I stared at you across the ring that night, knowing full well that we'd got to cut the promo and cut it fucking good. I'd been warned. Vince wasn't happy that I hadn't been there to make the mega money for him any more. If only he'd stopped Mark in his tracks then maybe I wouldn't have been laid up with a busted back. All for him I'd fucked Bret over and then he sold me down the river to the Deadman. Now he was determined that he was going to do the same to you and wanted me to be judge, jury and executioner. He just didn't know that I knew his plans already.

Bischoff stood there like the smug, arrogant asshole that he'd always been. That guy would stiff his own Grandma for two bucks. The sick bastard had leered at me ever since he first laid eyes on me but he'd never managed to get near. Then all this. They'd found out about me and you and that was it. Eric was like a bloodhound, stalking me morning, noon and night telling me that it had to end, that Vince didn't want his top guys fagging off with each other. He said real hurtful things about you. I didn't give a fuck what he said about me, but you? You'd done nothing to deserve that. Nothing apart from finally manage what those two sleazy bastards never had. You got me on my back Hunt, on my knees every night where I wanted to be, for you. That's all you did wrong.

The baying for your blood ripped the shit out of me. They promised you could stay if I did a little something for them. You never needed to know what that was and I hope to god that you never get wind of it. I just didn't see another way out. They held all the fucking cards and I loved you. They didn't go easy on me and I was pretty busted up after. I just told you when I got home that I'd had a rough night and wasn't feeling too good. You curled your arms around me that night in bed and after you were snoring like you do I cried some and then I cried a whole lot more. I knew I felt for you like I'd never felt for another body walking the earth. I'd give my last breath to save you from getting hurt.

Turns out they thought they'd suckered me. I had Vince come see me one night after a show and tell me how they didn't think I'd quite bought your place on the roster. He said if I didn't turn the same trick for them that he'd get Eric to come tell you what I'd done for them and paint it up like I'd gone begging for it the first time. I kindly informed him to go shove it up Eric if Linda didn't put out through the back door for him. Although my hands were shaking I punched that bastard in the face, determined that he wasn't gonna hurt me or you any more. I twisted that arm up his back so hard that it almost popped off and I told him never to threaten me or you again or I'd not be responsible for my actions.

They cut me little slack after that but I was watching my back, our backs, all the time. Vince got me on that steroid scam, you remember, when they shut me out for six weeks? About the same time when you dropped that box on your foot and you couldn't wrestle. Coincidence huh? That box was a Godsend as I was on the verge of paying half the roster to keep you safe or throwing that box up in your face, anything to keep you at home.

That night you were due to call me down to the ring, Bischoff fires you, reads you the riot act, I go crazy, clean house and then pull a turn on you which means making sure you leave the arena. Or that's how Vince thinks its gonna go down. He didn't know me and some girl that I saw sneaking outta his hotel room had a quiet word one morning as I was heading out for a run. She was nothing more than a bit of a girl, the daylight revealing the magic of make up and a few beers. I took the kid for a coffee, knowing that look of shame all too well. Turns out that for a little company and some interest in her she was only too happy to spill. She got double teamed by those sleazy bastards and thrown out like the trash as soon as they'd done. I saw the regret and much as I liked the kid I made her a trade there and then. I tell you, its one of the only times I ever worked my fame to my advantage outside a ring.

So there you stood that night in the ring. Bischoff was on my payroll now; the girl sat in the very front row of the audience dressed as young as I could persuade her with her Momma in tow for full effect. She looked nothing like the jailbait they'd picked up that night and looked as innocent as a girl scout. He knew I'd go to the authorities if he made up a fuss about all this. That was the first thing I'd made damn clear to him during our morning meeting earlier in the week. I'd got my revenge and my insurance policy all lined up, the kid telling her Momma that she'd met me in the restaurant she bussed tables at on the weekend and that I'd tipped her the tickets and a few autographs. Truth be told the kid was kinda taken with me and I knew it, but I played along to keep her sweet until this was sorted out.

