Halloween fic. Bwaha. Enjoy!
Fall had seemed to come early that year, even though it was only just September. On campus students spilled over the dying grass as it crunched underfoot, and kicked crisp, fiery leaves over the side walk, smeared with chalk greetings for the freshmen. Disgruntled fathers dragged bags and suitcases up to cramped dorm rooms. Moms unpacked, for the last time fussing over children they still didn't want to christen adults, and let go of. Eyes rolled as tight hugs were latched around necks and tears seeped into t-shirt fabric. Thoughts of being punted out into college life veered from lingering on their over emotional mothers to thoughts of girls, or guys, and where the best bars might be and how many rounds of beer pong they might be able to play before losing consciousness, waking up, and realizing they should have been in English 101. Although, on the first day, no one ever does anything in class anyway.
Further down, a couple blocks from campus, rows of regal looking homes lined a street scattered with leaves, and parked cars under white sycamore trees. From balconies and over doors hung banners proclaiming frat houses, Greek letters beacons to a never ending party. Students nicknamed this stretch of prized property 'Frat Farm'. It was in this part of the city where all the big old once proud Victorian homes still resided. However, years ago they'd been usurped by college life, and mutated into frat, sorority, and rental properties swarmed with twenty-somethings who were getting educations in how to show up in class and not look too hung over, or how to get a girl to follow you to bed in less than .5 seconds, and how to cram weeks of studying into the early morning hours right before a day filled with finals.
"Energy drinks, and beer." Glenn said, patting Jeff on the shoulder. "Your best friends."
"Don't corrupt my little brother!" Matt, the dark haired one driving the car through 'Frat Farm' shouted, wagging his finger at his friend in the back seat. Glenn smirked, his eyes glistening, as he reached over and pulled a curl of Matts' hair.
Glenn was the oldest of the group, a grad student in Political Science, getting through school on a basketball scholarship, although the way he was built made him seem more suited to football. He'd thought about switching to football, but the basketball coaches had all but begged him to stay on the team. After all, as it stood currently, Jacobs held the highest field goal percentage for a single season, along with leading his team in blocks and rebounds again and again. He loved sports only as much as he loved politics, which was saying a lot. Although there was one thing that was currently creeping up the ranks and settling with those two: annoying Matt Hardys' little freshmen brother.
"If I don't corrupt him, then Adam will. He's worse than I am." Glenn shot back at Matt. Adam turned in his seat, which was next to Matt the driver, and laid fiery blue eyes into Glenn. He held onto the pissed glare for a moment, before he dropped it and bobbled his head, his usual cocky grin spreading over his face.
"I'm the worst of the worst, chump stain!" Adam leered. Adam Copeland, the embodiment of cockiness. No one really knew what he was there for. He changed his major as often as he changed his underwear. Well, maybe more often than that. It was the consensus of the group that Adam was in college for one purpose only: party. He was the first one to pop a beer (and wood), the last one to leave the party (always with a couple of girls or guys on his arm, maybe one of each just for variety), the undisputed champ of virtually every drinking game ever thought of (and every sex game), and reportedly, he was also the guy who streaked through the football field last year at homecoming. His brother was sleeping in the seat behind him, his mouth slightly open, hands crumpled in his lap, although he was about to be awoken, because Adam and Glenn were ribbing one another.
Adam leaned out of his seat, and spit his gum in Glenns' direction. Instead it hit Christian who as usual had been sound asleep. You just couldn't put him in the car without him falling asleep. The moment the damn car started, he was out. Other than snoring in vehicles, Christian was known as Adams brother and partner in crime, and the man most likely to be squashed by Glenn for being a total annoyance.
"Who did that!" Christian growled, jerking his head around and glaring holes into each man. Matt chewed his lips to hold back laughter, Glenn crossed his muscled arms over his wide chest, and starred from under his brow, and then Christians' gaze fell onto Jeff, who surged forwards in his seat, bugging his eyes at the glowering blond.
"Boo!" Jeff spat, already disliking Christian. "Creepy little bastard." He added, curling up in his seat with his knees under his chin.
"Me? I'm not the freak in the black shit, and rainbow fag looking-"
"Hey! Enough." Glenn grabbed Christians' shoulder and shoved him back into his seat. Christian plucked the big hand away and snarled.
