A/N: A companion piece to my other story Essence of Canadian and you'd ideally need to read that for this to make a little more sense but it still reads ok on its own I think :)
Weep for yourself, my man,
You'll never be what is in your heart.
Weep little lion man,
You're not as brave as you were at the start.
Rate yourself and rake yourself,
Take all the courage you have left.
Wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head.
Lying on his back and staring at the ceiling was something Matt found himself doing more and more lately. The cobwebs he couldn't be bothered to clear from the top of the lampshade brought a familiar comfort that he was at home in his own bed. That in itself was a less common sensation that it had ever been. Counting the leaves on the ceiling rose round and round usually emptied his mind of all the troubles and worries that had plagued him for months.
Today was a little different though. He was still lonely but not alone. A gentle hum of snoring and untroubled breathing was echoing in his ears and he couldn't decide whether it was a noise he wanted to hear or one that made him want to cover his head with a pillow to try and hide from. He didn't turn over to curl around the man that shared his bed, that wasn't on the agenda at all. As far as he could recall they'd simply collapsed into an exhausted sleep after they'd fucked. Yes, fucked. Matt still felt the ache where he'd taken what he considered to be a brutal pounding and remained undecided on whether or not to reach his hand down to see if he'd actually been damaged. He eventually opted for not to see being not to know.
The memory of the what was distinctly cloudier than the who. Christian had pursued him for so long, in fact before, during and now after his relationship with Chris. Matt wasn't sure when he'd decided that sleeping with Christian would be a good idea or if he'd even considered the consequences at all. He didn't like to play with people's emotions, it just wasn't in his nature. Turns out there was a lot of things he'd not known about himself and was just beginning to learn.
Matt had always assumed that he was a strong person who knew his own mind. It was an open mind but one that seemed to drag him down the wrong paths with the wrong people. That's what had started him thinking about things with Chris that led to their breakup. He couldn't tell Chris what the problem was other than that there was one. Screwing his eyes shut he thought back to the morning they'd spent sat at the dining table, Matt trying to break it off and Chris fighting desperately to keep things on track between them. It was never easy to talk to Chris about feelings as he was so smartmouthed and sarcastic. Trouble was that it just kept them apart emotionally. Matt had always assumed that it was a self defence mechanism of old but even after two years together it still hadn't subsided. Even on the day Chris had got down on one knee his exact words were "Marry me, assclown." Not the proposal Matt had hoped for.
Chris wasn't all bad though, he concluded, distracted by the curtains as they blew towards the ceiling with the incoming breeze. They had great fun together, got on great with each others families and shared a surprising amount of interests. Most importantly Matt was sure that somewhere deep down they loved each other as deeply as two people could. It was just a shame that Chris was so adept at hiding it and that the commitment Chris was looking for had started to scare the living hell out of him.
Matt smiled as he thought about Chris' kids and what a wild time they had together. Fair enough the only came to stay every once in while but the relationship with their mother was still amicable enough for that not to be an issue. Chris was a natural born provider and made sure that his kids were always looked after. The problem was that taking two kids on and the thought of being responsible for those kids' lives had started to eat away at Matt. Looking back at his own upbringing he had never felt that he was going to be a good father, or if he'd ever want to be one at all. He felt like he had no control over that if he stayed with Chris and those insecurities had brought everything to a head.
The conversation hadn't gone to plan and it had turned into Matt giving a long list of reasons, some more spurious than others, as to why they were never going to work out. Chris had made it clear that he'd never give his kids up for anyone but that anything else was fair game. He'd offered to quit wrestling, Fozzy, presenting, being an ass all the time; just about any aspect of his personality that made him who he was. All offered on a plate to Matt just so they could stay together and be happy. For Matt though it wasn't enough. He'd already hit his own ejector seat, feeling unable to take back some of the hurtful things he'd said that Chris had brushed aside or pretended not to hear. In a very matter-of-fact way Matt informed his partner that it was over and that he'd make arrangements to move out as soon as he could find somewhere permanent. It was agreed that Chris would move into one of the guest rooms until it was sorted out and that same night he'd emptied his nightstand and cast Matt one last pleading look which drew no response.
