Ahhhh… the finale. Thanks for reading to this point, been a blast…
I own nothing!
March 29th, 2004
Two weeks. Hardly enough time to change two years of frustration.
But that didn't stop Chris from feeling like they were the best two weeks of his life.
He was leaning against a wall backstage on Raw, his arms crossed over his chest as he chewed on his gum, a hint of a smile on his face. He couldn't even remember the last time he had felt this good, but life was just good to him right then. It felt like nothing could get him down, and he loved that feeling. Granted, he had gone through a bit of a scare the week before with the roster lottery, but he was still on Raw. Everything was working out and falling into place for him.
Yes, life was good.
"Hey Jericho," he heard from his side. He turned to see Lance walking up to him, and he nodded to him.
"Hey man, what's up?" Chris asked.
"Nothing, what are you doing?" Lance asked curiously, before following Chris's line of sight straight to Stephanie. He looked back at Chris who was trying to hold back his smile. Lance rolled his eyes, "You two are sickening."
"What are you talking about?" Chris asked, watching Stephanie on her headset and giving orders to a group of workers at the table set up next to the stage entrance. He had been watching her work for the last ten minutes or so, and he loved it. He loved her being there with him, just like he loved the fact that she was actually his now. His smile grew a little more, "You were the one hounding me to fix things with her, so I don't want to hear it."
"True, but it's still sickening," Lance said, and Chris couldn't tell if he was joking or not by his tone. He glanced at him, and could tell he was kidding. Lance confirmed it, "In all honesty though, I'm happy that you two finally figured it out."
"So am I," Chris said, looking back over at her. "You have no idea."
"It's gotta be nice to have a real relationship with her for a change."
"I don't think I even know what the hell that is anymore," Chris laughed, before pushing himself off the wall. "If you'll excuse me, Lance, I think I'm gonna go say hi to my girlfriend." Lance snickered a little at the pride in Chris's voice when he referred to her in that way, but he truly was happy for his friend. The turn-around in Chris's disposition over the last two weeks had been amazing. He had gone from being irritable and down all the time to being his old joking and down-to-earth self. How could Lance or any of Chris's friends be against that?
"During the commercials, I expect that pyro fixed," Stephanie said angrily into her headphones before switching them off. She sighed, pulling them off and closing her eyes, feeling more than a little stressed. She was just thinking about what else needed to be taken care of when she felt warm lips kissing her temple. She smiled despite herself when she felt him lower his kisses down the side of her face and then over to her ear. "Chris," she whined, "I'm busy here."
"Me too," he mumbled, his breath on her skin giving her chills. But she loved the way he made her feel, wanting to kick herself every time he made her feel so good for pushing him away for so long. Her breath caught in her throat when she felt him gently start to nibble on her ear with his teeth.
"Chris," she gasped, shoving him a little with her arm nearest him, "Seriously, now's not a good time."
"I love you," he said, pulling away from her. She pretended to ignore him as she slipped on her headphones, and he frowned, poking her on her side. "Don't ignore me," he told her, making her look at him. "I'm the king of the world, when I say I love you, I expect it said in return."
"You're such a child," she said even though she smiled, leaning forward and kissing him. He deepened the kiss as she put a hand on the side of his neck, both of them ignoring the crowd coming alive again as the show went back live on the air. It wasn't until someone cleared their throat in annoyance that Stephanie finally pulled away from Chris. She chewed on her newfound gum, a satisfied smile on her face as she turned to look at a disgruntled Eric Bischoff.
"Forgive me for interrupting," he said snidely as Chris wrapped an arm around Stephanie's waist. "I don't want to stop you from working too hard, Stephanie," he added sarcastically. She rolled her eyes and popped a bubble with Chris's gum, resting her hand on his thigh. Chris only smiled, wondering if it was possible for anything to bring him down.
"What do you want?" Stephanie demanded. "Things are running fine on this end, I don't need you to babysit me, Bischoff. I'm not a rookie at this."
"I wasn't coming to talk to you, Stephanie," Bischoff said, shifting his gaze to Chris who raised an eyebrow. "I wanted to talk to Jericho."
"Well I'm right here, junior, what do you want?"
"Look, just because you've moved on to someone else, and that someone else happens to be Stephanie McMahon, that doesn't mean you can disrespect me," Bischoff told him angrily. "And I wanted to warn you that if you so much as put your hands on Trish Stratus tonight, or Christian for that matter, you're going to be fined and suspended, because I am not having that Wrestlemania incident again tonight. Are we clear?"
"Crystal," Chris answered, his voice clipped at the thought of Trish. Stephanie rubbed his leg, her eyes burning a hole through Bischoff.
