Title: Her Champion

Author: Crimson Coin

Rating: R

Summery: What if someone came to Trish's rescue on March 5, 2001.

Disclaimer: I do not own the WWE or any of the mentioned wrestlers. They are not mine, I'm simply placing them in this completely fictional story.

Timeline: Washington DC MCI Center, March 5, 2001

Archiving: Ask first, as always.

Chris Jericho ruffled his hair, stepping into his locker room. The door swung closed behind him and he casually tossed his Intercontinental title onto one of the steel chairs. The belt hit with a clang and then fell onto the seat before sliding to the floor. He didn't really care.

Shrugging, he picked up a bottle of water, twisting the cap off and he dumped the entire bottle over his head. Tilting his head into the water, he opened his mouth, taking a gulp before shaking his head, viciously letting the water slick through his mane. Water trickled down his sweaty chest and over his black vinyl pants.

With a loud sigh, he plopped back onto the couch, his head tilted as he watched the screen at the other side of his room. His brow furrowed and head cocked. What was she doing here?

Trish Stratus stood in the center of the ring, a mic in her hands.

Curious, he licked his lips, watching her intently. She walked around the ring, her head bowed like a scalded dog, a drawn expression on her pretty face. Vince McMahon's music hit loud and strong, the chairman of the board sauntered his way down to the ring.

Jericho's eyes narrowed at the sight of the McMahon. But he was shocked at the interaction. Trish wanted to go back to him? What was she thinking? A severe sense of loathing filled him as he watched her get down on all fours, obeying the McMahon when he ordered her to crawl and bark. He felt disgusted at the sight of her on her hands and knees like that. So pretty a girl, so beautiful a woman and Vince was treating her like yesterday's garbage.

He sneered as Vince demanded her to strip and that sneer turned to shock when she obeyed. She dropped the coat to the ground, obeying him with shaky hands as she removed first her top and then her bottoms.

His eyes scanned her body a moment before he leaned forward, his arms rested on his knees as he watched the monitor with intense interest. Vince continued to spit such obscenities that Chris felt sick at just the sound of everything. She just stood there, helpless in her bra and panties, humiliated by that bastard, Vince McMahon. He could see the tears welling up in those pretty brown eyes and yet she refused to lose face and let a single one fall. She was fighting so hard. But she was fighting a losing battle, and those tears pricked from the corners of her eyes.

He'd seen enough.

Chris jumped to his feet, unsure of what motivated him but at that point he did not care. He raced down the hallway, dodging people and boxes and he stumbled up the stairs. He tripped on the top stair but quickly balanced himself and charged down the ramp.

He could barely hear the cheering roar of the crowd as he ran down that ramp. All he saw was Trish unfastening her brazier and his rage fumed. He heard her gasp when he slid into the ring and she pulled her arms into her chest, backing into a turnbuckle and huddling.

Chris roared, lunging at Vince and tackling the Chairman to the mat. Punch after punch, Chris held nothing back as he pounded and punched. Vince's eyes glazed over and Chris heard the booing of the crowd. But he didn't care. He staggered to his feet, pulling Vince up to and the older man stumbled gracelessly.

Chris grappled Vince, gathering his strength and with a grunt, he suplexed Vince into the center of the ring. Not hesitating, Chris ran to the ropes and he lept onto the second rope, holding his balance a mere moment. Vince would feel the pain of a lionsault.

He jumped, springboarding himself off the rope and he arched his back, but his eyes widened. It was not Vince McMahon but an open steel chair that lay waiting for him.

Chris's abdomen slammed into the back of the steel chair and all the air escaped his lungs as he tumbled gracelessly onto the chair, his force denting the chair so that no one could sit in it anymore. Coughing furiously, he forced his eyes open as Vince stood towering over him, HHH at his side.

He didn't know where Trish went but could only hope she'd run from the ring. HHH wasted no time, kicking Chris relentlessly in the chest. Chris coughed, curling into himself.

A familiar music hit and the crowd roared. Jericho shot up a silent prayer when he saw the familiar boots standing in the ring. One punch then another then another and HHH fell to the ground.

The Rock taunted, yelling at HHH and then clotheslined Vince. Waggling his head in the way unique to him, Rock stalked around the ring as Vince and HHH rolled out and walked up the ramp.

Chris winced, placing his hands on the mat to push himself up. But he collapsed again with a hiss, his arms wrapping around his chest as he rocked helplessly.

The Rock's music filled the arena again and he continued pacing back then forth, making sure neither man dared re-enter. When HHH and Vince walked behind the curtain, Rock knelt down at Jericho's side. "You ok?"

"I don't know," Chris forced out through his wince. "Fuck, that hurt." He placed his hands on the mat, pushing himself up again. His face contorted in pain as he pushed onto his hands and knees. "Fucking shit."

"God damn it," Rock swore. "You hit that chair bad."

"Tell me about it," Chris responded with a hint of sarcasm. He reached for The Rock and Rock grabbed his friend's arms, steadying him on his feet. Once standing, Chris looked around to the cheers of the arena. He furrowed his brow. "Where'd she go?"

"There," Rock said, pointing to the outside of the ring.

Trish Stratus stood at ringside, her trench coat wrapped around her body to hide herself best she could. Her head ducked slightly as she looked up at her rescuers with half lidded eyes, fear and terror on her face as if unsure what to expect next.

Chris offered a weak smile despite the pain. His eyes bulged out of his head as he shifted his weight and a string of curses slipped from his lips as he stepped through the middle rope and walked down the stairs. "It's ok." He said to her, his words forced to remain calm. "We're not going to do anything. Go ahead. You can go back."

Trish looked warily up the ramp and then back at Chris, fear still in her eyes. "He's probably waiting for me." She said softly, her voice barely squeaking out.

Chris glanced up at Rock and Rocky only laughed, that patented smile on his face. Rock shook his head. "Don't look at me like that man."

