Jeff Hardy was walking down the hall after the Smackdown taping when he heard a loud sob from the locker room to his left. Curious, he pushed open the door and looked around. He spotted his friend Jay Reso, known as Christian to WWF fans, hunched over on a bench in the corner of the room. His back was to Jeff, but the younger Hardy could tell that he was crying.
Jeff walked over to the shaking golden blonde and put his hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong?" he asked with concern.
Jay jumped, glancing up at Jeff and quickly wiping his eyes. "Nothing," he whispered in a choked voice.
Jeff sat down next to him, dropping his bag on the floor. "I know that's not true. Come on, Jay. You can tell me."
Jay shook his head. "No," he whispered. "I'm fine."
Jeff was getting a little frustrated. "No you're not! Now spill it. I won't be here all night."
"Fine, then go." Jay put his head back in his hands. "This is none of your concern."
Jeff regretted his sharp words. His voice was soft as he spoke again. "Jay, please. I'm your friend, and I want to help."
Jay shook his head again. "You can't."
Jeff raised his hand to stroke Jay's rumpled golden locks. "Jay, I really do want to help. Wouldn't you feel better if you told someone what's bothering you?"
"No," Jay whispered. Jeff shivered at the haunted look he saw in his friend's eyes. "No, it won't be better, it won't be all right. Nothing will ever be alright again." Jay hid his face with his strong hands, weeping bitterly.
"Jay, I - " Jeff swallowed, not knowing what to say. He didn't know what to do in a situation like this. He rubbed Jay's back, trying desperately to calm him down. "Maybe you're just over reacting. When something bad happens, it can seem like the end of the world, but it's really not. You'll get over it."
Jay raised his swollen, tear-filled eyes to look at Jeff. "No Jeff," he whispered, his voice barely audible. "I won't get over it. I can't. You see, I - " He shook his head and looked away.
"What?" Jeff pressed. "Please, tell me."
"You don't want to know."
"Yes, I do," Jeff insisted. "Please Jay, tell me."
Jay sighed. His head hung so low his chin almost touched his chest, and his eyes stared blankly into space. "I went to the doctor's a little while ago, Jeff. Just for a routine checkup. They - they did a few tests, just checking to make sure I didn't have anything serious. Just routine safety tests, you know. And - and it didn't turn out to be so routine." Jay buried his head in his hands yet again, fresh tears moistening his palms.
"Oh my god." Jeff stared, not wanting to believe what he'd just heard. He wanted even less to ask the next question, but he had to. "What is it?" he whispered.
Jay laughed humorlessly. "What's the worst thing I could have? 'Cos I've got it!"
Jeff was a pale as a ghost. "Is it - cancer?"
Jay shook his head. "Worse." He laughed again, sobbing at the same time.
Jeff somehow paled even further. "Oh god, not - "
"Yes." Jay stared at the floor, tears still slipping out of his eyes. "I have AIDS."
Jeff gasped. "AIDS?" he asked in utter horror.
"Well - not yet." Jay swallowed, trying to get a hold of himself. "But I'm HIV positive, which means that I will have AIDS."
"But, how....?" Jeff let the words die on his lips, knowing it was a stupid question.
Jay looked up at Jeff, his face a mask of pain. "I - I never thought it would be me. I never thought this could happen to me. But, it did, and now my life's not over."
Jeff was still reeling from this revelation, but he tried his best to comfort his friend. "Jay, it's not the end. You know, some people can go years and years without getting AIDS. Some people never do get it. You just - you have to be a little more careful with yourself is all."
Jay laughed bitterly. "If I was careful with myself I wouldn't be in this situation! God, I'm so stupid! Why didn't I ever think about this? Why didn't I take precautions?"
Jeff rubbed Jay's back comfortingly, speaking very softly. "Do you know who you got it from?"
Jay shook his head. "I don't know. I mean, I haven't even been with that many people! Why me?" He looked pleadingly at Jeff, as if asking him for an answer. "I'm not a bad person. I've always tried to be nice to everyone. Why did this have to happen to me?"
Jeff couldn't give him an answer. Instead, he pulled the golden blonde into his arms and let him rest his head on his shoulder as he began sobbing again. Jay quieted after a few minutes, but didn't move.
"Jay?" Jeff whispered after they had sat for some time in silence.
"You know the hideously ironic part of it?" Jay whispered quietly, his voice muffled through Jeff's shirt.
"What?" Jeff replied, wondering what else Jay had to tell him.
"The only reason I had that test run was because - because I'd just gotten into a relationship with someone. Someone I care about a lot, that I thought maybe - maybe I could spend the rest of my life with." Jay laughed again, in that horrible, bitter way that made Jeff cringe. "That's not gonna happen now, is it?"
Jeff was again left speechless. He responded only by stroking Jay's hair in a vain attempt at comfort.
"Thank god we never slept together," Jay choked out. "That would make it so much worse. If I'd spread it to someone I loved - ended their life with mine - god, I could never forgive myself for that."
"But you didn't," Jeff whispered, hoping Jay was taking some comfort in his presence at least.