Hearing a crash in the distant silence of the house brought him back to the room that had dissolved before his eyes and reminded him that Chris was still a part of his life for now. Chances are Chris had just fallen out of bed. Again. A twinge of sadness reminded him that they were over, but for what? His own concerns that some kids might need a dad that he might not want to be? The fact that his partner couldn't express his love in words without adding a corny comment? Turning onto his side to see the semi naked torso of Christian sprawled across the bed he realised that in the cold light of day those reasons seemed pretty pathetic really. Had he really given up what they'd shared to become a bed hopping tramp? And all within a couple of weeks of breaking up the most serious relationship he'd ever had. With a wry smiled he thought to himself "Nice work Hardy."
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble little lion man,
You'll never settle any of your score.
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck.
Now learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck.
Things obviously hadn't been the same between them since Chris had moved to the other bedroom. Between work, friends, family and all their other commitments they'd become ships that passed in the night far too quickly for Matt's liking. It was almost like he lived alone, the only thing reminding him he had a housemate was the frequent and noisy late night arrivals of a drunken Chris. It was remarkable these days if he could still stand when he got home, usually being brought home in one of the company Lincolns and helped through the door by one of a string of patient drivers. Usually they'd just help him to the couch and that's where he'd lay until morning when Matt woke him and pointed him in the general direction of the shower if he wasn't on the road. If Chris could still walk then he was usually pinballing off every item of furniture on the lower floor of the house before Matt could race downstairs to prevent the loss of another expensive glass coffee table and any more difficult to explain lacerations.
He'd never seen Chris react like this to anything before. Even when he was getting divorced he took it in his stride like he did with anything difficult. Determination was one of Chris' better traits and it made him an incredible ally in any battle. It was just a shame that he seemed determined to get wasted at every possible opportunity lately. Matt alternated between feeling responsible and not giving a shit. If Chris wanted to drink himself into oblivion every night then who was Matt to stop him? They weren't together ergo Chris wasn't his problem any more. It was easy enough to say but when he heard Chris on his knees in the middle of the night throwing up, sobbing like a child his heart told him a different story.
Matt had started to feel bad as this nosedive had made it clear just what their split had done to the older man. Even if he'd never been able to truly do moonlight and roses Chris was showing how much he loved Matt by reacting like this to being dumped. He was sure it was the most fucked up way of saying "I love you" he'd ever heard of but it didn't stop Matt wishing he could take back everything he'd said and just asked Chris to cool the kids and marriage thing until he was a little more ready. Now he'd had a chance to think it over maybe that's all he'd really wanted to say.
A lazily draped arm brought an unwanted warmth and weight across his chest. Matt looked down at the pale skin that looked almost alien against his own and fought the urge to just push it away. He felt dirty when he thought what he'd let the owner of that arm do to him and the fact that Christian hadn't taken the hint to leave and ended up staying the full night was starting to irritate him. When they had a chance later he was going to explain that he'd been drunk and that it was all a terrible mistake. He would however draw the line at explaining that the sex had been passable as he'd gotten through it by closing his eyes and thinking of Chris. That would just be good manners.
He was sure that the sinking feeling at the pit of his stomach was more than awkwardness at his bed mate cosying up beside him. This wasn't right and a the last few weeks hadn't been right. Nothing had made him smile, nothing had made him at peace with his decision and the weight he hoped the breakup would lift now manifested itself as Christian's arm, slowly choking the air from his lungs. Pushing the limb aside he heard a mumble and paused to see if there was going to be a conversation forthcoming from the snoozing man. Thankfully he was asleep again as soon as his arm had landed on the mattress and Matt seized the opportunity to go use the bathroom and head downstairs for some coffee.
