A/N: So this has been a long time coming….RRatedauthor and I are working together once again and present this sequel to Strange Bedfellows (which is located on Riky's profile page and should be read before this one if you haven't done it already…Crossfire, In the Line of Fire and Collateral Damage also kind of have to be read if you haven't read them either). Anyway, hope you enjoy!
"This is fucking ridiculous. Stupid television, nothing on I want to watch. Marky, make there be something I want to watch!" James growled, smacking Mark on the shoulder with the remote control. Mark shot out of bed, howling in pain.
"Motherfucker! How many times do I have to tell you not to do that!" He bared his teeth. "I just had fucking shoulder surgery for God's sake!" He hissed loudly, gently holding his arm close to his body.
"Not my fault you tore your rotator cuff." James pouted
"Yes it is!" Mark shouted "I was carrying your drunk ass up the stairs at the time as I recall." He clomped into the bathroom and James heard the sound of medicine-cabinet rifling.
"Third shelf, Marky." The noise abruptly ceased. "You talked to Cooper lately?"
"Yeah." Mark returned to the bedroom, looking a little better. "He's still alive, he hasn't killed Bearer yet, although I hear he's come close once or twice, he and Jeff are happy... anything else you want to know?"
James snorted. "Nothing exciting, then?"
"You've been watching Smackdown more than I have." Mark sighed "You should be the one telling me."
"Ugh." James climbed out of the bed and went downstairs. "I'm hungry. The stove better not burn my food again or I'm going to kill it."
Mark covered his eyes with the arm that wasn't still throbbing and waited. Five minutes later, the smoke alarm went off.
"Under the sink." He shouted downstairs. The sounds of the fire extinguisher, a gift from Cooper last Christmas, drifted to his ears.
"I should hire a maid." He thought, then his meds kicked in. The last thing he heard before he fell asleep was James' outburst and several bangs as he took out his anger on one or more kitchen appliances.
"Morning, Coopy." Jeff awoke from his slumber, but to his surprise, the bed was empty. He looked around, and not only was Cooper gone, but so were both Bunny and Lizard. This was not good. Jeff was accustomed to having something soft and warm to snuggle with both when he went to bed and when he arose.
"Cooper?" It was the nicest suite in the hotel, but still there were only a certain number of places he could be. "Bunny?"
A thump from the next room startled Jeff. His throat dried up before he could call out and he clutched the blankets to his chest. "C-C-..."
Can you ride the rhythm of this human wave?
Caught up in the music and the space you save
Caught up in the magic of it
Caught up in the madness...
Jeff screamed when the alarm went off. He heard the sound of something hitting the floor, then someone running and the bedroom door opened hard enough to smack the wall.
"Y'okay?" Cooper was covered in what looked like pancake batter.
"I think so..." Jeff gulped nervously. "I woke up and everyone was gone."
"Yeah, about that." Cooper grinned, licking some of the batter from his fingers. "I was gonna make you breakfast in bed, but Bunny was getting in the way, then you screamed and it ended up on the floor."
Jeff breathed out slowly.
"You really okay?" Grabbing a towel from the bathroom, Cooper started wiping the goo from his hair. "Fuck, I suck at this cooking thing."
"You must take after James." Jeff giggled at the sight in front of him.
"At least I don't blame the food for not cooking." Cooper sighed. "I'm gonna need a shower."
"Me too. Wanna save some water?" Jeff asked
"I thought you'd never ask... race ya?"
Despite Cooper's best intentions, he and Jeff ended up eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Surrounded by their Smackdown coworkers, it was impossible for them to get any sort of peace, especially after the parties that had consumed their floor the night before.
"I dunno why these places continue to rent to us." Cooper watched Dolph Ziggler, still showing the effects of the Jagerbombs of the night before, stagger in, Vicki on his elbow. She was obviously in control of him, dragging him to a table and ordering for the both of them while Mr. Ziggles barely seemed to be awake.
"Yahs; it must cost them a fortune to repair everything." Jeff said.
"Morning, Jeff. Cooper. I see you survived last night."
"Morning, Uncle Crispy." Cooper answered
Glenn shook his head at his nephew. "How many times..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Cooper pointed to an empty chair. "I know. Wanna join us?"
"Sure. Saves me having to eat with the rest of the rabblerousers." Glenn straddled one of the empty seats. "Has Bearer talked to you yet?"
"Why would I be talking to that fat fuck?" Cooper asked
"I dunno. Maybe because he was in a Creative meeting for two hours yesterday. You really need to start getting with the picture, Cooper. I'll bet you don't even know who the next sacrifice to your 'ministry' is, now do ya?"