"No. I was smart for once. If only I'd done that in the first place!" Jay's eyes were dry, but his voice was still shaky. "All I ever wanted in life was to fall in love. I mean, of course there were other things I would've liked to have, but that was the only thing that really mattered. If I had someone by my side, someone who loved me with their heart and soul, I was sure I'd be ok. And now that can never happen."
"That's not true, Jay," Jeff tried to tell his friend. "You have lots of people around you who love you. And whoever this is that you're seeing - I'm sure if they really care about you, they won't abandon you."
Jay shook his head. "No, Jeff. That wouldn't be fair to them. To stick with a lost cause; to fall in love with someone you can't even get close to? Someone you know is going to die?"
"Everyone dies, eventually," Jeff pointed out, trying his best to be helpful.
Jay was about to respond again in his hopeless voice when the locker room door swung open, startling them both.
"Jay, I've been looking for you ever - " Adam Copeland, or Edge, stopped when he saw Jay's tear streaked face. His eyes were wide as he looked between his best friend and Jeff. "What's going on?"
Jay stood up abruptly, wiping his hand across his red cheeks in a futile attempt to hide his pain. "Nothing, Adam, really," he whispered.
Adam frowned, an extremely concerned look on his face. "Now I know that's not true. Come on, Jay. You tell me everything. If something's bothering you, you should come to me." He looked rather hurt.
Jay shook his head, which seemed to be his favorite gesture that night. "It's stupid. Nevermind." He grabbed his bag and tried to push past Adam.
Adam put his hands on his hips, blocking the door with his body. "No way you're leaving until you tell me."
"Jay," Jeff said softly, just going with his gut instincts on what he should do. "Don't you think you should tell him?"
"No!" Jay shouted, catching the younger Hardy off guard. He turned his eyes back on Adam, anger flaring in their crystal depths. "Now get the hell out of my way, Copeland. I have to get back to the hotel and get some sleep."
Startled, Adam let Jay march past him. He began to look rather angry himself as Jay disappeared down the hall. "What the heck's his problem?" he muttered. He turned when he felt Jeff's hand on his arm.
"Please be easy on him," Jeff pleaded. "He's really upset right now. He'll come around."
Adam's eyes narrowed. Jeff was surprised when the taller man's fingers closed around his throat and slammed him forcefully into the lockers behind him. "You tell me what's wrong with him," Adam growled. "Now!"
Jeff shook his head, gasping as Adam's fingers tightened on his neck. "It's not my place," he gasped, shocked that Adam would act this way.
"I don't care!" Adam yelled, the threatening snarl on his face moving only inches from Jeff, making the Hardy feel a flutter of fear in the pit of his stomach. "When my best friend cries his eyes out, then refuses to speak to me, there's something very wrong going on! Now, Hardy."
Jeff refused again. "I can't tell you this," he whispered. "I can't, Adam."
"What the hell is going on here?"
Jeff was relieved to see his older brother standing in the doorway, a scowl on his face and his hands on his hips. Adam was scaring him, and he didn't much want to be alone with him anymore.
Matt promptly walked up to them and tore Adam's hands off of Jeff, dragging his brother to a bench on the far side of the room. He turned his glare back on Adam. "Well, Adam? Why on earth are you threatening my brother?"
Adam crossed his arms, not looking apologetic in the least. "He knows something I need to, and I was trying to get it out of the little brat," he said harshly.
Matt looked between his pale brother and the angry Canadian blonde. "Jeff, what's going on?" he asked.
Jeff thought about what to tell him, deciding the truth would be best. "I came in here a few minutes ago, and found Jay in tears," he said slowly. "I asked him what was wrong, and after denying it a few times, he told me. Then Adam came in and asked the same thing, but Jay wouldn't tell him and left. So Adam was trying to force it out of me, but it's not my place to tell!" he insisted.
Adam glared daggers at him. "You can tell me. You SHOULD tell me."
Jeff shook his head. "Jay'll tell you when he feels ready. I can't."
Adam narrowed his eyes again, glaring at him for another moment before snatching up his bag and leaving without another word. Matt looked extremely curious, but he knew Jeff had said he wouldn't tell, so he simply collected their bags and led his brother towards the parking lot.
Adam paused a moment in front of the door to their hotel room. He had cooled down on the way back to the hotel, and he hoped Jay had done the same. He still wanted desperately to know what was bothering his tag team partner, and he hoped Jay would be ready to tell him.
"Jay?" he called softly as he pushed open the door. "Look, I'm sorry about - "
Adam stopped as he realized the room was empty. Jay wasn't there, nor did it look like he had been. That worried Adam even more. He quickly walked to the phone and dialed a number, his fingers twining in the cord nervously.
Jeff was feeling tired and stressed as he and Matt approached their room. He stopped in surprise when he saw a figure slumped against the wall by their door. He knelt down, brushing the golden blonde hair out of his friend's face. "Jay?"
Jay looked up at him with pain filled eyes. "I'm sorry, Jeff, I just can't go to my room. I can't face him." His crystalline eyes turned to Matt pleadingly. "Could we switch rooms for the night? Please? I - I just can't - "
"Ok," Matt agreed solemnly. The pain on Jay's face was too intense for him to refuse. He pulled out his room key and gave it to Jay, taking Jay's in return and heading down the hallway.
