Courtesy the rratedauthor... I really had no intention of resurrecting Tom, but one of my most valued readers, and the one who also broke the tie to kill him in the first place, didn't believe that me and Megan would do it. So Nooks, this one is for you!
TNA tapings were run a lot like those in WCW's latter stages. Things were constantly being rewritten, even in the last hour before the show began, so it was no surprise that some of the talent would come to the arena thinking they were doing one thing, and then find out something completely different. This was one such case.
"Where is he?" Russo's office door was kicked open. Vince looked up from his latest rewrite.
"Who the fuck are you and how did you get past security?"
"Never mind that. Where is that asswipe Jeff Hardy?" With one sweep of his arm, everything on top of Russo's desk landed in a pile on the floor. "You gonna talk?"
"Th-third locker room on the right."
"This ain't over. You better not be fucking with me!" Slamming the door closed behind him, he was gone. While a little shaken, Vince was soon back to doing what he didn't exactly do best, but it was the only thing he was being paid for at the moment.
Ink, Inc. Were discussing their upcoming tag match against Beer Money when they were shoved aside by the irate man. Shannon got a semi-good look at him.
"What the fuck is he doing here?" He asked
"Whoever he is, he's got a hate on for Jeff." Jesse Neal replied
The vein over Shannon's left eye started to twitch, a sign that something wasn't exactly as it seemed.
"Follow me." He took off in the same direction.
His green hair dye still wet, Jeff was in the process of digging through his gear, trying to find that perfect layered look for his arm wraps.
"Dammit... who took my turquoise wraps?" He yelled
"Hardy, you gotta stop looking like such a fag." AJ shouted from across the changing room. "It's bad for business."
Jeff scrunched up his mouth, biting back a real mean reply. Ever since he'd been put into a story line with Ric Flair, Styles seemed to take that as proof he was better than everyone else in the company. Something he was willing to flaunt whenever it suited him.
"Lay off, Styles. Just because he refused to suck your dick doesn't mean you own the man." RVD came to Jeff's aid.
Styles snorted. "Fags. They're thick as thieves." He muttered, before leaving to search out his mentor.
The title and his main event status had gone to AJ Styles' head. That was one thing the entire locker room could see, even if upper management was clueless. Given who ran the company, that was almost to be expected.
Jeff wiped his face with his arm. He hated being called that. He'd been with TNA long enough that it shouldn't bother him, but yet he was almost in tears every time someone made such a comment . The former champion was the worst offender and there were days when Jeff wanted to swallow his pride and run back to the WWE where he'd at least have his two brothers watching his back.
"He's just jealous that you're twice as popular as he ever was." RVD sat down beside Jeff and rubbed his neck. "He's trying to get you to do something stupid so he can be top dog again."
Jeff nestled into Rob's shoulder. It was like AJ was going out of his way to push Jeff's buttons and it was only a matter of time before Jeff snapped. Last time it was messy, with Jeff abruptly walking out of TNA. This time... who knew?
"Just remember that if you need someone to lean on, I'm here, but I will need my shoulder back in about ten minutes. I'm on."
"I know." Jeff sighed
"If it's really that bad, why don't you go talk to management? Maybe they'll have a word with AJ." Rob suggested, shrugging with his one free shoulder.
"And get a rep for not being able to fight my own battles? That'd only make things worse." Jeff sighed again.
"Why don't you talk to Matt?"
"He's got his own problems." Jeff didn't want to go into details, but all the years of being one-half of Team Xtreme had finally taken it's toll on his older sibling. His kayfabe suspension was to give him time to heal, but Matt had confided that he was counting the months, not years, until he could leave the game.
"Then I dunno what I..."
"There's some psychopath looking for you." Jesse Neal ran into the locker room. "He just trashed Russo's office and he's heading this way."
Jeff cringed at the word 'psychopath'. He'd met one back when he was with the WWE, a guy by the name of James Lawson, and he didn't want a repeat of that any time soon. Major badness was all it ended up being.
"Psychopath? You've never even met me and already you're resorting to vague characterizations! That really fuckin' hurts, man."
Jeff recognized the voice and his mood changed immediately. "Tommy?" He jumped to his feet and embraced him.
"Hey, Jeffro." Tom returned the hug and kissed him softly on the cheek. Some of the less-mature members of the roster (ie. all of them) started up with wolf whistles.
"I knew it." Styles had returned, either having forgotten something or his mentor was busy stylin' and profilin'. "Fuckin' fags."
"Is he the one?" Tom asked. Jeff nodded.
Tom glared at Styles before marching over and grabbing the former champion by the shirt. "For a fuckin' Christian, you sure don't do that 'love thy fellow man' stuff real well, do ya?"
"But..." Tom was only two inches taller than AJ, but he definitely had a good thirty pounds on him, which did make him somewhat intimidating.
"Shut that hole in your God-fearing face. I am going to explain this only once. Whether or not my brother" and he emphasized the last word "is hetero, homo, bi, tri, or omni-sexual is none of your fucking concern."
"None of my concern? That heathen..."
Tom rolled his eyes. He'd heard all this before.
"Let me repeat myself since obviously you don't seem to listen real well. It... is... none... of... your... fucking... concern. Unless you want our short acquaintance to be pain-filled, I would hope you'll heed my words." Tom pushed AJ to the floor just as several security guards arrived on scene. Apparently Russo had thought Tom was a deranged lunatic.
