Not for all tastes
As they left the ring and made their way up the ramp, Ted could feel the tension rising from his stomach. He had to get out of here. He had to get away, away from the cameras, before he exploded.
He marched ahead of Cody and Randy, who were doing their usual slow saunter up the ramp. It drove him insane, he could never keep in time, they'd had literally months longer than him to perfect it, to be so in sync, he thought bitterly.
But he stopped and waited for them as soon as he got backstage, out of sight. Not out of any sense of loyalty or friendship, mostly just to keep an eye on them.
Ted didn't trust Randy Orton as far as he could throw him, and he was getting more and more concerned with the impact he'd been having on Cody while he'd been away.
When they appeared, grins replaced the steely glares and smirks gracing their faces. Ted watched in fury, envy overtaking him as Randy heartily congratulated Cody on a job well done, yet again, with yet another hand on Cody's shoulder, yet another stroke around his neck.
All a show? All for the fans? Well where were the fans now huh? No fucking fans here backstage Randy.
Ted thought the name in his head, dripping with venom, he was about to blow a fuse as he watched, until Randy turned his attention to him.
"Great job out there Teddy" he said with a squeeze to the top of his shoulder, harder than necessary, grinning as he shook Ted's hand with his free one. But his grin dropped as he saw Ted's face.
"You okay man?"
"I'm fine," Ted managed to hiss between clenched teeth, shaking Randy's hand harder until the bigger man's eyes narrowed in realisation.
"Okay, okay, I get it, what the fuck man? Sorry for asking," Randy pulled his hand back and flexed it, looking over to Cody, eyebrow raised in question, but Cody just shrugged and looked away, and Randy decided to drop it.
"Ok guys," he looked at Ted carefully, "I'm off for a shower, see you later," He shook Cody's hand again, smiling slightly to cover the intense look in his eyes that washed over his face at the resigned grimace Cody fixed him with.
'Just leave it,' Cody's eye's seemed to be saying to him, and he nodded slightly, barely perceptible, pulling him into a hug with one arm, looking over the younger man's shoulder at Ted briefly before he walked off.
Ted glared daggers after him, waiting until he turned the corner before smacking Cody hard across the cheek, his face hardened.
Cody gasped, but didn't react, almost as if he knew it was coming, leaving his head turned towards the wall as though expecting another one to follow. The sound of Ted's breathing filled the room as his chest heaved, and Cody could practically see the steam from his nose as he snorted, like a bull about to charge.
"Teddy?" Cody ventured quietly, trying to placate the seething man, "What's wrong? I'm sorry, I don't know what I did wrong,"
"What's wrong with him?"
"What's wrong with him? Well fucking nothing obviously, he's fucking perfect, the cunt." Ted spat out the last word savagely.
Cody shrugged, his face stinging like hell but refusing to put up a hand to sooth it as he looked back to Ted, prominent finger marks on display red raw across his cheek. Occurances like this were becoming all too frequent between the two of them recently, and Cody refused to rise to it, but he'd learnt that the hard way.
"Look, ok man, I can't deal with you when you're like this Ted, you never say what it actually is that's eating you, you just bitch and moan and nothing I do or say helps. So I give up." he shrugged again and made to walk off, "I'm going for a shower."
"What?!" Ted yelled, looking scandalised, reaching out to spin him around then smacking him across the face again, hissing, "Randy. is. in. there."
Cody remained calm, although his temper was rising, "SO? He won't be in MY shower..."
"You fucking want him to be though," Ted's inner voices were out of control as he closed his eyes, face heavenward, clenching his fists.
"... and besides him there'll probably be a few other guys in there. Is that gonna be a problem for you too?"
Ted just growled in reponse, taking a few deep breaths, very deep breaths.
"Yeah you'd like that wouldn't you Cody?"
But in reality, it was a problem for Ted. As much as Cody couldn't see it, in Ted's mind, everyone would be staring at him, at his man.
He was sick and tired of feeling this way, being so jealous, possessive, feeling so angry. But he couldn't stop. He couldn't handle it when other people looked at his man, flirted with him, just talked to him even, and Cody, modest as ever, was fucking oblivious to the sheer amount of attention he got everywhere he went, people leering all over him, throwing themselves at him.
Well that's how Ted saw it, and he couldn't help but see it as more than it was, and it drove him fucking insane.