Jeff helped Jay to his feet, then lead him into the room. Jay went straight to one of the beds and collapsed, burying his face in the covers.
Jeff sat on the bed next to his friend, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, which was shaking slightly. "Jay, I don't really know what to say to you, but - but you do have to tell Adam."
"I know." Jay sniffed, but he wasn't crying. His eyes were dry from all the tears he had already shed that night. "I will tomorrow. It's just - he's been my best friend for practically my whole life, Jeff! How am I supposed to tell him that now I'm going to die because I was stupid and not careful enough?"
"It happens to thousands of people, Jay. I don't know if that's any consolation, but you aren't alone." Jeff was feeling very awkward. He wasn't used to the comforting role, but he was still glad that he could be there for his friend.
Jay sighed, saying nothing. Jeff was relieved when he saw the golden blonde's breathing even out as he drifted off to sleep.
Adam rose to his feet as the door opened. "Jay, where - " he began, stopping when he saw the dark-haired man enter. "What the hell?" He glared angrily at the older Hardy. "What're you doing here, Hardy?"
"Jay asked me to switch rooms," Matt replied, setting his bag down on the floor. "Sorry, but I wasn't going to say no. He's really upset about something."
Adam glared off into space, looking insulted as well as upset. "Yeah, something he apparently can't tell me, his best friend! But he CAN tell your stupid brother about it."
"Adam, please don't be hard on him," Matt pleaded. "I don't know what's going on, but I get the impression it's pretty serious. I don't think he'd be so hesitant to tell you if it wasn't. He's gonna need your support."
Adam snorted. "Since when did you become a shrink, Hardy? You don't know shit about Jay, and neither does your brother. I, on the other hand, know practically everything about him! I'M the one who should be helping him."
Matt sighed. "Well, just wait and see what happens, ok? I'm sure Jeff'll talk him into telling you whatever it is."
"Jeff." Adam's eyes narrowed. "Why JEFF, huh? What's he got to do with this? Is he Jay's new ‘best buddy'?"
Matt gave Adam a funny look. "Man, I never knew you were so jealous. You've never had a problem with Jay being friends with us before."
Adam crossed his arms, still looking angry. "That was before Jay decided that JEFF was a better person to confide in than me," he said angrily.
"Look, I'm not arguing this with you. Just get some sleep, ok?" Matt suggested. There was nothing more said that night. Matt watched Adam's angry demeanor curiously, wondering what was going on. He was sure he was missing something, but he just couldn't put his finger on it.
Jeff woke up the next morning to the sound of muffled sobs. He glanced over at Jay's bed, not surprised to see the blonde bombshell with his face buried in his pillow, his body shaking violently. He groaned to himself. He groaned again when he looked at the alarm clock, but climbed out of bed anyway.
Jay froze when he heard his roommate moving. He tried to stop shaking, but he couldn't. "Jay?" Jeff asked softly, sitting on the bed behind the shaking golden blonde.
"I'm ok," Jay choked. "It's just - I have to tell him today. I can't imagine what he'll say."
"I know he means a lot to you," Jeff said softly. "I understand how you feel."
Jay shook his head. "No, you don't understand," he whispered. "There are things about me that you don't know, Jeff. Like why this happened in the first place."
Jeff tried to be as supportive as he could. "You wanna tell me?" he asked gently.
Jay sighed, turning onto his back and staring up at the ceiling. "I was stupid," he said, sounding more resigned now than upset. "I didn't think I needed to use protection. I mean, condoms are so you don't have a baby, and I sure as hell wasn't going to get anyone pregnant."
Jeff's eyes widened in shock. "You mean - you can't have children?"
Jay chuckled, though there was no humor in the sound. "You're so innocent, Jeff. I wish I was like you. Then everything would've been so much simpler." He gave the Hardy a dumb look when confusion spread across Jeff's face. "Think about it, Jeff," he prodded.
Jeff furrowed his brow, thinking hard. He was extremely confused. What could Jay mean by...It struck him suddenly. He kicked himself, wondering how innocent he really was. That should've been obvious the moment Jay said it.
"You're - you're a - " he stuttered, swallowing before he could continue. "A homosexual?" he squeaked. He didn't think he'd ever met a homosexual before...of course he probably had, just not been aware of it. He had never had any clue about Jay.
Jay smiled sardonically. "That's a nice way of putting it. Yes, I'm gay."
Jeff was shaking his head in disbelief. "But - you really are? I never had any clue! I just thought that - well, that if I ever met one, they'd be - not at all like you." Jeff blushed, looking down at his lap.
Jay snorted. "You mean you thought I'd be wearing all the sharpest designer clothes, talking in a high pitched voice, and going to the opera every night?"
Jeff's blush deepened. "No, not really. I know that's just a stereotype. But I thought you'd - well, you do share locker rooms with a lot of guys I guess must be pretty hot - "
Jay laughed out loud at that. "What, you thought I'd be hitting on the guys in the locker room? That's a damn good way to get yourself beat up, Jeff. I wouldn't dare do that."
