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Paper Lanterns
Story published 11 months ago · completed · 19 pages · 168 readers · 224 reads
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Summary: Oneshot. It all happened in the blink of an eye. When a match goes horribly wrong at an NXT taping, she begins to realize just how much he actually means to her. Dean Ambrose/Paige.
 
Characters: Dean Ambrose and Paige, features others
 
Pairings: Dean Ambrose/Paige
 
"I watched the storms light up the clouds,
 
They hung like paper lanterns
 
To guide the way back toward your house..."
 
–The Wonder Years, "Dismantling Summer"
 
Her knuckles were white as she clenched the steering wheel, her eyes damp as she sped down the dark road. She was relieved that there weren't too many other cars on the road with her, mainly because she didn't have the patience required to attempt to maneuver around them. She pried one hand off the wheel and wiped at her eyes when more tears threatened to fall, her foot not relenting the pressure on the gas pedal. Her gaze then moved to the speedometer, and she watched as the small red hand moved from five miles over the speed limit to ten. She didn't mind how fast she had to go as long as she got there as soon as she could. She just had to be there to hear any news, only able to hope that it would be good.
 
Paige took a deep breath as she raised her gaze back to the road in front of her, both hands once more clamped tightly around the wheel. It was windy that night, and she briefly glanced up at the line of streetlamps hanging above her through the blowing leaves, seeming to guide her way to him. It would have been a beautiful sight if the situation weren't so dire. Her mind was elsewhere. The events over the past couple of hours at the NXT taping were all one big blur to her.
 
Then, her heart leapt when the bright lights of the downtown hospital he had been brought to came into view, and she quickly merged into the lane to her right so she wouldn't miss the turn into the parking lot. Her stomach tightened to the point where it was painful as she drew nearer, her tears renewed. She knew she wouldn't be able to forget the empty look that had been in his eyes, how he hadn't seemed to know her when she had called his name. It had shaken her more than she cared to admit.
 
How he had managed to sneak into her heart and hold it ransom so quickly, she wasn't sure. But he had, and as she searched for a parking spot, Paige could only hope that she would have him back soon.
 
Two hours earlier...
 
The raven-haired Brit lowered her black-rimmed sunglasses over her eyes as she walked through the automatic door of the grocery store, her black studded bag in one hand and a plastic bag filled with junk food in the other. It was her turn to pick up the snacks for the hotel room this time around since Emma had done it the last time, and though she didn't mind, it did serve to set her a little behind in her plans to get to the arena a bit earlier for the NXT taping.
 
Though she wasn't entirely sure why she bothered. The person who she always tried to arrive early to see whenever he was there was always the last one to show up. She foolishly hoped that her own punctual tendencies would inspire him to get there earlier as well, but she also knew that it would probably never work. Arriving early was something that simply didn't suit her boyfriend.
 
A smile spread across Paige's face as she set the bag on the floor in the backseat of her navy blue Camry before she straightened up and situated her black baseball cap a bit straighter on her head. She couldn't believe that she had been officially dating the United States Champion Dean Ambrose for almost a month already. It had gone by so fast. In the grand scheme of things, she knew it wasn't the longest period of time, but this was the first relationship she had been in that she could really consider to be serious, and she was grateful that it had lasted as long as it had. Dean was oftentimes aloof, and he could be a bit standoffish when he wanted to be, but he was the first man she had been with who she felt like she really had a mutual understanding with. The attraction that she had had toward him at the start was something she had often tried to pass off as a silly crush, but she was glad she had actually decided to give what was turning out to be a relationship a chance. She still felt as though they were in the feeling out stages and still trying to figure out the other's quirks as well as finding out what made the other tick, but it was a challenge that she found fun since it was one she was up for. He somehow managed to always keep her on her toes, and she also knew that there was a lot more that she still had to discover about Dean Ambrose.
 
Once she was behind the wheel and had her seatbelt on, Paige turned up the radio as she left the parking lot and began to make her way toward the arena for the show that night. Humming quietly along with the song, her slender fingers began to lightly drum against the wheel in time with the beat as she drove through an intersection. It had been advertised that The Shield was going to make an appearance at the show for a six-man tag team match that night against Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, and Xavier Woods, and usually whenever Dean was on the show with her, they made a point to try to spend at least a little time together. Since she had been sick with the flu the last time he had been in town, the Anti-Diva wondered if she could convince him to go out to dinner or somewhere else that couples were supposed to go with her after the show was over. After all, they hadn't had an official date yet, and it was something she thought would be good for them. It would depend on how tired they both were afterward, of course, but she was almost certain that she could coerce him into going somewhere.
 
