Leaning back, Jeff rested his head against the cool wall of the hotel corridor, emerald eyes darting occasionally to the closed down of the room he shared with his older brother Matt. Waiting in the corridor for the third time that week, left outside while his brother fucked his girlfriend into the mattress, Jeff tapped away at his phone, texting anyone and everyone he could think of. As much as the baby Hardy did not want to admit it, he was growing sick of being chucked aside every time Amy knocked on the door, and nights of sleeping in hotel hallways was beginning to take its toll on him.
“Little Hardy! What brings you out into the hallways so late in the night?” Jeff looked up, tearing his eyes away from his phone to see Shawn Michaels leaning against the wall opposite him. Without saying a word, he nodded at the door to his room, slipping his phone back into his pocket. “Big brother lock you out so that he could get some?”
“Yeah. Amy's back so I'm out.” The younger man shrugged, watching as Shawn moved closer, leaning against the wall beside him. The close proximity made Jeff shiver as Shawn's hand trailed down his arm, a hand resting on his hip.
“I'm guessin' she's been back a while, you look awful kid.” The Heartbreak Kid pulled the Enigma closer to him, trailing his free hand aimlessly across the young Hardy's face, frowning softly at the heat that emanated from the younger wrestler's skin. “You're burnin' up kid. Real bad.”
“'M fine. Just no air con out here is all.” Jeff felt his skin burn, and put it down to getting caught up in the heat of the moment, having Shawn so close, with his hands on him. And Jeff Hardy was definitely not sick, he didn't get sick, ever. “'sides, I don't get sick.”
At that moment Jeff's body decided to contradict what he was saying, and his legs gave way beneath him as the fever consumed his body and lulled him into unconsciousness. Feeling the younger wrestler sag, Shawn caught him, carefully lowering him down to the carpeted floor. “Easy Jeffy. I'll ring Matt.”
Reaching into Jeff's pants' pocket, Shawn fumbled with the younger man's cell phone, searching for his brother's number.
“Dammit Jeff. I told ya I'm busy with Amy tonight!” Matt's voice snarled down the phone, clearly upset about having his personal time disrupted.
“It's Shawn!” The older man's voice was harsh and snappy, impatient almost. “Jeff's sick. He collapsed out in the corridor.”
“So? Jeff's a big boy, he can take care of himself.” The call cut off, and Shawn had little doubt that Matt had hung up on him.
“Sonofabitch...” Shawn cursed to himself under his breath, sliding Jeff's phone back into his pocket as the younger wrestler began to come to. “Jeff? Can you hear me kid? You alright?”
“Huh..? What... uh... huh..?” Blinking in confusion as he sat up slowly, Jeff found himself on the floor, leaning heavily against Shawn. “What happened? How'd I get on the floor?”
“You passed out, gave me a real scare for a minute there kid.” Shawn's hand tightened gently on his shoulder, and he smiled down at the younger man. “Come on, you look like you need a proper night's sleep. Hunter's gone home for the night so you can have his bed.”
“But... uh... Matt... he said... I gotta wait here...” The younger man tried to pull away, using the wall to hoist himself up. “He'll get mad.” Finally finding his feet, Jeff leant heavily against the solid wall, resting his forehead against the smooth, cold surface, a huge sigh of relief escaping him.
“You're coming with me.” Shawn refused to take no for an answer, he had heard the pure anger and rage in Matt's voice, and there was no way in Hell he was willing to leave Jeff to face that. “I'm not letting you suffer out here just so your brother can fuck.”
Mumbling something under his breath, Jeff, reluctantly, allowed himself to be lead down the corridor to Shawn's room, glancing back over his shoulder every few steps, just in case Matt happened to be looking for him.
Between Hunter and Shawn they had managed to talk Vince into letting Jeff have some time off, and they had also, somehow, managed to convince Jeff that he needed to see a doctor. Not once did Matt call, and to make matters worse, he only answered one or two of the calls Jeff made to him, and even then he ignored how ill and worn his baby brother sounded.
“He don' love me no more.” Jeff whined pathetically as yet another call to his big brother went unanswered. “He don' want me now she's back.”
“Don't be silly baby. Matt still loves and wants you. He's just distracted by Amy.” Shawn soothed the sick young man, caressing his multi-coloured locks and pressing a cold, damp cloth to his forehead. “He hasn't seen her for a long while. But until he gets over that, you've got me and Hunt to keep you company baby.”
“Mmmmm.” baby Hardy groaned softly, wriggling to get closer to Shawn. “When can I go back ta work? S'borin' bein' ill.”
“Hunt's talkin' to the doc now. I'm guessin' once your temperature goes down you're good to get back to work.” The door opened and closed softly while Shawn was talking, and the bed dipped slightly as Hunter sat on the edge of the mattress.
“Bad news kiddo, doc says you're out until next month at least.” Shaking his head softly, the big man patted Jeff on the leg gently. “Vince said you can go back to promos, but no wrestling, once the doc says your temperature has gone back to normal.”
“Tomorrow?” Jeff's eyes brightened sharply, and he wriggled to sit himself up. “I'm feelin' better, loads better.”
“Give it a couple of days baby. Let yourself get better properly and then we'll all go talk to Vince together.” the Heartbreak Kid laughed to himself quietly at the younger man's desperation to get back to work. “I'm sure he's got somethin' in mind for you to keep you outta the ring.”
Jeff's pout was almost adorable, even Hunter laughed at him, ruffling his hair teasingly like he was a petulant child. “Try and get some sleep kiddo. The more you sleep, the quicker you'll get back to work.”
“You want me to what?” Jeff gaped at his boss, jaw literally dropping as the new script and contract offer was laid out in front of him. “But... uh... who told you?” his voice dropped to a low, almost shameful whisper, and he chewed nervously on his bottom lip.
“I spoke to Hunter and Shawn. They promise to keep an eye on you, and make sure no one tries anything. It's time you were honest with yourself, and with the fans Jeffrey. What is it you used to say? Live for the moment? Well this is your moment Jeff, live it.” Vince stood up, tapping the script and contract that lay on the desk in front of the young superstar. “I'll give you some time to think it over. Talk to Shawn, and Hunter, ring your brother. I'll ring you at five pm for your decision.”
“If... uh... if I say no... am I fired?” Jeff lifted the papers from the desk, hands shaking as he re read them for the third time since they had been placed on his lap some two hours ago.
Vince simply shook his head. He had to admire the kid, this was a huge opportunity for Jeff, for Vince and for the company. “No, but if you say yes, you won't regret it.”