Title: Amid the Breakers (1/?)

Author: twstofate aka Hayden

e-mail: twstofate@hotmail.com

Category: WWF long-fic

Disclaimer: All characters belong to the WWF

Distribution: Please ask first

Rating: PG-13 (language, some plot content)

Spoilers: SmackDown 3/28/2002

Summary: Jericho's guilt over Stephanie's exile causes him to propose a plan to get her back in the WWF. The plan takes on a life of its own.

Chris Jericho shifted nervously from foot to foot as he waited for the door to open. He wasn't sure why he was going through with his plan. Maybe it was a pang of his conscience. A conscience he had been so sure he had buried beneath his massive ego and the gold of his belts.

Not his belts. At least not anymore.

Jericho pressed his finger against the doorbell for the third time, thinking that if the door wasn't answered momentarily he was going to leave and not worry about it anymore.

"I'm coming," a perturbed voice called out. He saw the brunette woman coming to the door through the glass. She swung open the door.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, not sure she wanted to see him at all. He really couldn't blame her.

"I came to apologize for what happened on Monday," Jericho said. "He should have pinned me, not you."

"What are you talking about?" Stephanie McMahon asked.

"I mean, you shouldn't be gone," Jericho said. "I should have moved heaven and earth to keep him from pinning you."

"You were outside the ring," Stephanie said, waving away his apology. "It was my own fault for accepting the damn match anyways."

"How can you be so nonchalant?" Jericho asked, feeling suddenly confused.

"Nonchalant?" Stephanie asked. "You know, it's what? Saturday? I've had a few days to adjust. Now, did you have something else you wanted to talk about or are we done?"

"I was going to try to fix it," Jericho shrugged. "But obviously you don't care about what happened."

"Wait a second!" Stephanie exclaimed. "What do you mean fix it?"

"I think I can get you back on WWF programming," Jericho said. "But it would take a lot to do it."

"Really now?" Stephanie asked, her blue eyes suddenly becoming calculated. She opened her front door wider to allow Jericho to come into her house. "Come on in to the kitchen. I'll make coffee."

"Okay," Jericho said, taking in his surroundings as he walked through Stephanie's TV room to the kitchen. It was very un-Stephanie like. Of course, he didn't really know Stephanie very well. But during the month they had been business partners she always seemed to like her surroundings to be immaculate. She was almost obsessive about it. Now there were tissues all over the furniture and floor. The table in front of the TV was covered with dirty dished. There were several piles of video-tapes on the floor by the TV.

"You doing okay?" Jericho asked.

"Hmm?" Stephanie asked, already intent on making the coffee. "Oh yeah, I woke up this morning and realized wallowing in my misery was getting me nowhere. I still have a job after all."

"You do?" Jericho asked in shock.

"Yeah," Stephanie said, nodding her head towards some paperwork on the kitchen table. "I'm head accountant at Titan still. Daddy gave me my job back after Hunter dumped me so unceremoniously."

"Oh," Jericho said, sitting at a barstool at the kitchen counter.

"So, plan…to get me back?" Stephanie asked, leaning against the counter and looking directly into Jericho's eyes.

He hated when she did that. He was always afraid she would be able to see through him. Afraid she would realize he was really very attracted to her. Had been since before even the King of the Ring kiss. And that had been nearly two years earlier.

He tried to notice her hair that looked a bit dirty and greasy, definitely uncombed. He tried to notice the ratty green robe she was wearing. And the baggy pajama pants. But it wasn't working. He was still feeling very attracted to the woman standing in front of him and he was still sure she could see it.

"Jericho?" Stephanie asked, her blue eyes clouding with concern. "Tell me you really have a plan."

"Oh, yeah," Jericho said. "Of course."

"Well?" Stephanie asked. She swore quietly as her coffee maker beeped. She turned around and poured the coffee into two mugs. "How do you like it?"

"Black," Jericho said, accepting the mug from her.

"Me too," Stephanie said. She sipped at the hot liquid as she waited for Jericho to explain his plan to her.

