Title: Just This Once, Part 8

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.


It had been almost two months since Summerslam. Despite the punishment his back took, Shawn was not paralyzed. However, his back was in serious condition and the doctor's believed it best he spend most of his time in a wheelchair. Still, they believed it was completely possible for him to fully recover and walk again. He had excelled in physical therapy and his spirits were high.

Most of this was due to Stephanie.

Contrary to Hunter's accusations, Stephanie had been a firm supporter in Shawn's battle back to the road of good health. Whenever Smackdown didn't require her attention she was with Shawn-helping him, being there for him. She was patient with his progress and believed in him. She never gave up or quit and even Shawn had to admit he was surprised by her loyalty. She had proven several people's opinions about her to be false. Instead of giving up when the going got tough, she stuck with it. Stuck with him. It made him care even more deeply for her.

In fact the situation had only added to the strength of their relationship, which, thus far, had been a raving success. When the other superstars heard of their involvement there were some raised eyebrows, but in all, they were happy for them. Shawn even had received flowers from Rikishi of all people who wished him well and had written, 'It's a very lucky thing when two people in this world finally find each other. Good luck with Stephanie.'

Shawn had been blown over by that. He didn't know Rikishi could be so poetic with words. But then, he was discovering new things every day. He had watched Hunter gloat over his 'win' and due to it, Shawn had made an appearance, via satellite, on RAW to inform fans of his condition and warn Hunter that what goes around, comes around. He had made sure to hold a sledgehammer when he'd said it. Stephanie had commented that that had been a bit over the top but he saw the smile on her face when she said it.

So, while things were slow, they were good and Shawn found himself feeling more whole then he had in a long time, as if everything had come full circle. This was why it was very ironic that Stephanie invited him to her place again. After their night together and the ensuing aftermath, Stephanie found she didn't have the heart to sell the house where she and Shawn had first made love. Her and Hunter's never used 'summer place'. She invited him over so they could spend a special evening alone together.

Shawn slowly wheeled around the garden in the backyard. It felt strange to be back at the place where everything had began, but it also felt right. Fitting. He had never even seen the backyard the first time he came. Much less the garden, which was impressive. A smooth path had been woven through, so that one could walk around and examine each flower bed. Luckily the wheels on his chair had no problem rolling along this surface.

It was obvious Stephanie had given this evening some thought. Golden Christmas lights were strung about the path of the garden and in the flowers. Just in front of the garden there was a glass table surrounded by chairs, an umbrella hanging over. An ice bucket held a fresh bottle of champagne and two steaming plates of dinner were all ready set out. Shawn could smell the enticing food but had yet to touch it. He was waiting for Stephanie, who, after escorting him to the back, had excused herself.

As he wheeled out of the garden and toward the table he heard music fill the air. He couldn't recognize it at first, then realized it was The Glenn Miller Band. He chuckled, he hadn't heard their music in years. Mostly they were played in old fashioned movies or really expensive restaurants. It wasn't his type of music but he found himself enjoying the tune anyway when she came into view.

He was positive his breath had bottled up in his throat, unable to escape. She looked amazing. Her long brown hair was curled and flowing in the wind. Her makeup and nails done to the nines. She was surprisingly barefoot but she didn't need shoes for this ensemble. She was wearing a breathtaking orange-yellow dress that floated about her, it's material like gossamer. She was over to him in a heartbeat, bending down to place a chaste kiss on his forehead.


"Stephanie, you look…" he breathed, then suddenly his eyes filled with realization, a smile spreading on his face, "You look just like your painting."

"You said I would look good in this color, didn't you?" Stephanie teased, twirling around to show him the whole view.

"Yes, I did. And as usual, I was right." He boasted, "But I am impressed you managed to dig up an exact replica of the dress in the picture."

"I had it made, just for tonight." Stephanie said softly and took a seat at the table.

"All this for me? I am flattered."

"You should be."

Shawn gave her a look that made her burst into laughter. Soon he was laughing too. Once they settled down they began to eat, both famished. They talked about little things as they ate, nothing especially important until at last Shawn couldn't resist the urge, "So why did you invite me here tonight?"

"What do you mean?"

"You said tonight is special. Why? I mean, it's not my birthday or yours and it's definitely not our anniversary so…"

"Who says we need a reason for this to be a special evening? Maybe I just wanted to do something nice for you."

"Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry." Shawn said but then he saw that mischievous glint in her eyes, "Stephanie, you little liar, there's something more to this. Now come on, telling me what it is!"

She laughed again, amused by his befuddlement. Eventually she relented, "Okay, okay-I do have an ulterior motive for this evening. I-I want to ask you something."

"Okay, what?"

Stephanie fiddled with her champagne flute for a moment, as if nervous, then bit her lip, "Well, it's about Smackdown…"

He let out a deep sigh, everything becoming clear, "You want me to sign with Smackdown."

