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NEWSFLASHES!!!! | LINKS | RAW THOUGHTS - June 3, 2002 | KING OF THE RING Thoughts.......... | Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely | Joint Custody | PHOTOS..... | Photos - Pg 2 | Fool's Gold (Parts 1 & 2) | Fool's Gold (parts 3&4) | Fool's Gold (parts 5 & 6) | Fool's Gold (Parts 7 & 8) | Fool's Gold (Parts 9 - 11) | A Lesson in Human Relations | Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad | Snowed In : The Hunter Christmas Eve Session | In Memoriam | Daily Log Page for 3/22/02 | Disenchanted (part 1) | Disenchanted (part 2-3) | Disenchanted - parts 4 - 5 | Postings List | Goodbyes and Other Unfinished Business - Chapter 1 | Guest Book | Contact Me | Daily Log Page for 4/3/02


Joint Custody


Sequel to "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely"

      Shawn drove frantically toward the airport. It was 8:35 and he wanted to be waiting at the gate when Hunter's flight arrived. He had just five minutes to spare when he got to the gate. A voice came over the loud speaker calling him to a concourse courtesy phone. Shawn strolled over to it calmly - not expecting it to be upsetting news.

      "Hello." He said when he picked up the phone. 

      "Shawn, hi, it's Stephanie." Her voice came across the line. "I guess it's good you're already at the airport. Can you come to Denver - now?"

      "What's wrong, Steph?" He asked, trying to stay calm with the alarm in her voice. "What's wrong with Hunter?"

      "Daddy overheard Hunter's half of the conversation the two of you had Wednesday morning." She answered tearfully. "He's in bad shape, Shawn, really bad."

      "Stephanie, what did Vince have done to him?" Shawn asked, fearing the worst. 

      "He put him in a handicap cage match with Show and Taker." She sobbed. "Shawn, they threw him from the top of the cage to the floor and then they drug him back to the locker room..."

      "I'll be there on the next flight. I've got a suitcase in the car." Shawn answered. "Stephanie, stay with him till I get there."

      Shawn ran back to the car and got his bags. He went to the Delta ticket counter to see if they could get him on the next available flight. 

      "Hon, it leaves in thirty-five minutes. That's the quickest we've got." The clerk told him "Do you want it?"

Silently, he handed her his credit card. When she handed him the boarding pass, he thanked her and ran off toward the gate - the plane was already boarding. He took his seat with his mind reeling. He took his wallet out of jacket pocket to put his credit card away. As he flipped through it, he found a picture of Hunter that was taken several years earlier. He had just joined up with the Kliq - Shawn couldn't believe how young and innocent he still looked. He closed his wallet and put it away when he noticed someone sit down beside him.
      The flight was uneventful and Shawn got a rental car immediately and headed for the hospital that Stephanie had told him to meet her at. The car he rented was larger than what he normally would've gotten, but he figured that they might need it. He turned the radio on as he drove toward the hospital and ignored what it was playing - he just needed some distracting noise.
      He parked in the visitor parking lot and went in. He found a guide on the wall that told him where the ICU was. He took the elevator up to the 6th floor and went to find Stephanie. He entered the waiting room to see her sitting in a corner alone. She was still crying and rocking herself back and forth in an oversized chair. She didn't deserve to be a pawn in her father's games, even if she'd willing signed on to play this one. 

      "Stephanie, shhh, talk to me." Shawn whispered as he knelt down beside her. "Come on, tell me what's going on."

      "Shawn, I want him to be happy. I can't make him happy." She sobbed against his shoulder. "But Daddy can't see past what might happen - he can't forgive Hunter for our getting married. Daddy told me the other day that Hunter owed him more for that than he ever did for the formation of D-X or the curtain call."

      "Stephanie, I'll fix this. I don't know how, but I will fix this." Shawn replied. "I should've taken care of this right after the curtain call - but I didn't have the balls to do it then and I let Hunter take so much shit. I'm surprised he doesn't hate me."

      "Hate you, Shawn, he loves you more than anything on earth!" Stephanie said strongly. "Do you have any idea how much it destroyed him to set you up for the corporation?"

      "No, I just forgave him because I figured I deserved it." Shawn said quietly. "No wonder he was asking me to forgive him the other day." 

