NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Hope you all had a great Turkey Day:)! My family had 20 people—yeah, that's right!-20 PEOPLE!-over to celebrate. With all due respect, I HATE Thanksgiving because of all the work my family and I have to do. I've tried to convince everyone to do something different, but nobody wants to listen to me (story of my life). If and when I get to throw a Thanksgiving bash, the first thing I'll do is make reservations!

BTW, I appreciate all the favorites, the alerts, and all that lovely stuff. If you have a chance, feel free to send a review or two my way. They motivate me to continue.

Chapter Twenty-five

"Don't call the cops!" snapped Vince as he lunged for the phone in the makeshift office. "Don't call the damn cops!" He slammed it down and glared at his son. "You were supposed to keep an eye on her!"

Shane shook his head, bewildered. "I'm sorry, Dad! I'm sorry! What do you want me to do?"

"I don't give a damn!" Vince snarled. "You saw what he did to the Bossman, that damn demonstration last night!" A pause. "Who knows what he's gonna do to her?"

Shane could think of nothing else to say. "Dad, I'm sorry!"

"She could not have gone far, she's gotta be in the parking lot somewhere," Vince babbled to himself as he paced the office. "They'll find her. I know they'll find her. I don't know..."

~~~MOD~~~

"I guess you've already unpacked your TV and you and Nicole are watching. I'm just fine, Ryan," Stephanie reassured over the phone as she accompanied Christian into the basement, where the boilers and furnace were located. "Yeah. You don't have to worry about me. Bradshaw brought me into their locker room so I could wake up before I headed down here."

She sat down next to a bank of electric turbines and pipes. Christian followed suit and patiently waited for Stephanie to finish her conversation. "So are you finally settled in? Really? That's good to hear. How are things with you and Kenny? That's good. Yeah, I guess him apologizing like that is a good step. I can tell you two care about each other. I don't see any reason why not. Instead of overprotective big brother and problem child sister, it'll be two grown-ups getting together and patching things up. But so soon? You just moved in. Well it was kinda abrupt, I have to admit. Listen, Christian's gotta get ready for his run-in tonight. I'm using his phone. I'll talk to you later. Tell Nicole hi for me. Okay. Bye."

"Anyone else you wanna call?" Christian asked as Stephanie ended her phone conversation.

"Maybe I should give Anna a call."

"I think Bradshaw already took care of that," Christian assured Stephanie, taking his phone back. He was on the phone with her before the show started. She probably gave him seven shades of hell for the kidnapping thing your dad planned out."

"Knowing Anna, she probably did." Stephanie paused. "Can I ask you something?"

"Fire away."

"That blood bath you give your opponents. Is that really-"

Christian shook his head. "Nah. It's stage blood, with some extra food coloring and dish soap . It washes right out."

"It looks so real on camera. I thought it was the real thing."

"If it was, you probably wouldn't be talking to me right now. There's some lines in wrestling you just don't cross."

"You can ask Steph and me all about lines you don't cross," rang a familiar voice as a tall figure dressed in his ring attire emerged from the shadows.

Stephanie let out a delighted squeal and jumped up. "MARK!" she happily exclaimed throwing her arms around him. "You're really here! I've missed you!"

"You're a sight for sore eyes, Babe," Mark greeted her as he pulled her in for a passionate kiss. An odd noise interrupted them, and they glanced over at Christian, who was making fake retching and gagging sounds.

"Queue the sappy music," said the Brood member as the happy couple flipped him off in return. "Hey! I'm not one for PDA's, guys."

"Keep it up, and you'll get flogged for real next week." Mark's voice was stern, but the twinkle in his eye gave him away. "Lemme borrow your phone."

Christian cocked his head as he held out his phone. "Not even a please?"

"I could have just yanked it out of your hands without warning," Mark fired back as he took the phone and gestured for Stephanie to be quiet. "I need to make a very important phone call..."

~~~MOD~~~

Vince, who had been on the phone with arena security, hung up and shook his head. "She's not in the parking lot," he sighed, his voice weary.

"I know they're looking for her," Shane nodded. His voice wobbled. "I'm so sorry," he managed, just as the desk phone rang.

