Title: Thank You Owen
Pairing: Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels
Warning: Kind of fluffy with implied slashyness, but not really. Take it however you like.
Summary: This is kind of based off of that DVD. You know, the Greatest Rivalries one. Since this is a Christmas fic that I meant to post ages ago, it's not going to be as serious/dramatic as "Brotherly Love" or "Heart to Hart", but believe me, after watching that DVD, I could do a total rewrite from another angle. But I'm not...because I'm too lazy. Anywho, I hope you enjoy. Oh! You should note that Shawn isn't married with kids in my world simply because I never like to cross the line between "character" and real life person.
Disclaimer: I don't think I need to remind you all but just in case, I do NOT own any of these men or anything WWE related. This fic is completely made up and in no way do I know what these men do in their spare time. Also, if I should find any of my fics being tweeted to said wrestlers, I'll delete my entire account so please do not send my fics to these wrestlers. I see people doing that and I cringe. It's unnecessary. So respect my work and me and please do not do that. Not only is it pretty embarrassing, but there are some things better left unknown to them. Thank you!
Thank You Owen
Shawn had not seen Bret since their last interview which happened to be a sit down Q&A session with Jim Ross. It was the first time that either man agreed to do an interview together since Montreal 1997. To say that Shawn was nervous was an understatement. Bret was very hard to read these days and he couldn't help but think during that interview that Bret was still hanging onto the past somehow. There were so many awkward moments- at least to Shawn- that there were times where Shawn didn't even try to cut in on Bret's answer.
The interview was like therapy for them both, but Shawn knew Bret needed it more than he himself. While he had always felt an anvil on his back for the incident, Shawn found ways to overcome the bitterness and hurt by getting involved in church. He dedicated his life to God and completely turned his life around. No more booze, drugs, promiscuity- all of it was replaced with Bible Study, charity work and his personal favorite hunting. Those things kept him from revisiting the demons of his past and gave him hope that someday he would be completely forgiven for all of his sins. From the Lord above he felt as if he had a clean slate, but even after shaking hands with Bret and doing the interview, it still didn't seem quite right.
The doorbell rang which meant he had to stop musing too much. He didn't want to greet Bret with so much weighing heavily on his mind. All he wanted was for the two of them to enjoy Christmas Eve as friends like old times with no problems whatsoever. Shawn took a last minute look in the mirror, said a small prayer then pulled open the front door. He was greeted with a small smile from his old friend who was wearing some jean shorts, a tee and one of his famous leather jackets. Bret took his shades off, folding them carefully and sticking them in a pocket. With a smirk he pressed his face to the screen looking around the inside of Shawn's living room. "I heard rumors of your rednecky-ness but I didn't think it was this bad."
"Oh..." Shawn pushed at the screen door a bit chuckling softly. "It's freezing. Are ya planning on spending the entire evening out in the cold or are ya coming inside where an old fashioned fire is waiting along with Christmas cookies, chocolate cake and cocoa just waiting to be demolished?"
"I think you sold me on the old fashioned fire, but I'll take all that other stuff too." Bret stepped back allowing Shawn to hold the door open for him. He stepped inside, greeting his old friend with a short hug. "Thanks for having me over. I don't think I would have made it to Canada in time to spend Christmas with Nat and the guys. Damn delays."
"Oh it's no problem." Shawn closed the door then took Bret's coat hanging it on the rack. "Besides, I think we said some time ago we'd try to see each other every now and then."
"Yeah, we did- or I did rather," he said. "Not many of us left ya know," he said stiffly though he didn't mean any harm. Truth is, a lot of his old wrestling friends were dead and it was roughly this time of year every year that Bret often found himself missing them. As Bret's eyes roamed Shawn's living room taking in the various assortment of animal heads on the wall or the numerous holiday decorations, he hardly noticed Shawn had moved to his side standing quietly. "Ah well. Don't mind me Shawn. I always miss them around Christmas."
Shawn ushered Bret over to the couch where they both sat. Shawn handed Bret a cup of hot chocolate while he grabbed a few cookies. "Its alright Bret. I miss a lot of them too. I know I wasn't very nice to some of them during my dark days, but during my second run in the WWE I realized just how much they were missing. Guys like Curt and Eddie."