"Are you done, can you go bother someone else now?" she asked him, and he gave her a dirty look before walking off. She sat there in silence with Chris for a moment before glancing over at him. "You okay?" she asked quietly, bringing his eyes up to her.
"Absolutely, why wouldn't I be?" he asked, looking at her in confusion. She shrugged, looking away.
"I don't know, I just know it still bothers you what she did to you," she said indifferently, and he frowned, moving his chair so he was sitting even closer to her.
"Hey, look at me," he said, and she looked back at him as he held her closer. "I don't care about her, so get that thought right out of that gorgeous head of yours."
"I didn't say that," she said defensively, and he snickered.
"But you thought it."
"Well, what do you want me to think, Chris… why else would it still bother you?" she asked almost accusingly, and he snickered again at her assumptions. This of course only served to make her more angry as she shoved him. "You know what, just go away, I'm busy."
He laughed again, "Man, you never let up, do you?"
"I said, go away," she ordered, glaring at him.
"Steph, it just bothers me because I trusted her, you know? It's the same with Christian… I trusted him, more than almost anyone, and it just pisses me off I guess that I couldn't see through their charade," he said, never breaking his eye contact with her. "And in the end, it cost me so much time with you… yeah, it still gets to me, but only because if it wouldn't have been for them, we could've had so much more time, and I --"
"It's okay, Chris," she told him, cutting him off and brushing his hair back.
"Are you sure, I don't want you mad at me," he said, smirking a little.
"Yes, I'm sure," she said, leaning in and giving him a quick kiss. "I'm just used to you being a jackass, I'm getting used to this normal relationship thing, it's new to me."
"Normal relationship? You mean such a thing still exists?" he joked, and she rolled her eyes.
"I guess so, I suppose this is somewhat normal… sharing hotel rooms, alternating between staying at your place and staying at mine, what would you call it?"
"A pain," he kidded as she glared at him again. He laughed, before being struck by an idea. "Oh man, Stephanie, you know what I could do tonight?"
"What?" she asked, looking at him curiously.
"I could do the Highlight Reel, man, you know how long it's been since I've done that?" he asked excitedly. She had to laugh at his excitement. "That'll be so much fun, it's been way too long since I've brought that to Raw, can you give me time at the top of the hour?"
"We were going to put Tajiri and Kane at the top of --"
"Please," he said, giving her his biggest and cheesiest smile he could muster.
"Please, please, pleeeeaaaseee…"
"Who would you have as a guest?" she asked, and he fell into thought for a second while she simply looked at him. He was still so handsome to her, she couldn't deny it. She had tried to ignore her attraction to him for so long, it was still surreal to not have to hide the way she felt around him and pretend like she didn't care when she always had. She watched as his blue eyes lit up and he smiled.
"Oh man, how about Trish?" he asked, and her smile waned at the name.
"Why?" she asked, not seeing where this was coming from.
"Why not, it'll be fun," he said with a grin.
"I don't think it's a good idea," she said and his grin faded as he gave her a look of confusion.
"How come?" he asked.
"What good will come of it? What if Christian uses it as a coy to jump you or something? Wouldn't it just be best to leave it alone?" she asked, but he looked at her like she had just spoken to him in a foreign language that he didn't understand.
"You want me to just do nothing?" he asked in disbelief and she sighed. "Steph, they embarrassed me, at Wrestlemania no less. And if I embarrass her tonight, it won't change anything, but it'll make me feel better… could you give me that?" he asked her genuinely as she looked him in the eye. He was looking her in that same way he looked at her late at night, that look that drove her crazy and she still hadn't figured out a way to say no to.
"Alright," she relented, watching as his entire face lit up and he beamed. "I'll give you the time at the top of the hour, just be careful, okay? I don't want to have to --" she was cut off when he leaned in spontaneously and kissed her, pulling her close to him as her headset cackled back to life. She ignored it for a moment, caught up with him and not wanting to end their kiss just yet as she wrapped her arms around his neck, both of them earning disgusted looks from passersby.
"Stephanie, Mike couldn't fix the pyro, he said he'll get it done over the next commercial break," her headphones cackled as Stephanie and Chris ignored it, too involved with each other to even fully notice it. Hunter was walking by just then to go out and make a statement to the fans and to see if he could demand a rematch when he caught sight of two people making out behind the table set up near the entrance. He gave them a look of disgust before realizing who it was, and then he really felt like throwing up. He cleared his throat loudly, prompting Stephanie to pull away from Chris and look over.
"Working hard or hardly working?" he asked snidely as Chris gave him the middle finger.