Hopeful, Vince picked it up. "Hello?"

The gravel-like voice at the other end made Vince's hair stand on end. "Vince. It is true, isn't it? She really is sugar and spice and everything nice!" Taker drawled, just before he let out a long, maniacal sounding laugh.

Vince slammed the phone down in disgust.

~~~MOD~~~

Stephanie lowered herself back onto the concrete floor, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from busting up laughing at the "sugar and spice" mention. "I can't wait to see the look on Dad's face when I get to see the video," she managed before dissolving into giggles.

Mark handed Christian back his phone. "You better get ready for your spot."

Christian sighed. "The things I do for a push," he said. "See you later."

"Bye, Christian, and thanks for letting us use your phone," Stephanie called out as the lanky blonde walked off, dialing a number as he went. Faintly, Stephanie could hear him say, "Hi, Babe." No doubt he was calling his unidentified (to her, anyway) boyfriend.

When Christian was safely out of earshot, Stephanie turned to Mark, who had sat down right next to her on the floor. "You're seriously gonna flog Christian next week?"

"Nah. I'm just gonna crack a whip while Edge and Gangrel hold him down. He's totally safe. You seriously think I'm gonna injure him? He and his brother are future stars. Your dad said so himself."

"Well, you guys hanging Bossman looked pretty realistic. My mom actually fainted when she saw it last night."

"That cage wasn't gonna go up any further than it did. The EMT's brought him backstage, he woke up and caught his breath. They took him to the ER just as a precaution. Except for some bumps and bruises, he's no worse for wear."

"Good to know." Stephanie snuggled closer to her fiancee. "I can't tell you how much I've missed you. The past few weeks have been pretty tough."

"Well, they were pretty difficult for me in the beginning. But after your dad started the Ministry storyline and had us all segregated, it was a little easier." Mark opened his coat up and removed an envelope from an inside pocket. "Oh, here. I have something for you."

Stephanie opened the envelope and gasped as she pulled out the contents. "A marriage license."

"We have to make sure this is all legal. I just need your signature," Mark explained, as he offered Stephanie a pen.

"Wow, this is actually happening!" Stephanie felt her pulse quicken as she signed her name on the document. Her marriage to Mark was one step closer to becoming reality.

Knowing what her father was capable of (she knew he would find some way to stop the wedding or annul the marriage if it came down to that), Stephanie had made a trip to the county clerk's office while her father and mother were out of town and obtained a marriage license. After filling out her part, Stephanie sent the license via express mail to the man who would be officiating the ceremony.

"You sure Paul is an ordained minister?" Stephanie asked. During their conversation at the impromptu party at the McMahon house, Paul Bearer had mentioned to Stephanie that he had authority to conduct a marriage ceremony, and he asked Stephanie to send the documentation to him. He'd assured the young McMahon that he would complete the paperwork and send it back to the city clerk in Greenwich to be filed.

"He wouldn't have asked you to send the paperwork to him if he knew he couldn't officiate. I figured that I'd take one of these out too, just in case."

"How'd you find the time to get a license?"

"I did it early this morning, after we arrived here. I drove to Greenwich. I checked out the marriage laws in Connecticut first. I lucked out because one of the laws stated that I could apply either in the city we were getting married, in or in the city one of us lived in. Since you live in Greenwich, and it was a half-hour trip from here, it was a no-brainer."

Stephanie laughed. She found it mildly ironic that in order for her to escape her family, she and Mark both got marriage licenses from the city she was trying to get out of. "So, is Dad still planning on the kidnapping after Backlash?"

"He is. In fact, we had a discussion about how that was all gonna play out. I think you may like what I have to tell you next..."

~~~MOD~~~

"She's not anywhere around in the parking lot. Anywhere.," Vince explained, back in the office. Brisco and Patterson had joined their boss and his son in the room, accompanied by Ken Shamrock, who had a match later that evening.

Vince turned to the World's Most Dangerous Man. "She's gotta be somewhere here in the building, Ken." He paused. "Thank you for helping me. Please find her, she's gotta be here in the building."

