Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with the WWE.
Author's Note: Thank you for your reviews, guys! Now, this is the last actual chapter of the story, but there will be one more update after this. Can't believe it's almost done... lol. Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Jeff's eyes widened with horror, only able to stare at the other man in shock. Adam looked down at his best friend with concern. "Jay, are you okay?" he asked. The only answer he got was a nod as he coughed again.
But the younger Hardy hardly heard the question. His eyes only remained on the man who had been his brother. Matthew's hand lingered close to the machine that was keeping Drew alive, pausing for only a moment before he unplugged it.
"No!" Taryn screamed, looking up from where she was tending to Jay. But with Matthew so close, there was nothing she could do.
Matthew then turned his gaze to the door, his smirk widening when he saw Adam and the younger Hardy. He backed away from the life support system, reaching into his sweatshirt.
Jay looked up at the two men anxiously. "Adam, look out!" he warned, his voice hoarse.
Adam looked up and gasped when the other man pulled out a handgun, aiming it in their direction. "Get out of the way!" he shouted to Jeff, shoving him behind the wall on one side of the doorway while he did the same on the other just as the gun was fired. Adam flinched when the bullet hit the doorframe right next to his head.
The sound of the gunshot snapped Jeff out of his shock, and he looked at his friend with worry. "You all right?" he wondered anxiously.
"Yeah," Adam told him with a nod. "I wasn't hit."
Jeff sighed with relief, about to sneak a glance into the hospital room. But both he and Adam backed away from the door when Matthew rushed out, running down the hallway and turning the corner out of sight.
"Let's go," Adam muttered, about to hurry after him. But he was stopped by a hand on his arm. "Jeff?"
The younger Hardy shook his head. "I have to do this alone," Jeff told him, his expression unreadable. "It's my brother who's still in there somewhere... This is my fight, Adam, I don't want you getting hurt. He's only going to kill you."
"But, Jeff..." Adam began, his sentence trailing off when Jeff smiled at him.
"Trust me, I'll be fine," Jeff said.
Adam looked at his friend for a long moment before he sighed, running his hand through his hair as he lowered his gaze. "Be careful," he replied.
Jeff rested his hand on his friend's shoulder for a minute before he took off after Matthew. Adam watched the younger Hardy until he was out of sight before he went into the hospital room. He rushed over to Taryn, who was anxiously trying to plug the life support system back in, but her fingers were shaking so badly it was difficult.
"Here," he muttered, gently moving her aside. Adam was able to get it plugged back in relatively easily before glancing down at Drew, placing two fingers on his neck to check for his pulse. "Well, the nurses will have to put the right settings back on, but for now, Drew should be okay."
Taryn wrapped her arms tightly around Adam as tears rolled freely down her cheeks. "Thank you," she whispered before she let go.
Adam smiled at her and nodded, squeezing her hand for a minute before they both hurried over to Jay. "Hey, Man, you sure you're okay?"
Jay looked up when his best friend knelt next to him on one side with Taryn on the other, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Matthew's getting away!" he said anxiously. "What are you still doing here?"
Adam sighed. "Jeff went after him alone," he muttered.
"What?" Jay looked at Adam with shock as he sat up more. "Adam, this isn't the time for Jeff to play the hero. We need to help him."
But to his surprise, Adam shook his head. "I understand where he's coming from, Jay," he replied, seeing his best friend's eyes falter for a second. "I did the same thing when we found out you were working with Matthew and Shane. I sent John, Taryn, and Drew away so I could deal with you myself. You're my brother, it was no one else's concern. Now, Jeff's in the same situation. Matt is in there somewhere."
"I don't know about that," Taryn said in nearly a whisper as she wiped her tears away. "Matthew was talking to Jay before you guys got here, and he said he was in complete control. Looking in his eyes... I didn't see any hints of Matt anymore at all."
