A/N: Thank you to Nef and Lava whose bits of song lyric on Twitter gave inspiration. Also, I'm keeping the Bret storyline following his one leading up to Mania. As for Jericho, his isn't because I want it to be my way. Lol.
I'll never get over you getting over me
If you don't care about me anymore,
Why do you, you wanna break my heart,
Into pieces on the floor
Shawn lay awake, but not for very long. With a sigh he rolled out of bed and began to pace around the small room. Hunter wasn't with him tonight. Shawn had shooed him away, snapping that he needed his space. Hunter had narrowed his eyes at him, his first reaction to be argumentative, but the younger man had swallowed down them impulse and simply left Shawn to himself. God, it hurt so bad. Shawn hadn't imagined Bret's return to just tear this big hole into his life…but maybe that was just a hole that had really never been filled. Maybe he'd just laid leaves over the hole and it had lain there like a trap in the woods, ready for him to walk back over it at sometime, unsuspecting, and fall spiraling down into the darkness. Damn Bret Hart, and damn Vince McMahon too.
Shawn moved towards the window in his room and slipped his hand between one of the blind slats. The world outside was dark, only illuminated by the lights of the city around him. The glass of the window was streaked and spotted with dapples of rain, and in the distance, Shawn could see tiny veins of lightening flickering, intermittently making the bottoms of the silvery clouds glow. They were like natures very own nightlights, those electrical clouds, Shawn thought as he watched. His eyes moved to the darkness up above the clouds, to flit over the dotted stars. Hey God, why are you doing this to me? He thought, silently asking the being who held it all in His hands. It was a very selfish thought of Shawn, but he almost wished that his God hadn't of ever created Bret Hart. He loved Bret, but his love for Bret had tumbled his life into a sea of confusion. Bret was the best and worst of things, and like some sort of medieval plague, he wouldn't go away. Even when he was physically gone, he still lingered in Shawn's heart like a dormant disease, just waiting for its chance to puss up and stink again.
Shawn drew the blind up and pressed his forehead against the cool glass. His still shower damp hair fell over his shoulders and tickled against his unshaven jaw as he closed his eyes, and sighed. Despite being in a relationship with Hunter, Shawn felt lonely. He hadn't felt this way before Bret had came back into his life. Now everything was just turned upside down. He wanted to hear the bed creak as someone rolled out of it, he wanted to hear soft footsteps brush over the carpet as someone came to him, and he wanted to feel strong, warm arms wrap around him and hold him. He wanted that someone to be Bret, when it should have been Hunter. Quiet tears slipped from the corners of his closed eyes and hung on his long golden lashes, and rolled over his cheeks. Shawn wanted that simple comfort more than he had wanted anything for such a long time.
Behind his closed eyelids Shawn remembered a time when he was much younger, standing at the window of a different hotel room, and looking down instead of up. Sometimes he just sank into such a deep, tormented funk, that he would look out a window and wonder what it would be like to just jump and splatter onto the pavement below. One of those nights had been spent in Bret's room, after a heated argument. Shawn had been reduced to feeling like nothing, to wondering why he even bothered existing. His hands had rested shakily against the ledge of the locked window, his fingers twitching to unlock it and slide it opened. What would it matter? Who would care? He bowed his head and cried, feeling the rain of tears splash hotly onto his hands. The pain was so bad that it just consumed him sometimes, and forced desperate sobs from his throat.
But then, those arms wrapped around him, and his bare back was pressed close to a sturdy chest. Bret rested his chin on Shawn's shoulder, and murmured to him how sorry he was, and how much he loved him. For that moment, most of Shawn's pain was washed away. It wasn't even Bret's words that were whispered into his ear, it wasn't even the fingers that brushed the tears from his face; it was just being there in Bret's arms. That was the place that always felt the best for Shawn, always felt the safest, and he never wanted to leave that place.
Shawn opened his eyes, and shivered a little. It felt like some ghost and had passed behind him, and he turned on his heel to look, even though it was silly. In a way though, those memories were only fleeting apparitions. There was nothing in the room with Shawn, there was nobody. His bed loomed in the shadows, big and empty, with the sheets rumpled up and one of the pillows tossed to the floor. His suitcases sat at the foot of the bed, they were his life stashed into luggage. Sometimes so many things about this life haunted him. It was so easy to get lost and lonely out on the road. It was so easy to let the walls cave in, and just cry.
With a sniff, Shawn drew the back of his hand over his cheeks, and made his way towards his suitcases. He hoisted it up to the bed and fished out a pair of jeans, and slipped into them. He knew what he was getting ready to do was most likely a bad idea, but he was going to do it anyway.
