Title: I'm Sorry...Partner.

Characters: King and Cole

Featuring: Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr., Lillian Garcia, Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Mentions of: Good 'Ole JR

Disclaimer: Not necessarily slash...but maybe a little slashy if you want it to be.

Summary: Based on the July, 28th episode of RAW, when Jerry "the King" Lawler and Michael Cole were forced into a Tag Match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. One-shot.

Jerry "the King" Lawler rolled his eyes as he took his seat next to Michaels Cole, his announcing partner. Hell he didn't even consider Cole a "partner." More like an "annoyance." Ever since the Draft a few months ago, he had been sorely missing his old announcing partner, good 'Ole JR, who damn near made every match worth watching with his strange adages and orgasmic screaming.

'Ah, those were the days...'

Now, however, he was stuck with Michael Cole, formerly an announcer on SmackDown, and currently one of the most annoying men on Earth. King felt as though he and Cole had no chemistry whatsoever—they were just too different. He chalked most of his resentment up to the fact that now JR was on SmackDown, but he also reasoned that, like a few others, he just didn't like Michael Cole. He was also pretty mad about taking a beating for Cole a few weeks ago from Kane. That hadn't been fun at all.

And he damn sure couldn't understand how Tazz had put up with him for so long.

But the King shook his head to clear it of such thoughts. He had a show to do, and more importantly, a Tag Team Title match later in the night with his good friend Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

King stood in the ring with Hacksaw, both of them ready to teach a couple of arrogant youngsters that, no matter how talented you think you are, you're going to pay your dues.

However, as Lillian Garcia began to announce the participants, she hesitated.

"I've just be informed that..." And now she cast a nervous glance at King that made his heart rate increase. "King will not be tagging with Hacksaw."

Lawler swallowed hard. 'Alright,' he thought, 'A handicap match...someone up there doesn't like me, but okay, I can do this.' Duggan gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

"Jerry the King Lawler's tag team partner will be...Michael Cole."

King froze and looked over at the Announce Table, and saw the horrified look on Michael Cole's face.

"What the hell?" he yelled. "What? I'm not a wrestler! I can't be in the match!" Lillian was apologizing profusely as Cole entered the ring anxious, and King was still frozen.

"I'm sorry," she said sadly. "The new General Manager--"

"But I'm not a wrestler!" Michael was pleading. "I can't...I'm not... Oh God." He ran a nervous hand through his hair. "Please don't make me fight..." He looked desperately between the ref and Lillian, at last bowing his head in defeat, mind racing ahead to the terrible beating he knew he'd receive.

He ran his hand through his short, dark hair again, shivering slightly, remember the last time he had been in a ring—Kane had nearly pummeled him—when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up at saw Jerry half-smiling at him.

"Don't worry; I won't tag you in. I'll protect you."

Cole laughed slightly. "Protect me? You don't even like me! Plus, I got you beaten up not too long ago, so I'm not expecting kindness."

King winced at the words, not because of their bluntness, but because of their truth. However, seeing Cole standing there looking like a lost kitten in a wolf pack...he couldn't help but feel sorry for the man. Hell, Michael wasn't that bad a guy, and whatever he did to piss of the new GM, he sure as hell didn't deserve this.

"Well, whether I like you or not, I'll protect you tonight, Michael. I promise."

Cole nodded slowly, going nervously to his corner as the Tag Team Champions entered the arena and climbed into the ring. King and Cody started off, and to Cole's surprise, he was managing to hold his own against the much younger man. However, that was short lived when, after a few back-and-forth moves from the Champs, King found himself on the ground.

"Dammit," Jerry muttered to himself, instinctively going to the corner to tag, and then remembering who his partner was.

"Come on, Partner!" Michael Cole was yelling from the apron, and King felt his heart wrench. Why didn't he like Cole again? The man was being pretty damn brave at the moment, and really, it wasn't his fault he and JR were forced to switch shows. And here he was, cheering King on, even though he had done nothing but give the non-wrestler a hard time since he'd arrived on RAW.

Lawler rallied briefly, knocking down Cody and stumbled backwards, finding himself in his own corner.

"Come on, King, you can do this," Cole was saying, hand on Lawler's shoulder, patting it in encouragement. "You can beat those two, I know you can."

"Thanks, Michael," King began to say, when he noticed the ref ordering him out of the ring. "What?"

"He tagged in," the ref said, point to Michael Cole, who looked like a deer in the headlights.

"What...n-no I did-didn't... I didn't tag..."

"He didn't tag me in!" King yelled, arguing with the referee briefly before being tossed out of the ring by Cody. He landed hard on his head, and for a moment, the world swam behind his closed eyes. Vaguely, he heard Michael Cole screaming as he was dragged into the ring.

Cole was panicking as Cody held him by the collar of his shirt, mocking him, toying with him "Let me go!" he called out, trying to pull away from the younger, stronger man. He looked out of the ring and saw King, but he was barely able to stand.

Before he could stop himself, Michael pulled back his fist and aimed a punch to the face of Cody Rhodes. It was a good shot, that landed solidly, but the Tag Team Champion shrugged it off, eyes narrowing.

"Oh God," Cole groaned, before he felt a return punch to his own face, followed by a sharp blow to his stomach that doubled him over. Suddenly, he felt his head under Cody's arm, heard King calling for him, and all at once there was pain, and the was staring up at the lights before things went dark.

"You alright there, Partner?" King was asking him when he came to again. Michael blinked, trying to clear his vision, not trusting himself to move. He barely felt Jerry's arm on his.

"What happened?"

"Cody DDT'd you...Are you okay?"

"I don't know...I did get a hit in, though."

Lawler blinked in surprise, and then laughed. "You're something else, Partner. Now these guys are going to take you to the back, alright?"

Michael nodded carefully, and then blinked. "Hey...you called me Partner. You've never done that before."

"I think you've earned it," King said with a fading smile. "I promised to protect you, but I didn't." His eyes locked with Michael Cole's. "I'm sorry, Partner."

Cole smiled. "It's okay, Partner...if it wasn't for you, I would have taken a much worse beating. So, actually...thanks." The refs loaded Cole onto a stretcher before taking him out of the ring, and to Michael's surprise, King was coming with him.

Not my usual fare...but I had to do it. They were totally asking for it. XD