WHAT GOES UP, MUST COME DOWN…

Rated: M for language

Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is a work of fiction.

Summary:So this is set just as Wrestlemania is coming to a close, and they head off on the European tour… there's some real life in there that people might recognise, but also a shit load of artistic license, 'cos it's fiction…

Oh, and Ted is not very nice in this, he's not a badass he's just not a nice person, but that doesn't mean I personally don't like him in real life, okay? Just so we're clear.

A/N: This is for 'Lovetothecucumber' who requested some hurt Cody and/or Randy who is then comforted by the other, in 1st person pov… and seeing as I'd just done hurt Randy in my first ever 1st person pov in my last fic, I thought I'd attempt Cody this time… Then as I was writing it, I thought it was just going to be a dramatic monologue like the Randy one, but it took on a life of its own and it seemed to be heading in a direction that could potentially slot in with another fic I'd started writing ages ago, (dubbed 'stoned balcony fic') which started after hearing something particular Bob Orton said in the 'Home Town Heroes' radio interview about Randy. I was a fair way through it but had lost all my muses for various reasons and just suddenly stopped then wrote three other things instead. Then when this started to look like it could be merged with it, I decided to attempt to do just that. It was a pain in the arse to merge completely separate 3rd person and 1st person fics together into one, switching between both Cody and Randy's pov, so I hope it works, and makes sense. Please let me know if it doesn't…

Last week had been tough, I'm not going to lie. It's the busiest week in our annual calendar, both brands together the whole time, promos and publicity and events and yeah, sure, it was the first time I'd really have to be witness to 'them' for a prolonged period of time, I knew I'd have to see them there, together, smiling… I knew I'd have to be strong, seeing them coming out of the same hotel room, walking into the Hall of Fame arm in arm, sitting right fucking there… yeah it fucking sux seeing it in the flesh time and time again.

It's one thing knowing it's going on, behind closed doors, whatever, out of sight out of mind…

well, in theory…

But I should've known they'd have no qualms about rubbing it in my fucking face.

But I was prepared for that, and there was so much other shit going on that I continually kept myself busy, there was so much else to do, I got through it, it was fine. Really, it was. But everyone seemed to think last week was when I'd need all the help I could get, the extra distraction, people around me, support, and I know they meant well, I know it, I mean damn, even Shawn flew in to 'be there' for me. And yeah, I appreciate it, don't get me wrong, they did all they could to keep my mind off things and make sure I was constantly fucking occupied… as if Mania week isn't busy enough already.

But it's this week I need the help. This week is much much worse. I'm far away from home, on the other side of the world, and I'm all by myself.

You know that feeling of being completely alone in a crowded room?

It's exactly like that. Everything is going on around me, I may as well not even be here. The turmoil of last week has died down, the chaos, and everything is calm, I have time to think, time to dwell on it all again, process the things I saw, analyse how it makes me feel…

and it's shit.

I feel like total fucking shit, okay? But now I'm all alone, just me, me and my memories, me and my... my what? You call this a life?

I stared down at the silver foiled packet in my hand and contemplated my next move… nothing drastic, I just wanted the blood to stop pumping through my veins so fast, rushing through my ears like this, my heart was pumping, my mind was racing, too many thoughts, I felt out of control, of my emotions, of my actions, of my life… of my mind.

I just want things to go back to normal, but it was too late for that, they never could. What constituted 'normal' anyway? I have no idea anymore. All I know is there's no way back, not now, there never was. I'd just been deluding myself the entire time, but I had no idea. And that hurts more than anything else. How could I have been so stupid? So blind? I'm such a fucking idiot.

So it's worth a try, right? Anything is, to stop me feeling this way. I'm getting desperate.

I'm already at the stage where I can't even face being around anyone unless I've had a little… uh, assistance, shall we say… especially not here, you know what it's like, all eyes upon you, cameras in your face, I was fucking nervous damnit, for the first time in my life, just the thought of it all… facing people… and it's getting worse.

Usually I can pull myself together, even if it's only what could constitute going through the motions, even if only for the duration of the show, but it's getting harder, there was no fight or flight about it this time, I was actually on the verge of just fucking off and not coming back. Every instinct was screaming at me to flee… and she made me like this.

I feel like I'm dead on the inside. Like my hard outer shell, my steely exterior, is somehow cracked and beginning to crumble, but my insides are hardening too, the more tainted and infected they become in the harsh light of reality, the more they shrivel up and waste away, like the shell is just growing and growing and will soon take over, and soon it'll be all sealed up and no one will ever be able to get in ever again…

It's for the best, don't you think?

Melodramatic much? Yeah, well so fucking what. I just need a little help, you know? That's how it all started, to deal with it… and I dunno maybe tonight I just had a little too much? I just couldn't face it though…

Not on my own…

And add adrenalin to the mix, I guess sometimes it can just fuck you up.

What goes up must come down, right?

Well… it's meant to… it always has before… I was just so wired, I just needed a little more help is all… A little more here, a little more there…

My hands were literally shaking as I popped open two little sections, the sound of the crinkle between my fingers as the foil gave way almost comforting to my ears, my mind already welcoming the calm I so desperately needed to descend upon me as I released two capsules of magic into my hand. The calm before the storm perhaps? Yeah, maybe, but at the moment I really don't give a fuck about what might happen, I only care about right here right now, so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, because right here right now, I'm fucked.

I need it so bad…

I stared at them for a moment, my finger pushing them up and down the contours of the life line in the centre of my palm before I swallowed them with an overly dramatic sigh. I'm not even gonna lie, I'm feeling awfully sorry for myself at the moment.

I just want the pain to go away.