"Matt's still in there, he's just completely buried right now," Jay added, turning his attention to Adam. "Matthew's not stopping until we're all dead, that much is certain. He's been in the hospital ever since Lexie came back, watching us. The reason we're still alive is because he wants to see us suffer. If Jeff faces him alone, he'll do whatever he has to do to put him through the most pain, probably using Matt against him. Jeff couldn't hurt his own brother."
Adam's gaze faltered, knowing the situation he had faced and the one Jeff was in now were completely different. Jay had a conscience- Matthew did not. But before he could say anything, all three of them looked up when a couple of nurses came in to check on Drew.
"What's going on? Is he okay?" one of them asked anxiously.
"Yeah," Adam answered with a slight nod. "You may have to redo the settings. The system came unplugged."
While the nurses went to check the settings on the machine, Adam helped Jay to his feet as Taryn stood up beside them. "Okay. I'm going to go see if I can find Matthew and Jeff," he told his best friend quietly. "You stay here with Taryn."
"You sure?" Jay wondered. "I can come..."
But his sentence trailed off when Adam nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure," he replied. "Trust me on this, Jay."
Jay looked at Adam for a long moment, seeing his gaze traveled to Taryn, before he sighed, dropping his gaze. "I guess I don't have a choice, do I?"
"Nope." Adam smiled. "It'll be okay. You're right. Jeff shouldn't do this alone." Then, he hurried out into the hallway before the other man could argue with him.
Cursing under his breath, Jay turned away from the doorway, his fist clenching. But his hand soon relaxed when another landed on his arm, and he looked down to see Taryn smiling up at him.
"He'll be okay," she muttered. "He and Jeff both will."
Sighing, Jay returned the smile, lightly placing his hand on top of hers. "Thanks, Taryn."
"Excuse me, Taryn?" the heard nurse who was in charge of Drew suddenly spoke up.
"Yes?" Taryn looked back at her, tightening her hold on Jay's arm as she feared the worst. She found some comfort in his fingers wrapping a little more tightly around hers.
But a smile appeared on the woman's face as she looked back at them. "You may want to see this," she said.
Taryn looked up at Jay with confusion, and he nodded toward the bed as he released her hand. She let go of his arm before she walked forward to stand next to the nurse, who gestured down to Drew's right hand. Looking closer, Taryn gasped quietly when she saw his fingers slowly, almost painfully start to move.
Curious, Jay came up next to Taryn as she leaned over her husband, brushing some hair out of his face before placing her hand on his cheek. "Drew, can you hear me?" she asked, running her thumb lightly over his skin. "Drew?"
The nurses stayed close to the bed while Taryn and Jay watched intently for any more signs of life from the Scotsman. For a long moment, there was nothing. Then, they saw his eyelids starting to flutter, and a minute later, his eyes slowly opened before closing again due to the bright lights above him. Taryn looked back at Jay, grabbing his hand tightly.
Drew was waking up.
Jeff hurried through the waiting room and pushed the door open as he stepped out into the night, looking around for Matthew. His eyes scanned the dark parking lot intently, hoping for any sign of movement to betray his location. But there was nothing.
Suddenly, the younger Hardy cried out with pain when something skimmed his shoulder as he heard a gunshot, the contact burning. He put his hand to the injury, blood staining his fingers. Then, Jeff looked up when he heard quiet laughter, seeing Matthew was leaning against the wall of the hospital a few feet away from him, gun in hand. He smirked, nodding at him before disappearing around the corner into the alley.
Narrowing his eyes angrily, Jeff ran after him, pausing a minute before following. There were a few lights from street lamps nearby, casting strange shadows into the dimly lit alley as he slowly walked, keeping an eye out for the other man. "Matt?" he called. "Matt!"
"Matt's not here."
Jeff quickly turned around, watching Matthew walk out of the shadows of the hospital behind him. "You're there somewhere, Matt," he muttered, not backing down as he came closer.
Matthew only laughed. "Foolish as always, I see," he said, slowly taking more steps toward the younger Hardy. "Matt is gone. I am in control now."
