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~ Chapter 20 – Betrayal that Hurts the Most ~

"This isn't a negotiation, Randy. Now smile. I'm doing you a favour – no longer will that pain in the ass harass you. You're free of him. You should be thanking me right now."

He didn't say anything for a minute. In all actuality, he couldn't. A huge lump had risen in his throat, threatening to break free and expose the real truth as to why Randy didn't want Wade doing anything about John. He wanted to scream and shout and curse Wade Barrett for entering into his life causing him so much hell. He wanted to wrench himself out of the hold the Englishman currently had him in and burst out of The Corre locker room, to run down the hallways, and put as much distance between him and Barrett as possible. He wanted to run into John's arms, to feel the safety and love that was always present whenever he was folded in those strong limbs.

He couldn't, though. Randy had made a choice and he had to stick with it now. In staying with Wade, in pretending that he actually cared for the man, it was to protect Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. It was to keep them from taking the abuse and the cruel treatment that was delivered their way whenever Barrett needed release. But the main reason – the reason that kept Orton strong and determined to keep his promise – was for John. Leaving Cena's life was for his own good. Jason Reso was right – Randy was a mess. He was a complete fuckup that only got into trouble, always fell into the wrong side of things, always caused trouble or always found a way in the center of it. That wasn't John, and if he stayed with him then Randy was sure the man would have been sucked into his personal hell, as well. Promising a life with Wade Barrett would ensure Cena's safety – or at least that's what he was hoping for.

"… Thank you."

It was late when Wade Barrett and his new boyfriend, Randy Orton, finally arrived back at the hotel – or technically it was early, seeing as how it was about two in the morning or so. Regardless of the time, Wade, Randy, and Ezekiel Jackson all walked with a purpose as they made their way into the brightly lit hotel, their heads lifted high as they sauntered to the elevator on the other end of the lobby. Pressing himself against the corner, Randy grinned when Wade pecked him on the lips before taking his place by Orton's side. Ezekiel Jackson stood in front of the control panel, his dark gaze locked on the numbers as they increased at a steady pace after he pressed the button for their floor. Reaching over, taking Randy's hand, Wade looked at his infatuation and lifted it up, pressing his lips against the soft flesh.

"Are you tired?" He murmured as he leaned in, placing both of his arms on either side of Randy, gripping the metal bars that wrapped along the walls of the metal box, entrapping the man. Lips pressed against soft skin, Barrett moaned as he kissed Randy's neck, the scent of the man heavenly.

Letting out an airy exhalation, Randy chuckled as he shifted slightly, though he wasn't able to move very much due to the Englishman's position. Instead, The Viper leaned his head back against the wall and smirked at the disappointed look that immediately crossed over the men's features at the lack of contact.

"I'm exhausted, actually. Today has been pretty fucked up," Randy said and, in an attempt to appease the man after his rejection, Orton leaned forward hesitantly, his gaze moving to the huge man in front of the control panel before looking back at Wade. Pressing himself against the Englishman, Randy slammed his lips against Barrett's. Squeezing his eyes shut tightly, The Viper kissed hungrily as they fought for dominance, his move definitely improving Wade's sour mood. When the need for oxygen became too much for the Superstars to bear, they finally pulled apart to catch their breaths, Randy's icy pale eyes going back to Ezekiel Jackson. "Besides, I'm not into voyeurism."

Snorting, Barrett let out a humourous chuckle as he shook his head. "Don't worry about that – Jackson knows his place."

The beeping of the elevator sounded throughout the embodiment of the metal box, indicating to the three men inside that they had reached their desired floor. Walking out of the elevator, Wade and Ezekiel Jackson grounded to a halt at the sight of Adam Copeland standing in the middle of the hallway with a cell-phone pressed against his ear. Randy didn't notice Adam at first, but when he walked into the still forms of Wade and Jackson, he figured out right fast that something was most definitely not right. His icy, pale blue eyes went wide in surprise at the sight of Copeland, and it took everything he had to not yank his hand free and run over to the man he shared an unfortunate past with. The shocked look on Barrett's face evaporated rather quickly and it was the firm squeeze of his hand that knocked Orton out of his internal struggle.