Cos it hurts, you know? Everything, my body, my bones… I mean you expect it in this profession, and normally it's the little things that help make it easier, the simple pleasures in life that help you get by… you know, like love. Okay so that's definitely a big thing, and I was so happy, she made me happy, she made me whole, I loved her so fucking much, damnit, that the pain just didn't matter…

But nothing seems to work any more, it hurts so bad, and I can't seem to numb the feeling, my insides feel like they're slowly encroaching on my heart, cold. icy fingers squeezing tighter and tighter, and soon, hopefully, it'll just give up, just explode, and all the pain will be gone forever.

These little fella's in my hand, little magic beans of numbness, they help things along a bit, the physical side of things at least, they keep me going, help me work through it. And they help take the heartbreak down a notch… from intensely raw to dull fucking ache. I only just found them and already I don't know how I ever coped without them.

That's the thing nobody ever tells you about this job, the pain starts to get you down after awhile. It wears your body down, sure, but nobody ever told me how much it wears down your soul…

I was just sitting there in the locker room after the match, minding my own business, waiting for the effects to kick in, wondering where the fuck it had all gone wrong…

I mean only a few months ago I'd been so happy, everything was pretty much perfect, I had a beautiful girlfriend who I loved more than anything, a best friend who had risen up the ranks with me, getting the biggest push of our careers alongside my childhood hero, and we were making our mark and totally in it together…

or so I thought.

It was all lies. The whole damn lot. One big giant illusion, with me at the centre, blissfully unaware, a complete fucking laughing stock.

Everything just suddenly came crashing down. It started when, I can't even think her name let alone say it, she, moved to Smackdown in October and I had no idea why creative would do that to us, but I was full of assurances that it was for the greater good, they must have a method to their madness etc etc, totally oblivious to the fact it was actually her own specific request to go, to go to him… to get away from me. Do you have any idea how that made me feel?

And there was me trying my utmost to make it work despite the fact we never got to see each other any more, organising special holidays for new years together… it was so beautiful there in the snow, I always used to love Aspen…

I was even thinking of proposing… to cement it, to show her that separation didn't mean anything, to show her how much I cared, needed her, loved her… thank fuck I hadn't done it yet before she confessed it all. Talk about saved by the bell…

I still have the ring, at home in my bedside table… I have no idea why I kept it… not like I'll ever need it now…

No one wants a reject.

She'd been sleeping with him for months, and I had no idea… I mean of all people? I thought he was my friend… but there seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

I'm such a fucking idiot…

But you know what? Fuck it, that was four months ago, I really should stop dwelling on it now… I just can't help but feel that I've completely wasted almost three entire years of my life, all down the pan, and for what? I have abso-fucking-lutely nothing to show for it. Except a mountain of questions. Did she ever really love me? Was she just using me for my dad too? Just like Ted…

Ted Ted Ted. He only wanted me for my dad. For my dad and his backstage sway. I see that now. I've been so stupid and blind. Since she left, he really stepped up his game, I thought he cared, I thought he was trying to help, I thought he wanted me to be happy…

Turns out the only person whose happiness he cares about is his own, and I was the one who could help get it for him. See, unlike Teddy, I actually get on with my dear old dad, he'd do anything for me, I know that. Turns out Ted knew it too.

I've known Ted literally forever. As kids, he was always the leader of the pack, the one who got to say what went down, and all I ever wanted to do was please him. That's what Ted has always been about, everyone else pleasing him. He was older than me anyway so that made him automatically the boss. And what started as kids, that hierarchy, well it always stuck…

As kids everyone was the boss of me, it's just the way things were, I was the youngest out of all the boys, especially until Brett came along, but he never really was part of the whole backstage kids thing anyway.

Ted never really wanted to let me play, I was too little he said, same thing everyone still seems to think about me now. Haven't they looked at me recently? Man, I'm fucking huge! Seriously, I'm bigger than Ted! I try so hard. And I'm not some fucking kid anymore, just no one seems to have noticed... why has no one noticed?

What am I doing wrong?

Anyway, whatever, so when we were kids I usually always ended up playing with Teil and the other girls, my ninja turtles saved their Barbies from certain death on numerous occasions, but more often than not, it was just me and my Gameboy. If Randy was there it was different because then he was the boss, not Ted, and I don't think that ever really went down well… well, not with Ted. With everyone else it went down great guns, but Ted was used to getting his own way, used to everyone doing whatever he wanted, and I think it used to really rile him that people would just automatically jump to Randy's beck and call whenever he showed up, when Randy didn't even really want them to.

Randy didn't care, not about stuff like that, if anything he always seemed slightly surprised to find himself the leader of the pack. Probably cos he was used to being the youngest himself, at least out of all the other guys that he'd hung around with when his dad first brought him along, but they were all too old to play with us anymore. And you know, I think that's what got to Ted the most. He had to give up his little followers to someone who didn't even care if he had any or not.

It's still the same now. They never really got on, hell, me and Ted never really got on, but creative were right, it was a great angle to follow, and Randy, being the consummate professional that he is, was more than willing to give it everything he had to get us over. For nothing in return might I add. Something Ted never understood, until this very day Ted still can't grasp the simple concept of doing something for someone without getting something out of it for himself.

I guess you can't help the way you were raised.

But when they first put us together, pitting us against Randy the way they did before we all joined up, it was so exciting, everything was finally happening, and I knew it wouldn't be happening at all if it wasn't for Randy, but Ted could never see that, he always thought I got everything I wanted, everything my way, because of my dad, when in reality it was the opposite, my dad worked me harder than anyone else, he was all about paying dues, earning respect, earning trust, earning what you got because you deserved it. But not Ted, no, he always thought he deserved everything just being handed to him on a plate, a fucking silver one at that, and that's what he usually got. He didn't want to be playing second fiddle to anyone, especially not someone he'd despised all his life. And I think Randy knew that, I think his input to creative might've had more than just a hand in where the storyline went when he booted Ted in the skull…. Maybe…

It's still kinda like that now, Randy somehow manages to engineer it so Ted inadvertently volunteers by default to take the harsher beating, even though it's always me who mans up first, but Randy's not stupid, he knows what's going on. He knows that Ted is gearing up for the bigger push, he knows creative treat me with kid gloves, don't want to be seen doing anything that could amount to favouritism, that might lead people to believe I'm only getting anywhere because of my dad's backstage presence, when if anything they're happy to bury me rather than give me any break at all.