Jeff wasn't exactly sure how he felt about this. This was going to take some time to get used to. He flushed bright red when another thought occurred to him. "Oh god - after matches sometimes - you've been in the showers with other guys - "
Jay sighed. "Jeff, just 'cos I'm gay doesn't mean I have the plague, and it also doesn't mean that I'm attracted to every man I see. I don't look at my coworkers in a sexual way. Do you want to sleep with every woman you see?" Jeff shook his head. "Well, it's the same with me. I swear, you straight guys get the weirdest ideas about us. Gay men can be just as selective - or unselective - as any straight guy. It just depends on the person."
"You're right. I'm sorry." Jeff chewed his lip, feeling very foolish. "I just haven't really known any, um, gay guys. At least that I knew were gay."
Jay nodded, his eyes returning to the ceiling. "It's ok. You're a good guy, Jeff. You see now why telling Adam is such a big deal?"
Jeff blinked in shock. "You mean you haven't told him you're gay?"
Jay groaned, then sighed. "Haven't you put the pieces together yet?" Jeff looked at him blankly. Jay sighed again, wrapping his arms over his head. "Adam's the one I'm involved with!"
Jay stood outside Adam's door, shifting nervously on his feet. He knew Matt had already left, since he had joined Jeff in their room shortly before Jay had worked up the confidence to come talk to Adam. His heart was beating quickly with apprehension. He had no idea how Adam would react to this news.
Jay knocked softly, trying to swallow the hard lump forming in his throat. Adam jerked the door open, his eyes narrowing when he spotted Jay. His manner was distinctly angry as Jay stepped into the room.
"Decided to come back to me at last?" Adam snapped before Jay had a chance to speak. "Well, I hope you enjoyed your night with Jeff."
Jay took a deep breath to calm himself. "Adam, please don't be angry, ok? Nothing happened between me and Jeff."
"Really." Adam clearly didn't believe him.
"Adam, please. I have something I have to tell you, and it - it's very important," Jay began.
"Ok." Adam plopped into a chair, still looking mad. "Go ahead and talk. But I'm gonna need a damn good explanation. What is this, some kind of commitment fear shit? We just start exploring our possibilities together, and you turn around and shut me out, and spend the night in another man's hotel room!"
"Adam, would you please just listen to me!" Jay pleaded.
Adam eyed him suspiciously. "Is there something going on between you and Jeff?" he demanded.
"Adam - "
"Answer me, dammit! Don't skip around it anymore. If you've been messing around on me, then for god's sake I have a right to know!"
Jay wished desperately that Adam would let him get a word in. This was hard enough for him already. He decided to reassure Adam of his feelings before saying anything more, since the tall blonde seemed so insecure. Walking over to his partner, he knelt down on the carpet, putting his hand on Adam's arm.
"It's nothing like that. I would never do that to you," Jay stated, meaning every word. "Really I wouldn't. I care so much about you...please don't be angry anymore," he pleaded.
Adam considered for a moment. "You really care about me?" he asked softly. Jay nodded emphatically. A smile came to Adam's face. He looked extremely relieved. Before Jay could stop him, he leaned forward and brought their lips together. Jay's mind went blank as the gentle kiss continued, wrapping his arm around Adam's neck. Adam was smiling when he drew back. "Ok," he said softly. "I'm not mad anymore, and I'm very sorry. I really shouldn't jump to conclusions like that."
"It's ok." Jay removed his arms from around Adam's neck, remembering why he had come. He glanced down at his lap, taking Adam's hand in his. "But I still have something to tell you. I'm afraid it's not good news." His voice had sunk to a barely audible whisper. He looked up to find Adam watching him curiously. He swallowed, then pushed on before he lost his nerve.
"It has to do with those tests I took a little bit ago, just to - to be sure everything was ok." He felt tears brimming his eyes, but pushed them back. "It's not. I - I'm HIV positive, Adam." He looked up at his partner, finding a shocked expression on his face.
"You have AIDS?" Adam gasped. Jay nodded, unable to speak anymore. He was on the verge of crying again. Adam was silent for a moment, lost in his own thoughts. "How did you get it?" he inquired after a moment, and Jay shivered at the hard note his sensed in the older man's voice.
"I don't know," he whispered. "I just, I wasn't as careful as I should've been, I guess."
"Ah." Jay could detect a definite edge to Adam's voice, which he didn't like at all. "So you've screwed up your life, and now mine, because you're a slut."
Jay head shot up, intense pain in his eyes. "Adam, I - " He stuttered, not knowing what to say.
Adam glared at him, his anger having returned in full force. "Don't ‘Adam' me!" he exclaimed, standing up and shoving Jay away from him. "If you'd told me when we first got together that you'd slept around, I never would've gotten involved with you in the first place!" he yelled. A look of horror came across his features, and he put a hand up to his mouth. "Oh god, and I just kissed you! God, you let me kiss you knowing you're diseased?!?"
Tears were now streaming down Jay's face. He was still on the floor, staring up at Adam in shock. "You can't even get it that way!" he cried, not knowing what else to say. "Please Adam - don't do this to me - I need your support!"
