Warning: Before you proceed, just keep in mind that I'm a French speaker and that English is NOT my mother language. So if you ever see vocabulary or grammar mistake in this text, don't hesitate to warn me. I'm always eager to improve :)
Author's note: I've been working on this story since early 2011, but I was searching for a credible event to connect it with WWE storylines. When CM Punk threw his pipe-bomb on RAW, I knew I had found it. We've now passed the dreadful date announced by CM Punk of many months, but I want you to remember how you felt before the 17th of July 2011, when CM Punk announced he'd go with a BANG! Because I'm going to continue with my initial idea, regardless what really happened in the show after the 17th July 2011.
Background Music: This chapter was written with music from 30 seconds to mars running in the background, especially "The Kill" and "From Yesterday".
"Everyone Deserves a Second Chance"
Chapter 02 - They'll fix you.
"We are born to survive. But with survival comes the urge to make sometimes brutal choices carried by a kind of absurd instinctive wildness that our so-called civilised humanity always painstakingly tried to erase. But after July 17th 2011, the question became simple for everyone: Do you want to be civilised, or do you want to survive?
- John Cena, WWE Wrestler. Observations from "Memory of the End of Days"
Wetchester County Airport, CT - 2011.01.04 - 04h37 am
Wade woke up when the plane landed, probably due to the shock from the wheels on the airstrip tarmac. He couldn't remember the last time he had a full night of sleep, and the hum from the turbine engines had most likely worn out the last remains of his resistance. He was feeling a bit miserable, his tongue heavy and a strange bitter taste in the back of his dry throat. He saw that there was some water left in the small plastic bottle he had received from the flight attendant, and drank it all, feeling slightly better afterwards.
He could not remember the last time he had felt so tired at the end of a flight, but assumed that it was probably due to the shot of morphine he had received after they had put his elbow in a splint while in the medical room. His plans for the rest of the night were firmly set: no dinner, not even a shower when he would reach whatever hotel room was in store for him now at SmackDown. He intended to fall directly into bed and sleep for fifteen hours. At least.
He looked through the porthole as the plane was rolling towards Gate 5 and saw that the night was still there, but the first lights of the upcoming dawn were starting to appear in the East. Wade felt some loneliness gripping his heart. Within an hour, the sun would rise on a totally new future for him, and he didn't like how he had been almost forced on that new path, leaving everything and everyone he knew behind him. But he forced himself to remember that all the persons he had left behind him were now his enemies. He had to move on.
But when he tried to actually move from his seat after the FASTEN SEATBELT lights went off, he felt his muscles strangely numb and a slight vertigo taking over him. He fell back in his seat with a sigh hiss through his teeth, wondering if he could have been more hurt than he initially thought by his fall in the cage after CM Punk's betrayal. He would have to warn Teddy Long about his symptoms.
He lifted his eyes and saw that the little bald black man was already standing and picking his precious dark suitcase from the compartment above his own seat. The man who had been by his side during the whole flight - some WWE employee of whom he hadn't bothered to ask the name - leant on him from the aisle and extended his hand.
For a few seconds, Wade didn't have the foggiest notion what the man's intention was and could only sit there, gaping at him and feeling exquisitely stupid. Then the penny dropped. The man meant to help him standing up. After a second failed attempt to rise from his seat on his own, Wade reluctantly accepted his help.
As he was standing in the alley, his vertigo reduced a bit, but he could feel like his legs were made of cotton and he shook his head to clear his vision. Teddy Long turned to look at him and Wade felt the somehow absurd obligation to justify himself in front of his new boss.
"I haven't slept in awhile. I feel like shit", he started slowly before shaking his head again, this time to clear his thoughts as he realized his language. "Sorry…"
"No big deal, player", Long replied with a smile - Wade noted again how the smile hasn't reached his eyes and decided he definitely didn't like it - before going on: "It can be the lack of sleep, but it's also possible that you're suffering from a concussion after your fall from the top of the cage".
Wade clenched his teeth in frustration. More than ever he wanted to punch his fist down CM Punk's throat, hoping the man would choke to death on it. Long went on: "But you shouldn't worry, we're heading to the hospital just after we leave this plane. Whatever you have, they'll fix you". Again this plastered smile - and the way SmackDown general manager was speaking about his injuries as if he was just a car needed to be fixed - were getting on Barrett's nerves. This was just giving him an idea of how the wrestlers were perhaps considered on SmackDown: precise mechanics to be sent at precise moments to make the maximum impact on the public, mere pawns in a Chess-game they couldn't comprehend.
Except that Wade preferred to see himself rather as a chess player than as a pawn - even a king was not enough for him - and if there ever was a chess-game on SmackDown, he promised himself that he would quickly learn the rules and take control of it. As soon as he would be fixed from his RAW injuries.
He let himself be guided outside of the plane. As soon as he passed the door near the control cabin, standing above the metallic stairs, he lifted his head towards the dark sky, feeling the drops from the soft rain on his skin as so much electrical jolts, painless electrical jolts. The sensation wasn't normal, and his thought drifted back to the concussion possibility. He had never got once before, so all his weird sensations could be from that. Or the morphine. Whatever, CM Punk would pay dearly.
He brought back his gaze to the airstrip and saw a dark limo waiting not very far from the plane. Down the stairs was a wheelchair with someone standing near it. Someone who was directly staring at him. For a moment, all of this seemed strangely unreal to Wade, and he resisted an urge to tell Teddy Long that if this was some sort of Candid Camera bullshit, he could go fuck himself. But of course, it wasn't. WWE employees weren't into pranks and games, especially at the expense of wrestlers who could be having a concussion after a nasty fight.