What's in a name they say?

Nothing. Everything. Sometimes I can't help but feel I'd be better off without it…

But then who would I be? No one?

I already am…

Anyway the point is, that Ted and I were thrust together when he arrived, and although at first he was reluctant, wanting to be out on his own from the start, I think he began to see the bigger picture, and I genuinely thought that he had stopped with his stupid superiority bullshit and realised he had to tow the line. Little did I realise he was just biding his time.

It all makes sense now. Perfect sense. He was just using me. Just like he was using Randy. Using me for my dad, using Randy, well, for everything. Talk about coasting on someone else's shirt tails. Randy knew it I think, although he never said anything to me, but I could see it in his eyes, he's not stupid.

And Ted, well, a leopard never changes its spots, especially not overnight, and I guess I learnt that the hard way. Because I sure as hell fell for every single one of Ted's little tricks. He really knows how to turn on the charm. Just like when we were kids. Except I stupidly believed he'd changed, that he wanted the same thing I wanted, that we were in it together.

He's a smooth talking bastard, I'll give him that.

And to think, I was so blind, I never truly realised what he was doing, trying to do, until tonight. Until out there in the ring when he waltzes out with his daddy's belt, acting for all the world like it really was his, like it actually meant something, like he fucking deserved it.

None of that was in the script.

He treated me like a piece of fucking dirt, like the scum I guess he thinks I really am.

I finally see it.

I mean, I know I wasted almost three years of my life with her for nothing, and never saw it coming, but Teddy, his betrayal feels a million times worse, because I only have myself to blame, because I knew, right from the start, what he was like. All those years as kids, being bullied, being treated like a slave, why did I do it? Because it was attention, because it was better than being ignored?

But he never stopped using me, I just fell for his shit, for his lies, his total and utter contempt for me was there as plain as day on his face for the whole world to see, so why couldn't I? See, that's what makes it worse, I've been such a damn fool, I knew, I really did, at the start, deep down, something was telling me to be careful, to beware, all those years of humiliation at least gave me a sixth sense about him, but I stupidly ignored it and let myself be led astray by his charm.

Again.

It's my own fault. I saw it coming and I knew, I fucking knew, yet I suppressed it and let it happen. I feel so used.

If only I hadn't… oh man I can't believe I did that… that I let him… that I gave in so easily…

I mean what was I thinking? I was so drunk, so fucking drunk, I was upset okay? Fuck. And he was so, I dunno, insistent? Persuasive? Okay okay, so he bullied me into it. Forced me. He doesn't think I even remember…

I was just so lonely…

But I know that's no excuse, it's just… weak. I've been so fucking stupid, it was the ultimate humiliation…

Fuck.

I'm not even going to think about that though. What's done is done.

Nothing can save me now.

I shook my head, my eyes adjusting from staring at the same spot on the ground for so damn long, lost in my own misery. I'd accidentally scrunched up the foil packet between my shaking fingers so bad as I fidgeted that another little white pill popped out of it's casing and into my hand. I stared at it for a moment, then swallowed it down for good measure, the more numb the better as far as I was concerned, and I needed all the help I could get.

"Cody?"

The low deep voice rumbled over me out of nowhere and I looked up, startled from my reverie, I guess I must've zoned out so bad I hadn't even heard the door open. I fumbled to hide the pill packet I'd been staring at under my palm, slipping it inside the same sock I still had in my hand that I'd been holding when he left for his match.

"Hey." I forced myself to nod in greeting, couldn't quite manage the smile required, not even on my lips never mind it reaching my eyes. How long had he been standing there? Had he seen? I could feel him looking at me strangely, his eyes full of questions, full of, I dunno, but it better not be fucking pity.

"What's up?"

Oh Randy, don't do this to me man. He always can see straight through me, he's always been able to read me like an open fucking book. I can feel his gaze still on me as he crosses to his locker and his eyes are penetrating into the very depths of my soul and I just know, I know, that he knows. He always did. And after tonight, how could he not? He always knew exactly what Ted was like as much as I did, yet he never let himself get suckered in, he doesn't trust anyone, not like me, I'm so fucking easily led.

Right at the start of it all, the whole Ted thing, Randy came to me, asked if it was really what I wanted, if I was sure, and I was almost indignant, of course I was fucking sure! A push in the big leagues? Rising alongside my childhood comrade? Joining my childhood fucking hero? Fuck yes I was sure!

Call it youthful enthusiasm, or arrogance, ignorance, sheer stupidity, take your pick, but I was so sure that it was the right thing to be doing, it was for the best. and he never questioned me again, he respected my decision, let me stand on my own two feet. He never tried to butt in, though now, with hindsight, I've realised what he was really talking about, and I wish he had, I wish he'd stopped me, cos I know he saw it coming as much as I did, he just never let himself get swayed. I knew he still had my back, "No matter what" he'd told me once, right back when I started, cos I was here before Ted and I think Randy was secretly pleased about that, one up, you know?

I could feel his gaze on me, his eyes boring into me as I hung my head and weighed up the pros and cons of spilling, of telling him everything. But I just shrugged, "Nothing," I managed to croak. He knew it was bullshit.

"I saw what happened out there…"

Well, great. A small huff of indignant air escaped my lips. Just great.

"He's not worth it you know,"

What could I say to that? I knew it was the truth. I felt my face burn up as I realised he'd just confirmed my worst suspicions, he did know… fuck. I just shrugged… again.

"Neither is she."

Again, yep, I knew that too, though it took me a while to realise it, after doing all the emo 'woe is me, what's wrong with me, I deserved it' shit.