"And what am I gonna do," Chris argued. "If they're waiting there and I go first ... I'm practically a cripple. Just go first. I'll follow you. And ... I don't know ... fall on them if they attack."

Rock laughed, walking up the ramp.

Chris turned to Trish, a protective arm wrapped around his waist as he struggled to keep his balance. "Come on."

She followed him, hesitantly up the ramp. "Are ... are you gonna go to the trainers?"

"Probably," Chris answered. "If you're too scared to go anywhere else, you can come with me to see them. I don't know how much good I'll be, but at least you won't be alone."

Trish offered a weak smile. "Thank you," she breathed though he could barely hear it.

Chris winced, arching his back as his head tilted back.

"Easy there," the trainer said, pressing his hands into Chris's abdomen.

"Fuck," Chris swore, doing his best to lie still.

The trainer stepped back, pulling the latex gloves off his hands. "Your ribs aren't broken. I'm not even sure they're bruised. Your abdomen, on the other hand, is gonna hurt you for days. Nothing looks too wrong. Just take it easy and let us know if anything bothers you too much. I suggest lots and lots of ice."

Chris nodded, forcing himself to sit up and the trainer walked out of his locker room. With a shake of the head, he clenched his teeth, turning to let his feet dangle off the side.

He put his hands to either side of his legs, glancing up and across the room. Trish sat on one of the steel chairs in a corner, her legs crossed and her eyes on the floor. "Don't be scared." He said, pushing off the table and walking to his bag. "I'm not going to hurt you."

She said nothing, showing no reaction to his words.

Frustrated, he snatched his towel from the bench. "Look. Stay, don't stay, I don't care. I'm gonna shower." That said, he walked past her and into the stalls.

Yanking the curtain closed, he tossed his towel to the far end. Not even a Thank you. Nothing. He at least deserved a thank you for taking such a beating at her expense. He quickly removed his tights and jock, tossing them towards the towel and he turned on the jets.

The nerve. Such nerve for her to show no gratitude. He tilted his head up into the hot stream, letting the warm water pound against his weary skin. His abs hurt. His ribs hurt. He was hurt and still no response from her.

He picked up the bottled of Shampoo/Conditioner that he placed in the stall earlier and squeezed a generous amount into his hand. Bringing his palms to his hair, he lathered well, scrubbing the sudsy mixture into his blonde mane.

He must have been insane to go out there. He was insane to go out there. Hell, Trish probably wanted Vince to treat her that way. That must be why she had said nothing.

Again, he tilted his head back into the stream, rinsing the suds from his hair. Scratching his scalp, he made sure the soap was gone before turning around, tilting his face into the water. Opening his mouth a few times, he let the water bang against his teeth and then rubbed his hands over his body.

He stopped.

Chris froze, listening intently. Did his door just close? He expected it to be Trish leaving but then he heard scuffling inside the room.

"What ... what are you doing here?"

That was her voice. She was afraid.

"You're going to pay for what happened out there."

"Hunter," Chris breathed, his eyes widening momentarily before pure rage settled in. Grabbing his towel, he hurriedly wrapped his waist then walked out of the shower, into the room. His eyes immediately sought the intruder's figure. "What are you doing here?"

Hunter smiled from his place, hovering over Trish. She lay huddled on the floor, shying away. Her back was to Chris and he couldn't see her. This worried him.

"What have you done?" he snarled with angered eyes.

Hunter laughed, bringing his hand to his chest and rubbed his wrist. "Just showing her ... her place. She doesn't belong here, Jericho. And you both will pay."

Chris glared as Hunter stepped out of the room and when the door closed, he threw himself at her side. "Are you ok?" he asked, worried, reaching out to touch her shoulder.

"I'm fine." She answered, but still did not look at him.

"Trish," he said gently, cocking his head to try and look at her. The water dripped from his body, his hair slicked with the moisture and his wet hand reached out, a finger hooking under her chin. He met her eyes. "Are you ok?"

Trish nodded, shakily, swallowing hard.

His eyes searched her face. No bruises, no red marks. Inspecting further, he quickly scanned her body. Everything looked fine. She looked stunning. She was ... what was that?

Trish quickly looked away, pushing up to her feet to avoid his gaze.

"Wait," he called, standing too and she didn't move. Scrambling to his feet, he stood in front of her, his eyes filled with concern. He reached out slowly and she kept her head high. He touched the dark spot on her neck. "What ... what is that? Did he just do that now?" His eyes fired.

She shook her head.

Confused, he leaned closer, inspecting the more detailed ... hand print. It was a reddened hand print. He pressed his lips tightly together, his eyes meeting hers.

Trish did not falter and yet did not respond. Her head high and proud as unshed tears glistened behind her beautiful sorrow filled eyes.

"I didn't have to rescue you, you know." Chris said, turning his back on her. If she didn't want to talk? Fine. Be the ice queen. He didn't care. "But I did. And you're staying with me tonight."

Trish ducked her head, not arguing.

Chris opened his hotel room door, holding open as Trish walked past him into the room. He dropped his bag just inside the door, leaning against the wall to kick off his shoes. "Make yourself at home. Put your things wherever."

He looked up at her as she stood nervously in the center of the room, her eyes scanning from one bed to the next. He watched as she stared at the bed, indecisive of which one she wanted.

"It doesn't matter." He said. "Pick whichever one you want."

She sucked her lower lip into her mouth, pressing her hand into the mattress of one before testing the other. Finally making her decision, she dropped her bag on the mattress on the left.

Chris rolled his eyes, walking further into the room. "Feel free to shower or turn the TV on. Whatever you want to do."

Trish licked her lips, lifting her bag onto her shoulder as she walked into the bathroom. The door slammed shut behind her.

Chris let out a gruff growl. The nerve. That woman was just so damn frustrating, he could scream. He was so tempted to scream. When she walked out of that shower, she'd have another thing coming. Jericho was going to give her a piece of his mind.