Suddenly, Paige gasped loudly and fought the urge to slam on her brakes as she sharply turned the wheel when another car nearly cut her off. She muttered heated curses under her breath as she tightened her hands around the wheel and continued to drive, willing her heart to return to its normal rate. That had been way too close for comfort.
 
Fortunately, the arena wasn't too far away, and the young, raven-haired woman was directed to a spot to park by event security. Paige grabbed her gym bag filled with her ring gear, title, and other necessities before locking up her car and waving at fans who had gathered as she crossed the parking lot to the arena doors. She walked inside, pulling off her sunglasses as she made her way toward where the locker room was. She slowed her pace slightly as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, coming to a complete stop and lightly running a finger over the screen to wake it up before she started to compose a text to send to Dean to let him know that she was there and where they could meet up when he eventually did arrive.
 
Before she could finish, however, she jumped slightly when a pair of hands covered her eyes from behind. "Guess who," a familiar voice muttered quietly from close to her ear.
 
Paige couldn't keep the smile from spreading across her face. "There is no way in hell tha' you actually bea' me here, Ambrose," she said.
 
Dean chuckled as he lowered his hands. "Normally, I wouldn't," he agreed. "But Roman was driving this time, and he and Seth both thought it'd be a good idea to get here a bit on the earlier side to go over some of the finer points of our match tonight."
 
"And don' you think that'd be an importan' discussion to be a par' of rather than creeping around back here?" the Brit wondered as she turned around and arched an eyebrow, lightly worrying the stud piercing in her bottom lip between her teeth.
 
A small smirk tugged at the corner of Dean's lips. "Already was, sweetheart," he told her, draping an arm around her shoulders. "Seth and Roman are stretching and what not to loosen up before the show starts, and I was creeping around back here, as you so eloquently put it, since I knew you would have gotten here in the next few minutes or so. And I was right."
 
Despite herself, the smile returned to Paige's face as she stepped closer and wrapped her arms around him, resting her head against his chest. "I'm so proud of you for being here early," she muttered.
 
Dean's smirk broadened slightly. "Don't get used to it. It'll probably never happen again."
 
"No, probably no'," Paige agreed with a similar look appearing on her face. "I suppose I should consider myself fortunate."
 
"Yes, you should." Dean gave her a small smile before he leaned down a bit and met her lips in a soft kiss. The younger woman lingered close before giving him a second one as soft as the first but one that also lasted a little longer. He then lightly brushed a thumb over her cheek. "You have a title defense tonight, don't ya?"
 
Paige nodded as she rested her head against his shoulder again. "Yeah, agains' Summer," she confirmed. "I'm looking forward to watching your match, though. Tha' will be a good one. A lo' of my boys are in i'." Her eyes shone mischievously as she looked up at her boyfriend, lightly taking the hand of the arm that was still around her shoulders in both of hers. "I' will be hard to decide who to cheer for."
 
"That really hurt, Paige," Dean said sarcastically as they slowly continued down the hall toward the locker room.
 
"Well, it's true," the Brit replied. "I mean, there's Seth, Corey..." She chuckled quietly. "Bu' don' worry, Dean. I'll still applaud your effor'."
 
"Funny, Paige," Dean muttered. "You know what? Just for that, I'll punch Corey in the face extra hard tonight since I can't hit my own partner."
 
"Aww. Jealous, Dean?" Paige jokingly wondered, casting her dark gaze up to him.
 
Dean tightened his fingers around her hands. "What could I possibly be jealous about, Paige?"
 
"I dunno. Corey apparently." A smirk appeared on Paige's face as they came to a stop in front of the women's locker room. "Don' worry. You've go' nothing to worry abou'."
 
"Oh, I know I don't," Dean assured her. "Besides, I could kick Corey's ass any day."
 
Paige laughed as she released her hold on his hand before she turned and quickly kissed his cheek. "I know you could." But then, a broad smile appeared on her face. "So, I realized something today when I was a' the store before some idio' nearly hi' me when he cu' me off on my way here."
 