"Worry about beating Benoit, then come talk to us," Chris said, as Stephanie reached her hand over to him and rubbed some of her lipstick from his lips. He looked back at her and smirked, popping his gum which he had taken back. Hunter fumed, hating the constant references back to Benoit, and disappeared through the curtains. A statement needed to be made, and he was about to make it to the world.
They didn't care though, a feeling of happiness settled deeply into both Chris and Stephanie. She picked up her headphones as he leaned in to kiss her neck, making her laugh, which made him smile.
"Jesus, can you keep your hands and mouth off of me for twenty minutes?"
"You're too hot to keep my hands and mouth off you for any extended period of time," he said huskily, rubbing her lower back as she slipped on her headphones.
"Seriously though, I do have things to do, go and do whatever it was that you did during these past two years when you weren't all over me," she told him jokingly and he snorted.
"Hey, you know what I just realized?" Chris asked, pulling away from her this time.
"What?" she sighed.
"Bischoff and Trips both came over here, and you've done things with both of them… maybe they're jealous," Chris said smugly as she rolled her eyes.
"Yes, I'm sure that's why they were so bothered by us, now will you please leave me alone so I can get things done?" she whined.
"I love you."
"Thanks," she said, before looking at him and seeing him pout. "Oh wow, are you trying to guilt trip me? Because that look would be more effective if you were four instead of thirty-four, but that's just a hunch." He continued to just look at her with the same look on his face before she leaned in and gave him a quick kiss on his lips. "You know I love you too, now get the hell out of here, you're getting too cheesy for your own good."
He smiled and gave her a wink, popping his gum again, "Thanks for the gum, it's delicious… like you."
"Get out of here, Jericho."
Chris felt light on his feet. That was the best way to describe it as he leaned back against the ropes and watched Trish come down to the ring. He felt good, loose, light, a far cry from how he had felt about a month ago. He looked around at the crowd booing, and ran a hand over his mouth, expecting to feel that intense feeling of hatred and betrayal come over him at the mere sight of Trish.
But instead, he felt sorry for her. She had never truly had a chance with him, and now she was with his arch-nemesis and ex-best friend, Christian. Truth be told, he was more burned by what Christian had done to him than Trish. He didn't forgive her for a second for betraying him at Wrestlemania, but he had known and teamed with Christian for years. He paced in the ring as she stepped through the ropes, wondering what possible excuse she was going to give him. He hoped she wouldn't ask for forgiveness, because he'd be tempted to put her in the Walls… and he didn't want to get suspended.
"So I suppose you want an explanation?" Trish asked smugly as Chris just watched her. "You want the truth, Chris?" He hung back against the ropes, wondering how he had ever considered a serious relationship with the woman standing before him. "Well, you know what? The truth is that you were never there for me," she said angrily into her microphone as Chris narrowed his eyes at her. "I needed you, and where were you? Where were you when Christian had me in this ring in the Walls of Jericho, huh? You were home with a bum knee?" she asked incredulously, staring a hole straight through him as he looked away. He hadn't been home that week, he had gone to see Stephanie… and they both knew it.
"Christian came to my hotel room that night, and you know what… everything he said made so much sense," Trish continued as the crowd continued to boo her heavily. "You never appreciated me, Chris, all you ever did was try to hurt me. You should've been there for me that night, you should've hobbled down to the ring on one leg to try and protect me… but you didn't, you never appreciated me! I'm a three-time babe of the year sweetie, and you're not even in my league! And so I planned with Christian all night long on how to screw you over at Wrestlemania," she spat out angrily as the crowd ate it up. Chris was watching and listening to her explanation, and she knew she was lying to him and to the entire world, but what did it matter? She would be damned to admit that he had practically kicked her to the curb first, so that wasn't the story she was going to give.
She couldn't help but worry, though, that he was going to give it for her.
"And you know what, Chris?" she asked, watching him and wanting to dig the knife further into her betrayal, wanting to make him hurt as much as he had made her hurt, "That wasn't the only thing we did all night long…"
Chris looked away again and went back to his pacing, mulling her words over as the crowd buzzed in anticipation of what his response was going to be. He bit back his temper at her final shot against him, by telling himself that he had Stephanie now. That thought quelled his temper enough so that he could actually speak. By the time he opened his mouth, he couldn't help but try and hold in a laugh at how ridiculous this whole thing was. She no doubt thought that she was making him hurt, and he wondered if it was because she thought he still gave two shits about her. He raised his microphone, bearing in mind Stephanie thinking he still cared about Trish…
He was going to erase those stupid notions from both of their minds.