His bare feet padded down the hallway, and stopped briefly outside of a certain door. Behind that door was Hunter, probably curled up snoring in his bed. Shawn's fingers toyed with themselves nervously. Guilt was rising and roiling in his belly at what he was going to do. He rested his palm against Hunter's door for a moment, and the passed. He made his way to the elevator at the end of the hallway, and then turned to take the stairs instead. He wasn't sure why he picked to trudge up the stairs instead of riding the elevator. Maybe he was just hoping he might change his mind, and the stairs would give him more time to do that. Shawn reached the top, and his lonely footsteps seemed to echo behind him in the deserted and shadowy stairwell. He didn't turn back. He just went on, and found himself at someone elses door.
His hand fisted and his knuckles tapped against the wood grain. He glanced up and down the hallway. Everything was so quiet and still, it was almost eerie and surreal. The only sound that broke the silence was the muffled thump of his own heartbeat in his ears, as it started to hasten with anxiety. Bret had already turned him away once, and there was no reason to think that he wouldn't be sent packing again. Hart had made his intentions (or lack of) crystal clear to Shawn, and yet here he was, back again. Shawn waited, and waited. He knocked again, and waited some more. He was determined not be turned away without even seeing Bret tonight, and so he tried a third time, this time rapping a little harder. Please God, please come to the door Bret. I really need you right now.
Shawn's bowed head jerked up when he heard the rattle of locks being undone. The door opened, and Bret stepped out wearing thin boxers and an undershirt. He squinted at the low light in the hallway and rubbed at one of his eyes. His gray-brown hair fell fuzzy and sleep-tangled over his shoulders and around his face.
"Hrmph, Shawn?" Bret yawned. "Shawn, what are you doing here?"
Shawn shifted from foot to foot, and then moved closer to Bret. He wanted those arms to encircle him, but Bret made no move to reach out to him. Shawn dropped his head a little, and stared at his naked feet.
"I…I just…" Shawn stammered, his verbal struggle a soft whisper. "Bret could you maybe just…hug me? Just for a minute, please?"
Bret blinked back at Shawn, his warm eyes catching that all too familiar look of hurt in Shawn's pretty blue ones. He wanted to tell Shawn no, because he didn't want to lead Shawn into the wrong direction. If he gave Shawn the smallest glimmer of hope, then Shawn would no doubt keep pushing and pushing and that was not what Bret wanted. But Shawn looked so damaged and lonely, and Bret hated seeing that look, even though he had often times been the cause of it. Bret watched as his hand reached for Shawn, his fingers gently gliding through the soft golden hair.
"Please?" Shawn moved closer still, and rested his head against Bret's shoulder. Reluctantly, Bret wrapped his arms around Shawn. He couldn't deny that it felt good, that it felt familiar, but it really no longer felt "right" in a romantic sense. Shawn sniffled.
"Thank you Bret." He coiled his arms around Bret's waist and held the other man close, taking in his scent, and they way Bret's chest felt rising and falling against his. His embrace was so warm and comforting. It was a good place to be.
"Shawn, Shawn shouldn't you be with Hunter?" Bret asked, trying not to spit the name. He was still not fond of Hunter, but if H was taking care of Shawn all these years then he had to let go of some of the bitterness. He'd already been able to move past Shawn, so he might as well at least try to move past Hunter too.
"Just ssh. Just hold me."
Bret's arms fell limp against Shawn's sides, and he whined pitifully when Bret moved away from him.
"You should get back to him." Bret said, a little flatly, and headed towards the door to his room. He ducked inside but Shawn had squeezed in after him, and shut the door.
"Shawn!" Bret hissed. "I need to go back to sleep, please go."
"I don't want to go. Can't I stay, just tonight? I just want to be close to you." Shawn's eyes teared up—Bret could see the silvery pools glisten in the darkness of the room. They were eating into him, trying to tear down his defenses.
"No Shawn. No, you can't make everyone give into you all the time. This isn't right. I told you that there are no feelings left between us--"
"Maybe on your side, but Bret you can't speak for me! No one else can speak for me, only I can!" Shawn raised his voice a little, moving towards Bret again.
"Shawn," Bret dropped his voice. "Please keep it down. Listen, I'm sorry. This isn't going to happen though. Fine you want to be close to someone, go cuddle with Hunter. I'm not the man who can hold you anymore. You've been with Hunter all these years that we've been apart, go back to him Shawn. Just go."
Bret silently damned himself, the thoughts of Hunter was really getting to him more than Shawn. It was in the past, it was over, but Hunter…why was it harder to get over that big-nose than it was Shawn? Because so much of it was his fault. But it wasn't really Hunter's fault, it was just a wild chain of events, it was so many things and so many people. Shawn and Bret were doomed to fail from the beginning, and yet they'd both decided to take that ride anyway, knowing somehow deep down that it would only end in a crash-and-burn.