      "Shawn, he was literally sick to his stomach after that. He couldn't eat or keep anything down for days afterward." Stephanie whispered. "When he beat Daddy at Armageddon to keep our marriage in tact, Daddy just went nuts.  He came into the locker room and drug Hunter out of the shower. I mean it was December. Daddy drug Hunter outside in the cold without as much as a towel to protect him from the weather. Show and Drew took turns with him outside. I finally got Brian and Sean to help me get him back inside and cleaned up. It was brutal - much more brutal than the match."

      "I had no idea. He cut all ties with me for quite a while around that time." Shawn admitted sadly. "But if it's the last thing I do, I will fix this. Vince will not hurt him again."

      A few moments later, a doctor entered the waiting room to talk to them. He came over to Stephanie and told her that they could go into Hunter's room for a few minutes. She stood up and straightened herself up a bit. Nervously, she took Shawn's hand as they walked down the hall to Hunter's room. Shawn immediately felt guilty and sick when he saw Hunter. His left arm was in a soft cast from the shoulder down, there were several small bandages covering stitches on his face, his eyes were almost swollen shut and he was bruised and battered over probably 85% of his body. 

      "Stephanie, who's with you?" Hunter whispered, barely able to speak. 

      "Hunter, I called Shawn. He caught the first flight he could get." She answered quietly. "I thought you'd want him here with you."

Hunter nodded his head slightly and reached his hand out for Shawn to take hold of it. Shawn took hold of the outstretched hand, grabbing it firmly but gently. Shawn couldn't control the tears that were forming in his eyes and they started rolling down his cheeks. 

      "Hunt, I'm here and I will fix this. I don't know exactly how I'm gonna do it yet, but I promise you that Vince will never lay a hand on you again." Shawn openly sobbed.

      "Shawn, don't worry about it. I'm going to be fine." Hunter whispered. "I'm a little banged up right now, that's all."

      "No, that's not all and it's not fine." Shawn said forcefully. "I will not let you take anymore shit off of Vince. Don't you realize how much it kills us to see him do things like this to you?"

      Stephanie left the room. She couldn't bear to watch her husband  interact with the man he loved so much he'd take unnecessary and inhumane punishment from her father for. However, she knew that in a slightly different way he loved her just as much because he'd taken similar abuse for her. She went back to the waiting room to sit. She couldn't explain what she felt when she saw Hunter and Shawn together. She truly thought she could handle it because she loved Hunter so much that she only wanted him to be happy. She was still lost in her thoughts when Shawn returned to the waiting room.

      "Stephanie, I won't take him from you. If you still want him and love him I'll be happy to take what I can get." Shawn offered as he sat down beside her.

      "Shawn, I do love him and I know that he loves me, but it's so different from the way he feels for you." She answered. "You and he are soul mates. I'm just a friend that shares a lot with him. We've both been through hell at the hands of my father and I have always admired the stoic way he takes it. I wish I could be that strong. He never complains, or cries out. I just wish I had a way to make it easier for him. I want to have everything end with him and Daddy."

      "Stephanie, I guess what I'm saying is that he won't want either one of us to hurt over this." Shawn said quietly. "I think it's better if we arrange sort of a joint custody situation for him between ourselves instead of forcing him to choose immediately. Once we have Hunter's emotional and physical needs settled then we could more effectively go after your father."

      "Okay, I see what you're saying. So like when we're on the road he's mine but on off days or strictly extended trips for house shows you can be with him?" She said with a slight smile. 

      "Yeah, that's kinda what I had in mind." Shawn said as he hugged her. "I think this family arrangement will work out great."

