He also wanted to swear to himself he would not let Geralt back into his life (not that Geralt wanted to have him back, of course), but he knew he was too weak to resist. Too selfish. He would fall for the Witcher anytime their paths crossed.
He climbed the mountain down, alone. He was dirty, the dust setting anywhere it could, and tired. When passing Roach, he gave her soft, sad smile, but didn´t come closer to her. He felt the temptation to stay would be too irresistable if he touched anything that belonged to
his the Witcher. And so he left some of his possessions in the saddlebags. Not many, of course. He hadn´t wanted to burden Roach with his things atop of all the things she had to carry for Geralt. Just a vial of chamomile oil, a reserve quill, his bedroll and a blanket. The loss of a blanket was not a pleasant one, but he was far more afraid of the pain of smelling Geralt (the leather, sword oils, sweat and, oh, the horse) and leaving the next moment.
With a sharp breath, he dug his nails into his palms and left Roach behind.
Tears were sliding across his cheeks but there was no point in wiping them out. The pain too fresh for him to stop crying just yet. And so he forced himself to lift his head and keep travelling, since that was the only thing he longed for and actually could have.
He reached the town where Borch introduced them to his offer and went straight to the tavern hoping he could play and make some coin. Oh how had he been wrong. He managed to play a few love songs until some young woman from the petty crowd asked for The Song of the White Wolf. Thad had been the moment he felt his heart break even more. Realising he might never write another song about his heroics, his hunts. That he might have lost him forever. His chosen one... He couldn´t keep playing after, meaning he made only some sorry coin, barely enough to afford a room. He had to think for a while - it was very likely Geralt was going to pass the town the following day AND he was running low on coin. That said, he quickly stormed from the tavern and fled to the woods surrounding the town.
Now, many didn´t realise it but underneath all those ridiculous outfits, Jaskier was a well-built man; muscular and athletic. He had been travelling for quite some time before he met Geralt and was perfectly capable of managing on his own. Yes, it was much more comfortable to have a Witcher protecting him and hunting for him, but he knew how to hunt and keep himself safe - those being the first things he had been taught once he was old enough.
As a Viscount and a half-dryad, he had to be kept safe. And when his parents finally understood he longed for travelling, they made sure he would be alright on his travels. Hell, he could even use some magic, and yet people still assumed he was completely harmless and weak. It sometimes came in handy, though, being thought of harmless, the townsfolk rarely got suspicious and he was mostly welcome to most of the places around the Continent.
He set up a small camp in the woods. He knew better than to stay close to the road, so he wandered further into the forest until he found a wonderful clearing which was suitable for sleeping. He even built a small fire and leaned against a wide oak trunk. He took out his lute and strummed a few melodies. He didn´t sing though, not sure whether he would be able to express the words inside of him anytime soon. He hummed instead. Sometime between the melodies he closed his eyes, and when he opened them, he found the clearing was now full of buttercups, liverworts and celandines. The bright flowers made him smile, even though he felt weak from the magic that poured from his music.
After that, he put the lute back to its case and curled up near the fire, suddenly very tired. He could feel the hollow space in his chest. He knew he could die of broken heart. He just didn´t know what to do, where to go. Sure, he could go to Oxenfurt and teach there, after all, he was the very best of his class, but he was hurting and felt unsure about everything; his ruined performance at the tavern was a perfect example of just how much broken he was. His eyes started to swell again and he started to shed tears once again. Exhausted, he closed heavy eyelids and hoped everything would get better.
When Geralt reached Roach, it had been almost the evening. He was looking for Jaskier in the camp, but Borch told him that the bard left a long time ago. The dragon´s stare almost burnt a hole through the Witcher´s head, but he didn´t allow himself to flinch. Gods, how much he wanted to go after
his the bard. How desperately he wanted to apologise and even beg him to join him once again. But he knew he couldn´t. He had no right to. After what he yelled at him, even though he knew none of it was the truth. Even worse - Geralt knew he was yelling nonsense but still kept going.
Maybe if I went straight after him, he would be still with me, he thought but shook his head quickly. Sure, he hasn´t been treating Jaskier the way
his the bard deserved, but he knew that this time, he went too far. On purpose. And that left him feeling even worse about himself. He just hoped his actions would keep Jaskier safe. The ridiculous bard always jumped headfirst into any danger he came across (travelling with a mutant included) and Geralt´s whole life has been full of danger. After the djinn in Rinde, after the dragon hunt, he felt overwhelmed. Once again, the people he cared about were hurting because of him - and he didn´t know how to make it stop, except for sending them away from him. So he did.
And now he sat on a log near the fire, hopeless and torn apart. He missed
his the bard. He missed his endless strumming and humming, the chatter... Hell, he even missed Jaskier´s constant nagging. But deep inside he knew, he hoped, he did the right thing. Jaskier would be much better on his own, not travelling with a filthy mutant, the Butcher of Blaviken. So what if the bard left with and a part of his heart followed him? He could never give Jaskier what he wanted - all the luxurious things he was longing for, the affection he deserved, the appreciation...
Oh Gods, was he tired. He sighed and went to Roach´s saddlebags to collect his bedroll.
He was shocked when he noticed Jaskier´s possessions. Was the bard coming back? Did he just need some time alone? Small spark of hope dared to settle in his gut.
But what if Jaskier didn´t even make it to Roach in the first place? What if the trek down the mountain was too much for him to handle? Could there be any monster they didn´t notice on their way up?
Geralt´s head snapped up so quickly, his neck painfully cracked. It was dark already. He couldn´t smell Jaskier on Roach, he was barely able to pick up some of his scent on his way down. He froze with horror. Suddenly, the desire to sleep was gone. He went to his potion bag only to find out he was running very low of Cat. In fact, he had only one left and no ingredients to make another one. Fuck!
He had to choose. He pinched the base of his nose and sighed heavily. He couldn´t smell Jaskier, not even his blood or fear on the way down. The dwarven path was broken, which meant Jaskier had to take the same road down he did. And he couldn´t smell any monster, either.
He moved to sit up and growled in surprise at the pain in his muscles. He must have gotten hurt during the fight on the mountain top, but the adrenaline he had been dosed ever since had to dampen the pain. And oh, adrenaline had flooded his veins until he reached Roach.
He growled again and lowered himself back onto the bedroll. There was no point in going after Jaskier, especially with no proof of the bard´s danger. He just left his belongings with Geralt. And could have a list of perfectly good reasons. Especially the ones Geralt loathed to admit.
He does not want to have anything to do with you. That is why he left those things in the saddlebags. He is finally disgusted with you, with what you are, with what you own. He probably hated the fact you touched his possessions, that your scents mingled together. He is never coming back, and you know it. Good for him, though. In the end, no one in their right mind would travel with an abomination such as yourself.
His hands began shaking, his mind weak. He felt the beginnings of a panic attack crawl up on him, so he quickly kneeled on the bedroll and concentrated on his breathing. Meditation always helped whenever he felt the self-disgust. That was until Jaskier came along. He never had to meditate whenever
his the bard was close, because that ridiculously colourful human always stood up for him. When somebody spitted in Geralt´s direction, when they refused to serve him in a tavern, Jaskier was always there to fight for him, Jaskier was the one who showered him with nice words right after. And yet, Geralt had never done anything in return. It was for the right cause, he tried to ensure himself every time. But the more it happened, the worse he felt about how he treated the bard. His only excuse was that he cared about him, a lot in fact. He knew he could not bear the sight of his the bard dying. And what is the better way to ensure Jaskier would be safe than sending him away, right?
He shook his head and dove deep into his mind. The last thing he thought of was (unexpectedly) Jaskier and his well-being.