My first attempt at this type of story... I hope it works. All characters courtesy CBS inc. (Cold Case) and WWE inc. (Wrestlers) All rights reserved. The following story is fictional and bears no resemblance to a real event.

Bullets and Body Slams

July 6th, 1999.

The scene was a local bar outside of Philadelphia. Several loud, obnoxiously drunk, muscled men are sitting around a table, drinking. The table is covered is empty glasses and beer bottles. "Tubthumping" plays in the background.

"Well, boys, here's to ya." One of the taller men, with shoulder length black hair, and a soul patch, raises his drink. The others follow suit, echoing his comments.

"Now that you got the titles, everyone's gonna be coming after ya." The guy beside him added. "Including me and my partner."

The pair of young guys, obviously not used to being the center of attention, and probably not used to drinking this much at one sitting, basked in the adulation of the other people at the table.

The scene suddenly switched to the same two young men, apparently drunk, staggering down the street, holding on to each other.

"Matty, we finally did it." The younger of the two slurred.

"Yeah, Jeffro. We finally hit the big time. It's nice of the boss to give us a push, eh?" The dark-haired member of the pair wrapped his arm across the shoulders of the other man.

"We can't let the boss down Matty."

"Don't worry, little bro. As long as we're together, nothing will go wrong."

Two minutes later, the dark-haired man was lying in a pool of his own blood, two holes in his chest; his companion vainly trying to stop the bleeding...

Modern day...

"Matthew Moore Hardy... age 24. Found shot a few blocks away from a local bar July 6th, 1999." Rush said, dropping a photo of the deceased on Valens' desk.

"Hmmm... single, no kids, professional wrestler." Valens skimmed the original case file. "Police never recovered the weapon?"

"At the time, it was treated as a gang attack. You know, two kids from a small town in the south get to the big city, and take a wrong turn." Rush perched on the corner of Valens' desk and waited for him to finish reading the file. "But DWP were digging up an old section of sewer pipe and they found this."

A mould-encrusted gun in a baggie was placed before Scotty.

"It's a thirty-eight. The same caliber of bullet as was taken out of our vic." Rush announced "Ballistics matched the striation marks perfectly."

"Even after all this time? That's impressive."

"Not hard to do when the only thing hiding our murder weapon is twelve tons of concrete." Rush said "The gun is registered to one Michael Seitz... aka Dok Hendrix, aka Michael "P.S." Hayes."

"That name sound familiar." Valens flipped a page in the file.

"It should. At the time of the shooting, he was the on-camera manager of the vic and his brother." Rush replied

"Bring him in. Let's see if he's got anything to say."

While Michael was being brought in, Vera and Miller were canvassing the area. There weren't many people still living on that street ten years later, but one of the witnesses was still living in the same brownstone.

"Now, Mrs. Pederson. According to your original statement, you were in the kitchen getting a drink of water when you heard something that sounded like car backfire, correct?" Vera asked

Ethel Pederson, a frail lady in her mid-seventies, nodded.

"Do you remember what you did next?"

"Gosh, that's a long time ago." Ethel smiled sweetly. "Why are you asking now?"

"Some new evidence has turned up. So what did you do next?"

"Like I said, I couldn't sleep that night. My husband of thirty-seven years had just passed on and I was lonely. I went out into my kitchen and that's when I heard bangs from outside my house..."

"Bangs?" Vera repeated "Do you recall how many?"

"Three, but two of them were at almost the same time."

Vera and Miller looked at each other. The original officers had only written down that the witness had heard bangs and left it at that. Even the current detectives had been working on the assumption that the killer had left on foot. Now it looked like the whole idea of a random shooting might be inaccurate.

"When did you first look outside?"

"Like I told the officers, right after I heard the first two bangs, I looked out my winda and that's when I saw the one boy on the ground. The other one was screaming for help and that's when I heard the third bang."

"Thank you for your time Mrs. Pederson. If we need anything else, we'll let you know."