      Hunter had drifted back into a medication-induced sleep after Stephanie and Shawn had left him alone. He replayed the events of night before. He and Stephanie had arrived at the arena a couple of hours before the show was supposed to start. They met with Blackjack Lanza as soon as they walked in. He told them that Vince had changed the card and Hunter would be facing Show and Taker in a cage. Stephanie had started to protest, but Hunter just nodded in agreement and they went on to the locker room. 
      He remembered listening to the ring announcer explain the rules for winning the match. Knowing that he was much quicker than either one of his opponents, he knew he would have to use his quickness and agility to his advantage. He made his way to the ring to a chorus of boos. He knew the fans didn't like him, but that was the way he liked it. Taker and Show got big pops when they walked down the aisle. The match started as any cage match would - Hunter immediately moved to defend himself against Taker. Before he could mount much of an offensive, Show distracted him long enough to allow Taker to get the chain out of his boot. They wrapped the thick steel chain tightly around Hunter's throat. He couldn't breathe - the fans were cheering because they didn't understand that this wasn't an instance of everything being faked. It was real and very, very scary. Stephanie paced back and forth behind the curtain. She didn't know if Hunter would make it through the match okay or not and she had no idea why her dad was pulling such a stunt. She looked through the curtains about the time Show was holding Hunter over the edge of the cage by the chain around his throat. Taker had already escaped the cage and hollered for Show to let go of the chain.  Hunter's body fell heavily to the floor below and he landed badly on his left arm. Show then jumped off of the cage and helped Taker drag Hunter up the aisle.
      When they walked back through the curtain, Stephanie tried to go to him, but Taker told her that she could get some of what her husband was about to get if she didn't stay out of their way. They then took out a pair of sheers and cut the tight pleather material from Hunter's body. They then ordered Stephanie to come over to remove his boots, socks and anything else that he was wearing - including his tape covered wedding ring. After she took all of the things off of him, Show threw Hunter over his shoulder and they carried him off to a locker room. It was almost two hours later when she was able to get to him again.
      Hunter was admitted to the hospital with a concussion, three broken ribs, a lacerated kidney, ruptured spleen, dislocated elbow and numerous bumps and bruises as well as the unmistakable proof that they'd raped him. He was immediately taken to surgery to set his arm and remove his spleen. Stephanie - who hadn't heard about the conversation that Hunter had with Shawn - called her dad to find out why he'd changed the match and to let him know what had been done to her husband. Vince told her that she was being betrayed by her husband and his lover, Shawn Michaels. Stephanie knew that her father was lying, but she was in no position to argue with him.
      It was about three hours later when they went back in to spend some time with Hunter. He was resting quietly. Shawn slipped in and stole a look at his chart. The doctor had noted on it that they would probably move him to a private room in a day or so. The nurse came in to try to give Hunter a bath, but Stephanie told her that she and Shawn could manage it.  After they finished washing Hunter off, they told him goodnight and left to go get dinner and get some sleep back at the hotel.

After they were back at the hotel for the night, Stephanie took a shower and went to bed. Shawn was watching the news and thinking about how they were going to get back at Vince for everything hed done to Hunter. An idea struck him and he quietly dialed a number.

"Hello," a female voice came across the line. "Whos there?"

"Linda, its Shawn." He answered softly. "I need your help with something."

"Is it work related or personal?" She inquired. "Cause right now Im up to my eyes in damage control after the house show cage match got out of hand Thursday night."

"Then, actually, I would like to offer to help you with that very task." Shawn answered. "I know what happened and why. You think we can work something out?"

"Ill be in Denver first thing in the morning." She replied. "Have you heard from Hunter or Stephanie?"

"Yeah, Im here in Denver with them. Stephanie is tore up over it emotionally and Hunter," Shawn paused. "Well, Hunters in pretty bad shape."

"How bad? I mean will he be able to come back from it?" Linda asked nervously.

"Eventually." Shawn replied. "According to his chart he had to have surgery for a ruptured spleen and a dislocated elbow, needed 17 stitches for the cuts on his face, a lacerate kidney, a bruised larynx, and they raped him."

"Oh, my god. I had no idea what Vince was up to." Linda gasped, absolutely horrified. "How long has he been treating the guys like this, Shawn?"

"Too long, Linda, way too long." Shawn answered morosely. "And everyone wondered why Marty Janetty and Scott Hall drank their careers away. Have a good look at the man you married."

"Well, I have plans for Mr. McMahon. How would you like to join me in a statement on RAW Monday?" Linda asked.

"Name the time and place." Shawn answered.

"We will be in New Orleans by noon on Monday." Linda replied. "Ill see you tomorrow."

Shawn put his cell phone away and looked over at Stephanie. She was fitfully sleeping in the other bed. He could tell by the way shed arranged herself amongst the pillows and blankets that she was having a hard time adjusting to not having Hunter in bed with her. He understood completely - hed adjusted to the empty space on Hunters side of the bed a long time ago. Feeling his eyes upon her, Stephanie woke and returned Shawns gaze.