"Keep your filthy hands away from me, Baldzilla. Who knows what they've touched."
"Then sit down and shut the fuck up!"
"Guys!" Matt managed to shout over everyone else. "Lay off my brother."
Jeff smiled sweetly. Christian rolled his eyes and grumbled, and Glenn ran a hand over his shaved head—naked of hair because of a bet he'd lost to his half-brother which had required him to shave off his long, auburn, tresses.
Matt pulled the car up to the curb, and stopped it. Everyone spilled out. Adam and Christian took off at a competitive sprint towards the house they group had managed to snag this year. Glenn shook his head and popped the trunk of the car to drag out his bags, as Matt and Jeff congregated near the curb, talking in low tones.
"I don't like it Matty. I could have just stayed in a dorm, or me and you could have got our own place together. That's what we should have done." Jeff said, watching Matts' face closely. "I don't like any of your friends." Jeff pouted and took one of Matts' hands in his and gently traced a fingertip over the knuckles. Matt laughed, and squeezed his brothers' shoulder.
"Just give the idiots some time Jeff. You'll like it, I promise."
Matt moved Jeff out of the way and went to the trunk to grab some things. Jeff moped, and dug the toe of his shoe into the soft ground. He sniffed, and the strong scents of autumn tickled his nose. The only reason he'd agreed to this in the first place was because he didn't want to be separated from his brother. The first two years Matt had been gone away to college had all but killed him, and now that he was enrolled at the same school, he was not going to be separated from his brother.
"Here Jeff." Matt grunted, shoving a bag into Jeffs' arms. Paintbrushes and tubes of paint overflowed from the stuffed messenger bag. "Sorry." Matt offered as Jeff bent to pick up the fallen objects. Matt grabbed one of the brushes and stuck it behind Jeffs' ear. With that and his paint-splattered jeans, he looked all the part of an eccentric art student and budding starving artist, completely opposite of his older brother who could not draw a straight line, nor was he interested in learning too. Matts' classes involved a lot less abstract thinking and more boring things like numbers and formulas or something—Jeff wasn't even sure what the hell was involved in engineering. Whatever it was, Matt was welcome to it.
Jeff shouldered his bag and tagged after his brother. They both entered the house together.
"I could do a kickass mural on that wall." Jeff said, already plotting it out in his mind. He narrowed his eyes, envisioning the colors and patterns unfolding, unfurling, winding and mingling into something that would be—blood. With a whimper, Jeff staggered back and pressed his palm to his forehead. Matt spun around, his brown eyes wide, immediately concerned.
"Jeff?" He took the bag from his brothers' shoulder and tossed it over towards the couch.
"I…I'm okay Matty. Headache." His emerald eyes steadied on his brothers, and held the gaze until Matts' worry melted away and he nodded his head, and pointed Jeff upstairs where the bedrooms were. Adam passed Jeff, flying down the stairs, yelling like a banshee, to which Jeff flipped him the bird with a chipped, black-painted nail. Adam vaulted over the stair banister, and landed on both feet, near Matt. He grabbed the guys shoulders and shook him.
"Dude! We're gonna have some killer bashes in this place!" He slapped Matts' chest and pulled out a pack of gum, offered a piece to Matt, and then started chomping on one again. "This is gonna be the hottest place, for in your face, par-tay!"
"Adam, don't go planning your orgies just yet." Matt shook his head. "We have to at least wait until Ken gets here." He laughed, shoving Adam playfully. The blond let out a cheer and ran into the kitchen where Glenn was pacing with his cell phone to his ear, and pounced on the big guy. He got snarled at and batted away. Adam pouted, and placed himself on the countertop, leaning back on his elbows like he was posing for a girly mag.
"He's not coming." Glenn sighed as Matt came into the kitchen toting more luggage and boxes. Matt stacked a couple boxes on the countertop, next to Adam, who gave him a silly wink.
"Ken? What do you mean he's not coming? Without a sixth guy we can't afford to live here." Matt drew his hand across his brow, and wiped away a sheen of sweat. Glenn slipped his phone into his jeans pocket. The look on his face was unsettling and painfully somber.
"Accident Anderson won't be making any appearances back here."
Glenn nodded dully.
