No, the only thing that had calmed Shane had been Charlotte. Or so he’d been told. Because of that, Bram needed to see this human who wasn’t quite so human.
In silence, Bram followed Charlotte to the infirmary that was attached to Walker’s—the Healer’s—home, her hand tucked safely in his. It didn’t escape his notice that they were touching more now than they had in recent times. Before their disaster at trying to mate, they had always been close and touched in casual ways whenever they could. Afterward, however, they’d kept their distance, and it killed Bram more and more with each passing day.
As soon as they entered the building, his wolf pushed at him harder than it ever had before. For some reason, he knew as soon as he walked into Shane’s room everything would change. He squeezed Charlotte’s hand and let it go.
“Let me see him first,” he whispered. “I…I need to see.”
She frowned at him but let him go. He always loved how she trusted him when he couldn’t explain why he needed things.
He could feel her at his back even as he moved toward the open door. Gideon and Walker stood in the doorway, curious expressions on their faces, but they didn’t speak to him when he passed. He knew he’d have to talk to them soon, but not then. Not yet.
When he saw the man on the bed, he sucked in a breath. Shane’s brown hair was stuck to his face, slick with sweat. His firm jaw was tight with pain, widening at his temples. He didn’t make a sound, but as soon as Bram walked into the room, Shane’s arched back relaxed and a sense of calm softened his features.
Bram took a staggering step back at the ramifications of what had just happened.
If what Kade had said were true, and Shane had only calmed in Charlotte’s presence before this…that meant she wasn’t Shane’s only mate.
Bram was a potential, as well.
And that meant Bram’s version of hell was only just beginning.
Shane Bruins was in hell. His body ached as what felt like flames licked up his back and down his legs. His bones creaked as he thrashed on the bed, and he held back a moan. It was as if someone were holding each of his limbs and pulling, but his bones weren’t going in the same direction. Sweat covered his body, and bile filled his throat.
He was dying. There could be no other answer.
He didn’t want to die and had fought with every ounce of his being so he wouldn’t, but it seemed he hadn’t been strong enough. In the end, he’d only been a man in a world of power, greed, and magic.
That wasn’t what he’d signed up for all those years ago.
A cool cloth was wiped across his brow, and Shane leaned into it, craving the sensation.
“Wake up,” a voice urged. “You’re doing so much better, but we need you to wake up.”
He frowned at the man’s voice. Shane would much rather sleep. With his eyes closed, the pain wasn’t quite as bad. Another wave of nausea rocked him, and he knew that what he’d just thought was a lie. He didn’t sleep anymore, he just tossed and turned and prayed for the agony to cease.
“Fight it,” another voice urged, this one far stronger than the first. Something inside Shane pulled at him and urged him toward the deep voice. It wasn’t sexual. No, it was…power. As if whoever spoke was in charge of something far greater than Shane could understand, and whatever was inside him at the moment needed to be close to that.
“Maybe we need to bring Charlotte in,” the first voice said softly. “She seemed to calm him the most.”
“She’s at home. Where she should be,” a third voice snapped. This one was just as deep as the second but didn’t have the same effect on Shane as the other. Instead, all Shane wanted to do was wake up and see who the man was. Whatever demons lay within him calmed at the man’s voice, and that let fear bleed through Shane faster than it had before.
A fourth voice came closer. “Keep speaking, Bram,” the voice ordered. “His heart rate slowed again at your voice. I know you don’t want to acknowledge it, but it’s helping.”
“This is more complicated than it seems, Walker,” Bram grumbled back, and Shane calmed even more. He couldn’t explain why that was happening, but if the pain eased even a little, he’d take it.
“They always are,” Walker mumbled by Shane’s side. “Now tell him to wake up, Bram. He can’t stay in this state, and we need to know what he knows.”
What did Shane know? He wasn’t sure anymore, but since he’d come to the conclusion that staying as he was only meant more pain, he might wake up fully now.