Chris Jericho looked towards the bathroom when he heard the door open. He lay casually on his bed, his shoes discarded to the side. His faded blue jeans sat low on his hips and he didn't move to get up when she walked out of the bathroom.

His eyes narrowed, focusing dangerously as she placed her bag on the floor at the foot of her bed. Raking her fingers through her tangle-free hair, she approached Chris and sat at the edge of the bed.

He cocked his head, slightly confused and he couldn't stop his eyes from scanning her body. She only wore a loose ragged T-shirt and high boxers.

She closed her eyes a moment, swallowing hard then she sniffed, shaking her head before meeting his eyes. "Where ... where do you want me?"

Chris furrowed his brow, completely confused by her question. "What?"

Trish looked at him, slightly awed and expecting. "Here? There?"

"You can sleep wherever you want." He answered. "You want this bed? Cuz I can move."

Trish cocked her head, her face full of confusion. "I mean where do you want me?" She stressed the last word, searching his face for any sign of comprehension.

"You?" Chris still didn't understand. He shook his head, sitting up, his legs crossed underneath him. "You? What do you mean you? Why would you ... oh." His eyes flickered a moment. "Oh." Then widened in total understanding. "Oh!"

She nodded, a slightly amused smile on her face. "Yeah. Where? I cleaned myself up and everything."

He quickly shook his head. "No, Sweetie. I ... I don't know what you think I want."

Trish shrugged, ducking her head. "Well you did come out there tonight and ... and then you said that I'm spending the night with you. I just assumed that you wanted what every man wanted."

"No, no, Honey." He cooed softly, reaching out to take her hands in his. "Look at me."

She glanced up.

He ducked his head slightly to meet her eyes more fully. "I didn't go out there tonight because I was expecting sex. I don't expect that kind of payment. This doesn't have anything to do with sex. At least between you and I."

Her brow furrowed, her eyes full with confusion.

"I couldn't sit back there and watch anymore." Chris continued, explaining his actions. "And here I thought you were acting that way because you were being a bitch."

Her breath caught, alarmed as she straightened her back.

"I'm sorry." He said quickly. "What I mean was that I was wondering why you weren't speaking to me? I didn't mean to snap or anything like that. I just thought you weren't grateful for what I did. I didn't know ..." he sighed. "Honey, I'm not gonna hurt you and I'm not gonna make you have sex with me."

"You mean you don't want me?"

Chris shook his head. "I mean that my motivations had nothing to do with the thought of you having sex with me in thanks. I went out there because Vince is a jackass and what he had you doing was wrong. And somebody had to stop it. And that's what I did. You don't treat a woman that way, ever."

Trish sucked her lower lip into her mouth, still unsure of how to react.

"I won't hurt you." He said, gently, reaching out to run his fingers through her hair, tucking the fibers behind her ear as his fingers affectionately grazed the shell. "Don't be afraid of me."

A smile managed to pull at her lips and moisture flickered behind her eyes. "Thank you."

He nodded, a smile on his own face. "I didn't mean to snap and be so mean earlier. I just misunderstood why you were acting so cold."

"I'm sorry." She apologized, ducking her head. "I ... I don't know."

"Shh," he hushed, hooking a finger under her chin. "Come on, Sweetie. You can look me in the eye. I never want you to feel that you can't look me in the eyes." When he tilted her chin up again, his eyes locked on hers and he smiled. "There we go. There's those pretty eyes. You don't have to be afraid of me and you can look me in the eyes and say anything you want. I won't hurt you."

"I'm sorry," Trish apologized again. "I'm sorry they hurt you. All because of me." She reached out, her hands touching his bruised abs and she looked down, running her fingers along the discolored skin. "This is all my fault."

His muscles jumped at her touch and he let out a hiss.

"I'm sorry," she said, pulling her hands back as if her touch had hurt him.

Chris shook his head. "No, it's ok." He said quickly. "It wasn't you. My muscles just twitched and I wasn't ready for it, that's all. But I don't want you thinking that this is your fault."

"But it is."

"Hey," Chris interrupted. "It's not. It was my choice to go down there. You didn't do this. They did this."

"Because of me."

Chris's eyes flashed laughter. "Hunter's had it out for me for months. It was only a matter of time before I got hurt. And don't worry. I'm not that hurt. See?" He outstretched his hands. "Don't make me stand up and do jumping jacks. I will, you know." He stood. "What, don't believe me?"

She giggled, reaching out to grab his hand and pull him gently back on the bed.

His body tingled at her laughter and he sat back down at her side. "See? I'm just fine. Just need a little rest and relaxation. And you know what I want you to do?"

The slightest bit of fear shown in her eyes. "What?"

"Nothing like that." Chris calmed, squeezing her hand in his. "I want you to lie down on that bed over there. And I want you to fall asleep. You're safe here."

A genuine smile pulled at her lips as she looked on his face. "I am?"

He nodded, standing and pulling her to her feet. "Yes, you are." He answered, pulling down the sheets for her. "Your bed awaits." He motioned for her to lie down.

Trish crawled into the covers, flipping her hair over her shoulder as she settled into the mattress, her head on the pillow and her blonde hair fanned out.

Chris smiled, tucking that hair behind her ear then pulled the covers up. "You're safe here." He repeated then turned the light off over her head. "Sweet Dreams."

Trish grabbed his hand, holding it in hers as their eyes locked. There was such emotion on her face that he was moved to near tears. He could see pain, suffering and worry.

"I'll watch over you," he whispered, leaning down to let his lips graze her forehead. "Sleep, Honey." He whispered against her brow. "You're safe with me here." He kissed her forehead softly then pulled back, a warm smile on his face.

His hand slid from hers and Trish curled into her covers, her eyes never abandoning him as she watched him slip under the covers of his bed. An arm tucked under his head as his other hand controlled the remote for the television, he lay calmly, watching the late night news.

Her eyes never left his form until eventually, too tired to stay awake, she succumbed to sleep.

