Changes: Smackdown is done live, and when 'Taker announced who he was having a match with; it was the Smackdown before Survivor Series.
When All is Said and Done
Part 1 of ?
Stephanie McMahon stared at the television quietly as Smackdown went off of the air for the last commercial. Her teeth gritted, blood rushing through her head. 'I leave, and he replaces me with…that bastard Paul Heyman!' she thought angrily. 'Ratings are going to drop, and he thinks that he actually won!' she ranted, her nails digging into her palms. She leaned back into the couch in her family room. 'I hate him,' she thought, an image of her father swimming in her thoughts. Almost as quick as a reflex, she recalled back when she'd never dream of thinking those three words. 'He doesn't care; and neither should you,' she reprimanded herself. Smackdown returned, and she focused on her TV once more.
Her brown eyes darkened as the match between the Undertaker, Big Show, and Brock Lesner ended finally, Undertaker being the winner. But it wasn't that she was glaring at; it was the image of her father, shocked look on his face. 'Remember when you looked up into that face, and said "I love you Daddy, I want to be just like you when I grow up"?' her thoughts taunted her. Stephanie shifted on the couch as her father walked down the aisle to the ring, a microphone in hand. She didn't listen to his words while her eyes locked onto the miniscule image of the Undertaker, panting and barely standing. Somehow, she knew what was going to happen. He loved being in power, and when he wasn't, he found a way. And at the moment, the beaten Undertaker was a potential. Her mood darkened further.
She tried to remain emotionless as Vince attacked Undertaker, mocking him throughout. 'Oh, yeah, Dad. Beating a man who can barely stand on his own makes you a dominant person,' she thought sarcastically.
"So what's it going to be, 'Taker?" her dad asked a taunting tone to his voice. 'No matter what he picks, Dad's going to make sure he's screwed in the end. No matter who he picks, he'll get screwed,' Stephanie thought, and by the expression she found mixed in with the pain on the Undertaker's face, he knew it.
Stephanie shook her head quietly as her father continued, a slight haze appearing in her gaze. She remembered only weeks ago when she'd still been hoping for her father to have a change of heart; to go back to what he was. Stephanie glared at his picture on the television in front of her. 'And there he goes, trying to control everything again…' she thought, setting her chin on her knee.
"The match is…Buried Alive," the Undertaker rasped, and Stephanie's eyes widened.
She'd been waiting for something big…but not that big. 'Maybe now he'll get what's coming to him,' she thought to herself emotionlessly. Suddenly, a shrill ring cut through the air, and Stephanie jumped. Her eyes darted toward the portable phone in front of her. She snatched it up, pressing the talk button. "Hello?" she asked, her eyes still intent on the television.
"Hey, Steph," the Undertaker's calm voice came through the phone. For a brief second, Stephanie was confused, and then she immediately remembered that she'd missed the Thursday show of Smackdown, and it was already Saturday.
"Hey," she greeted, lip-reading what he was saying on the show. "I would wish you good luck for tomorrow, but I have a feeling you won't need it; facing my dad and all." A sharp bit of pain erupted in her chest. She hadn't been able to beat her father. And now she was out of a job. ''Taker can handle Dad,' she thought, but it didn't stop her from starting to worry. During her job as GM, she and the Undertaker had forged some sort of friendship. What if Vince screwed Undertaker in some way? Got him fired, or buried alive? She sighed into the phone. "You know he's going to try and screw you over?"
She heard him shift in the background. "If he didn't, it'd be the closest thing to heaven that the WWE has ever had…" Stephanie nodded in agreement, not really realizing that he couldn't see her over the phone. "I called because…well, I need your help." Stephanie's eyes widened. 'He needs my help?' she thought, and raised her eyebrows. It took a lot to make the Undertaker admit things like that… She wondered what had happened.
"What do you need me for?" she questioned, keeping her tone light, curiosity swelling.
"Stephanie, don't take any offense to this, but who knows Vince the best?" he spoke smoothly, a slight southern accent to his voice.
"My family," she responded, refusing to single out herself.
"I need you because you're a McMahon."
"Find my brother," she snapped, and regretted it immediately. 'Why did I just say that?' she asked, but deep down she knew the answer. "Sorry… Look, I don't even want to go near Dad right now, I'm sorry! Whatever you want me to do, if it concerns him, I'm not doing it."
"Stephanie," this time there was a warning note to his voice. He paused, and then he spoke again, softer this time. "Don't tell me that in all your time off, revenge hasn't crossed your mind."