Nothing was done at first, no one moved or made a go at being the one to break the uncomfortable silence that befell over the small group. Adam's gaze shifted from Wade and landed on Randy's, and he watched as the surprised, shocked look turned into an unrecognizable expression … as though he had already sealed his fate.

"Chris," Adam finally voiced into the device, his tone soft and slow. "I'm going to have to call you later …" With the cell-phone disconnected and shoved into the depth of his jacket pocket, the Rated-R Superstar looked back up, his countenance a mixture of worry, amusement, and … understanding? "Randy, we've been looking for you."

He had to speak – he knew he did. With an overwhelming sense to just scream out in absolute disgust and fear, to run and not stop until he was safely in John's arms, speech was next to impossible. And as much as he wanted to escape … there was the matter of Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater – two young men who shouldn't have had to deal with Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson any longer. Slater was right – they suffered enough. A squeeze of a hand brought Randy out of his conflicting thoughts long enough to see that he had a death grip on Barrett's hand, clenching it tightly as his mind rationalized all of his options.

"What are you doing here, Adam?" Randy finally asked, hoping the tone of his voice sounded as cold and as harsh as it did in his head. His gaze quickly shifted over to Wade before turning back to Adam. He didn't know if he sounded convincing or not, but Orton took it as a yes since Barrett didn't turn on him.

His gaze was piercing as he stared at Randy, and at first he did or said absolutely nothing for the longest time. Finally, Adam shrugged his shoulders, a lazy smirk forming on his lips. "I was just on the way to my room, but I am so glad that I ran into you," His eyes narrowed slightly before continuing, as though he was trying to say something with his gaze. "I've been meaning to talk to you, actually. Mind if we have a quick chat?"

"I-" Orton started, but before he could even get out the next word, Barrett's hand latched onto his wrist, his fingers digging into Randy's skin, eliciting a small gasp of surprise.

"Whatever you want to say to him, you can say in front of me," Gaze full of hate and annoyance, Wade glared hard at the Rated-R Superstar. He had no idea what history he and Randy shared, but already he didn't like it.

"Sorry – can't do that. It's a 'need-to-know' type of thing and, well, you don't need to know," Copeland chuckled some, his gaze lingering on Randy. Though he didn't show it, words didn't need to be shared between the two to know that Adam was getting pissed.

To say his heart was thundering now was an understatement as Orton looked between Wade Barrett and Adam Copeland, his thoughts quickly putting together the pros and cons of going with either men. If he stayed with Barrett then he would have absolutely no idea what Adam wanted to say and, to be completely honest, Randy wanted to know. Besides, talking to Copeland might give him some insight on how John is doing. It felt like days since he saw John, but it hadn't even been a day yet. It was crazy how things sorted themselves out. Finding out what Adam wanted, though … leaving Barrett's side … not only was that a majour red flag, but the trust that he was slowly starting to build with the man would quickly diminish. The last thing Randy wanted was to be in a tight place like Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater were once in. The current situation that he was in now was confining, but at the same time, comforting.

Clearing his throat, Randy took a deep breath. "What you say in front of me, you can say in front of Wade. I don't want to keep any secrets from him."

"Alright," Adam replied, the tone of his voice crisp. Oh, he was angry and he knew Randy could tell. It was like déjà vu all over again. Regardless, Copeland shook his head and ran a hand through his blonde hair. "It's about John."

"What about him?"

"What do you think, Randy? He's hurting and he's confused and he had no idea where he stands at all with you."

