Title: Just This Once, Part 1

Author: Kora

E-mail: KrazyKora@aol.com or WinterViolet24@aol.com

Rating: R

Disclaimer: The following characters belong to WWE and all the people and companies who deal with all that legal stuff. I am simply using the characters for my own twisted enjoyment.

Author's Note: This is my first WWE fan fiction and I feel I should point some stuff out so I can avoid flames-

This is a fan fiction based on characters from the WWE. This story does not represent the real Stephanie McMahon or Shawn Michaels, etc. It is based on their fictional characters not the actual people themselves.

I am fully aware Shawn Michaels is married and that it has even been announced on the show that he has a wife and child. However, seeing as this is fiction, I am pretending he does not.

No offense is meant to any Triple H/Stephanie fans nor Stephanie/Jericho, Stephanie/Kurt Angle fans. I wrote this story because those particular couples have about twenty or so great stories all ready dedicated to them and I wanted to do something different. I like Stephanie. I like Shawn. So I figured, why not? Please do not e-mail me with disappointment that I chose this couple and ask me to write something else, I like to write things that I am interested in.

If you would like to send me feedback with constructive criticism I would be pleased as punch to receive it! I love to hear from people who actually read my piddling little pieces of work.

There is no set time frame in this story. A lot of it is set around the events that took place before and after Summerslam 2002. I don't want to receive comments like, 'This couldn't have happened in this short amount of time' because all in all, the comment is kinda silly. This is just a fan fiction, relax and have fun reading it-don't over analyze! :)

I don't want people to think I'm a jerk 'cause I have all these opening comments. I only place them here because I don't want to get burned by reader's responses.

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Shawn Michaels' knocked on the door apprehensively. He checked the address one more time and prayed he was at the right house. He had to admit that if this was the right place it was exactly how he would have imagined it. The house was massive, looming above him with high pillars and marble stairs. Its design and architecture beautiful beyond comprehension.

Just as Shawn was about to knock again the large oak door popped open and he was greeted by Stephanie McMahaon, "Shawn, I'm glad you could make it. Was the house hard to find?"

"Nah, piece of cake." Shawn replied, crumpling up the written address in his hand and tossing it aside.

"Please come in." Stephanie said, opening the door wider. Shawn cautiously walked inside and looked around. The inside of the house was even more lavish than the outside. Paintings, sculptures, plush furniture-he felt like he was in a museum as opposed to a home. Still, he was polite; "Great place you got here."

"It's all right. I think it's a bit too big. I mean, I'm the only one living here considering...well, follow me."

Shawn could tell Stephanie was uncomfortable which was an odd thing to see from her, she scratched behind her ear idly and her hands fumbled with each other, showing her anxiety clearly.

Shawn decided to speak up, thinking conversation might relax, her, "So, why am I here? You gonna try and sign me from RAW to Smackdown. Because if so, I don't think you're going to have much luck."

"Oh no, nothing like that. I thought the note I sent told you why I wanted you to come over."

"No, it was pretty short. All it said was that you needed to see me, that it was important, and the address and directions." Shawn said all of this in disconnected distraction as he followed her, his eyes looking all around. It was impossible not to be fascinated by all the eye candy that surrounded the house.

"Well, if you didn't know or guess all ready, this house was supposed to be for Hunter and I. We started having it built not long after we got married. It was going to be something of a summer place but construction got held up and Hunter and I ran into all these problems and...now with the divorce," Stephanie paused on the last part.

Before now she had been talking rapidly, as if wanting to get everything out and done with as soon as possible, but toward the end she had begun to slow down as if talking was painful. Shawn could see her shoulders tighten as she forced herself to continue, "Now with the divorce this place doesn't seem very necessary. However, it was finished only two months before our divorce and some stuff was all ready moved in. Some of it belongs to you, things Hunter burrowed and etc. so I thought you might want it back."