Ken locked eyes with his boss. His voice was soft, but it was firm and determined. He genuinely liked Stephanie and thought she was a good influence on his baby sister, and he would do whatever it took to make sure the girl got back to her family safely. "Vince, if she's in this building, I'll find her, and I will bring her back. He motioned for Brisco and Patterson to follow him out the door. "Let's go."

The three of them split up and began their search. While Brisco and Patterson checked in the areas in the arena that were open to the public , Ken went backstage on his search for Stephanie.

He found a bathroom and knocked on the door. "Stephanie?" he called out before opening the door to check. "You in here?" No luck.

"Hey, have you guys seen a young girl wearing a blue shirt, long brown hair?" he demanded of the backstage crew as he continued his search. "You seen her? No? Okay. Hey, have you seen a girl walk through here? Blue shirt, long brown hair? No?"

Ken sighed in frustration. It was almost like Vince's daughter had disappeared into thin air. He wanted to stay and search all night, but he had to prepare for his match.

A smile pricked up his lips as he made his way back to the Corporation's locker room. Gangrel's part of the Ministry. Maybe I can force some answers out of him during my match. I'll tear himand anyone elselimb from limb if I have to. Whatever it takes.

One way or another, I'll find Stephanie.

~~~MOD~~~

Stephanie's eyes sparkled as she glanced up at Mark. "So what kind of news do you wanna tell me that you think I'll like?"

"Well, you know how the storyline is supposed to go. The Undertaker wants to take over Mr. McMahon's company, right?"

"Right." A pause. "Y'know Mark, I wasn't sure how to approach the subject, but I wanted to discuss the possibility of maybe convincing my dad to sign over controlling interest in the WWF to you. As a storyline, of course. Not for real."

"Well, you just stole my thunder, Babe."

"I did? How?"

"Well, right before Wrestlemania, your dad and your brother had a discussion with me. He wanted to crank up the realism and make it look like I'm raising the stakes. Long story short, he's already drawn up the necessary documentation-"

Stephanie's jaw dropped. "He actually drew up paperwork?"

"It's for the wedding part of the storyline," Mark explained, as he laid out the revisions.

It would be one last chance for Mr. McMahon to save his daughter. The Undertaker would offer to return Stephanie in exchange for ownership of the company. But, in order for the deal to be valid, Taker would demand that Steve Austin deliver the documents. Austin, of course, would refuse, forcing Mr. McMahon to deliver the documents himself. While McMahon was out on his fool's errand, Taker would marry Stephanie and take over the WWF.

Of course, Mr. McMahon would be playing on Austin's sense of right and wrong. At the last minute, just before Stephanie and Taker were pronounced husband and wife, Austin would do the right thing and swoop in to save the day, paving the way for Shane and the Corporation to take over and merge with the Ministry and ultimately cost the Rattlesnake his championship.

That would happen if the story went according to plan, of course. But Mark and Stephanie weren't going to let that story go according to plan if they could help it.

Stephanie shook her head at her father's arrogance and blind hatred. "My dad hates Austin so much that he's willing to sign over his business just to put one over on him. If that's not impaired judgment, I don't know what is."

"You could easily argue a case of extreme bias if you have to," Mark pointed out, and Stephanie nodded in agreement. "Hopefully though, it won't get to that point. We just have to get through the ceremony, and we're in the clear." Mark noticed the contemplative look on his fiancée's face and asked, "Something troubling you?"

"Are you absolutely sure that Dad's not going to spring anything at the last minute to change the plans?"

"That's the one thing he's got set in stone." Mark gave his fiancée a reassuring smile. "In fact, Shane's already ordered your wedding dress."

"Wow, he and Dad really are gonna pay for my wedding. Hey, speaking of pay for stuff, I...I haven't been sending you half my paycheck like I was. I'm on a temporary leave of absence from work, and-"

Mark placed a finger gently over Stephanie's lips. "You don't need to explain anything. Your dad's got you on a shorter leash right now. I understand. But, between you and me, and what we both make, we're gonna be fine."

"You really think so?"

"I know so," Mark answered gently, as he and Stephanie drew closer for another kiss.