"Well, I was talking to Vince," Jericho said. "And I asked if there was any way I could get someone who technically wasn't allowed in the WWF in."

"I already asked," Stephanie said.

"Well, you asked if you could get back alone," Jericho said. "But you didn't ask how I could help. You may not have wanted my help, but I felt compelled to look."

"So?" Stephanie asked.

"My wife could come to the show regardless of whether or not she was forbidden from WWF programming," Jericho said.

"You're married?" Stephanie asked, not getting Jericho's point.

"No," Jericho sighed.

"So why does that matter?" Stephanie asked.

"You could marry me and you could come back," Jericho said triumphantly.

Stephanie stared at Jericho as if he had grown a third arm. "Say something," Jericho said, shifting uncomfortably.

"I'm not divorced yet," Stephanie said, shaking her head.

"But you will be soon," Jericho said.

"I'm not about to throw myself into another marriage," Stephanie said. "And we don't even like each other!"

"I like you just fine," Jericho protested. "And it's not like it would actually be a marriage. It would basically just be an extension of our partnership."

"You know," Stephanie said. "Hunter said our marriage would be purely business too."

"Really?" Jericho asked. "What changed?"

"I don't know," Stephanie said, feeling herself drift back to nearly two years earlier. She shook her head at the memories. She didn't want to remember Hunter fondly. She hated him. "It doesn't really matter anymore."

"It would be different with us Stephanie," Jericho said. "We don't even have to live together if you don't want to."

"We would have to though," Stephanie said. "Flair would cry bloody murder if it looked as if our marriage was simply a business arrangement."

"Why?" Jericho asked.

"Because Hunter's his golden boy now," Stephanie scoffed. "What the hell happened to him? One day he's a bad ass who only cares about himself and me. Now he's some kind of wannabe Rock with all of his pleasing the fans BS."

"So we make it believable," Jericho shrugged. "We can do that. I mean, I'm not dating anyone right now so I wouldn't be breaking anyone's heart. What about you?"

"Breaking someone's heart?" Stephanie asked. She smiled humorlessly at the thought. "Fat chance."

"Well, maybe it will hurt Hunter," Jericho offered.

"Not likely," Stephanie said. "He'll probably just call me a slut."

"Or there's that," Jericho agreed.

"Why do you guys do that?" Stephanie asked. "I piss you guys off and you call me a slut. Why is that like the knee-jerk reaction?"

"I don't know," Jericho said, shifting uneasily. "I guess it's just easy. People almost want to believe it."

"It sucks you know," Stephanie said, dropping her head to examine her hands, which were curled around her coffee mug. "I've never been unfaithful to anyone."

"I'm sorry," Jericho said.

"It's okay," Stephanie said, shaking her head. "It's the price you pay for living the way you want to I guess."

"So…are we on with this plan?" Jericho asked.

"I don't know," Stephanie said. "Getting married? It's the only way?"

"Basically," Jericho said. "Especially since you signed a contract when you made it a triple threat."

"Oh," Stephanie said. "Well…I guess this will have to be how it all goes down then, huh?"

"You don't need to make it sound like we are destroying something," Jericho said.

"Aren't we?" Stephanie asked. "Aren't we going to destroy Hunter? And then who knows what?"

"Is that what you want?" Jericho asked.

"I don't know," Stephanie said.

"Well, you can think about it and get back to me," Jericho shrugged.

"No, I don't need to think," Stephanie said. "Lets do it. Lets get married."

"Okay," Jericho said, nodding his head.

"But don't tell Vince," Stephanie said.

"Okay," Jericho said. "Can I ask why?"

"Well, he didn't lift a finger to help me," Stephanie said. "If he really cared about having me around he would have sent someone to end the match in a DQ or something. I think it's time to rock Vince's world again."

"Okay," Jericho said. "Whatever you say."

"Hey Jericho," Stephanie said. He looked up and met her blue eyes. "Thanks."