Undertaker called a meeting a week later, using it to unveil the two newest pets to their Court. The others didn't know the details exactly, and none were really even sure who had been added, but all came.
The masters arrived one-by-one with their pets, shocked to see Undertaker seated in the largest chair with none other than CM Punk sitting at his feet. He dared get a look at each of them, even with his head bowed. He made sure to keep his bangs half in his eyes, hiding his flush and his eyes.
No one was more shocked than Morrison, who from the moment he walked in was open-mouthed. Like a shocked zombie, John followed his master across the room and waited for him to be seated in the chair beside Undertaker.
"I see it all worked out for you" Shawn observed, a happy smile on his face "I'm glad. Haven't seen you happier in years, Mark."
'Taker smiled devilishly, reaching down and giving Phil a long pet through his soft hair. A thick brown-buckled collar was loose around his pale neck, an accessory he'd bought for himself more than a year ago but had been favored by his master. A new symbol was carved into it by a sharp knife, charcoaled black. It was the Undertaker's symbol, and Phil had jokingly stated that at least it wasn't on his flesh.
After seeing the possessive gleam in his master's eyes, Phil already planned to get the tattoo on his neck in the next few weeks.
John stayed on his feet for a few moments longer than necessary, then slowly sunk to his knees by Shawn's feet. His eyes were still locked on Phil, stunned to see his friend there as the new head sub. He knew then that he had been replaced, and a large part of him was glad for it. He had never been much of a role model, no matter how many times Shawn grilled it into him. Though not the oldest (that was Jay), the gleam in his olive eyes showed that he was wiser than them all.
Phillip Brooks was an old soul.
All the masters settled in their seats, their pets at their feet. Even Ted, who at one time had been so reluctant, was now resting by Cena's legs obediently. His own legs were curled beneath him, the back of his neck resting on one of Cena's large thighs while the man's hand played softly with the edge of his human ear.
The door opened for Batista to come through, and John instantly tensed. Ted felt the change in his master, the fingers on his ear had stilled. He didn't dare look at Batista, instead concentrating on the pristine tip of his master's tennis shoe. The bigger man smirked, making his entrance to take a seat between Matt and Randy.
Undertaker had admitted him without telling any of the others, and ever since then they'd all been on edge around him. Some were slowly warming to him, like Jericho and Shawn, but others were more skeptical. John and Randy made it very known that they despised him, for apparently Batista had touched their pets before. But the Animal had just brushed it off as something the young do, about how Ric and Hunter had put him up to it.
Dave apologized, and Mark believed him.
"Are we all here?" Randy asked, looking around from his position on the couch. His love, Cody, was admiring Evan's new bracelet (for Jericho was sitting on the opposite end of the couch.)
The door flew open, "Not quite."
In stepped the last of them, one that none of them had been expecting. He adorned his usual sparkly fedora, though his clothes were much more simpler and stylish. A long sleeved ash-colored pinstriped shirt, rolled at the sleeves to the elbows, with a fitted black vest overtop. He came in boldly, giving a nod towards Jericho as he headed for his seat (the one across from 'Taker and closest to the door.) Of course, everyone was surprised to see none other than Jack Swagger followed in behind him.
Mark was the only one who smirked knowingly.
Shawn was the one who spoke out, "You can't just bring anyone here, Mike."
Miz pouted, "He's not just anyone, Shawn."
The flamboyant master turned and put his hands on Jake's chest, smiling up at him sweetly, "Jake-love, go lock the door and stand by it, ok?"
Jake looked around at the other pets sitting at their master's feet, unsure that would be his place.
Miz's tone hardened a bit, "Jacob, do what I say. Stand by the door."
Jake nodded, dropping a kiss on his master's cheek before going over and locking the suite's door. He put his back to the wall beside it, crossing his powerful arms over his chest in an almost menacing pose. Mike's eyes roamed over his pet, finding his behavior suitable, before going to his seat. He sat down with a flourish, throwing his arms out over his chair arms and crossing his legs at the knee.
"So…" Miz rested his cheek on his hand, an intrigued look on his face "What did I miss?"
"Nothing" Edge stated suddenly "Apparently, though…me? Everything."
Matt raised his hand a bit, "I second that. I too have no fucking clue what is going on here."
"As most of you know, I accepted Michael Mizanin into our court" Mark explained smoothly, gesturing outward "And he's quickly taken a pet of his own, young Jacob here. I expect you all to treat them with the respect and kinship you treat one another with."
John shrugged from his seat on the left of Mark, tipping his hat to the younger man, "Mike."
Miz's head tilted, a smile stretching his full lips, "John."
"And I've taken a pet as well" Mark cast his eyes down to his treasure and tilted his head up with two fingers, the tattooed rebel looked up at him obediently "Phillip is mine, and he knows I expect him to lead a prime example for the other subs. And hope all the others know Phil?"
It was half and half among the subs; but as Morrison smiled…Jeff's nose crinkled up in disgust.
'Taker's expression was one of no-nonsense, the subs shuddered at the intense possessiveness rolling off the older man. They bowed their heads, knowing that they would have to accept Phil. The only one with serious problems with this was Jeff, but he said nothing against it.
The sub-masters all exchanged looks, a silent message passing between them all. They all agreed, almost at once, that these new changes were good for the Court.
"Does anyone have a problem with any of this?"
"No, Master 'Taker" came the collective response.
Mark settled back into his seat, the warm presence of Phil against his calf one he could come to enjoy.
Yes, this was his Court, and he had assembled it well.
Or so he thought.
*Singing* "Duh-duh-duh-dun-duh-dun! Everybody dance now!"
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