I think I'd perfected my shrug by now as I casually did it again, avoiding his eye all the while and finally put on my sock, leaning my head back against the locker behind me and closing my eyes so he couldn't see I was finding it hard to keep it together in front of him.

It was always that one initial hint of kindness, of concern, of someone else noticing when something's wrong, that tips me over the edge. You could be holding it together just fine on the surface at least, but as soon as they ask if you're okay, you're instantly not. And I knew if I spoke all the floodgates would open. Not necessarily crying as such, although it'd be a lie to say I hadn't already been there, but I'm not a fucking girl you know? Again, contrary to popular belief it would seem. I was beyond tears, it could just as easily be shouting, screaming, months of pent up emotion releasing itself.

And that's the last thing I wanted in front of Randy. Of all people. He didn't need my shit. He was beyond all of that, he was the epitome of everything I looked up to and admired in a man, he always had been. He'd always been like that in my eyes, and the last thing I wanted to do was in any way show any sign of weakness in front of him. It was my burden, not his, and I didn't want him bearing the brunt of the fallout if I did open my mouth, he'd regret that he ever asked. He certainly didn't need to hear me bitch and moan and whine like some little brat.

I took a deep breath and finally opened my eyes, ready to fob him off with yet another nonchalant shrug, a 'whatever dude' ready on my lips, but he got in first.

"Cody, talk to me man," he was leaning back against his own locker with his arms crossed and looking at me like he was actually concerned.

I was taken aback for a second, I always am every time he proves that he's a genuinely nice guy, I guess I'm just not used to it… nice guys in general I mean, but I finally managed the shrug at least, now even closer to the inevitable onslaught of what was bound to be tears this time, purely cos it was in front of Randy, just to humiliate me, torment me further, make me look as pathetic as I actually am in front of the one person I don't want to see me like that.

I'm so weak.

I closed my eyes again as if to say 'just fuck off man', but he just completely ignored the hint, cos I know he got it, and next thing I knew he was crouching down in front of me, a finger lifting my chin and a hand on my thigh,

"Cody! Look at me!" his words were stern, his fingers firmly grasping my chin as he waited for me to comply.

The tone of his voice forced me to relent, I could never deny Randy anything even if I wanted to, and I opened my eyes, I know they were darting everywhere cos I still couldn't bring myself to look into his as I felt them penetrate me, like a laser scanning my soul. His next words washed over me in that low, rumbling voice he seems to keep just for me and his tone softened considerably,

"You know where I am if you need me, if you wanna talk, anything… okay?"

I just nodded dumbly, I felt like such a child as I watched his hand gently slap my thigh before he pushed himself up and disappeared into the back for a shower.

I have to admit, I was surprised by his offer, not his actual concern as such, I mean dude always had manners, but I knew he wouldn't really appreciate it if I actually took him up on it. Can you imagine it?! Just the thought of Randy being my agony aunt cracks me up...

And my face must've shown my extreme surprise a few hours later when we finally got to the hotel in the next city, I opened the door and there he was. In the middle of the night. I mean what the fuck? Granted I hadn't exactly been sleeping, too much on my mind, but still…

"Um, hi…"

He stared at me for a good few seconds, like searching my face, until I actually felt uncomfortable under his scrutiny, and kinda fidgeted, wondering if he was ever going to actually say anything or just keep trying to read my mind all night, and I know I looked a mess, I was slumped against the doorframe just to stay upright, the effects of my little white friends had firmly taken a hold of my body even if they hadn't yet managed to quell the turmoil in my mind… I tried to focus on him as his face kinda swam in front of me and he grabbed my chin again and I could feel him looking into my eyes.

"Look at me Cody," his voice was a low growl and I tensed, immediately trying to oblige.

"Uh… dude, it's like, 4am…"

"Were you asleep?"

"Uh, no…"

"So what, you were just ignoring me?"

What the fuck??! My face must've shown my confusion because his own softened a bit. "I tried to ring you like four hundred times,"

"Oh," I glanced over at my phone on the bedside table, quite sure it hadn't made a sound, and went to investigate, and Randy just followed me in, closing the door behind him.

"Battery…" I held it up in explanation and he just nodded, knowing full well that the fact I hadn't even noticed my battery was dead said enough about my state of mind in itself. "Sorry man…" I drifted off, not sure what to say, his eyes still boring into me.

It was like he was looking for something, trying to catch my eye… he was doing it earlier too back in the locker room and it made me feel, I dunno, like naked under his scrutiny or something.

Then I don't even know what happened, but as I chucked my phone back down, my ipod went flying, and as I went to pick it up Randy was suddenly there in a flash, like almost gasping, repeating the same word over and over again…

"No…"

His voice was rising in volume until he was screaming and he literally sent me staggering onto the bed as he shoved me out the way, his enormous hand at my throat, and all I know is I was suddenly struggling to breathe as he screamed in my face.

I was actually starting to see stars and couldn't even make out what he was saying as he knelt over me, the front of my tshirt balled into his fist as he repeatedly slammed me back down into the pillow. I tried to prise his fingers from my neck but he was relentless, and I realised with a shock what he was waving in front of my face, the little silver packet, my lifeline, my saviours, had fallen to the floor, tangled in my ipod headphones… and suddenly his words became all too clear.

"What the fuck are you doing Cody?"

His voice was breathless and so low it barely registered on the air, his words were choked and hoarse, I'd never seen him like this before, wild eyed and, I dunno, scared…?

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

He just started screaming at me over and over and I couldn't reply with the force on my throat, until he finally let go, standing up and flinging the packet against the wall in sheer fury, raking his fingers over his skull like a madman, and he was shaking, he was really scaring me now, whispering "I knew it.. I knew it…" repeatedly, over and over.