But Jeff shook his head, his jaw set firmly. "No, I refuse to believe that," he replied quietly. "I know you're in there somewhere, Matt."
"Well guess what, Jeffro?" Matthew asked in a snide tone. "Matt is here somewhere. But he will not be able to save you." Then, before Jeff could say anything, he raised his hand and punched the younger man forcefully in the jaw.
Jeff stumbled back, quickly regaining his footing. Then, Matthew's fist connected with his stomach, and Jeff doubled over, all of the air forced from his lungs. Matthew then punched him a third time across the jaw, and the younger Hardy fell to the ground.
"Do you believe me now, Jeffro?" Matthew asked, slowly circling him. "Your brother was too weak to keep me at bay. And now he's gone, and there's nothing you can do about it."
Coughing as air came back into his body, Jeff rolled over onto his back to look up at the other man, his eyes narrowed angrily. "My brother... is not weak," he answered quietly. "He's one of the strongest people I know."
Matthew smirked. "If he's so strong, where he is now when you need him?" he wondered, pulling out his handgun.
But then, he froze when he noticed something on the ground. Jeff looked to his left, seeing the cracked hand mirror he had found in Matt's hotel room was lying next to him, having fallen out of his sweatshirt when he was knocked to the ground. He quickly moved his gaze back to the other man towering over him, seeing his dark eyes were drawn to his reflection in the mirror.
Knowing it could be his only opportunity, Jeff quickly got to his feet and rammed his shoulder into Matthew's stomach, stunning him enough so he could take the gun from his hands. The younger Hardy made sure it was loaded and aimed it at the other man, his hands shaking slightly.
Matthew looked at Jeff, his eyes shining with amusement. "And just what are you planning on doing with that?" he sneered. "Gonna shoot me, Jeff?"
The younger Hardy swallowed nervously, focusing on keeping the gun trained on Matthew. "You tried to kill us," he muttered. "You've hurt my friends... I can't let you continue."
"But if you kill me... you kill Matt," Matthew reminded him with a smirk. "Could you do it, Jeff? Could you kill your own brother?"
Jeff's gaze faltered, but he didn't lower the gun. "I'm not letting you hurt anyone else."
Matthew glared at Jeff for a moment longer before the angered look was replaced with one of fear. "Wait! Jeffro, don't shoot!" he said, raising his hands. "You were right! I am here. Don't shoot! It's me! Matt."
The younger Hardy's breath caught in his chest as he watched the other man take a few steps closer to him. "Ma... Matt?" he repeated.
"Yeah, Jeffro. It's me! Your brother!" The man's tone was different than it had been only a moment before, but still, Jeff found himself unsure. "Please, don't shoot!"
Jeff looked at him for a moment longer, sighing as he slowly started to lower the gun. But his heart nearly stopped when a dark smirk appeared on the other man's face, his eyes gleaming. "Such a sentimental fool," he murmured, reaching into his sweatshirt and pulling out a second handgun.
There was a tense moment of silence. Then, a gunshot echoed in the night air around them.
Adam hurried through the waiting room, pushing the door of the hospital room open as he walked outside. He looked around at the dark parking lot, frantically searching for any sign of the brothers. "Jeff!" he shouted. "Jeff!"
Then, he jumped when he heard a gunshot from off to his left, and dread flooding through him, Adam ran in the direction of the sound. He turned into an alley on the side of the hospital, and he gasped at the sight.
Jeff was kneeling on the ground next to Matthew, looking at him with horror. "Matt?" he was saying anxiously. "Matt!"
Adam slowly walked toward them, his eyes saddening. The older Hardy's face was pale, his breathing shallow as blood blossomed on his chest. Jeff pulled off his sweatshirt and bunched it up, pressing firmly down on the gunshot wound. "Matt, can you hear me? Matt!"
Then, the wounded man's eyes slowly fluttered open, landing on his younger brother. "Jeff... Jeff?" he said in a voice hardly above a whisper.
