The time was 12:30 AM when Roman and Dean finally arrived at their assigned hotel room. They knew it was late but they didn't care. Smackdown was wild, it was crazy as it always was. The two men wrestled their asses off in their tag team match against Kane and that scumbag Seth Rollins. Dean and Roman won, of course, but the Authority wasn't going to have it. Kane assaulted the both of them with kicks and a choke slam to Roman. Seth then got steel chairs involved. As he raised the chair above his head then back down on Ambrose's body, Roman swore he saw Dean shake and mouth 'No more. No more.'
"How's your back?" he asked as he settled his bag down on one of the two beds in the room. The Lunatic Fringe sat down on a recliner but kept quiet, looking lost in his own thoughts. Roman opened his mouth to say something else but when he turned his head and saw his Shield brother looking dazed, he deemed it best to not say anything else. He proceeded to the bathroom to take a shower, leaving Dean alone with the silence.
Now, Dean doesn't get scared easily. His childhood molded him better than to be frightened by petty things. But tonight...tonight was different. Tonight, he was intimidated by something as insignificant as a chair. And he felt angry because of it. He felt infuriated by the fact that he was scared, that he cried, because of a fucking chair. He was Dean Fucking Ambrose for crying out loud. He went through the hell known as CZW, Tournament of Death. He suffered getting the skin of his forehead peeled and needles injected into his cheeks. So why should a chair cause him to panic the way he did in the ring?
Dean covered his eyes with his hands, his palms pressing his eyes. He knew the answer but he was ashamed to admit it to anyone, even himself. He knew why a particular object, held by a particular person, struck so much fear into him. If that person was anyone else, he wouldn't have a problem. He could easily take the chair and use it against them. But that wasn't the case. Seth used the chair, used it to repeatedly assault Dean. He could have attacked Roman, since he was clearly a greater threat to Seth. So Dean had to ask: Why? Why did Seth exclusively target him with the chair? The same item he used when he betrayed his brothers. The same weapon he had when he declared his allegiance to the enemy, when he sold out.
Dean didn't realize he was crying until Roman came out after his shower and asked if he was okay. The Shield wildcard raised his head and saw tears had pooled in his hands. He quickly wiped them on his black cargo pants and said, "Yeah, 'M fine. Just....tired." He went for the bed near the window and laid down, covering his head with a pillow. Roman got dressed in a white shirt and pajamas before plunking himself down on his own bed and tucked himself in with the thick blanket.
It was cold and dark, Dean observed. But he didn't have a clue where he was. He tried to reach out in front of him but he couldn't even see his hands in front of his face. It was pitch black but he kept trying to reach something, feel something, anything. Finally, there was a light, like a spotlight. And standing under that light was his father. His father, the one who abandoned him, was now standing in front of him. And he was smiling as if Dean grew up the way he planned him to, as if nothing was wrong.
Dean stood there, dumbfounded and confused. With great effort, he took a step forward and another, and another until he was a few more feet in front of his father. He didn't know why but a great feeling of joy and relief flooded him, made him feel safe. When he got close enough, he ran the rest of the remaining steps for an embrace. But once he was five steps away from him, the man merely smiled at his son and turned around to walk away. Dean's running steps became slower and slower until he felt like he was glued to the unseen floor.
"No." He muttered, struggling to keep running. "No! No!" An all-too-familiar pain replaced happiness and security, leaving him feeling helpless, as he watched his dad walk away until he faded into the darkness. As he disappeared, a faint echo of his laughter resonated around the invisible room, mocking Dean and reminding him that he couldn't do a single thing to make his old man stay.
As he dropped to his knees, another light turned on. Dean raised his head and saw his mother in front of him, looking miserable, the way she always did. Dean, even on the verge of tears, managed a weak smile, although his mother did not return the gesture. He felt the same happiness as before, even if his mom didn't really take care of him very well. But at least she stayed and actually fed him, managed to send him to high school before he quit.
The man tried to hold her hand but, at the blink of an eye, she was gone. Dean felt misery and anger flood his system. He let out a pained scream as he pounded his fist onto the imperceptible floor. It felt painful to do so. The material felt like rough, rocky concrete. 'Perfect,' he thought, striking his fists into the ground again and again until he felt blood trickle down his arms and drip down to the floor.
"Dean." A voice said, making the Lunatic stop. He refused to look up, afraid that if he looked, that person would disappear just like his parents. Dean felt a pair of hands on his cheeks and tilt his head upwards. Seth, donned in his Shield attire, knelt in front of his teammate, his brown eyes revealed genuine concern. Dean knew he shouldn't be happy to see him but for some reason, he was more than happy to see his former Shield brother. He flashed a bright smile and wrapped his arms around Seth in a hug. This time, the man stayed and returned the embrace. But even that moment did not last forever. Seth was suddenly yanked back by unseen hands, a disembodied cackle echoing once more as Seth struggled to get away from the grasp.
"Wait! Seth! This isn't fair!" He begged as his surroundings turned dark once more. He just wished that it would stay that way. Every time that damned light lit up, another person Dean cared about abandoned him, left him and, most recently, was taken away from him. He looked down at his bloodied hands, blood dripping quickly down onto his pant-clad legs and staining the fabric with a dark crimson. He heard a pained sob from somewhere and it took him a moment to realize that it came from his own mouth. He tried so hard to stop crying, to convince himself that he should get used to it, get used to being left alone. But he wasn't and he had a feeling that he would never get used to the feeling.