"Oh...well, thanks, Steph." Shawn said lamely, wincing. Jeez, you're great on being comforting, ain'tcha, Shawn? His thoughts muttered at him contemptuously. It was obvious Stephanie was in a lot of pain. Even doing something as simple as this upset her because it reminded her of what went wrong between her and Hunter. Shawn swallowed thickly and found he couldn't help but ask, "So considering everything that happened, I mean, what's gonna happen to this place?"

"I'm selling it." Stephanie answered firmly, her shoulders still tight, "I'm going to have to repack all this stuff and move it out. I didn't even move most of this stuff in-the furniture, paintings-that was all the movers and workers. They had it all set up after they finished the building so Hunter and I could just move in. But seeing as that's not going to happen I've got to get it all out. I started last week and as I was moving through I came across this stuff that I know belongs to you."

Shawn had been following Stephanie for some time through the massive house and for a minute or two he wondered if their walk would ever end. At last they walked under an archway and came into a gorgeous living room. Most of the things in the room were boxed up and marked but everything that remained was amazing. Big screen television, home entertainment system, three leather recliners, two leather couches, a grand stand piano, and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

Stephanie walked over to one table and opened a big box. Shawn could see his name printed on the side. Stephanie reached inside and pulled out an old cowboy hat. Shawn chuckled and took it from her, placing it on his head, "I forgot all about this thing."

"Don't you have fifty of those?" Stephanie teased light-heartedly.

"Aw, you see this one's special," Shawn removed the hat and showed Stephanie the brim. There was a large black smudge but it was easy to see the smudge had once been a phone number. Beneath it, clearly printed, was the name 'Chantel'.

"Chantel?" Stephanie asked, a gleam in her eye.

Shawn grinned broadly, "Great girl. Hunter and I met her at a bar a long time ago. She could ride a mechanical bull like you would not believe. Drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, wonderful laugh. This was long before we met up with you though. Back in our 'wild' days."

"How are you and Hunter? I heard about how you two had an...altercation a few days ago on RAW."

"Oh. That." Shawn's head dropped in remembrance. Hunter had stopped by Shawn's dressing room at RAW and left him a present, insisting that his old friend wear it and meet him in the ring. Shawn had been delighted to see it was an old Degeneration X shirt. He'd worn the shirt down to the ring, excited by the prospect of DX making a comeback. That dream was shattered however when Hunter pulled a double-face, delivering his own version of 'sweet chin music' and then pedigreeing Shawn.

Shaking his head, Shawn replied, "I dunno. What ever it is, Hunter and I'll work it out. I think he was just messing around or somethin'." His head remained bowed with thought as he said this, absently running a hand over his cowboy hat. Stephanie could see his disappointment, his sadness. It reminded her of herself. She had the feeling that deep inside he was as sad as he was angry at Hunter. She knew exactly how that felt.

Shawn began to go through the box in interest, trying to get his mind off his troubles, "You know Stephanie, this was real good of you, to save this stuff for me. I know sometimes we haven't met eye to eye and sometimes we've even been at each other's throats or heck, there have even been times when we've gotten along like peas in a pod but this was..."

Shawn stopped the moment he realized he'd heard a muffled sob. He closed his eyes tightly. Oh Jesus. He slowly turned and saw Stephanie's back was to him, those tight shoulders hunched. She was fighting so hard not to cry, fighting so hard that it had become audible. Shawn found himself swallowing again as he walked over and gently laid a hand on her shoulder, "Come on now, Steph..."

"Don't! Please!" Stephanie bit out, pushing his hand away. He caught a glimpse of her face and could tell it was bright red. She took in a deep breath, her voice coming out in a wavering, watery quiver, "I'm sorry. I didn't think I was going to do this...not now. Please just, take your stuff and leave."

"Steph..."

"Go, Shawn. I want to be alone!" Stephanie whined noisily.

