Title: I'm a Shade Too Pale For Handsome and Have Habits I Can't Shake
Author: Emono
Rating: FRM
Fandom: Wrestling
Series: I'd Rather Fight With You Than Make Love With Anyone Else verse
Pairings: John Cena/Jack Swagger, Randy/Cody (Candy), Miz/Morrison, Chris/Evan, Hardycest
Disclaimer: The WWE is not mine nor are any of it's child branches, it is the 96% property of the McMahon's and God bless the bastards that work for them. I respect the sexual preferences and identities of all the wrestlers on WWE roster, and who they share a bed with is really none of my business.
Beta: gil_follower
Warnings: Wrestling violence, slash, episode re-writes, love, fluff, smut, good stuff, OOC

(AN: This didn't turn out as dramatic as I'd hoped it would be, so try and think it more serious. I don't think I did a very good job. Forgive me.)


"Cena!"

John tensed all over, knowing the heat that would come on him for what happened. A lot of the wrestlers were already pissed with him, Evan being a baby among them. He turned around in time to see John Morrison approaching him on quick feet.

"John-"

"Bastard" John spat, reeling back his fist and getting one good punch to the older man's jaw before he put a bench between them.

"John, listen."

"Fuck you, Cena" the ravenette spat "I saw the shit you pulled out there. That mat would've torn him up! And calling me to say Mike was cheating? That was a low blow!"

"Hey-"

"If it hadn't been Evan - which pisses me off more, because he's a child, John - it would've been my boy. You get on your knees and you thank God that it wasn't Mike, or it'd be your blood in the ring!"

"Listen for a sec, Mor-"

"No!" John barked "I'm more than done listening to you! I thought we were cool once, but after tonight? You can go fuck yourself for all I care. Jack deserves a helluva lot better than you!"

With a last glare, the Shaman of Sexy stormed off.

John couldn't help but cradle his jaw and think, //He's right.//

-WwE-

A four man match with Tyler, William Regal, Yoshi, and the other guy was taped afterwards, giving the crowd time to digest the horrible event that had happened and let them loose themselves in some regular wrestling before the main event.

Jack and Cody waited just beyond the entrance, clad in full ring-gear and ready to take on their steel cage match. The blonde was a little shaken, but he seemed as ready as he'd ever be.

"I'm sorry about earlier" Cody stated quietly "What happened with Evan-"

"It doesn't matter" Jack cut him off sharply "I don't want to think about it. If he wants a war, I'll give him a war. He want a fight? I'll give him a fight. That bastard broke my heart, and I'm not going to let him hurt my friends because of what he thinks happened."

Jack smiled bitterly, "He wants to make me out as a whore? I'll give him a whore! I'll be the biggest slut on this whole damn roster! I'll give it up to everybody, every friend he's ever had, but him."

Cody crinkled his nose in distaste, "You don't mean a word of that."

"You'll see just how much I mean it" the blonde snapped "After this match, I'll do it. I swear to God, after we win and we get up the ramp, I'm going to jump the first guy or girl who seems interested and do them right there in the hall."

Cobalt eyes showed horror, "Please, Jack, you're reacting out of anger and grief…don't say things like that."

Jack took a few deep breaths, leaning up against the wall for a moment and closing his eyes, "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil."

"A prayer?" Cody's brow creased "I didn't even know you were religious."

"Shut up, it's rude to interrupt" Jack shot his partner a stern look, then closed his eyes again and thought "Ok, where was I? Uh…may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host…by the, uhm…by the Divine Power of God - cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking…oh! Seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

Cody scoffed, "You act like we're going into real battle."

*The following is a Barbed Wire, No Disqualification, Steel Cage match.*

"Maybe we are" cornflower eyes showed real fear "Cause that right there? That sounds like pain."

"We're in this together, right?" Cody inquired tentatively.

"Of course, Codes" Jack gave his partner a smile, reaching out and curling his fingers around his wrist "You're one of my best friends. I don't know how, but you are. We're gonna go with Randy's strategy, ok? Let's get the hell out of that ring as soon as we can. Two feet on the floor and we're home free."

It's all about us

"Are you sure?" Cody asked anxiously, remembering his last fight.

"Of course" Jack replied with a roll of his eyes, tugging the man by his wrist toward the entrance "They have to let us go after that. The match is over, they can't touch us."

"Ok, if you say so."

Either scream or rejoice
Let's make that noise
Either move or we will all be destroyed

"That's us."

The two went out there, all grins and confidence. The crowd was cheering for them, apparently they were a fan-favorite for this match.

*Introducing the first contenders, with a combined weight of 456 pounds. The World Tag-Team Champions...The All American Duo, Cody Rhodes and Jack Swagger!"

Jack and Cody paused halfway down the ramp, holding up their fists as silver and gold pyro.