~~~MOD~~~

Meanwhile, Steve Austin sat back in his locker room, watching the show on a TV monitor, and waiting for his custom belt to arrive. A glance at his watch put the time at 8 pm.

From what he'd heard, the backstage was all in an uproar because Vince McMahon's daughter was missing, apparently kidnapped by the Ministry of Darkness. He shrugged. To say he didn't like Vince was an understatement. His hatred for the the WWF's principal owner knew no bounds. And, it was well placed, especially after all the hell McMahon had put the two-time champion through the past several months.

He had no hard feelings for Stephanie, though. Vince's daughter seemed nothing like her ruthless, conniving father. Sure, her being kidnapped was a bad thing, and he hoped she was found and returned safely, but he wasn't going to go out of his way to help find her. It wasn't any of his business. Besides, he had bigger and better things to worry about.

~~~MOD~~~

Back in Vince's Office

"The Rock's up next," Shane ventured cautiously to his father. "What do you wanna do?"

Vince, who was seated on the couch, with his head in his hands, barely glanced up. His voice was a soft, disinterested monotone. "I don't care about the Rock, Shane. Take over, I mean, do something."

Shane nodded as he climbed off the desk he'd been sitting on. "I got it. Whatever you wanna do. I got this," he reassured his father as he walked out. He was going out to the broadcast booth to provide color commentary for a match between Billy Gunn and The Rock, and he was going to focus on that instead of dwelling on Stephanie's kidnapping.

~~~MOD~~~

"Do I look like a typical damsel in distress?" Stephanie asked her fiancée as she tipped her face up to his.

"You look more like a hacked-off owner to be with a grease pencil mark on your forehead," Mark answered. "You should smudge it a little more. Maybe put some of it around your eyes."

"How about this?" Stephanie asked him after smudging the grease pencil marks across her face. Since she didn't have a mirror, she couldn't tell if she did a good job or not.

Mark nodded. "Better. Add a freaked-out look on your face and it'll be perfect." A pause. "Listen, I can't stay much longer, Stephanie. I have to go. Shamrock's been recruited to find you, and I have to get back to the locker room before he finds us together. Which reminds me, do you have Ryan's number by chance? I want to call her and warn her to watch her back for the next couple of weeks."

"Why?"

"Your dad wants me to 'sacrifice' her next. Since Ken's gonna find you, I'll target Ryan as a form of retribution."

Stephanie gasped. "Why? She just moved to a new place, and she's got her movie career barely off the ground!"

"Well, my character's frustrated because he can't have Mr. McMahon's daughter, so he's gonna sacrifice Ryan in her place."

"She's just starting out on her own, Mark!" Stephanie exclaimed. "This could derail everything she's working for—"

"Your dad doesn't care about that."

"Obviously!" snapped Stephanie in disgust. "My dad's out of control!"

"I agree, Steph. But that doesn't mean that I don't care about Ryan. Paul and the other guys and me, we're gonna take good care of her. She won't have to worry about her movie work. She'll be back home with plenty of time to pursue her career." Mark glanced at his watch. "I need to get a move on. Ken's match is gonna be next, and I need to make myself scarce again."

Stephanie let out a disappointed sigh. "Do you really have to?"

"Unfortunately, I do." Mark wrapped his arms around Stephanie one more time. "But I'm glad I got to spend some time with you."

"I'm glad you came down here to keep me company."

"Anytime. I love you, Steph."

"I love you too, Mark." One more kiss. "I can't wait to start our new life."

~~~MOD~~~

Ken Shamrock, now in his wrestling gear, paced Vince's office like a caged lion. Stephanie was still nowhere to be seen, but it wouldn't matter. Once he got in the ring with Gangrel, Vince's daughter would be just as good as found.

"That SOB is the ring," Vince beseeched him. "Please…please. Beat him."

" Vince…" Ken put his hands on Vince's shoulders in reassurance.

Vince's voice wobbled. "I want my baby girl back!" he moaned, on the verge of tears.

Ken locked eyes with the owner of the WWF. "If it's the last thing I do," he snarled, "I'll rip his leg off and I'll beat it out of him, Vince! I'll find your daughter!" he added, before he charged out of the makeshift office.

