Title: If You'll Stay With Me Til Dawn

Author: slashburd
Pairing: Ted DiBiase /Cody Rhodes with mentions of various others

Rating: M
Disclaimer: I do not know of any of this to be true, I don't know or own these people (but I'd secretly love to!).

Summary: M/M Slash, violence, implied/attempted ?non-con, bad language, hurt/comfort

*

"Cody just shut the hell up and get the fuck out of here. I'm sick of the sound of your pathetic voice. This is getting real old, real damn quick."

Randy was beginning to lose his temper again and Cody had to admit to being a little scared. He knew he was smaller and weaker than most of the guys on the roster but he could throw a few punches. However there was a glint in the flint-like eyes of the man that was his mentor, and more recently his lover, that shook him like no other.

"Didn't you hear me? Are you that fucking dumb? Get your bags and go. I'll see you back at the hotel later."

Cody didn't dare to defy or even speak, gathering his belongings together as he was told, quickly throwing his sweatpants and t-shirt on over his trunks. He zipped his bag up and headed towards the door, turning only to catch a glimpse of Randy stroking Evan's face as the two got more comfortable over by the lockers. He knew he was totally forgotten and that later he would be expected to finish off if Evan failed to live up to his reputation as the easiest lay in the locker room. Cody knew that all he had to look forward to later on was helping a drunken Randy out of his sticky underwear and tasting someone else's sweat on his lover's body.

Making a break for the exit he ignored everyone that spoke to him as he shot past, head down, just managing to fight back the tears that prickled the corner of his eyes. He wasn't going to let people see him crying over that bastard again. He already had a fair idea that most of his colleagues knew what the deal with him and Randy was and he was ashamed that his business was the topic of so much hushed conversation. Even Vince had taken him aside and warned him that what he had with Randy was going to do him no favours in the long run. That's when he knew he was in over his head but had no idea how to get out. "No" wasn't a word that existed in Randy's vocabulary.

Crashing through the doors and out into the night air he breathed a sigh of relief. The door closed behind him and Cody felt as if a weight had been lifted, albeit temporarily. Over in a corner a few of the guys who rode together were stood talking and had spotted him. Although he was in no mood for conversation he knew he'd have to go and say hi, and besides, if Randy was going to be occupied for the rest of the evening his ride had just disappeared too.

"Hey, Codes, hows it hangin' man? Where's the asshole tonight?"

Cena was the first to speak to him. There was no love lost between him and Randy, that much was clear. Cody had to be fair, nobody had gone out of their way to warn him what life at Randy's mercy would be like more than John Cena had. Over the years he'd been in the business John had seen plenty of fresh faces end up on their knees for Randy, thinking that was the way to get ahead. Having been initially determined not to end up like the others Cody had resisted all advances for a while but the flattery, the gifts and the promises of success had all been too inviting and he'd succumbed, not that he was proud of that weakness for even a split second.

"He's...busy. Had some business to sort out."

"Ok, so you need a ride back. We have room for a little one if Swagger breathes in."

John smiled kindly, patting Cody on the back and steering him towards the car as the others strolled over with them. One by one they dumped their bags in the trunk; John, Jake, Kofi and Teddy.

Teddy.

Now he was the one that got away as far as Randy was concerned and he'd made no secret about telling that fact to anyone who'd listen, including Cody. The one and only time he'd tried luring Teddy into bed had resulted in a fractured cheekbone and a very unpleasant meeting between Randy, Bob Orton, Vince,Ted DiBiase Sr and their respective lawyers. Teddy was feistier and stronger than anyone knew and that one ill placed hand had resulted in a hellish punch that saw Randy both knocked out and suspended for six weeks.

Cody was envious of anyone that could resist Randy. He'd been so weak and before he knew it he was riding Randy every night the older man didn't get a better offer and fail to come back to the hotel room. The saddest thing was that he grown to care for Randy more than he knew he ought to but that ate him up until he thought less and less of himself for going through the pointless motions. Deep inside he knew that he was nothing more than another notch for Randy but he couldn't face admitting that to everyone else. He'd hoped that by now he would've been able to change Randy's behaviour but it hadn't happened. His last resort was becoming so boring that Randy would move on to someone else. In truth he had regularly moved on to anyone that would give him the time of day but he always came back to Cody, pawing at his "baby boy" until his was unloading himself however and whenever he wanted.