Cooper shrugged. "I'm sure someone will tell me at some point... ah, food." He dove into his sausages and eggs.
"It's me." Glenn answered
Cooper choked on his food. Jeff moved to hit him on the back, but Cooper waved him off. He coughed a few times, then managed to swallow what he'd been eating.
"I rest my point." Glenn folded his arms, looking smug. Cooper wanted to slap the smugness from his face simply because he looked like Bearer at that moment.
"You?" Jeff seemed just as surprised as Cooper, without the turning blue from lack of oxygen. "Why?"
"Why not? Paul's supposed to be my dad and you know how my relationship with 'Taker has been." Glenn replied "They're banking on Mark being able to have a match at the Rumble, and who better than the person who buried him alive?"
"What about me and Mark?" Cooper still had a hard time calling Undertaker 'Dad'. "I mean, Jeff 'n I have been running around bragging that we put dear old 'Taker on the shelf and you get first dibs on him when he comes back? What the fuck, man?"
"See why you should attend Creative meetings?" Glenn signaled for a coffee refill. "That way I wouldn't have to seem like the bad guy here."
"Fuck!" Cooper pounded the table, rattling the silverware and drawing stares from several red-eyed men. "Bet yer ass I'm gonna have something to say when I get to the arena."
Good thing I haven't told him who he's working a program with until then.
"Good Evening, Cleveland and welcome to Smackdown..."
One week after leaving Edge lying a puddle, and two weeks after doing the same to the Big Show, the Core were floating on cloud nine.
"You saw what we did here last week to Edge," Despite his claims that he was NOT the leader of the group, he always seemed to speak first. "and the Big Show the week before that. If that doesn't prove that we are the most dominant group on Smackdown, then it looks like we will just have to continue our reign of destruction..."
"Last week was just the beginning." It was Heath's turn to speak. "You saw what we did to Edge, your supposed 'top dog'. If he couldn't stop the Core, I guess this will be like taking candy from a baby, bay-bee..."
Nods of agreement from the other three men, but their gloating was to be short-lived. As Justin prepared to add his two Rand (little joke) worth, the arena lights went out.
"Turn those lights on!" Wade shouted "We aren't finished..."
"Oh yessss you are!" The spotlight was turned to the stage, where Cooper, Jeff, and Paul Bearer stood. "You claim that which is not rightly yours!" Paul shrieked "Your plans of dominance will not be made true if we have anything to say about it!"
The fans were confused. Over the past weeks, what Creative wanted to call the "new ministry" had done their share of damage. They hadn't been seen since Wade arrived, but their appearance at this particular moment surprised the crowd. Were they here to confront the Core or, heaven forbid, join with them?
"In case you hadn't noticed, we put dear old Daddy on the shelf." With every passing show, every promo, Cooper was easing into his role. "If that doesn't prove who's better than who, then..."
"You finished what me and the Nexus started." Wade interrupted "Don't ever forget that."
"How can we forget something that never happened?" Cooper barked
"If it wasn't for Kane, your entire Nexus would've been left having an orgy in the bottom of that grave... and judging from some of the pictures going around, that would be nothing new... am I right Justin?" Jeff cackled
Gabriel shook his head in denial, but alas the pictures in question had been seen by much of the WWE universe.
"This is getting us nowhere." Barrett shouted "If you're the dominant force, as you claim, why don't you come down here and prove it?"
Cooper and Jeff looked at each other and nodded, running to the ring with Paul waddling close behind. Despite being outnumbered two-to-one, they were doing a good job keeping the Core off their feet until more familiar music brought the action in the ring to a dead stop.
Barrett looked smug when Kane sprinted down to the ring. Standing between the warring factions, he glared impassively at first Cooper, then Wade.
"As you were saying? Kane, show them what happens to people who mess with the Core?"
The Big Red Monster took a step toward Jeff, then suddenly turned to face Barrett.
"What are you..." Before he could finish his demand, Kane had goozled Barrett. Jackson, Slater, and Gabriel looked on in shock as their leader was choke slammed to the mat.
Zeke jumped to Barrett's aid, but Kane took care of him just as easily, leaving Gabriel and Slater for Cooper and Jeff. It wasn't long before the Core members were all flat on their backs.
"You were probably too busy being embarrassed by John Cena, but I said something a long time ago that still holds." Cooper grabbed one of the fallen mics and squatted over the fallen Core leader. "If you don't come willingly, I'll take you by force. My own father couldn't stop me, and neither will anyone else. Kane was smart. Are you?"