Dean arched an eyebrow. "Wait, you were almost hit?" he asked. "Are you okay?"
 
"Yeah, I'm fine," the raven-haired woman answered. "No harm done. And if tha' is the wors' thing tha' happens today, I really can' complain."
 
"Well, that's good, at least. I'm glad you're okay." A slight smirk appeared on his face when he saw the anticipation in his girlfriend's eyes. "All right, I'll bite. What'd you realize today before that jackass nearly hit you?"
 
The broad smile returned to the Anti-Diva's face. "We've been together for almost a month already!" she told him.
 
Dean wasn't sure what he had been expecting her to say, but it certainly hadn't been that. He chuckled before he reached out and took the brim of her black baseball cap in his fingers and lightly pulled it down over her eyes. "You're so excited about that..." he muttered.
 
Paige took off her hat and quickly straightened out her dark hair before returning it to her head. She then set her hands on her hips as she met his light gaze. "Of course I am," she said. "I mean, I know i' isn' really tha' long, bu' I still can' believe i'. I' certainly doesn' feel like it's been tha' long already. I mean, we haven' even really been on wha' we can call a date ye'."
 
An amused look appeared on Dean's face. "No, I can't say that we have," he agreed. "You were sick last time we tried. And then you got me sick, too." He laughed a little when he saw her eyes narrow slightly in frustration before he reached out and wrapped an arm around her waist. "Which is fine, my dear. We'll just have to do something about that. How about you and I have dinner once the show's done?"
 
"I was actually going to ask you tha' very same question," Paige told him with a small smile.
 
"All righty then, it's a date." Dean returned the look before he leaned down and met her lips in another soft but quick kiss. "For now, though, I'll let you get changed. You've got a title defense to prepare for tonight, after all, and I've gotta grab my gear and change before meeting up with Seth and Roman. I'll see you later?"
 
"Mos' definitely," Paige agreed, squeezing his hand before she made her way to the door of the locker room. Before she could step inside, however, she paused and glanced over her shoulder at the United States Champion. "You know, I was always partial to tha' ring gear of yours."
 
Dean arched an eyebrow as a small smirk appeared at the corner of his lips. "Why does that not surprise me?" he wondered, a quiet laugh escaping from him when he saw his girlfriend roll her eyes. "I'll see ya in a little bit, Paige."
 
"See you." Paige watched as he turned and made his way down the hall, shaking her head slightly as her smile lingered before she stepped inside the locker room.
 
Nearly an hour and a half later, the raven-haired Brit made her way back to the locker room with a slight spring to her step. The weight of the NXT Women's title over her shoulder did little to slow her down as she walked inside and immediately went to where she had left her bag. She felt as though her title defense against Summer had gone well, and she was now excited to change before the six-man tag match so she'd be able to get to a monitor in order to watch it. Paige grabbed the t-shirt and jeans she had worn that day and jumped in the shower, quickly washing up before slipping into the casual clothing and going back to her bag. She ran a brush through her wet hair and packed up the rest of her luggage, sliding the strap on her shoulder and slipping on her shoes before leaving the locker room to search for a place to get comfortable and watch the rest of the show.
 
By the time she found an available monitor, the Anti-Diva saw that Corey, Adrian, and Xavier were already in the ring and preparing for their upcoming match. Emma was standing in front of it to watch as well, and Paige set her bag on the floor as quietly as she could before she wrapped her arms around her best friend from behind. "Go' you!"
 
Emma rolled her eyes as she glanced over her shoulder at the other young woman before a broad smile appeared on her face. "Good match out there tonight, sweetie," she said with a quiet chuckle. "Can't wait to challenge you for that title and then hold it myself, though."
 
"Oh, please. Tha' won' happen for a long, long time," Paige muttered, mirroring the look as she lightly tugged on the Australian Diva's blonde ponytail. Her gaze then shifted to the screen in front of them when she heard the familiar crackle followed by the voices of Dean, Seth, and Roman as their theme music began. She rested her chin on her friend's shoulder, her smile lingering as the three men themselves stepped out onto the stage. Dean arrogantly led the way down the ramp with his United States Championship over his right shoulder, casting his light gaze at the fans sitting on either side of him as he pulled his arm away from their grasping hands. Seth and Roman followed close behind with their Tag Team Titles in hand and stony expressions on their faces before they all began to surround the ring.
 
