After Survivor Series '12 – no spoilers

Along with several roster members, Randy was in the hall as Sheamus made his retreat backstage. He looked a wreck after his match with Big Show – drenched in sweat, welts raised on his skin, his face a deep crimson from the exertion that he'd put into the match. He was out of breath and walking slowly, the adrenaline draining from his body and the wear and tear catching up to him.

Several people clapped him on the back or gave him compliments – "Nice job, man." "You're a fuckin machine, Sheamus." He just nodded in appreciation, too exhausted to talk at the moment.

Randy stood frozen, staring at this man who'd been in and out of his life and he couldn't take his eyes away. In moments, Sheamus caught sight of Randy and locked eyes with him and held the deep gaze between them.

Right then the fighting, the breakup, who was right or wrong didn't matter to Randy. He walked over and shook Sheamus' hand and said so low that no one else could hear. "I was wrong. Tonight, you are the better man." Sheamus gave him an innocent looking hug but his fingers dug into Randy's skin, grasping him and wanting to keep holding him.

"Yo, Randy, you're up," A backstage staff member called out. It was time for Randy to go fight his own battle.

"Can we please talk later?" Randy asked before leaving.

"Yeah, we should," Sheamus told him. "Leaving things like they've been isn't right. We both deserve a chance to talk to each other."

Randy was nodding. Sheamus clapped him the back, "Go raise some hell."

With a little smile and a nod, Randy headed off to be "the Viper" and hoped for as much as passion in his match as Sheamus had obviously had in his own.

Later

After the excitement of the night settled and everyone was getting ready to head to Dayton, Ohio for Monday Night Raw, Sheamus and Randy found each other.

"You want to walk through the arena with me?" Randy offered and Sheamus nodded. They walked in silence for a while.

Randy finally broke the silence. "I'm not here to ask to you to get back with me."

Inside, Sheamus felt an odd sensation: relief. He wasn't' sure how he would have handled Randy's request for a reconciliation. He was completely torn.

"You have something," Randy continued, "that I've lost somewhere along the way. You're so damn hungry. Your career is so young and you've got so much in front of you. You need to concentrate on that. You need to be freed from this drama and just concentrate on what you have going because you're amazing. I mean that." Randy's eyes had the slightest bit of a shine over them, tears clinging and refusing to fall.

Sheamus bit down hard on his lip trying to calm himself. Randy's emotional state was getting to him and he could feel his own tears welling. "God, this is hard. But I do have to . . . ," Sheamus blinked several times trying to stop the tears. "I do have to be about my career right now."

"I know and that's okay. It's the right thing," Randy spoke from the heart. He reached for Sheamus' hand and grasped it tightly. "I still love you."

"I love you too," Sheamus told him quietly. He had given up on fighting tears and allowed them to fall down his face.

Randy pulled the hand he was holding to his mouth and kissed it, his own tears spilling forth. They embraced tightly and quiet tears shook their bodies. It was hard to let go in every sense of the word.

After holding on until they knew that they had to go, they separated slowly. "I'll see you out there, huh?" Sheamus said smiling a little though his pain.

"Every damn night," Orton replied and gave Sheamus' arm a squeeze. Randy turned to leave and turned back without words. He grasped Sheamus' face in his hands and kissed him hard, desperately. "I hope one day . . ." he trailed off.

"Me too," Sheamus said softly. And Randy turned and walked away without looking back.

That night, there were two people on separate buses heading to the same destination but now on different courses in life. But both cried until it seemed there was nothing left and then cried more. Both slipped into sleep and would face a morning that was without each other but full of so many other hopes. And neither would have traded their time together for anything.

The End

Machine Head is over. Thanks for everyone read and enjoyed.