Tears rushed to Jeff's eyes when he recognized the eyes of his brother looking up at him. "I'm right here, Matt," he muttered, taking a deep breath. "I'm right here."
Matt's face contorted with pain as Jeff continued to apply the pressure to his chest, struggling to take full breaths. "What... what happened...?" he asked quietly.
Jeff gave him a small smile. "It's okay. You're going to be okay, Matt," he answered, his voice starting to get choked up by the tears in his eyes. "And guess what? We got Lexie back. She's safe."
"Lex... Lexie's safe?" Matt repeated, a small smile appearing at the corner of his mouth.
"Yes." Jeff nodded, feeling a single tear fall from his eye. "And everyone else is safe too. It's going to be okay, Matt, I promise."
Matt looked up at his younger brother, his smile widening. "I'm glad... Jeffro..." he whispered before closing his eyes again.
Jeff's eyes widened anxiously. "Matt? Stay with me, okay? Matt!"
Adam knelt down on Matt's other side across from Jeff, placing two fingers on his neck to check for a pulse. "He's hanging in there," he muttered. "But we have to get him inside. Come on, help me."
Almost in a daze, Jeff helped Adam get Matt off the ground, trying to support him as much as possible as they made their way toward the hospital. "I... I had no choice," the younger Hardy said, clearly still in shock. "He was going to shoot me... It was a natural reflex..."
"I know, Jeff, it's not your fault," Adam assured him, pushing the door open with his back as he entered the waiting room with the Hardys right with him. A nurse that was standing behind the desk saw them, immediately calling for a doctor.
Everything was a blur to Jeff. He hardly felt when Matt was taken from him and Adam by a few nurses and put on a stretcher, hardly noticed when he was brought through the door that led to the patients' rooms, hardly felt Adam's hand rest comfortingly on his shoulder. The only thing he did feel were the sobs that shook his entire body as tears fell freely from his eyes, allowing himself to be supported by Adam before he collapsed to the floor.
The only thing he knew was that if he had succeeded in killing Matthew, he was also responsible for the death of his older brother.
"Do you have any news on Matt's condition?"
Looking back at his best friend, Adam slowly shook his head. "No, not yet," he said, running his hand through his hair. "It's been a few hours. We'll probably hear something soon, though." He paused. "Jeff's been waiting outside his room the entire time. He feels terrible. He shot him out of self defense since Matthew was going to shoot him otherwise."
Jay sighed. They were both standing in the waiting room of the hospital, trying to come to terms with everything that had just occurred. "I know what he's going through," he muttered, remembering Matthew's earlier words to him. "Nearly taking the life of his own brother. Having to watch him struggle to cling to life..."
Adam's eyes narrowed with concern. "Hey, Man, where is this coming from?" he asked. "If this is about what happened in that hotel..." He stopped when Jay couldn't meet his gaze. "It is, isn't it? Jay, we've been over this. It's over..."
"I know." Jay continued to stare at the ground. "Matthew was talking to me before you and Jeff got to the room. He said it was my fault you almost died in that hotel, called me weak for not being able to kill you. Said my feelings got in the way..."
"So, he basically called you weak for saving my life?" When Jay nodded, Adam chuckled quietly as he shook his head. "Jay, that doesn't make you weak. You turned on a homicidal maniac. That takes guts, Man. Don't listen to what Matthew says..."
Despite himself, Jay felt a smile appear on his face. "Look, I know all of that. What I did to you in that hotel was an accident," he said, looking up at his best friend. "It's just hearing it..."
Sighing, Adam placed his hand on the other man's shoulder. "I understand that," he replied. "But there are some things we just have to let go of, things that were out of our control, so they don't keep eating away until there's nothing left of us, Jay. I... I have to do the same with Amy."
Jay looked at Adam for a long moment, but before he could say anything, they heard a door to the waiting room open, and they watched as Taryn entered from where all the patients were kept. Her face was slightly pale, her eyes damp and red-rimmed. The two men exchanged glances, and Jay sighed when Adam nodded in her direction. When he nodded a second time, Jay took a deep breath before he walked over to meet her. Adam went to a chair across the room and sat down, picking up another outdated celebrity magazine and hid his face behind it.