With a roar of frustration he grabbed Cody by the arm in a vice like grip and marched him down the corridor towards the locker room, before stopping dead in his tracks as if wondering what the hell he was doing, looking at his hand locked forcibly around Cody's bicep.
He let go, stepping back, and shook his head as if to clear it, "I'm going back to the hotel, I'm showering there," he said, looking at Cody carefully to gauge his reaction.
"Okay," Cody replied, sounding unsure, trying not to seem worried about Ted's recent tendency to these bi-polar style mood swings.
Ted stared at him incredulous, red mist descending as he exploded,
"OKAY?" he screamed, grabbing the now visibly concerned younger man and throwing him up against the wall, fingers closing around the jugular, pinning him by the neck.
"OKAY?! Cody? You just gonna let me go? Was that your plan? So you can catch a ride back with Randy? Randy fucking Orton? HUH?! Fucking ANSWER ME!"
Cody stared at him through narrowed eyes, in shock but not scared of him, more worried as hell about what was wrong with him recently.
"Ted," he said loudly and clearly, as though speaking to a naughty small child, "Put me down," he continued firmly, "Ted I'm not gonna fight, just let me go, and you can keep on believing whatever make believe shit you got rattling around that thick skull of yours,"
Ted's fingers clutched tighter momentarily and Cody's face grew redder and he spluttered slightly, his hands reaching up to prise Ted's strong arms from their grip round his neck that was now stopping his airflow.
Finally Ted seemed to snap out of it as Cody began to clutch desperately at him, clawing his face, Ted's reflexes releasing him as his head snapped back, but as he stepped away he slapped him hard again across the cheek.
Cody stared at him, supressing a cough, one hand flying to his neck upon release, but apart from that he didn't bat an eyelid, he just walked away, hand marks evident around his neck.
Ted watched him go, "Cody, wait,"
"I need a shower," he didn't look round as he disappeared into the room a little further along the corridor, and Ted slumped against the wall as the red mist dissipated and he realised what he'd done.
What the fuck is wrong with me? He clawed at his own head, rubbing his hands hard over his face, a sob escaping his mouth and a tear pricking his eye.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up, unaware he'd had an audience, into a pair of deep blue eyes.
"If you lay a single finger on him again I will fucking kill you,"
The cold voice washed over Ted, cutting through him like a knife and he crumbled to the floor, trembling, shaking like a leaf as his fury subsided, only to be replaced by fear, fear of himself and his capabilities when he was in this state.
"John, I'm sorry, I don't know what happened, I don't know, what did I do? What did I do?" he stammered incoherently his brain flickering back and forth over and over, hands hovering to cover his face, smearing the blood from the scratch where Cody had gouged his skin.
"You okay Teddy?" John's voice had softened as he watched the man distintigrate before his very eyes.
Ted didn't have anything to say, because he knew he wasn't okay, he was breaking down, and he couldn't stop.
"You know Randy's not tapping that right?"
Ted's head snapped round in disbelief, staring wild eyed.
"Your little boyfriend, Randy ain't going there,"
"Ted, don't play dumb with me,"
"But how the fuck did you even know that's what I thought?"
"Because it's fucking written all over your face Ted." John said matter of factly.
Ted shrank back into the wall, looking aghast, "But no one knows about..."
"About you and Cody?" John chuckled, "Well Beth is a good cover, kudos for that one,"
"Has that little fucker been telling people? He fucking promised me...I'll fucking kill him!"
"Hey, chill, chill dude, geez, give the guy some credit, he didn't tell no one," John scoffed, appalled that Ted had such little faith in his lover, "Look, Randy figured it out, ages ago, and he told me."
"WHAT? How the fuck did he figure it out? We were always so careful..." he trailed off thinking, then, suddenly angry again, "And why the fuck did he tell you?" he demanded.
John scowled, biting back his retort, "He told me, Ted, to stop me from putting my foot in it, which I am prone to do, 'and 'cos he fucking tells me everything,' " he added the last bit to himself, glaring for a moment before continuing, "And you do a pretty good job at almost giving the game away by yourself Ted,"
"What? Me?" Ted stared at him incredulous, "What are you fucking talking about?"
"Well, okay, for example, remember when we were at that party for, oh what was it even for? I dunno, you and Codes were playing with bread anyway... remember?" he asked, cocking his head to one side.
