Disclaimer: I own nothing. Vince McMahon owns the other person. Jeff Hardy is his own person now but, unfortunately, I don't own him either. I'm making no money from this. In fact, I'm costing my mum some... oh, well!

Hi all!

So I kinda wanted to post something today, on Jeff's birthday, but Chapter 17 of Lust isn't done yet so I'm gonna post something new :)

I'd love to know what everyone thinks of this so please review.

Note: I mentioned this in the summary but just to reiterate. Yes, they are gay. No, there is no slash.


How Everything Started

"Freak!"

"Homo!"

"Fag!"

The words were shouted at Jeff by some while others aimed their fists at his head. He fell to ground, bringing his arms up to protect his head.

The gang noticed the now unprotected body of Jeff and so started kicking him in the ribs and stomping down on his chest repeatedly. Jeff was trying to stay quiet. This had happened before, even more since Matt had left Whispering Pines High School, but it was always worse if he made any noise at all. If he pretended to be unconscious, the boys would leave him alone.

"Hey! Get away from him!"

Jeff blinked on hearing the voice. Was somebody telling the gang to stop beating on him? Why? Why would they do that? He was just a freak. He was a fag. He was worthless. He'd been hearing these things so much; he was starting to believe them.

The pressure was taken away from his chest as the gang walked towards the newcomer. "What's it to you, man? This here's a freak... it's only getting what it deserves."

Jeff heard a loud snort. "What 'it' deserves? Are you fucking insane? That BOY is a human being. He no more deserves to be beaten up than anyone does."

"Listen, new kid. I don't know where you're from and I don't know about your old school but here in North Carolina, at this school, we decide who's a freak. We decide who's a fag and we decide who's gonna get beaten up."

"Really." The other voice stated more than asked, not that the other boy took notice.

"Yes. Really... and we decided that Jeffy here was gonna get it this time. See, he's a freak and he's a fag. Apart from ass-fucking and getting diseases, this is all he's good for."

The other voice exhaled a short breath. He fucking hated people like this. Close-minded bigots were the bane of his existence. He shook his head slightly.

"Leave him alone. That's the last time I'm asking."

"Hear that boys? That's the last time he's asking...! What a joke!" The gang leader walked up to the newcomer and stood toe to toe with him, getting in his face. "And you're gonna stop us are ya? I'd like to see you try."

"You asked for it," said the newcomer before slamming his fist into the gang leader's face. The leader went flying backwards, landing near where Jeff was laying.

The rest of the gang rushed at the newcomer after seeing their leader laid out with just one punch. They had to avenge him.

The newcomer kicked out to the side with his left leg as he swung with his right hand, sending one of them to the ground and knocking out another.

The last one staggered to a stop after watching his friends get laid out so quickly. He looked up into the newcomer's eyes and shivered at the anger and coldness he saw there before turning and running as fast as he could in the opposite direction, squealing like a frightened little girl while he did so.

The newcomer stepped over to the boy he'd kicked over and stared down at him before stomping on his face to ensure he'd be no trouble in the next little while.

He walked over to Jeff and looked down at the boy. Jeff's eyes were closed, his face screwed up in pain. He felt pity for the boy, though he knew the boy wouldn't want that.

Crouching down, the other boy placed one of his hands on the ground for balance before touching his other to Jeff's temple, pushing a few strands of his multi-coloured hair behind his ear.

He frowned as he gazed upon the beaten boy. He was lying on his side, his knees close to his chest in a foetal position, his arms still covering his face. That gang had really done a number on the boy.

The other boy could feel the shaking of Jeff's body. He was petrified, that much was obvious. He'd just been beaten up and some stranger was trying to help him. He'd be scared and confused too.

"Dude," the boy said, lightly shaking Jeff's shoulder. Jeff flinched away from the feeling, not used to calming touches. The other boy looked down before trying again. He touched Jeff's arm this time. "Come on, I'll help you up."

Jeff slowly moved his arms away from his face to look at his... well, hero...! He saw only the bridge of a baseball cap. He couldn't tell the hair colour or if it was long or short because of the shadow it was casting on the other boy's face. He couldn't get a glimpse of the boy's eyes either.

As he moved his arms some more he winced at the pull on his rib cage. Jeff wouldn't be surprised if they were broken this time. They'd only been cracked a few weeks before during another beating.