"Hey, Taryn, everything okay?" Jay wondered.
Taryn looked up at him for a moment before wrapping her arms around him tightly, taking a deep breath. "Jay..." she murmured.
Caught off guard by the sudden action, Jay wound his arms around her as well, holding her close. "Taryn, what's wrong? Is Drew okay?"
"Yeah, Drew's going to be fine," Taryn told him, but she didn't release her hold on him. "That's not it..."
"Then what is it?" Jay pressed, tilting her face up to meet his gaze. He didn't know what else would cause her to act like this.
Taryn sighed, biting her lip before looking in his eyes. "I don't know," she said quietly, uncertainly. "I can't really explain it..."
Jay's eyes narrowed slightly with concern. "Can you try? I can help if you tell me what's going on," he replied.
"I know," Taryn muttered, wiping at a stray tear that fell from her eye. "It's just... I've spent the last few hours with Drew. He's awake, not able to do anything, of course... but awake. The nurses were explaining to me how he has some physical atrophy from not moving, and his speech and memory won't be the best at first... I understand that, I do. He's been in a coma for a little over a week. But..."
"But?" Jay looked down at Taryn, waiting patiently for her to continue.
Taryn sighed, shaking her head slightly. "It's not Drew," she told him.
"What do you mean?" Jay asked, feeling her arms tighten around him.
"Most of the time I was in the room with him, he was looking at me," Taryn answered quietly, her voice trembling slightly. "I think he recognized me, I could see that, but... but those aren't the eyes of the man I married. Those aren't Drew's eyes. There's no other way I can explain it."
Jay sighed, tenderly brushing some of her hair back from her face. "Maybe he just needs time, Taryn," he suggested. "As you said, he's been in a coma for a little over a week. Maybe when he starts getting stronger, he'll start getting back to his normal self."
"Yeah, maybe..." Taryn agreed quietly, almost thoughtfully. But then, she sighed as she let go of him. "Sorry about that."
"That's okay," Jay assured her. "Glad I could help."
Taryn gave him a small smile, but then her gaze saddened. "I heard about Jeff and Matthew..." she muttered.
Jay sighed. "Yeah, it's really taking its toll on Jeff," he said. "Matthew's been stopped, but at what price? We haven't heard anything about Matt's condition yet."
"That's awful. I hope he'll be okay." Taryn bit her lip before meeting Jay's eyes. "I actually wanted to talk to you about him... Something he said."
"What is it?" Jay wondered curiously.
Taryn ran her hand through her hair nervously. "When he was strangling you, he mentioned something about how you had... feelings for me," Taryn explained hesitantly. "I was just wondering... Is it true? It came from Matthew, so..."
Jay sighed as he dropped his gaze from hers. "I don't know the best way to put this, so I'm just going to say it," he muttered. "I'm still not sure how Matthew knew, but yes. It's true. Ever since working with you in ECW, I've felt this connection with you. I... love you. I just never said anything before now since you were so happy with Drew, and I didn't want to ruin what you guys had."
More tears formed in Taryn's eyes, but she averted her gaze as she forced them back. "That's what I was afraid of," she said, looking back at him. "You're a great friend, and I don't want to lose that. But I want to stay that way. I don't feel the same way. I never should have kissed you that night, because now, I feel like I've hurt you, which I don't want to do. I love you as a friend, and that will never change. But I'm with Drew. I'm sorry, Jay. I hope you're not mad."
"No, not at all," Jay told her with a smile. "I'm glad you found someone you can be happy with."
Taryn returned it, giving him a quick hug. "Thank you," she whispered before releasing him, turning and walking back through the door that led to the patients' rooms.
Jay watched her until the door closed behind her, and his smile vanished as he sighed. He turned around, seeing Adam was looking up at him from his chair against the opposite wall before slowly lowering his gaze back down to the magazine on his lap. Jay ran his hand through his short hair, slowly walking over to join his best friend. At least he had told her.