Vera and Miller stepped outside.

"The original crime scene was right about here." Miller stopped ten steps down the road from the Pederson house. "But what gets me is why were they even in this neighborhood? According to their co-workers, their hotel was halfway across town."

"Toxicology reported that the vic blood alcohol level was point-on-seven." Vera answered "Maybe they got lost."

"Maybe. But what a place to get lost in." Miller looked around. "Back in '99, this was a real rough part of town. Half the houses here were drug dens. It didn't start getting cleaned up until oh-four. You see that building over there?"

"Yeah. What about it?" Vera replied, looking at a boarded up duplex.

"Back in ninety-nine, it was the hangout for the Spikes." Miller answered "Biggest drug gang on this side of Philly. We broke them back in oh-three and the building has been left empty since."

"You still think it might have been a drug deal gone wrong?" Vera asked

"Think about it. Two young clean-cut kids from a small town finally hit it big. Maybe they felt like celebrating and went looking for some fun..."

"...and somebody decided that rather than take a piece, they'd grab the whole pie? Police said there was no evidence of robbery."

"Maybe we need to talk to the brother again, huh?" Miller and Vera strolled back to their car. "Meanwhile, get the crime lab out here. Who knows what the police missed ten years ago."

Flip to interview room

"So what's this about?" Michael Hayes sat, uncomfortably staring at Rush and Valens.

"You managed Matt and Jeff when they first got their push, right?" Valens asked, staring at yet another report.

"Yeah. It was a set up with another faction: the Brood. They covered me in blood and I 'hired' Matt and Jeff to take care of them."

"But we hear that they were planning to let you go." Valens stared Hayes down.

"That was ten years ago. I don't remember what the writers were doin'?" Hayes stared at the table.

"But you knew somethin' was up, right. I mean one minute, you're tight with the boys and the next, they're planning on getting rid of you."

"That's bullshit and you know it." Hayes stood

"Siddown. We're not finished here!" Valens said, pushing Hayes back into his chair.

"Touch me again and I'll press charges!" Michael bellowed.

It was time for Rush to step in. "Listen, I'm sure that you cared for those two. They were new to the business and needed someone to watch their backs, right. I know if a couple of guys I'd taken under my wing suddenly decided to go on their own, I'd be a little angry."

"It wasn't like that..."

"Then how was it?" Valens propped on the desk, staring Hayes down.

"It was around the time we were just into the Attitude era..."

Flashback (Alanis Morrisette's "Thank U" plays softly in the background)

"Hey, Matt, Jeff, you ready to win the titles tonight?" Michael bounded into the dressing room where the Hardy Boyz were just changing into their ring gear.

"Michael, do you mind?" Matt quickly covered up. He was still a little self-conscious about being naked in front of the older man, as was Jeff.

"Sorry, guys." Hayes turned around

"Tonight, the Hardy Boyz take the first step toward immortality." Jeff shouted

"Nervous?" Hayes asked

"A little." Jeff replied

"Don't be. Just follow the script." Hayes said

Both Matt and Jeff looked a little down at the mention of the script.

"Something bothering you?"

"Do you have a problem with us or somethin'?" Matt demanded. Jeff looked on suspiciously. "I mean, I'm sorry if we're not into the party scene like you are mister Freebird, but..."

"Whoa! What are you talking about?"

"Creative is splitting us up next week." Jeff came over and stood beside his brother, arms folded, a hurt look on his face.

"This quickly?" Hayes' face clearly showed his disbelief.

"They said it was your idea! What did you tell them?" Matt yelled, standing face-to-face with their soon-to-be former mentor.

"All I told them was that I felt you two were ready to take the next step and you didn't need me as a mouthpiece." He explained "Which you are."

Present

"So it wasn't them who wanted to get rid of you?" Valens clarified

"That's what I told the cops ten years ago and that's what I'm telling your ass now!" Hayes stood up again and this time, the detectives made no effort to stop him. "Can I go?"