Easing into the back seat of the rental car he found himself pressed up against the door with Teddy at his side. He did feel a little uncomfortable as Teddy's exit from Legacy was still a fairly recent one and they'd not really been able to speak other than by text. Randy was careful to make sure that he was all Cody had, slowly alienating him from most of the friends he'd made, Teddy most of all. Cody missed his friend, missed the security of having someone to turn to and talk to. A few times he'd get a text from Teddy just saying checking in and stating that he was always there if Cody wanted to talk. He always deleted the messages straight away, partly to keep them from Randy who regularly checked his phone and partly for his own sanity. If he could kid himself that everything was fine then it was, right?

Teddy's arm rested along the back of the seat and Cody was aware of the warmth of the flesh behind his head. Closing his eyes he let his head loll back, knowing that he would be able to pretend to be half asleep convincingly enough to rest on the strong arm and imagine it curling around to pull him into a warm embrace. Kofi started the engine and the car pulled slowly out onto the street, heading for the freeway and the journey back to the hotel.

John clicked the radio on low and looked round from the front seat. Cody heard him tut and turn away, talking quietly to Kofi and obviously assuming Cody was already asleep.

"Poor kid. I mean, Orton is a real asshole with these kids and they're so young. Man, Matt Hardy caught him fucking MacIntyre backstage on his first taping – Orton wasn't even meant to be there, turns out he'd been stalking the kid for weeks."

Cody turned his head sleepily towards the window, desperate to hide the tears that were pooling under his eyelashes. He had no idea about Drew and he didn't know who he felt more sorry for; himself or MacIntyre who had travelled half the world to get here and had no family or real friends to look out for him. Cody knew he wasn't in love with Randy and of course he knew that he was screwing around most of the time but it didn't make things like that any easier to hear.

"John, the man is clearly not right in the head. During our program he never stopped calling me, turning up at night outside my door drunk out of his fuck-ugly skull and promised me the world if I played my cards right. I just told him to go home to his boyfriend and leave me the hell alone. Man, I'm not even gay and if I was I would not be going anywhere near that. Ever!"

Cody heard the words and watched the back of Kofi's head intently as he spoke, the anger bubbling under his skin making the silent tears stream down his face. He'd challenged Randy about what was going on with Kofi and he'd been made to feel like the bad guy, the irrational one. Randy had slapped him so hard for daring to ask him that a bright red imprint had burned into his skin for the rest of the night, not that it had bothered Randy as he'd rammed into Cody's mouth, stretching the bruised skin as far as it would go.

His breath came now in shallow, painful bursts, doing anything he could to stop the sobs that were desperately trying to escape his lungs. He didn't want to cry like this in front of the guys, determined not to live up to the unwarranted drama queen label he'd been stuck with. Remembering the worst things Randy had done to him was never easy; feeling like a cheap slut, knowing that's all Randy thought of him made his soul ache.

Cody felt Teddy fidgeting at the side of him and stayed totally still, hoping that his acting was enough to convince everyone that he was fast asleep just like the snoring Swagger at the other side of the car. The arm under his head shifted momentarily but then stilled again. Feeling something pressed into his hand Cody fingered it to figure out what it was. A tissue. Teddy had been searching his pockets for a tissue.

Immediately embarrassed by the fact that Teddy knew he was crying Cody wished for the ground to open up and swallow him there and then. He turned his face towards Teddy and opened his eyes, the lights of the passing cars flickering across the tears that filled them. Managing a weak smile he brought the tissue up and wiped his face, dabbing at the trails that had run down his cheeks and lightly chapped the skin beneath.

Observing the look of concern on Teddy's face Cody wondered what he must look like, what Teddy thought of him. Weak, pathetic, spineless, gullible and probably a whole lot more. Screwing his eyes shut tight he couldn't bear to be the subject of his friend's pity, letting his head hang down and wondering whether or not to speak; to ask Teddy not to say anything to the others or maybe to lie to him again and say that he was fine.