"Support?" Adam gave him a disgusted look. "You expect me to support you after this? After I find out you're nothing but a cheap whore who wasn't bright enough to use his brain and think ahead? Get the hell out of my room! I don't want to see you any more!" He grabbed Jay by his hair and dragged him towards the door.
"Adam - please, please don't!" Jay sobbed. "I need you! Please!"
"Out, slut!" Adam yelled, opening the door and flinging him into the hall. "And don't come crawling back to me either! I don't need you!" With that he slammed the door shut. Jay curled up in a little ball on the floor and wept.
"Um - Jay?"
Jay looked up through his tears to see Hunter Hurst Helmsley standing over him, looking uncomfortable. Wonderful. "What?" he sputtered, knowing full well how pathetic he looked.
Hunter shifted uncomfortably. "Um, why are you lying in the hall crying?"
"Who cares?" Jay put his head in his hands, not even trying to stop the tears. "Leave me alone, I know you don't give a shit about me."
Hunter stared at him for a moment, then looked around. "Is your room around here?" he inquired.
Jay pointed wordlessly to the closed door next to him.
"Oh," was all Hunter said. He cleared his throat, sounding awkward. "Got kicked out?"
Jay whimpered, wrapping his arms around his head. "Please go away," he pleaded.
"Hunter!" came a shout from around the corner. "Come on, man, you coming?" Sean stomped into view, looking cross. "We're supposed to meet Dogg and Chyna at the gym in WAY less time then it'll take us to get there!" He finally noticed Jay curled up on the floor when he reached Hunter's side. He raised his eyebrows at his DX buddy. "Blonde bombshell piss you off?"
"What?" Hunter started at Sean's assumption. "No, I didn't do this," he corrected quickly, "I found him like this."
"Ok." Sean eyed Jay, starting to look at bit curious. He nudged the golden blonde with his foot. "Yo blondie, what's up?" he asked.
"Leave me alone," Jay sobbed, looking up briefly.
Sean's eyes widened when he saw the tears streaking the blonde's cheeks. He knelt down next the Jay, putting his hand on Jay's arm. "Hey man, are you ok?" he asked, actually sounding concerned.
"I said leave me alone!" Jay yelled.
Sean looked up at Hunter, who shook his head slightly. "No way, man," the dark haired man stated, pulling Jay onto his feet. "We know better than that. Come on, you're coming with us."
Jay resisted as Sean lead him towards the elevators, Hunter following behind. His protests were weak, and he leaned heavily on the smaller man. "Geez, you're like a rag doll," Sean complained, as the elevator doors closed. "Can't you walk by yourself?"
"Why?" Jay whispered, sounding haunted.
Sean gave him a funny look, considerable concern in his eyes. He handed Jay's limp form over the Hunter, who easily supported him with his heavily muscled arm. "Screw the gym," Hunter decided, seeing the hopeless look on Jay's face, "We've gotta cheer this boy up. Um, what do pretty boys like to do?"
"Um...." Sean thought for a moment. "Shopping?" he suggested.
"Hey, I like shopping!" Hunter protested.
Sean grinned impishly. "It'll be all the more fun, then. Why don't we see a movie or something too? Somthing funny."
Hunter agreed with him. Neither of them bothered to ask Jay his opinion. He wouldn't have responded, anyway. "Hey, ‘Bedazzled' just opened! I've been wanting to see that. It looks funny, and Elizabeth Hurley apparently has some killer outfits in it. And Brenden Fraser is hot too, huh Jay?"
Sean gave Hunter a warning look, and the big man shrugged. Jay sighed, not feeling much like even breathing. "Yeah," he murmured, trying to remember some of the scenes from ‘George of the Jungle' to distract himself. Brenden Fraser was damn hot. He had always been one of Jay's favorites. The blonde bombshell let his thoughts drift away from real life and focus on the much more appealing images of Brenden in a loin cloth.
"Hey, this is nice." Hunter pulled a long sleeved blue shirt off the rack and held it up to Jay. The golden blonde glanced at it and shrugged.
Sean made a face. "It looks like something Shane would wear," he commented.
Hunter looked at the garment again, grimaced, and placed it back on the rack. "You're right. Well - " He glanced at their shopping buddy, who still wore a huge frown and didn't seem to be having much fun. "Jay, why don't you look?" he suggested.
Jay reached out a hand and flipped through the objects in the rack, not really looking at any of them. The DXers sighed in unison.
"Jay." Hunter put his hands on Jay's shoulders and made the smaller man face him. "What's up with you today? You're normally lots of fun. Not that I hang out with you a lot, but - well, you always seem up to be up to one crazy antic or another when I do see you."
"Sorry," Jay murmured. "I just got some bad news yesterday."
"Bad news like what?" Hunter asked curiously.
Jay shook his head. "Nevermind. I think I've had about enough shopping for today. Why don't we just - mmmm!" Jay's sentence was cut off abruptly, his eyes widening in shock, as Hunter bent down and kissed him.
Hunter was grinning as he drew back. "Now that I've got your attention," he said in a cheeky tone, "I agree, we should move on. We should go see that movie, as I'm sure you were going to say." As he finished speaking, he picked Jay up and slung him over his shoulder, ignoring the blonde bombshell's protests.
