Well I finished this around 3am but for some reason wouldn't let me upload it, the server kept timing out and I'm on a DSL connection...go figure. So eventually I decided to copy it and upload it as a notepad file and hey it worked! But yeah at some other boards they're all "that's it? I need to know what happens!" lol...I ended it this way to leave some mystery but it's really easy to infer what happens but also maybe someday even a sequel but don't quote me on that...Also, I've been working on a new fic, got chapter 1 done the story is tentatively titled "Entwined" so be on the lookout for that. Also, check my my one-shot called "Twisted"...it was a fun little story to write. Thanks to everyone who's been reviewing this story! I was floored by all the reviews lol.

Beneath the Façade: Part 3

Hunter sucked in a huge breath. I killed our child? The concept seemed so completely foreign to him. He rubbed his forehead wearily. This night was so not going the way he planned. All of this was because he believed Stephanie to be the bad guy but it turned out that everything was pretty much his fault. He asked the only question he managed to form, "How?"

Stephanie laughed incredulously. "Think of how many times I was hit between the time I told you I was pregnant and the time you got me kicked out. Hell of a lot don't you think?"

Hunter shifted his gaze to the floor, mumbling out, "Yeah."

"I was barely 2 months pregnant when I told you…my body – our baby could only handle so much. I was under lots of emotional and mental stress; I was being pushed down, fallen on and knocked over. You name it and it probably happened to me!" She replied bitterly.

Stephanie had been kicked around several times and it had resulted in her losing her baby. She was a woman so no one should have laid a hand on her in the first place. Still, even though they had been the ones to physical abuse her, part of her knew that she had been selfish. Her hormonal rage at Hunter had blinded her, and she put her health on the line countless times. It resulted in her putting the baby's health at risk, as well but at that time she just wasn't thinking clearly and hadn't really stopped to think about her recklessness. She had been playing with fire and by the time she had decided to stop, she had been burned. That burn was her miscarriage.

Hunter looked up at her. His facial expression was tender. "I'm sorry you had to go through that alone."

She shook her head slowly, the tiniest of smiles crossing her lips. "I wasn't alone. My family knew."

Hunter nodded. One thing bothered him still. "Why did you continue being so involved in the business knowing you were pregnant?"

"What do you mean exactly?"

"You faced me in a match. Why would you do that if you were pregnant, Stephanie?"

Stephanie eyed him. Was he suggesting that she meant to have a miscarriage? She would never intentionally wrestle this man while pregnant. He was out of his damn mind. That, or he just thought very, very little of her. She took a deep breath before she completely lost her cool. It didn't help that she was kind of drunk. "By the time we had our match I had already lost the baby," she corrected him, pleased that she hadn't started yelling.

"So when did you…" He paused, trying to find the right words to say to her. "When did you uh – you know?"

"At No Way Out. Kurt tried to clothesline you and hit me instead and I flew over the ropes and such. You kicked Kurt into me later that night, as well."

Images of everything that happened that night flashed through his mind. "You weren't bleeding or anything after the match, though," Hunter recalled.

She nodded, giving a lazy smile. "Yeah, I thought things would be fine after the match. As I rode in the limo to my hotel I even promised myself I'd stop taking these risks. You know? I had been lucky up until that point. I woke up the next morning with a terrible pain in my stomach and there was blood everywhere. I knew I was losing the baby," she recalled distantly. "Shane rushed me to the hospital and they just confirmed what I already knew." Her voice was barely above a whisper.

Stephanie closed her eyes as everything from that fateful morning came rushing back to her memory. She had woken up earlier than usual. Pretty much her entire body had ached but she was most concerned about one area. Her stomach. She had called her brother, Shane, telling him what was going on and he promised to be there as soon as he could. She had curled into a ball, crying softly as she rubbed her stomach, hoping that the soothing gesture would somehow make the pain go away. But, it didn't. A few minutes later, her soft cries had turned into loud sobs and ragged breaths. Soon, she felt a wet, sticky substance trickle down her legs. Completely panicked by this point, she whipped the covers from her body and was horrified by the blood. There was little she could do but lay there crying, hoping she and her baby could hold out until Shane got her some help.

It had taken Shane maybe ten minutes after she had called before he came banging on her hotel door. She staggered and stumbled her way to it, falling directly into his arms. The look on his face was one that she would never forget. He didn't have to say it, but she could tell that he was thinking the same thing that she was: she had lost the baby. He had carried his bloody baby sister to his rental car, ignoring or cursing at the people who dared to eyeball them. He had driven like a madman, getting her to the nearest hospital in less then fifteen minutes. He had kissed her cheek right before she was wheeled out of sight.

Sometime later, Stephanie had walked out into the waiting room with an unreadable expression. She noticed that her parents were now here, too. They must have been the ones who brought her some clean clothes. She said nothing; she just shook her head sadly and fell into the group hug. They had all shed some tears and in that moment her family was put back together again. It was just such a shame that a tragedy had to be the reason for everyone forgetting whatever grudges had been held against one another.

Quickly, Stephanie's eyes opened. Get a fucking grip, she told herself agitatedly. "I don't want to talk about this anymore. It's in the past," she said, her tone vacant of any emotion.

Hunter looked at her strangely. "Why do you do that, Steph?"

She arched her finely shaped eyebrow in confusion. "Do what?" She had no clue what the hell he was talking about.

"You like…start to open up and then all of a sudden you just shut down again."

