A/N: Kayfabe. Same deal as the last one.

"Don't you dare touch her. Touch her, and I swear to god, neither of you will see the light of day again. Touch her, and I swear on my grandfather's grave that what's left of your pathetic careers and lives will be miserable. I brought you into this world, remember that. I put you in the main event light. I can take you out just as easily."

"I'm here with the WWE Champion, Triple H," Maria Kanellis announced backstage at a SmackDown taping. Her hand trembled slightly, almost as if the anger from the other man was radiating from him and shaking her. It wasn't the first time she had interviewed him, nor would it be the last. But maybe it was because of what was going on. Maybe it was because it had never truly gotten this personal without having some sense of humor in it.

Maria knew what was coming before any more words were spoken.

"Are you…um…How do you feel about Randy Orton kissing…I, uh…"

The awkward interviewer couldn't continue on any further. The warm breath of the WWE Champion blew at such a rate that it rattled the frail girl to the bone. Maria could almost see every exhale, even though the room was a comfortable temperature.

"Maria, I…Randy Orton crossed a line that he is used to crossing. But he's always crossing the lines of other people. But now he's crossed my line. And do you know what's on the other side of my line?" Triple H seethed, his entire body getting ready to rage and smash anything in its path, including the fragile Maria.

She shook her head. She had an idea, but that idea was so terrible, she hoped it was false. No one good like that could be so evil.

But Triple H played on both sides of that field.

"Randy Orton has entered a war zone. He's in no man's land. And he won't make it out alive."

"B-but…Don't you think…that…AHH!"


In the back of her mind, Maria anticipated the contact. She knew it would be her. Because wherever Triple H was, a messenger for Randy Orton was not behind.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase were men on a mission for their master. They were to take down anyone in their way, man or woman. They didn't care that Maria would never intentionally harm a fly. She was dead weight and the perfect target for their first victim. She was in the right place at the right time.

Or in Maria's case, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, merely doing her job as a backstage interviewer.

Triple H dove in for the save, carelessly and effortlessly tossing each man to the side. Cody landed onto a metal trashcan while Ted cascaded into a wall. The young members of Legacy laid on the floor in pain as Triple H chivalrously helped up the vivacious Maria onto her feet.

She got as far as to be on her knees before the boot collided with her head.

Out of nowhere, Randy Orton rampaged onto the scene, his foot breaking the Diva's nose in the process. Upon seeing their leader, Cody and Ted jumped the unsuspecting Triple H. The three men beat him down until he was unconscious.

"Stop," Randy commanded, his priceless team members halting their attacks.

Randy grabbed Triple H by the scraggly mane and dragged him into the camera, shoving his face close to the lens. He pulled Hunter's head back and laughed as he treated the barely alive man like a rag doll.

Randy's piercing blue eyes connected with the camera. He stared deep into it, giving everyone in the WWE Universe a glare that could turn a person into stone faster than the snake-like hair of Medusa.

"Stephanie McMahon…Do you see what you've done? This is all your fault. You could have saved him. If only you would have came to me, he would have went untouched. And if you don't…Hah. He'll die at midnight. So what will it be, Stephanie? Leave your precious little Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Mommy, and Daddy and come live a life of luxury with me…Or you could try and be the Billion Dollar Warrior Princess. Either way, he loses. For once, this isn't about him," Randy said, dropping Triple H to the ground and stomping on his chest. "This is about you."

"This is axiomatic."

"Chris, your extensive vocabulary isn't helping me," a pale Stephanie McMahon muttered as she lay down on her black leather couch in her office. "What do you want? You're not even on SmackDown."

"Me want title match."

"Chris…I'm really not in the mood." An exhausted hand reached up for her forehead. She could feel how cold she was becoming. She was turning numb.

Who was Randy Orton to give her an ultimatum? Her father was the company steamroller. She could have him fired if she wanted. So why wouldn't she make that happen?

The WWE would be over. They needed him, just as much as he needed them.

"Look, I know that we don't exactly have the best history in the world," Jericho started, recalling in his mind the times he would refer to Stephanie as 'a bottom feeding trash bag ho.' "And I know I haven't been the nicest guy in the world, either. But I do know what it's like to be in love. If you follow Orton's little game, you don't win. You don't get Hunter. You lose."

"He can't die. I won't let him."

"So you're going to go with Orton? Noble. Real noble of you, Steph."

"How's Maria?"

"Forget it, Steph. Forget that I was trying to be nice. I'm done thinking about other people, since you do that for us all. Good luck with whatever you choose. I hope you're happy."

"What did you do with her?"

"Shut up. For a condemned man, you sure do talk a lot," Randy said, standing across from Hunter in a spare storage room of the arena. "Ten minutes," he grinned, looking at his watch. "Wifey kinda blows, doesn't she? Eh, that's a good thing."

Triple H shook violently, trying to break free from the chains that bound him to the chair. Ted laughed as he swung the key ring around his fingers, holding the hope of Hunter's freedom.

A soft knock at the door silenced everyone.

Ted moved from the door and opened it, moving over to let Stephanie McMahon in.

"Steph," Triple H whispered, but frowned when his wife couldn't even look him in the eye.

"I'm here for…for…" Stephanie started, but couldn't finish. She couldn't do this. She couldn't let her husband die, but she couldn't be without him, either.

"Here for who, Steph?" Randy smiled, egging her on. His black polo shirt reflected his intentions with the daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

"For my hus—For you, Randy," Stephanie nodded, closing her eyes.

"NO!" Hunter screamed, his movement increasing.

Stephanie burst into tears. She turned to the closest man for comfort, who just so happened to be Ted. She threw her arms around her neck and buried her face in his chest, crying her eyes out.

Ted looked at Randy said mouthed, "What the hell?" He held his hands up to show Randy that he was not going to touch her.

And then Stephanie kneed him where the sun doesn't shine and grabbed the keys, hurtling for Hunter's makeshift prison.

Cody acted on instinct. He leaped for Stephanie, tackling her to the ground.

"DON'T TOUCH HER!" the two older men bellowed at once, but only Randy Orton was able to do something.

The Legend Killer lunged and pounced on Cody, punching him square in the jaw. Cody flailed, trying to get out of Randy's grasp, but it was to no avail. The two men continued to fight and fight, a battle that the young Cody Rhodes was losing quickly.

Ted watched his two team members battle it out.

Stephanie McMahon unlocked Triple H's binds and set him free. The two of them escaped the room, away from the chaotic dynamite of the Legacy faction.

As the married couple exited the room, they held each other. They were merely happy to be together when they thought they would not be any longer.

And Stephanie McMahon had played the biggest joke on Randy Orton.