"So, whom were you talking to?" She asked quietly. "And do you think they can help?"

"Oh, yeah, she can help." Shawn answered. "I called Linda and filled her in on the details of Hunters condition. Shes going to be here in the morning. Im meeting her flight at 10:15."

"Did you tell her that Daddy had this done to him?" She asked tearfully.

"Yeah, Steph, she knows it." Shawn answered confidently. "She knows a lot more than she did and she will learn more once she gets here."

Satisfied, Stephanie fell back to sleep easily when Shawn turned off the TV and lights. He lay awake for a long time. His mind was filled with thoughts of Hunter. He remembered the first time they met. Hunters eyes were innocent and wide - his mind was filled with thoughts of fame and fortune. He remembered when Vince asked him to take Hunter under his wing and show him the ropes. Shawn gladly did it - not because he was desperate for a new lover - but because he genuinely felt something for Hunter from the first moment he saw him. It was as if he stepped on a live wire every single time he looked into those caramel colored eyes.

He remembered the first time that Hunter won the Intercontinental Title. Shawn could barely hide his pride. Hunter had barely gotten back into his locker room when Shawn caught his mouth in a breathless kiss. It was the first time hed acted on the feelings he had. At first, Hunter did nothing other than looked completely surprised. When he silently walked away to take a shower, Shawn was left feeling that hed made a terrible mistake, until Hunter came out of the shower and kissed him back. Granted, Hunters moves were kind of unsure at first, but he got into it.

Shawn then remembered the night of the curtain call. He, Kevin, Scott and Hunter had dinner together before the show. They had gotten a green light to get do the send off for Scott and Kevin before they left for WCW. The fans didnt think there was anything wrong with it, but it did make headlines and Vince had to save face. Scott and Kevin were already gone. Shawn was the WWF champion, so short of stripping him of the title, there was nothing that could be done to him. But Hunter was a different story.

Hunter was called into Vinces office the Monday after the event at the Garden. He had no idea what the problem was since theyd been give permission to do the curtain call, so he just figured that Vince had a new angle to give him. When he walked into the office, Vince was sitting behind his large mahogany desk. His glasses were perched on his nose and he was reading from a stack of printed emails.

"Hunter, have a seat. This is going to take a while." Vince said calmly. "Do you have any idea why Ive asked you to meet with me today?"

"No, sir, not really." Hunter answered quietly.

"Do you remember what happened at the Garden Saturday night after the matches were over?" Vince asked, his ire growing in his voice. "Do you have any idea how bad for business that stunt was?"

"No, sir, but we were given permission by Mr. Patterson and Mr. Lanza." Hunter said in his own defense.

"Yes, I realize that." Vince said, gazing at the younger man appreciatively. "So, exactly how long have you been working here? How long has it been since you came to the WWF from WCW?"

"Ive had my contract here about a year, give or take." Hunter answered quietly.

"And in that time have you ever found yourself in as much trouble as youre in right now?" Vince asked as he got up from his desk.

"I dont believe so." Hunter answered nervously. "Am I going to be fired, Mr. McMahon?"

"No, Hunter, Im not going to fire you." Vince said as he sat down on the front of his desk in front of Hunter. "But you will learn who is the boss and you will be paying a lot more dues than you have up to this point."

"Okay, so what happens now?" Hunter whispered.

"Right now, you get to learn the exact reason I dont have employee problems like other businesses do." Vince said, forcefully. "You are going to learn to eat shit and like the taste of it. To prepare for this lesson, stand up and drop your pants."

Hunter was unaware of the cameras that Vince had in his office taping the entire "meeting." Shawns punishment was to come later when Vince forced him to watch how he degraded and punished Hunter in his office. The images from that video often played in Shawns mind whenever he knew that Hunter was going to be taking shit off of Vince. He saw Hunter when he stood up from his chair and undid his belt and jeans. He remembered the crimson shade that stained his face when Vince decided he wasnt moving fast enough and shoved his pants down to his ankles. He also remembered how silent Hunter became when Vince took his own belt and beat his exposed backside. To add more insult to the injury, Vince kissed each of the freshly spanked cheeks and smiled devilishly before dropping his own pants.