"Or Davey Boy and Owen- two guys I always loved seeing you wrestle."
"And two guys who made me a better technician," he added.
"Hey! Don't give them all the credit. I'm sure I remember some handsome guy who wore pink and had an obsession with wet hair that taught you an awful lot," he teased with a small smile.
"I think that guy in question is in a league of his own."
They were both quiet for a few, each man lost in their own thoughts as they stared at the fire or the tree near it. A year ago, if someone told Bret he would be spending some of Christmas with Shawn Michaels, he probably would have decked them with a hockey stick. Everyone knew their story and now that they've even managed to add a sit down interview with the two of them to the list of other DVDs that attempt to dissect the Montreal Screwjob, people now had a pretty good idea about their relationship. Everything on that last DVD was the truth, at least on his end. Bret could never speak for Shawn, but he didn't doubt his words were untrue. Even now as he chanced glances at him, he looked and felt different. He was completely different from the man he knew in 1997 except for his looks. Time had been very kind to him. Shawn caught Bret looking and a light shade of pink hit his cheeks. "Is something wrong Bret? You've been pretty quiet."
Bret shook his head. "Naa. I was just thinking about the first time you met my father Stu. Remember that Christmas I begged you to come spend it with Owen and me?"
Shawn scoffed as he reached for his cake. "Forget? How could I ever when I'm the one who ruined the dinner?"
"Not completely," he joked.
"Oh right. Cursing your father from A to Z isn't so bad at all."
"I...well," he winced. "I think dad had it coming. He'd been taking little shots at you all evening. I can remember his famous opening line at the dinner table." Bret cleared his throat and did one of his famous Stu Hart impressions. "Hey son? Why don't ya let your fairy boyfriend say grace? Can he say grace without bursting into flames right on?" Shawn cut Bret a look before Hart burst into laughter. "Aw come on Shawn. Looking back on it now, I'd say I'm kinda glad he said all of that. Your reaction was worth it. Nothing beat a fired up HBK."
Shawn cut a little of his cake with his fork. "Oh but your mother wasn't amused at all. I felt kind of bad. She tried so hard to put out the tension in hopes of salvaging the rest of the evening, but then you had to go and punch out your dad."
"He punched me first! And anyway, that's not how ya treat guests," he mumbled into his cup. "Even Owen sided with us remember?"
"Yeah, I remember." He took a bite of his cake. "Mm I also remember Owen's prank on McMahon the day before we flew out for Calgary."
"Dumping a bucket of honey and rose petals on Vince was a very bad idea, but looking back on it the old bastard deserved it. Not the idea that Owen was gift wrapping him for Linda, but the prank in itself. Vince could be such a bastard sometimes Shawn," he said with a sigh. Bret swirled his chocolate around thinking back to their last interview session. After really hearing Shawn's side of the story for the first time it made him wonder if McMahon really did do things to keep them at odds. After all, the more real the heat the better it is for TV.
At that moment Bret suddenly realized music was playing in the room. Shawn probably had the music playing the entire evening, but it was lost to Bret who was busy mulling over things that were better left alone. The familiar tune playing was one of Shawn's favorite Christmas songs. He looked over at Shawn who was steady dissecting his chocolate cake. With a smile he stood, gently prying the small plate out of his hand.
"Hey! I wasn't done!"
Bret extended his hand and for a moment Shawn looked as if he wouldn't take it. After a moment's hesitation, Shawn allowed Bret to pull him to his feet and was led over to the rug by the fire. Bret put a hand on Shawn's waist then threaded the other with Shawn's. "I always dance with Nattie on Christmas, but since she's not here, you're the best I can do," he joked.
Shawn was usually pretty open to doing anything. After all, he and Hunter fooled everyone into thinking that they really had some kind of twisted gay love affair going on in '97 which was completely untrue. He and Hunter crossed various lines on screen for the gimmick and scratched a few itches in private but there wasn't exactly a love affair. Hunter was always busy trying to find ways to stay at the top and plan ahead financially while Shawn was always in the midst of controversy. However, that didn't exactly mean that dancing with another man came naturally. He met Bret's eyes briefly as they swayed, but quickly looked away.
"Now who's the one that's quiet?"