"I guess he and Randy were goofing around with that wrestling stuff they do for that gay-ass nowhere promotion they're in, and he nearly killed himself with some stunt. Ken was climbing on some homemade steel cage thing, and when Randy started to go up after him, apparently the whole damn thing collapsed. Ken...Matt…I'm sorry man."
A veil of silence fell over the room. Ken was Matts' best friend, and sometimes more. The dark haired man felt suddenly numb, and Christian walked into the room just in time to steady him as the shock rushed over him. Glenn pulled a chair away from the table, and Christian lowered Matt into it.
"Well," Adam began as he slid off the counter. "I guess we'll have to put in an ad for a new roommate."
"That's it!" Paul's deep, mammoth, voice boomed through the tiny room. "I can't take living with you for another moment!"
Chris screwed his face into a scowl, and stood toe-to-toe with the giant. He upturned his face, his cobalt eyes crossing and making his angered expression seem all most comical and hard to take serious.
"And I can't take it either." He growled, his voice an annoyed monotone. Paul snorted laughter, as if the arrogant, 5'10", blond scared any of his 7' huge frame. An enormous hand descended on Jerichos' face and he was pushed backwards roughly, sent sprawling to the floor. Paul laughed again and simply stepped over him in one long stride, and tossed one of Chris' suitcase and his stack of unused books out into the hallway. Followed by Chris himself. The door was slammed, and the indignant blond spent about ten minutes banging on it, raving, at the kind of treatment he had received. The door opened again, if only for a moment, to throw out a trash bag full of Chris' clothes and his guitar, which bonked noisily off the floor. The door slammed again, and Chris pulled his lips back in snarl.
"I was gonna leave anyway." He snipped, and started to pick his things up.
He got it all together and sauntered to the end of the hall where the R.A. was. When he poked his head in, the guy wasn't there. He lugged his stuff down to the commons where students bustled, their conversations all loud and mixed together, like droning bees. He dropped it all in front of a bulletin board and looked over the things tacked up there—jobs, books for sale, parties, campus events, and in the corner a flyer seeking a roommate. Chris committed the address to memory and bummed a ride from some guy named Helms who he'd met in one of his classes. Helms dumped him out in front of the address, a big white house with a wrap-around porch, not kept in the best condition, but it sure as hell would be better than a tiny dorm room with a giant snoring in the bunk under you. Not to mention, it had the feeling of a great place to party.
And the dark haired man who came to the door was a handsome devil. Chris put on his most charming smile and flicked his eyes discretely over the form of the guy as he stepped outside—wearing sweat pants and shirtless.
"Hi, Chris Jericho." He extended his hand and the guy yawned and took it for a moment. His hands felt nice, even. "So, you guys still need a roommate?" Please say yes!
"Not any more!" Chris announced, swaggering past Matt, and into the house where he dumped his bags. "Feels like home already."
Matt closed the door, shaking his head. This guy was certainly not shy. He was a little unsure though, he imagined this Chris guy and Glenn butting heads immediately, and that was already Christians job and it was crazy enough as it was. But there was something about Chris that Matt already liked, and maybe the fact that they'd had the add out for two months already with no one answering it, and they had barely been able to scrape up enough money to pay those two months of rent and utilities as it was. This month had been looking even meeker since Adam got fired from his job for 'flirting too much' which was Copeland code for 'sexual harassment'.
"So, you have a job?" Matt asked, folding his arms over his chest.
"Of course, ass-clown. Gotta buy beer, right?"
Matt smirked. Chris would fit in for sure.
"The extra room is upstairs, last on the right. I guess that's about it. Everybody else will be back later. We can all go out or something." Matt shrugged, and watched Chris as he climbed the stairs, his dark eyes trying to avoid the way his backside swayed nicely.
Chris found the extra room and dumped his stuff on the floor. He pulled some clothes out of the trash bag Paul had stuffed them in and sniffed one of the shirts under the arm pits, trying to figure out if it was dirty or clean. After a few more indecisive sniffs, he shrugged, and folded it up in a dresser that was in the room.
He had it mostly finished when a shiver raced up his spine and he felt the eerie sensation of eyes watching. He got up from where he knelt at the dresser and spun around with a pair of underwear in his hand and started to put them away when a loud creak sounded from behind him. He spun around on his heel, and dropped the briefs, they flopped over the toe of his shoe. It was only one of the guys standing in the doorway, although the way the young man was watching him—with stony green eyes—had him feeling a bit uneasy which was something that happened rarely.