Do it, Shawn. You know you're no good at this! The voice in his head commanded. And Shawn seriously considered it. This wasn't his place, his business. He had no right to interfere. But then, what kind of person, what kind of friend, would he be if he left her here like this? He knew he was Hunter's friend first but as a human being he couldn't leave this woman alone crying.

Stephanie could feel Shawn's presence. Knew he was standing behind her and asked tersely, "Didn't I ask you to leave?"

"I can't, Stephanie. You know that."

"Why?!" Stephanie's eyes closed tighter on a fresh wave of tears as she heard her voice. It had sounded so twisted and pathetic.

"Because I can't leave you like this, all alone in this big place with all these dead dreams and...you're crying, sweetheart. It wouldn't be right of me."

"I don't care what you think is right or wrong. All I care about is me and what I want and I want you to LEAVE!" Stephanie cried.

"I can't."

"GET OUT!" Stephanie screamed and turned to him, pounding her fists on his chest. He didn't move an inch and Stephanie found herself breaking in two. With a strangled cry the tears and sobs escaped, wracking her frail form. She began to collapse and Shawn caught her, smoothly walking her over to the couch where she fell apart in his arms. He held her the entire time as she wept and when she was done she rested quietly. Not stirring as he brushed a hand over her hair soothingly.

Shawn wasn't much one for consoling hysterical females but he had seen enough movies to get the general idea of what to do. Be quiet and just sit there. His hand stroking her hair had actually come naturally. He vaguely remembered his mother doing something similar to him when he was a child and would go into fits. It seemed to do the trick as she calmed. When at last she did move she pulled away with a puffy face and weak smile, "Thank you for that."

"No problem. Just don't tell anybody. Don't want people thinking I'm becoming all mushy." He joked.

Stephanie actually rewarded him with a thin laugh, "Same here. Don't tell anyone I...went all berserk like that."

"I don't think that was Stephanie-berserk. Stephanie-berserk is more like when you start whining and screaming at people at the top of your lungs. You know, like when you shout at Bischoff and your voice literally cracks."

"I do sound bad then, don't I?"

"Kinda. But it could be worse."

"I don't know. Sometimes my voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard. I wish it was more sultry like Stacy's or Torrie's."

"I think it's just fine. After all, you could sound like Nidia."

They both laughed at that. So many joked floated around about the redneck female wrestler that merely mentioning her name brought about a million to mind, all of them hysterically amusing. Eventually Stephanie returned the conversation to the issue at hand, "It was nice of you to do that. Be with me. I don't want anyone to have to see me like that. I hate to get so emotional around people but...I don't know."

"I do," Shawn answered simply, "I know. I've been watching you on Smackdown every week, Steph. Bischoff tells us not to watch but you know how curiosity can get the better of you. Anyway, I've seen you and I can see that bold front you put up. You're always pushing away from it or hiding it but I know what's there underneath. Your divorce from Hunter, no matter how long in the works, is all in all still fresh. You and Hunt really loved each other and it's a sad thing when things don't work out and end up like this. You've been putting off the tears and pain so long that today it just finally struck and exploded. I understand, heck, I'll even admit I've been there. And I know when it hits you want to be alone but sometimes its better if someone is there. That way you don't feel so isolated and awful."

"I guess you're right." Stephanie moaned, rubbing her eyes, "I have been holding it off too long. Mourning Hunter and our marriage. I wish things had been different but," she took a deep breath and gave him a grin, "Look, it was nice of you to do this with me but I'm sure you've got things to do and people to see. How about I help you with your stuff and walk you out."

Shawn rubbed his chin, "Well, actually, I don't really have any plans. And I imagine that, despite what you say, you don't really want to be left alone right now."

Stephanie was about to argue but stopped, nodding in defeat. Shawn gave her another killer grin and patted her back, "So how about you and I hang out?"