Stephanie rolled her eyes. "It's in the past, Hunter! I'm ready to move on. I have moved on! I was doing fine until you came here trying to stir up things that are over and done with!"

"Nothing that we've talked about is over and done with," he pointed out.

Her arms went up in exasperation. "Our marriage is over! Our baby is dead! Is there anything else that happened a lifetime ago that you'd like me to discuss?"

Stephanie knew she was being cruel right now but somehow she forced herself not to care. She couldn't show any vulnerability. Doing so had also left her open to emotional attacks. The end result was usually her getting hurt.

"Our marriage is not over," Hunter hissed lowly. "We're still married!" He said, raising his voice. He was tired of her shutting him out by speaking so harshly.

She scoffed. "Legally, maybe. It's over in every other way that matters," she mumbled.

He shook his head, replacing the annoyed, angry look with a softer one. "It isn't. I never wanted you out of my life…or my heart."

Stephanie held up her hand to silence him. She swallowed roughly. "You should have said that back then. Instead you opted to pretend we're divorced as your fucked up way of 'punishing' me. The most messed up part in all of that is that I didn't even do anything wrong! I didn't do a damn thing to you, Hunter! But you didn't even bother trying to find out what really happened. You just come up with this nonsense and 2 months later you just--you just--you…"she rubbed her temple "What do you want from me exactly?" She asked angrily.

"I'm sorry, Stephanie! How many times do I need to say that?"

She glared at him. "Until you mean it! Until I feel like you really, sincerely mean it."

Hunter stared at her intently. "And when will that be? How do I know what to say to you so that you believe me?"

"If you can't figure it out then you don't deserve my forgiveness."

"Do you have to be so cold?"

She challenged him right back, "Do you have to be such a selfish asshole?"

Hunter sighed. He just couldn't get through to her right now. Those defenses that she had when they first got together were right back up. He'd had a lot of fun working his way through each and every barrier that she had back then. Together they became stronger. He got the feeling that he wouldn't have "fun" anytime soon because this time she had a legitimate reason for shunning him. "I don't know what else I can say to make you believe me," he said softly with a dejected look.

"Funny. Now you know how I felt when I was pregnant." That was a low blow and she knew it. Hunter had hurt her so much in the past and it felt good to be able to hurt him right now. She saw that he was about to speak and quickly added, "Don't say you're sorry again! You're starting to sound like a broken record. You just keep repeating the same crap."

"Can we not do this? Not now," he said pitifully. His wounded ego could only handle so much verbal abuse from this woman.

"Why not? You're the one who was so desperate to bring up old events! As if talking about it all this time later changes anything."

"It may not change the events, Stephanie but it may lessen the pain," Hunter reasoned.

A small smile threatened to reveal itself and the creases in her brow loosened "Do you always have to be so damn rational?" She wondered.

Hunter shrugged. "It's natural, babe," he bragged, buffing his nails against his chest. At least she seemed to be less tense and the desire to rip his head off that he'd seen in her eyes was gone now. Definite improvement.

Stephanie laughed and shook her head. Hunter – her husband, was such entertainment at times.

He had to ask her now – before the fangs and claws made their presence known again. "So what do you think?" He asked, grabbing her hand. "Do you think we can give it another shot? I mean well technically we were never over but you know what I mean."

Stephanie chewed her bottom lip as she contemplated, focusing her gaze on their joined hands. They had the most screwed up marriage. What other couple manipulated people – including the people they loved – in such ways? That, or just assuming that person had manipulated them, causing them to manipulate in false retaliation. It could be so confusing at times. Back when they were actually together, one minute they were all over each other and the next they were biting each other's head off. It was definitely a roller coaster. Stephanie had to admit that their relationship had always been…interesting, for lack of a better term.

"Steph?" Hunter questioned, waving his other hand in her face. "You still with me here?"

She snapped out of her thoughts and locked eyes with him. "Yeah, sorry.

"So what do you say?"

"Hunter I just – I don't know. All these revelations and secrets being revealed and the truth coming out and all that shit. I can't give you a straight answer right now."

He nodded slowly, giving the faintest smile. He would take whatever he could get at this point. The fact that she didn't blatantly deny him was a good sign. "I love you," he told her."

She looked up at him and smiled. "Despite everything that's happened I'd have to admit that I still love you, too."

Hunter hadn't expected her to actually attest to still loving him. That was a surprise. It was a pleasant one, but a surprise nonetheless. Now he was even more optimistic about the future.

Stephanie was a stubborn woman, though. Hunter would go as far to say she was even tricky with him when she wanted to be. He'd spent too much time fighting and arguing with her and he really didn't feel like waiting on baited breath for an answer as to when she would give their marriage another definite chance.

The wheels in Hunter's head turned and a look of pure devilment crossed his features. "Well what do you say to screwing over Bischoff? He can't exactly have a show without a heavyweight title. Lesnar took the original, and I've got the only other main title that exists," he reminded her nonchalantly.

They would have to at least stay married for Hunter to leave Raw with the title. In time, he would make Stephanie want to stay married for other reasons as well of course. If she said yes, that is. But when could she ever turn down an opportunity to stick it to Bischoff? That answer was simple: she absolutely could not.

It didn't really matter what the circumstances were. She would go to hell and back to get one over on her nemesis. Hunter smiled to himself. Despite everything that happened tonight, she was still his same Stephanie. She was so very predictable.

The same look of devilment crossed her features, as well.

No words were needed; Hunter knew what that mischievous look meant.

Fin