Shawn was always astounded at how silent Hunter was during the entire tape. He never cried out, never begged for forgiveness and never pleaded with Vince to get him to stop. Shawn remembered that Hunter always told him how grateful he was to have his job with the WWF and never even thought about giving up. Hed dreamt about being there for years and even if there was a downside to it, he was going to continue doing whatever he had to keep doing what he loved.

Shawn woke the next morning, showered and got dressed before Stephanie was awake. She woke when he started brewing coffee. She looked over at him and watched him write things on a pad of hotel stationary. Quietly, she got out of bed, got dressed and then suggested that they get ready to leave. They had breakfast on the way to the hospital - both of them were so absorbed in their own thoughts that they didnt say over three words to each other. Stephanie was wondering what Shawn and her mother were going to do and Shawn was trying to think of what he was going to say on RAW in two days.

Shawn dropped Stephanie off at the hospital at 9:15 and then went to the airport to pick up Linda. He parked in the hour parking and walked to the gate that she was to be arriving at. She stepped off the plane with her briefcase slung over her shoulder. Shawn grabbed her luggage from the carrousel and led her to the car.

"So, do you want to check into the hotel first or do you want to go see Hunter first?" Shawn asked after they got in.

"Lets go to the hospital. I want to see first hand what Vince has done." Linda said coolly. "Hes treated all of the guys and girls like his own personal toys for long enough and hes going to learn some new tricks himself on Monday."

"I have one question." Shawn said apprehensively. "What wouldve happened if youd been made aware of this stuff earlier?"

"Im not really sure, Shawn." Linda said. "But aside from what Im just learning about now, what information can you share with me about this stuff?"

"Lots, Linda, I can give you lots of information." Shawn said as he parked the car at the hospital. "Well, lets go in and see how your son-in-law is doing."

They walked into the hospital and Shawn led them up to the ICU. He walked up the waiting room and noticed that while it was a time that Stephanie should be out of Hunters room she wasnt in the waiting room. He told Linda to wait for a moment and he went to the ICU desk to check on Hunter. The nurse told him that hed been moved to room 723 and how to get there. He had walked out into the hall again to find Stephanie and Linda talking.

"So, do you want to go up and see him, mom?" Stephanie asked. "Hes doing much better today. He can open his eyes and you can hear him better when he talks."

Stephanie led the way up to Hunters new room. He was propped up in the bed watching TV. He turned it off when they entered. He also tightened the covers around him when he saw Linda. He immediately was afraid that Vince was with her.

"Relax, Hunt, Vince isnt with her." Shawn said soothingly as he entered the room. "Shes here to help us stop Vince from doing this anymore. She wants this shit to end just as much as we all do."

"Okay, does she know what happened to me Thursday?" Hunter asked, his voice soft and shy sounding.

"Ive heard rumors, Hunter." Linda answered as she pulled up a chair beside the bed. "Why dont you tell me everything from start to finish. Dont leave out any details."

At Lindas urging and patience and with the support of Stephanie and Shawn, Hunter relayed the whole sordid story to Linda. She was in tears when he finished. In fact, they all were. She then wrote something down on a page of her day planner and zipped it closed. Hunter had turned the TV back on and was watching a movie. Stephanie had left the room for a cup of coffee. Shawn was writing notes of his own on the tablet hed taken from the hotel. Linda was sitting there thinking about things when she got an idea.

"The curtain call." She said, thinking out loud. "What ever come of the curtain call?"

"Hunter, do you want to tell her or should I?" Shawn asked. "Or would you rather me give her the tape when we get back to the hotel?"

"Tape, what tape?" Linda asked. "Shawn, what in the world are you talking about?"

"Okay, Im not going into great detail on this, but Vince had cameras set up in his office. He called Hunter in to lay down the punishment for the curtain call. I was champ and he couldnt do much short of stripping the belt from me - he would lose face even more if he had to explain to the world what he was doing. Kevin and Scott were already gone, so all he had left was Hunter." Shawn said. "He taped everything he did to him - the sick bastard - and as my punishment, gave me the tape to watch. He told me to look at as a reminder of why we shouldnt fuck up like that ever again."

