A/N: This is the last chapter of this story but with fanfic not working correctly, I won't be able to mark it as such.
Also I've got a little oneshot up called Watchful Eyes that I would like to pimp out right at this moment (it only took forever to get around fanfic's PMS and get it up). So yeah…cheap plug ftw
"Ssshhh now just stop," Randy said as he made sure Gil was all nice and tied up and gagged. With everyone all running out to see the fire it had been easy for him to slip into the house and get the better of the older man. "Come on now, you'll just hurt yourself if you keep this up." The tone of his voice was flat, which failed to give away the fact that when he said Gil would hurt himself if he kept struggling, he actually meant he was the one that was going to do the hurting. "Now that's better," he said as Gil reluctantly stopped struggling for the moment.
Gil sure didn't seem to think it was better. He gave Randy a really dirty and hateful look, which just made Randy tsk and shake his head.
"Come on, don't give me that look." Randy sighed when Gil continued giving him the death glare. "Are you afraid that I'm here to hurt Jeff? Is that it?" He shook his head. "I'm not here to hurt Jeff at all. I'm not here to really hurt anyone…unless they get in my way to Jeff."
Gil just kept right on glaring. Randy was completely out of his mind. Just the look in his eyes was completely unsettling and the way he was talking was just making it even worse. He needed to somehow warn Jeff that Randy was there but there was no way for him to do it. His hands were tied so tightly together that the circulation was almost all the way cut off in them and he had a gag shoved so far in his mouth it was nearly choking him.
Randy smirked. Gil was providing him some amusement but he was also feeling the need to send a message to anyone who was looking to stop him right now. He backed up just a bit, fully intending on driving his foot into the old man's skull when he heard a noise from downstairs that made him stop in his tracks. He made sure to be perfectly still, barely even breathing until he heard the noise again. "It looks like we have company Gilbert," he whispered. Very carefully he picked up the Legend and put him in the nearby closet. "Stay there. I might be back for you." He closed the door behind him, not paying any attention to the muffled sounds Gil was making. He was much much more interested in finding out just who was downstairs. Be Jeff, he silently wished as he grabbed the tire iron he had brought with him just in case he ran into any trouble. Come on be Jeff. Make this easy for me once and be him. It was always so fucking difficult to get him. Jeff always felt the need to fight him and everyone else always had to get in the fucking way. It was infuriating and he wasn't going to put up with it anymore. He was going to get what was his and anyone who tried to stop him this time would feel the brunt of ALL of his frustrations.
Jeff's heart was pounding inside of his chest as he took out his gun and gripped it tightly. As soon as he entered the house he knew he shouldn't have gone in there all by himself. He should have gotten someone else to come back in with him. Even the gun he was holding didn't feel like it was enough. Not with the way his whole body was shaking and how sweaty his hands had gotten. It felt like the gun could slip out of his hands at any minute. It was too late to go back now. He was in there and he had to get Gil out of there as soon as possible. He knew all too well how dangerous Randy was and he couldn't even stand the thought of him hurting his dad. His dad was old, there was no getting around that fact and he couldn't defend himself the way he would need to against Randy.
Breathe, he told himself as he crept through the house in search of either Randy or his dad. Just breathe you have to breathe…
Breathing was easier said than done of course. His chest was all tight which made getting any oxygen in really hard. And the pounding of his heart was getting even harder; he could literally feel it going up against his chest and it was making him feel sick to his stomach. Still he went on though, trying to be as quiet as possible as he did his search. Of course, seeing as how he had to be quiet, he ended up tripping over his own shoelaces and fell against the wall, making a thumping noise that sounded fifty times louder than it actually was. The picture that was on the wall almost fell on his impact but he quickly grabbed on to it, mentally berating himself for that slip-up. Once the picture was back in place and he was done scolding himself he continued on, slipping into the kitchen and looking around. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing straight up and it felt like he was being watched from every angle. He checked under in the pantry, back in the laundry room and even under the table because he was so paranoid for any sign of Randy. He didn't find any in there but it didn't make him feel better. It just put him even more on edge.
He took a deep breath and walked as quietly as he could, resisting the urge to call out for Gil. He couldn't risk Randy hearing him and knowing he was there. He was hoping that he would have the element of surprise on his side. He needed to end this and he needed every advantage on his side. He knew Orton would be coming but the way it was happening had caught him completely off guard and threw him off his game. He had to fucking recover though. He had to suck it the hell up and recover and end this. Permanently.