He slowly walked down the stairs, his left arm held by the same man who had helped him out of his seat earlier. Wade clenched his teeth. He hated to be seen as vulnerable as now, but he couldn't risk another injury - from rolling down the stairs for example - because of his pride.
As soon as he sit in the wheelchair, he sighed with relief and leaned back, closing his eyes. He lifted his face towards the sky again, and let the soft rain dampen his skin and his hair. The sensation was still weird, but it was a sensation anyway. The rest of his body was numb. He barely felt when the man behind him started pushing the wheelchair.
When they reached the limo, he was helped from the wheelchair, and inside the car. He collapsed on the back seat. Teddy Long soon sit on his right, and another man joined in and sit on front of them. That man looked like a bodyguard, but Wade wondered who the man was supposed to protect, and against what. Then he remembered his early days in the WWE, when himself had been a bodyguard for already accomplished wrestlers. His imposing appearance, and rapidity of action had brought attention upon himself from higher circles, and he had received an opportunity to start as a wrestler.
This was - it now seemed for him - an eternity ago.
Wade only realized he had fallen asleep when the car stopped. He leant towards the windows and saw what looked like a hospital. Teddy Long put a hand Wade's left arm, obviously with the purpose of reassuring him. "They are going to run a few tests on you, player… to make sure you can make it through the night; then you can rest all you want". Wade felt like the little man was trying to show some humor, to no avail. He politely smiled to Long before moving his good arm towards the door. But the bodyguard grabbed the handle and opened the door before he could ever reach it.
A whiff of cold air entered the car and wiped his torpor away, giving him enough strength to come out of the limo on his own. Yet, he was firmly advised to sit on his friend the wheelchair again. He accepted only because he knew he probably needed medical assistance. For now at least. And as he was pushed toward the entrance of the hospital, he looked intensely at the glows of the approaching dawn as if he wouldn't see them for awhile, and made a vow to himself: CM Punk would pay dearly for all of this. To the latest cent. And with interest rates.
It was almost 5 am and there was no one in the emergency line except for a woman with dark hair and a little girl with brown short hair with her right arm in a cast, staring ahead of her in his direction, and never looking away. This was a bit new to Wade. Usually people never stared at him too long and would most likely divert their eyes from him, quick. He had carefully built protective hostile walls around him, making sure people would somehow instinctively feel them and think twice before annoying or attacking him. It could seem paranoid, but he was working in an environment where paranoia was just another word for survival instinct; and 'friends' was just a shortcut word for 'people who are temporary your allies, but be careful and never turn your back on them'.
In his world, people staring at him for more than three seconds were most likely to jump at his throat next. But this was just a child, and children didn't have the same instinctive fear or macho competitive mind as adults. For them, everything was just a game.
Yet, still sit in his wheelchair, Wade found something odd in her light gray eyes. But when the woman murmured something to her, the little girl looked immediately toward the sound of her voice, and Wade understood she was blind. Oddly, he felt some relief washing over him.
But before he could ever feel some remorse about his thought, a doctor walked to him, examined him and questioned him. He quickly announced Wade that he would make him pass a CT scan and a MRI, explaining him with a nice and reassuring voice that everything would be all right and that whatever injuries he had, he would be fixed. Wade frowned as he heard that word again, knowing now where Teddy Long had probably borrowed that strange medical term. Yet, he didn't like it. An animal - one with extremely sharp teeth and claws - awakened and started growling inside his mind. He knew the name of that animal: it was survival instinct.
He was brought to the MRI scan and was asked the usual questions by a petite Asian nurse with her hair held in a bun: did he have a heart peacemaker, did he have some types of surgical clips inside his head, did he have metal fragments inside his eyes or elsewhere, did he have neuron-stimulator implants. Wade replied no to all these questions and he was invited to remove anything metallic on him, and leave his credit cards and all other magnetic cards in a box.
The nurse injected him a dye in the vein of his left arm, explaining this would improve the image they would get. She brought another syringe and told him that this solution contained also a medication to help him relax. Wade just laughed at that.
"You really don't need that with me", he replied with his first genuine smile since his transfer from RAW earlier that evening. "I'll probably start snoring on that table before you have the time to switch on the machine".
She smiled patiently at him, as if it wasn't the first time someone would tell that to her, and explained that the machine would make a banging noise while it was working, making it impossible to sleep, while being quite unpleasant. She added that as patients had to lie inside a large cylinder while the scans were being made, it was not uncommon to have one discovering that he was claustrophobic during the test. So as a safety measure, everyone was receiving a anesthetic injection.
Wade shrugged and let the nurse inject the product inside his veins, before he laid down on the cold table. The splint holding his right arm was carefully removed and the nurse tried to move his arm to his side as painlessly as possible. Wade mentally noted that he would have to tell her thank you for that, once the scan would be over. He didn't know yet that he would never see the nurse again.
A minute later, the MRI process started and the table slid inside the tunnel, and as the light started to become brighter and brighter around him, along with the banging sound of the machine, Wade's eyes slowly closed. His last conscious thought was for CM Punk. That man was a sneaky manipulative thief. Wade had no idea why the straight edge leader had decided to put his hands on the Nexus, but he assumed from the weird sparkle he had seen back then in the smaller man's eyes, that his motives were not exactly based on friendship and solidarity. The man was potentially mad.
Wade didn't know it yet, but the next time he would face CM Punk, he would realize that "mad" was an understatement.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Thanks for your reviews, everyone ;)
Next WWE story to be updated should be "Rise Above Hate". You know the creepy one you seem to like so much ;-)