"I see. Okay, well, I will watch as much as I can tolerate of the tape later." Linda said quietly. "Ive got to go make some calls."

"Here, take the car." Shawn said as he handed her the keys to the rental. "I think Stephanie could use some rest as well."

Linda checked into a room when she and Stephanie returned to the hotel. Their ride had been a silent one because Stephanie still was not sure about her mother's feeling about her marriage. Stephanie came to her mother's room a few minutes later with the tape that Shawn had been referencing in her hand.

"So, is that the tape?" Linda asked when she opened the door.

"Yeah, mom, it is." Steph answered quietly. "Do you mind if I watch it with you? I want to have a little more understanding into the situation."

"What situation do you want to understand, Stephanie?" Linda asked. "The way Hunter has gone along with this or how you feel face to face with Hunter and Shawn's relationship?"

"Maybe a little of both." Stephanie answered as she flopped down on one of
the beds. "I mean I know how much I love Hunter - he loves me too - but what
he and Shawn have is so special. I just want to understand what it is about
them that works."

"Maybe it's not something you're meant to understand." Linda said as she slid the tape into the VCR. "Maybe it's something you are just supposed to accept and go along with if you value your husband's happiness."

As the tape started it seemed fairly innocuous in its circumstances. Everyone has been called into Vince's office at one time or another for some type of rules infraction. He was always a disciplinarian. Both women stared blankly at each other and then back at the screen when Vince stopped talking and began humiliating Hunter. Stephanie wasn't surprised by Hunter's silent response to the punishment, but Linda was.

"Why doesn't he say anything?"  She whispered. "Why doesn't he try to get him
to stop?"

"Mom, he never does." Stephanie answered in a hushed tone. "Hunter always
takes this kind of stuff silently - never letting anyone know how much it might be tearing him apart on the inside."

"You mean he takes it as if he deserves it and never says a word?" Linda gasped. "Oh, my, he must've gone through hell when the two of you were married."

"Yeah, after he beat Daddy in the match at Armageddon, Daddy snapped. It was the first time I'd ever seen or had any clue as to what happened." Stephanie whispered. "Daddy ran into the locker room - Hunter had just gotten in the shower - he drug him outside in the cold and let Show and Drew administer the punishment for him. I finally got Brian and Sean to help me get him back in the building and cleaned up. I asked him why and all Hunter would tell me was because Vince always wins. No matter what, Vince always wins."

"Not anymore." Linda said as she turned the tape off. "I will not let him ruin anyone else's life. I wish I'd known this before, but right now I've got a pretty good idea as to what I'm going to do with the information. It's getting late, we need to go get Shawn from the hospital and tell Hunter goodnight."

"Okay, I'll go get my coat from my room and meet you in the lobby." Stephanie said as she got up from the bed. "Mom, I'm really glad you're here."

Linda smiled as she watched her daughter walk out of the room. She then picked up her cell phone and made a quick call. When Pat Patterson answered
the phone, Linda gave him implicit instruction for a talent-only staff meeting she wanted to have on Monday at the hotel. She also told him that he was going to be fired if Vince found out about it and to tell all the talent the same thing. They arrived at the hospital a few minutes later. When they entered the room, they found Shawn sitting on the bed with Hunter. Hunter was kind of curled up against Shawn; sound asleep. Shawn put his finger to his lips to let them know that Hunter was sleeping and he slipped off the bed. After giving Hunter a light kiss on the top of his head, he walked across the room and slipped out with Linda and Stephanie.

"How's he doing, Shawn?" Linda asked.

"He's gonna be all right. It's just going to take some time." Shawn answered. "Hunter's always conditioned himself to take shit like Vince has put him through to save the people he loves from having to endure it. They're going to start doing therapy on his arm in the morning. He's pretty psyched about it - so we gotta be here early with some clothes for him to work out in."

They walked to the car in virtual silence. Shawn was thinking about how open he and Hunter were with their feelings. Stephanie was curious as to how her place in Hunter's life was going to change now that Shawn was back in his life. Linda was planning what she was going to say and do at the staff meeting on Monday. She knew she would have to discuss everything with Shawn. He knew the guys and he knew how they thought. 