She began speaking rapidly, "I know you said you didn't want to but that was a while ago and now that were a couple I just thought-I mean you would be a great addition to the superstars and the show and-we would get to spend more time together."

"You want me to join Smackdown." He repeated.

"Please, Shawn…"

"Well, I only have one question. What do I get in return? Increase in pay? Servants?" Shawn joked warm-heartedly, "How, Ms. McMahon, can you possibly convince me to join your show?"

She grinned and rose from her seat, rushing over to him. She carefully lowered herself on to his lap, wrapping her arms round his neck, "Well, if all else fails, I guess I'll just have to give you myself."

"Ah, so you're trying to seduce me, is that right?"

"I thought the dress gave that one away," she whispered, pulling herself in close to him. She rested her forehead a little below his chin, "I don't want to lose you, Shawn. I could have. At Summerslam. I want you to be with me, I want us to be as close as possible. I want you to come to Smackdown for personal reasons, not professional ones."

"I thought you said I would be a great addition to the superstars?"

"You would, I just meant-"

"I know, I know. I'm just tugging your chain," Shawn continued to tug her chain however, as he rubbed his chin and verbally contemplated his decision in a dry tone, "Hmm, Smackdown. Well…after the situation with Hunter, I don't suppose RAW offers me much anymore, anyway. And I sure did make a lot of enemies before I left so…I suppose I could…"

"Oh Shawn! Thank you!" Stephanie cried, her grip on him tightening as she sat up and kissed him. He knew his teasing had been well worth it as she kissed him. Every kiss between them always seemed different and new. It was exciting, the possibility that they had finally found, as Rikishi had put it, 'that special someone'.

As she drew away she rested in his arms, a bundle of happiness. Shawn stroked her hair and sighed. The song that had been previously playing ended and a new one began. Stephanie shifted in his arms slightly, "'Moonlight Serenade'. I've always loved this song."

"Oh yeah?" Shawn whispered, his head resting against her scalp which he idly kissed now and then.

"Mmm." She rose off his lap and stood, "I should probably clean this stuff up. Then we'll go inside and catch a movie. Maybe even," she moved in close to his ear, her lips brushing his earlobe, "go upstairs."

Shawn prayed he wasn't blushing because if he was, he would be totally humiliated. If he was, Stephanie didn't say a word as she drew away. She turned, ready to go collect the plates, when Shawn held up a hand, "No, wait."

Stephanie turned to him, a question on her lips. He rested his hands on the armrests of his chair and with a grunt, began to raise himself up. Stephanie watched, awe struck as Shawn stood up before her. He gave her the most beautiful smile as he walked over and took her hands in his. He rested one of her hands on his shoulder and looked into her eyes, "We still have to dance."

Tears were brimming in her baby blues as she gasped, "Shawn, you can walk!"

"I can also dance." He whispered and pulled her close, slowly moving her to the music. Stephanie cried for several moments, joy overwhelming her. Shawn murmured soothing words as he danced with her. She was like a puppet in his hands, his actions having frozen her.

"How-I mean your back…"

"You know I've been practicing," Shawn replied easily, "Besides, its worth it, to dance with you."

Stephanie sniffled as he twirled her out, then brought her back in. He moved slowly but gracefully, his hands gentle on her skin and her mind flashed to the first time they made love. The man was a God send, she knew that now. He held her close, his cheek pressed against her forehead as they slow danced. They danced long after that song ended and the next one began. When he did draw away he thumbed a hand along the back of her ear, "Hey now, what's this?"

Something fell from behind Stephanie's ear, tumbling to the ground. Stephanie's face was full of confusion as Shawn bent down to grab what had 'fallen' from behind her ear. He rested on one knee and raised up a perfect little ring. Stephanie's hands went to her mouth and Shawn shook her head, "Hold on, Princess. This isn't quite what you think."

He rose until he was standing again. He took her hand in his own and slipped the ring on her finger, explaining, "This isn't an engagement ring. This is something of a promise ring. I bought it for you. It symbolizes you and me, our relationship and-and I hope you'll wear it."

"Shawn, I'll never take it off." Stephanie said through new tears, holding her hand as if it was a sacred object, her eyes locked on the ring.

"Good, because I…" He was cut off as she threw her arms around him in another hug. He hugged her back, both of them mindlessly happy.

"I wondered why you were doing with the old 'coin behind the ear' trick," she laughed, then pulled back to look at his face, "Shawn, I think I'm falling more deeply in love with you everyday."

"Really? Great. I'm falling more in love with you, too." He said, a hand running along her cheek.

"Shawn, I know I have asked this a million times before but, you and me, do you think this will work?"

He grinned and as he pulled her in for a kiss he answered, "Just this once."