Chris awoke to the sound of heavy footsteps outside his door. His weary eyes glanced at the clock. It was a little after 3 AM. Pushing to his feet, he winced at the stiffness of his torso. He knew he'd be feeling that.

Rubbing a gently hand over his bruises, he stood. Clad in only his boxers, he walked to the door, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Leaning forward, he peeked out the little eye hole, trying to see who was outside. His teeth clenched as he saw Hunter standing outside his door.

Hunter smiled. "I know you're there, Jericho. And I know you're looking at me."

Controlling his anger best he could, Chris rolled his shoulders then opened the door. Hunter stepped toe to toe but Chris refused to move; he refused to let Hunter pass.

Hunter smiled again, his nose almost touching Jericho's. "How you feeling?"

"I've been better." Jericho answered honestly, looking up into the eyes of the slightly taller man.

Chuckling, Hunter glanced past Chris's head. "She's in there, isn't she?"

"And what if she is?"

"I see her bag." Hunter pointed out, casually. "Are you going to give her up nicely so she can be with who she belongs."

"She doesn't belong to anyone. She's her own woman."

"Ah," Hunter said with a nod. "Spoken like a true gentleman. Is that what you said to get her to spread her legs?"

Chris glared.

"Oooo, I hit close to home." Hunter smiled, sucking in a breath between his teeth. "Because you wouldn't be the first man to say that to her then fuck her senseless. She's used to things like that, you see."

Chris didn't respond.

"That little minx," Hunter continued. "She's got a lot of talent, that I can tell you." Hunter inched closer, his voice lowering to a whisper. "A little friendly secret between me and you. She's not the kinda girl you'd want touch. Kinda like the seat in a public restroom, don't know where it's been ... or who's been ... there."

"Are you quite finished?"

Hunter smiled, broadly. "Are you going to hand her over?"

Chris's eyes narrowed. "I have absolutely no intention of it. Tell me, is that your hand print on her neck?"


Anger surged through his body, his hand clenched on the handle of the door. "What did she say 'No' to you and you didn't care?"

"A girl like that never means it when she says 'No'."

Chris clenched his teeth, his arm now shaking from his anger.

Proud of his actions, Hunter gave a casual shrug. "You have to put her in her place. She'll say yes. It's what they're used to anyway. It's how they like it. Rough."

Chris felt the anger consuming him. He was filled with the sole desire to throw a punch and start a brawl that very moment. A surging jealousy rose from his core and Chris felt the unending need that he should defend Trish. Yes, he would defend her.

"Trish is used to it rough." Hunter continued, a sinister smile on his face. "She just needed some ... extra convincing."

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Jericho sneered, his shoulders so tense the muscles could rip from the bone.

"I'm The Game." Hunter said with confidence. "I do what I want, when I want to. And there ain't a damn thing you can do about it."

"I could tear you limb from limb." Jericho threatened, a warning glare in his eyes.

Hunter chuckled, taking a moment and he shook his head. "No you can't. Because if you come after me ... that means the doorway is open. And do you want to risk the chance of me getting past you? To her?"

Chris's eyes narrowed.

"That's what I thought." Hunter sneered then recoiled landing a hard punch across Chris's jaw.

Chris fell to the ground, his hand coming up to cup his chin, his fingers rubbing along the recently struck jaw.

Hunter smiled, leaning down and his head cocked. He didn't say anything, only looked. After a long moment, he scoffed then stood straight and walked down the hall.

Chris glared, his jaw pulsating and he pushed up to his feet. His teeth clenched, he closed the door then walked back to his bed. His eyes closed as he paused, rubbing his jaw, massaging away the pain.

"He hit you?"

Chris opened his eyes, glancing to the other bed. A pair of big brown eyes stared up at him, the covers pulled right up to her chin. Her body was covered by the blankets and he saw nothing but her face and hair. And oh, what a lovely face it was.

Trish pushed the blankets down, propping herself up onto a hand as she looked at him. Her hair tumbled over one shoulder, her eyes glistening in the low light of the room. "That was Hunter out there, wasn't it."

He easily saw the instant fear flashing in her eyes and with a sigh he sat down on his bed. "Yeah. It was."

"And he hit you?"

"I'm alright." He answered quickly, waving off her concern as he lay back on the bed. Situating the covers, he slid underneath, and with a yawn, he stretched. "Don't worry about me. Just get some sleep." He closed his eyes.

Letting out a deep breath, he relaxed into the mattress, his arm draped over his eyes as he settled. The mattress sunk at his side and he peaked under his arm.

Trish sat next to him on the bed, her lower lip sucked into her mouth with worry. She reached out cautiously, brushing her fingers along his scruff covered jaw. "Does ... does it hurt?"

Chris shuddered, his blood pumping faster through his veins and his body filled with a strange warmth. "I'm fine." He repeated in a breathy voice, his eyes locked on her face. "Really I am."

"It looks swollen."

"Just a little." He answered, his eyes locked on hers and he watched as her eyes searched his jaw and chin. He wasn't sure where she was looking but his eyes fell slightly, his focus moving to her pronounced nose and then finally her lips. Oh, those lips. So full and rich and soft. They looked so soft.

She licked her lips, cocking her head the other way. "What did he say to you?"

"Who?" Chris asked, genuinely unsure of her question. He was, after all, distracted.

A slight smile pulled at the corner of her lips. "Hunter. Out there. What happened?"

"Oh," he responded quickly, shaking himself from the trance before averting his eyes to the window of his hotel room. "He was just being a son of a bitch. Nothing for you to worry about. It's ok."

Her smile fell, her eyes drawn as she looked to the mattress.

"Hey now." He cooed, reaching out to grab her hand. "Don't go feeling bad for me or nothing. It wasn't your fault." He opened and closed his jaw a few times, working the stiff joint. "I would have hit him first if he didn't corner me the way he did."