"Hunter put me down!" Jay demanded. "God this is so embarrassing. Come on, we're in the middle of a mall! Please put me down!" He couldn't help laughing, despite how red his face was becoming as the people they passed stared at them. He could see Sean walking slightly behind them, biting his lip to keep from laughing.
Hunter was feeling much better now that he'd gotten Jay's mind off whatever was bugging him. What else were friends for, he figured. He didn't care how he'd done it. Jay knew he was clowning around. He smiled as he heard the captive blonde bombshell mutter, "I can't believe I've been DX-napped!"
Brian was working out in the gym, wondering what the heck could've happened to Hunter and Sean. "Yo Joanie!" he called to the muscular woman lifting weights a small distance away.
She looked up at him inquiringly. "What?"
"When was that bonehead boyfriend of your supposed to be here?" the blonde braided man demanded.
Joanie shrugged. "A while ago. He's late; that's why we started without him. Don't worry, Bri. He always gets delayed by something or other. Actually, he's late enough that he probably won't even come."
Brian frowned, but nodded in agreement. "Too true. He still could've called or something, though."
Joanie looked up inquiringly. "Want me to call him? He's always got either his cellphone or pager on. Not like the big dork doesn't forget them often enough, but I could try."
Brian nodded. "I'd like it if you could, just to see where he is."
The Ninth Wonder of the World nodded, leaving the room to find her bag, which her cell phone was safely stashed in.
Brian went back to his weights while he waited for her. Catching a flash of long blonde hair, he looked up, hoping to see Hunter. He was more than a little surprised when Adam Copeland's long, slender fingers closed around his throat.
"Adam, what - " Brian began, but he was cut off as Adam's fingers squeezed tightly, cutting off his breath and making him gasp.
"Where the fuck is he?!?" Adam screamed.
Brian gasped, unable to breath. He hit at Adam's arms desperately. Adam finally got the message, and loosened his grip on the Road Dogg's throat. Brian gasped for breath, staring up at Adam like the tall blonde was insane. "Where's who?" he stammered.
"Jay!" Adam yelled, glaring daggers at the DXer. "I went to find him, only to discover that your moron buddies had abducted him! Where the hell did they take him?"
"I have no clue what you're talking about," Brian replied, gasping as Adam's fingers tightened briefly. "You - you mean Hunter and Sean?"
"Yes Hunter and Sean! Those two brain dead idiots!" Adam exclaimed. "What the hell do they want with Jay, huh? If they do anything to him I'll kill them!"
"Jesus, Adam, calm down!" Brian told the almost hysterical blonde.
"What on earth is going on here?" Both men turned around to see Joanie standing in the door, her cellphone in one hand and her hands on her hips. "Adam, you let him go this minute," she demanded, as if talking to a little child, the way she always used to talk to Eddie. When Adam didn't immediately comply, she walked over and grabbed a big handful of his silky hair, yanking it forcefully. With a loud yelp of pain, the blonde bombshell was forced to release his hold on Brian.
"Thank you," Brian said gratefully, rubbing his throat where Adam's fingers had choked him.
Joanie looked curiously at the blonde Canadian before her, who was rubbing his head sourly. "That hurt like hell, Joanie," Adam spat.
The tall woman crossed her arms, not looking apologetic in the least. "You deserved it. Now why were you trying to strangle my dear little pup? You've got a lot of explaining to do, Copeland."
Adam glared at her. "I was trying to make your bitch tell me where your retarded friends took MY best friend!" he whined, still rubbing his head.
Joanie blinked. "You mean Hunt and Sean? We haven't seen them all day."
"You haven't?" Adam looked surprised. "But, I thought - oh well." He sighed deeply, turning to leave. "Sorry, Bri," he muttered before walking away.
Brian stared after the tall blonde. "That was too weird. We'll have to ask our DX brothers about that later," he stated. He frowned, a slight pout coming to his lip. "How come he believed you and not me, anyway?"
Joanie shrugged. "I'm just more credible, babe. Guys KNOW not to mess with me. He's lucky I grabbed him by his hair and not - other parts." She chuckled to herself, while Brian winced. He watched curiously as she flipped open her cellphone.
"Still calling Hunter?" he inquired.
"Yeah, I have to warn him that there's a majorly pissed blonde bombshell on his tail," she stated, with a slight chuckle. "I can't wait to hear what's going on with Jay, anyway. I'm sure he and Sean had a damn good reason if they abducted him."
"Well, they better not do anything to him, ‘cos Vince would have our asses if we disabled two of his up-and-coming main eventers." Joanie shot him a look. "Oh, right, sorry," Brian said mockingly, holding his hands up in the air. "I forgot that backstage Hunter is as gentle as a lamb - with you," he added.
Joanie smirked. "It's a trained habit," she stated, putting the phone up to her ear as it began to ring.
"Hello? Honey, this is a bad time, we're right in the middle of - " Hunter frowned as he listened to his girlfriend's warning. "Who is? Adam?"
Sean elbowed him in the ribs. "Shut up, she's just about to trick him again," the dark-haired man hissed, watching the movie screen with considerable interest.
