oh let me be a part of the narrative

Bards were never meant to be a part of the story.

That was a simple fact.

Bards at their best were recorders of history, crafters of story, observers of all things great and small. They studied the world and decided what was worthy of being part of the annals of history to be passed down through the generations. They determined which messages and lessons should be learned from the events that would leave an impact.

And though they tried, they were not impartial observers. Everyone was a bit biased and a bard had to eat as well so one could not go around singing or telling tales that no one would fully accept.

Respect didn't make history.

Or at least, respect didn't make history anyone would care to remember.

His notes and recordings would survive if someone wished to create a book of history that would sit on a shelf with its dry, monotone facts. It was through stories and songs that things were actually remembered.

And that's why bards couldn't, really shouldn't, be part of the story.

Jaskier knew that.

(It was fine to write songs, especially ones not necessarily related to true events, in which the singer was speaking to someone else or the audience. Her Sweet Kiss, as most people interpreted it, perhaps correctly though he wouldn't confirm it, was about him singing to his unrequited love about how the person they'd chosen was bad news. It was just as valid as any other love song or ballad or sonnet. But such songs were different from stories, which they were not meant to insert themselves into.

Admittedly, he had made that mistake of putting himself in the story in his first truly popular song. However, as he had defended to his peers, it was more of an introduction to his vast number of tales and songs regarding the Witcher, a prologue as it were, to give his songs more credibility by showing that he had, in fact, been there.

A mistake of youth that it was too late to go back on.

He still couldn't believe that they had actually bought that.)

And really, he should consider it an honor to be able to witness such a grand and epic story. And he was honored! He had never imagined all those years ago when he chose to follow Geralt and chose to stay by his side that he would get a story of such great proportions that he now had.

(He had imagined adventures, destiny, heroics, and he had gotten all that and more.

He had also gotten the heartbreak he had predicted but he had never imagined it would be his own.)

If anything, as a storyteller, he could admire Destiny's work here. He couldn't have created a better set-up if he tried.

(And what is Destiny if not the greatest storyteller, the greatest author, in all of existence? The only differences were that they weaved their stories with lives, not words, and crafted the main stopping points while allowing people to choose their own way to get there.)

It was the most powerful family and dynamic one could conceive.

The Witcher, a mutated man shunned by society and trying to appear detached and emotionless while actually longing for acceptance and having the biggest bleeding heart in the world.

The Most Powerful Sorceress on the Continent, a woman who had clawed her way into having power and who held it as close as a dragon held its hoard that just wanted to make her own choices and to love someone unconditionally and have it returned.

The Child of Surprise, the Lion Cub of Cintra, a young girl who contained an unfathomable power and the courage of a lion that needed protection and guidance against one of the greatest threats to the Continent to date.

It was practically perfect.

Jaskier was amazed that he of all people got to chronicle their tale.

(What was a mere human compared to such giants?

When he was at his lowest, he reminded himself: he chose this.

Destiny has no place for bards in their stories. He had once thought that perhaps they'd had a hand in that first meeting in Posada, but he was older and knew somewhat better now. The only reason he was here was because he chose to be. And he would continue doing so as long as he was able.)

And despite himself, he found that he cared for (loved) these three people more than anything in the world.

There was no way he'd allow anyone else to tell their story.

(He knew no one else would do them justice, even if he had broken the cardinal rule of an artist within years of meeting the Witcher.

Muses were meant to be admired, placed upon a pedestal for you to watch and record and draw inspiration from.

It was okay to love your Muse.

But you were never supposed to fall in love with them.

You could never dare to drag them down and wish to be on the same level as them.

And yet, here he was.)

So he would continue to travel with them and care for them all, creating stories and songs that would last through the ages long after he was gone.

(Though given the immortal nature of his companions, and even Ciri's powers practically guaranteed that she would most likely reach the same status, he wondered if they'd manage to outlast his songs.)

That, if anything, was his role in all of this. After all, it wasn't like he could do much else.

(Or so he liked to remind himself.

Even when Ciri turned to him, not Geralt or Yennefer, for comfort or advice, or she requested her favorite songs and finally smiled for the first time in days, making him helpless but to smile back at her, his heart as light as if winning the annual bardic competition.

Even as he and Yennefer exchanged barbed comments though most of the sting from them had faded and they simply wished to verbally spar with each, and she would roll her eyes at his sheepish grin when he was injured while on a hunt with Geralt before doing her best to fix it.

Even though Geralt was different now, after the talk between the two about the day on the mountain and his gain of a daughter, with the Witcher being more open and somehow softer, actually trying to use his words and not just his actions, and him still feeling his heart fluttering, his chest tightening as it had for over twenty years at a single smile.

His words were still the best he could offer these amazing, beautiful people who had each come into his heart and settled to stay in different ways.)

And it would be enough.

(It had to be.)

The greatest achievement of the bard Jaskier would be to write and tell their story.

(But sometimes…

Oh, sometimes, how Jaskier wished he could be a part of it.)

AN: Trying something a bit different in terms of format for this than in other stories I've done. So you get what Jaskier tells himself and what he really thinks.

Anyway, I was listening to "That Would Be Enough" from Hamilton and it occurred to me that from what I've seen in the show and what I've heard about the books and game, while Jaskier is there for stuff and part of the game, he's not actually necessarily contributing to the story itself. Which goes along with the historical purpose of bards to not only write songs and tell stories, but also to act as historians as well. Jaskier is the chronicler, though at least in the show, it seems that it treats him rather poorly despite his vital role.

Also, in the show at least, it's really hard to not read Jaskier as being in love with Geralt. I'm pretty sure he's in love on his part. However, it seems that though Geralt cares, they will probably leave it as unrequited especially as everyone makes it seem like Yennefer and Geralt are inevitable. (Which is hard for me to ship because if they really wanted me to ship it by the end of s1, they really should have had them interact more and have them be more positive reactions. By the end of s1, Jaskier was the most positive relationship in Geralt's life before the mountain break-up.) This fic is supposed to be in the canonverse which is why it's labeled as unrequited, but who knows, maybe they'll surprise me.

And if I write anything else for Jaskier/Geralt, that probably will end up being requited stuff.

And I know it's been said that Jaskier considers Geralt part of Destiny's work, but one of the things that I love and consider vital to their relationship is that Jaskier chose Geralt and continues to choose being with him. He is literally the only person so far associated with Geralt (and still living) that is with him through choice and not destiny nor magic. And while over 20 years is like a blip to Geralt, that's over half of Jaskier's life. That is some devotion right there that no one else has shown to him (except maybe Roach).

Also, I was looking into how muses were traditionally viewed and it seems that they were almost sacred (and not just the traditional Greek muses), so with how Jaskier at least considers Geralt a friend would be sacrilegious by artistic standards. Really, he and Geralt are more like the modern interpretation of a muse (or at least how Richard Castle seems to treat it in his show; it's the same sort of set-up).

Hope you enjoyed this fic and sorry for rambling a bit here! Keep on surviving!