"Where's the rest?" he screamed, and my eyes must've darted towards my bag cos next thing he was knelt on the floor and flinging stuff everywhere until he found them. Suddenly he stopped, and the expression on his face as he turned and looked at me was enough to turn me into stone, and he drew out not only the rest of the silver packets, but also the little white bottle of pills, my prematch necessities... His eyes zoned in on the label and he actually gasped, his face incredulous, then turned and flung them at me with such force the bottle literally bounced off my head and flew across the room.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" he screamed, advancing on me slowly, jaw ticking, teeth grinding, the vein in his temple pulsing, hands clenching and unclenching, balled into fists by his sides, "Do you have any idea what the fuck you're doing?"

I was frozen on the bed, I really didn't know what to do, I was practically unconscious by this point anyway, not by Randy's doing, under the influence of my usual nightly escape route, so I just watched as he freaked out, ripping my bags apart and taking every silver packet he could find into the bathroom. I could hear him opening them all, one by one, pushing out every single pill and emptying them into the toilet. I knew what he was doing, but I couldn't move, the resounding flush echoing around the room drawing a strangled cry of 'No!' from my throat, but I knew it was futile, I knew there was no point in begging, but I tried anyway as he stormed back in and picked up the two white plastic bottles he'd thrown at me before.

"Please Randy, don't…" I reached for his arm but he flinched away from me, "You don't understand!"

"I don't understand?!" he practically exploded, "What exactly don't I understand Cody? The pain? Is that it? How much it hurts? How it feels when someone rips out your heart and tears it into tiny pieces? You got the exclusive rights to that one huh? Or is it the sheer physical exhaustion from keeping up appearances, your body feeling so broken and beaten that you just don't know how you can go on? Huh? HUH? Well come on! Tell me! Tell me exactly what it is I don't fucking understand Cody!"

"Please Randy…" I knew I sounded pathetic, but I needed them, I needed the contents of those bottles so bad, even more than the downers that helped me recover from their effects, "Please!" I tried one last time, but he walked away, and suddenly I felt like I was fighting for my life, I was off the bed and over there like a shot, pulling his arm to try and stop him getting to the bathroom, my fists pummelling his chest like a man possessed, screaming and shouting with a strength I didn't know I had in me, it was like I was fighting for my life… But he was ready, it was like he was expecting it, and he held me off with one arm, his fingers literally closing around my throat as he stretched towards the toilet… and then they were gone, all gone, down the pan…

just like my life…

I screamed and shouted and he just stood still, silent, holding me at bay, letting me hit him almost at will, letting me get it all out of my system. I had no idea where this sudden display of strength came from, I'd been practically dead on my feet only moments ago, but it wasn't long before it was over and I suddenly didn't even have the strength to stand and I could feel my resolve crumbling, the room beginning to spin, my fists still weakly banging against him as he caught me, pulling me to him as my legs gave way and we sank to the floor, my head in my hands, my chest heaving, too furious to cry but incapable of doing much else.

He just let me calm down, kneeling there with me on the carpet, and when I'd finally regained some small semblance of composure he literally hauled me back up onto my feet and guided me over to the bed. I have to admit I was grateful to just collapse into the covers, I had no energy left, no will to… do much of anything, fight back, argue…

live…

He stood looking over me for a minute then disappeared back into the bathroom, I watched him go and tried to make sense of the whole situation, I really didn't seem to have much grasp on reality right now.

He emerged again, with a wash cloth and a glass of water in his hand, staring at me with an unreadable expression on his face.

"Are you okay?"

He said it really quietly, I could hear the undertone of concern in his voice and it made me feel like at least he didn't hate me completely, but I still couldn't help just shrugging like a petulant teenager and scowling at him,

"Why the fuck do you care?" I rolled away from his penetrating gaze, hiding my face in the pillow, for some reason the fact that he was being nice suddenly making me hate him, which really went down well as I'm sure you can imagine.

I instantly saw the change in his eyes as his brow furrowed and his jaw clenched angrily, "This stops now Cody! Do you understand?"

"Why can't you just mind your own fucking business Randy?! Just fuck off!" I didn't even mean to shout again, and a second later I wished I hadn't as his eyes seemed to change colour right in front of me, the translucscent blue darkening to a stormy grey as the mere tone of his next words sent a chilling shiver down my spine,

"I said, do you understand?!"

I nodded, well I think I did, I tried to anyway, but maybe I didn't, cos then I'm sure my eyes must've widened in fear cos next thing I knew he was stalking over, I could almost feel his wrath descend upon me as he took my chin in his hand again and forced my face up to look into his eyes, "You fucking bastard! Don't you dare fucking do this! Do you hear me?!"

I think I at least managed to narrow my eyes at him, I was too busy trying to figure out what he was getting at, and avoiding his stony glare that was boring right into me.

"How many have you taken?" he growled, low in his throat, and I tried to remember...

"Answer me damnit!" he roared in my face and I'm sure I gulped, trying to get the words out,

"Four…" I didn't know, I knew I'd taken more on the coach on the way here… I just couldn't get my mind to stop, like, thinking about… stuff, you know? "Or maybe… maybe five…" I trailed off, aware I was stammering but unable to stop as he loomed over me.

"Are you sure?" he barked harshly in my face, fingers digging in firmly as he held my chin and I cowered, nodding, and he let go, slamming me back into the pillows in the process before covering his face with his hands. I stared at him as he sat there next to me on the bed, I didn't understand what was happening, why he was acting like this, his chest was heaving and he raked his hands viciously over his shorn head again and again, murmuring something incomprehensible.

What? The words were so quiet they registered on a frequency only dogs could hear, rumbling like thunder over me, in one ear and straight out the other, no matter how hard I tried to grasp them and decipher them inside my fugged up brain. He repeated them, louder, looking me right in the eye, "I said, how long?"

I shrugged, the days have blurred to the point I can hardly distinguish one from the other, an endless existence of misery, drifting from one week to the next with nothing changing, nothing capable of pulling me out of my deep despair, the darkness descending further as every day passed.