~~~MOD~~~

"Who in the world knows what the Ministry of Darkness and the Undertaker could do to Mr. McMahon's daughter, Stephanie, here tonight?" wondered Michael Cole on commentary, as Gangrel entered the ring.

"Well Michael, I can't wait the World's Most Dangerous Man to get out here," Jerry Lawler added. "We're looking at Gangrel. This weird psycho is part of the Ministry. And Ken Shamrock has just promised Mr. McMahon that he'll rip Gangrel's leg off if he has to. He'll make Gangrel tell him where they've taken Stephanie."

"Ken was in pursuit, searching the arena for Stephanie McMahon," explained Cole. "Now, we'll take this search into the ring."

Ken was completely in his zone as he took on Gangrel. The leader of the Brood came off the ropes with a powerful right hand after ducking a hit.

"King, who knows what the Ministry of Darkness—the Brood, the Acolytes, Viscera, Midian, and of course, the Undertaker—who knows what this group is capable of!" Cole said, as Gangrel and Shamrock traded blows.

"They're capable of anything, you saw last night!" exclaimed Lawler as Ken whipped Gangrel into a corner. They hung a man!"

Ken went for an Irish Whip, but Gangrel reversed it and spun Ken into the turnbuckles. Gangrel charged, but Ken put an elbow up. Incredibly, Gangrel picked Shamrock up for a powerslam, and it looked like the match would be over, but Ken managed to kick out.

"Remember your promise, Shamrock!" exclaimed Lawler, as Gangrel hauled his opponent to his feet and delivered a vicious right hook, then another. "You promised Mr. McMahon."

"This isn't a match for Ken Shamrock," Cole pointed out, as Gangrel raked the World's Most Dangerous Man across the face. "Ken Shamrock is trying desperately to find out the whereabouts of the daughter of the owner of this company."

"Think about Stephanie!" Lawler beseeched, as Gangrel bounced Ken off the ropes. Ken however, reversed the move, and then stupidly put his head down. Gangrel took advantage and nailed Shamrock with a vicious DDT!

A wicked grin flashed across Gangrel's face as he went for another pin attempt. One..two…Ken got a shoulder up.

"Folks, imagine what the owner of this company is going through," Cole continued, as Gangrel stayed on the attack. "Mr. McMahon desperately trying to find his daughter, who's been abducted by the Undertaker."

Ken regained his bearings long enough to reverse an Irish whip into the ropes and launch himself into a dropkick that knocked Gangrel to the mat. "Earlier on, you heard the Undertaker say that she really is sugar and spice and everything nice, referring to Stephanie McMahon," Cole said, continuing his commentary.

"How scary and how sick is that," gasped Lawler, as Ken kicked Gangrel across the face and delivered a knee lift that sent the Brood leader reeling.

Ken got into Gangrel's face. "Where is she?" he demanded, furiously.

Gangrel shook his head. "WHERE IS SHE!" Ken bellowed, ignoring the referee's warnings as he dragged his opponent out of the ring.

Ken dragged a reeling Gangrel out of the ring and slammed the freak's head into the steel steps repeatedly. Gangrel still refused to talk. At that point, Ken snapped.

Furious, Ken lunged at the referee and dragged Gangrel into a ring post. "Where is she?" he snarled, stomping away on his dazed opponent. After lunging towards the ref again, Ken whipped Gangrel into the steel steps and then smashed his head into them. Relentless, Shamrock rolled Gangrel back into the ring, and then turned his ire towards the referee.

"What are you gonna do, count me out?" Ken spat, as he chased the referee around the ring area. "You think I care?" Disgusted, he climbed back into the ring, and delivered another stomp to Gangrel. A second later, Ken dragged Gangrel up by the front of his shirt and nailed him with an uppercut that knocked the Brood leader to the mat.

"Where is she?" Ken demanded as he grabbed Gangrel by the hair.

"You think I'm gonna tell you?" Gangrel spat back. "Kiss my ass."

Ken roared. It was a brutal beating, but Gangrel refused to speak in spite of the flurry of blows that Shamrock rained down on him. The crowd booed lustily in disgust.