Randy watched Jeff with narrow eyes from his hiding spot in the shadows. He had seen the gun in Jeff's hands and it angered him immensely. What the fuck was Jeff doing with that? How could he have that? These questions repeated themselves over and over again in Randy's brain. At first he tried to deny that that was what it was but there really was no getting around it. So once it sunk into his brain that Jeff was armed the anger quickly began to take over. There was absolutely no doubt that Jeff was intending to use that gun against him. And that hurt. It hurt so bad that he couldn't even do anything for what felt like forever. Jeff was planning on shooting him. He had certainly heard hateful things come out of Jeff's mouth in all the time they had spent with each other but this…this was different. This wasn't just a bunch of words. It was a weapon and it was pretty much just a knife to his chest.
He looked around suspiciously, his defenses completely up in case Jeff hadn't come in on his own. He was pretty sure he had, given that there was a pretty big fire that was providing a very nice distraction. However, even if there was nobody else in there that wouldn't last forever. They would be coming back eventually and he needed to be gone when that happened. He had wanted to be gone with Jeff but seeing the weapon in the older man's hands had made him so angry that he could feel any train of rational thought he had slip away from him. This was the way Jeff wanted it to be? This was how he thought it was going to end. Fine. Then that was how it would be. It wasn't what Randy wanted but it wasn't up to him anymore. His body was moving on it's own accord, making him come out of his hiding spot and approach Jeff from behind, raising the tire iron above his head…
"Holy fucking shit," Matt muttered under his breath as he and the others watched the fire rage out of control. The fire department was on its way but it was really already too late for them to do much. The fire had been bad when they had gotten to the house and it wasn't really getting any better. The house he and Jeff grew up in, the house his dad had lived in for so long was just burning away and he was helpless to do anything about it.
Shannon nodded his agreement and looked over at Marty, who was on the phone talking to Mark, who had called just moments ago and who Matt hadn't been able to talk to because he had still been speechless. Mark would have been there himself during all of this but he had had his own personal emergencies to deal with and nobody had expected him to hang around. "This is fucked up…"
Matt nodded, feeling just numb by the situation. Gil wasn't out there with him and he was glad for that. He didn't want his dad seeing this…he wasn't even sure how he would get the will to even say it. He had been through this with Jeff when his place went down but Jeff wasn't his dad. That fact just seemed to change everything for him.
"Dude, where the hell is Jeff?" Kimo suddenly asked.
Matt's eyes widened as he looked around. Jeff was nowhere to be seen and that didn't set well with him at all. He knew Jeff had been running with them and once he had saw the fire he hadn't even thought about his brother really…he just kind of assumed Jeff was right there with him, watching their childhood home burn to the ground.
"You think he went back to tell the Legend?" Shannon asked.
Matt shook his head, his feet already taking him back in the direction of Jeff's place. He didn't know what the deal was but he knew that he suddenly had this giant knot of uneasiness in his stomach. Something just was very wrong with the situation and he just knew he had to get back to Jeff's as fast as possible. Something bad was going to happen if he didn't.
Jeff heard the floor creak behind him and he whirled around, his arm raising the gun as he did so. He saw Randy bringing the tire iron down towards his head and he moved away mostly in time, still getting hit hard enough to stun him but not hard enough to knock him out or anything. He dodged the next blow fast and he tried to back up to get some distance between him and Randy but Randy swung the weapon in a different direction, this time managing to catch him right in the ribs with it. He doubled over in pain and the next thing he knew he was falling to the ground hard, the gun being kicked right out of his hands before his wrist was stomped on really hard. It literally felt like something broke right at that moment and he screamed in pain.
"Oh I'm sorry, did that hurt?" Randy asked, his voice deranged and nasty. "I'm sure it doesn't hurt as bad as it would have when you would have SHOT me!"
Jeff's eyes widened. Oh shit…Randy must have seen him coming with the gun and that had just set him off. Now instead of coming to rape me and make me his unwilling lover boy he looks like he wants to kill me…not sure which one is better…
Randy raised the tire iron up above his head again but before he could bring it down Jeff managed to get his foot up and he kicked Randy hard, not sure whether he kicked him in the stomach or the groin. It really didn't matter anyway. It just allowed him to get Randy to drop the weapon and put enough space between the both of them to allow him to scramble for the gun once more. Just as he was about to grab it though he felt Randy grab his ankle and yank him back hard. He yelled loudly and struggled hard but couldn't break free from Randy's grip. Instead he found himself being rolled over to his back and Randy's fist was driven into his face hard. His head rocked to the side, his lip busting open on impact.
"You like that Jeff?" Randy yelled as he straddled Jeff, pummeling him as hard as he could. He was so angry he could barely even see straight. "Huh? You fucking like that?"