"Who are you?" The young man asked flatly, his severe gaze never leaving as he tracked Chris' movements around the room. The blond put up the last piece of clothing and went to the man blocking his door.
"Chris Jericho. I just moved in."
The guy with the rainbow streaked hair made no answer, only narrowed his eyes, and pressed his lips into a tight line.
"Oh hey." Matt appeared in the doorway and hung his arm over Jeffs' shoulders. The young mans' eyes immediately soften and his lips morphed into a warm smile. "Chris, this my brother Jeff." Matt explained, play punching the smaller man in the arm.
"Nice to meet ya." Jeff said pleasantly, and patted Chris' shoulder.
The blond was taken aback at first at the shift in his character, but maybe it was just that his brother made him feel more comfortable. Chris shrugged the cold impression away and the three of them went back downstairs laughing, and talking.
Later, Adam, Christian, and Glenn all made it home and the six of them went out and hit a couple of bars. The other five seemed to click so well together, their friendship easy—even the way Glenn and Christian seemed to annoy the hell out of each other had a friendship about it—and soon Chris found himself fitting right in. The night concluded with Adam challenging him to shots, which he readily accepted, proclaiming with an arrogant, lopsided smirk that he had never been beaten, to which Adam bobbled his head and matched his claim. Soon Matt, Jeff, Christian, and Glenn were all gathered around the two blonds spurring them on as they emptied the tiny glasses and overturned them on the table to keep track.
The competition was fierce, insults of 'chump-stain, cum-sock, ass-clown, hypocrite, and parasite, and more jokingly traded between the two and slurred as more and more glasses became empty numbers on the tabletop. Soon there was a combined army of about forty or so shot glasses lined up as though ready to do war with each other, in neat little battalions. Chris was practically laying on the table, mumbling incoherently, and occasionally belting out some piece of a song or another. Adam swayed on his stool and nearly fell off a couple of times. On one side of him was Glenn, on the other Christian, and they kept pushing him back upright when he'd sway towards one and then the other. Jeff kept watch from his perch on his own stool where he nursed a beer and occasionally threw in a few cheers for Adam, or reached over and clapped his shoulder.
"Guys, come on it's late let's just call it a draw and go home." Glenn suggested, laughing when Chris reached for another shot glass and knocked it over with slow, clumsy fingers.
"He spilt hissdrink…ah win…stump-chain." Adam slurred, and slumped towards Christian. His brother straightened him up again as he started to hiccup, his eyes rolling glassily.
"You doan win…I'm goin…strong. Innot drunkitall! Crypatit…hypo—hypo…hippiepotamus-tache. Mustache…" Chris burst out in laughter that had tears streaming down his face. "Hippo-mustache-otamus."
"I think we should get out of here." Christian shook his head as he watched Chris topple off his bar stool, Matt not catching him in time.
"Ha!" Adam shouted as Glenn tried to help Adam down from his stool. "I fruggin' win!"
"Glenn, I don't think he can stand." Christian laughed as he watched his brothers' head lull from side to side. Glenn knelt.
"Adam, wrap your arms around my neck." He instructed, as Matt struggled to get Chris up off the floor. Adam somehow made his arms comply with Glenns' instruction, and Glenn stood, pulling Adams' legs around his waist and tucking his arms under Adam's knees so he was hanging on piggy back style, his head laying on Glenns' shoulder.
"How cute Glenn. I always knew you wanted my brother to ride you." Christian sneered.
"Creepy little bastard, why don't you go help Hardy with the lump on the floor." Glenn shot back, shifting Adam a little.
Christian and Matt got Chris up and propped him up on their shoulders. Glenn headed towards the car and after slapping Chris' cheeks, they got him to at least drag his feet a little so they could follow. They dumped Chris in the back seat next to Glenn who had Adam on his lap in the middle, and was flanked on the other side by Christian. Jeff was shotgun, always careful to stay close to Matt. As they approached home, the car weaving a little what with Matts' mind being a little less than sober itself, Chris started yowl and howl like a tone deaf dog bleating at the moon. Glenn screwed his fingers into his ears as Matt burst out in giggles, and Christian tried to swallow his.