Taryn quickly walked down the hallway toward her husband's room, not looking back as she turned the corner. So, Matthew had been right after all. Jay really did love her. It was a thought that had been on her mind since she had heard the man mention it, and now that Jay had confirmed it, it was even weighing more heavily on her thoughts. She wished she had known how Jay felt sooner. Perhaps that way, she could have saved him, and herself, some of the pain she knew they both must have been feeling.
She pushed open the door to Drew's room, seeing the nurses were still there to keep tabs on him. His almost empty eyes moved in her direction when she closed the door again behind her, and Taryn looked back into them, taking a deep breath as tears rushed to her own eyes.
"I'm sorry, Jay..."
A man, his face hidden by shadow, held Lexie in his arms, laughing as she continued to cry...
Phil gasped as his eyes snapped open, sitting straight up on the bed. He looked around at the dark room, pushing some hair that had fallen into his face aside as he waited to hear the voice again.
He looked down at the bed next to him, seeing his daughter had been crying in her sleep as she shouted out with fear. Phil immediately picked her up, holding her close to him. "I'm right here, Lex, it's okay," he said in a soothing voice, rubbing her back as she coughed. "It's okay... It was just a dream. You're safe."
Lexie clung to Phil tightly as she buried her face in his chest, still coughing a little as her sobs slowly started to die away. "Scared... Daddy..." she murmured in between her tears. "Man had me..."
"Well, he's not going to hurt you," Phil replied, kissing her head as he tightened his arms around her a little. "You're with Daddy now, and Daddy's not going to let you go. I promise."
Then, Phil glanced over his shoulder when the small lamp beside the bed was turned on, casting some light into the hotel room. Maria had propped herself up on her arm, looking at her husband and daughter with concern through tired eyes. "Are you okay, sweetheart?" she asked, seeing her daughter's tear-stained face.
Lexie slowly nodded, not releasing her hold on Phil. "Daddy said I'm safe now," she answered.
Maria smiled, sitting up and leaning closer to her daughter to kiss her forehead. "And Daddy's right," she said, running her thumb lightly over her cheeks to wipe her tears away. "You are safe now."
"I know, Mommy," Lexie replied with a smile, snuggling closer into Phil's chest. "Daddy keeps bad man away."
"And don't you forget it." Phil laughed a little, rubbing her back again. "You can sleep easily, Lex. Mommy and I will still be here."
Lexie looked up at Phil and Maria, her tears stopping. "Don't wanna sleep," she replied, sticking out her bottom lip as she pouted. "Don't wanna see that man."
Phil smiled back at her. "Hey, didn't you just say I keep that bad man away?" he wondered. "If you see him again, just tell him Daddy will kick his butt."
This made Lexie laugh, but then, she yawned. "Okay. I will, Daddy," she muttered as her eyes started to droop.
"That's my girl." Phil kissed Lexie's head as her eyes closed. "Sweet dreams."
"She's so tired," Maria said, running her hand through her daughter's dark hair. "But I'm not surprised she's having nightmares."
"Same here. Being kidnapped must have been traumatizing for her," Phil agreed. "Do you want to sleep with her between us? That might be easier for her."
Maria nodded, situating her pillow a little so it was more comfortable before turning the lamp off again. "Sure, fine with me," she told him as she laid down with a yawn of her own.
Phil smiled at his wife, leaning down and kissing her head before he laid beside her. Maria returned the smile, moving a little closer to him as she wrapped her arms around Lexie. Phil wound his arm around his wife, holding both of his girls close to him as his eyes slowly closed. After the phone call he had gotten from Adam earlier that night, telling him about what had happened with Matthew, he knew he could finally rest easy knowing the people he loved were safe and that finally, it was over.
Author's Note: Yep, I realize there are still some unanswered questions, lol. I did this on purpose. That's why there's an epilogue. Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!