"Hey Cena, turn it up. I'm tired of listenin' to Jakey here impersonate a road drill!"

Teddy's voice thankfully didn't suggest that anything was wrong other than the volume of Jake's snoring and his wish was granted, the radio was turned up and John went back to animatedly talking to Kofi about the Rays' game that they'd watched together on cable a few days ago.

From nowhere Cody felt a soothing stroking start at the back of his head. The warmth of a hand shifted up into the straggly and still damp hair at the nape of his neck, the thumb working away at the tension in his muscles. Unable to help himself Cody surrendered to the tenderness of the touch, allowing Teddy's fingers to caress and gently massage as they pleased. He unscrewed his eyes but kept them closed, feeling the relaxation spreading through his nerves and limbs.

~~x~~

Teddy's blood boiled in his veins. With every heartbeat he swore he'd hurt Randy for what he'd done to his best friend in the world, the best friend he'd ever had. Watching Cody finally break in front of him was the final straw and it was all he could do to stop himself gathering the young man into his arms and holding onto him until all the hurt melted away. Cursing himself for not stepping in before he realised that there was nothing he could've done. He knew Cody was so damned headstrong and despite all the warnings had convinced himself that he could handle Randy, could succeed where so many others had failed.

Continuing trying to soothe Cody's pain he noticed that the ragged breathing had slowed and a look of peace had descended over the puffed up and tear streaked face. He had fallen asleep and Teddy was thankful that he'd given Cody some kind of break from the mental torture he seemed to be suffering. He remembered back to when they were kids and Cody suffered from night terrors. Whether they were having a sleepover or they'd pitched a tent together in some creepy woods he'd always do the same thing when Cody's thrashing and crying started. The smallest amount of gentle contact resurrected the broken sleep and he would lie awake and wonder what disturbed his friend so much.

These days though he had a clear idea of what the current problem was. Orton. Teddy had been warned about him when he arrived on the main roster and had made sure to give him a wide birth until such time as he was scripted into joining Legacy. Sure, Randy had tried his luck but that didn't quite work out as he'd hoped and Teddy held all the cards, knowing he had Randy by the balls in the best way possible. Life had been much easier after their altercation until Cody had come onto the scene. Although initially Teddy was glad that the heat was off him for a while it had become difficult watching Randy chip away at his friend's resolve until he got what he wanted.

Teddy had no choice but to stand back and let it happen, Cody was a grown man and made his own decisions. He'd hoped that Cody would come to his senses, listen to the sage words of advice he was being offered at every turn and stop staring at Randy with those cow eyes full of lust and admiration that sickened Teddy to the pit of his stomach. It wasn't long before Teddy requested a shot at going it alone, the tension between the three of them becoming unbearable as the abusive behaviour hit new extremes and started to affect their ring work. Thinking back to the match he'd endured where Randy had taken him by the chin he felt physically sick, rubbing at his chin to take the remembered sensation away. Creative had thought it was such a good idea and, inkeeping with the split storyline, it was sensational. Nobody above locker room level really had any idea how poignant the moment actually was though, how much Teddy and his mentor were growing to genuinely hate each other in their struggle over Cody.

Teddy loved Cody and always had. From the days of their teenage youth where they'd always spent more time with each other than their token girlfriends to their late teens when they'd first kissed each other it had always been about Cody. Sometimes he would sit and smile when his daddy's words rang through his head.

"Dusty's boy, well, I'm not sure he's a good influence on you son. There's something unholy about him, and his daddy, and big goofy brother of his come to think. The good Lord'll keep you safe son, I'll pray for him and you should do the same."

Little did Ted Sr know that the only time God and Cody got mentioned in the same sentence was when Teddy was furiously hammering away at his regular morning glory. He would lie in bed muttering both names under his breath as he lost control all over his hands thinking of the lithe and toned body of his best friend. He often wondered how they'd never gotten it together, and assumed that it was just because he wasn't Cody's type. He was never flamboyant or into going out clubbing and drinking as underage as possible. Teddy liked going out into the great outdoors, seeing the world and all it had to offer. All his life he wanted to follow in the family tradition and he trained hard every day, ate what his daddy said and did what his daddy said he should do.

