His dark soft curl fell matted against his sweat dampen skin. Her azure eyes were murderous on him. Her shoulder length fiery locks were tame and elegant instead of her usually crazy wild curls. Her usually pasty skin was smooth and porcelain-like. A like those of a china doll. Dainty and frail, yet beauty at its best. “I won’t take five minutes.” He said quickly before she could have her say. “I promise.” He flashed her a smile before he dashed off into the space used by the other performers to get ready.
It was not his fault really. It was definitely not his fault at all that the one day he had to be the houseman on call was the very day he was going to be performing with his little sister on a father-daughter performance day nonetheless. He was quick. But his appearance was not what they had rehearsed. Far away from the one they had been rehearsing for weeks on. “I’m sorry.” He heard her whisper just before the heavy curtain rolled up and the spotlight was on them.
Her light violet smock was a stark difference to his messy presentation of a blue scrub bottom and his school hooded pullover. His messy curl was slicked back and his blue tinted stubbled chin made him seemed more of a tired medical student than the heir of an earl.
Yet when he opened his mouth. The raw raspiness of his voice was heavenly to the ears. When she joined him, it was just a gift from the angels. They were born for each other. They were the complete opposite of each other yet they are completely the same. The unrehearsed little jig she did with him was a vision. A simple pleasure a child should have with a parent. A parent she never had.
He held her dainty hand in his ad he scooped her up in his arms as they received a standing ovation at the end of their performance. It was not the most amazing, but it was definitely the most memorable. When she laid her head on his shoulders, almost every parents in the audience left the pang of jealousy. Jealousy that they will never get, a relationship she has with her brother, a jealousy that a man of mere 25 years old was capable of raising two teenage and a toddler as good if not better than most of them could.
He was 25 years old. 25 and given the responsibility of a parent, an heir and a healer. It was a wonder that he was still standing and smiling on stage. Smiling while other would be frantic and melting under the pressure. Smiling, and stoic while they know he was crumbling and dying inside.
The gift at the end was nothing compared to him being there with her. He was always there. For her. For all of them. For each and every one of them. Never having even a second for himself. Selfish. A word that never existed in his vocabulary. A word that he wondered if he has an idea of the meaning. Yet he thinks of himself as selfish. Selfish for wanting her to live. To be alive for him. Selfish for wanting the best for both his brothers although they are barely related to him. Selfish for wanting them to have a perfect life. Selfish for wanting to fulfil each and every wish of his little siblings.
He sat her down on his lap before he began to wipe the colour that painted her face. “Why did you apologise to me before?” He began questioning her with a soft paternal tone. She just shrugged. “Tríona. There is nothing you have to be sorry about, mo chuisle.” His tone gentle, as gentle as his touch on her skin. She just stared ahead. Not moving. Not reacting to him as she usually would. “What is bothering you, love?” He said not to her specifically but for her.
It took her a while to find her voice. A while to react to his question. “Granny said that you and Liam are not related to me or to Trystan.” She said quietly. “Why do you care about us if you don’t have to?” He was not sure whether to be angry at the person they called Granny or to be sad that the woman had to use their relationship as a weapon against them.
“We mayn’t have the same father, but we share the same blood.” He answered simply. “You are my little sister body and soul, Tríona.” He said holding her close. So close that he could feel her blood pumping through her veins. Feeling every particle in her body vibrates against him as he gave her the warmth that she yearns. He held her close to not let her see his body betray him. To not let her know of the sorrow that was creeping up his eyes.
Her eyes burn of misty acid in them herself. Her little arms coiled around his neck tightly. Holding on him like she was holding on dear life. He was… is and will always be the reason she is alive. He is her life. Her saviour. Her whole universe. A universe that she was terrified to let go. “Don’t give up on me, Óengus.” Her whispers were tiny and almost inaudible. “Never give up on me.”
I was not an option nor had it even crossed his mind. Not once. Not even a single second. He shall never and could never give up on her. As giving up on her will be the death of him. Because in his shattered soul, giving up on her meant he gave up on his own life. She is his life. His last hope of humanity. His little angel. His a chuisle mo chroí. The pulse of his heart.