"Hold it right there." They pointed batons, tasers, and mace at Tom.
"You sure know how to make an entrance, Tommy." Jeff giggled
"Let me guess... Vince Russo told you a crazed man burst into his office and made a mess, right?" Tom rolled his eyes and faced the officers.
"Well, yeah." The one closest to Tom stated
"Same old Russo." Tom rolled his eyes again. "We can solve this real easily. Let's go to Dixie's office and straighten all this out."
"After you." The guards motioned for Tom to leave.
"This won't take long Jeffers." Tom quickly hugged him again then allowed the police to walk him out.
"What was that about?" Chris Sabin demanded. His locker room reputation aside, he was actually glad that someone had finally stood up to Styles.
"I dunno." Jeff shrugged, stifling back a giggle. "But Tommers sure knows how to make an entrance."
Five minutes after being herded out of the locker room, Tom found himself face-to-face with Dixie.
"I don't know what the protocol was where you came from," obviously referring to the WWE, "but here we usually introduce ourselves to the boss rather than make the head of our creative team think we have a lunatic running around."
She tried to look intimidating but Tom, who had once faced down Vincent Kennedy McMahon himself, was not one to be intimidated.
"What's one more lunatic." Tom shrugged "But I was more concerned about what my brother was telling me than niceties."
"Exactly what did he tell you?" If Tom's hunch about Dixie having less than half a clue was ever to be proved, that statement did it.
"Well... how about homophobia, hazing... do you really want me to go into detail?" Tom was prepared to quote chapter and verse from the many phone calls, emails, and text messages he'd received from his younger brother since rejoining TNA.
"Uh..." Dixie looked directly at Tom and even someone of her limited acumen could see how deadly serious he was. "Could you leave us alone?" She barked at the cops still standing in the doorway. "I've got this under control."
"If you say so, ma'am."
"And close the door behind you." She yelled
Tom watched the cops go, then turned back to Dixie. Without asking permission, he sat down and glared at her.
"I'm gonna be honest with you, 'coz that's the only way I know how to deal with people. If I hadn't just been informed that Stamford had nothing for me, you and I wouldn't even be having this conversation. I still think me being here is like boarding the Titanic knowing it's gonna hit an iceberg."
"Then why are you here?"
"Simple. Jeff." Tom crossed his arms and legs, a smirk tugging the corners of his mouth. "He's always had either me or Matt to protect him."
"But are you still under contract to the WWE?" Dixie asked "If you are, then..."
"There is nothing in my contract that says I can't be here. The no-compete doesn't kick in unless they release me." The smirk turned into a smile. "But both you and I know that Vince is not that stupid. With 'Taker hurt, he doesn't have much."
"What about that NXT thing?"
Tom shrugged "What about it? It would've worked if Danielson hadn't supposedly crossed the line..."
"I heard that was all story line." In her own subtle way, Dixie was pumping Tom for information.
"Maybe, maybe not." Tom saw through her real easy. "Either way, it's better than the crap your creative team has come up with lately. I'm going to check on my brother, now. Should I expect any trouble from the cops?"
"Only if you trash another office." Dixie replied
Tom nodded, standing.
"Then our business is concluded." Tom answered "If you need some ideas about how to use me, you know where I'll be, but I'd rather not deal with Hogan or Bischoff."
"I think I can arrange that." Dixie smiled. She didn't like dealing with them either, but she was kinda stuck with them.
Tom was in the doorway when he turned. "There is one thing you can help me with... was there ever anything between Jeff and AJ?"
"Not since he came back, but they were a couple Jeff's first time around." Dixie answered "But you'd have to ask some of the guys who were around back then. They could probably tell you more."
"I just might have to." Tom replied, but it was more confirmation than any new info he was getting. He already knew that Jeff had been linked with Styles and that he hadn't so much as said goodbye. "I'll show myself out."
Tom returned to the locker room. On his way, he passed Styles and Flair discussing their angle (and not Kurt). AJ literally stopped in mid-word when Tom came into eyesight.
"Focus, champ... whooo!" Ric sounded like he was cutting a promo. "Tonight..."
"Yeah, yeah, I know... excuse me."
"Hey champ, we gotta match tonight... where ya goin'?"
"I know... I got some personal business to deal with."
Tom groaned softly. "Personal business... I'll make it personal if he gets in my business."
"Just who the hell do you think you are?"
"Here goes." Tom whirled around "Tom Hardy... Jeff's older brother and your worst nightmare if you continue to treat him like a piece of crap."
"I treat him like a piece of crap? After what he did to me?"
"That was four fuckin' years ago." Tom clenched his teeth. "Even I don't carry a grudge that long. You need to move on and I'm here to see that you do. End of story. Good day, sir."
"Tell me, Hardy... how long after he came back to that joke of a Federation did he start sleeping with his coworkers?" Styles taunted Tom. "'Coz he's been fucking Anderson since day one here."
With his back to Styles and Flair, neither of them could see that not only was Tom not surprised by this, but he was actually smiling. Beginning to whistle, he concluded his stroll back to the locker room.
So jealousy rears its ugly head once again. Typical...