"Well not physically. But he was threatening to come in here if I moved and ... don't worry about it. He's not getting in here." He squeezed her hand, making sure they locked eyes. "He's not getting you. I won't let him touch you."

Trish jumped when a loud noise echoed through the room.

Chris smiled. "It's ok. That was only the heat kicking in. Those knocks you hear are just water in the pipes. Nothing is going to hurt you here. Go on. Lay back down and get some sleep."

Reluctant, Trish stood and walked to her bed, slowly slipping under the covers and pulling them up to her chin. She shivered. The room was cold.

Chris released a deep breath, relaxing best he could. The atmosphere was heavy. He didn't know why, but it was. He couldn't explain it either. It was a combined sense of pressure and anxiety and something else he couldn't identify. In truth, he didn't want to for fear of what it was.

Shaking off the feeling of trepidation, he sighed again, making the best attempt to still his thoughts. His eyes drifted to the side, falling on her huddled form. She was shivering. "Do you want an extra blanket?"

"I took it earlier," she responded.

"Are you still cold?"

"I'm fine." She answered quickly, cuddling further into herself and closing her eyes.

"Come here."

She didn't respond.


Her eyes opened.

He lay on his back, his arm outstretched to her, his body an open invitation. "You're freezing. Come here."

Wary, she slowly pushed the covers down on her bed and sat up. Her eyes shimmered in the dim light, the shadows playing haunting games across her worried face.

"It's ok." He coaxed, softly. "Come lay by my side. I won't do anything. You have my word."

She slipped out of the bed, stepping to him and with a look of caution, she paused. Her eyes searched his for a moment as if assessing his words. Averting her eyes from his, she placed her hands on the mattress, balancing herself as she crawled over his body and lay down on the other side of the bed.

He eyed her curiously as she slipped under the covers, making certain that no part of her body touched his. She turned her back, snuggling as far into the bed as she could, hiding from the outside world.

She released a tired sigh, relaxing into the warmth of the bed.

Chris placed a warm hand on her shoulder.

She jumped, her head turning quickly to look back over her shoulder at him.

But he offered a comforting smile. "Honey."

"I'm fine." She said, her voice barely audible. "I am. I ... I'm fine."

"You're not shivering because you're cold, are you?"

Trish averted her eyes, pushing the covers back down and she sat up, her feet hanging off the edge. "I'm sorry. I just ... I'm ..."

"No, no." He reached out, his fingers grazing her back momentarily before he pulled back. "It's ok. Just tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing," she answered, standing from the bed and walking to the window. Her arms wrapped protectively around herself. "I ... I'm just gonna go back to bed." Keeping her eyes low, she moved back to her bed, crawling under the covers and pulling them up to her chin. She turned her back on him then, snuggling as far away as she could.


She didn't answer. Her back still turned, her breathing slow. She refused to respond to him.

"Trish," he called again. When she didn't respond, he pushed the covers down, and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Grunting, he pushed himself to his feet and walked to her. "Trish," he leaned over, placing a hand on her shoulder.

She shuddered at his touch.

"Sweetie," he cooed in the softest drawl and he crawled onto the bed, sitting on his knees. She still wouldn't face him. He pulled at her shoulder. "Tell me. What was it? Did something frighten you?"

"It was nothing," she answered, coolly.

"Look," he snapped, pulling roughly on her shoulder. "Don't you come and crawl to me like that and then act like ..." His eyes widened when she faced him, tears in her eyes.

"I'm scared, ok." She said, angrily. "I'm scared because ..." she sighed, blinking away the tears and looking away from him.

"I'm sorry I yelled." He said, gently, hooking his finger under her chin to tilt her eyes to meet his. "You can sleep in that bed if you want. If something's wrong with this one."

"That's not it," she responded then shook away his hand, looking away again. "That's not it."

His eyes watched her carefully, noting how she glanced worriedly at the door before sighing and looking to the ceiling. He cocked his head. "Are you afraid someone's going to come in?"

She didn't react.

He sighed, frustrated. "Fine." He stood from her bed, walking back to his and plopping onto the mattress. His back to her, he settled into the pillow and pulled the covers up over himself. "Fine, you don't wanna talk? Fine. I don't care. Be that way."

Chris closed his eyes, trying to still his racing heart. That woman was so infuriating. All he did was care. He cared. Yes, Chris Jericho gave a damn about that woman and every time he tried to warm her up or get her to talk, she'd shut him out.

He listened carefully as he heard scuffling to his back. He squinted a single eye open and watched as Trish stepped out of her bed. She gnawed on her lower lip, her eyes searching him as if unsure of what she wanted to do.

He didn't move.

She walked across the room and to the window, peering outside and then turned quickly looking back to the door. She blinked slowly then looked back at Chris, her eyes on his lounging form.

Nervously licking her lips, she approached the bed and carefully crawled into the empty side. She watched him intently, making sure he showed no signs of wake. With an overwhelming sense of relief, she snuggled into her side of the bed, turning her back to him as she slipped under the covers.

She gasped, her eyes flying open when she felt his hand on her waist. She shuddered and then continued to tremble when she felt him move closer.

Chris kept his actions slow, tightening his hand on her waist as he pushed flush against her back. When she tensed, he hushed her, moving his hand further around her to caress her abdomen.

She tensed.

"Shhh," he hushed into her ear, his lips almost brushing the shell. He pressed even closer, hugging her into his arms, his hair tumbling forward and brushing over her shoulder. "It's alright."

She shivered.

His heart raced and he pulled her even further into his chest. He guided her legs with his, entwining them and his hand found her cold trembling fingers, clasping the tiny hand in his. "No one can hurt you here."

She licked her lips, exhaling a heavy breath.

"I understand," he continued in a whisper. "Even though you won't tell me. You're afraid that being so close to the door ... someone can come in here and take you and I'd never know. But here ... in the same bed ... I'd feel the shift of the mattress and the struggle."

Trish nodded.