Move and show me what you can do
When you step into the circle and shake like we do
Move when you just can't take it
And move if you just feel like breaking it

They stepped up into the ring, getting up onto the turnbuckles and showing themselves off. With the strobe lights flashing the way they were, the steel cage above them looked that much more menacing. They had to be careful with the ropes, for they weren't replaced with barbed-wire…but wrapped with them. Long, unyielding strands snaked over the red ropes, encasing them, making reverse tricks that much more difficult.

Jack and Cody stood close to one another, watching silently as Triple H came out…then the Big Show. They were determined not to lose, not to give into this obvious personal vendetta. Cody absently wished Ted were with him as well, for two 26 year old's sounded much more even against two very experienced and stronger men.

Without a word, the cage was lowered, and the fans screamed. Jack didn't start feeling claustrophobic until the cage physically touched the floor. It was wide enough so that the under area of the ring was accessible on left and right sides (the front toward the walkway and the back toward the announcers pressed up against the ropes at a tight-fit.) Of course, you had to go through barbed wire to get to the open sides.

A sick thought hit Jack suddenly…if Triple H chose Big Show as his partner instead of some small guy, that means he had no intention of winning the match.

The point was to hurt them under extreme rules.

//Oh shit.//

Jack nudged his partner, "I can take 'Show."

"I've got H, then."

Ding! Ding! Ding!

-WwE-

Vince watched one of his main stars, one of his most experienced stars, pacing in front of his desk like a wild animal. Chris was extremely displeased, infuriated, and when one of his pay-per-view drawing stars was upset he never had a good day. The Canadian's face was flushed, clearly in a rage.

"I want his ass in a sling!" Chris barked, cerulean eyes ablaze "I want his head on a plate, Vince!"

"Chris" Vince put on a fake smile for the blonde "Bourne wasn't seriously hurt-"

"He's got a concussion! His skin will be scarred from this!" Chris seethed, turning on his employer and pointing for emphasis (Evan was already at the hospital) "I demand retribution."

"I don't know what you want me to do" Vince said the words, even though he was thinking up a way to spin his WWE Tag-Team with Randy Orton and John Cena "Things happen."

"Not to my boy, not like this" the blonde snarled "Cena knocked him onto a tac-mat that you approved. You fix this!"

"Ok, Chris, alright" Vince placated his star, getting up and walking around the folder "Why don't you go see the kid. Take him on the trip you planned."

"I will" Chris huffed, fixing his jacket in an attempt to calm himself "But I'm coming back Monday for RAW, and you better have a match written up that'll satisfy me."

"I promise, I'll have something for you."

"Then I have until Thursday to do as I please."

"Of course, as we agreed."

"I'll be at the hospital if you need me" Chris got back his cool, giving the older man an even look "I'll see myself out."

Chris walked out, shutting the door firmly beside him.

Vince gave a grunt of relief, dropping his head down onto the desk with a thump.

Goddamn Cena…hurting Jericho's bitch…

Now what the fuck was he supposed to do?!

-WwE-

Jack and Cody found out very quickly that they were no match for the older wrestlers, not on this turf. Cody had forgotten almost right away that the ropes were covered in barbs, so when Triple H threw him into the ropes he cried out in shock when the metal ripped into his flesh.

Jack was having some trouble with the Big Show. But he did get a good run at him, the crowd cheering when he got his swinging-leg DDT to take the big man down. With the momentary distraction, Jack took a running leap at the cage wall. He used to top rope as leverage, clinging to the steel fence like a spider-monkey. He attempted to get up, but 'Show was having none of that.

"Let me go, you fuckin' bloodsucker" Jack hissed, kicking out against the grip on his ankle. With a surprising show of strength, Paul pulled him right off the fence and power slammed him onto his back.

Cody did pretty well for himself at the start, but now…the older man was throwing him around like a sack of grain, and he couldn't really use the ropes to his advantage. He was coming out with some bruises, that was for sure.

Big Show tried to throw him into the ropes, but Jack pulled a reversal. The problem was, Paul had some serious mass on him and all he could do was tug uselessly at his wrist.

They spent the next few minutes getting beaten around, both trying to get in hits but it didn't seem to affect the two older men at all. Cody tried to concentrate on The Game's knee, but he was having trouble while his ribs ached and blood trickled down his back.

Triple H got out of the ring long enough to pull out two steel chairs and a trash can with a lid and two kendo sticks inside. Cody went for a sliding kick, but Hunter grabbed his leg and hooked it over the barbed wire. While the younger star grit his teeth in pain and eased the barbs from his skin, Hunter got the objects up into the ring as well as himself.

Hunter took one of the kendo sticks, going after the young Rhodes with it. Cody covered his head with his forearms, letting them take the brunt of the force. Jack tried to help his tag-team partner, but Big Show thought it would be funny to smack him in the chest so hard he lost his breath.