Shawn chuckled finally meeting Bret's friendly face. "I'm sorry. It's just you're dancing with a guy in my living room. Forgive me, but I never pictured you as the type to dance with a guy."
"We danced once Shawn."
"In the ring."
"Yeah, but those were my favorite dances and you were good," he grinned.
"I'd like to think that I still am," Shawn teased back.
"Yeah you and Mark had quite the dances. Kinda wish it were us though. If things wouldn't have got so messed up, I'd like to think that would have been you and me up there."
"Yeah, I think so too. I've never had another match quite like the one we had in Anaheim. I did one with Kurt but it was different. Kurt and I didn't have that...I don't even have a word to describe it."
"He didn't know you like I know you and there wasn't a real life connection." Bret's hand slipped behind Shawn's back urging him a little closer but still leaving space between them. "I don't know if it matters much Shawn, but I meant what I said during the interview. I was fascinated with you and Marty from day one. When ya'll split up, I saw it as an opportunity to teach you stuff. You were kinda my own little personal project," he said with a smile. "Not that you needed much help, but I always admired your willingness to perform better. Not everyone shared our passion for being the best. They liked to get by but not you Shawn."
Hearing Bret compliment him like this and in an environment void of tensions due to the past warmed Shawn's heart. For years he longed for Bret's approval, but he really wished it had come sooner rather than later. If Bret would have said this to him ages ago just maybe things would be different. Maybe they'd still be friends rather than awkwardly going through the motions. Then again, maybe Bret did right by not acknowledging him. Bret sounded hurt during the interview when JR spoke of the Kliq. If Shawn read into it correctly then it seemed as if Bret felt like he had abandoned him for Hunter and thinking back on it now, maybe he did. He wasn't sure anymore.
"I'm not insulted," he said after a while. "I did learn a lot from you. Just...things got messed up."
"Yeah when Hunter came in on his white horse and whisked you away," he said in a joking manner, but deep down Bret had always resented Hunter. Shawn was very insecure back then, but that's another reason why Bret liked him. He felt like it was his duty to look after him and mold him into being the very best. He wanted to keep Shawn from going down that dangerous path of booze and drugs, but somehow Hunter got to him. Bret didn't completely put the blame on Hunter, but it was hard not to since Bret knew Hunter had always been a smart, manipulative man. But it was in the past and if he ever hoped to really get on with his life, he'd have to settle for repairing whatever he has left with his friend on a clean slate.
"Well..." Shawn looked around the room then smiled, never noticing that the music had stopped playing. "I don't see any white horses here now."
"Nope. Just a man who feels like he's been given a second chance to be his own person."
"You've always stood up for what you believe in Bret."
"Not like you," he said, his face softening a bit. "Whether it was right or wrong, you always stood up for yourself. You were a little insecure-"
"Okay. You were very insecure but that didn't stop you from going out there every night owning who you are. You didn't apologize for anyone when deep down you felt like you were right. You just..." Bret's voice trailed off as he thought back to the night Shawn went off on him in the ring.
"Just because I choose to live my life openly and freely, does not make you a better man Bret."
"You're constantly putting on this facade..."
Shawn looked down, feeling embarrassed as Bret recited word for word lines from that shoot. "Bret I never meant-"
"No don't start apologizing now Shawn," he said. He stopped moving and took his hand off of Shawn's back. He took both of Shawn's hands threading their fingers holding them between them. "You were right ya know. I was so jealous of you sometimes. I used to watch how you and Hunter would do things in the ring- bold things- that I could never do. My father was... well you know all too well what he thought of you and... I dunno Shawn. I guess I always felt trapped behind my father's legacy. For years I wanted to prove my worth to him and it never really occurred to me how much I sacrificed for his approval until I woke up alone. Like really alone. No Owen. No Davey. No Curt or Eddie. No Chris. Not even you."
Shawn could relate. He remembered getting calls about all those men but naturally it was Owen that hurt him the most and his untimely death was sort of a wake up call. Shawn knew that if he didn't do something he was going to be joining that list of coworkers and he didn't want that.
Shawn looked down at their tangled fingers speaking quietly. "I never knew you cared so much Bret. I figured I was just one of the guys, but a part of me was a little intimidated. Most of your friends were your family and I was the outsider. Then there was that whole thing with your dad accompanied by the rumors of me and Marty so when Hunter came along, I felt relieved. There was someone else who didn't have anyone so he and I hit it off from the bat. He liked me a lot and wanted to learn so much like you, I had my own little project but..."