Just as he was about to raise his head once again, he felt a painful whack on his back. He doubled over and again and again, the jab came down on his body as it grew even more painful with each hit. Dean glanced up and saw Seth, his brother, his friend, was the one bombarding him with the excruciating force that could only be delivered by the very item Dean was terrified of: The steel chair.
He wailed in agony as he begged for Seth to stop. "Seth, no please!" -Whack- "Stop!"
-Whack- "Please! Stop it, please! No more! STOP!!" -Whack- "Why are you doing this to me?!"
A maniacal laughter was heard from Seth as he took pleasure in beating the life out of his friend, watching him squirm after every blow of the cold, cruel metal.
Dean felt tears running down his cheeks but did nothing to stop them from flowing.
"HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
[End dream sequence]
Roman was asleep when he heard it: A slight whimper in the still silence. He was a pretty light sleeper and the slightest noise could rouse him from slumber. He sat up and rubbed his eyes before looking at the clock: 2:45 AM. Another sound reached his ears. This time, it was a choked sob. He looked to his right and saw Dean writhing in his bed, extending his arm as if he was trying to grip something important, like his life depended on it. At first, he thought Dean was having another dream about his dad so he did what he always did in these situations: He went over to Dean's bed and patted the younger man's arm, shaking him lightly every so often.
"Dean. Hey, c'mon man, wake up." Roman said softly, trying to shake his partner awake. But Dean didn't wake up so easily. Instead, he started to cry, as in tears were visibly running down his cheeks. And he kept screaming, his voice wild and desperate. He thrashed in his bed, throwing whatever he could get his hands on, as he kept begging for someone to stop. Stop what? Roman thought. But he pushed the thought aside as he focused on rousing Dean from his apparently horrendous slumber. The younger man's screams became louder and more frantic and he began trembling, his whole body shivering under Roman's hands.
"Dean! Man, c'mon, it's alright. Wake up! Wake up!" Roman grabbed Dean by the shoulder and attempted to shake him awake. He tried slapping Dean's face, yanking at his short, dark brown hair, anything just to stir the lunatic from his dream.
"HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP ME!" Dean pleaded, gripping the flesh of Roman's left arm and just raked his nails down to the half-Samoan's elbow. Roman pulled back and looked at the harmed skin. It wasn't that bad but four red streaks were visible on his tanned complexion. He dismissed it and went back to trying to wake Dean up.
After a few more efforts, Dean finally opened his teary eyes and sitting up and leaning against the headboard. He hugged his legs closer to his chest as he trembled, his shoulders rising and falling in rapid motions in between short gasps. He was sweating his heart felt like it was trying to burst out of his chest and he found it difficult to breathe. He couldn't explain it but, even with his back against the wooden headboard, he was terrified that someone was going to hit him the same way Seth did in his nightmare. No, scratch that. The way Seth did to them a week ago on Raw.
"Dean?" Roman approached the situation cautiously, knowing that Dean was very sensitive when it came to these conditions. Ever since that two-toned bastard deserted them, Dean found it hard to trust anyone, even Roman himself. It took him a few days to convince the Lunatic Fringe that he wasn't going anywhere, that he would still be his 'brother' and that he would never do what Rollins did. Ambrose also became anxious whenever he was left alone. But it wasn't like he didn't become anxious before. It's just that maybe Seth's betrayal was the final straw and it took its toll on Dean's already unstable brain. He would get nervous when Roman wasn't in his line of sight and that became a bit of a problem. They would travel to shows in planes, sometimes they weren't on the same one so Roman had no idea how his friend was handling the situation.
"Dean, it's okay. I'm here, buddy, I'm here." Roman reassured, carefully patting Dean's shoulder to calm him down. Dean still trembled and mumbled words Roman couldn't understand, especially in his sleepy state. Dammit, Seth, he cursed. Seth was the only one who knew how to deal with Dean's panic attacks and only he will know what to do. Roman did remember one thing he usually did, though. He held Dean's hand, intertwined their fingers, and stroked his hair.
Dean knew it wasn't him, knew it wasn't Seth. But he had to make do. He closed his eyes and pretended that it was him and that everything was okay. He refused to open his eyes because he knew that his perfect fantasy would be over. But still, he opened his baby blues and let out a shaky sigh. He yanked his shaking hand away from Roman's and said nothing more.
"He's not coming back, is he?" He asked, evading Roman's questioning look. Dean knew he shouldn't even be asking this question but, with all the shit he's going through, hoping an impossible fantasy would come true was one of the very few reasons why he gets out of bed in the morning. Maybe, just maybe, one day Dean would wake up and he would see their usual mornings: Roman would be coming out of the shower or making coffee for the three of them and Seth would jump on Dean's sleeping figure, jolting the unstable man awake, and saying, "Wake up. We got a flight in two hours." Why would anyone take that away? Why would anyone take him away? Why would they take away someone so.....perfect?
"No, Dean, he's not." Roman answered, his voice as bitter as Dean's. "But, hey, everything's going to be fine. We don't need him, we can take care of ourselves, right?"
Dean nodded and looked out the window. "I miss him."
"You're not the only one." The taller man agreed. "Come on. Go back to sleep. We leave in a couple of hours."
Dean laid back down on the bed and willed himself to sleep and thankfully, the nightmares went away. But deep down in the demented crevices of his mind, Dean wished for them to haunt him again. Anything just to see Seth's face one way or another.