Chris smiled. "And here ... in my arms ... they wouldn't think about trying anything." He tightened his hug, pulling her as close as he could. "Safe ... warm. Sleep well."

She relaxed as he situated himself, her head now pillowed on his bicep, his head resting on the pillow. She squirmed and he loosened his hold as she turned in his arms.

He offered a small smile when she looked up at him and he reached out to brush the hair out of her face, tucking the fibers behind her ear.

Trish smiled back, curling into his chest, tangling her legs with his and burrowing into his warmth. She let her eyes fall closed and for the first time in a lone while, she felt safe.

One Week Later

Trish Stratus nervously searched the arena. After that night one week ago, Chris had accompanied her to her parents' house, insisting she not return to her own in fear that someone may be waiting for her. She hadn't seen him since that day and now, she looked for him. But he was no where to be found. Her nerves rose because she had to be out in the ring in less than five minutes.

Swallowing her nerve, she abandoned her search and headed for the ring.

Vince McMahon smiled his cocky smirk as he strutted around the center of the ring. He raised the mic to his lips, despite the boos from the crowd. "I think you all know why I'm out here." Vince nodded. "That's right. It has to do with that son of a bitch, Chris Jericho."

The crowd cheered at the name.

Vince only laughed. "Yes, your precious Chris Jericho, I'm sure." He cleared his throat. "Well Chris Jericho isn't here this evening."

The crowd booed.

"Yes, he's not here. And do you know why?" Vince strutted around the ring. "It's because he's fired!"

The crowd uproar was deafening.

"That's right!" Vince clarified. "Fired. And do you know what that means, Trish ... Stratus? Bring her out here."

Vince watched, smiling sinisterly as Hunter dragged Trish down the ramp, his big hand wrapped around her tiny wrist. Trish fought him best she could, but he was much larger and stronger.

Trish swallowed hard as she found herself in the center of the ring, staring up into the anger and hate filled eyes of Vince McMahon. She shuddered, frightened.

"Well, Trish," Vince began. "It looks like you're in a bit of a jam, aren't you. Lover boy isn't around and no one else can come to your aid." He grabbed her wrist, yanking her against him, relishing in the fear that flashed in her eyes.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, there. Hold up, Junior."

Vince's glare shot towards the ramp at the familiar voice. "Jericho!" he snarled. "You have been banned from this arena."

"Yeah, funny thing about that," Jericho began, his head slightly bowed as he paced on the top of the ramp. "I am not ... I repeat ... NOT banned from this arena." He lowered the mic, looking to the ring and where that bastard stood.

"Security!" Vince called into the mic. "Security, get out here and escort that man from my arena."

Jericho shook his head, tisking into the mic. "I don't think so. You see I have ... special permission to be here tonight."

That said, Linda McMahon walked out from behind the curtain. The crowd roared.

Vince's eyes widened. "But ... but ..."

"I see you're surprised, Vince." Linda said, coolly.

Chris Jericho smiled, broadly. "You see, I've been given a new contract."

The crowd roared.

"That's right." Chris said to the crowd. "A new contract. And do you know what this contract says, Vince."

Vince's eyes narrowed.

"I am still a contracted wrestler. AND ... there is nothing you can do about it because I work directly for Linda McMahon." At Vince's sneer, Chris only continued. "And you see, I've been given a stipulation that I can have a manager." He lowered the mic, looking into the crowd.

The crowd boomed.

His smile quirked at the corners of his lips as he paced again on the ramp. "And if I may be so bold as to quote ... but my contract states that whoever I chose as my manager ... well, you can't touch them either."

Trish's eyes brightened and Vince released her, both the chairman and Hunter walking to the edge of the ring, leaning over the rope to yell obscenities.

"And keep your pants on because that isn't the best part." Jericho continued, strutting down to the ring. "Can anyone here guess who I'm gonna choose for my manager?"

The crowd roared with mixed chants and cheers.

Chris turned his eyes to the ring, staring up at the woman present. "What do you say, Trish? Will you be my manager?"

She nodded enthusiastically.

Chris's smile beamed with pleasure, his eyes flashing with affection as he gazed up at her. But that smile, that joy quickly fell as Hunter turned his gaze to Trish and slowly stalked towards her, a sneer on his face.

Trish's eyes widened as she stepped back, her hands raised in defensive fear. She shook her head when she was cornered into a turnbuckle and squeezed her eyes closed.

But nothing happened. She only heard the loud cheering of the crowd. Opening her eyes, she saw Hunter pinned to the ground and an enraged Chris Jericho mounted on him, punching him relentlessly in the face.

She jostled when Chris suddenly leapt up and grabbed her hand. "Come on," he said quickly and he pulled her from the ring, racing up to the top of the ramp. Once to the top, he stopped, turning around to face the ring.

Hunter staggered to his feet, Vince helping him stand.

Chris smiled, his eyes glancing down at the woman to his side. She warily watched the ring, a look of fear in her eyes. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and she jumped looking up at him. His smile softened as he pulled her into him, hugging her tenderly.

Trish smiled, her eyes returning to the ring as she leaned into his hug.

Chris Jericho glanced to his right as the bathroom door open and Trish walked out and into their hotel room. "Trish?"

"Yes?" She wore a bright smile on her face as she approached, sitting on the edge of his bed. "What is it?"

He nervously licked his lips then pushed up, sitting cross-legged on the bed. "I want you to know that you're ..." he sighed, gathering his thoughts. "You are in no way obliged to me. You don't have to manage me if you don't want to."

Confused, she cocked her head.

"See," He nervously continued. "You only have to be my manager in name. You can do whatever you like. You can enter the women's division and try to get the title. I can even help train you, if you like. Or you can manage another man. You don't have to stay with me."

"But what if I want to. And what if I want you to train me too." She responded, sweetly, reaching out to grab his hand and pull it into her lap.

"You ... you want to?"