The ones sober enough to walk spilled out of the car. Jeff took Matts' keys and went straight for the front door as Glenn got Adam on his back again, and the other two dragged Chris out of the car. He got out a couple more incoherent lines, and then completely passed out on the grass. Matt fell down next to him, rolling around in the dew, unable to stop laughing as Christian tried to tug on his arm.
"Go on up Jeff. I'll just put Tweedle-Dumb to bed and then go out and help the rest of the stooges with Tweedle-Dumber." Glenn smirked, and brushed past Jeff who held the door open. He took Adam upstairs to his room and deposited him on his bed. He gave a little protesting grumble, and then his eyes closed and he started to snore against the pillow. Glenn took Adams' shoes off and sat them by his pile of dirty clothes, then went out into the hall. He passed Jeff slinking down to the bathroom at the end of the hallway, and then clomped down the staircase, and outside to help with the others. Christian was in the middle of the yard, his silhouetted form flailing as a stream of curses flew from his mouth.
Glenn went to Matt, who was wrestling Chris up to a sitting position. Glenn shooed Matt out of the way hoisted Chris into his arms bridal style.
"What's wrong with Creepy?" Glenn asked, jerking a thumb towards the raving blond as he picked something from his long hair.
"He got ralphed on." Matt said as he hung on Glenns' arm, laughing, and following him up to the house.
"Serves you right Creep!" Glenn hollered from the porch towards Christian. Matt jerked off one of Chris' shoes and tossed it out towards Christian. When it missed it's mark, he tried again, and the other shoe bounced right off his head, causing both Matt and Glenn to explode into a gale of laughter. He and Matt made it inside and stumbled upstairs. Matt disappeared into his room, still coughing giggles, and Glenn rolled Chris onto his bed.
"You're alright Jericho." Glenn smirked, as he pulled Chris' t-shirt collar up to his lips and roughly wiped them clean. "See you in the morning, Princess."
Glenn left Chris where he was and decided it was way past time that he passed out in his own bed. He glanced at his cell phone: 4:13 am. He passed Matt in the hallway as the dark haired man weaved his way towards the end of the hall.
"Is he okay?" Matt asked Glenn, as he leaned on the wall and tangled his fingers in his unruly mess of curls.
"For now. In the morning, not so much." Glenn offered with a shrug, before shutting the door to his room.
Matt headed on down the hallway, towards the bathroom, but then veered into Chris' room instead. The blond was dumped awkwardly on the bed, and Matt stumbled over to him and straightened him out into what looked like a more comfortable position. He left for a moment, and came back with a wash cloth, noticing Chris' pretty blond hair had got some of what covered Christian. Matt gently wiped the mess out of Chris' soft hair, and then sponged off his face. He really wasn't sure why he was doing this, it was how he would have treated Ken. And Ken, his best friend, wasn't here anymore.
With alcohol already swirling in his head, his emotions seemed to come crashing down on him, and Matt was suddenly aware that his face was wet and warm with tears. Suddenly, all he wanted was to be close with Chris, the way he would have been close with Ken if he was here. Matt curled up on the bed behind Chris, and a bit unsurely at first, slipped his arm over Chris' chest. Sleep quickly overtook him, and somehow, he felt comforted.
Matt groaned, and opened his eyes in the darkness. Something had woke him up from a rather hot dream, but now that he was awake, he wasn't sure what it was. He threw his arm over his eyes and smiled a little, realizing that Chris was snoring, his cheek resting against Matts' chest. He found his fingers gently stroking through the long golden hair that was tangled over Chris' face. Sleep began an easy descent back over him, with that soft, drifting feeling that let him know he'd be back to that dream soon.
Matts' eyes flew open, and his fingers gripped Chris' shoulder. The blond sighed in his sleep and rolled away from Matt, his arm dangling off the twin bed. Matt laid back down, telling himself he was stupid for freaking out over a damn creak. It was one of the others up and moving around, that was all.
Tap. Tap. Tap-tip. Creeeak.
Matt closed his eyes, and ignored the sounds that was one of his friends or his brothers footsteps in the hallway. He was just drifting off to sleep again when an eerie moan sounded, and the door began to rattle. Matt scrambled off the bed, and tumbled to the floor. He crawled to the end of the bed and picked himself up, brushing his frizzy hair out of his face.