"This match is not about Ken Shamrock winning," explained Cole as Gangrel struggled to his feet. "It's about one thing. Finding out the whereabouts of Stephanie McMahonoh!"

Cole's commentary was cut short as Ken savate-kicked Gangrel to the mat once more. Somehow Gangrel staggered to his feet and delivered a few hard right hooks and elbowed Ken in the face. He bounced himself off the ropes, but ran into a dropkick courtesy of Shamrock.

"And Shamrock isn't even going for covers here!" Cole exclaimed, as Ken dropped a knee onto Gangrel's chest.

"He's not out here to pin the guy!" Lawler fired back as Ken decked an out-on-his-feet Gangrel. "He's trying to find out where Stephanie is! Make him tell, Ken!"

Ken whipped Gangrel into the ropes and delivered a vicious elbow shot, and then bounced him off the ropes again to deliver a hurricarana. A scream erupted from the lungs of the World's Most Dangerous Man as he planted Gangrel with a belly-to-belly suplex and then slapped on his anklelock submission hold.

"WHERE IS SHE? WHERE'S STEPHANIE!" screamed Ken.

He wouldn't get his answer. Gangrel tapped, and then passed out from the pain as the ref called for the bell to stop the match. The crowd roared as the bell rang, but Ken refused to let go.

Suddenly Gangrel's music played, and red strobe began to flash in the arena. Before Ken could react, Christian and Edge leaped into the ring and attacked him.

"Let go of him, you crazy sonofabitch!" Edge snarled as he grabbed Ken by the hair and yanked him off of Gangrel.

"Where's Stephanie?" Ken shouted, struggling.

"None of your damn business, Shamrock!" spat Christian as he and Edge tossed the World's Most Dangerous Man out of the ring. The arena lights went out, and Edge wove his way over to Gangrel to help him backstage.

The lights suddenly turned back on, and Ken was lying on the arena floor, the victim of another blood bath. Snarling, he lunged at the first person he saw.

Christian yelped as he was knocked to the floor. Glancing up, he caught a glimpse of Ken's face, and he didn't what he saw in Shamrock's eyes. The guy had a crazed look in his eyes that made him think of a rattlesnake on Benzedrine. It chilled his blood and made his heart race. Oh, my God! he thought in panic. Everyone backstage knew that Ken had a short fuse and an anger management problem, but he was still a professional, keeping it under control for the most part during his matches.

I guess Ken told his professionalism to take a hike this evening! Christian thought in dread as Ken slapped the anklelock on him.

Christian screamed. The hold bit through his leg like steel teeth, and pain spiked through him like a lightning bolt. It was excruciating, and Christian struggled to break free. The more he struggled, however, the harder Ken clamped down on his leg.

This was NOT in the script! he realized.

"Let go!" Christian hollered, desperate to do something—anything—to break out.

"Where is she?" Ken bellowed at him.

"Let me go!"

"WHERE?"

Christian couldn't take the agony any longer. "She's in the basement!" he shouted. "She's in the basement! Owww! Let me go, you crazy bastard!"

Ken let go of Christian and stalked off in disgust, covered in red. Christian crawled a few feet before falling to the floor in pain. He winced as the referee for the match and a backstage trainer helped him up and assisted him to the locker room.

"Ken Shamrock just got Christian of the Brood to say where Stephanie McMahon is!" Michael Cole exclaimed, as Ken stomped up the ramp to the backstage. "She's in the basement!"

"Get her, Ken!" shouted Lawler. "Get her!"