She ducked her head, slightly embarrassed. "If you don't want me to, that's ok. I'll ..."

"No, that's not it." He quickly interrupted, reaching out with his free hand to tilt her chin up. "I want you by my side and to manage me. But I ... I don't want you to feel forced into it."

A soft smile pulled at her lips. "You do?"

"Oh yeah," he breathed. "More than you know. And I can't wait to start training you. You'll be the best thing the WWE has ever seen." He watched as her smile brightened and she stood, walking to her bed and crawling into it. He lay back onto his bed, his eyes not abandoning her as she flicked off the light then pulled the covers up.

He licked his lips, praying that his body wouldn't betray him while she was still awake. She was so beautiful, so sexy. Her smile, the glint in her eyes, it melted him. Turned him to goo with merely a glance. He was on fire.

He knew it was wrong, after everything she'd been through, but he couldn't help it. He wanted her and wanted her badly. He wanted her so much that it consumed his every thought, his every action. He wished that she would have showed her appreciation for him with a kiss, but that didn't happen.

But he didn't want to approach her about any of this. After her reaction to the thought of being with him last week, it sickened him that his body still yearned for her. She didn't want him. She just wanted a savior not a lover. And that was the end of it.

He watched as she lay resting on her back, her arms loose at her sides and her eyes were closed. Her breath was soft, slow and rhythmic and her lips were slightly parted.

Sitting up, he swallowed hard, grabbing the hair tie off the bed stand and tied his hair in a loose pony tail. He couldn't resist her anymore. If she slapped him, screamed, kicked, sneered, he didn't care. He had to feel her lips.

Pushing to his feet, he softly padded the two steps to her bed, then carefully sat down on the edge. She didn't stir. Swallowing hard and licking his lips, he leaned down slowly, his one hand extended and braced to her other side for balance.

Closer and closer he moved, hovering over her, his lips barely touching hers as he trembled with his nerves. Closing the final distance, he softly pressed his lips to hers. Soft. Her lips were soft.

He nearly died when he felt her respond, leaning up to him, her body slightly arching at the sensation and she slowly tilted her head. He shuddered when one of her hands cupped his cheek, her thumb brushing along his scruff and he almost collapsed as her other hand rested on his neck, holding him in place.

Trish leaned further up, reinforcing the kiss when he would pull back and wrapped her lips around his, holding him, keeping him as long as she could. But finally short of breath, she released him.

Chris pulled back only slightly, releasing a shaky breath as he hovered over her. He swallowed hard, licking his lips. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." She quickly answered before he would leave and she licked her own lips, opening her eyes. She was shocked when she noticed his eyes were open, gazing down at her like that. It had been a long time since a man had looked upon her with such desire.

He didn't fight when she pulled him down again, taking his lips with a bit more aggression. He exhaled when her tongue slipped into his mouth and a growl rumbled deep in his throat at the feel of her warm slick tongue against his.

Her body rose then sank, settling into the mattress as the hand on his neck traced over his back, down then up in a gentle caress. He followed her lead as she turned the kiss, deepening it still as their tongues tangled with need.

When the kiss ended, he swallowed hard as she pulled his forehead to hers, panting onto his lips. He quivered with need, scolding himself for being so out of control. He would rectify that. "I'm sorry. I can't."


"It ... it's not right." He explained, though every word pained him to say. "It's not right because I ... I told you that this wasn't about the physical and ... and I meant it."

She closed her eyes but still refused to let him go. "Don't you want me?"

"God, yes." He sighed, barely able to keep himself from ravaging her. He just wanted to ... Chris shook his head, clearing his thoughts. "But I won't."


"I won't take advantage of you. I'm better than Vince and Hunter and I ... I will never force myself on you."

"Chris, do you know how long it's been since a man kissed me the way you did?" She sniffed, controlling her voice and her breaths. "Do you know how long it's been since I felt something more than lust in a kiss? I ... I don't know why you'd want to kiss me like that. Knowing that I've been with Hunter and Vince and I ..."

He silenced her, capturing her mouth in a deep sizzling kiss. His head spun with the emotions in his heart, his body surging with passion, he drew her tongue into his mouth, suckling for a moment before breaking away.

Trish closed her eyes though it did nothing to stop the tears from peeking out the corners. "God, you still want me. Despite that. I ... I don't understand."

Chris kissed her again, his lips gently adoring hers once then again and again. "You deserve a real man." He sighed, his lips constantly taking hers in soft sensual kisses. "You're such a beautiful woman." Another kiss then another. "And those bastards ... that's just what they are. But I'm not a bastard, Trish. I'm a real man and I know where priorities lie."

She licked her kiss-swollen lips and she cupped his face in both her hands, pulling him down to her for a series of passionate lust-laden kisses.

Minutes passed and Chris lost all coherent thought. All he knew was that nothing had ever felt so perfect as her lips, her kiss. Her body lurched and surged with his, their hands mobile in sensually delicate caresses though neither took the next step to begin stripping their partner. His mouth sore, he finally pulled back, breathless. He swirled his tongue around his own mouth, regaining the feeling and hopefully the ability to talk.

"I don't want you to stop." She begged, arching into him and she tore the tie from his hair, letting his blonde mane fall loose over his shoulders. She tangled her fingers through his golden hair, gripping him tightly as she pulled him down for another kiss.

Chris responded, eagerly, proving to her that he wanted this and he wanted her. He had to be dreaming, he never imagined that kissing a woman could feel so good, so right, so natural. It was as if he were born to kiss her. That was his mission in life, to kiss this woman.

"I want you." She pleaded, the kiss finally breaking and she pulled at him, signaling for him to finally settle on her, to press against her. "I want to feel you."

His heart soared, an indescribable completion filling his heart at those words. "God, you're the only thing that matters to me."

She beamed at those words, tugging at his shirt and he obliged by pulling it over his head, dropping it to the floor. This time, her eyes widened pleasurable as she pulled him down, his fully body finally settling on top of hers. "I need you, Chris."