"You and me?" Stephanie asked as if the concept was entirely foreign. It had always been Hunter and Shawn or Hunter and Stephanie or Hunter, Stephanie, and Shawn, never just Shawn and Stephanie. Even if Hunter left to use the can and Shawn and Stephanie were left on their own they usually settled into a silence until he returned.

But for some unknown reason, Shawn found the idea appealed to him immensely, "Yeah. It'll be fun! Why not enjoy this house just once before you sell it. I doubt you've even seen all the rooms or played with any of this stuff."

"Played?"

"Yeah, sure. Look at this TV." Shawn said, getting up from the couch to examine the home entertainment center. Shawn began to run his hands about it, showing it off like he was a game show host. Stephanie laughed as he continued in a cheap, commercial-like voice. "This large screen television set features surround sound, DVD, satellite dish, and all the latest features and it can all be yours if you say the magic words, 'yes, Shawn, I'd love to spend the evening with you, oh great Show Stopper!"

Stephanie fanned her hands out, mocking feign, "Oh Show Stopper! I swoon at your gracious offer and find I must accept."

"So you're game?"

Stephanie thought for a moment, her lips twisted to one side before saying, "Sure. Why not? It might be nice to get to know you better."

"Great! Now I get to play with this TV." Shawn said, moving over to the couch and television remote quickly.

Stephanie sighed, "Oh I see, just using me to get closer to the television. Typical. You men and your toys."

"What?! This TV is awesome! And you have surround sound no less!"

"You're telling me with all the money you made wrestling you don't have a television like this?"

"Sort of. But this one's nicer and newer." Shawn said as he rapidly flipped through the channels.

"Well I might have some food around this place. Go see what's on pay-per-view while I look."

Shawn nodded, not really listening as he was too focused on the channels that flashed by. When Stephanie returned she had a big bowl of popcorn and beers in hand. Stephanie handed Shawn a can, which he looked at skeptically, "Budweiser?"

She nodded, "While Hunter's never been here and I only came here for the first time a week ago the movers have been in and out for months. They left us beer, half uneaten cold pizza, and one thing of microwavable popcorn."

"Wow. Living in your house while you're not here. Does that make you mad?"

"Not really. Glad someone enjoyed the place." Her voice was bitter but she shook her head, trying to change her attitude, "I know beer and popcorn is an odd combo but I guess we'll just have to live with it. Anything on the television?"

"Not much. Some sitcoms, reruns mostly, a few infomercials. Pay-per-view doesn't offer much either but I figure since you've got satellite there might be something on HBO."

"Sounds good, let's check it out."

Shawn flipped the channels some more until they landed on HBO. 'Miss Congeniality' was on and Shawn rolled his eyes as Stephanie remarked, "Oh, I love this movie!"

For her sake he smiled, "Okay, we'll watch this."

"You don't have to suffer a chick flick for me, Shawn. You can change the channel."

"What? And miss Sandra Bullock trying on pretty clothes? Watching girls get their hair and make-up done? Are you kidding? I live for this stuff."

Stephanie merely smiled and settled in next to Shawn, nibbling at the popcorn. They sat on the couch eating popcorn and drinking beer in silence for a while before warming up to conversation. Shawn made sure to avoid Hunter as much as he could. Instead asking her questions he thought might interest her. He figured learning about her would teach him something new and keep her mind off things.

Of course they spent a lot of time goofing off as well. Shawn held the television remote in his hand and pretended it was a microphone, speaking into it in a very corny voice, "Now with me is the lovely Stephanie McMahon. Now, Stephanie, what do you think of this film?"

Stephanie giggled and decided to play along, leaning into the fake microphone, "I think its great, Shawn. These girls show real talent and their fashion sense is impeccable."

"I agree. Seeing Sandra Bullock hide food between her breasts is very classy," Stephanie laughed louder as Shawn carried on, "Now you, Miss Steph, are looking very fine this evening. Can you tell us what you're wearing?"

