The next day, they got a knock at the door at noon. While Randy just threw on a pair of pants, Cody scrambled to get completely dressed. He didn't like being even remotely naked in front of anyone but Randy, so only when he had his t-shirt over his head did Randy actually answer it.
Mark stood there, arms crossed and looking aggravated, "We need to talk."
Randy nodded, stepping aside and letting the man into the room. While Randy settled on his made bed, 'Taker pulled a chair in front of it and sat down. He gave a softened look towards Cody, nodding at the boy to sit how he wanted. Sensing the tension in the air, Cody crawled onto the bed behind his master and settled against his back. Orton ducked his head briefly, touching the smaller hand that rested on his stomach.
"What Hunter orchestrated was not on script, Randall, you know that" Mark assured him, his youngest sub-master nodded "I had a talk with the bookers, they've thrown together a storyline for you where you'll be a fan favorite again - if all goes well. You'll be getting back at Evolution, and leading most of the locker room in a revolt against them as well. Do you think you can pull that off, boy?"
Randy's eyebrows shot to his hairline, "I can do that."
"And, of course, Cody will be your valet in this."
"Hell no" Randy snapped instantly "I don't want Cody anywhere near those bastards!"
Undertaker held up a hand, silencing him, "Then he told you what went down last night."
Cody nodded, reaching up and running his fingers along his collar in a nervous gesture.
"He's not ready" Randy stated firmly, not moving on this issue.
Mark sat back, nodding and rubbing at his chin, "Alright, my boy, alright. I agree. He's not ready. But this is singles competition time, and you'll need your pet able and by your side. I'll give you the rest of the year to get him into the proper shape, I expect you both to work your asses off for the opportunities you've been given."
Both master and pet nodded in unison.
"I don't want Cody in this Evolution storyline either" Mark's lips quirked dangerously "So at the end of the year, when it's over and I believe you're both in the proper shape…then I'll be your rival."
Cody blanched, Randy gaped.
"It'll give Cody the experience, and a feud with me will give you the push you need" he flicked his fingers in a omnipotent gesture, grinning now "What do you think?"
Randy wet his lower lip, "And you'll make sure not to hurt Cody?"
"Promise" Undertaker vowed "No harm will come to the boy while you feud with me. As long as he can hold his own."
"I'll train hard, Master 'Taker" Cody swore.
"I know you will, my boy" Mark stood up, closing the distance between them. Cody pulled away from his master, getting an affectionate ruffle of his hair. Mark then cupped Randy's jaw, lifting his head up so they caught gazes.
"You ok, boy?" Mark drawled "I know it must've hurt, but it taught you something. It's the silver lining of every harsh reality. Nothing is worth the pain if you don't learn a lesson from it. So…what did you learn?"
"Not to trust anyone that isn't in the Court" Randy replied honestly "That you are my family, and my brothers deserve all my loyalty."
"And that's why I favor you" Mark's grin was more affectionate now "You learn so quickly."
Mark lightly slapped the younger master's face, getting a little smile. He turned to leave, but paused.
"And…expect some rather indecent questions from the others" Mark chuckled lowly "You two aren't exactly subtle. I'm glad you've consummated, but could you not…scream."
Cody turned a particularly lovely shade of red at this. Randy caught the smirk Mark threw at him over his shoulder, and responded with a sly grin of his own.
Undertaker left them to it, knowing things were going to get very interesting from here on out.
DONE! Done with Cody's story! *singing, happy dance* Come on, everybody dance!
All stories in this verse are (in order to be read):
"And Don't Forget To Let Your Heart Beat" - Cody's Story
"I'm A Match Burning Out" - Ted's Story
"My Love is Just Waiting To Turn Your Tears to Roses" - Evan's story
"Far Too Pretty To Be Giving It Cheap" - Nitro's story
"This Fire Burns All The Way" - Miz and Punk's story
"So Happy I Could Die" - Edge and Christian's snippet
"Under the Rose" - The Court's story, the main story
"I Don't Need No Heaven or Hell" - Kevin Nash/Chris Sabin/Alex Shelley story
"My Submission is Your Addiction" - Alex Riley/Justin Gabriel story