Dean had told the world that titles come and titles go, and had thought that maybe he'd even convinced himself of the same notion, fooled himself into thinking that he was perfectly fine with the loss of something that he'd literally bled for time and time again. However, once the cameras were turned off, the arena was emptied, and he sat alone in the locker room gathering his meager supplies, it felt as though bricks occupied the pit of his stomach and lungs and any other vital organ that kept his body functioning at a base level. Earlier, he declined an invitation from Sami to spend a few days in Orlando, but as he head towards the exit his limbs felt like lead, a text message was sent out to see if the offer still stood; he laughed when, in mere seconds, the response came, an enthusiastic "YES!!!".
Without hesitation, he cancelled his flight to back to Nevada and hopped on the next available red-eye to Orlando, where Sami happily greeted him in the airport lobby at some ungodly early hour. On the short drive back, they caught up on how other roster members were faring, the shared relief over the new tour schedule, and finally Dean inquired about Finn's condition.
"He's really optimistic," Sami nodded to himself as he kept his focus on the road. "Don't show him any pity, though; he gets enough of that and he just wants to be treated normally."
"Roger that." Dean yawned. "How th'fuck were you able to get up this early on your day off?"
"My sleep schedule's all weird after the overseas tour. Also I sleep lightly since Finn's up all hours, and..." Sami sighed. "It's not the same, not having him in the bed."
"So uh...how you been holdin' up with all that?"
Sami barked out a laugh. "I'm driving him nuts, I'm sure. I make a big deal about every little thing, I have flashbacks to when I went through this and I just want him to be as comfortable as possible. God, you should have seen him when I told him that I wished I could trade places with him."
"Was he mad?"
"No. Upset, sure, but..." Sami trailed off, his tone progressively becoming more dispirited. “I really hate this. And I don’t blame Seth, but then sometimes I do. Sometimes, when we’re in a match together, I wonder what it’d take to maim him, and it scares me that the thought crosses my mind.”
“Seth’s a pretty easy target to take your frustration out on.” Dean quietly agreed.
“I can’t even...I can’t hug or hold Finn right now, y’know.” As Sami’s voice strained, Dean looked over at him. “Ugh, I’m sorry. I don’t-”
“S’ok. It’s a lot to deal with. Sounds like you’ve been dealing with it all on y’own.”
“That’s just how I handle things in general, though.” Sami sniffed loudly and discreetly brought a hand up to his eyes, then cleared his throat. “So...should I ask how you’ve been?”
“Rather you didn’t.” Dean responded dryly.
“I figured as much.” The left turn signal was turned on, and Sami pulled into the parking lot of his apartment complex. They were both silent as they entered the unit, but their efforts were for naught as Finn met them in the kitchen. Sami was so gentle about the way that he approached Finn, concern radiating from off of him, and Dean realized that it was the first time since he'd known they were together that he didn't see them wholeheartedly embrace one another upon greeting.
“Hi Dean!” Finn cheerfully welcomed, ignoring Sami’s fretful scrutiny.
“Hey there.” Dean managed a grin. “Heard you got cleared to use your Legos again.”
“I did!” Equal parts of excitement and bashfulness seemed to overcome Finn, and with that some of Sami’s nervous tension also appeared to ease. “Well, I just came out for a glass of water. I’ll leave you two to catch up.”
“Actually, I’m ready to pass out.” Dean fought off another yawn. “It’s been a long night, y’know.”
“I made up the guest room before you got here, but let me know if you need more pillows or anything, OK?” Sami moved as though to show where the room was, but Dean was already half-way there. He shut the door behind him and set his duffle bag down, and on desk was the start of a new Lego construct, along with several books that looked as though they’d been checked out from the library and a worn red three-ringed binder. The lightswitch was flicked off, and Dean was relieved that he didn’t make up the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling from the last time he was over.