Jeff regained consciousness several hours later. He woke up to find out Matt and Shannon had buried Robert somewhere in the woods. He didn't ask for the exact location and they didn't tell him. Matt just fussed over him while Shannon patched Gil up. Jeff was in such a state of shock that all his emotions had shut down. He couldn't even feel the relief of knowing that Robert was dead and gone. It was like he was in a perpetual state of disbelief and he couldn't find his way out.
All he did for the next two days was sleep and eat when Matt forced him to. Matt was by his side constantly, worried sick that killing Robert had broken him somehow. Jeff wanted to tell him that he had been broken way before that and now he just wasn't sure if it was safe to start getting fixed again. He was waiting to see if this was all a dream and he was going to wake up in Robert's basement again. It wouldn't have been the first time that had happened.
Finally, on the third day, Jeff woke up with the sun shining directly on his face. Somebody had gone and left the blinds completely opened. He groaned and sat up. Matt had fallen asleep on the bed with him. Being careful not to wake his older brother, he slowly crawled out of bed, slipped some clothes on and left the room. The entire house was quiet. Nobody else was awake. He slipped out the front door, blinking several times because outside was so bright. For the first time in days in a long time, he felt absolutely calm. Whatever shock had seemed to have taken him over for the past couple of days seemed to be gone.
Without even knowing what he was doing, he walked to where his partly rebuilt house was. He had been taken before it had been finished. Now that he was back, he was going to have to get it finished. He walked past the house and soon found himself heading towards the sight of Liger and Jack's graves. His two most beloved dogs were dead and buried six feet under the ground--just like Robert was now.
Suddenly Jeff felt weak in his legs and he collapsed down on the ground. Robert was really gone. This whole thing had not been a dream after all. Jeff began to laugh hysterically. Or maybe he was just sobbing, because there were tears coming down his face. Or maybe he was doing both. He didn't really know at this point. All he knew was that he felt like a huge weight had been taken off his chest. He didn't have to be afraid all the time anymore. He was free again.
After he calmed down, he just laid down on the ground and looked up at the sky. He was enough in the shade so the sun wouldn't blind him. He just stared at nothing for awhile, but then something caught his attention. There was a cloud that looked like something he had seen before, but he couldn't quite figure out what it was.
"Jeff! Jeff!" Matt came running over to him. "Are you okay?"
Suddenly Jeff knew what it was. "Holy crap!" he said. He got up and made Matt lie down where he had just been. "Look up at that one cloud up there and tell me what it looks like."
Matt frowned. "What?"
"Just do it."
Still confused, Matt did what he was told. It took him a few minutes, but he eventually saw it too. "Holy crap…Jeff does that thing look like--"
"Orton's gigantic thighs? Yeah, it really does," Jeff said. He laughed and looked up at the cloud again. "I would take a picture to show him, but he'll just get all pissy and start threatening me. And honestly, I've been threatened more than enough for one life time."
Matt sat up. He had a concerned look on his face. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Jeff thought about it for a moment. "No," he finally decided. "I'm okay. I think I covered everything I needed to say when I put that ax in his head." He pulled Matt to his feet. "I'm tired of obsessing over all of this. I just want to start living my life again."
Matt nodded. "Okay."
They started walking back towards the house. Jeff was suddenly struck by an idea. "Smackdown is in Raliegh tonight, isn't it?" he asked.
"Yeah," Matt confirmed. "Why?"
Jeff grinned. "Well…if I'm going to start living my life again…why shouldn't we go see some old friends?"
"Oh my God!"
"Why didn't you call us sooner?"
"Oh it's so good to see you!"
Jeff grinned happily as Maria, Eve and the Bella twins started hugging him like crazy. "Matt look at me! I'm a pimp!"
Matt rolled his eyes. "Don't rub it in jackass."
Jeff grinned and stuck out his tongue at his brother. He felt so unbelievably good at the moment that it felt like nothing could spoil it for him. With the girls still attached to him, he made his way to the vending machine. "Okay, one of you has to move," he told them. "I cannot consume candy if I can't even get the money out of my pocket."
"Oh Hardys," Hunter suddenly called out. He had a big grin on his face. "How are my favorite brothers doing?"
Matt looked at the Game suspiciously. "Okay, what do you want?"
Hunter looked shocked. "That hurts Hardy. It really does. But now that you mention it, I could use two more partners for Survivor Series."
"Hey I'll do it for you but Jeff he just--"
"Matt it's cool," Jeff said. He got the Skittles he wanted and put them in his pocket. "I'm okay. I'm not going to break again."
Matt gave him an uncertain look. "Are you sure? I don't want you to do anything you're not ready to do."
"Well if it makes you feel better, tonight's not even a match," Hunter said. "It's just me introducing Randy's team to my teammates. And by introduce, I mean we're going to beat the crap out of them."
Jeff nodded. Maybe he was jumping back into things too soon, but it didn't feel like the wrong thing to do. He had been serious about living his life again. "Okay. Let's do this." He put his arm around Matt and they started following Hunter.
"Are you going to be okay doing this?" Matt whispered to him as they approached Shawn and Dave (the other two people on their team).
"I've got to try," Jeff said. That was the truth. How was he going to know if he was anywhere near ready to come back full time if he didn't just go out to the ring and started doing stuff?
Hunter patted Jeff on the shoulder. "Let Matt come down to the ring first," he said. "You're the big surprise here." He froze and quickly looked at Matt. "Not that the fans won't be happy to see you again too."
Matt grinned. "It's cool Hunter. I get it. I know how much the fans have missed Jeff."
Jeff bounced on his heels. So he had been missed. That was a comforting thought.
Hunter, Shawn and Dave went out to the ring first. Things quickly broke down into a brawl (like they always did), and that's when Matt hit the ring. Jeff waited anxiously as Randy's team regained the advantage a couple of minutes after Matt had come to save the day. This is it, this is it, his mind kept saying over and over again.
Jeff's music hit and it was like somebody had lit a fire under his ass. He ran out through the curtain and was treated to the sound of twenty five thousand people becoming completely unglued. He slid into the ring and took down Cody and Ted with a couple of clotheslines. Randy and Adam were already bailing out of the ring, so he grabbed Chris and gave him a Twist of Fate. Without missing a step, he got up on the top rope and performed a Swanton Bomb on the helpless Jericho.
Matt was beaming as he pulled Jeff into a hug. "You okay little brother?" he asked.
Jeff nodded. "I haven't felt this good in forever." He pulled away from Matt and soaked in the adulation from the crowd. It felt good to be out here right now. It made him feel like he hadn't been broken in the first place, even though he knew he had. He knew that deep down, he was always going to be effected by the hell he went to. But the important thing was that for the most part, he was Jeffery Nero Hardy again. And that was all he needed to be at this point.