Having relieved his bladder Matt padded down the stairs in nothing but his lounge pants, enjoying the quiet and the solitude of the house. It was always nice to just wander around and not have to face anyone when he felt like this; confused, still lonely and frankly cheap. Pushing the door open to the kitchen the smell of stale coffee hung in the air and he tried to decipher where it came from as Chris was never up before 2pm these days. He looked at the kettle which was still on the stove where it had been last night before he came to bed so no clues there. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and an open cupboard door came into sight. Looking at it curiously he cast his eyes down and that's when he saw Chris, slumped on the floor, a cup of coffee in one hand half spilled on the tiles and the neck of an empty whisky bottle in the other. The rest of the bottle was shattered into slivers all over the floor, only inches away from where Chris lay.
Matt ran around the other side of the kitchen island to avoid the glass and grabbed Chris by the shoulders, shaking him and calling his name. No response. Chris was still warm so Matt took that as a good sign and felt for a pulse. There was one but it was weak and irregular, both in Chris' wrists and neck. He couldn't have been so drunk or laid there so long his body was shutting down Matt thought. For a moment he froze, mortified that he'd not noticed how bad Chris was when he got home last night and not knowing whether to stay with Chris or go for help. A split second later the decision was made and he raced from the kitchen to unlock the front door, grab the phone from the dock in the hall and sprinted back into the kitchen, dialling 911 as he went.
After a short and frantic phone call he was assured that an ambulance was on its way. He knelt beside Chris and disregarded all his training about the recovery position, clumsily pulling the limp his body into his arms and holding Chris close as if that would be enough to keep him alive. The peace that spread across the face below him would have been beautiful enough to take his breath away on any other day. Matt whispered to Chris; words of love that he'd said so many times before but never meant as much, promises that if he made it then it could all go back to the way it was. Guilt coursed through every nerve ending. He was the reason that Chris was drunk beyond the pale, barely breathing and just about holding on to life. The pain that tore through him made him cling on tighter and the pressure made the tiniest groan escape from Chris' lips. The first sign of life since Matt had found him was enough to bring the tears that he'd been too scared to shed, convinced that the next tears he'd be crying would be at a graveside.
Lucid was not a word that applied to Chris' state but Matt carried on talking to him, swearing that he'd never leave him again, telling him over and over that everything was going to be ok. The words fell from his lips with such a blind panic that he wasn't sure that he was convincing either of them. He planted tender kisses on the cooling sunken cheeks, watching as his tears rolled towards the jawline he'd stroked and kissed so many times before in happier times. A glance at the clock revealed that the ambulance crew were taking their time in arriving but he didn't want to move, convinced that Chris needed him as much as it was hitting home that he needed Chris.
Finally a knock came at the door with a shout from the ambulance crew. Matt hollered back for them to come in and that he was in the kitchen. The words choked themselves from his lips, he still didn't believe it was happening. Within seconds the crew had moved Matt out of the way and set to work, checking vital signs whilst setting up IV fluids and oxygen to try and fight the poison in Chris' system. Matt took the chance to grab some sneakers and a hoody from the dumped pile of clothes near the back door, slipping them on in readiness for the ride to the hospital. As one of the paramedics went out to fetch the stretcher Matt knelt on the floor again, this time not caring about the glass. Stroking Chris' hair he saw a flash of blue eyes through tiny slits and smiled, watching as the corners of Chris' mouth tried to curl up into that familiar grin that had always had the power to melt his heart.
Moving Chris onto the stretcher they wheeled him through the hall and out towards the waiting ambulance. Matt followed, just stopping in time to grab his wallet and keys. As he turned away from the bureau he glanced up to the top of the stairs where he assumed a still sleeping Christian lay, seemingly oblivious to the drama. With a wistful smile Matt closed the door behind him and considered he'd had a lucky escape. Under his breath he silently prayed that just maybe he would be due another one for someone who deserved it more than he ever did.
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
A/N: Inspired today by the song in it, Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons – you *must must must* hear this song over on Youtube, its a folky song believe it or not but its so heartfelt and the words are so apt here (I think anyway). Little Lion Man + Jericho = it just had to be! So, as always all reviews appreciated :) Unbeta'd as ever and done in a couple of hours tonight so please forgive me any hideous typos, I have checked it but needed it out of my system before Raw!!