"Thy sure don't like to be touched. Dean in particular," Emma commented before a mischievous smirk turned up the corner of her lips as she turned to the Anti-Diva. "Unless you were there, of course."
 
"Oh, shu' up," Paige mumbled, unable to meet the other woman's gaze. She was unsure if she was blushing or not, but with as pale as her complexion was, it wasn't a difficult feat. A small smirk appeared on her face when she thought she noticed Dean send a little extra trash talk Corey's way before holding up his Championship in the air after he, Seth, and Roman had entered the ring. She shook her head slightly, knowing he must have included that just for her since he knew she would be watching.
 
The match began with Seth and Corey squaring off in the center of the ring. They were two people who she had always considered to be evenly matched and fun to watch, but she found her gaze continuing to move to where Dean was shifting from one foot to the other on the apron while Roman stood stoically next to him, simply watching what was happening in the match. She couldn't help but chuckle quietly under her breath about how the largest member of The Shield's character was such a far cry from how he was in person since he was one of the friendliest people that she knew, but how Dean was just as quirky as his character portrayed him to be, if not more so. Not crazy, but the more she got to know him, she was sure that there were many quirks of his she wasn't even aware of yet.
 
Dean was soon tagged into the match by his two-toned teammate, and he immediately went after Corey. The raven-haired Brit shook her head slightly as she smiled, watching as he continued to gain the upper hand over the other man until Corey caught him off-guard with a sudden clothesline.
 
Back and forth was the only way Paige could describe the exciting match that was taking place, which was how she had anticipated it to be, as hits were exchanged between all three members of The Shield, Corey, Xavier, and Adrian. Though Roman was currently in the ring with the latter, she found her eyes once again drawn to where her boyfriend was standing in their corner, this time discussing with Seth in quiet tones as they watched how their teammate was doing. When they saw he was in trouble, Dean began to climb through the ropes to help him out, but Xavier rushed in to prevent the interference. His knee connected with the leader of The Shield's chin, causing Dean to fall awkwardly as his head smacked against the apron before he crumpled to the floor in front of the announce table.
 
Seth briefly glanced down at his friend while Xavier made his way back to his own corner on the referee's urging before turning his attention back to what was happening in the ring. But then, he looked down at where Dean had fallen a second time, clear worry crossing his face as he jumped down to the floor to check on the other man while Paige lightly chewed on the stud ring in her bottom lip. From her angle, she couldn't quite see her boyfriend, but the look she had seen in Seth's features stuck with her. Something wasn't right.
 
Xavier and Corey slowly started to make their way to the other side of the ring from their corner to see what was going on while Roman and Adrian paused before they could start their next sequence of moves, which would have resulted in Dean getting tagged in, and the referee rolled out of the ring to check on the man in question with the two combatants behind him. Paige slowly released her hold on Emma and took a couple steps closer to the monitor, her heart racing, as the other woman watched the screen intently.
 
Then, her stomach plummeted when she watched as William Regal, who had been at ringside to commentate for the taping that night, took off his headset and rushed over as quickly as he could with a doctor in tow. She gasped and covered her mouth when the camera angle changed, seeing that Dean hadn't moved from where he had been lying on the floor as Seth attempted to coax some response out of him with Roman close by. William knelt on the floor next to the two-toned man while the referee guided Corey, Xavier, and Adrian to back up a bit, and the older Brit helped to turn Dean onto his back while Doctor Sampson kept his head and neck as still as possible.
 
Paige's gaze faltered when she saw Dean's light eyes were open but glazed over as Seth and Roman took a couple steps back themselves, a thin trail of crimson running down his face from his hairline. William placed a hand on his cheek while Sampson did his best to check him over for clear symptoms of various injuries, but he didn't appear to be very responsive to either of them. The latter finally signaled toward the backstage area, and William got a secure hold of the younger man and helped to pull him into a sitting position while the doctor again kept his neck steady. Dean winced, placing one hand on the side of his head as he closed his eyes tightly.
 
It took a few more agonizing moments for Sampson and William to get him to his feet, having to support him between them since he was so unsteady as they slowly made their way around the ring and toward the ramp. There were times they had to stop because Dean stumbled a little, too weak to hold himself up, as Seth and Roman stuck close to help their friend and teammate if it was needed while Corey, Adrian, and Xavier followed after them with concern. The latter's gaze was cast at the ground.
 