It puzzled Teddy how they could be so close yet so different. They'd grown apart a little during their early years in training but always made time to catch up when they could. Teddy still wished they'd been more than just friends although he suspected that Cody still didn't look at him in that way. He'd accepted that and moved on. It was just a shame that Cody had wound up with Randy of all people.

Curling his arm around the narrow shoulders Teddy stopped his sleeping friend from banging his head on the seat in front or the window as the car made a sharp turn and pulled into the parking lot of the hotel. He was about to lean in and wake Cody up gently when a voice interrupted.

"Everybody out! Last one in the bar gets the beers in!"

John sprung out of the car, his voice and movements jolting Cody and Jake back to some kind of consciousness. Jake scrambled his big frame out of the car and Teddy watched as he stretched clumsily, ambling to the trunk to grab his bags. He turned his attention to Cody who was busy rubbing his eyes, still clutching the tissue in his hand.

"C'mon Codes, lets go talk. It's been too long since I saw you last."

He maintained a light and airy tone to his voice and was relieved that Cody nodded and smiled at him, muttering how he'd like that. Teddy followed Cody out of the back seat and grabbed their bags from John's extended arm.

"We'll catch you guys later, I'm gonna find out whether or not the Codester is going to admit that he's missing the best wrestler in Legacy yet. And don't worry John, a deal is a deal...."

Teddy winked at John and pressed a $50 dollar bill into John's hand to cover the drinks they wouldn't be there to buy.

"Ted, you're a man of your word and I respect you for that. Now get out of my way, there's ten Coors Light in there with 'Drink me Cena!' etched into the glass!"

John sprinted away to join Jake and Kofi who were almost at the entrance already, leaving Teddy and Cody alone.

"So, Codes, you wanna come up to my room for a while. We can grab a drink and play some Zelda and not listen to John's bad jokes or Jake's snoring. How does that sound?"

Cody play-punched him in the arm and a genuine smile crept over his lips, the warmth it brought to his unhappy heart meaning the world to him.

"I miss you Teddy, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna let you win."

Laughing Teddy slipped his arm around his friend's shoulders and they walked inside, glad to be back in each other's company even if only for a few hours.

~~X~~

Dropping their bags on the sofa at the far side of the room Teddy stopped to switch the console on, allowing Zelda to load up. It had been Cody that got him addicted to it in the first place and whenever he felt lost or lonely without his best friend he'd plug it in and play. It always made him think about the many innocently misspent afternoons they'd had together attached to all manner of consoles over the years. Teddy smirked to himself, knowing he'd been playing it a lot lately and was finally getting pretty good. Grabbing two cans of Pepsi from the fridge he cracked them open, passing one over to Cody and taking a deep drink from his own.

"So, Codes, you wanna talk or is it Zelda first?"

Teddy had to ask. He knew that sometimes his manner came across as a little blunt but when it came to Cody if he minced his words he'd never get a straight answer.

Cody jumped over to the bed nearest the tv and grabbed a controller, choosing that as the best way to answer for now. Grinning at Teddy he watched as his friend sighed, smiled and shuffled up close to him, dangling his legs over the edge of the bed as the first battle of the night began.

As they played for the next hour Cody realised that he was on autopilot. With the number of times he'd played this game it wasn't surprising. He watched Teddy's face as he tried to concentrate and play the game but noted that his friend was struggling to keep his eyes on the screen, looking over towards him every couple of minutes. It was a gesture that touched Cody as he'd always felt connected to Teddy, even when they weren't spending as much time together.

He pressed the pause button on his controller and put it on top of the table, turning his body to face Teddy who by now had taken the hint and also stopped playing.

"Teddy, I don't want you to worry about me. Everything's going to be ok, me and Randy, well, we've just got a few things to sort out."

Cody knew that the few things he needed to sort out wouldn't be easy. What he really needed to do was get Randy out of his life so he could start again, start reclaiming his independence, his dignity and his self esteem. Reaching out he took Teddy's hand in his own, stroking the soft skin on the back of it with his thumb. He never touched Randy like this, the ridicule just wasn't worth it. It was also nice to feel a hand that wasn't clenched or tense, instead this was a hand that signified tenderness and care.