I was frozen to the spot, I guess I was scared any sudden movement might set him off again… Not that I was capable of that, sudden movement I mean, my heavy limbs seeming to sink into the mattress as sleep, unconsciousness, call it what you will, threatened to claim me against my better judgement. Finally. So I just sat there, waiting, my heartbeat slowly returning to normal after pounding a thousand miles an hour against my ribcage and my eyelids getting heavier and heavier until I couldn't have kept them open if you gave me a million bucks.

My brain switched to standby, and I was aware of Randy turning to face me, I could sense his eyes on me again and the last thing I remember were his words, spoken softly, almost inaudible, "Don't make the same mistakes I made Codes…"

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

I'd been watching him for a few weeks now, it was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes how fucked up he was. I still couldn't believe Beth had done that to him. And then Ted, on top of everything else, couldn't help himself, had to go and act like a complete cunt and fuck him over even more. And then tonight, selfish fucking bastard…

And he wasn't coping, I could see it, plain as the nose on my fucking face. Every move he made was filled with misery, literally a shadow of his former self, dragging his sorry assed carcass around like the weight of the world was on his shoulders, his eyes were like two dead glass balls, devoid of any light, any emotion, he was like a zombie, just going through the motions, I hadn't seen him smile for weeks. It was his eyes that got to me the most, it just wasn't right, like a light had been switched off, his glassy stare not seeing a damn thing majority of the time, dead voids staring out at the world from sunken hollows…

until it was time to play the game.

Then he'd be practically bouncing off the walls backstage, pupils as big as saucers, brilliant sparkling blue barely visible around the edge of the shining depths, ready to go as though his very life depended on it… maybe it did, I dunno.

What I did know, was that what goes up, must come down…

And I know I was seeing all the signs, I fucking knew it… I just refused to believe it, made all kinds of excuses, he's going through a hard time etc etc… maybe I just didn't want it to be true, I couldn't bear the thought of facing all that again, bringing my own demons back to haunt me… reliving a troubled past isn't exactly top of anyone's to do list …

So I just pretended it wasn't happening, just like he was. But I made sure I was there, the last thing I wanted was for him to… I can't even bring myself to think it… follow the path I chose…

But I'm going to make sure it doesn't come to that, not on my watch. But he's stronger than I was, and I never had someone watching my back, he can do it, he'll pull through, if it's the last thing I do…

I kept an eye on him cos I noticed how bad he was getting, because at first he seemed to be holding up okay, the product of just putting on a very brave face I've since come to realise… then suddenly he just became a different person… I don't want him to turn out like…

like me.

Then tonight, his eyes, it was like they were someone else's… he was totally fucked, he was a zombie, there was just no life left in him, dead behind those once bright orbs, you know what I mean? And he was hiding something, back at the arena, I tried to put it out of my mind but I just couldn't stop thinking about it, what I thought I saw…

Turns out I was right… I watched him getting off the coach, he was so out of it, and checking in he was a mess, he barely knew where he was, and then he wasn't answering his phone, I couldn't stop my mind just going straight to the worst… and I know he probably hates my guts right now, but I'm glad I was persistent because the little fucker was doing exactly what I feared. All because of her? I mean, really? I don't get what he ever saw in her anyway...

I'm sitting here now watching him sleep, cos when I saw what he was doing, as soon as my eyes focussed on the label on those pills, as soon as I read the name… my mind instantly flashed back to… that day…

the day when I…

And I just fucking lost it, I couldn't bear the thought of… I mean who knows what might've happened, he was so out of it he didn't have a clue what he was doing…

He can get through this, he will do it, I'll make sure of that. I'm going to have to tell him the truth…

It must've been nearly midday when he finally came to, I was beginning to worry that he'd taken more than he'd said, if I hadn't fallen asleep myself I'd have had him down the hospital getting his stomach pumped…

I woke to the feeling of big sleepy eyes regarding me in confusion, those damn blue eyes of his, I opened my own, slowly lifting my chin from my chest to look up at him from my spot beside the bed. I'd pulled the armchair over and sat there with my arms crossed angrily and my feet up on the mattress, ready to sit vigil at his bedside, keeping an eye on him, to make sure he fucking woke up...

I was so angry with him. Well, okay, not with him as such, with myself really, for letting it get this far. We really needed to talk before it went any further, but I didn't even know where to start, how to start…

"What are you doing?"

Good morning to you too, you ungrateful fuck. "Making sure you're not dead." I narrowed my eyes as his own widened comically at my harsh words.

"What?" his voice barely registered on the air as it caught in his throat, and he seemed to recoil back from me in horror against the headboard as if I was personally responsible.

"Not from me, you dick,"

"What the fuck are you talking about Randy?" He eyed me warily and I sighed and rubbed my eyes, running my hands over my scalp in frustration before stretching out and sinking lower into the relative comfort of the overstuffed lounge.

"How much do you remember?"

"Of what?"

"Last night…"

"Last night?" I could see the confusion growing and the concern evident, plastered across his face as he tried to piece back together the no doubt scattered fragments his memory could produce. This was going to be a long talk…

"I need coffee." I stood quickly and busied myself over by the minibar, avoiding his eyes which I could feel boring into my back. If I was going to do this I needed strength, even if it was artificial I decided, stuffing an entire Snickers in my mouth at once and chucking one vaguely in his direction too. With the comfort of chocolate to at least somewhat ease my churning belly, if not my troubled mind, I finally sat back down, handing him a strong black steaming mug and clasping my own tightly in my slightly trembling hands.

I watched him nervously take a hesitant sip and his eyes darted to his bedside table. I knew instantly what he was looking for, and he sure as hell wasn't going to find them there.

"So you seriously don't remember anything at all?"

"Uh… no, like what?" He looked in the top drawer, seeming to get somewhat agitated and distracted at finding it empty. What a surprise.