"You know what, you're absolutely right," he said in a calm voice, slowing his pace down as he spoke into his microphone. "I deserved it, I deserved the embarrassment at Wrestlemania… I mean, how could I take you for granted? It's obvious to me, and to everyone here, exactly what you are, Trish Stratus… and that is the biggest slut of the century!" he said, raising his voice on the mic as the crowd roared its approval. Their cheers only made his adrenaline run, and he hoped that Stephanie was watching.
"Three-time babe of the year?" Chris asked incredulously into the microphone, as Trish glared at him. "Wasn't Babe a talking pig?" he asked snidely as the crowd cheered him on. This was too easy for him, he hadn't had this much fun since… well, since he had verbally berated Stephanie week in and week out. "And I'm not in your league?! I'm Chris Jericho baby, I'm a sexy beast!"
He circumvented her, soaking in the frustration on her face, when he was struck with the brilliant idea of using a familiar insult against her. He licked his lips and hoped that Stephanie was watching again… she was going to enjoy this one.
"You're nothing but a dirty…"
Stephanie's huge smirk disappeared when she heard that first adjective. She knew better than anyone alive the string that was going to come next. She crossed her arms over in front of her as she watched the monitor, for some reason feeling extremely annoyed that he was going to unleash this on Trish. Granted, it was just an insult, but it had been an insult born during his "feud" so to speak with her. It was unique to her, meant for her and for her only.
And yet she was pleased that Trish was being absolutely humiliated on national television. That had a bigger upside than Chris using some stupid insult, even though that stupid insult was still just meant for her ears. She heard someone chuckling behind her, and she looked over and groaned at who it was.
"I hope you're happy because this is all your fault," Christian told her as she wondered if Trish and Christian had her on a radar to come annoy the hell out of her whenever Chris was in the ring. "Everything was fine, but then you had to stick your nose where it didn't belong and ruin my friendship with Chris, I hope you're happy you selfish bit--"
She never let him finish that sentence before she slapped the hell out of him, putting all her strength into her hand for it. Christian's head whipped to the side and the shot forced him to take a step or two back. It immediately stung, and he raised a hand to his face, using the tips of his fingers to feel his lip which felt like it was bleeding. People walking by slowed down to look over and watch as Stephanie glared daggers at Christian.
"Don't you ever come near me again you bastard," she seethed, getting right in his face. "If you think I'm going to forget what you almost cost me with Chris, you're sorely fucking mistaken, and if you ever bring Chris up with me again, I'll make sure your ass is fired!"
He gave her a dirty look but did back up, slightly intimidated by the fire in her eyes as he wiped his lips. He cursed underneath his breath as he turned and stalked off to wait for Trish, who was running backstage at that moment. Stephanie glared at them as they met, Trish humiliated by Chris, and Christian embarrassed by her. Christian put an arm over Trish's shoulders to try and calm her down as Stephanie rolled her eyes and put her headphones back on.
Chris walked backstage with a huge smirk on his face, looking over to see Stephanie. But she wasn't there, and he looked around the immediate area, his smirk slowly disappearing to a look of disappointment when he didn't see her around. He walked past the gorilla position, looking around still, until he finally spotted her down the hall talking to some of the workers there. Grinning, he went over to her, excited and hoping she had seen every last second of Trish's humiliation out there on the Highlight Reel.
"So let's get it done people," Stephanie said as everyone dispersed around her just as Chris walked up. He gave her a short wave as she gave him an annoyed look, before turning and walking away from him. His amused look disappeared, replaced with a look of confusion as he went after her and caught her arm.
"Hey, what's wrong?" he asked as she pulled her arm away from him.
"Nothing, I'm just busy, I told you that," she said, but he just looked at her suspiciously.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm sure," she snapped. He put his hands on his hips as he just stared at her.
"Alright, what the hell is wrong with you?"
"Nothing is wrong with me, stop asking me already," she snapped again as she pulled up her headphones and turned to walk away. This time, he reached out and grabbed her hand and before she could protest, he was pulling her towards his locker room that night. "What the hell are you doing, Chris, I have work to do!" she said indignantly.
He ignored her for the time being as he walked on over to his locker room and threw the door open, walking in and forcing her to walk in with him. As soon as they were inside, he let her hand go and closed the door behind him, before leaning back against it as she turned to him angrily.
"What the hell is the matter with you?" she demanded as he crossed his arms over his chest and just watched her. "Huh? Who do you think you are?" He shrugged, pushing all of her buttons now. "You think you can just commandeer me around, like I'm some your property or something, is that it? Well you are sorely mistaken, Chris Jericho, because I don't know who the hell you think you are, but I'm no one's property!" He nodded understandingly, his calm demeanor only infuriating her even more. "Are you even going to say anything!"
