Chapter 9 – Saving Cody Rhodes, pt. 2

Character Focus : Cody Rhodes; Stone Cold Steve Austin


I waited by the gorilla for Cody. I kept myself calm – the last thing he needed was for me to act like a bigger jerk than his father.

I could tell the kid was troubled the second I saw his face. He hadn't wanted to attack Michael – that much was obvious. When he saw me, the guilt on his face doubled.

"…Hey Steve."

"Cody," I said curtly. I shook my head. "What are you doing, kid? That wasn't you out there."

He sighed and rubbed his eyes, stressed. "I…" He couldn't seem to go on. He just looked at me with sad eyes – suddenly I knew there was more to this story then I thought. So I led him to my locker room, to talk. I tossed him a towel and he wiped the sweat from his body and face. I looked him in the eyes and asked him again just what the hell he was doing.

"My dad…he threatened to disown me if I didn't do what he said," Cody said quietly, looking away from me and suddenly finding the floor very interesting. "He'd cut me off from everything – I didn't want that to happen."

At that very moment, someone knocked on the door. It was a stagehand, and he handed me and envelope for Cody. I gave it to him and he opened it. Tears streamed down his face as he read the contents.

"Cody?" I said worriedly, sitting next to him on the benches. I gently took the letters out of his hands and took a look for myself.

They were disownment papers.

"Damn it," I sighed. I tossed the papers aside and put a comforting hand of Cody's shoulder.

"I don't get it," he mused, his voice hoarse. "What did I ever do to make him hate me so much?"

"You didn't do anything, kiddo," I said, attempting comfort. "Dusty…he's always been a bastard. No one really knows why, that's just how he is, I guess. None of this is your fault."

"Maybe if I'd try to be more like him, tried to do what he did sooner, than maybe he would have loved me."

"Do you know where that would have gotten you?" At his lack of response, I said, "In a crappy little town called Nowhere. You are a good person. You have a future – but you won't if you continue the stupid- $$ stunts."

"I don't need the lecture, Steve," he growled. His eyes were dark – I wasn't go anywhere with him when he was like this.

"Well, you're getting one and more than just a lecture if you don't get rid of this attitude."

"Or what, huh?" Cody yelled, getting to his feet and glowering down at me. "I'm a grown man, I can do whatever I want. If I want to go heel, so what? It's not like you care. You're just pretending – I don't know why, but I honestly doubt the 'rattlesnake' gives a sh** about what I do!" I stood as well and stood nose to nose with the kid. Something Dusty had said earlier popped up in my head: …he's damaged goods, he's worthless…

He was testing me – to see if someone really cared. Even if I'd only recently meet the kid last week, he'd stirred paternal instincts that I'd only ever felt for my daughters. I somehow felt that I was supposed to help him – now I've been one for sentiment or one of those 'fate' type fellows…but I couldn't help feeling something had brought this kid to me, and I'd be damned if I let him slip through my fingers.

"You've got one last chance to ditch that crap attitude," I warned him. He glared coldly at me and spat, "Don't tell me what to do."

I grabbed his upper arms and forced him over to a table. Bending him over it, I firmly placed my hand on his back, in between his shoulder blades, not allowing him up. I unbuckled my belt and doubled it over, all while keeping Cody in place. The kid yelled and cursed and kicked, but there was no way in hell I was letting him up.

"Why do you think I'm about to whoop your ass, Cody," I said gruffly.

"Because you're f***ing crazy!" he yelled.

"Not quite. But you'll get the answer soon."

And with that, I lit his ass on fire. He squirmed and yelped like anyone would in his position. At around 11 I asked him again why I was spanking him.

"I-I don't know," he said shakily, face buried in his arms. I brought the belt down on his sit-spots, and he yelled, "Because I was d-disrespectful to you!"

Hearing genuine sadness in his voice, I said, "Good. There's a few more reasons. See if you can guess them while the remaining swats are delivered."

A small sob escaped his lips as he searched for the answers. Two swats later, he cried, "B-Because I attacked Michael, because I-I let my father influence me to do such a bad thing…"

"Very good," I praised. "One more. This one's tough, so I'll help you. It has to do with me."

He was quiet except for sniffles and sobs. I smacked the belt against his thighs, earning a heart-wrenching cry from Cody.

"I-I don't think I have the right answer!" he sobbed, his whole body shaking.

"Give it a try," I encouraged, stopping the whipping.

"…is it because you…"

"It's because I care," I finished for him. "I don't want you to end up losing your job, or worse, ending up like Dusty. You need to know that not everyone is like him – I'm not like him – I care, and if it means taking my belt to you for a week to prove it to you, I'll do just that, son."

That did it for him. Any resistance in him left his body and he collapsed into a sobbing mess on the table. Tossing the belt aside, I pulled him up and wrapped him up in a very rare stone-cold-Steve Austin-bear-hug. He melted into my arms – it made me sad to think that he'd probably never really been hugged before.

"Now you listen," I said quietly. "If you ever need anything, you just call me. If you're ever having issues with Dusty, you call me. No matter how insignificant, at any time of day, you call me. Understood?"

He nodded against my shoulder, finding it very comfortable there. I smiled and gave him as time as he needed.


*4 months later*

Heath Slater searched the halls for his good buddy, Cody Rhodes. Him and a few of the boys were going out for a night on the town: drinking, pranking, all the good stuff.

Finding him talking with the lovely Kaitlyn, he smiled at Cody's attempts at flirting, which seemed to be having the desired effect on the NXT winner.

"I need Cody for a moment, if you don't mind," Heath said with a dorky smile. Smiling, Kaitlyn pecked Cody on the cheek before leaving to get ready for her dark-match.

Cody stared after her in amazement before turning to Heath. "What's up?"

"We're going out drinking, buddy," the ginger said. "You, me, Justin, and Drew. It'll be awesome!"

"What else will we be doing?" Cody asked suspiciously, knowing his friend a little too well.

"Not too much else," Heath said sheepishly. "Just the usual…"

"Does the usual entail wreaking havoc on the innocent citizens of New York and giving the company a bad reputation?"

Heath sighed. "Come on, Cody, it won't be that bad."

Cody shook his head. "I don't think my dad would like it."

"You're damn right he wouldn't," the gruff voice on Steve Austin said, walking up to them. "You know better than that, Heath. Now go back to the hotel before I tell Wade what you're up to."

Going white, the one-man-band scurried out of there and back to the locker rooms.

Chuckling, Steve patted his son on the back. "I'm proud of you for saying no, son," he said. "That's a valuable asset."

"Thanks, dad," Cody said, genuinely pleased at Steve's praise. It had been a great four months since the disownment – other than the occasional spanking, which Cody had to admit, he had deserved; though he would never say such a thing.

"You up for steak?" the rattlesnake asked. "I bought that seasoning you like earlier today."

Grinning, Cody nodded, and left the arena with the father he'd always wanted. And Steve left the arena with more pride in his son then he'd ever felt before.

The End.

Thank you all so much for reading. This is the last chapter – I truly hope it was satisfactory. Other stories will be posted, but only as one or two-shots. Remember to review – my goal is to have a story with at least 100 reviews Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy it with the ones you love

With much love,