The things I do for a push! Christian sulked to himself as the trainer brought him to the Ministry's locker room. Thanks Vince, for sending an emotionally unstable athlete out here to almost break my ankle! I'll worry about Edge's and my push later, but first things first. As soon as everything's out in the open and Mark and Stephanie get married, I'm gonna hunt down Shamrock and kick his ass!

~~~MOD~~~

Thankfully, Shamrock was helpfully pointed in the direction of the basement by some of the security staff on hand for the show. He moved quickly and with purpose. Someone handed him a towel—he didn't know who—and he tried to dry off with it as he continued his search. He didn't want to be too much of a mess when he found Vince's daughter.

Finally, he wove his way downstairs. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness as he called out for Vince's daughter. He heard someone shouting in the distance and he called out for Stephanie again. "Stephanie! It's Ken! Are you down here?"

"Ken!"

Ken glanced over to his right and saw a figure in the shadows. Fluorescent lights cast enough light to make out details. It was a girl sitting on the floor, with long hair and what looked like a shirt and pants.

"Stephanie?"

Gasping, Vince's daughter backed away, obviously frightened by Ken's appearance. In the fluorescent lights, he looked like a ghoul covered in blood.

"No, no, it's okay. I'm here to get you out of here. It's okay"

What the hell have they done to her? Ken thought, noting the dark smudges under her eyes and the mark on her forehead. He wasn't about to ask yet. Getting Stephanie back safely was more important.

Stephanie seemed to calm down and relax as she recognized Ken. "You found me," she whispered.

"It wasn't easy," he said honestly. "Come on," he continued, as he helped Stephanie to her feet. "Let's get you back to your dad…"

~~~MOD~~~

Before returning to the office, Stephanie insisted on going to the rest room to wash the black marks from her face and to compose herself before going back to the office and putting on the performance of a lifetime.

Vince held her tightly in his arms as Ken, Shane, Brisco and Patterson looked on. He was playing the part of concerned, frazzled father to perfection. "Are you okay?" Vince asked her, as he rubbed her back.

Stephanie nodded and looked up, her voice wobbly. "I'm fine."

"You sure?" Vince tilted his daughter's face up to his. "What did he do to you?"

Stephanie shook her head. "I just wanna go home," she managed before burying her face in Vince's shoulder.

"Those rotten bastards - those rotten bastards!" snarled Vince, under his breath before flashing a grateful smile to Ken. "Kenny, thank you. Thank you so much."

After ducking into the locker rooms for a quick shower, Ken returned to Vince's office to check on Stephanie. He found her on the couch, a blanket over her shoulders, Vince stroking her hair.

Vince kissed the top of Stephanie's head before climbing to his feet. "I wanna thank every one of you guys," he said gratefully to his right hand men before taking Ken's hand in his for a firm handshake. "Kenny, I'll always be indebted to you - always."

The pleasantries were interrupted by a knock on the office door. It was Vince's personal assistant. "Mr. McMahon, I have the belt."

Shane took Austin's custom belt and thanked the assistant. "Here's the belt. What do you want to do now?"

Vince glared at the custom made belt and then looked up at his son. His voice was low. "I don't give a damn about Austin's belt, Shane. This night is over, okay?"

Shane looked at his father like he'd just sprouted Devil's horns for real. Stephanie looked on quietly. She knew exactly what was going to happen next, but her expression gave nothing away.

"In terms of trauma, in terms of what's happened to your baby sister," Vince clarified. "This night is over. Let's just end it, okay? Let's just end this." A pause. "What I want you to do is go take this championship belt and give it to Austin. Wherever he is. If he's in his locker room, just give it to him. Just end this night. Just end this night. Your family has been through enough, okay?"

Shane nodded, looking shocked.

"And all I'm gonna do now, Shane, is take your baby sister home, all right?"

"No problem," Shane answered quietly. He turned to Shamrock and mouthed, Wait here.

"And again, thank you. Thank you all so much." Vince gestured for his assistant to collect Stephanie's things and wait while he helped Stephanie to her feet. "Come on," he said to his right hand men. "Let's go."

After Vince, Stephanie and the others got into the waiting limo and left, Shane turned to Shamrock. "Kenny, we're set. Go get Rock."

"I thought the night was over."

"This night is over," Shane snorted. "After what they did to my sister? "Go get Rock. Go get the champ and bring him back."

A devious smirk crossed Shane's lips as Ken walked out of the office. "This night is over, huh? It's far from over…"

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Not much to say on this one. It wiped me out. BTW, I may have sparked a Christian-Shamrock feud (in this story, anyway). Anyway, I'll be taking a brief hiatus from this and my Lita story while I put together some holiday-flavored stories. A couple of them may feature my OC, Anna.

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