Along Came an Enigma
Four days... He hasn't woken up in four days...
Those were the words going through Jeff's head as soon as he woke up that morning and was met with the tattooed boy's limp, sickly form, which wasn't bound anymore since there had been no more incidents. The now blond man had stayed and slept in a chair by Phil's bedside since the night he found the boy screaming and self harming. He now knew how his brother Matt felt when he had helped Jeff go through withdrawal from years of drug use. Jeff felt sorry for the poor boy, even though he didn't know quite how to handle this situation. He figured that it wasn't quite that different from withdrawal, but he knew it wasn't the exact same either. Phil obviously hadn't ever done drugs, so this was something else entirely. What exactly had this poor boy been put through in order for his brain to cause his body to do something like this? Jeff hoped in all that he held dear that Phil hadn't been put through the same things he went through, but when he thought back to what the boy had been screaming and the extent of his self inflicted injuries, it must have been something just as bad, if not worse.
Jeff brought his knees up to his chest and chewed on the sleeve of his long sleeved purple shirt. Dr. Helmsley and Michaels had to resort to a feeding tube for Phil since the poor boy hadn't had any kind of nutrition in god knew how long. Jeff was almost scared to leave Phil's side in fear that he'd die when he wasn't there. Hunter and Shawn had graciously allowed Jeff to stay at bedside and brought him all his meals on a try from the cafeteria, and he was truly thankful for such kind doctors in a place like this.
Today would be different though. He could only imagine how Sheamus and Kofi were feeling about this. The poor African man was probably in hysterics and the large Irishman was most likely blaming himself. So, that's why Jeff would make it a point to go out for a bit and try to get the two men to visit their friend, hoping that maybe their presence would help Phil come out of whatever state his mind was in.
And then, there was the question that Phil had asked right before his mind slipped into the stupor. Why did he care? Why would Jeff possibly care about someone like him? Well, that just made the blond smile to himself. Not only did he see a bit of himself in Phillip, but it seemed to Jeff that the boy had no one else in the whole world to care for him. He was so busy with looking out for Sheamus and Kofi, that Jeff could imagine that Phil needed at least one person similar to himself to be strong for him. Now, Jeff knew he was far from perfect, but he had tons of people around him to help him be strong for him when he needed someone, especially Matt. But Phil was all alone, and Jeff had picked up a lot of strength from his brother and saved it just for a time like this. Plus there was the issue of the fuzzy feeling in his chest when he had first laid eyes on the young raven haired male. Those olive eyes once full of defiance and authority, now probably jaded over and dulled...
Jeff shook his head and pulled down his black flannel pants to cover his ankles, banishing those negative thoughts. Phil would pull through. He was too stubborn to quit. Jeff uncurled himself and leaned forward to press a kiss to Phil's forehead. I'll be back soon, Philly, he said in his head before reluctantly getting up and shuffling out the door to the main hallway. He stood there timidly, looking around for any sign of anyone.
They must be having the early morning session...
Deciding that was the most logical possibility, the blond shuffled quietly down the hall, his bare feet padding against the marble floor. He looked into Hunter's office on the way, and sure enough, it was empty. The duo must have been busy in another wing. He continued quickly and quietly down the hallway until he came to the main session room, which he hadn't seen in four days. He sighed softly as he stood outside the glass door, noticing that the main groups of men was in there, but this time, it was Sheamus who was in the corner cuddled up with Kofi. He smiled and almost reconsidered going to get them, but then remembered that they were probably worried sick.
Jeff knocked softly before slowly entering the room, all eyes, except Kofi's of course, falling on him. This is where he would normally get nervous and crawl into a shell, but he couldn't afford to do that. He just kept his face neutral as he shuffled his way over to the corner, ignoring the stares from Orton and Cena especially. Orton always seemed to stare at him like he was a piece of meat, icy blue eyes soulless while Cena leered at him without shame. It had taken him days in order to control the shiver that would shake his body because of their eyes.
The sight of Kofi cuddled on Sheamus's lap in the corner lightened Jeff's mood slightly. The large Irishman smiled at Jeff sadly, and the blond could tell that both of them were indeed worried as he knelt down in front of the two.
"'Ey, fella. Haven't seen ya in a while," Sheamus whispered.
Jeff nodded and reached out a hand to slowly place it on Kofi's cheek, lifting the small man's head to meet those timid brown eyes.
"He's been worried sick, lad. He hasn't smiled in days." Sheamus growled under his breath and closed his eyes, breathing heavily. "It's all my fault... If I hadn't snapped..."
