Jeff stared into the mirror, his eyes red and bleary. He pushed the hair out of his eyes, wincing at the pain his aching head was causing him.
"God dammit", he swore under his breath.
He looked like shit, and felt no better. He couldn't sleep, he wasn't eating properly.
He sighed and dropped his head into his hands. He had to resolve this situation.
Matt wouldn't talk to him. He wouldn't answer his calls, he wouldn't look at him when they were backstage together. Jeff was pissed, and he was hurt, and he didn't understand why his older brother was acting like this.
For the thousandth time, the young Hardy thought back to the Royal Rumble. Everything had changed that night. He'd been so sure that he would win. He hadn't been at all afraid of losing his belt, going into that match. And then Matt had shown up, and his victory had seemed imminent.
He'd never seen it coming.
He steadied himself on the sink for a moment, not wanting to think about it anymore.
A crash and loud laughter from the room beyond the closed bathroom door brought him back from his brooding, and he sighed heavily. He truly had no desire to join the small party that had started up in his hotel room, but John Morrison was his roommate, and the guy had invited some friends over. There was nothing for it. Jeff put his best plastic smile on, and exited the bathroom.
There were drunk wrestlers sprawled out all over the room, some in the throes of heated make-out sessions, others dancing badly to horrible techno music, a few talking in the corner. When John saw Jeff come out, he immediately made a beeline for him.
"Hey man, where've you been hiding? Maryse was looking for you." He nudged him suggestively.
Jeff made a face of utter disgust. "John, I know you think you're Mr. Ladies Man, and all, but never, never try and set me up with Maryse." He leaned in conspiratorially, looking around to see if anyone else was listening. Looking back at a curious John, he whispered, "I think she's a man."
John burst out laughing, and slapped Jeff on the back. "I think I need another beer. You?"
Jeff shook his head. He decided this would be a perfect time to slip out. Maybe he could find another room to sleep in. He could take not one second longer of Kelly Kelly tonguing The Miz over there. Mark was down the hall, and probably wide fucking awake from all the noise.
Mark's room it was.
* * * * * * *
Matt had been hiding. He could admit that he had been avoiding his god damned little brother since he'd hit that angelic face of his with the steel chair.
A change had occurred in him that night. In an instant, he'd been transformed. He had looked down on the unconscious body of his brother, and felt absolutely no remorse for the pain he'd caused him. In fact, he'd only wanted to cause more. He'd seen Jeff's innocent, sleeping face, and wanted to beat it bloody, beat it until there was nothing recognizable left.
He'd had to force himself to leave the ring at the Royal Rumble. If he hadn't left when he did… well, Jeff might've lost more than his title. His little brother had no idea how lucky he was.
Matt didn't know what caused this change. He didn't understand why one minute, he would've killed anyone who looked at Jeff sideways, and the next, he was trying to beat his head in with steel objects. The very sound of his younger brother's name infuriated him.
All he did know was that it wasn't over. Not by a long shot. He thought about the many sleights his career had suffered, in favor of his lazy, screw-up brother.
Matt Hardy wanted to punch something, wanted to destroy something.
"Hey Matty, where the fuck've you been?", laughed a hated, sleazy voice from behind his left shoulder. Matt turned, slowly, to face Adam "Edge" Copeland. He'd just come into the shitty hotel bar that Matt was currently drinking in, though he looked as if he'd already had quite a few.
Matt didn't hesitate. He punched the Rated R Superstar square in the jaw, causing his head to fly back with force.
"What the fuck?!", cried Adam, rubbing his jaw in pain.
Matt grabbed Adam by the throat, ready to pummel the shit out of him. He suddenly froze, a predatory grin spreading slowly across his face.
"What?", asked Edge, too freaked out to move.
Matt dropped his fist, and smoothed out any imaginary wrinkles he might've caused on Adam's shirt.
"I have an idea", the older Hardy smiled wistfully, "and you can help me."