"Why the hell should I care?" Randy squeezed Wade's hand, bringing the Englishman's attention over to him. The last he wanted was for Barrett to interfere with the conversation, but he at least wanted the man to see that he was on his side – at least that's what he wanted his demeanour to express. "Cena was a mistake, one that I won't be making ever again. You can tell him that, too."

Silence was a powerful thing and, as Randy stood there with a hopefully convincing expression, he prayed that Adam would just come out and say something before he lost his edge. That penetrating stare of his was making Orton feel as though he were under examination, as though that was exactly where Adam wanted him to be so he could squirm and actually tell the truth for once. Little good that did, though, Randy thought. Holding his head high, Orton forced himself to remain firm and strong, even if he wanted to give up and break away from Barrett. He was doing it all for John – he had to keep that in mind every time he thought about running away, had to keep repeating it like a mantra to stay in control.

"If you're finished, Copeland," Wade started, sneering at the Rated-R Superstar. "We are-"

"What are you doing?" Adam interrupted, his voice quiet, but loud enough to stop whatever it was that was coming out of Barrett's mouth. Adam's gaze was still locked on Randy's, all annoyance and anger he was holding towards the Englishman gone as he stared at Orton. "What do you think you're accomplishing by doing any of this?"

Icy, pale blue eyes shifted to Barrett's before locking back on Adam's, and Orton only shook his head. "You wouldn't understand."

"Oh, I highly doubt that."

Nothing else was said, but honestly, what else could be said after that? Randy and Adam knew what they were referring to – that night between them that changed their relationship from being simply acquaintances to something much deeper than that. Regardless, it was in the past, and as much as Randy was thankful for what happened between them, he wanted it to stay in the past.

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Defeated – that was how John Cena felt after Adam had told him who he had just ran into and what he had been told. After everything that they had been through, that was exactly what he didn't expect from Randy. Did their relationship mean that little to Orton? Did he just use him for sex? That couldn't be it. No, the look of fear on The Viper's face was all too real – no person could pull that off. What was he doing then? That was the question on Cena's mind and, no matter how many times he poked and prodded at Adam to get some sort of answer out of him, he wouldn't budge. John didn't know why he was demanding answers from the man. What would he know about Orton? Maybe it was the fact that they were once Tag Team Champions. They had a history together. It's possible that Orton said something to him. Eventually, he simply gave up, resigning to the fact that Randy had left him in the dark just like he was doing to Cena.

Not only did The Champ feel defeated, but deep down, the longer he processed everything that was said, everything that he had witnessed … the more pissed off he became. What in the hell was Randy Orton thinking, giving up so easily? Why wasn't he fighting!? He was strong enough to fight, but he apparently didn't think so. Cena knew differently, though. Randy was a lot stronger than he actually thought, but was too scared to realize.

Shaking his head, The Champ stood from his seat on the couch and started to pace the hotel room that he was sharing with Chris Jericho and Adam. "I can't just sit here, guys. I know what Randy said, but I know what's true and what isn't. He's only doing this to protect me."

Adam nodded his head, already prepared for that type of response from Cena. Chris on the other hand … not so much.

"What? John, come on, man; you're not thinking."

"I'm not going to just sit here while that son-of-a-bitch threatens Randy into staying with him, because he doesn't have the juice to go out and find someone who actually wants to be with him! Sorry, Chris, but that's just not happening. I'm getting him back."

Nodding his head, Chris closed his eyes and reminded himself to stay calm and in control, to not snap. That was the last thing any of them needed. "I understand that, John, I really do, but do you think it will work if you confront him?"

"What are you talking about?"

Standing up, Jericho made his way over to his good friend. "I mean, after everything Barrett said and did to him, after installing all of that fear, do you really think he'll just run? Do you think he'll be inclined to stop whatever it is he's doing that's keeping him at Barrett's side?"

Cocking his head to the side, Cena furrowed his brows and shook his head, unable to put together the pieces that Jericho was trying to picture for him. Instead, the man took a step back and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "I don't understand what you're saying, Chris …"

"It's obvious that whatever it is he's doing is to keep you safe, correct?" When John nodded, Chris continued. "I'm saying … that maybe Barrett promised to not hurt you if he agreed to be with him."