Shawn finally met his eyes for the first time all evening. He'd looked at him a few times, but Bret's gaze always scared Shawn for whatever reason so he never felt comfortable looking him in the eye. Some would tell him that's the mark of a dishonest man, but Shawn hardly felt the need to lie about anything. "Thinking back on it now, maybe I did abandon you. For that I am sorry. The me of that time didn't feel like he fit into your world. The lies and backstabbing that came prior to Montreal well-"
"Let's not ruin the evening trying to decipher all of that nonsense," Bret said, cutting him off. "We left all of it in the interview. You know how I feel and I know how you feel." Bret untangled their fingers pulling away. His eyes rounded on the clock and he winced. "Yikes! I need to get going. Got a plane to catch tomorrow...or rather today."
Shawn looked over at the clock as well. Time really flew by. It didn't seem like Bret had been there long at all but then time flies when you're having fun. "Let me get your coat. I can't believe you showed up in shorts."
"Some habits die hard. Besides, it's a lot colder in Canada. Trust me." Bret let Shawn help him into his jacket as he headed out the door. He paused turning to pull Shawn into a hug. "I had a good time Shawn. It was good catching up and even better that it was on Christmas. Best present I've received in ages. Hands down."
"I didn't do much, but I'm glad you came. It gave me someone to talk with other than people from my memories or my various animals."
Bret released him with a smile. "Ya know, I think Owen would be proud of us. No fighting. A record for us."
"I think so too and if he were here right now, he'd probably get us with some kind of horrible prank. Neither of us were ever really smart enough to outwit your brother."
"That's true," he grinned. Bret looked up as if to check for some invisible bucket of ice cold water, but what he saw made his jaw drop slightly. Shawn's eyes followed Bret's and his reaction was the same. Above them sat a very thick piece of mistletoe that dangled over their heads perfectly. Shawn was pretty sure he didn't hang any mistletoe while Bret was sure he'd have noticed it on the porch hours earlier. "So about Owen..."
"Oh yeah. You were saying...?" Shawn said, rolling his eyes, but then he cracked a smile. Both men kinda made a joke of the situation, but on the inside they were a little freaked out. Could this really be a trick from Owen's spirit? It had to be unless both men were losing it. Shawn tried not to think too much of it after a while though. It wasn't like a long time ago he didn't often wonder what it would be like to kiss Bret. He was younger- much younger- but nevertheless the thought had been there once before so if anything Owen was as keen as ever for sure.
"I think Owen worked pretty hard on this one," Bret said after a long, uncomfortable silence. "It would be a shame to see his prank go to waste and somehow with you, I think it'll be alright." Before Bret could change his mind or let his old way of thinking get the best of him, he leaned forward pressing a kiss to Shawn's lips. He was going to leave it at that, but while he felt comfortable, he took advantage of it. He reached up touching the side of Shawn's face leading him in a kiss that lasted a few seconds until Bret broke the kiss. "Thank you Owen," he grinned.
Bret's comfort of the situation passed onto Shawn and after a while both men were laughing at the absurdity of it all. "Wow. Well...at least you're a good kisser."
"And at least you're still pretty. Harts don't associate with the ugly," he noted, a hint of that old tool side of him coming out for kicks. Bret flashed Shawn a smile one last time before walking off. "Goodnight Shawn. I expect to see you soon up in my neck of the woods."
"Goodnight Bret and you will. I'm sure of it," he said. He watched as Bret drove off before heading back inside. He pressed a finger to his lips recalling the little kiss. Just one more thing he didn't have to wonder about anymore despite it being a little over a decade late. "Thank you Owen," he whispered with a smile before resuming his spot on the couch, finishing up his piece of chocolate, and all the while making plans to see Bret on his next hunting adventure.
AN: Hope you enjoyed it. It was short for my taste but better than 14k for a 2 shot right? :) BTW, some have PMed me on my other account asking me how I felt about the DVD. If you still want to know, PM me and I'll explain. A majority of you asking are those that read "Heart to Hart". In a nutshell, I was pretty dead on minus the slash.