"Yeah," Ted nodded in affirmation, none the wiser, "And?"
"And, me and Randy were outside, he was having a smoke, Cody was with us too..."
Ted's face fell in realisation,
"...But you didn't even see us Ted, you were so drunk, you just beelined for Cody, smacking him against the wall and you kissed him so fucking hard, god damn it was hot! Hawt! But Ted, when he tried to, er, dissuade you, shall we say..."
"Dissuade me?!" Ted interrupted, "He fucking pushed me off! Just pushed me away! He didn't want me! He didn't want me 'cos Randy was there! It all makes sense now..."
John shook his head in dismay at Ted's train of thought, he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Dude, you've got it sooo wrong man. You didn't even give him time to explain, you fucking lost it man, he was trying to discretely tell you we were standing right fucking there and that maybe you wouldn't be so keen on that, what with your secrecy clause and all, but you just started accusing him of all kindsa shit!"
"I didn't know you two were there," Ted hung his head, taking it all in.
"Obviously!" John snorted with contempt, "But is that all you gotta say about it? Dude, Randy had it figured out and had told me waaay before that. And as it happens, before you came storming out we'd been asking Cody about it, well ribbing him to death really, Randy asked him what he was so god damned happy about, and you know what he said?"
Ted shook his head.
"He said you. He was saying how great everything is with you, apart from the whole secrecy thing, cos he wants to shout it from the god damned roof tops Ted! But he knows you don't, so he's doing what you want. Then enter Ted, the way you were acting I don't know why he even bothers with you. But the dude's fucking in love with you man, yet you can't see it, you're obsessed with Randy. So you come bowling in and fucking destroy the boy,"
Ted groaned, furious with himself. Everything always seemed so clear in his head, then he lost control, like a red mist clouded his judgement, clouded any clarity, then after he didn't even know why he'd done it, or sometimes, what he'd even done.
"I'm not obsessed with Randy,"
This time John chuckled, "You sure about that? After everything I just told you, the one thing you pick up on, is that? You're gonna have to be careful man, you're gonna push him away, and you got a keeper there Teddy, he knows the score yet he still hangs around, for his sins! What the fuck is it you're so god damned jealous about anyway?"
They continued to talk in the corridor, Ted slumped head in hands, as unseen by both of them, Randy left the locker room, Cody following close behind, his swollen face hidden in the shadows.
Randy was fuming, but he held it in. As they reached the carpark he turned, his eyes flashing, and looked over at where Cody was doing his best attempt at ignoring him.
He kept his voice low, and even. "Why do you let him do it to you Codes?"
"Okay, whatever." He shook his head and rested his chin on his arms leaning on the top of the rental, watching Cody hunting for his keys in his bag. He'd never seen the young man so uptight and agitated, but yet still he refused to acknowledge what was going on.
He dropped the bag to the ground, bending to rifle through it,
"Stop fucking looking at me Randy,"
"I'm worried about you."
"Don't be." he unlocked the car as he straightened, picking up his bag and one hand poised on the doorhandle he paused, hesitating to get in, before leaning back against the door with a sigh.
"Randy, please, just leave it, ok? Please?" He looked up, finally making eye contact, his eyes pleading with the man across from him.
"Codes, I don't know how you expect me to do that! If I was there when he hurt you, I fucking swear I..."
"I know, I know, but please Randy, just do this for me?"
Randy sighed, shaking his head in despair. He unlocked his own car and threw his bag in, just for something to do with his hands because the other alternative was punching someone's lights out.
He nodded, coming round the side of the car to stand in front of his friend, looking at him carefully, examining the bruises already showing around his neck and trailed a finger softly over them.
"Mother fucker," he growled under his breath, holding his tongue though as Cody's eyes flicked up to meet his, glowering. "Okay Cody, I'll do this for you, I'll leave it, but God help me, if I catch him hurting you again..." he held him at arms length scrutinising his injuries then pulled him into a quick hug as Cody cut him off, again.
"I know. And thankyou, really. But it's ok, I can handle it,"
"Okay." Randy wasn't fooled for a moment.
"Okay." He nodded to himself, breaking free as tears threatened to spill from his eyes and he wanted to escape before the older man saw. The last thing he needed was the leader of his group to see him show any signs of weakness, to show he was hurting.