"Not yet. What about your gun?"

"I reported it stolen from my hotel room in New York a week earlier. Check with NYPD if you don't believe me." Still standing, Hayes went for the door. "Now may I go?"

This time neither detective said anything, so Hayes stormed out of the interrogation room. In the doorway, he turned to face them. "I loved those two like they were my own sons. I would never hurt either of them."

Later that day, Vera and Will Jeffries pulled up outside a rundown bungalow on the south side of town. It was the last known address of one Jeffrey Nero Hardy. Following the death of his brother Matt, Jeff had literally dropped off the map, not even bothering to contact work. He'd just disappeared.

Jeffries knocked on the door. After a few minutes, a young woman pushed the curtain back enough to look out.

"Beth Britt? Detectives Vera and Jeffries. Philadelphia homicide. We're looking for Jeff Hardy."

"He's not here." She replied "He hasn't lived here for months."

"May we come in?"

"I told the police everything I knew." She adamantly refused to open the door.

"Look, Beth, we can either talk here now or we can do it downtown. It's your choice."

Sighing loudly, she admitted the two investigators into her home.

"I don't know what else I can tell you." Standing in the hall, hands on hips, a spatula pointed in their direction.

"For starters, how long ago did Jeff leave?"

"I haven't seen him for over a year." She answered, still defiant in her tone. "We had a fight. The next day he packed up and left."

"What was the fight about?" Jeffries queried

"Ever since Matt's murder, Jeff sometimes went into these dark depressions." She replied "The doctors prescribed him some stuff and it seemed to work. But about two years ago, the mood changes came back in a big way."

"Do you know what triggered it?" Vera asked

"No... wait, I overheard a phone call..."

"When was this?" Vera pulled out his notebook and started scribbling.

"It was the fourth of May... no, the third."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure. A lady doesn't forget the day her lover just up and leaves."

Flashback

"Jeff, phone call." Beth held out the receiver. Jeff ran upstairs, looking mildly annoyed.

"Who is it?"

"I dunno."

"Hello?" Jeff hadn't been on the phone five seconds when his face turned red. He slammed the phone down angrily.

"Honey, whatsamatter?"

"Nothing, Bethy. I gotta go away for a couple days..."

"I knew he was lying, but that was the last time I ever saw him. He sends me money every month to pay the bills, but I haven't had any contact with him."

"How does the money get to you?" Vera asked

"The mail." She replied

"Do you have the envelopes they came in?"

"Just the most recent one... you don't think he had anything to do with his brother's death? I mean, those two loved each other. They were devoted. There was nothing Jeff wouldn't do for Matt, and vice-versa." She left to retrieve it.

"I'll see if I can get a copy of the phone records." Vera said

Having concluded their interview with Hayes, Rush and Valens were pouring over the case file again, hoping there was something else they had missed.

"Excuse me." Their attention was interrupted by an elderly gentleman standing over the desk.

"Can we help you?" Rush asked

"I'm Gilbert Hardy. Matt's father, I heard you've reopened my son's murder case."

"Take a seat., Mr. Hardy." Valens pushed a chair out.

"Gilbert, we've uncovered some new evidence that seems to indicate that your son might have been involved in something."

"What are you saying?" Gilbert's hands started to shake. "My son was a good boy!"

"Sir, we know it's hard to believe, but your son was found in a bad part of town, just across the street from a drug house. His blood alcohol level was..."

"I don't care what you say... my son wasn't like that!" Gilbert shouted

"Gilbert, did you know if Matt was having any problems with anyone at work?"

"I'm sure if he had, he woulda told me." Gilbert responded "My sons never hid any secrets from me."

"How about girls?" Rush asked

"I dunno. He mentioned one girl, but I don't think their relationship went anywhere."

"Did he mention her name?"

"Stephanie, I think."

"McMahon?" Rush asked

"Maybe. I only talked to him one time about it. He seemed real interested in her." Gilbert answered "You don't think she had something to do with it?"