"Did anyone tell you that you look majorly hot when you're out there doing your thing?" Jeff asked. He and Cooper were sitting in the backseat of the car while Glenn drove and Bearer had shotgun and much to the older mens' annoyance, the two of them were just all over each other and they would not stop for anything.
"I think you might have mentioned it once or twice," Cooper said with a smirk. His hands were under Jeff's shirt and were freely exploring every inch of the smaller man's body that he could touch. "But I would be okay with you telling me even more about it."
Jeff grinned. "Oh yeah?"
"Would you two stop before I lose my lunch?" Bearer asked impatiently. He turned around in his seat to glare at the both of them, making Jeff pout meekly while Cooper glared right back at him. "I have told you over and over again that I do not want you fornicating in my presence."
Cooper snorted loudly. "First of all, you just totally reveled your age because nobody under the age of a hundred uses the word "fornicate". And second of all-"
"Don't you talk to me like that," Bearer said, getting really nasty at the complete disrespect in Cooper's tone. "You little punk I am your grandfather-unfortunately! You will treat me with-"
"I'll treat you with my foot kicking your face in," Cooper growled, actually raising his foot up as he said it. "How does that sound?"
"Would you two stop?" Glenn growled, grabbing Bearer by his shirt and yanking him back until he faced the front once again. "This is REALLY getting annoying!"
"He started it," Cooper said, pouting in the most James like manner.
"Cooper…" Jeff placed his hand on Cooper's leg and pushed it back down. "Come on just stop."
"He started it," Cooper insisted. He knew he was being childish but he couldn't help it. He, James and Connor hated Bearer and Bearer hated them right back. That was something that was never going to change, no matter what people tried to do about it. Bearer viewed the Lawsons as scum and they viewed him as a fat bastard who needed to get bent.
"I know," Jeff assured him. "He's a big meanie like that." He kissed Cooper to make sure he stayed quiet. "When he's not looking we'll throw something at his big stupid head."
"Hey!" Bearer objected, trying to turn back around even though Glenn was attempting to hold him back. "I heard that!"
"So?" Jeff said, hugging Cooper and getting real brave because he had his boyfriend right there to do the protecting if need be. "Whatcha gonna do about it buster?"
Bearer looked like he had a whole bunch of nasty answers to that but he kept them to himself when he saw the look that Cooper was giving him. "Stupid brats," he muttered under his breath. "I fear for the future of America."
"Oh can it Fatso," Cooper snapped while Jeff snuggled up against him.
Glenn let out a long sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. "God, grant me the strength not to kill everyone in this fucking car…"
"You know, we really have to come up with a name for our group," Cooper said as he munched on his piece of pizza. He and Jeff were back in their room and they had gotten some pizza delivered and some beer from the hotel bar. They had an early flight to catch in the morning but neither one of them felt like sleeping. Jeff was getting kind of close to it though so Cooper knew they couldn't stay up too much longer. It was a bit hard because he was really more of a night owl but he would just have to deal with it. "We can't keep running around without a name or Creative really will start calling us the New Ministry of Darkness."
Jeff wrinkled his nose and took a drink of his beer. "I know. It's hard though. I've been thinking and thinking and I can't come up with anything. He set his beer down and moved over so he could sit on Cooper's lap and rest his head on his shoulder. "I've been thinking and thinking but I can't come up with shit."
"Me neither," Cooper said. It was frustrating as hell. The stable of him, Jeff and Bearer (and now Glenn) was getting really hot and big but they didn't even have a name. It was maddeningly frustrating. "I don't get why its so hard. You would think with all of us thinking about it we would be able to come up with something."
"Maybe we should all sit down and try to talk about it," Jeff suggested. "Maybe this time it'll go better."
Cooper shook his head dubiously. The last time they had tried that he and Bearer had gotten into one of their routine arguments and the discussion never happened. They just could not get along if their lives depended on it.
Jeff pouted at the head shake. "You don't even try you know."
"I hate trying with him. I would just rather kill him and get it over with."
Jeff rolled his eyes. "Of course it is. I should have known." He began to play with Cooper's hair. "What if we talk to Mark and see if he can come up with anything? He's smart-"
"Well that's debatable," Cooper said jokingly. "Depends on the day of the week."
"Well let's just catch him on a good day and ask him. I don't want to be stuck being the "new" anything. That'll kill us faster than James when he's cranky."
Cooper nodded and stood up, easily carrying Jeff towards the bed. "Sounds like a plan to me." He dropped Jeff on the mattress and climbed on top of him. "That'll be later though. Right now I've got much different plans…"