The raven-haired Brit hadn't even been aware that tears had been forming in her eyes until they completely blurred her vision and one escaped down her cheek. She quickly glanced at Emma, who was still staring at the screen with worry as the sound of the audience's supportive applause filtered slightly distorted through the speakers, and quickly wiped the stray tear away, glad that she hadn't seen it. Paige then turned back to the screen, seeing that Dean was starting to be led backstage, and she turned and hurried away from the monitor, nearly tripping over the bag she had left by her feet. She heard Emma call her name after her, but she ignored her best friend as she kept running. This was not where she wanted to be.
 
Other Superstars and Divas had started to gather when Dean was brought to the back, and Paige forced her way through in time to see Regal and Sampson lead the United States Champion toward the trainer's area with Seth and Roman close behind. She felt her tears starting to return when up close, she saw her boyfriend's complexion was ashen, his light gaze empty. Corey, Adrian, and Xavier joined the throng who was waiting to see how Dean was doing, not speaking a word to anyone.
 
"Dean," Paige muttered anxiously from where she had made it to the front of the roster when the group of five drew closer. "Dean!" She was sure others were looking at her, but she ignored them. Her eyes were only on the man she cared about.
 
William spared her a quick glance and a reassuring smile while Sampson kept his focus on the injured man, but she wasn't convinced. "Dean," the Brit tried again, her voice a bit weaker since she had yet to get a response.
 
This time, Dean slowly raised his head a bit and looked in her direction. But Paige's heart dropped when she saw that past his disoriented gaze, there was no recognition in his eyes before he looked away from her again. Seth and Roman stopped near her as the United States Champion was led further away, and she couldn't stop the tears from forming in her eyes and quickly falling. Did he not even know who she was?
 
At the sound of the quiet sob that escaped from her, Corey sighed as he walked over and wound his arms around her. Paige resisted at first before she allowed herself to be pulled close to one of her best friends, resting her head on his chest as more tears fell. She hardly heard as Emma approached soon after with her gym bag or the low murmur of voices around her as speculation about Dean's condition started to spread. She didn't know what it was herself, but all she knew was it hadn't been her boyfriend who had been looking back at her.
 
Paige hesitantly stepped through the sliding doors into the brightly lit lobby of the emergency room, wiping at her damp eyes once more as she looked around her. She had left the arena as soon as she had been alerted by William that Dean had been showing signs of a severe concussion and had to be moved to the nearest hospital by Doctor Sampson for further testing to find the extent of the head trauma. Emma and Corey had both offered to ride along with her, but the raven-haired Brit had assured them she would be fine on her own. She really didn't feel like being around any other people until she heard any news, though she knew that Seth and Roman would be arriving as soon as they could.
 
She slowly approached the desk after taking a deep breath, keeping a tight hold on the straps of her black-studded bag as she leaned on the hard surface. The blonde nurse sitting behind it looked away from her computer screen and flashed her a cheerful smile that she felt the need to slap off her face.
 
"What can I do for you, sweetie?" the middle-aged woman asked.
 
Paige inwardly winced at her overly friendly tone. Who could be that happy working in an emergency room? "Um, I'm here to see Dean Ambrose," she answered, her own quiet tone shaking slightly. She instantly despised how weak she sounded. "He was brough' in almos' twenty minutes ago... He has a concussion."
 
"Let me check my records. One moment, please."
 
The Brit clenched her fists tightly as the nurse scrolled through a few screens on her computer. Surely she could search faster? She had never realized one single moment could last so long.
 
Finally, the blonde-haired woman looked back at her. "You said his last name was Ambrose?" she wondered.
 
"Yes." Paige nodded in confirmation.
 
A look that resembled pity crossed the nurse's face. "I'm afraid you can't see him right now, sweetie," she told her. "He's in the process of having a CAT scan, and the test, as well as the results, can take some time."
 
Paige's heart dropped. "Abou' how long?" she wondered.
 
The nurse shook her head slightly. "It can vary," she explained. "Hopefully not too long. Though if you live in the area, I would advise you to go home since it's so late, and we can call you with any updates on his condition."
 
However, it was Paige's turn to shake her head. "N-no, I'd rather wai' here..." she muttered.
 