"I'm off man," he said, turning round ready to climb into the drivers seat, still feeling Randy's eyes boring into him in concern.
"Are you gonna leave him here?"
"Yeah! He was just gonna leave me here!"
Randy put his hands up in defence, "Hey hey! I'm not having a go! I think you fucking should leave him here! I was just asking in case I should let John know to give him a ride is all, 'cos he probably already thinks you've left with me, and you know how well that will go down."
Cody hesitated before getting in, then chucking his bag violently over to the passenger seat and fury flashing in his eyes, tears finally spilling over.
"You know what? Fuck him! FUCK HIM Randy!" And he got in and was gone before Randy even had time to open his mouth.
Back inside, John was still crouched in the corridor, trying to convince Ted to just calm down, take a shower and give Cody some space. Out the corner of his eye, he saw Randy round the corner as he came back inside, but quickly step back out of view as soon as he spotted them, figuring he'd learn more if Ted didn't see him.
John, wanting to avoid a confrontation but also fill Randy in on the situation before he exascerbated things, again tried to get Ted up from his hunched position on the floor to head to the locker room.
"C'mon man," he said, loud enough for Randy to overhear, "Let's go pick up your stuff at least. How 'bout I head back to the hotel with you? We can go for a drink and talk about all this some more, what you say? Huh?"
Ted nodded, sighing as he hauled himself up feeling completely deflated. What the fuck was wrong with him? He followed John down the corridor and stepped passed him through the door, John holding it open in order to look to Randy following at a distance, holding one finger up to keep him at bay for a few more minutes.
Randy waited outside, listening in as he heard a locker banging and Ted saying he was going for a shower afterall.
"Here, you'll need this," John's voice was louder as he obviously tossed him a clean towel from the stack by the door, which within seconds he'd opened a crack, his eye appearing searching frantically for Randy and let him in.
He hadn't even had time to explain before Ted was bowling back into the room. John turned in surprise, his back crashing into Randy's chest in his haste, in time to see Ted smash his fists and headbutt himself face first into the tiled wall, chest heaving, and literally shaking in violent fury as his rage consumed him.
The two men stared in shock at their friend losing the plot, arms flailing, hollering that Cody had left him, that he wasn't in there, that he was gone, gone with Randy.
Randy, obviously not gone anywhere because he was standing right there, invisible to Ted's blinkered one track mind, held John back defensively. But John's mouth was set in a determined line and he broke free from Randy's grasp quick as a flash, making his way over.
"Whoa, whoa, whoah there now buddy, what's this? What's all this?" John asked quietly, approaching from the side, hand reaching out as though to tame a wild horse, trying desperately to make out what Ted was mumbling as he repeatedly banged his forehead against the tiles.
"He's gone, he's left me here, he's fucking gone, he's fucked off with Orton, I just know it! You said he wasn't fucking him but you're wrong, I know different John I know the truth oh yes I do..."
John looked over to Randy, a look of incredulous concern marring his features as he watched Randy's eyes narrow from wide eyed shock as it registered with him exactly what Ted had just said.
As much as he'd intended to go after Cody as soon as he'd dropped John off, he was suddenly grateful he hadn't, if only to hopefully save the younger man from some of Ted's insanity, he certainly wouldn't regret that if he managed it.
"Teddy, Teddy, listen!" John was gripping him by the shoulders now in order to get him to turn around, if only to see Randy standing there to hopefully break his psychosis.
"Look bud, I don't know where Cody is, but why would he still be in the shower? We took a long time talking out there just now dude... But I know he's not with Randy, I know that much, look," He gestured indicating the man behind him but Ted was focussed straight ahead as John continued, "Maybe he's outside having a smoke or something..."
He saw Randy shaking his head motioning NO behind Ted's shoulder.
"...Or maybe he took off and is having a shower back at the hotel like you suggested, Teddy?" he looked again to Randy who just shrugged this time, as Ted banged his head hard against the locker.
"He's with Randy!"
John sighed, "He's not Ted, if he was, he'd be here too,"
"He is! I just know it!"
"Ted, look behind you,"
"I know it!"
"You fucking know NOTHING Ted!"
John, completely bewildered, was rapidly growing weary of Ted's utter craziness now and his patience was wearing thin,
"Randy is fucking here! Fucking look behind you man! Fuck's sake!"
And he spun him round forcefully, Randy's eyes narrowing again as he took a step back in shock at the mad look in Ted's eye.