"Jeff?" He called in a whispered hiss. The door kept rattling, the knob convulsing and turning, someone on the other side jarring it as if the door was locked. "Glenn!"
"Wha'goin' on?" Chris mumbled sleepily from behind.
"Nothing. They're playing tricks. Go back to sleep." Matt waved his hand at Chris, and moved closer to the shuttering door.
"Christian, you fucking creep!" He reached for the doorknob and began to close his hand around it, when the banging, pulling, turning, battering, stopped silent. In one smooth motion, the door silently opened. "Okay, you idiots who--" Matt stepped out into the hallway, expecting one of the guys to be leaning against the wall snorting laughter. Matts' eyes squinted into the darkness, illuminated only by a few strands of moonlight that spilled through the panes of the window at the end of the hall. Matt moved down the hall and ran his hands along the wall, blindly groping for the light. His fingers crawled over the switch plate, and a hand fell atop his. With a gasp he flicked the switch and fell backwards, clumsily over his own feet and onto his ass, eyes wide. No one was there. He got back to his feet quickly, his first thought that whichever one of the guys who was fucking with him had ducked into the bathroom at the last minute. Matt slid into the bathroom and threw on the light. His heart was thundering up in his chest, at the stupid possibility that pricked the back of his mind, that no one was there at all. Impossible. Besides, he could hear the shower running.
"Where are you, you son-of-a--" Matt grabbed the shower curtain and yanked it back, the rings clattering against the curtain rod noisily. The shower was empty, the head on full blast. Growling, his hands a bit shaky, Matt reached in and turned the water handles, dumbfounded when the water still spewed from the shower head, the temperature growing hotter and hotter as it soaked his hair and shirt. He kept fiddling with the knobs, convincing himself that he'd turned them the wrong way. The water heated and heated, blistering against his skin, steam filling the shower and rolling out into the bathroom.
The voice was from behind him, rough, groggy. Matt fought with the shower curtain as it tangled around him, finally batted it away, and found Chris in the doorway squinting at him. His hand went to his chest, relieved, as he panted.
"What are you doing?" The blond asked, yawning and fixing himself.
"The shower--" Matt stopped mid-sentence, his voice frozen. The shower head was silent, the steam had mysteriously cleared, there wasn't a drop of water in the tub, his hair and shirt was completely dry. "Uh…I wa-was…just…felt like a shower." Matt finished, straightening the curtain. "But…I don't want to now." He added, as Chris' quirked his eyebrow.
"Well, then scoot your ass. I have to take a leak."
Chris shooed Matt out of the bathroom, and shut the door. Matt stood, just staring at it, running his hands over his shirt and hair, unable to figure out what had just happened to him. You were dreaming, you were drunk, it didn't happen. Those are the facts.Matt told himself, as he concentrated on calming his breathing. He moved back from the door, but kept his eyes glued to it, waiting. He was afraid that maybe something would happen to Chris in the bathroom, but all he heard was the sound of Chris putting the toilet seat up, peeing, and then running water in the sink. The door opened, and there was Chris, just the same, not a hair on his head harmed, his expression not remotely fearful, only pink-eyed with some dried spit at the corner of his lip, and his hair all ruffled.
"What are you staring at Hardy? You don't look so hot right now yourself." Chris snorted, giving Matt a playful little shove. "Ow…" Chris whined, pressing his palm to his forehead when he laughed a little too hard for his hangover to take.
Chris sauntered back to his room, and with a click closed his door. A shudder traced up and down Matts' spine, and he quickly went to his own room, his footfalls thumping against the wood floor. He shut his door behind him and leaned on it, feeling silly for letting the stupid remains of an alcohol induced dream frighten him like a little girl. He took time to strip out of his clothes before climbing into his own bed, as was his preferred method of catching shut eye. He gave a last glance at the door, mumbling at himself under his breath, that he was stupid for even thinking that the knob might jangle. He curled up under the blankets and nuzzled into the pillow. His eyes closed, and slowly, he began to calm, and his thoughts began to disintegrate into sleep.
Chris sat up in bed, heart racing. His eyes fell onto the closed door of his room. He swore he saw the knob turn. Silly. He thought as he lay back down. It must have been one of the guys.