Teddy watched intently as the small circles were pressed into his skin, wanting nothing more than to drag Cody to him and wrap his arms around the man he'd always found more of a boy; his boy. He wanted to protect Cody from the shitstorm that he'd managed to wade his way into, to shield the boy that he truly loved with all his heart.

"Y'know Codes, I can help you. I'm not saying you can't do this on your own, just that you don't have to. Come stay with me while we're on the road, we roomed before and I've no problem doing it again. We can get to see Vince, hell he's a good man at heart, he'll sort all this out. You know he's scared of your Pa and your brother so he can sort Randy out for you...."

His words trailed off as he saw those scrunched up eyes again fighting in vain to keep the tears from pouring down. Cody looked as if he was in agony, his free arm wrapped around his stomach and the hand that had gently wrapped around Teddy's own was now gripping hard into the skin beneath it. Teddy was sure that he could feel trembling in the grip, and it broke his heart all over again to watch the Cody's anguish taking him over.

Not caring about the consequences he moved forward and scooped Cody into his arms, enveloping him in the warmth and safety that Teddy was certain Randy's arms did not provide. The harsh sobs that echoed against his chest told him that something had to change, he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he allowed this to continue.

Cody buried his face deep into the soft sweater that Teddy was wearing, weeping with a freedom of emotion that he shocked himself with. Months had passed without him being able to cry a tear that wasn't slapped or fucked out of him. He woke every day and took a deep breath to steel himself against the hours ahead. Learning to do that had stopped the tears that irritate Randy so much. His pain had gradually turned into numbness and he'd detached from himself a while ago to be able to cope. There just didn't seem any way back. He'd given himself up to Randy so it was his own problem to make it out the other side. That's the way he'd always seen it.

He didn't want Teddy to be part of all this as his own history with Randy was colourful enough. Cody didn't understand how anyone could resist Randy's advances as in the beginning he'd felt so special, loved and cherished but slowly the shine had faded and he'd realised what he'd gotten himself into. Night after night he got on his knees and let Randy abuse him any way that took his fancy, even let others violate him if that's what Randy wanted. He couldn't justify it to himself so there was no chance he'd be able to do so to other people.

Maybe Teddy was right he thought. With enough help maybe there was a way out, a different tomorrow to look forward to. If Teddy still believed in him then maybe he could find the strength to believe in himself. Calming slightly with the thought of escape he rested his head back against Teddy's arm and stared up at his friend, noticing that Teddy himself had tear stains down his cheeks. He reached a hand up and used his fingertips to wipe the damp remnants away, taking in the image of Teddy's kind eyes with the tiny lines at the corner. It was then that it crossed his mind that Teddy personified the total opposite of everything Randy was but almost everything Cody truly yearned for.

The moment was interrupted by a knock at the door which initially Teddy chose to ignore. He wasn't expecting anyone to come visit and if it was one of the guys looking for a late night drinking buddy then he certainly wasn't interested. He continued looking at Cody's expressionless face and it seemed that he hadn't even heard the noise. The knock came again, a little more insistent this time but still Teddy didn't move from his position on the bed. This time Cody heard the knocking and looked inquisitively at Teddy, silently asking if he intended to answer it. Teddy merely tightened his grip around Cody's shoulders in reply.

A third knock came but this time it was more of a thumping sound and Teddy found himself getting a little irked by the late night caller whoever it might be. A string of thuds made it very clear that whoever was out there had no intentions of going away.

"Alright, alright, I'm coming. Knock it off with the banging!"

Teddy shouted the words tersely and slowly disentangled himself from Cody, hopping off the bed and walking over the to door, regretting the lack of a peephole as he got there. He reached for the handle and slowly pulled the door open, wondering just who and what in hell could be such a big deal at this time of night.

Before he could fully register who it was he felt himself flying backwards, a searing pain ripping through his gut. He laid on his side on the floor, doubled up and unable to catch his breath before he caught sight of the man stood over him smirking. Orton.

