Tadgh was a much better man than he was, but he’d always known that. While Tadgh couldn’t do enough to make things right for his soul mate, Shayne couldn’t give a f**k about his own. When he felt the pull of her rebirth he ignored it. He’d ignored the pull twenty-five years ago and he fully planned on ignoring the pull of her death whenever that happened just as he always had.
She lived close by, but not close enough that he’d ever had to see her while he’d been protecting Tristan, which was a blessing. He didn’t want to see her, didn’t want to know what she looked like, what kind of life she had, if she was married, had children, or was living a miserable, pain filled existence. She wasn’t his problem or his responsibility, Tadgh was.
His brother’s time was almost at an end and he needed to be there for him. No matter how painful his death would be, realizing that he was once again separated from Macha and their child was always excruciating for Tadgh. It would be even more painful this time, because this would be the last time he would ever see her.
Shayne had seen it in Tristan’s eyes last night as the situation was explained to him. It hadn’t surprised him how fast Tristan had come to realize what the plan meant and accepted it. He’d always been like that, putting the needs and safety of his loved ones first. Every time Macha lost Tadgh it became increasingly harder to deal with and this time would be no different.
He’d hoped that the plan would have saved Marty and the baby from the curse, but none of them had had the balls to go through with it and now they were going to suffer. He’d give her a week, four at the most before her heart gave out and she followed after Tristan.
If he thought it would make a difference, he would just reach down and pull Tadgh’s soul out now, but it wouldn’t change anything. The curse was already activated and now it was time to go through the motions. Besides, Marty would want to say goodbye to him. It would be painful to watch, but they would deal with it and the aftermath.
Hell, he was not looking forward to this. He did not want to watch as Marty’s heart broke. He didn’t want to watch as his brother once again lost the only happiness that he’d ever known in this lifetime and he sure as hell didn’t want to see the anguish in his brother’s eyes as Marty took her last breath.
But, he would.
He would do whatever his brother needed. He owed him that much at least.
“Shit! Dad, he’s seizing!” Denny said, trying not to panic as he worked alongside his father to save Tristan’s life.
Shayne was thankful that this family came into Tristan’s life. They’d taken him in, accepted him and loved him and Shayne had no doubt that if they had learned of Tristan’s curse that they would have been there for him as well. They’d made life for Tristan tolerable and Shayne would make sure that when their time came that he was there to help them to the other side. It was the least that he could do for them.
“Park the f**king truck!” Tom yelled at the EMT behind the wheel, losing his cool for the first time since Shayne had come into the picture.
Shayne knew that tone and look well. The man knew that he was about to lose a child and that there was nothing on this earth that he could do to stop it, but that didn’t mean that he was going to sit on his ass and give up. No, not this man.
As the ambulance was put in park, Shayne watched as Tom worked to save his youngest son’s life. He kept working as the backdoors to the ambulance were opened and the stretcher was pulled out. He didn’t stop working even as the stretcher was moved quickly into the hospital, down the hall and through the emergency room doors. He was still working on his son twenty minutes later when Tristan’s stretcher was rushed through the restricted double doors of the surgical ward and then he stood there, looking helpless as he silently said goodbye.
“Wait for me!” he yelled excitedly, grabbing the wobbly stick that he’d found just that morning and had decided would be his spear.
“Go on back to ma’, lad,” Liam said, barely sparing him a glance as he gestured for him to do as he was told.
Undeterred, he pumped his legs faster until he thought they’d fall off, but he didn’t let that stop him. He was ready to fight with his brothers and he needed to tell them so.
“Pleeeaaassssssseeeeeeeeeeeeee!” he begged unashamed as he dropped his mighty spear and dove for his oldest brother’s legs when he was close enough.
As soon as he had his small arms wrapped around Liam’s thick leg, he promptly followed up his attack by wrapping his legs around his brother’s calf and held on tightly, prepared to hold his brother captive forever if that’s what it took.
He really hoped that it didn’t come down to that, because his doggie was expecting puppies any day now and he really wanted to play with them. That would be impossible to do if he had to keep doing this, but do it he would if that’s what it took. He was a man now and it was about time that his brothers realized that.
Instead of yelling at him or hitting him like most of the men around their land would have done, Liam sighed heavily as he reached down and gently grabbed him by the arms and plucked him off. Tadgh tried to hold on tightly, but being only three, it was kind of difficult to put up much of a fight against his brother who was already as large as a full-grown man.
“Didn’t we talk about this, lad?” Liam asked as he shifted Tadgh in his arms so that he could place his arm over Liam’s shoulder and look his brother in the eye like a man.
“Aye, but that was before,” Tadgh informed him.
“Before what, lad?” Finn asked as he reached over and ruffled Tadgh’s hair.
“Before I found my spear!”
“I see,” Liam murmured as his lips twitched.
“Ye mean this stick?” Quinn asked, stepping around them so that he could show Liam his spear.
“That’s it!” Tadgh said proudly as Liam reached out and took the stick from Quinn.
Liam pressed a kiss against his brow before he set him down on his feet and handed him back his spear. “What’s this about, lad?” Liam asked as he took a knee in front of him.
“I wanna go with you and fight,” he said, not quite able to meet his brother’s eyes as he lied.
“Ye hate fighting,” Liam pointed out as he patiently waited for Tadgh to tell him the truth.
“That’s not true,” Tadgh mumbled as he looked up and met his brother’s gaze. “I like fighting. It’s fun, but I don’t like hurting anyone.”