Before he knew it, the man's large hand was clamped down on his neck. He glanced down at the trash can behind him, shaking his head.

"Don't you fuckin' dare!" he broke out of the hold, kicking up his legs and striking out at the man's gut with a double-heel kick. He landed hard a few feet away on the canvas, only to see Hunter toss Cody over to get clamped in a chokeslam. Jack went to lunge up and save him, but Triple H was quick to maneuver behind him and clamp the kendo stick across his trachea.

"Watch" the older man hissed.

Big Show grinned at Cody, grinning at the look of fear on the younger man's face, "Sorry, bitch, but you stole my title from me."

"You'd really do this…" Cody choked "For a bit of gold?"

"Are you kidding? I've done it for less."

Jack also struggled to breath, clawing at Hunter's biceps as he watched his friend get choke slammed down onto a trash can. He couldn't let it go down like this, no way. He knew right then that he needed to get Cody out of this ring, win it for them, and get this cage raised. There was a door in the corner, locked by the official as soon as the cage had been dropped.

Cody was hissing in pain, back arched and a hand supporting the dip of it. He got up on his knees, panting through the pain. Big Show circled him, eyeing him with a degree of disgust.

"Look at this" Paul gripped the RKO necklace around his neck "The bitch is wearing his master's initials around his neck…like the dog he is."

"I'm no bitch" Cody spat "I'm no dog."

"This says otherwise, Rhodes" Paul gave a harsh tug, ripping the necklace from the boy's throat.

Cody's eyes fluttered shut, slumping forward at the man's feet.

Jack had been beating down on Triple H, wearing him down just enough to get him to bend over. He struck the older man in the crook of his knee, taking him down with an elbow drop into the canvas.

While Big Show was admiring his handiwork, the RKO necklace dangling from his fist and staring down at Cody as he struggled to get up, Jack took a run at the cage behind him. Big Show's brow creased when the blonde shot past him, getting a running jump and propelling off the side of the cage.

Before Big Show knew it, he was taken down in a swinging takedown.

Jack wasted no second once both of his opponents were down. He pulled Cody to his feet, giving the boy a sharp smack to the cheek to wake him up.

"Go" Jack helped the younger man over the barbed ropes, ignoring the way they dug into his hands "Get your feet on the floor. Be careful!"

Cody was struggled to climb up the fence, glancing at the two larger men who were getting up, "Hurry up!"

"I'm not going" Jack pushed at the man's body "Go!"

Hunter advanced, ready to stop him with the kendo stick in his hand, but got a spin-heel kick straight into his chest.

Cody kept up, easing over the top of the cage as the crowd cheered. He swung over, just as carefully easing his way down the other side (albeit at a slower rate.) He hopped down to the floor, giving a smile of relief when his feet hit the floor.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

*The winner of the steel cage match…the World Tag-Team Champions…The All American Duo, Cody Rhodes and Jack Swagger!*

Again, the audience cheered for them. Big Show and Hunter looked pissed, Jack was leaning against the side of the steel cage in relief. The barbed wire poked at his skin, but he didn't care. They'd won, it was over, thank God. The official came over and unlocked the cage, but Triple H immediately pushed him away and wedged the door shut with a kendo stick.

Big Show and Hunter exchanged devilish grins.

Cody's eyes widened as the other two picked up two steel chairs, "Jack-!"

Jack cried out at the sudden rush of pain across his back, turning around to see both men ready to assault him. Big Show swung this time, catching him in the side with the smooth plane of metal. Jack turned around in a desperate attempt to shield his face and ribs, face screwed up in pain as they took turns hitting him. He slid down to his knees, the barbs tearing at the skin of his chest.

"No! You can't do this!" Cody turned to the official, glaring at him fiercely "Open the door!"

"It's wedged shut, Mr. Rhodes."

"Then lift the fuckin' cage!" Cody barked, listening to his friend's pained cries "They're going to kill him!"

The ref walked off, going over to the table and putting on a headset. He started talking to someone over the line, pulling a face.

"They have to get permission from Mr. McMahon."

"Goddamn him" Cody hissed, turning back to the cage. He got right up there, Jack's hand laced in the bends of the fence. He reached out hesitantly as their opponents backed off, placing his palm over the blonde's through the cage.

Jack opened his mouth to speak, but Hunter grabbed him around the neck and dragged him to the middle of the ring.

"Let him go!" Cody shouted, clinging onto the cage "You're cheats! That's all you fucking are!"

Hunter flashed him a grin before setting Jack up for a Pedigree. The blonde proved he wasn't some weakling, he broke the hold and gave Hunter a kick to the stomach that made him loose his breath. He turned to get away, to get to the door, only to have Big Show land a right-handed knockout hook on him so hard he fell in a heap to the canvas.