"Ok. Thanks honey," Hunter whispered, hanging up the phone. He slipped it back into his pocket, returning his eyes to the screen.
Sean glanced at him inquiringly. "Who was that?"
"Shh, we're watching a movie," Hunter whispered.
Sean scowled and poked him in the ribs. "Who was it?"
"Joanie. She had to warn me - " Hunter dropped his voice and moved closer so he was speaking right in Sean's ear. He glanced at Jay before continuing. The golden blonde wasn't paying any attention to them, entranced by the sight of Brenden Fraser's graceful form moving across the screen. "She had to warn me that the other blonde bombshell's looking for us, and apparently he's pissed."
"Why?" Sean inquired, looking a little confused. "He wasn't cheering his buddy up, why can't we?"
Hunter chewed his lip. "I think he had something to do with this in the first place," he whispered back. "I found Jay outside the hotel room he said was his own, his and Adam's, I assume."
Sean shrugged. "Well, Adam's a bitch sometimes. Man's got quite a temper."
"What are you guys whispering about?" Both Hunter and Sean jumped, noticing that their conversation had caught their companion's attention. Jay was leaning over in his seat, trying to hear what they were saying.
"Nothin', blondie," Hunter said quickly, ruffling Jay's hair affectionately. "Watch the movie."
An hour or two later, Hunter, Sean, and Jay were having lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant they had found. Jay was smiling, but there still seemed to be a lot of pain and sadness under it. However, the main sadness was in his eyes, which seemed filled with mournful sorrow.
Hunter put his hand on Jay's arm, meeting his eyes with concern when Jay looked at him. "Jay, you know if you need to talk, we're here," he assured the golden blonde, motioning to himself and Sean.
Jay sighed, leaning back in his chair. "I don't think talking would do much good," he said sadly.
"Oh no? Normally helps me," Hunter replied.
Jay sighed again, his eyes haunted. "Can talking cure a disease?" he said quietly, swallowing hard.
Sean's eyes widened. "Jay, man, you sick?"
"Not yet." Jay stared down at the table, fingering the cloth. "But I'm going to be. I'm going to die. And I suppose I won't be able to wrestle anymore, either." He looked up at the DXers, who were both too shocked to say anything. "Now you see why I'm so upset?" he continued bitterly. "My life is over. And the worst part is, the person I care the most about in the world hates me for it!" He buried his head in his hands, fighting not to start crying again.
"Jay, that's - that's really awful," Hunter stuttered, kicking himself for how stupid it sounded. "But, you know, a lot of shit happens, and nobody can do anything about it. But I don't think Adam hates you, Jay. Why else would he be coming after you?"
Jay looked up in surprise. "What? He is? But - how did you know that - that I was talking about him?" His eyes were wide with apprehension.
Hunter shrugged, finding Jay's reaction curious. "Well, I mean, he's your best friend, right? And you guys are always hanging out with each other. I just figured you meant him."
"Oh. Right, yeah." Jay seemed to relax a little.
Hunter exchanged a curious look with Sean, and was about to ask Jay something further when he froze, staring at the man who had just walked into view.
Adam's eyes narrowed as he spotted them, his hands on his hips. "Jay!" he shrieked.
Hunter stood up, putting himself between the raging blonde bombshell and Jay. "Adam, calm down. I don't know what you're upset about, but - "
"You don't know what I'm upset about?!?" Adam screamed, marching right up to Hunter and glaring into his eyes. "I'm upset because I've been looking for Jay since this morning, but you jackasses had to spirit him away!"
"I'm sorry, Adam, but I found Jay lying in the hallway crying," Hunter said defensively. "What was I supposed to do, leave him there? We took him out to cheer him up, and we did!"
Adam took a deep breath, clearly trying to calm himself down. He glanced around Hunter, meeting Jay's eyes. "Jay, are you ok?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Adam," Jay said a bit warily. "So you - you've been looking for me all day? I thought that - from what you said - you wouldn't want to see me again."
Adam shook his head. "No, that wasn't it at all. I was just angry, and - " He stopped, glancing with annoyance at Hunter. "Excuse me, could you get out of my way?" he asked through gritted teeth. Hunter glanced at Jay, then stepped aside. "Thank you," Adam said curtly. He walked up to Jay and pulled up a chair next to him. "I really, really didn't mean what I said before," the tall blonde said sincerely. "I'm really sorry for losing my temper, and I am really, really, really sorry for throwing you out."
Hunter nudged Sean in the ribs. "Told ya," he whispered. They listened with interest to the blonde bombshells' conversation. The two Canadians seemed oblivious to their presence.
"As I said, I overreacted," Adam apologized again. "Please forgive me, I was just - well, I was shocked. I've never had to deal with something like this before. But the fact of the matter is, I do love you, and I want to help you."
"Adam!" Jay hissed, gesturing to the two men listening.
"I love you like my brother," Adam corrected quickly, glancing at the DXers.
Hunter grinned. "Sure you do."
Jay paled slightly. "W-what?"
Hunter crossed his arms. "Jay, I'm not blind. I've known since I caught you and Sean making out at that one party."