"He wouldn't do something stupid like that. There has to be something else that we're missing."

"You know there isn't," Chris interjected, his voice a bit louder than before. When John started pacing all around the room, Jericho crossed his arms and followed him with his eyes. "Deep down, you know that, too."

"You don't actually expect me to just sit here and accept that, right?"

"No, I don't … I'm just letting you know in advance when Orton attacks you rather than kiss you," He didn't say anything for a moment, just watched as the plethora of emotions flickered across Cena's face, how his body immediately tensed and coiled. Jericho didn't want to hurt John nor did he want to leave him in a state of helplessness, but he couldn't stop what was happening or what was going through Randy's head. "I don't want to hurt you, John; I don't want to crush your hopes. I believe in being prepared and we have to be if we're going to go in this. You know I'll follow you, no matter how pointless or reckless it's going to be, but you have to know what to expect going in. He won't follow you, won't listen to you. He'll do what Barrett expects him to do, and that's to fight you, to hurt you."

The last thing John wanted to hear was that, but the more he listened, the more he absorbed Jericho's words, the more it all started to make a bit more sense. Everything Chris said made perfect sense. In the short time that he and Randy had been together, John became well aware of how loyal he was, how dedicated he was. Randy was the type of person – no matter how he tried to hide it behind his bad-boy persona – who would do anything for anyone if it meant keeping his loved ones happy. This … staying with the horror that was Wade Barrett … it made perfect sense – it was Randy's way of keeping him out of harm's way. With John's head on the chopping block and Barrett being the one to hold the ax, it was the perfect way of keeping Randy in line, of making sure that he didn't do anything that would hurt John.

Sitting down on the foot of the bed, Cena couldn't help but feel so completely helpless. He could feel what hope he had deflate into sure desperation. All he wanted was Orton in his arms, to hold him, to kiss him, to erase all of the fears he had. He wanted to make him happy, to cuddle with him, to tell him that he loved him every single day. He wanted to make Randy smile, because – in John's eyes – that was the most beautiful sight in the world. The more he thought about his love for Orton, the more convinced he became that he couldn't just let him go.

"I understand where you're coming from, Chris … but I can't give up on him. Regardless of what they throw at me, I can't stop. I need him almost as much as I need air in my lungs to breathe. I'm going to fight."

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Pacing in the middle of the ring, Randy Orton took a deep breath and looked around the arena. Another houseshow was in progress and The Viper couldn't help but enjoy how familiar everything was, how normal it felt. For the first time in a few days, Randy felt as though everything was back to the way it used to be. Ignoring the problems in his life, Orton was just another WWE Superstar, mentally preparing himself for a match. He couldn't help but smile some, the adrenaline pumping through his veins as he awaited the music that would indicate his opponent coming out. Turning his attention to the fans, Orton allowed himself a moment to have fun with the fans, pointing at various signs that he liked that were out in the audience, smirking and winking at pretty girls that were along the front row, waving at small children that were perched on their mother's hip.

He was completely caught off guard when John Cena's music hit, because the man who was running down the ramp was someone he wasn't scheduled to fight at all.

Before he even knew what the hell was going on, John had slid into the ring and wrapped his arms around his waist, taking him down to the floor. The action took Orton by surprise, especially when it was Cena doing the attacking, but his in ring instincts came into play, and Randy found himself fighting The Champ, trying to get back to his feet. John wouldn't let up, though. Grabbing his arms, Cena pushed Randy back down on the mat and climbed on top of him, delivering punches. Protecting himself from the brunt of Cena's aggression, Orton waiting for an opening and, when Cena pulled back to deliver yet another blow, Randy punched John in the stomach, knocking the air out of him.