Jeff responded to that by fighting back as violently as he could. His lip was busted open, it felt like a tooth had been knocked loose and he was sure to have a barrage of bruises later if he lived to tell about this but he couldn't focus on any of that. Instead he kept fighting, actually managing to roll them over so he was the one on top and hitting Randy. He hit him so hard he broke several of his knuckles, an injury that was well worth the pain. He wanted to make Randy hurt for everything he had done to him and the people he cared about.
Randy let out an animalistic snarl and shot his head up hard, head butting Jeff right in the nose. It broke on impact and as the blood gushed out of it Randy pushed him off and resumed the mount position, wrapping his hands around Jeff's throat and squeezing hard. Jeff started clawing at his hands desperately, not only unable to breathe but also choking on his own blood, which was going right down his throat.
"Come on you fucking bastard," Randy growled. He tightened his grip on Jeff's neck even more as he saw the way Jeff's eyes were widening in ever growing fear. "Come on Jeffy that's it. Die for me baby die for me…"
Jeff reached up and tried to rake Randy's eyes to get him to let go but he was getting too weak to do any real damage to him. His vision was starting to get blurry and he knew that if he passed out he was finished. Randy would either take him again or would just keep choking him until he was dead. Either way, he was fucking done for.
Randy smirked, so hypnotized by the way Jeff was fading on him that he didn't see or hear Matt coming up behind him. He sure as hell realized it seconds later though, when he felt his own tire iron crash down on the back of his skull. He was nearly knocked unconscious with the blow but he managed to stay awake and scramble back as Matt whacked him again, this time on his left shoulder.
"Fucking son of a whore!" Matt yelled, just swinging the tire iron over and over again. He wasn't even paying attention to where he was aiming his shots. He was just swinging, willing to hit Randy anywhere because he was tired of this. He was so fucking tired of this that he was literally sick over it. He wanted to puke it was so fucking fucked up and disgusting.
Jeff coughed violently and rolled over on to his stomach, spitting out a huge amount of blood. He could hear Matt and he felt relieved knowing he was there. However, he knew damn well they weren't out of the woods and he crawled on his stomach for the gun, which was sitting there so close yet so fucking far…
Randy kicked Matt in between his legs out of desperation and as the older Hardy doubled over he snatched the tire iron back from him. Jeff saw this and faster than he could even think he grabbed the gun and sat up, firing it as fast as he could until there were no more bullets left in it. Every bullet in the gun pierced Randy's body and for a moment he just stood there, his eyes wide with shock. Then he tried to go towards Jeff but ended up dropping down to his knees, the blood spilling out of him fast and staining the floor. He opened his mouth to speak but all that came out was a low croak and more blood. Jeff scrambled back just in case and he and Matt just watched as Randy fell the rest of the way to the floor, dead just seconds later and leaving them at a complete loss for words.
While the firefighters put out the fire at Gil's house, Matt called the police to Jeff's place while Jeff went and found Gil tied up and gagged in one of the upstairs closets. When the cops arrived both Matt and Jeff talked to them at length while Gil went to go see the damage to his home. Jeff was numb during the entire process. It all just felt like one gigantic dream that he couldn't wake up from. He wasn't even sure how he should react. He did feel relieved because this was finally over for good this time. Randy was dead, he couldn't ever hurt him again. But even with his relief he couldn't feel any real joy in the situation. He felt that Randy deserved what he got but he just couldn't feel overly happy that he took another person's life, even if they had it coming. It just wasn't something he was capable of doing.
It seemed to take forever but finally the cops got done questioning him and Matt and the coroner took Randy's body away to do whatever it was they were looking to do with it. Jeff couldn't really bring himself to put much thought into the situation. As soon as the cops were gone he couldn't even go outside to his dad and deal with the fire situation. He felt like a horrible son for that but he couldn't help it. He just dragged himself up to his room and fell on to his bed, passing out from exhaustion within seconds and not waking up again until two days later.
When the news of Randy's death broke and all the circumstances around it, the media swarmed Jeff's house to try to get him to talk about the situation. Jeff however, was absolutely mum on the subject. He stayed inside the entire time, doing his best to just ignore the vultures as they circled him. He was hoping they would just go away on their own but of course they showed no sign of doing that. It wasn't until Gil pulled the old fashioned Southern dad move of going out to the porch with a shotgun did they leave, although it was easy to tell that they weren't happy about it at all.
"Hallelujah," Shannon said as the last of them pulled away from the house. "I thought they wouldn't ever leave."
Gil shook his head. "They sure as hell didn't want to. I thought I was going to have to shoot somebody for real there for a minute." He sat down in the chair and put the gun down by his feet. He was staying with Matt now and was waiting to collect the insurance on his house before figuring out what the hell he was going to do next. "Thankfully I didn't though."