"So Teddy, you thought you'd make a move did you? Well fucking think again. Nobody touches my things, nobody. Not even you, rich boy. I'll make you realise you shouldn't mess with me."

A boot pitched itself deep into Teddy's midriff, further winding him with the force of the impact. He rolled onto his back to try and open up his lungs but Randy just stomped down on him twice, making Teddy draw his knees towards his chest to try and protect himself.

"I should've done this to you a long time ago Teddy, when you turned me down. Do you really think you're too good for me? Didn't your daddy teach you any manners rich boy?"

Teddy gasped as Randy knelt at the side of him and grabbed a fistful of his hair. He felt his head being pulled back roughly and then a swift slap straight across his face. Immediately he felt the skin tingle and burn, the shock making him unprepared for the back handed slaps that followed in quick succession. He squinted to try and open his eyes, the throbbing of his cheeks making it hard to do so. Through the slits he could just see Randy drawing his clenched fist back and he screwed his eyes shut, knowing he'd been too weakened by the gut shots to wrestle himself away and just hoping it wouldn't do too much damage.

From behind he heard movement and before the punch could land he felt a weight on top of him followed by wild flailing and grunting. Forcing his eyes open he saw Cody on top of Randy sprawled on the floor a few feet away, throwing punches and trying to keep him restrained. He was no physical match for Randy though who easily overpowered him and pressed Cody to the floor with a knee in his chest.

"You leave him alone. This isn't his fight. This is you and me, he did nothing wrong other than be a friend to me. You've got this all wrong Randy, just leave him be."

Cody pleaded with Randy, he knew what that temper made him capable of as he'd been on the receiving end so often. He felt awful that Teddy had already taken the brunt of Randy's anger tonight. All he could assume was that Evan had blown Randy out and he was here looking for something to take away the sting of the rejection that the booze hadn't managed.

"You think you're gonna tell me what I should and shouldn't do, or that I'm going to listen to you? Cody you're a little boy, not a man. You do as I tell you. That's how this works, you know that. Now if you really want to save Teddy's precious ass you'll give me yours in exchange."

Teddy felt the waves of nausea sweep over him just hearing Randy talk like that, knowing that low and menacing tone of old. He tried to roll himself up to sit against the wall, desperate to get to Cody and protect him from yet another night of being assaulted but the pain was too sharp and he began to wonder if he'd broken something.

"You...you lay a finger on... him and...and I'll...."

Teddy barely managed to get the words out, the breath slowly making its way back into his lungs.

"Teddy, you don't scare me. In fact, this is how little you scare me. Codes, why don't you hop up on the bed there and get yourself ready. Lets give Teddy something to remember you by. I bet before I got here he was telling you how he doesn't see enough of you, well, now's his chance to see it all."

Cody had been laid prone on the floor with all Randy's weight on top of him and was almost grateful when the knee moved from his chest as Randy stood to allow him to move. He felt a rough hand lace clumsily into his hair and drag him to his feet. Once there the other hand ripped at his t-shirt, eventually dumping the torn material on the floor. Cody looked over towards Teddy knowing that his shame was clear in his eyes. He felt humiliated that he couldn't defend himself and hadn't been more of a defence for Teddy. Doing as he was told Cody slowly slid his sweatpants and briefs down and got on all fours on the bed facing the headboard.

"No Cody, lets face Teddy. It'll be more fun for him to watch that way."

Teddy watched in horror from the floor as Cody made no attempt to resist the orders and shuffled himself around until he faced the opposite direction. His head was hung low and Teddy swore that he could see tears running down his cheeks. In a swift moment Randy was behind him, busily yanking his jeans and underwear down to his knees and Teddy felt as if he was actually going to be sick. Slowly he worked his way towards the wall, inching his way up and levering his weight until he was upright.

"Teddy, I had no idea you liked to watch so much. Nice to see you making the effort to get a better view."

The words sent a chill down Teddy's spine and he started to breathe heavily, the anger and the pain working together in unison. He had to do something, there was no way he could just sit here and watch this, no matter what state he was in.