"I don't want to be with Hunter right now!" Shawn's fists balled in the darkness, hating himself for hearing the words he was saying. "I want you Bret, I want you!"
"You made your choice Shawn, remember? You screwed--"
"You left! I wanted to make things better and you—you fucking turned tail and left me all alone!" Shawn yelled, his voice cracking with his tears.
"Oh for fucks sake, Shawn. God Almighty couldn't have fixed us by that time! As for you being left alone, you were already with Hunter. You weren't alone, you had him and Vince—the snake. You chose them over me Shawn, so tell me—tell me what I had to stay for? I was supposed to stay and try to please you, a fickle princess? I told you once Shawn and I'll tell you again, yeah I loved you. I loved you so damn much, but I couldn't deal with you anymore, especially not after Montreal. Loving you is exhausting, remember when I said that? I mean it. I also meant it when I said I'm done with this, so Shawn, just go. Just go Shawn."
"You said you forgave me!" Shawn cried. "Yet you're still throwing my miserable past in my face, my every mistake, just rubbing my nose in it! I'm not that person anymore Bret!"
"We've both changed Shawn. I've changed too, and I don't want this anymore."
"You mean you don't want me anymore." Shawn whimpered, his voice trailing off. He stood slumped in the shadows, his shoulders shaking as tears fell harder.
"Shawn…" Bret moved towards Shawn and placed a hand on his shoulder. "If you want we can be friends, but that's it."
Shawn jerked away from Bret, and backed into the wall. His eyes locked with Bret's and regarded him with a storm of cobalt-gray emotion.
"Why do you have to break me over and over Bret, why?"
Bret just shook his head.
"It's always my fault Shawn, isn't it?" Bret reached for the doorknob and pulled the door open. A yellow glow spilled in from the hallway, dissipating some of the darkness in the room. Shawn was slouched against the wall, his bare chest heaving up and down, his face a mask of glimmering sadness. His eyes were tired, the whites bloodshot to pink. His lips were twisted into a painful frown. "I know I fucked up so many things, but it wasn't just me. But you know what Shawn? You want to blame me for everything, you want to heap it all up on my shoulders, fine. Whatever gets you through the night Shawn, but you know what? You're the one who came down here. Just let it go, Shawn. I'm not trying to break you, you're breaking yourself."
The room went quiet, so still. After a heavy moment of silence, Shawn's movement finally broke it. The back of his jeans made a whispering sound as they slid away from the wall. He went to the door and for a moment stood there nearly silhouetted in the dim light from outside. He looked at Bret, wishing there was some trace of love still there, but all he saw was a tired man.
"Bret?" Chris mumbled, propping himself up on his elbows. "Were you talking to me?"
Bret moved back into the room and sat at the side of Chris's bed, rubbing a hand over his tired face.
"No Chris, not you. Shawn was here, but he's gone now. Didn't you hear the yelling?" Bret glanced at Chris, and the blonde shook his head in the dark. "You must have been out cold then." Bret laughed a little, and yawned. "How's your back feeling?"
"Doesn't hurt right now, and what the hell was that pill you gave me? That's why I've been out…what are you doing Bret, trying to date-rape me?" Chris joked, smiling slowly, before laughing. Everything felt heavy, and his brain seemed numb.
"Not yet, I never rape on the first date." Bret joked. "Go back to sleep."
Chris decided that was good idea, and laid back down, pulling the covers up a little more.
Bret watched Chris as his heavy lids eased closed, concealing the pretty blue eyes that looked glassy from that pill. With a smile Bret reached over and stroked Chris' short hair, enjoying the feel of the silky strands slipping through his fingers. Chris let out a soft purr and Bret's smile widened, as a warm feeling crept over him. It was not lost on Bret that their friendship was steadily growing, and that he enjoyed spending time with his former student and one-time lover. He was in fact, growing very fond of Chris.
The blond was enjoyable and the change in his demeanor in the short time he and Bret had been together was rewarding enough for Hart. The depressed, heart-broken man he had met in the hallway had given way to one that smiled more, and cracked some of the best jokes. His eyes were lively again, like beautiful blue flames. It just seemed like someone else was always trying to put a damper on Chris's new happiness. He was bound to not let that happen, with the progress being made. Chris was improving every aspect of his life it seemed. He was working hard too, and keeping up with Bret's pushing. His diligence both in and out of the ring seemed to be paying off. Bret knew from watching Chris that he had always given one-hundred percent but with Bret's nudging he had stepped it up even more.
Creative had seen fit to put Chris in an ongoing entanglement with Showmiz, and each promo and match was just brilliant. The real simmering emotions behind the shouted words and heated glares added to the realness of the negative feelings between the three. Their issues crossed borders into both Raw and Smackdown, and one week even Superstars. The angle was really being played up in the short time that was left until The Royal Rumble.