"Yeah really," Matt agreed. He was standing by the kitchen door, totally keeping a watchful eye on Jeff while trying to act like that wasn't what he was doing. "What do you guys want for dinner? You want me to make something or you want to order out?"
"Well if you're cooking then I say we order out," Jay said quickly. "Last time I ate your cooking I had the shits for the week."
"Oh now why did I need to know that?" Gil asked in exasperation as Matt shot him the finger. Shannon however, looked relieved at that news.
"So I wasn't the only one!"
Jeff burst out laughing at that. He had just been sitting there, keeping quiet as possible while lost in his own thoughts. The numbness had worn off and now he was just a giant mixed up mess of emotions. He was still relieved it was all over yet he was also still angry at Randy and also angry at himself and wandering if he could have done anything to prevent all of this. He had been hurt horribly by Randy's obsession with him but because of the fact that the suffering hadn't been just his own, he felt horribly guilty. Matt, Jay, his dad, Shannon…they all had gotten hurt by this too and it was his fault.
The others looked surprised at his outburst and as suddenly as it happened, it ended and he shifted uncomfortably in all of their gazes. He didn't like it how they all stared at him. It was like they were expecting him to break like a piece of glass smashed against the ground and he hated it. That wasn't what he wanted to do. He wanted…well he didn't know for sure. He just knew he didn't want to do that.
The phone rang, saving them all from the awkward silence. "I've got it," Matt said. He walked over to it and picked it up, obviously preparing to tell another reporter to go fuck off. However, within seconds of saying "hello" he got a really surprised look on his face and he was singing quite the different tune. "Uh…hold on a minute." He put his hand over the mouth part of the phone and looked at Jeff. "It's Orton's mother…she wants to talk to you."
Jeff's eyes widened in shock and he just sat there for a moment, not even processing that. "Orton's mom?"
"Yeah. I could tell her it's not a good time."
For whatever reason Jeff decided not to have Matt do that. He took the phone from him and got up so he could go talk somewhere more privately. "Hello?"
"Hello." This sounded just as awkward for her as it was for him. "I'm…I'm Elaine Orton."
"Hi…" He locked himself in the bathroom and leaned back against the door for support.
"I just um…I needed to speak to you on behalf of the family." Her voice was faint and Jeff could tell she had been crying, which just made him feel like shit. "I know you might not accept this because I mean it's not much really but um…I would like to apologize to you on the behalf of the Orton family."
Jeff blinked in surprise on that one. An apology…after everything he was getting an apology? He almost said something really nasty in return to that but then he suddenly stopped himself. This wasn't her fault or anyone else's in that family (unless they raised him to be a crazed obsessive guy who couldn't take no for an answer) and he didn't need to take shit out on them. "…Thank you," he said slowly.
"I talked to Bob and we agreed that we would help your father buy or build a new house," she went on, sounding relieved that he didn't automatically give her hell. "And if there's any medical bills you need taken care of or just anything we're willing to help. I know it can't take what he did back but we just…"
"I appreciate the offer," he said, rubbing his face tiredly. "I do really but you don't have to do that for me. And you'll have to talk to my dad himself about what you want to do for him. I can't speak on what he'll want."
"I understand," she said. "If you change your mind though, please feel free to let me know."
There was a very long and awkward silence.
"Jeff?" Elaine's voice was hesitant again, like she was afraid to go into this subject but unable to not do it. "I can't pretend to imagine what Randy put you through…I can't imagine how you feel right now…but I just…I just want to ask that you don't hold on to it forever. Don't let what he did define you from now on. He don't…he don't deserve that."
Jeff blinked, not sure what to say to that. "Thanks," was what he finally came back with. "I gotta um…"
"I understand. Goodbye Jeff…and I really am sorry."
He thanked her again and then hung up. For a long time he just stood there, not really doing or thinking about anything. Finally he looked at himself in the mirror and mulled over Elaine's words. In his mulling, he realized something very important: she was right. He couldn't let Randy's bullshit define him for the rest of his life. He couldn't hold on to all of this forever. It couldn't be helped for awhile but eventually he would have to learn how to let it go and just put it in the past. He had been through hell and back and he was still alive…that meant he was stronger for it and hating Randy forever and holding on to all of it would just put that strength to waste. Maybe he wouldn't ever truly forgive and forget but he could at least put it behind him.
"Jeff?" Jay knocked on the door loudly. "You okay in there?"
Jeff nodded, staring intently at his reflection in the mirror and giving it a small, half smile. "Yeah…I'm fine…I'm just fine."