"YOU!" Ted screeched, lunging for Randy and backing him against the wall as his eyes focussed, the bigger man side stepping as his shoulder connected, fingers scraping across his face.
"What the fuck?" Randy held him at arms length as John attempted to restrain him from behind.
"Teddy!" John shouted, "Ted, listen now, fucking serious man, listen to me!" he growled as Ted thrashed about trying to break free, kicking out and landing a solid boot in Randy's groin as the wall behind him blocked any escape.
Randy doubled over in agony, throwing a wild punch back out of sheer automatic gut reaction, connecting with Ted's nose as John forced him backwards out of arms reach.
As Randy dropped to his knees and blood began to trickle from Ted's nose, he got in one final kick to Randy's face, snapping his head back with a dull thwack.
Slowly, the door opened and Cody stood there.
He was frozen at the sight before him, taking it all in, Randy crumpled at his feet, and Ted restrained a few steps away. He crouched to check Randy's condition, before slowly rising, and taking a cautious step forward he shoved the packet of smokes he clutched tightly in his hand into his back pocket, reaching out, trying to ignore the chaos in Ted's eyes.
"Teddy?" he said quietly, "What the fuck is going on here baby?" He grabbed a towel and moved to hold it to Ted's bloody nose, "Get the fuck off him John,"
"Let him go,"
Blue eyes met blue in a battle of will, until Cody broke the gaze, tending to the outpouring of blood.
"Please John," he whispered, eyes flicking back up, "I'll take him,"
But the moment John released his arms, Ted smirked, shoving Cody backward so hard he toppled over Randy still in a heap behind him, both their heads crashing to the concrete floor.
Ted landed on top, "He's the fucking one you want, he's the one you went to first, fucking take him instead! I knew you were together, I knew it!" he screamed, punches reigning down on Randy as everything faded to black.
But this time John meant business.
Seeing Randy knocked out before his very eyes, he was on Ted like a shot.
With a roar he had him thrown off and smashed him into the locker behind him, pinning him up by the scruff of his neck as he screamed in his face.
"WHAT DID I TELL YOU? WHAT DID I FUCKING TELL YOU?" Ted's hair was blown back with John's fury and the last thing he saw as he opened his mouth in retort was a fist looming in from his left.
He barely had time to register, let alone brace himself, before it connected and he was sliding to the floor, out cold.
Chest heaving, breathing loudly, John stood looking down at the crumpled heap at his feet, turning at the agonising groan eminating behind him.
Making his way over he helped Cody who was struggling to sit up, disentangling him from Randy quickly, before moving over to check on the trail of blood running from Randy's nose and down his ear, pooling on the ground below his fallen form.
John did his best not to freak out at the sight, but Cody saw the look ghost across his face and sprung into action, taking over despite his own agony.
"Randy!" he said quietly, lightly tapping his cheeks each side, "Randy! Come on now," He continued tapping, lifting up each eyelid and feeling for his pulse. "John, pass me that water," he demanded, as Randy started to stir.
John, sitting back on his haunches watching gravely, his face set like stone, took a moment to register the order.
"John!" Cody said again, punching him lightly on the arm as Randy groaned and his eyes flickered.
"Hey there big fella," Cody said lightly, Randy slowly focussing on him.
John stared wide eyed, letting out the breath he didn't even realise he was holding, and reaching for Randy's hand as he turned his eyes skyward, he thank every non specific deity he could think of.
"Hey man," he said out loud, smiling, their fingers intertwining as Randy tried to sit up.
"No no, stay right where you are for a few more minutes," Cody said with authority, wetting one of the towels and wiping away the blood.
John, breathing a sigh of relief, started functioning again as he helped Randy to sit up.
"Take him to the medi-bay Codes. See if anyone's still there, then get him outta here," He threw a look over to the fallen figure of Ted against the opposite locker, "I've got some business to attend to." he finished darkly.
"Please don't hurt him John," Cody's eyes were pleading as he helped Randy stand up.
"Ok, well, I'll try. But I can't promise anything," he glowered in return, looking between them, "But I'm damn sure gonna talk some sense into the fucker, fucking deranged,"
Cody nodded, "Look in his bag John," he added softly, turning back to look at Ted sadly as he reached the door, looking thoroughly distraught as he took Randy through.