Scrambling to his feet, The Viper took several steps back until he grabbed the top rope, his eyes wide – full of surprise and anger. "What in the hell are you doing, John!?"

"What am I doing!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" John yelled, the veins in his arms and neck so pronounced, they looked as though they were going to pop at any given moment. His sapphire eyes were dark, much darker than Orton was accustomed to.

The anger he once held for The Champ was immediately washed away when he realized what John was talking about. His shoulders sagged and he was engulfed with the feeling to simply close the distance, bury his head in the crook of John's neck, and just relish in the safety of those arms. With the man so close, the need to do it was that much greater, it took everything Orton had to remain firm and in control. Shaking his head, Randy let his hand fall from the top rope.

"You wouldn't understand."

"Then explain it to me, damn it!" John snapped, taking threatening steps forward. His intent wasn't to come out there and attack Randy, but the longer he stood there, seeing him behind the curtain in the gorilla, the more angered he became. "You're not alone in this, Randy! Why won't you let me help you?"

"And what would you do, John? Nothing you do will keep him away from me – you know that. What I'm doing, either you agree with it or not, it's keeping you safe. I'm sorry, J, I really am, but I can't leave him."

"I don't want you keeping me safe," John shook his head, his voice not as loud as before, but definitely heavier, as though he somehow knew in the back of his mind that he wasn't going to win that conversation, no matter how hard to tried. "I want to be the one to keep you safe. I don't care about me when you're around."

"But I do," Randy said, and then suddenly lashed out, taking John down to the mat with a drop kick. Raising his fist high in the air, Orton let them fall heavily on Cena, the heel of his hand slamming into John's forehead. "I'm sorry," He said in between punches, his voice a bit panicky as he worked to subdue The Champ. "He's here."

Hands latched onto Orton's wrist, and Cena used his strength to roll The Viper over, quickly using his strength to roll them over to where he was perched on top. The sound of Wade Barrett's music hit and in those seconds, it took all of Cena to keep Randy down on the mat, the sudden hysteria and panic that filled The Viper boiling over. The ragged breath, the tension that radiated off of Orton's body was frightening, especially at how quick it came about. Concern over the man he loved took over all precedent, and John turned his gaze down at Randy, taking his attention away from Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson who were making their way down the ramp.

"Randy …"

"I'm sorry, John," Randy whispered, using his legs to suddenly wrap around Cena's neck, forcefully slamming him down into the mat. Pushing himself up, Orton rolled out of the way when Barrett jumped into the ring, his icy, pale blue eyes quickly moving from Cena's to Wade's, his heart stopped. Does Barrett know? Can he see the deception?

"Hey," A voice caught Orton's attention and he glanced over to once again see Ezekiel Jackson standing outside the ring closet to him. He motioned him over. "Let's go."

Dread filling the remainder of his being, Randy slowly nodded his head, his gaze turning to take in Cena's angry, hurt expression before allowing Jackson to pull him out of the ring, the large man's strong grip keeping him close as they quickly made their way up the ramp. He was vaguely aware of the crowd's boisterous cheer as the two men in the ring clashed together, was barely aware of Chris Jericho running down the ramp to help with the fight.

All Orton knew, all he recognized was dread, was the painful ache in his heart as he turned his back on the one person who meant more to him than his own self.

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I'm really sorry for this taking so long! I'm sure you guys hate my guts right now. My only defense was that I was introduced with "Thor" and "The Avengers," and I just couldn't get Loki out of my head. I still can't, but I decided to see if I can get something out of what I had here.

I'm not even joking, though – I'm so obsessed with Loki right now. That's why I haven't been able to get anything updated in forever. I've been reading Tony/Loki fics; I've been reading Thor/Loki fics. I'm not kidding, but I've been to the theatre and have seen "The Avengers" ten times. So yeah … that's where I've been.

Obsessions beside, please forgive me and review! I'd love to hear how horrible this chapter is after being gone for so long!