TITLE: Along The Way.

AUTHOR: Kelly Rowe

EMAIL: stonecoldslut@optusnet.com.au

DISCLAIMER: The WWE and all characters belong to the almighty Vince McMahon, except for those which I create.


SUMMARY: Kurt and Stephanie finally admit their feelings for each other, but fate always seems to be intervening.

SPOILERS: General Smackdown and PPV ones.


CONTENT: Swearing, Adult Themes

DISTRIBUTION: You want you can have it; just tell me where you put it.

Part 1

Kurt Angle could scarcely trust his eyes when he at the end of the day wandered into the goodbye and good luck get-together that Stephanie was throwing for him after his concluding Smackdown appearance. It seemed as though every single Smackdown superstar was there and they all seemed to be having a good time. Despite that fact Kurt didn't try to delude himself, he knew that nearly every one of them was only there for the free food and drink and not to wish him well, but he didn't really care anyway. As long as *she* came, it would be okay. He carefully scanned the room, his eyes raking over some of the attendees like Benoit, but he wasn't looking to start a fight with his old tag team partner - he was looking for one person, one woman in particular. Kurt ultimately spotted her over near the buffet table, talking business with Dawn Marie and Al Wilson and he shook his head in indulgence. He should've known that no matter what the circumstances, Stephanie would never take the night off from her war with the Raw General manager, Eric Bischoff - especially since that kiss on Halloween.

Kurt unhurriedly walked over towards her, not wanting to interrupt what she was doing - he just wanted and needed to be closer to where she was. In spite of everything it was still amazing to him that he had been in love with Stephanie since the moment that he had first laid eyes on her beautiful face and sweet smile. However she had only ever treated him like a friend. Well, except for those few kisses and that time during The Alliance - when she'd been lonely after she'd had another fight over the phone with Hunter. Things had almost gone much further than the boundaries of friendship, but he had pulled away from her knowing that he couldn't let himself have his heart's desire, because of what he had promised Vince that he would do to Shane and Stephanie's fledgling companies.

Stephanie, almost like she sensed his approach, looked up at him and smiled. She shooed Dawn Marie and Al away and walked over to meet him as he moved towards her.

"Hi," she said giving him a quick hug. "How does it feel to be leaving us?"

Kurt returned the hug and whispered silently to himself, {It's killing me}. "Sad, but excited," was what he ended up saying out loud to her.

Stephanie steeped away from him and he saw that her usually radiant smile had dimmed considerably. "It makes me sad too," she whispered.

Kurt couldn't help himself, "Why?"

"I just feel like I'm loosing my best friend," she told him sniffling slightly. "We have been through an awful lot together."

Kurt hugged her again, this time much more fiercely. "It's okay, Steph. I'll be back before you even have a chance to realise that I'm gone. Plus I'll bring back some more medals."

"Trust you to think about medals," Steph replied stepping out of the hug. Smiling a little brighter she said, "You probably should go and mingle with your guests now."

"Yeah, Kurt agreed reluctantly. He knew it was for the best though, if he spent any more time in Stephanie's company he knew that he might reveal his true feelings for her and he just wasn't sure that she was ready to hear them.

She kissed him on the cheek and replied, "I'll see you later."

"Bye," he whispered as she walked away from him.

Kurt waited until Stephanie had gone from his sight before he even moved and inch form his spot where he stood. As he moved off to join the other guests he began to wonder if there was ever going to be a time for him and Stephanie.

A few hours later after the party was over, the food and the guests were all long gone and the arena was all but empty. Kurt found himself all alone with Stephanie and offered to return her to the hotel - since it was probably the last time he'd actually get to spend alone in her company for a very long time. Doing the gentlemanly thing, he escorted her up to her suite and then when he went to leave he was surprised when she stopped him and invited him inside.

"I don't think I should," Kurt began even though every nerve in his body was screaming at him, telling him to shut up and go inside. "I have to leave early tomorrow."

"Calm down," Stephanie replied. "I have a couple of papers for you to sign for daddy. I just forgot to bring them with me to the arena. It'll take all of five minutes."

Kurt was relieved and yet disappointed that the only reason Stephanie wanted him in her room was paperwork. "Sure," he said following her inside.

Kurt sat down on the plush, cherry red leather sofa while Stephanie went to grab the papers. A few moments later Stephanie sat next to him, showed him where to sign and it was all over.

"That's it," she told him. "I guess I'll see you when you get back."

Kurt reluctantly stood up, "Yeah. Goodbye Steph."

"Bye Kurt."

Kurt walked towards the door, but stopped and turned back to Stephanie. "I..."

"Kurt, are you okay?" she asked worriedly.

"I can't leave without telling you."

"Telling me what?" she asked confused.

Kurt took a deep breath for courage, "That I love you."

When Stephanie remained silent, Kurt believed that he had made a huge mistake in confessing his feelings to her. He turned once more to leave, but stopped when she finally spoke.

"Where in the hell do you think you're going? You can't just tell me that you love me and then leave."

"Why not? You're not exactly jumping up and down with joy here," Kurt replied testily.

"I'm in shock," Stephanie replied defensively. "I had no idea that you felt that way about me."

"It's not like I really expect you to return my feelings Steph. I just couldn't hide it anymore," he told her.

"Then I guess there's not a problem."

{No problem, except my heart is being stopped into the ground by the woman I love} he thought. "No, I guess there isn't," he replied dejectedly. He turned to leave for the final time.

"I love you too!"

When Kurt heard those magical words he rushed back over to her and pulled her into his arms for a passionate, heartfelt kiss. Neither of them could or wanted to pull away from the other now that their feelings were out in the open. A moment later, Kurt picked Stephanie up into his arms and carried her off to the bedroom.