A small smile returned to the blonde woman's face. "What's your name, sweetie?"
 
"Paige," the raven-haired Brit told her. "Paige Knigh'."
 
The nurse typed this information into her computer. "Are you family of Mr. Ambrose?" she continued.
 
"Um..." Paige's dark gaze faltered. "No, he doesn' have any family in the area. I'm... I'm jus' his girlfriend..."
 
"All right." The nurse gave her another soft smile as soon as she finished making a note in her records. "If you want to have a seat, Miss Knight, I'll let you know as soon you can see him. How does that sound, sweetie?"
 
Paige nodded, knowing that there weren't any other options before she took a step back from the desk. "Thank you." After receiving a nod in return, she turned and looked around at the crowded waiting room, finding an empty spot in the corner that she could claim. She sunk into the seat, dropping her bag by her feet, and leaned forward on her knees as she closed her eyes against the tears that threatened to form. She knew that anything could happen at anytime in the business that she was involved in. Wrestling was something that she had grown up with since her father, mother, and two older brothers had all been wrestling before her and cemented their legacy back in England. But why something like this had to happen to Dean, she didn't know.
 
The Brit pulled her cell phone out of her pocket when she felt it vibrate, seeing that she had a text from Corey making sure that she had made it to the hospital safely and to see if she had heard any news about the United States Champion. She quickly sent a response telling him that he was getting a CAT scan done before she slipped it back in its place, resting her head in her hand as a weary sigh escaped from her. A thin line of tears returned to her eyes, and she didn't bother to try to stop the couple that fell down her cheeks. She was done caring about that. But she knew she had to get a grip. Once she felt more composed, she glanced around her at the others who were waiting to be seen or waiting for news like she was, wrapping her arms around her in a bit of a protective way. How she could feel so out of place when other people were there for the same reason she was, she had no idea. She worried the stud piercing in her bottom lip between her teeth. She wished she would have taken Corey or Emma up on their offers or that Roman and Seth could get there sooner since she was starting to regret her decision to wait alone.
 
Paige had no idea how long she had been sitting as people filed in and out of the rooms behind the front desk. Her nerves continued to grow with each new person that walked into the waiting room as well as when one would file out, all the faces a blur to her. The fact that Dean's CAT scan and getting the results was taking so long could only mean that the injury he had sustained was worse than anyone had initially thought. But since he had a severe concussion, she was at least grateful that they were taking their time with determining the extent of the trauma.
 
Then, she looked up when the blonde-haired nurse walked out from behind the desk, her dark gaze resting on her almost hopefully. The older woman, however, gave her a sympathetic smile. "Not quite yet, sweetie," she said before she offered her a small plastic cup filled with water. The Brit attempted a smile before she reached out and took a small sip. Like she expected, it didn't bring much comfort.
 
As time continued to drag on, Paige contemplated going through some of the magazines that were sitting on a table toward the center of the room. But when she saw that they were old fashion and home improvement issues, she thought better of it and decided to sit back in her chair like she had been doing the entire time so far. She finished off her water, lightly drumming the empty cup on her leg as she turned her attention to the small television hanging in the corner of the waiting room. She noticed that the movie that had roughly started when she had gotten there was nearly at its halfway point as an explosion filled the screen. Other than having no idea what was going on, she had to admit that's how she currently felt.
 
Then, out of the corner of her eye, the raven-haired Brit watched as a balding doctor in a white coat with his clipboard stepped into the waiting room. She hadn't seen him before. The man walked over to the nurse behind the desk and exchanged a few words with her before they both made their way over to where she was sitting. Paige felt her breath catch.
 
"Miss Knight?" the doctor asked, glancing up from his clipboard.
 
"Y-yes, tha' would be me," Paige answered, setting the cup down before she folded her hands tightly together. "Is Dean okay?" The question slipped before she could stop it, and she pressed her lips tightly against her fingers.
 
Surprisingly to her, the doctor gave her a small smile as he looked down at his clipboard. "As you're aware, Mr. Ambrose suffered a severe concussion," he explained. "It was a good thing he got here quickly. But aside from some initial nausea he had, some dizziness, and some memory problems, he's been stabilized. The CAT scan showed us what we expected, which is that the extent of the head trauma was more severe than what could have been handled where you were. We wanted to give him some time to rest after the testing, and he woke up about a half hour ago. He is no longer feeling any nausea, though he is still suffering from some mild dizziness and pain, and his memory has improved quite a bit. However, he's also been complaining about being here, as well as the staff, and he's asking for you."
 
