AN: Hello all! See, not so slow on the update this time :) No smuttiness in this chapter, just some good old fashioned plot.


Cody and Randy were both changing into their ring gear in the locker room for the night's pay-per-view show.

"So you're going out last tonight right?" Cody asked.

"Yeah." Randy responded.

"Alright. I'm up right after Brodus' match so I'll just—"

"Shower and wait for me. I know." Cody looked at him, kind of confused by his shortness. "I'm sorry."

"I didn't say anything."

"But I know how you felt." Randy paused. "Just like I already knew the routine we go through every night." He mumbled to himself.

"What was that?"

"Nothing." Randy's phone vibrated just then and he reached for it.

"What's wrong?" Cody asked plainly.

"Nothing." Randy said, as he read a text.

"Randy."

"Look, I've got to go meet with John, Punk, and creative." Randy said, and walked towards the door with out another word. Cody just stood and stared at him as he left.

"You heard what they said! I'm going over!" Punk yelled.

"Now you agree with creative?! When it's convenient for you?!" Randy yelled back.

"When they're right!"

"But they're never right when it means good things for me, right?" John chimed in.

The three continued to argue about their upcoming triple threat match backstage.

"I'm done! Done! Get over it. You two have been at the top long enough," and with that Phil turned away from both of them before they could even respond. John and Randy stared at each other open mouthed as Punk continued to walk. John shook his head and grabbed a seat up against the wall behind him.

"God, I hate him." Randy sighed.

"He's not entirely in the wrong though. The crowd is getting kind of tired of me. They're hot on him right now."

"I know. Doesn't make me hate him any less."

"I just don't think this is how they should get him on our level. Beating both of us in one night? That's too far too fast and the casual fan isn't going to get it." John said.

"I know. Punk knows what the crowd wants most of the time, but when what they want is bad for him, he ignores it."

"And freakin creative and Vince are breathing down my neck to steal some of his buzz for myself so they don't have to push him and then they do this shit booking, making that impossible."

Randy thought for a second. "What if you don't take the pinfall?"

"It would help." He and Randy looked at each other, and John read his mind. "Randy, no. You can't. This is on me."

"John, it's not a big deal."

"It is. They want me to take the fall, it's not your problem."

"You're the big dog here." Randy spoke slowly. "Punk's already passed me up. I know that. He hasn't caught up to you yet though. I can slow him down some."

John didn't speak for a while, just continued to look at Randy. "Why are you willing to do this for me?"

Randy shrugged. "Because you're John. You're my friend. And I know more than anyone how hard you worked to get where you are and how hard you've had to work to stay there. Too hard for some flavor-of-the-month prick to go over you tonight."

John looked down for a second, before making eye contact with Randy again. "Thank you," he said sincerely. Randy nodded. "How do you think you're going to get Punk to go for it?"

"Don't worry about Phil. I can handle him."

Randy was in pursuit of Punk.

"Hey, have you seen Phil?" he asked Kofi at catering.

"You just missed him. He walked off that way," Kofi told him, pointing down a nearby hall.

Randy took off in that direction but only made it a couple of steps before Cody stepped in front of him.

"Hey," he said with a slight smile.

"Sorry Cody, I don't have time right now," Randy said, looking past his boyfriend and down the hall.

"For me to say hey?"

"For whatever it is you want to talk about."

"What are you doing?"

"Fixing something for John."

"Oh," Cody looked down. "Yeah. Okay. Later."

Randy then quickly walked past him. Cody turned and watched him, disappointed and confused.

"Punk," Randy called down a corridor to CM Punk who was walking away from him.

"I told you and John boy to deal with it. I'm done arguing with you two about it," Phil responded, not stopping or slowing down.

"That's not what I want to talk to you about." Randy said, still following him.

"Well, I don't want to talk to you about anything, sooo…"

"Phil, would you fucking stop and just let me talk business?"

Punk stopped on his heel and turned to face Randy. Randy caught up and Punk gave him an annoyed up-down. Both men were already ring ready. "Fine. But the second you start bitching about some other outcome you don't like, I'm walking."

Randy looked at him sternly for a second. "I want you to pin me tonight."

"Not John?" Punk asked him wide eyed. "Forget it."

"Why not?"

"That's not creative's plan."

"Since when do you do everything creative says?"

"Since when don't you?" Punk snapped back.

"Are you kidding me?" Randy smirked smugly. "I was ignoring creative while Paul E. was drooling over you at OVW."

"I don't want to pin you. John is the top guy, he's the guy I need to beat."

"Hey, remember when you had to job to me at Wrestlemania?" Randy said with a huge, fake, teethy grin. "Bet that still stings."

Punk shook his head. "Even so."

"And if you're so sure you're headed for the top spot, for John's spot, you know that you and him have several matches together down the road. For it to be the epic rivalry creative will need it to be, some of those wins will be yours. You'll get your win over John eventually. Me, on the other hand, I'll be busy putting over the up and comers or punting whoever needs time off; you won't get a second chance to pin me back for Wrestlemania."

Phil contemplated for a second. "Fine. If Vince or creative gets pissed, it's on you though."

Randy just nodded and both men turned and walked off in opposite directions.