"Yeah, it has. And so?" she challenged.
"Why are you waiting for it? I'm giving you a chance to have it."
"I hate him for what he's done to me, but…" she trailed off. "He's family, and I love him; but only because he's Dad…" Stephanie admitted quietly. "And you still haven't told me what you want me to do."
"You haven't given me time," countered the Undertaker. "And how can you still love him? If say, Shane, turned his back on you and tried to destroy your life, what would you do?" Stephanie bowed her head.
"No. It's not different; it's the same damn thing," his voice was harsh.
Stephanie looked down at the floor. 'He's right. I would get revenge on Shane.' "I'm afraid he'll hurt my friends if I do," she said quietly.
He interrupted the stony silence. "Vince is going to try and screw me by the contract. He faxed it to me today…and I can't really trust my lawyers. Vince isn't high enough in morals to resist bribing those money-grubbers."
"You want me to proofread it?" Stephanie blinked. 'Is that it?'
"Basically. You're the only one I trust on stuff like that." He took a breath, "The rest is up to you, Stephanie. I want you to valet to the ring with me. It'll give him a nice kick in the balls. It'll show him that he can't control you."
"And then what would happen?" Stephanie asked quietly.
"He'll call you out on the next show, you know that. If you're not there he'll accuse you of being a coward. You know where it would go from there," he said.
'Yeah, someone like Kurt will come out and stand up for me, and get pummeled in the process.' "You proved my point. If I come out with you, he'll get to my friends. I'll look over the contract…But I'm not walking out with you."
"Think about it," the Undertaker suggested. "You're a bright girl," coming from him, it was a great compliment. "I'll fax this contract over there for you, but I have to ask one last favor."
"What?" Stephanie asked, dreading the answer.
"Will you give it to me at the arena? My flight leaves early tomorrow morning."
"No problem," Stephanie said. She may have been banned from Smackdown, but not the joint PPV.
"I meant what I said; about keeping the valet job in mind," he said after a moment.
"I know," Stephanie responded, and hung up. She stood, walking the short distance to the kitchen, grabbing a can of pop. As she did, she caught her reflection in a circular mirror hanging above the sink. 'Dad kicked me out of my job. He tortured me and Mom for weeks… Isn't it time he got something coming to him, from someone other than 'Taker?' Her eyes drifted to the floor. 'Can I do this?'
'No!' Stephanie sighed, sitting down on a chair. 'It's not right…'
At the same time she rejected the offer for revenge…her heart rebelled. Vince McMahon had hurt her so much over the past weeks… 'Is it back to kindergarten, the whole 'he did it first'?' Groaning, she buried her head in her arms, wishing that the answer that she wanted would be clear to her. 'He deserves it,' the fact was engraved in her mind, the one solid point.
Stephanie stood up, trying to keep her thoughts light as she walked toward the fax machine. There was the contract—all 7 pages of it. She rubbed her tired eyes, and glanced at the clock. Yawning, she snatched the papers to the contract, grabbing a highlighter, a block of sticky notes, and a pencil as she sat at her desk. 'What's the big step from doing this and being a valet to the Undertaker? Either way…I'm still betraying him.'
Stephanie blinked, setting down her materials and leaning back in her chair. Was she actually considering doing this? 'I'd have to review my contract… But… But what would happen to me once Vince finds out? What will he do to me…to my friends?'
"My friends can handle themselves," she said hesitantly to the silence before her. The fact was true… She picked up her pencil, writing 'yes' and 'no' across one sticky note, staring at it like the source of her problems.
Stephanie gripped her pencil harder, staring down at the sticky note. 'If I'm so believing that it's not morally right to hate my father… Then what about him? Shouldn't he be loving me? It's not right for him to hate me… But I can't change his mind. What's the use loving and protecting someone who's trying to tear you down?'
'He isn't my dad. My dad cared about me. But now he's dead, and there's an imposter running wild,' her throat tightened as thoughts spilled from the conscious of her heart, 'and I need to kill that imposter. Squash him like a bug on a windshield because he's degrading my dad's name. He's hurting the people my dad loved the most.' Her hand shook as she lifted the pencil, hovering it above the sticky note.
Taking a deep breath, Stephanie pressed the pencil down, and made a large circle. 'There,' she looked down at the bright yellow piece, its contents signifying the world to her. 'He's going to get what was coming to him…Sunday, and every other Thursday after that.'