There were a lot of lives that Proinsias Cassidy could have lived if things would have gone differently, instead of the ones his immortality allowed, and as many deaths he’d never get to have. He thought about them sometimes when he was too sober and too alone. The ones where teeth never sank into his neck and instead he made it home with Billy to hear Ma nag about how they both should be looking for wives and not trouble and tell Da to shut up before he could chime in about how trouble and wives may as well be the same thing. When he could have ran away with Niamh Riley from the flat across the hall, or maybe even properly gotten the courage to ask her father for permission to marry her and live very happily for the rest of his natural life before passing at her side. How he could have gone off to war for independence or because the whole world was at it and come back scarred in mind as much as body, unable to keep much good company and dying alone, or just not come back at all. Or if he would have gone to America and made his fortune, his days ending on silk sheets with three beautiful women sharing his bed. There were even times when he couldn’t shake the thought of the teeth in his neck that day being dull and flat and when all the warmth drained out of him and the world went dark, it staying that way.
There wasn’t much use in wishing things were different, though. It’d been more than a century since he’d got his fangs, and it wasn’t like he didn’t have a long, long list of things he wished would have gone differently since then. No need to dig that far back, really.
Rarely he’d think about having stayed back home, despite what he was, not taking Seamus up on the offer to get the hell out of there and forge a new life. It was hard enough to watch the people he loved now age and fade away while he stayed unchanging without those people being all he knew from his life before. At least he had untouched memories this way.
More often he would think about New York. He didn’t regret all of New York by any means. It was a great city, great fun, and he’d even made something of himself there for a time. But there were lowlights. Cassidy wasn’t sure he’d still be alive without the heroin habit he picked up there, knowing he had something to go to when he needed to be numb, or as numb as he could get anyway, mentally or physically. Considering all it lead to, though, it probably rightfully made the list of regrets. He couldn’t blame Bethany on the drugs, though. He was riding high and life was good, then. If he remembers right, he didn’t even have a drop to drink in him that day, which wasn’t so rare back then as it was now. It was just a moment of ecstasy one second and the next a chunk was gone from her neck - upper shoulder, really, if it’d been her neck it wouldn’t have been attempted murder that he was charged with - and he was licking her blood off the bed sheets, unable to stop himself until it was almost too late. He would wonder how things could have gone if he had been able to hold back from his urges, if he’d been a little stronger. Really, if he didn't give in the next day or week or year, he would have lost his fortune to the stock market crash at best, or spent it all on habits at worst, and would have lost Beth with it. He would still be lonely by now, running to drugs most days and to Seamus when he needed a helping hand and thought he could get away with asking. It was nice to pretend that things could’ve been better occasionally, though.
Sometimes Cassidy would think about when he ran to New Orleans and then when he was ran out of it. If he could’ve put the bottle down and slid a ring on Josie’s finger instead of a needle back into his arm. Then Cassidy would laugh at the thought of proposing to that woman - “Josie, I love ya, let me make an honest woman out of you like I should've done a few months back?” and how quickly the question would be met mostly with French and annoyance and the ring being thrown back in his face - but the joy would quickly fade as he wondered if he could have managed to be there for Denis if he’d kept clean enough for her to let him, if he wouldn't have too close to bringing danger to the both of them to give it an honest try.
He wondered if things would have been better if he’d kept heading out west with those blokes he'd bought drugs from. He could have seen the Grand Canyon under a full moon, made it to see the Pacific ocean, stole a pretty girl out from under a musician and gotten into the crystal meth scene there after she was gone.
There hadn’t been much time to think about it, but if he’ took the time to sit down and do it, Cassidy would think about how there was no telling where he would be if he hadn’t had that incident in Las Vegas. Punching magicians shouldn’t even count as assault in his opinion, but it had cost him his job anyway, and set him into quite the series of events. He’d had more fun, but he’d been on worse adventures, too.
Really, everything leading up to now had lead Cassidy to this moment. It wasn’t a perfect moment. Denis was out, doing, well, certainly not God, knows what, and Jesse was sitting by the window twitchily, while Tulip was on the couch sleeping, not entirely of her accord. But all in all, it was a good moment. And if everything had lead him to it, Cassidy wasn’t sure he really had it in him to regret any of it.