TITLE: A Ghost of a Chance Two?
AUTHOR: Juliet3:16
EMAIL:
RATING: R
CONTENT: VIOLENCE, ATTEMPTED RAPE/NON CONSENSUAL SEX, IMPLIED RAPE, ADULT LANGUAGE.
CATEGORY: ADULT, ANGST, DRAMA
SPOILERS: Up through Judgement Day 2002 but begins a year later. One further note: Austin still walked out on the company, but Ric Flair remained owner of RAW.
SUMMARY: A ghost story, WWF style.
DISCLAIMER: Vince owns everything, I own nothing, end of disclaimer.
DISTRIBUTION: the Realm, anyone else, please ask.

A Ghost of a Chance

Chapter Two

'Insane?'

Stephanie put her back against the door of her office, keeping her eyes closed against the pain she felt.

"Is Jericho insane? Or did he somehow manage to take more shots to the head than I have?"

Stephanie opened her eyes, not too terribly surprised to see Jeff Hardy in front of her. The younger Hardy brother had turned into one of the few that Steph was able to call a friend over the last year.

"Weren't you the one that said we're all a little bit insane?" she replied softly.

"Yeah, well, I don't go around getting friendly with my bosses like that."

"Oh really?"

Jeff snorted, "one: I see you as just a friend. Two: Despite what some would believe, I don't go for my own gender, so coming onto guys like Ric or Vince would be Ehucch! And three: Even if I tried anything, Molly would kill me. She's more vicious than she looks."

Like she didn't look vicious all those months she tortured Trish?" Stephanie asked rhetorically, referring to the back and forth feud between Jeff's girlfriend, Molly and Trish Stratus, that had been raging since the roster split began, until the two women finally buried the hatchet in January 2003.

"Besides, she and Trish have made amends, and Trish is dating Bubba," Steph pointed out, earning a grimace from the rainbow colored haired man, which stated that he knew full well the consequences of pissing off the girlfriend of Bubba Ray Dudley.

"So what was the plan for the night before Jericho went and made an ass of himself?"

"Well, you and RVD have a hardcore match," she explained to the youngest Hardy.

"Cool," Jeff replied, "'least Rob knows to play fair and keep it, well not in the ring during a hardcore match, but at least during the match, Rob could be counted on to at least try not to kill me or put me in the hospital."

"Number One Contender's match?" Jeff asked. When Stephanie nodded, he muttered "least Test won't be able to back out of that."

Stephanie pretended not to hear that last. In truth, Andrew 'Test' Martin had tried to reach out to her when Hunter died, but she rebuffed him; confused by his 180 on his feelings for her, and simply wanting to be alone in the aftermath. Now, she avoided the current Hardcore Champion. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that she was a little afraid of him these days.

"And Jericho?" Jeff asked, breaking into her thoughts.

"Tag match with Christian against the Dudleyz" Stephanie answered, "though I"m tempted to make it a flaming table's match."

Jeff nodded in understanding.

"I just want to get this night over with."

Jeff stood up. "Well, I've gotta get ready for my match. You gonna be okay?"

Stephanie nodded. "Oh and tell Trish and Molly that they have a tag match against Jazz and Victoria?"

"Will do, boss lady," Jeff said before leaving the makeshift office.

Stephanie dove into her work, trying not to think about Hunter, Jericho, anniversaries or death. Not wanting to think about the possible real reason that she smacked Jericho. That it wasn't because of the untoward touch of her hair, but the familiarity of it. That it reminded her of another man's touch.

That it reminded her of Hunter.

Later that night.

Chris Jericho was seriously wondering if he was insane.

He stormed down the hotel corridors to his room, not really caring to see anybody in the halls, thankful not to be seeing any couples making out in the hallways. The last time he saw Lita and Matt Hardy making out like rabbits, two weeks ago, he ended up with a black eye and no memory of what he had done to deserve it. Kind of like tonight at RAW.

Sighing Jericho entered his hotel room and sad down on his bed, putting his head in his hands. The last couple of months or so had taken a strange turn. Blackouts for no known reason and then afterwards he'd end up with injuries would have no clue how he had gotten them. The only bright spot was that the blackouts never seemed to occur in the ring. He was still able to go when he had a match.

In addition he had weird thoughts and voices floating in his head about people and places he had never thought about before. Especially toward Stephanie. At least tonight he had some idea about what he did.

'How could I not?' Jericho thought bitterly, rubbing his face where Stephanie had made her feelings about what he had done very clear, 'They replayed Stephanie slapping me about three dozen times.'

"Heh, just like old times, right Jerky?"

Jericho stood ramrod straight at that.

"Okay, I don't know who or what the hell you are, but I want answers and dammit assclown, I want it now!"

The room deigned not to reply. Jericho was suddenly very thankful he decided to pick this rather remote corner of the hotel for his room. Beat people knocking on his door wondering what was going on with him.

Maybe he really was going insane.

Sighing once more, Jericho went into the hotel bathroom to get himself cleaned up. He had not bothered showering at the arena; thinking it best to get the tag match over with and get out of the arena as fast as he could. They had been lucky Stephanie had not thought to make it a flaming tables match or something to that effect. He knew half the RAW Superstars and the few SMACKDOWN superstars that had been on the show were probably still at the arena.

He turned on the cold water tap and reached down to splash his face, hoping that would ease some of the tension he was feeling. Then he heard a familiar voice.

BOO!

Jericho jerked up and with a curse stumbled backward onto his butt on the bathroom floor and his head banging the wall. It wasn't the 'boo' that startled the Canadian but the face that looked at him when he snapped his head back up, for the face in the mirror was not his own. It should've belonged to a deadman.

The face staring back at him was Hunter Hearst Helmsley's

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