Hunter weighed the chair in his hand, giving a big grin to the crowd. It was a mixed response, some cheering to see some blood while other were booing.

"No!" Cody pounded at the cage, struck by helplessness.

Hunter struck down, making sure to catch the sharp angle of the chair's fold right into the blonde's head. Jack fell with a dull thud to the canvas, laying there nearly unconscious on his side.

The moment blood started seeping onto the ring, the cage was raised.

As Cody scrambled into the ring, Hunter and Big Show left it with content looks on their faces.

"Jack?" Cody knelt by the blonde, looking him over carefully. Bruises were already blooming along his back, scratches and pinpricks of blood all over his chest and hands from the barbs (much like his own, he was sure.) But what worried him was that his eyes were closed, his breath shallow, and there was a bloody stripe down the side of his face.

There was a breathless whimper, "…Cody?"

Cody grabbed the blonde's hand, trying to get a reaction out of him, "It's going to be ok, Jack."

The blonde shifted onto his back, streams of his own blood smearing down his face.

"We need medics!" Cody shouted at the ref "He's bleeding!"

As the ref called in the medics, the brunette turned his attention back to the man.

"Jack, you gotta wake up" Cody kept a tight grip on his hand, afraid to touch him for fear of aggravating the wound already there "Stay with me, come on."

Cornflower blue eyes cracked open, and with a swipe of his thumb Cody kept the blood from getting in those eyes, "Are…you ok?"

"I'm fine, man" Cody assured him quietly "You? Not so much. Try to stay awake, ok?"

"Randy'll…kill me…if I let you get hurt."

"God, Jack" Cody got a bit choked up "You're laying here bleeding all over the ring and all you can think of is how I'm doing?"

"You're not gonna cry on me, are ya Codes?" Jack drawled, reaching up and brushing his palm over the younger man's smooth cheek "Randy won't…forgive me if I…let you cry on TV."

"Shut up" Cody countered, no venom in his voice as he shadowed the hand and lowered it to the blonde's abdomen "You know…back when you found Randy and I in the hallway…all I could think was Oh God, now that loud-mouth Swagger knows about us, we'll never hear the end of it. And now…"

The medics swarmed, Cody backed off as they eased Jack out of the ring. They had a stretcher for him, and they strapped him on without too much struggle.

Jack had no idea what was going on, but he knew he had won that match and showed everyone he could handle it in the ring with the big boys.

Why didn't the success make him feel as good as he thought it would?

-xXxXxXx-

There was an ambulance on stand-by just as Vince had promised, like he had known this was going to happen (he probably did.) Cody followed the stretcher like a puppy, brushing off the interns that tried to offer him ice and peroxide for his minor wounds.

"I wanna go with him!" Cody tried to get into the ambulance area, but one of the trainers blocked him "He's my friend, I wanna go!"

"No one can go with him" the man stated "I'm sorry, Mr. Rhodes."

"You bastards!" Cody went to charge at the man, but strong tattooed arms circled around his waist and crossed over his chest "He needs me!"

"Shh, baby, hush" Randy cooed in his ear, pulling him away to stand with Ted so Legacy were all together "He's going to be fine. You need to calm down and let them do their work."

"But he's bleeding…" Cody melted into the other man, ashamed "Because of me, because he thinks he needed to save me."

"Jack!"

Cody watched with wide eyes as John Cena shot down the hall, panic on his face. He pushed past the doctors, getting to his lover's side before he was put into the ambulance.

"Jack?" John ran his hand over the injured side of his face, disbelief in his blue eyes when he saw the gash in his face "Oh shit, Jack…baby…I didn't want this to happen, why didn't ya tell me you signed on for a steel cage match? I shoulda been there for ya, baby, I'm sorry."

Jack took a deep breath, lifting his hand enough to blanket the touch on his face. They both noticed, just in that moment, that they were both wearing their rings.

"I'm tired of fighting, John."

"Sir, get back" the doctors pushed Cena away, getting the blonde into the ambulance. The doors shut firmly, and in a moment they pulled away and were gone around the corner.

"Fuck, just…fuck!" John dug the heels of his hands into his eyes "God…why the hell did I let this happen?"

How had they gotten here?

-X-

Sometimes I wonder how we ever got here
Old grudges, scorned lovers
Sometimes I wonder why we all don't move on!
Cause we all end up in a tiny pine box,
With a mighty small drop, and a mighty dark plot
And the mighty fine print hastens the trip to our epilogue

Continued in "Work Out Your Own Salvation Through Fear And Trembling"

Remember to check out the soundtrack and gallery on my profile!

Love it? Leave it? Give feedback and suggestions all you want, but there is a third part.

Did you like the cliffy? I sure did!

Love, Emono