Author's note: Story written the day before RAW 1000 ;) Sorry for my bad English, my 1st language = French… ^^

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"RENEGADE"
(What doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger)

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Heath Slater was drifting in and out of consciousness. His survival instinct was forcing him to come back to his senses, but any times he was doing so, the pain would be so intense that he would automatically switch back to the peaceful darkness. Moving was out of question - he suspected a few broken bones and ribs - breathing was hard, but even thinking was painful. He wanted to scream his rage, but the only thing coming out of his throat were weak whimpers as he was moved, tears sometimes uncontrollably falling from his eyes, mixing with the blood covering his face.

"No, the ambulance must drive down to parking #2 to pick him! We can't move him to the back-door and risk having one of them attacking him again."

More silent tears of rage fell as he remembered what had happened. Them. The Legends. They had all attacked him, one after the other, making the attacks he had faced these past weeks look like friendly brawls compared to the vicious beating he had received tonight. He couldn't remember how many of them had attacked him. He knew other people had joined after McMahon, but he had stopped counting at that moment. There had been The Rock, Stone Cold, yeah… He wasn't even sure if he had heard the GONG from the Undertaker, or if it was just his imagination. Had McMahon thrown his legendary "yoooou're fiiiiiiiired!" at him? He didn't know. But right now, he wanted out. Out of everything, the pain, the memory, this nightmare… Everything! If only he could fall unconscious again…

"We might have another problem in the arena. Make a call for more ambulances". One of the medics' voice had peaks of panic and even, hysteria. "We'll need this stretcher as well. ".

"What about him?"

"Don't worry. Just lower him on the floor. He's not going anywhere".

He felt himself being lifted and moved, more pain to his senses, before resting on the cold concrete floor. All the time he heard fragments of conversation around him. The sounds were echoing in his head. He got a brief idea of how wounded people could feel in a bombed area during some war. The darkness was gathering around him and somehow he was glad. But as the medics were precipitately walking away, he heard one word that made him snap back to reality. One name.

'Barrett'.

And all of a sudden, he understood. He remembered everything. Where he was, when he was, which match was supposed to take place right now… And his former leader Wade Barrett's plans became crystal clear for him.

CM Punk and John Cena were facing each other tonight for this 1000th episode of RAW. The milestone. If Barrett was there, and wanted to make an impact, what better plan than to resurrect the NEXUS and attack the same guys they had attacked on their first appearance two years ago?

Heath clenched his fists, gesture he regretted instantly. Two years ago he had turned his back on his true values and had faithfully followed Wade into the darkness. But since then, he had seen the man's true side and real motive. Just like the others, he had been used for Barrett's own purposes, but unlike the others, he had been on the receiving end of most of Barrett's verbal abuses, long after Nexus and The Corre had died.

The past weeks had actually been the worst ones. While Barrett was still injured and away from the ring, Heath's status had started to climb as he was week after week facing Legends from the Past. And even though those fights were far from being glorious for the One Man Rock Band, the Brit's jealousy was more and more evident through his mockery and insults toward his former team-mate.

Barrett would never ask him to join the Nexus again. Especially now, broken and destroyed as he was. He most likely needed strong pawns for whatever goal he had set his mind on. Helping a wounded one had never been his type of personality.

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Wade Barrett admired his masterpiece. His former winds of change had now become a storm which people would speak about for decades. He was observing with a smirk the similitude and differences in pattern from the scenery he had left behind him two years ago.

The ring was destroyed, so was the commentary booth. The commentators team was a bit different, though, but it didn't matter. The crowd was as stunned as two years ago - pleasant memories - and John Cena and CM Punk were out cold before him on what was left of the ring. Barrett's smirk widened as he lifted the WWE title belt above his head for all to see his real intent and the future he was announcing. Much to the board of director's decision to sully the name of NEXUS by claiming that the GM who had helped them in the past was nothing more than the dwarf Hornswoggle, making them all look like complete idiots.

Wade threw the belt back on CM Punk, but just as he made a sign to all the other Nexuses to follow him out of the ring, a new music hit the arena, startling everyone. A rock-type music Wade knew too well, but which he was so sure he'd never hear again that it took him two seconds to fully realize what was happening.

"I'm the One Man Baaaaaaaaaand!"

The blue and yellow lights flashed from the titantron and illuminated the arena, but for long seconds, no one appeared. Wade was starting to think that it was a joke from the sound engineers - just like they had done for Mark Henry with Big Show's music not so long ago - and he was already thinking of some not-so-sweet retaliation when a silhouette finally appeared on the top of the ramp, staggering. Wade narrowed his eyes and saw a very battered and bloodied Heath Slater standing there for a few seconds, looking straight at him, before slowly making his way down the ramp, limping badly and pressing his right arm against his side.

Wade motioned the Nexus in line to face the newcomer and told them to calmly wait. He had a pretty clear idea of what Heath had in mind, and he was already dancing inside. The ginger was probably going to ask to join Nexus again, hoping that his former membership would guarantee him an automatic acceptance. The Brit couldn't help a slight smirk. Heath was about to have a surprise. A very bad one. None accepts to get beaten and humiliated by dinosaurs' from the past, and joins afterwards the most terrific and notorious stable the WWE has ever known. Barrett had thought that the One Man Rock Band wasn't completely stupid and had understood the hostility he was regularly receiving. Obviously, not. This was going to be ultimately fun.

Wade saw Heath painfully climbing on the chaotic ring, and he pressed his lips together feeling like butterflies in his stomach in anticipation. The ginger was about to meet the last chapter of his total humiliation. Barrett would make him beg in front of millions, and then destroy him physically and mentally.

Heath stood up in front of him, staring right in his eyes and remained silent for a few seconds, before bending forward and putting a knee on the mat. Wade's eyes slightly widened and for a brief moment of amused disbelief, he though that Heath was about to pledge allegiance. But his amusement quickly disappeared when he saw Heath picking up CM Punk's belt, and slowly rising back on his feet.

The look in Slater's eyes suddenly took another meaning to Wade. The ginger wasn't going to beg, no. All what the Nexuses could do was stare in disbelief while the public was coming back to life and cheering like mad for the One Man Rock Band holding now the WWE belt up above his head.

It was pure defiance

Heath was staring in Wade's clear green eyes, counting mentally the passing seconds, observing how the emotions there progressively turned from surprise to pure hatred. He knew he was in for a severe beating. But he didn't care. He would probably end up in some hospital for awhile, but he didn't care. The Legends hadn't been able to put an end to him, the Nexus wouldn't either. Unless his former team-mates decided to flush their career down the toilet, and actually kill him in the ring tonight, he had made a statement; and he would come back.

What couldn't kill him, would only make him stronger.

And standing alone, in front of the whole Nexus, the WWE title above his head and the crowd chanting his name, Heath smiled.

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TO BE CONTINUED

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