Cody merely knelt there with his head dipped, waiting the familiar feeling of being violated, knowing that it would take a couple of days for the healing to bring about a bearable pain during which time his mouth would deal with the rest of his lover's demands. He couldn't face looking up to see the anguish he imagined to be etched on Teddy's bruised and reddening face. Cody knew that he was the reason for Teddy's pain and was determined that he would take the rest of the blows to save his best friend from any further pain on his account.

Randy closed his eyes and ran his hands over Cody's smooth back.

"Mmmmm Codes, you feel just like Evan, so young and strong. He could've saved you a job tonight but he couldn't take it like you do, he wasn't a good boy like you are for me. Now you ask nicely and I'll fuck you, just like I always do."

Cody sniffed. He was allowing the tears to run free now, gulping hard as he forced out a barely audible "Please."

Randy threw his head back, ready to plunge himself deep inside the ass he'd come to know so well of late. He grabbed his cock with both hands to ensure that he was aimed in the right direction and made his first thrust forward, awaiting the hot sensation that usually came when he encased himself in the flesh of his young lover. However this time he thrust forward into nothing other than thin air.

Teddy had managed to sneak his way to the end of the bed, promising himself that he wasn't going to let this happen. He'd risen to his knees and after grabbing Cody's arms used his slowly recovering strength to pull him off the end of the mattress and onto the floor, away from the man that was so determined to break him. Teddy rose to his feet and placed his stooped body as best he could in front of a cold and naked Cody to try and give him some dignity. Randy would have to lay him low again before he'd lay another finger on Cody.

Realising what had happened Randy pulled his jeans back up and leapt from the bed, making a beeline for Teddy, seething and growling with anger. Again the clenched fist was drawn back and he aimed for Teddy's face but the punch only connected with the wall as both men ducked at the last minute. Throwing a low blow Teddy took his opportunity to land some undefended hefty punches to Randy's jaw before smashing him face down onto the bed, arms restrained behind his back.

"So you think this is funny? You think that abusing Cody makes you a real man? You fucking disgust me Orton. I promise you, you'll never lay another finger on him, so help me God."

Teddy drove his knee into Randy's lower back with all intentions of causing as much pain as possible. Whilst calculating what to do next the mist descended halfway before he realised that he just wanted Randy out of there. Nothing good was to be gained by more violent actions. It wouldn't help his scared and miserable friend and it would do nothing more than to make the situation worse.

Grabbing Randy's arm and forcing it further up his back Teddy brought him to his feet and walked him over to the door.

"Orton, I'm warning you once and once only. You leave us alone tonight, go back to your sorry fucking pit of despair and find someone else to take it out on. Cody is staying here as long as he likes and if you don't fuck off and give him some peace, well, we'll see what Vince, the police and your precious daddy have to say about this situation in the morning. Do you understand me?"

Randy didn't reply but didn't struggle against the armlock he was in either.

"I assume that silence is a yes. Now maybe its time you got your ass out of here before I get really mad and serve it to you on a platter."

Spitting the words out Teddy opened the door and threw Randy out into the corridor where he smashed into the far wall, instantly reaching to rub at the side of his head and the arm that had made the most contact.

"This isn't over Teddy. Don't kid yourself that this is over and everything's fucking hunky dory again cos it isn't. I'll leave you two lovebirds alone but don't think I'm not coming back for Cody. He's mine."

Teddy listened to the slurred words as Randy slunked away up the corridor, casting a scowl over his shoulder as he did so. Cody hid behind the edge of the door as he was still naked. Turning to face him Teddy swung the door shut and wrapped both arms around Cody's neck tightly, the hot tears of his best friend splash landing on his sweater.

"Teddy, I'm so sorry you got caught up in all this. I'm so sorry that he hurt you. This is all my fault...."

Cody reached up and ghosted his hand across the red handprints that glowed from the soft skin of Teddy's face, knowing exactly how it felt to receive them and wear them. He couldn't help but press himself close to the safety and warmth that the embrace was giving him, inhaling the sweet smell of Teddy's skin and cologne, eyes closed, savouring the moment of peace.