"You're mad at me for calling Trish that insult, aren't you?" he said, fighting his smirk as she stared at him in disbelief, wondering how he had called that.
She scoffed, "No, why would I be? It's not like it was something just between us, it was an insult you used on me when you hated me, why should I care? I don't care, it doesn't bother me, call Trish whatever the hell you want, see if I care." He chuckled, looking down momentarily before looking back up at her with a knowing smile.
"If it makes you that mad, I can call you that insult again… for old time's sake," he teased as she glared at him.
"Do it and I'll kick you in the balls."
"Mmm, feisty, I like that," he said as he licked his lips and she rolled her eyes in annoyance. She walked over to the door, but he wasn't budging. She glared at him angrily as he raised an eyebrow, "Oh I'm sorry, you want to leave?"
"Yes, I have real work to do, and you're really annoying," she told him as he shook his head and rolled his eyes.
"Baby, you're not exactly a walk in the park either, okay? And I would appreciate it if instead of getting pissed at me, you could tell me why you're mad, and then get pissed at me, instead of leaving me in the dark… communication is the key to success, after all," he told her with a smirk.
"Whatever, let me get by."
"Oh I'm sorry, you actually think you're leaving, you're not going anywhere."
"Oh really?" she challenged, her blue eyes boring in on his.
"You're a jackass."
"Well, you're a bitch, but who's keeping track? Now will you please do that for me? Please, Stephanie?" he asked her genuinely, the joking gone from his voice as she sighed.
"Alright, I will," she said as he gently pulled her towards him, turning them so he had her pinned against the door. He leaned in to kiss her and she readily returned his kiss as he reached up to pull her headphones clear off and drop them on the floor while she worked at pulling his shirt off. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he laughed against her lips, pulling away slightly to look at her.
"I can't believe you got mad about that, you know I don't give a shit about Trish," he told her as she rested her hands on his shoulders.
"It was stupid, can we forget it?" she asked, and he nodded as he leaned in to kiss her neck. "Guess who came up to talk to me while you were out there with Trish."
"I don't know, who?" he mumbled against her skin.
"Christian," she said, and he immediately pulled away to look at her. She expected to see that familiar anger burning in his eyes, but instead, he looked at her in concern.
"Nothing… besides me slapping the hell out of him," she said with a smirk. He matched it slowly with one of his own, wrapping his arms around her waist and lifting her up against him, before leading them over to the sofa as she laughed. "What are you doing, I have to work!"
"Yeah, on me," he laughed as they fell together on the sofa. She landed on top of him and she pulled up, straddling his waist as he crossed his arms behind his head, looking up at her. They looked at each other for a long time, both of them just appreciating being with each other again.
"How come we waited so long for this?" Chris asked, cutting into their comfortable silence.
"We're both stubborn?" she suggested, and he nodded. "Two years is such a long time though."
"Yeah," he said wistfully, thinking of how much time they had lost. "I am never letting that happen again, I promise you that, but on the flip side, I really don't regret it."
"Nah," he said, shaking his head. "I think I know how to appreciate a good thing now, you know?"
"Is that all I am to you, Chris, a good thing?" she teased as he laughed. She leaned down to kiss him and he maneuvered them so that he was on top, leaning most of his weight on his forearms as he pulled away and smiled at her. Even after all this time, his smile still got to her in a way that she couldn't quite place.
"You're more than a good thing and you know it, you just want me to keep telling you over and over how much you mean to me, don't you?" he said knowingly and she shrugged, less-than-innocently.
"I love you, you're everything to me, and you know it, and you use it against me, and I love you anyways," he said as she laughed and hit his shoulder.
"I never use it against you…" she said before looking up into his eyes and seeing him give him that damn look that he knew always got to her. "And I love you too."
"You better," he joked, before thinking to himself for a moment. "You know what was the best thing of the living through hell these past two years without you?"
"You mean something good came out of it?" she joked back and he nodded.
"Absolutely… wanna know what it is, huh, you want to know?" he asked excitedly as she chuckled.
"What is it?" she asked as he smirked.
"That song I wrote is going to be a fucking hit!" he exclaimed, and she laughed and leaned up to capture his lips. He instantly kissed her back, and she could feel the smile in his kiss as she trailed her hands down his bare back, her headphones cackling by the door as he caressed her with his hands, both of them completely absorbed in each other. Neither paid attention to the headphones cackling on the floor by the door as the weight of Chris's promise came down on both of them.
It was the one promise between them that wasn't going to be broken any time soon.