The day that Talia dreaded for hundreds of years was upon her and she hadn’t a clue what to do. As time passed by it became clearly evident that the powers to be weren’t going to allow her to clone Dirrnyg, which meant it was inevitable that she’d outlive him. Now the only question was how much time remained before he was gone forever.
What made things worse about she and her sister’s existence was the fact that while everyone around them died, they continued on. So many friends and lovers entered Talia’s life and then were gone forever and there wasn’t anything she could do to change it. In fact, if someone were to ask her what she considered hell she’d’ve told them her life fit the bill.
How many people get to live on while the world around them passes away and is replaced with new people? She asked herself.
How much easier things would’ve been if she hadn’t found him or just followed the general’s advice and put him up for adoption. No, that wasn’t the right attitude for her to have because it wasn’t Dirrnyg’s fault that she would be cloned again and again when death knocked on her door. In fact, despite the limitations placed upon him, Talia’s son had provided a fulfillment that lifetimes hadn’t.
“What’s the word, Doc?” She asked.
“Hours, maybe a day. I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.”
“I think he’s hanging on to see you,” Dannae said. “You’d better hurry.”
“Thank you, Doc, you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
“We owe our lives to you four,” he said, “it’s the least I can do.”
She walked over and waited for the door’s sensor to recognize her presence. A small light over the entrance changed from red to green and then the glass opening slid aside. The smell of sanitizer assaulted her nose and it took every bit of her self-control to keep from grimacing. No matter which planet she visited, the hospitals all had the same odor. It seemed every race got together and schemed to use the same chemicals.
Dirrnyg’s vitals were displayed on a large screen on the wall behind his bed and it didn’t take an expert to see they were bad. Blood pressure was down to dangerously low levels and respiration was slow and shallow. In many ways the Talia had to admit that Dannae was right and he was hanging on to see her again.
I wouldn’t expect anything less from him, she thought.
No amount of self-control could prepare the warrior for the sight of her son dying in the hospital. At his prime Dirrnyg easily weighed twice as much as she did and he’d kept his body chiseled and in perfect shape. Now he weighed less than two thirds of what she did and the skin hung loosely from his bones.
Despite Talia’s best effort to look strong and keep a brave face for Dirrnyg, the tears started to fall. And once they started they weren’t going to stop, which would make the situation that much worse.
His voice was soft enough that she leaned closer to him to hear. “Mom…”
She rubbed his hand against her cheek. “Oh, Dirrnyg, I love you so much…”
“Smile for me. I want to see it one last time.”
“There, is that better?”
“Don’t cry, Mom. I knew this day would happen. Wouldn’t change a thing.”
“Neither would I.”
“You…were…” he closed his eyes for a second. “Happy…”
“I’ve never been happier than I was with you.”
“Yes, I remember the day you hit that home run. I wanted that hug to last forever.”
“Same with me.”
“Do you remember the day when I found you?”
“I never told a soul, but I fell for you that second. In fact, I didn’t even admit to myself until now.”
She kissed his hand and then pressed it against her cheek again. “I love you, Dirrnyg.”
His strength started to fade and he wasn’t able to hold his hand up, forcing her to hold it against her face. It seemed so unfair that they couldn’t trade places and it became her laying there. Oh the terrible things Talia saw during her life, the death and cruelty and even the Gahl dignity. Each of them left an indelible mark on her soul that would stay with her until the end of her long existence.
“I love you. It’s ok…you can go…we will see each other again.”
Compared to all the battles she’d been through over the centuries, the hardest moment of the warrior’s life was standing there with the inability to prevent Dirrnyg’s death. Dannae helped him cheat death on Chartres Nine when a Dragus bullet ripped through his chest. In fact Talia was so sure it meant the end of his life she nearly assaulted her sisters to try to get to him.
The vitals slowly dropped down to zero and then the machines started to wail. A moment later a nurse, followed by Dannae, Methos and Crios, slipped in and then cut the alarms off before leaving again.
“Why? Why are we so fucking important that we need to continue while everyone around us dies!” Talia snapped.
“Because the fools seem to think we’ll change the course of their war,” Methos spat.
“Like that makes things better!”
“It doesn’t,” Dannae whispered.