Oh, that needed to stop before it even started. Jeff reached his other hand up to cup Sheamus's chin, his emerald eyes hard. The Irishman couldn't afford to sit here and play the blame game. He needed to learn to be strong for Phil.
Sheamus nodded, seeming to get the message. "Yer right, fella. Can we see him..?"
Jeff nodded, breathing a sigh of relief that he was spared the trial of trying to explain why he had come. He looked back to Kofi, who now had a bit of light back in those brown eyes. Jeff stood up and grabbed the African's hand, gently pulling the younger boy up. All three males ignored the stares of the group as they stalked out of the therapy room, the blond leading the way to where Phil was now being cared for.
Jeff stopped right in front of the door, turning around to face his two new friends. He put a finger up to his lips as a sign for them to remain quiet. He didn't know why, but he thought it would be respectful to Phil all the same. He slowly opened the door and snuck in quietly, the sight breaking his heart all over again. He couldn't imagine how Sheamus and Kofi were feeling when their eyes came to rest on Phil's limp form, still bound to the bed.
At first, they were both completely frozen right inside the room. After a minute, Sheamus's heavy breathing picked up immensely, his large fists balling at his sides, and Kofi started sniffling, tears beginning to form. Jeff sighed quietly and carefully took Kofi's hand in his own, leading the smaller boy over to the chair at Phil's bedside. Sheamus followed suit, his arms shaking.
Jeff sat the African boy in the chair carefully, making sure to keep physical contact. The poor boy looked heartbroken, tears now streaming down his face and soft sobs shaking his small form. Jeff fought to keep his own tears back as he took Kofi's hand and cautiously laid it on Phil's. He then turned around to Sheamus with a soft look, beckoning the large Irishman over to do the same. Sheamus knelt down next to Kofi and laid his huge white hand over both of theirs.
"Punk... I'm sorry, fella... I shouldn't have snapped... Please, come back... We need ya..."
Jeff removed his hand from underneath of Sheamus's and moved back further into the room, shoving his hands in the pockets of his flannel pants as he cast his emerald eyes down to the floor. He was too apprehensive to leave the room, but he wanted to give them at least a little privacy. They had indeed known Phil way longer than he had, after all.
Jeff felt his heart almost shatter in his chest at the whimper, making him grab himself near where his heart was. Kofi... The poor boy was probably dying inside. The blond man glanced up from the floor and let out a silent whimper of his own as he shuffled quietly to take his place on the other side of Kofi. He fought hard to keep back his own tears at the sight of the fresh tears practically pouring down the African boy's cheeks. Jeff knelt down beside Kofi and took Kofi's free hand in his own.
"Phil please... I-It's scary out here without you..." Kofi whispered.
Right after his words, a small whimper came from Phil's lips and his body began shaking violently, causing the three men to jump back in surprise. It was only after they recover did Jeff lean forward and notice small tears leaking from the corners of Phil's eyes. He ran a gentle hand through raven locks as he kept his emerald eyes trained on Phil's face.
"What the bloody feck is goin' on?"
Jeff lifted his eyes to glance at Sheamus, the Irishman standing a ways away and holding a wide eyed Kofi to his expansive chest. Jeff took one look at the youngest boy and then shook his head to Sheamus, waving his hand to signal that they should go.
That didn't sit too well with Sheamus, especially when everyone notice Phil's shaking worsen and his whimpers getting louder. "But look at 'im! We should be here in case.."
But Jeff would have none of that. His face hardened and the light in his eyes darkened as he stood up and sent a desperate glare to Sheamus. He pointed to Kofi, hoping Sheamus would get the point.
It seemed to work. The red head blinked and let out a long sigh before nodding reluctantly. "Yea yea, I get ya. Just... Take good care of 'im, alright?"
Jeff sent Sheamus a look that said 'duh, what do you think I've been doing for the past four days'. After the two left, Jeff sat down on his chair beside Phil's bed, grabbing the boy's clammy, weak hand in his own. He ran his thumb over Phil's limp knuckles, his brows furrowed as the whimpering and shaking coming from Phil didn't cease.
How I wish my mind and body would let me talk to you, Jeff thought as he kept his eyes trained on Phil's agony stricken face. What's all happened to you, Phillip? What have you been put through to make you like this..? He reached his other hand up and placed it on Phil's forehead, his emerald eyes filled with curiosity and concern. His brows furrowed in frustration, wishing upon anything at all that his mind and body would allow him to open his mouth and call out to Phil, just once. It had been so long...