Paige couldn't help but laugh with relief. That sounded like the Dean she knew. "So, he's going to be okay, then?" she wondered. When the doctor gave her a nod of assurance, a broad smile spread across her face. "May I go see him?"
 
"Of course, sweetie," the nurse told her. "Seeing a familiar face can only help his recovery."
 
The Brit grabbed her black-studded bag and stood, following after the doctor as he led her past the front desk to the back rooms. They walked down a couple hallways before coming to a stop in front of an open door which read 24B. She glanced inside, seeing Dean was sitting back against the propped-up bed behind him as he blankly watched the television hanging on the wall that was showing the same movie as in the waiting room. She glanced up at the doctor, who gestured for her to walk inside before he walked away to check on another patient, and she cleared her throat and took a step forward into the room.
 
Dean looked away from the television, a small smile appearing at the corner of his lips when he saw her. His face was still a bit pale, and there was a dark bruise forming near his left eye. "About time you showed up, Knight," he muttered.
 
Paige shook her head slightly, unable to keep the smile off her face as she crossed the room and sat on the white, sterilized sheets next to him. "Abou' time I can see you, Ambrose," she retorted with a chuckle. "You have no idea how long I've been ou' in tha' waiting room... You gave me quite a scare."
 
The United States Champion arched an eyebrow, though he winced slightly at the action. "You... you waited for me the entire time?" he asked, sounding a bit surprised when he looked back at her. "You didn't have to do that, Paige. And I don't know why you were so worried about me..."
 
"Of course I did. Someone had to be here for any news." Paige's gaze faltered slightly. "Why wouldn' I wai' or be worried abou' you, Dean? I mean, we've been together for a while now, and... well..." Her sentence slowly trailed off, not entirely sure how she had planned to finish it.
 
Dean gazed at her for a moment before he chuckled, briefly turning his attention to the television before meeting her gaze again. "C'mon, Paige, don't get all sappy on me," he muttered. "That's not like you."
 
Paige lightly hit Dean's arm before she shook her head slightly as a quiet laugh of her own escaped from her. "Tha' doesn' mean I can' worry. I mean, jus' seeing you a' the arena like tha', and... and when you didn' recognize me..."
 
"Hey, now..." Dean reached out and took the younger Brit's hand when he heard the tears that threatened to fall reflected in her voice. "Stop that, okay, Paige? I'm okay now, you don't have to worry about that. To be completely honest with you, I don't remember too much from after I hit my head to when I was with Regal getting looked over in the trainer's area. But what I do remember is Seth and Roman trying to get a response out of me or something like that, and when I saw you in the crowd backstage. Okay? I remember seeing you. Why do you think I wanted you here after I was told you were in the waiting room?"
 
"I... I don' really know..." Paige admitted feebly, quickly wiping at a tear that escaped from her eye. "I' jus'... i' looked like you didn' remember me..."
 
Dean sighed. "Come here." He lightly pulled on his girlfriend's hand until she was close enough to rest her head on his shoulder. He left a quick kiss on top of her black hair before lightly placing his own head against hers. "I admit my memory wasn't the greatest, but it'll take a lot more than a knee from Xavier and hitting my head on the apron for me to forget you."
 
Paige couldn't stop the smile from appearing on her face as she looked up at him. "Now who's being sappy?" she jokingly wondered.
 
"Oh, shut up. It's the concussion and pain killers talking, not me." Dean smirked before he leaned down and met her lips in a soft kiss. "I like you."
 
"I like you, too." Paige's smile lingered as she found a comfortable spot on her boyfriend's shoulder again and as his arm wound around her securely. They both watched as a group of people on the television gathered together in front of a still lake before they released lit paper lanterns into the dark sky, lighting it up as stars would, in a form of remembrance. It was a beautiful sight to her.
 
"There's only one thing I need to know."
 
Paige narrowed her eyes slightly as she looked up at Dean again. "Yeah? And wha' would tha' be?" she asked.
 
The familiar smirk returned to Dean's face as he met her gaze. "When the hell we'll actually be able to go on a date!"
 
Author's Note: All right, that's it for this step in their relationship! Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!
 
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