Putting his coffee down he quickly slipped out from under the covers and padded over to his bag, still in disarray from when I'd flung everything out of it last night, and it still didn't seem to jog his memory as he searched through, getting more frantic as he looked round the room, obviously trying to figure out where he'd stashed his morning pick me up.

"You won't find them Cody." I said quietly, regarding him solemnly over the rim of my mug as I took another sip.

"What?" he looked at me strangely, "I… I don't know what you're on about…" he trailed off and came back and looked in the top drawer again before sinking down on the mattress, a faint sheen of sweat already apparent across his forehead as he raked his fingers over his face desperately, eyes catching hold of the coffee again and grabbing it up, hands actually shaking now and downing it quickly in big frantic gulps, shoving huge bites of Snickers in his mouth in quick succession before collapsing back against the pillows. He was breathing heavily and I frowned, watching him closely as he suddenly sprung back up, heading for the bathroom.

"I'm gonna be sick…"

I followed him in, just in time to see him sink to his knees and bury his head in the toilet bowl. He stayed that way for quite some time, violent, rasping breaths wracking his whole body as he convulsed, shaking and trembling before finally stilling, resting his head in his arms. As I leant forward to flush the cistern he caught sight of the empty foil packets in the tiny hotel bin, and the look on his face was one of utter devastation, as if he truly believed in that moment that his life was over, that without them he couldn't go on, and the whole harrowing process started all over again.

It took the best part of an hour but I finally had him cleaned up, standing him under the relentless driving needles in the shower in an attempt to reawaken his senses, before propping him back up against the pillows, waiting on room service to bring some sustenance, and some proper coffee.

He looked decidedly grey, his zombie like trance worrying as we talked, and he slowly pieced everything back together, before descending into a fretful panic, pleading with me, "I can't do it Randy, I just can't do it on my own…"

He just repeated it over and over, nothing I said made any difference, no matter how many times I reassured him that he didn't need them, the pills, and he sure as hell didn't need her, he was better than that, better than them… until finally the food arrived and I actually had to sit there and force him to eat it, waiting for the tremors to subside in his shaking fingers and some colour to return to his cheeks before I began my attempt to scare him into submission with my own pity party of misery and woe.

"Cody, there's something you should know…"

--Flashback. May 2006.

Randy looked down as the small green screen lit up in his hand, unable to help the way his heart clenched momentarily as he saw the name flash up. His finger lingered over the button, delete, or read, he knew the future lay in his next action, but before he could stop himself he pressed down hard, his eyes blinking rapidly to avoid the words he already knew were there. But it was too late, they seemed to loom up at him, magnified perhaps through the tears he did his darndest to knuckle away, the sudden onslaught overwhelming him as the tiny letters broke his resolve, his heart already way beyond repair.

--We have to stop doing this. It's over.--

Two tiny words.

It's over.

It was, he knew it. He'd known it was coming for quite some time, hell, he'd expected it every single damn time… But it didn't mean it made it any easier. It didn't mean it didn't break him.

He moved as though in a trance, in slow motion, fingers curling over the lid of the white plastic bottle in his other hand, shaking the entire contents into his palm. He stared at the brightly coloured two toned capsules, moving them around with his finger as he considered his options. What options? He really didn't have any others. Not any more. That's the way he saw it anyway.

Scooping the entire lot into his mouth, he threw back his head, sucking greedily on the bottle of scotch until every last one was gone, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, ready, waiting. All he had to do now, was sit tight.

Sit and wait,

waiting,

sitting.

He smiled to himself as the words repeated themselves over and over in his mind, and the room seemed to get much smaller all of a sudden, the colours fading, the lights diminishing, and the scotch was forgotten as it spilled over by his feet as he collapsed backwards onto the mattress, a feeling of calm and light permeating his senses, no more pain, no more dull ache in his heart every single time it dared to pump against his ribcage, dared to pump life to his extremities, and against all his better judgement… dared to break.

His phone slipped from his fingers, falling to the carpet just as the screen lit up again, three more little words, that Randy would never see.

--I love you—

I stared at Randy as he talked, his deep, low voice rumbling over me like thunder, seeming to wrap me up and envelope me in an attempt at protection from the words numbing me to my very core.

That could've been me…

It could've been me, yet, with an entirely different ending… What if… what if no one had've found me? What if Randy hadn't come and forced his way in when he did? It would've been an accident, I didn't even know what I was doing, well not on a conscious level anyway… but it wouldn't have mattered, it still would've been too late… all because I was too weak to carry on… to be a man…

I know that's not what Randy was trying to say, but it suddenly hit me like a freight train, right here, in my chest, he made sure I understood why he was telling me all this and it really hit home hard.

I could see the brightness shining in his eyes, and I knew how difficult it must be for him to talk about it as he knuckled it away furiously before it had a chance to become anything else, something more telling. The way he was clutching his coffee to his chest like a lifeline as he talked, it broke my fucking heart I'm not gonna lie, I just can't believe he went through all that on his own. And he was telling me how it didn't have to be that way, for me, that he wasn't going to let me make the same mistakes he made, that he'd be there every step of the way, that I wouldn't have to be alone.

I really didn't know what to say. I have to admit I don't have much faith in myself right now, but I didn't realise how reliant I'd become on the synthetic solution. I want to try, I really do, but I don't know if I can do it, on my own.

The pain…

…………………………………………………………..

Cody told me he didn't know how he'd be able to handle the pain, and I knew what he meant, the emotional shit always makes the physical aspect a million times worse, and the pain in his heart had overtaken his entire body, everything was compounding tenfold and he'd got so used to feeling numb, not having to deal, not having to confront it, that he literally didn't think he could anymore.

And no one is gonna deny we demand a lot from our bodies in this profession, our lifestyles alone are taxing enough without the added physical pressures, so yeah, there's bound to be pain, it's just that everyone has their own ways of dealing with it, of working through it.

I know I certainly do.