"Yes I can, Shawn," Stephanie said, trying to sound breathy, "I'm wearing a Donna Karen original. It's a red, sleeveless day dress and I've added black patent leather high heels to this ensemble. And how about you, Mr. Michaels, who are you wearing?"

"If I was lucky I'd be wearing Sandra Bullock. All night long." Shawn said, his tongue hanging out. Stephanie smacked him lightly and he grinned, continuing, "No, no I'm wearing a black Hanes shirt, blue Levi jeans, and cowboy boots and I'll have you know I am the height of male fashion!"

"Even with the long 80's hair?"

"Hey now, no jokes about the hair."

"And I see your shirt and jeans are both tight. Is that some kind of fashion statement?"

"Actually Steph, it's tight to show off my bod and might I say what a bod I have."

Stephanie avoided another eye roll as their little skit ended. Shawn grabbed the remote suddenly and clicked off the television, turning to Stephanie, "You know, since neither you or I is really into the movie, how about we do something else."

"Oh? Like what?"

"How about you take me on a tour of this big, friggin' monster of a house."

"All right, sounds good. In fact, it will be eye opening to the both of us. You were right when you said I probably haven't even seen all the rooms. I haven't. There are probably about five rooms upstairs I've never even looked at, much less been in."

"Well then come on, it'll be an adventure. The movers all ready put stuff in these rooms. Bet the other rooms are decorated too. It'll be like walking around someone else's house."

"Yeah. This place is like a stranger's. Never mine." Stephanie said quietly.

Shawn could see her thoughts were returning to her and Hunter's failed marriage and he was about to suggest that maybe looking around was a bad idea when Stephanie got to her feet and started walking away. He trailed after her, not saying a word. He knew he should probably speak up about this possibly not being such a good idea but his curiosity was overwhelming. He really was interested in seeing the other rooms.

As they walked from room to room, Shawn wondered what had possessed him to spend time with Ms. Stephanie McMahon, the Billion-Dollar Princess. There had been the excuse that he had wanted to comfort her but part of him knew it was more than that. For some strange reason, he had wanted to spend time with her, get to know her. Sure, they had been around each other often. Her, Hunter's wife, and he, Hunter's best friend, but they knew little about each other.

Shawn had always secretly viewed Stephanie as a snot-nosed, stuck up Daddy's little rich girl and thought Hunter's marriage to her to be a mistake. One couldn't necessarily blame him. After all, once you knew Vince McMahon, you couldn't help but think all McMahon's were rotten. And it wasn't like Stephanie's first impression had been good. She had been a jealous, vindictive, whiny bitch-not many a wrestler had liked her.

Still, after she left and her relationship with Hunter began to deteriorate, she became a different person. More grown-up, more likeable. She still had that edge, was still someone you didn't want to cross but since becoming Smackdown's GM she had really matured. It was obvious even in the way she dressed. She was still something of a Diva but now with more class. She had become a little more conservative but not overbearingly so, like Molly Holly. And from talking to her, Shawn found he generally liked her. Shawn was snapped out of these thoughts when he heard Stephanie gasp.

"I can't believe they put it up."

Shawn looked up to see a painting of a woman in a long orange dress. She was fast asleep, her face rested on the crook of her arm, her brown hair spilling over like a wave.

"This is 'Flaming June' by Lord Frederic Leighton. It's one of my favorite paintings. I saw a poster of it in my High School English class and have loved it ever since. I can't believe they got me a copy."

"It's nice," Shawn replied. He was never much one for art. It all looked the same to him. He couldn't grasp the deep meaning most people weeded out of the pictures. Yet he found in this particular painting something familiar, something he couldn't put his finger on.

There was something about it...

Then it slipped out.

"She looks like you."

Shawn sort of frowned after he said it. It wasn't the kind of thing he would normally say, nor was it something he figured he should say but it was too late now. But then, he figured flattery couldn't be too dangerous.

Stephanie certainly appreciated it as she blushed a light pink, "No. I don't think so."