"Hey!" Sean cried, punching Hunter in the arm. "Somebody spiked the punch! It was wasn't my fault!"
Hunter grinned impishly at his friend. "Or so you've always claimed, Sean." Sean shot him a poison look, crossing his arms and muttering to himself. "Anyway," Hunter continued, talking to Jay once again, "I saw all the signs there before that, and that really convinced me. I never said anything because, to be perfectly frank, it's none of my business."
"But - you knew?" Jay glanced at Adam, who was also looking shocked. "D-does anyone else know?"
Hunter shrugged. "Couldn't tell you. But it doesn't make any difference to me, and it wouldn't to most of the people I know."
Sean blinked suddenly. "Hey, wait. What were you saying about being sick, before Adam came in?" he remembered.
Jay stared down at the ground. He glanced briefly at his partner as the taller blonde took his hand and squeezed it supportively. That gave him the confidence to face Hunter and Sean. "Well, I - I went in to take an AIDS test, before Adam and I, um - " Jay turned a light shade of red and cleared his throat. " - got involved. I just got it back yesterday, and it was positive."
Hunter and Sean were flabbergasted. "I don't know what to say," Hunter stated. "You know I'm here for you, if you need me."
Sean nodded. "Yeah, me too. That's tough man. I - " He was cut off by the sound of a ringing phone, which made them all jump.
"Oh, that's my cell," Jay realized, pulling the phone out of his pocket. He pulled it out, flipped it open, and swallowed once before speaking. "Hello?" He listened for a few moments, while the others watched in silence. "Ok," he said quietly after a bit, then pressed ‘End'.
"Who was it?" Adam asked, not releasing his grip on Jay's hand.
Jay sighed. "My doctor. He wants to see me tomorrow."
Jay shot to his feet as the receptionist called his name. "That's me," he said, hurrying up the counter, Adam right behind him.
"Dr. Post will see you now," the woman told him.
"Thank you," Jay told her, turning and walking down the hallway.
Adam took his hand and smiled at him reassuringly. "It'll be ok, Jay," he whispered. "Whatever it is, I'll be here for you, ok?"
Jay swallowed nervously. "What if they've found something else, Adam? What if I've got AIDS already? What am I going to do?"
"Honey, you'll be ok," Adam assured him, squeezing his hand. "Besides, it could be good news."
Jay snorted. "Oh, I'll sure it was all a mistake. You know, that's probably it," he said sarcastically, with a hint of bitterness in his voice.
Adam said nothing, guiding Jay into the correct room once they reached it. A man in a white lab coat looked up. He was sitting at his desk in the office they had just entered. "Mr. Reso, I presume?" the man asked, looking between the two blondes a little unsurely.
"Yes, that's me," Jay replied.
"Please have a seat, Mr. Reso," the doctor instructed him. Jay sat down, Adam sitting in the chair next to him, not letting go of his hand for a minute. The doctor cleared his throat. "Mr. Reso, I have some news for you," he began.
"Ok." Jay took a deep breath. He glanced at Adam, who gave him a heartwarming smile. "Go on."
The doctor cleared his throat. "This quite embarrassing for the hospital, I'm afraid. It appears we have some foul play afoot. Someone has been tampering with our records, and I'm afraid your file was the one they chose to falsify. I am so sorry for the trouble this may have caused you. I assure you, the hospital and the police are doing everything we can to catch this person - "
"Wait a minute." Jay blinked in confusion. "My - my records were changed?"
"Yes." The doctor opened the file on his desk. "It seems you were misinformed on the results of some tests for sexually transmitted diseases that you took. The actual results were negative on all counts. I know this may have deeply affected your life, I cannot apologize enough to you - "
"Wait, wait." Jay stood up, hardly able to believe what he was hearing. "I don't have AIDS? I'm clean?!? Really?!?"
The doctor nodded. "Yes, Mr. Reso."
Jay turned to Adam, tears in his eyes. "Adam, I'm not sick! I'm not gonna die! I'm ok!!!!" Adam returned his joyous grin, pulling him into an enthusiastic bear hug and spinning him around. Tears of joy slid down Jay's cheeks, and he face was flushed from excitement as Adam set him down. "I feel like I've been handed by life back," he whispered, trailing a finger gently across Adam's cheek.
"I am very sorry about this, if there's anything we can do - " the doctor began.
Jay and Adam were busy gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, but the doctor's words snapped Adam out of his trance. "Hey, did you say that someone changed the test, on purpose?" he realized.
The doctor nodded. "I'm afraid so. It was the only test that was tampered with, so unfortunately we believe it was more that a practical joke. It was a vicious attack on Mr. Reso. I hate to have to tell you this, but you should probably know."
Jay nodded. "Yeah, ok. But I'll think about that later. Right now, I have to celebrate having my life back!" He wrapped his arms around Adam's waist and rested his head on Adam's chest. "Take me home, Adam, alright?"
Adam chuckled, his arms wrapping around Jay protectively. "You mean back to the hotel?"
Jay nodded. "Just somewhere I can be alone with you."
Adam smiled. Keeping his arms around Jay, he turned to the hallway, and they walked away together.
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