"Wait," he said, nuzzling his forehead to hers, the tip of his nose touching hers. "I want you to know something. I ..." he licked his lips. "I want you to know that I know how to treat a woman. I know how to please her and I know how to love her." He swallowed hard as her hands danced over the bare skin of his back then around his sides. "Nothing else will ever matter to me ... but you."

Trish smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck as she pulled him down for a fervent kiss.

Chris Jericho sighed, leaning back on the couch, his head tilted to look at the ceiling. That was four years ago. He couldn't believe it had been so long. Swearing at himself, he stood.

He was such a fool. He walked quickly up the stairs of his New York home and stopped outside his bedroom door. Opening it slowly, he stood in the doorway, his eyes on her sleeping form.

How could have he been so stupid? How could he not have realized what he was doing, understood why she'd acted the way she did.


The woman he loved more than life, more than breath. There was nothing that meant more to him on the earth. And yet, he never showed her. He'd put himself above her for far too long and it was straining their relationship. The relationship which, at one time, he would have killed to keep. And over the last few months he had been so carelessly and obliviously tossing away.

It awed him that she had stuck by his side for this long. Any other woman would have left. His priorities switched and no longer lay within her. That was his fatal error. The mistake of putting something so trivial as his title above her.

Chris glanced past her, his World Heavyweight Championship lying haphazardly on the chair in the corner of the bedroom. A sneer fell onto his face at the sight of that wretched belt. It had been nothing but trouble since he'd won it.

He thought back over the last few months. He had been so involved in defending his title, keeping his challengers at bay that he had been ignoring her, avoiding her. He couldn't remember the last time they went out to a restaurant, or the last romantic evening they had alone, watched a movie, went to the beach, made love.

How long had it been since he held her in his arms? Four maybe five months. He couldn't believe it. Had he even kissed her since winning that damn belt?

His heart broke at the thought of the rejection she must feel, the longing and affection she must crave. What was wrong with him?

Chris padded across the room, carefully sitting on the edge of the bed. She let out a little moan, shifting onto her side before she stilled.

She faced him now, still asleep.

He sighed at her loveliness. She was as beautiful now as he ever remembered her. Every contour, every part still perfect. And he was the fool for almost letting perfection slip away.

He reached out, stroking his fingers gently across her brow then down her cheek. She hummed, squirming against his touch then leaned into his palm, turning her head to brush her lips there before stilling.

His heart fluttered for the first time in months. Had he forgotten the wonder this woman was? His resistance faltered and Chris leaned down, covering her mouth with his.

His kiss soft and gentle, he caressed her lips with his own, slowly coaxing a subconscious response from the still sleeping woman. Slowly, he licked at her lips, urging them to part and then slipped his hot tongue into her mouth.

Trish shivered.

His body charged when he felt her respond, one hand reaching up to cup his cheek while the other rested on his neck and she leaned into him, into his kiss. He felt tears as her tongue gently kissed him back, sensually responding to the affectionate embrace he so deliberately and desperately wanted.

Breathless, he pulled back, placing not one but two soft kisses on her mouth before inching back so he could look on her face.

Trish gazed up at him with sleep-laden eyes, deep and dark from her restful state. Her hands stayed where they were and she affectionately grazed her thumb along his lip. "As wonderful as that was ... you're still sleeping on the couch."

He chuckled, ducking his head at her sleep-husky voice. Oh, how sexy it was.

She gasped in shock when he leaned down again, kissing her once more though his lips were only soft and gentle on hers. He hadn't been this tender in a long time.

He sighed as he lapped at her lips, desiring the deep kiss he'd become addicted to and he moaned when she parted her lips for him. Slipping his tongue into his mouth, he shifted his own weight, settling on top of her and letting her feel him. Feel his everything.

She cupped his face then, pushing him back and his lips snapped off of hers. "Chris, stop."

He only let her push him so far and Chris leaned down again, pressing his forehead to hers as his arms balanced himself to either side. After all, he didn't want to crush her. "God, I'm an idiot." He breathed against her lips, loving that she shivered at the sensation.

She caressed her hands from his face to his neck then down his bare chest, just touching him before trailing back up to cup either side of his neck.

Chris shook his head gently against hers. "I've put shit above you that never should have been there. That damn belt. I ... I don't care about that. I'm just gonna lay down the first chance I get."

"Oh, Chris." She cooed. "No. Don't do that. You've worked years to get that belt. Don't give it up."

But again he shook his head. "It's been a waste. It's you ... that I've wanted for years."

"But you've had me, Chris." She answered with a small smile.

"No," he corrected. "I haven't. I've put my damn title search ahead of you and that ... I'm so stupid. I don't care about that title. I care about you and God, I'm sorry." He licked his lips. "Do you remember our first night?"

"Of course I do," Trish said, a slight tinge of embarrassment staining her cheeks.

"Do you remember what I said to you before we made love?"

She nodded though didn't verbally respond.

"I do, too." He said anyway. "I remember telling you that you were the only thing that mattered to me. And I still feel that way. Only I've been doing a piss poor job of showing it."

She closed her eyes, releasing a sigh.

"Do you remember our love making?" he asked with a fearful tone.

"Yes," she breathed then opened her eyes, letting her tear-filled orbs lock on his. "I've never felt that way before in my life. You were the first man to make love to me." Trish swallowed the lump in her throat, his eyes flashing with unreadable emotions.

"Let me be the last." He whispered, his lips hovering over hers, desperate for her touch again.

A tear pricked at the corner of her eye as she gazed up into his soft icy depths. Fear, worry and rejection mirrored back and Chris quickly ducked his head, embarrassed by his open admission.

Trish reached up, cupping his face in her hands, her eyes speaking poems and Chris felt his heart breaking. Overwhelmed, he licked his lips, waiting patiently for her response.

A gentle tender smile tugged at her lips and she leaned up, taking his lips with hers.