"Who knows? Boss' daughter. Maybe her father didn't want her dating the talent." Valens replied

Lieutenant Stillman beckoned for Rush and Valens to join him in his office.

"I promise you, we will find out who killed your son." Rush smiled sweetly.

"Whaddaya got, Chief?"

"Crime scene swept the crack house. They found this." He dropped a baggie with a notebook onto the desk.

"What's this?" Valens asked, flipping through it.

"It looks like our victim wasn't as clean-cut as everyone thought. Page four."

Valens looked. "Wow! It looks like Hardy did a lot of business with whomever owned this. It's got dates, amounts, deliveries... you think Hardy was using?"

"It's a possibility. Maybe he got in a little over his head and his dealer decided to call in his marker." Stillman answered

"Do we know who his contact was?" Rush asked

"Guy by the name of Runnels."

"Do we know where this mook is now?" Valens demanded

"He's doing ten to life for murder upstate." Stillman answered

"Let's go."

...

"To what do I owe this honor?" Dustin Runnels, also known as "Goldust" to his clients, looked disdainfully at Rush and Valens.

"Word on the streets is you had your hands in a lot of pockets." Valens answered

"People talk." Runnels answered "So what if I did?"

"Matt Hardy. You had your hands in his pockets?" Rush asked, sitting down opposite.

"Maybe I did." Runnels looked smug.

"We know you did." Valens answered "We found your notebook. It seems like Matt owed you a few bucks."

"A lotta people did." Runnels answered "You sayin' I killed 'em all?"

"What we're sayin' is if you don't start talking, maybe we dig a little deeper and see what else you've been up to." Valens answered "If you help us, maybe you get outta here a little sooner..."

"Tell us about Matt."

"Matt? It wasn't Matt I was dealing to. It was Jeff." Runnels swallowed

"Jeff?"

"I hooked up with him maybe six months before Matt's death. We were just hanging around, shootin' it..."

"How'd the drugs come into it?"

"Kid was a newbie. Y'know, first time away from home, scared of not being accepted. He wanted something to ease his nerves, so I helped him out." Runnels answered

"When was the last time you saw either him or his brother."

"That's the funny part." Runnels looked around as if fearful that the wrong person might hear their conversation. "I was supposed to hook up with Jeff that night, but he canceled. Said he'd found someone else."

"That musta pissed you off! Losin' a customer."

"Not really. Happens all the time. But usually they come through with the scratch, if you know what I mean."

"Did you see them at all?" Rush questioned

"Yeah. Like I said I was supposed to hook up with them that night, but they never showed, so I'm hanging outside my crib, waiting for some action when I see the two of them strolling down the street outside my door."

"Then what?"

"Okay, I figure `hey, since the kids owes me ten large, maybe I can go persuade him to pay up'. So I approach." Runnels looks up. "But before I can get to them, the dark-haired one collapsed."

"Did you see anyone nearby?" Valens asked

"I didn't think nothing 'bout it at the time, but I saw a big black car drive away moments later."

"A limousine?" Rush asked

"Yeah."

"Well, thanks for your help." Valens answered

"Hey, what about me?" Runnels protested

"We'll be in touch."

In the corridor, they conferred.

"Whaddaya think? Could he be telling the truth?" Valens demanded

"He's got nothing to lose." Rush answered

"If we believe this guy, what now?"

"Who do we know connected to the vic that has access to a limo?" The light bulb had gone on. "Didn't their father say Matt had a crush on the boss' daughter?"

"Yeah, so."

"What if daddy dearest didn't like his daughter's choice of man and decided to do something about it.?" Rush theorized.

"Looks like you and I are gonna get some frequent flier miles on this one." Valens answered

"Pack your suitcase, I have a feeling it's gonna be a bumpy ride."

TBC

Read and review folks... especially if you are a fan of "Cold Case". I hope this makes sense to you all. Again, it's my first time so be gentle if I've royally messed up.