"What's wrong? Is it your ribs? I saw them kicking at them before I got here."

It took a lot of effort but Jeff nodded slightly.

"Damn," muttered the other boy. "Do you think they're broken or just bruised?"

"Br-bro-ken," Jeff managed to say.

"Shit. Okay, my car is the parking lot, not too far. If I help you up, d'you reckon you can get there with my help?"

"Ye..." Jeff trailed off and a moan of pain escaped him.

"Okay, come on then." The other boy knew this was going to cause Jeff some pain but there was no other way to get him to the Emergency Room. He leaned down and placed Jeff's left arm around his neck before helping him to his feet. He had to give Jeff credit – he barely made a sound when he was getting moved about. His ribs had to be killing him. He knew from experience.

"It's just over there." The boy pointed to a rusty looking Jeep about twenty metres away. He barely heard the muttered "'Kay" that came from Jeff.

It was slow going but the two boys made it to the car. The other boy helped Jeff into the front seat before running back to the spot to get Jeff's bag that had been ripped from him. He saw some of the drawings that Jeff had done and smiled. They really were amazing. Jeff has a lot of talent.

He made his way back to the car before getting in. "D'you have a cell phone? So I can call someone for you?"

"It's in the bag," rasped Jeff. The pain was beginning to get a lot harder to deal with silently. He needed some painkillers in the worst way.

Grabbing the phone out of the bag, the boy went through the numbers and called Jeff's dad. There was no answer. He closed his eyes. There was no number in the phone for Jeff's mum and he had to assume that he didn't have one. Who was he going to call? Well, he could decide that on the way to the hospital.

The other boy placed the phone in his lap before starting the engine and pulling out of the school parking lot.

"Jeff." The boy in question turned his head a bit. "I saw you around school today and it's on the front of your notebook," he said, in answer to the unspoken question. "Anyway, is there anyone else I can call for you?"

"Matt."

"Matt?"

"My brother. He's not at school any more. If you couldn't get dad, it's coz he's out on the farm probably."

"Ok." The other boy passed the phone over to Jeff as he was driving and didn't want to crash. "Can you find his number and I'll speak to him?"

Jeff took the phone and found Matt's number, dialling it and passing it back to his saviour.

"Hello? Is this Matt Hardy? Hi, my name is John Cena. I go to school with your brother, Jeff... See, the thing is that I found him getting beat up not so long ago and he thinks his ribs might be broken so I'm taking him to the Emergency Room.... We should be there in about ten minutes or so. I'll see you there." John hung up the phone as Matt did, obviously rushing out to his car and not caring about politeness.

"John?" Jeff spoke, shocking John. "Why'd you help me? I'm just a freak and I'm a fag. Why would you help someone like me?"

"First off, Jeff, you're not a freak. So you dye your hair and are good at art? Who cares? I like body building; does that make me a freak?" Jeff shook his head. "And secondly, I don't care that you're gay. For the record, I hate the term 'fag'. If I hated you just because you were, I'd be pretty stupid seeing as I'm gay myself."

"You are? I've never met anyone else who's gay. Not here in Whispering Pines or in Cameron." Jeff sounded pretty incredulous to John's ears.

"Yeah? Well, no offense intended or anything, Cameron seems like a pretty closed minded town. I'd have thought that Whispering Pines was a bit better but it seems worse somehow."

"Cameron's not too bad. There're hardly any of us in town so people are a bit more accepting but it's still not great."

"Yeah, maybe," John said, noncommittally. They were nearing the local hospital now and he had his eyes focussed firmly on the roads. He'd never been to the hospital so he didn't know the roads in, though he knew the way to the area.

The car turned a few times before John stopped, parking near the entrance to the Emergency Room. He turned to Jeff, who was currently wincing in pain. The momentum of his body slamming against the seatbelt was causing the pain this time.

"D'you think you can walk inside or do you want me to get a wheelchair for you?"

Jeff was having trouble breathing and rasped out, "Walk," before he closed his eyes and screwed his face up.

John looked at Jeff doubtfully, but agreed all the same. He'd never have gotten Jeff to the hospital if Jeff didn't trust him at all. He really couldn't mess this up now. He was seeing Jeff when he was so very vulnerable. He knew he wouldn't want anyone to see him like that so the fact that Jeff was letting him meant two things. The first was that he was in a lot of pain and two, Jeff trusted him enough to take him to get help.