It might not be the best way for everyone, but it fucking works for me. If I'm not careful I could get in serious trouble again with the meds, I have to be really strong, I changed my diet, my routine, my workout, fuck, practically my whole life in order to deal with that shit. Or lack thereof…

Isn't it ironic how it's the legal prescribed shit that almost killed me yet the stuff that actually helps could land me in prison? And I think it goes without saying that I'd rather be in trouble with the cops, than be dead.

But luckily, in my case at least, Vince has a lot of patience, a lot of sway, a lot of money, and our wwe doctors can prescribe anything

I dug deep in my pockets and withdrew the tiny plastic bag and a couple of Rizla from inside my packet of smokes. Cody was no angel, but I knew his eyes would be wide and he'd be watching me in horror, expecting someone to walk in and catch me at any moment. But I just carried on, rolling away, until I had the perfect joint between my fingers. Without looking at him I slipped it back inside the pack and stood up, "Coming?"

…………………………………………………

I followed Randy up a few flights of fire escape stairs until we suddenly emerged, blinking, into the midday sun as we stepped out onto the large expanse of hotel roof.

"So hang on… Randy, what exactly are you getting at?"

"It's not rocket science man…"

I stared at him, incredulous as we climbed over some airconditioning ducts and sat down behind them, nicely hidden, on the warm sunny concrete, "You're not serious?"

He just looked at me and raised his eyebrow as if to say 'what do you think jackass?' but all he actually said was, "They should put a pool up here…"

"What?" I looked around, properly taking in our surroundings for the first time as he lit up, "Yeah, they should. But dude, we get tested, or had you forgotten?"

"Don't worry about that…"

"Don't worry about it?! Are you insane?! Randy, you maybe wanna cast your mind back, to say, oh I dunno, that time you got suspended perhaps?! Because you got caught??!"

"Cody," he sighed, taking a long pull before he turned and looked at me, and his voice sounded like he was talking to an incompetent school kid who couldn't grasp simple concepts, and I immediately got pissed,

"What?"

"If you just let me finish…" I opened my mouth to protest again but he just shoved the joint between my lips and stared at me until I relented, great, now I felt like I was in trouble, but I shut up, taking my first drag in years, enjoying the instant feeling that washed over me as he continued, "Vince knows, about me, fuck who do you think was the one giving me all the second and third chances every time I fucked up? He had to suspend me that time cos word got out, but he's in my corner, just let me talk to him…"

"Talk to him? Fuck no! Randy, seriously, you can't tell him about this…"

He plucked the joint from my fingers as I waved it around dramatically, hurriedly taking a long draw before it went out, "Look he already knows what went down with you guys, he knows it's been hard on you man, he'll want to help…"

"He… he knows about that?"

"Cody everybody knows…" he looked a little crestfallen at his own words, and gave me a sad smile as he passed over the spliff again.

"Oh… great…" I mean I figured as much, you know, but actually hearing it out loud like that, yeah, just great… I gratefully took in a massive lungful of smoke and slowly breathed it back out into the air, watching it swirl away in the gentle breeze. I could get used to this I decided, I was feeling more relaxed than I had in ages, despite what I'd just found out.

We lapsed into a companionable silence as we passed the spliff back and forth, and he was right, I was already feeling like I was at least semi-capable of being able to take on the real world.

"Are we even allowed up here?"

"What do you think?"

"So how did you even know how to get up here then?"

He exhaled a large plume of smoke into my face and leant back, tilting his face towards the sun and smirking as I grimaced, "I have my ways…" he offered quietly,

"As ominous as ever," I mused, and he grinned, grinding the butt into the ground before pushing himself to his feet, stretching himself out before offering me a hand. "My ass is numb," I discovered as I gingerly stood back up, and he just laughed at me, the fucker.

"Come on, it's about time we got ready to go,"

……

Randy kept his eye on me the entire night, and I know I'm lucky to have such a good friend. He bundled me out of the hotel unscathed, made sure I was kept completely occupied and distracted so I didn't even have time to worry about the lack of the beloved meds I'd become so accustomed to. By the time we finished our match we had just enough time to sneak out for another puff before we got on the coach to head to the next city.

I was feeling okay actually, once the adrenalin wore off I was worried I'd find myself sitting there, confined to a suffocating coach seat with no escape and no means of suppressing my rising anxiety. But Randy just hauled me off for yet another smoke, keeping me stoned off my face until I got over the worst of it, thrusting an Xbox controller in my hand almost as soon as we stepped foot in the hotel room after he'd seen me get a bit edgy in front of all the fans. And he kept me company, despite my moody sullenness and the fact that I didn't say a damn word to him the entire time, until I finally succumbed to the lull of another fitful nights sleep.

But I actually awoke feeling rested for the first time in ages, getting a better nights sleep from the weed than from the pills designed to specifically do just that. And again Randy was on hand to make sure I ate, dragged me down the gym, worked the hell out of me, before we yet again ended up on some random hotel roof, smoking quietly in the sun.

I'd never seen him be like this before, like such a, a fucking mother, but I suppose I must've really scared him the other day, it all hitting a bit too close to home for him I guess… And I understand that I really do.

I wonder who it was? That drove him to it I mean… that hurt him so bad… Anyway, if he wanted me to know he would've told me…

But my point is, I wouldn't have even made it through the day if it wasn't for him, I know that.

And I'll be eternally grateful.

But not even Randy can save me from myself, I'm my own worst enemy, and I should've known I'd be my own downfall. On the coach on the way to the arena, I decided to catch up on some email. No harm in that, right? But as I sat browsing through my phone, I had to scroll through about a million facebook notifications, so I ended up having a look on there too. And then, as usual, one thing led to another, and I knew I shouldn't have done it, but I found myself staring glumly at her twitter, the words etching themselves into my brain, burning themselves into my retinas, and that was it, that's all it took, everything was fucked.

"Just sitting here...listening to the rain...love makes simple things like this seem so beautiful. Alright...enough mush already."

………………………………………………………………………………….