That night when you called out I came down the ramp with my heart singing. You introduced me as your best friend and the love and pride pounding away nearly beat the ticker clean outta my chest. You thought it was just some promo about your brand choice or I know you'd never have agreed to me being brought out there. I knew Bischoff was meant to break the news that you were getting fired for beating Trish down even though you'd done nothing of the kind. They'd got one of the roadies to throw on a wig, gave him your double jacket and filmed it good and grainy. I was supposed to be the company man and back up what they'd said, putting you out of a job and with the time I spent away on the road, basically out of my life.

I didn't tell you anything to do with the swerve as I needed it to look as real as possible then we could get this whole thing with Vince and his pet monkey over and done with, maybe even coming out on top. You'd asked me before you headed out there if everything was ok and as I'd looked into your eyes I spun the only lie I'd ever told you. The words burned the end of my tongue. Problem was I just couldn't tell you the truth without unravelling the rest and I didn't want to hurt you more than I was doing already by not telling you what they'd done to me.

Instead we went for it shoot style. Bischoff told me I was gonna be your new manager and be at ringside with you every night you worked. What could be better, he said, than your best friend as your manager? That's when I went for the killer blow. I told him to shove it which wasn't what I'd planned with him before the show. He was expecting me to just tow the party line of the story I'd spun him and everything to be hunky dory. Eric had spent days trying not to shit bricks between the thought of the hell he was gonna get from Vince and the possibility of a jail term if he didn't play along with me all nicely and it showed. I got all up in his face just to make him squirm a little more.

The words were out in the open but you looked more than a little confused as to why I didn't want to stand by you. The truth was that it was partly my pride that had wanted to make Bischoff sweat like he was wearin' a coat of hot coals when I swerved from my promo script. Vince would be tearing his damned hair out backstage that you hadn't been fired and I loved it. My revenge was working and I knew you'd understand the reasons if I ever had to explain them to you. The thought that either of them ever laid a hand on me made me as sick as a dog and as I looked up into your eyes I wanted to run away and go scrub myself raw in the shower before I'd ever let you so much as stroke my hair again.

I had no intentions of going anywhere where you weren't though, but only I knew that as I bolted from the ring and headed backstage. You'd follow me, I knew that. Eric would make sure you went after me, I knew that too. The spineless bastard wouldn't want to carry the heat for this all on his own. He threw a cheap shot about our relationship that I hadn't fed him but all it did was drive you to come after me all the more so what the hell did it matter. The cameras were already waiting for us out back and they filmed you running into me after I'd grabbed my bags.

The hurt look on your face broke my heart but I had to do this. I wasn't testing you, I was testing me. I needed to know that when you were hurting I could do this for you; I could be that guy at ringside who watched them try and break you without running in every time. You meant the whole world to me right then, not that anything ever changed that. The words falling from your mouth stopped just short of the things we'd never be able to say to each other on camera. The passion in them tore me up, we'd always been meant to be together Hunt, that I knew. I wanted to take your face in my hands and kiss the scared look away, give myself to you and take that insecurity away that had haunted your eyes for so long.

Instead I stood there and softened my expression a little, hopefully showing you that the shoot was over and that I was gonna stay. Just like always you read my mind like a kids story book. You knew I was gonna be there for you just as long as you'd have me, in the ring and out. The special link was still strong between us and you touched my shoulders, still talking about how great the ride together was gonna be. Almost nobody in the world other than us knew what that truly meant and I swallowed the emotion of the moment like the sweetest syrup I ever tasted.

Patting my chest you promised me that this would be damn good. I trusted you then like I always did. What I wouldn't give up for you doesn't exist, that I promise you. I wasn't prepared to let you be forced outta my life and I sure as hell wasn't gonna walk out of yours by choice. You've always deserved better than a wretch like me but I love you Hunt. Forever.

A/N: Inspired by another fantastic RP with Seraphalexiel that resulted in a discovery that we'd come scarily close to a promo from 2002 that neither of us had seen before. More than a lil eerie.

If you want to see said promo then its a Dailymotion video called 'HHH and HBK after Vengeance 2002'. I've used a little bit of creative licence as always so please don't go all wikipedia on my ass :)

All reads and reviews appreciated as always :)