John got out of the car and walked around to Jeff's side, opening the door. He leaned over and undid the seatbelt before picking up Jeff bag and slinging it over his shoulder. He put Jeff's cell phone in his own pocket for now, just in case Matt phoned and so it was easily accessible.

He helped Jeff turn in his seat so his feet touched the ground. He then put his arm around the other boy's shoulders before helping him stand up. Jeff wobbled precariously on his feet. He was getting light headed from the pain and could stay still. John noticed this but let Jeff try taking a few steps on his own.

Jeff didn't make any noise but John could tell from the tenseness of his jaw that this was causing him a lot of pain. In fact, the only noise Jeff made at all was a small, whimpered sound. Just one word but it was all John needed to hear before he swept Jeff into his arms gently.

"Help."

John carried Jeff inside elbowing the doors open as he called out for some help. "Please. I think his ribs are broken." He frowned as they got him to put Jeff down and sit him in a wheelchair before they took him away through a set of double doors.

"John? John Cena?" a breathless man said.

"Yeah, that's me. You're Matt? Jeff's brother?"

"Yup. How's he doing, man?" Matt was obviously out of breath. His face was flushed as though he'd run a long distance.

John sat down in the waiting area, gesturing for Matt to join him. "I don't know. We just got here. They took him away somewhere. He's in a lot of pain though."

Matt turned to look at John. "Thanks for bringing him here. I know a lot of people here would have just left him."

"It wasn't a problem and I wasn't going to leave him to get beaten up by some asshole bigots."

"Well, thanks anyway. I'm really grateful and I know Jeff will be too."

"Like I said, it was no problem."

The two sat in the waiting room till they heard some news about Jeff. Matt was there for the obvious reasons – him and Jeff were brothers and he was going to take him home. John was there because he was a bit worried. He hoped those assholes hadn't hurt Jeff too bad. He hoped he and Jeff would be able to be friends or something. He was new here and it was really hard making friends in this tight knit town.

"Family of Jeff Hardy?" came a voice to break the silence.

Matt shot to his feet as did John. "That's me. I'm his brother. Matt Hardy."

"Mr Hardy," the doctor paused as he shook Matt's hand. "Well, Jeff's ribs aren't broken. They are cracked though. One quite badly. A hit or anything like that will cause it to break so he'll need to be very careful for the next few weeks. The membrane that surrounds the ribs will be hard enough by then, though it could take a few weeks after that for them to be fully healed."

"Is there anything we should give or that we can do to help?"

"Well, apart from making sure he rests, putting an ice pack on it for around half an hour every few hours will help as well as taking ibuprofen will help."

"Thanks, sir. Can I see him?"

"Certainly, I'll take you through to him now. He can go home as well, just make sure he rests when he's there."

The doctor led Matt and John through to see Jeff who was really glad to see them. He hated hospitals with a passion. "Hey guys. So, when do I get to leave this hell hole?"

"Ahem."

"Oops, sorry!" Jeff blushed crimson. He hadn't noticed the doctor standing with his brother and John.

The doctor smiled slightly. "Don't worry about it. You can leave as soon as your discharge papers have been signed."

Jeff turned pleading eyes on his brother. "Matt? Please?"

Matt threw his arms up in frustration. He could never resist Jeff's puppy dog eyes. "Fine, I'm going."

After Matt left, Jeff turned to John and smiled widely at him. "I wanted to say thank you. No one else would have helped me."

"Matt said the same thing. Why would no one help you? Is this place that bad?"

"No, it's not that bad. It's just the school mostly. They don't like kids who are different and I'm different. I'm weird. That's why they pick on me. They always have, always will."

"Not if I have anything to say about it. No one picks on or beats up my friends and gets away with it!"

Jeff's face lit up. "Friends? Really?"

John sat down beside the bed and looked in to Jeff's eyes. "Oh course. Well, if you'll have me, that is?"

"Definitely! Thanks John," said Jeff, a smile splitting his face.

Jeff's smile was contagious and John felt a grin tugging at the corners of his lips. "Definitely," he repeated.


So? Thoughts? Reviews are always appreciated!

This may or not be continued. Lust is my priority at the moment but who knows?