Tonight on Smackdown had been the night that had gained Chris the injury that now had Bret watching over him closer. It was the Friday before The Rumble and so things were coming to a head. Bret had watched as in the ring a raging Chris Jericho had declared that he would eliminate both The Miz and The Big Show from the upcoming pay-per-view event. Miz started to run his mouth, jabbing his finger at Chris, and daring him to try and do so. The Big Show scooted Miz aside and in one large stride was toe-to-toe with Chris and grabbed him up by the lapels of his charcoal suit. The blond looked fittingly scared, his eyes wide as he struggled furtively against the massive man. Laughing, Paul carried Jericho towards the ropes and gloating, held him up higher off the ground and shook him as if he was no more than a tiny rag doll.
Chris had looked down into that sneering face, and Bret knew that there was much more than an act going on between the two men. The face of Paul Wight had been a blight to Chris for so long, even after they'd split up. The yells and eruptions from the crowd seemed to still as Chris mouthed 'fuck you' to the giant, and then spit in his face. The amused leer upturning the wide lips of Paul twisted downwards into a frown of rage. The Miz had stopped running his mouth and taunting the crowd to watch with wide eyes as for a moment the two men broke script—there had been no call for spitting. With a yell of disgust and rage The Big Show tossed Chris over the ropes as was scripted, but the force of the throw was much more than needed to simply make the point of who was going to go over the ropes come Royal Rumble. Chris was practically launched over, a unified groan rose up from the crowd as he was stopped only by the sick thud of his lower back against the edge of the announce table. Bret winced at the impact, but could do nothing but wait until Chris was brought backstage.
Meanwhile, The Big Show grinned at the booing crowd as he stood in the middle of the ring, with Miz looking smug at his side. Near the announce table Chris tried to struggle to his feet, using the announce table to help him up, but the pain that seared through his back had him down before he could get up off of his knees. Matt Striker had finally come around the table, and asked Chris if he needed medical attention. Chris refused and as the program closed with a final shot of a gloating Big Show, Striker helped Chris to his feet. Once he was up Chris shooed Matt away, insisting he was fine. His walk up the ramp and backstage proved otherwise, as it was slow and labored, the pain clearly etched onto his face. Bret was first to meet Chris backstage and was immediately concerned, and urged Chris to get looked at by the medics.
"N-no I'm okay…I just wanna sit down." Chris answered, trying to keep as much of the groan out of his words as possible.
Bret followed Chris towards his dressing room and watched, shaking his head as Chris limped and hobbled towards the restrooms instead. When Chris re-emerged Bret was leaning up against the wall with a scowl on his face.
"I can't believe that asshole did that." Bret snapped, glancing at Chris. "You're pale, are you okay?"
"Eh, yeah just pissed blood."
"Bruised kidneys, no doubt. You stay with me tonight, so I can keep an eye on you." Bret laid a hand on Chris' shoulder.
Luckily, there had been no more blood. Chris didn't have that much time to rest up from the injury because The Rumble was Sunday. With The Rumble so close Bret had wondered what in the hell Paul was trying to do by deliberately hurting Chris. With things already planned out, the last thing McMahon would appreciate would be a careless (or a carefully planned) injury of one of his Superstars. From his dealing with Wight though, he seemed to be generally mean-spirited and vengeful. Bret figured that launching Chris into the announce table was a kind of re-payment for the night Chris had clawed his junk in the parking lot. Maybe Paul had even hoped to sideline Chris from The Rumble, Bret wouldn't have put it past him. His ruthlessness seemed to have no boundaries. Even though Chris' was injured Bret knew that the blond wasn't going to let that keep him out of The Rumble. He had worked too hard and endured too much to be defeated so easily. Besides, he was due to win The Rumble, as he had declared some days ago on Raw.
The plan was to have The Big Show, The Miz, and Jericho as the last three in The Rumble. The Miz was going to turn on Show, and he and Jericho together were going to eliminate the giant. Jericho would then get Miz over the ropes, thus claiming his victory. Then Chris Jericho would earn a world championship match at Wrestlemania. Bret imagined Chris victoriously in the ring at The Royal Rumble, well on his way to an iconic match at Mania. Bret yawned, and curled up next to Chris, lacing his hands behind his head, as he stared up at the ceiling. Shawn's words from moments ago began to loop through his mind again, as the vision of Chris at The Rumble faded to scenes from Montreal. With a sigh, Bret shook his head, dislodging the all too familiar snapshots. Dealing with Shawn was bending Bret's mind and giving him more than a headache. He rubbed at his temple, and then turned to glance again at Chris who had shifted a little in his sleep. Bret touched the soft bleached hair again, and closed his eyes. Yeah, it was worth it.