Teddy shifted his arm to be able to cup the back of Cody's head and pull him close into his chest, thankful that for now at least he had saved him from a greater indignity of being deliberately humiliated and abused. The younger man's breaths were steadier now and Teddy felt the panic and tension subsiding in the arms that had snaked around his waist.

Planting a soft kiss on top of Cody's head Teddy motioned for him to go and lie on the bed, aware that Cody was still naked and his skin was beginning to bump up with the cold. Pulling the sheets back he ushered Cody in and then laid beside him, pulling the comforter up to get as much insulation as possible. Teddy stared into the beautiful aquamarine blue eyes that faced him and smiled, trying to communicate that everything was going to be okay. The eyes seemed to be coming closer to him and then he felt the contact of soft warm lips against his own and a hand sliding around to the back of his neck.

"Cody....what the...you...you don't...."

Continuing the kiss through the barely heard mumblings Cody shuffled close until his body was pressed tight against Teddy's warmth, sliding his tongue into the hesitant mouth pressed loosely against his. Worried that Teddy wasn't responding straight away he carried on slowly before eagerly upping the pace when the tongue he flicked his own against began to slowly co-operate.

The kiss grew with Cody exploring every inch of Teddy's mouth. Unable to help himself Cody reached his hand out to the belt buckle of Teddy's jeans. He felt warm fingers curl around his own and gently take his hand away, the disappointment giving way to embarrassment.

"But Teddy...I want you...I want you so much...I know it's taken us a while to get here but...."

Having felt his body start to respond Teddy had to stop Cody before they did something they both might regret. He didn't want to take advantage of Cody when he was like this – so lost and hurt he was probably clinging on to any affection he could find. Keeping hold of the hand enclosed in his own he gave it a light squeeze, bringing it to his mouth and kissing the pale skin before locking eyes with Cody and beginning to speak.

"Codes, don't ever think I don't want this. I've wanted you for so long I can't begin to find the words but we can't, not tonight. It has to be about me and you, not about Randy. I guess I've got to be sure that you want me before I risk losing you as a friend by crossing that line."

Cody's watery eyes made it hard to focus on Teddy, the image swimming as much as his mind was. At least Teddy wasn't rejecting him as he'd feared, the relief bringing a smile to his lips.

"So, there is a chance for me...for us...to be together?"

"Codes, I've never wanted anything more. Just promise me you'll hold that thought till the morning and if you can tell me that you still feel the same, you'd better get ready for Teddy DiBiase's best moves!"

Teddy chuckled as he freed his hand and stroked the soft skin of Cody's cheek, moving in to start a kiss which when it ended felt like it'd lasted forever. He wrapped himself and the sheets around Cody tightly and watched as sleep slowly won the battle with Cody's half lidded eyes. He'd imagined his days ending like this so many times but not quite under these circumstances

~~x~~

When Cody awoke the following morning he spent several minutes staring at the ceiling, counting the cracks and trying to figure out whether or not he'd been the victim of another bad dream. It didn't feel like Randy's presence near him and Cody was reassured by the lack of a stench of stale alcohol lingering in the air. Turning his head his eyes eventually adjusted and made out nothing less than a glorious sight. Teddy's face was lit up by the sun of a fresh winter morning, a broad smile beaming down as he lay propped up on one elbow. Cody returned the smile, running his hand along the tanned skin of Teddy's arm until he reached fingers that interlocked with his.

"Teddy...I just want you to know, I'm still holding that thought, in fact I think deep down I always have...."

Cody blushed a deep pink hardly believing he'd actually said the words out loud.

Seeing the change in Cody overnight made all the difference to Teddy. He knew that shaking off Orton was not going to be easy but Cody was going to be worth every second of whatever was thrown at them. One look from the wide and innocent eyes he'd admired from afar for years was as much reassurance as he needed.

"Well, I suppose I've got to make good on my promise then. Codes, I hope you didn't have plans for today as my moves are all that an' more...."

Teddy deliberately drawled his answer through his grin and drew Cody in for a kiss that, even years later, they would both agree led to all that and a whole lot more.

A/N: So, this continues my series of epic stuff – its driving me mad, I clearly have a lot to say at the moment. All reads and reviews appreciated as always