That's when he noticed Phil beginning to thrash about. Violently. Jeff was now frightened out of his mind. What was he supposed to do? He tried to hold the younger man down, but with Phil being in an unconscious state, he was stronger than him. Jeff covered his mouth with his hands and inhaled sharply when Phil shot straight up into a sitting position, a silent scream coming from the young man's wide open mouth. Jeff fisted his own hair and bit his lip as Phil began scratching his tattooed arms, blood flowing and drowning out the colors of the ink instantly...
And all Jeff could do was stare helplessly... Unless he somehow found it within himself to get his goddamn mouth to work. He wanted so desperately to call out to Phil, hoping to snap the boy from his nightmare. Small tears slid down his cheeks as he tried to open his mouth, desperate to override the fear of the action.
When he noticed Phil now digging his hands into his head and blood beginning to flow down that pained face, that was the last draw. Jeff climbed up out of the chair and hopped onto the bet on top of Phil's legs. He took a deep, shaky breath before placing his hands on each one of Phil's bloody, tear stained cheeks. He needed to do this. He just had to.
Jeff couldn't stop his tears of frustration as he attempted to part his lips, but he couldn't get over his fear. It did calm his heart a bit when he noticed that Phil had stopped shaking and harming himself because of Jeff's hands on his cheeks. Jeff also noticed something else then, too.
Phil's eyes were open.
But they were so glazed over that they looked almost like zombified eyes. Tears were freely flowing from those hazy olive orbs, and that broke down all of the walls of fear inside of Jeff as the blond man stroked Phil's cheeks with his thumbs.
He then did it. This would probably be the last time, but he was determined to do it just this once.
"Phillip..." Jeff said hoarsely, surprised by the sound of his own voice. "Phillip, open your eyes. Come back to me, please. We need you here..."
They then shut once again. He pursed his lips so tight that they were turning white. He couldn't believe he actually did it. After years and years of silence, he had gotten the courage to open his mouth. And all because of this strange connection to this broken boy underneath him.
It was then that Phil's eyes began to clear from the haze, and Jeff's tears turned into joyful ones. He quickly hopped off of the bed and back into his chair, taking Phil's bloody hands in his own.
That's it, Philly... Come back to me, please...
As soon as Phil's eyes were all the way clear, Jeff placed a gentle hand back on Phil's bloody cheek. He expected the boy to pull back, but he didn't, which was a good sign. Actually, it seemed that Phil was almost comforted by the touch, and that lifted Jeff's heart.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Phil sighed tiredly and collapsed back onto the bed. Jeff was quick, though. He caught Phil quickly and eased the boy back onto the bed, being wary of his damaged arms and head. Once he was sure Phil was settled, he sat back on the chair, his eyes attentive.
"I heard you..." the raven haired boy stated as he slowly turned his head to face Jeff, the blood and tears beginning to dry on his face.
Jeff was caught off guard by the statement, and he blinked multiple times.
"I just know it was you... Because I saw your face when I heard it..."
Jeff stretched a hand over and ran it softly through Phil's blood caked hair as the boy seemed to be in some sort of shock.
"Did you really talk? Was it really you..?"
After a moment of hesitation, Jeff nodded slowly, his hand coming to stop on top of Phil's hair.
Phil took a shaky breath and looked at him with desperate eyes. "How are you able to get through..? Everyone else just can't, but then there's you... Even when I first met you, you were able to stop my mind... What is it about you, Jeff? Huh?"
There, that was his Phil. Jeff smiled slightly before signing to Phil. 'It was an act of desperation, so that was most likely a one time deal.'
That seemed to both satisfy and frustrate Phil. "Why won't you talk, Jeff..?"
'Curiosity killed the cat, Philly,' Jeff signed as he chuckled.
Phil groaned and rolled his eyes a bit. "Great, I wake up to a modest southern boy equipped with wonderful cliches," he muttered.
That elicited a small giggle from said southern boy. 'Get some peaceful rest, yankee. I'll be here when you wake up.'
"I don't know why, but alright."
Jeff smiled softly as he watched Phil drift off into a peaceful sleep, hoping his presence would indeed help keep the boy's mind at peace while he slept. He looked over at the clock on the wall. It's only ten in the morning... It's gunna be a long day...
Well, I feel horrible. It's been over a month since I posted a new chapter. I hope y'all haven't given up on me! I love this story. I just have trouble transferring what's in my head onto paper. But I did it! Please leave me your thoughts and suggestions!
On a quick note, I used Punk's real name in this chapter because it was mainly from Jeff's point of view, and that's how it will be from now on. And don't worry, more will be revealed about both Punk's and Jeff's pasts. Plus I'm planning for a Hardy family and friends visit! I hope y'all are still with me!