Seeing how touched she was, Shawn felt there was nothing wrong with giving her a few more compliments. After all, considering all she had gone through in the last few months, a few praises couldn't hurt. Shawn saw it all to be harmless as he continued, "Sure you do. Same dark hair, nice build. All you need is an orange dress and you're set. In fact, you'd probably look stunning in that color."

"I don't know-"

"You do look good, Steph. Seriously, you've really gotten very pretty over the past few years. I like what you've done with your hair." Shawn felt like he sounded a bit over the top, even borderline feminine but Stephanie merely smiled.

"Well that crimped look made me look kind of slutty as did the old wardrobe and as the new GM of Smackdown I felt I should bring along a new presence. I mean, I represent the show and all its superstars so I think it's important I look my best."

"You do." Shawn assured her as they started walking again. Their tour had started downstairs but had quickly ended up being on the second floor. They had mostly seen bathrooms, living rooms, and game rooms but eventually they wandered into guestrooms and finally the master bedroom.

Both Stephanie and Shawn felt awkward in this room. Once Stephanie had opened the door they had both merely stared into it, not turning on the lights. Not daring to enter. It was supposed to have been a place for two married lovers. Instead it seemed cold despite its magnificence. Shawn could see that someone had slept on top of the bed. The comforter slightly usurped. He could also see the tears forming in Stephanie's eyes.

"This was supposed to be our room," She said under her breath, "Hunter's and mine. King size bed, black silk sheets, white down comforter, wooden four-post bed...it was supposed to be..."

Stephanie's hand was gripped on the door tightly and Shawn touched her shoulder again, "Maybe we should leave."

"No. I promised you a full tour." Stephanie said, wiping at her eyes. She refused to cry again. Refused to be weak, "And a full tour it will be."

She stepped into the room fearlessly and Shawn followed. He had to admit the room was impressive. He was so absorbed in looking around the room he didn't see the sneaker on the floor in front of him. He promptly tripped, landing hard face first on the floor, a flash of pain shooting up his back and along his face.

"SHAWN!" Stephanie rushed to him quickly, getting down on her knees to rest near him.

"AH! Don't touch my back!" Shawn ordered, the old wrestling injury flaring up. The merest tumble or quick movement and his back cried out in pain. Using the simplest thing as an excuse to put him in agony.

"Oh god, I'm so sorry!" Stephanie gasped as she tossed aside the sneaker that had made him trip in disgust.

"It's all right. I'm fine, its just my back...head kinda hurts too."

"Ohhh-it's cut." Stephanie noted, seeing a small bloody gash near his forehead, "You must have landed on something-hit your head..."

She searched in vain for what could have caused the gash but quickly gave up, "Is there anything I can do? How can I help?'

"I can't think of-"

"I know." Stephanie leaned over him and at first Shawn couldn't see a thing. Suddenly he felt her hands on his back. He was about to cry out and tell her to stop when the massage began. Shawn couldn't bite back a groan of pleasure. Her hands were amazing. It was like she knew exactly where to touch and how. No wonder Hunter had never been sore after a match during their marriage.

Shawn rested against the floor, a puddle of sublime delight as Stephanie slowly worked the kinks out. He didn't know how long she was there as he floated in and out of relaxed delirium but every now and then her hair brushed the back of his neck or face, keeping him somewhat alert.

Eventually he heard her soft voice in his ear, "Shawn, I'm going to flip you over now, okay? I want to bandage up that cut."

Shawn replied with a muted whimper. His body was still reeling from her wonderful rubdown. Stephanie gently rolled him over onto his back. He lay there, bliss written all over his face. Stephanie giggled at that look then hissed as she spied his cut.

"Whatever got you, it got you good. I'll patch that up for you."

"I don't even feel it." Shawn said in a sleepy voice, still off in dreamland.

"Well I think I should fix it up anyway."

As Shawn lay there on the floor, he wondered what would happen next in this unexpectedly surprising evening.