Sunday was fairly uneventful with the exception of Hunter trying to overdo in his therapy session. He wanted his arm to be useful to him again. The therapist kept trying to get him to go slowly and finally told him that he should work it until it hurt so bad that he couldn't move it another inch. Stephanie watched him work on his arm - knowing that it would be a stumbling block not a brick wall.
Linda and Shawn decided to go over plans for the staff meeting and Raw. They
finally decided that they would just get everyone's thoughts on what Vince had been doing and get specific examples from them if they were willing to share what they'd been put through themselves. Once they were done with discussing business, Linda decided to get some personal information from Shawn.

"So, Shawn, where do you see your relationship with Hunter going from here?"
Linda asked calmly. "I just want to know because I worry about my daughter."

"Well, I don't want Stephanie getting hurt, either." Shawn said quietly. "But I think she and I have worked out an arrangement that will work."

"Okay, well as long as the three of you know what you're doing and everyone
is happy with the arrangement I guess I'll keep out of it." Linda said quietly. "Well, I guess we can go by the hospital and see how the therapy's going and then I need to get to the airport. I want to get with the production crew and have some stills made from the tape. I want the guys to be upset and I want them to be willing to talk - whether they've been in the same situation or not. We need to have them ready to take the walk to ringside to protest Vince's actions."

"Linda, you know what bothers me the most about this whole situation - from
the beginning - is that Hunter loves the business. Unfortunately, the innocent love and genuine passion that he has for doing what he does has been replaced with a vicious circle of self-loathing and violent outbursts. Hunter, when left alone, is a great wrestler and a lovely person. But once he's taken so much, the violence and pain that eats at his soul, because he internalizes everything, takes over and he can't help but take it out on those around him."

"Like when he's in the ring." Linda said. "Like the precise moment in certain matches that he picks up that sledgehammer to hit someone with it, right?"

"Exactly. A person - I don't care who you are - can only take so much abuse before you snap." Shawn answered. "Well, let's go in and see him and then I'll run you by the airport."

After dropping off Linda at the airport, Shawn returned to the hospital to spend the rest of the night with Stephanie and Hunter. Stephanie's proud smile was back when she watched Hunter flex his injured arm. He was also smiling - hopeful that as soon as the stitches were removed he'd be released from the hospital. Shawn sat quietly off to the side until Stephanie left the room for a few minutes.

"So, Shawn, do you really think we can make this work?" Hunter asked quietly. "I mean me and you and Stephanie all like one family. Can it really work?"

"I hope so, baby, I really do." Shawn replied as he sat down beside Hunter on the bed. "I know that Stephanie and I only want you to be happy. I also know that you want us to be happy and you wouldn't want to hurt either of us by choosing one or the other. It's just making things simple, that's all."

"So, who's giving up their current house?" Hunter asked as Shawn slid closer
to him. "I mean I like the little place that Steph and I have, but the ranch is pretty, too."

"We still have a few kinks to work out in the plan, but for now let's not worry about them." Shawn said as he pulled Hunter into his arms. "All I want to worry about right now is getting you well enough to get out of here and Vince getting what he's got coming to him."

Stephanie walked back into the room just as Hunter and Shawn were breaking
from an intense kiss. She asked if she was interrupting anything and they both just grinned and shrugged their shoulders at her. She came over and kissed each of them - Hunter much more passionately than Shawn - and settled in with them on the bed before it was time for her and Shawn to return to the hotel.

Stephanie and Hunter sat in his hospital room glued to the TV as Raw began airing from New Orleans. Vince strode confidently to the ring right after the pyrotechnic display. An arrogant grin adorned his face as he took a microphone from one of the ringside attendants. He had just started to speak when one-by-one the entire locker room began filing out of the back and surrounded the ring. Trying to hide his confusion and nervousness, Vince started to discuss what matches he'd booked for the upcoming pay-per-view and what he was still contemplating. 
Linda's music then started drowning him out and he stood there in a stunned silence when he realized who was at his wife's side - HBK, Shawn Michaels. In Shawn's hands was Triple H's trademark sledgehammer.

"I would like to apologize to all of you fans for the interruption in tonight's show. And I would also like to thank you for bearing with us as we do some overdue house cleaning." Linda began. "You see, while this is supposed to be every one of our superstars, there is one missing and his absence is the fault of my very own husband, Vincent K. McMahon."

The crowd looked around for a moment and then a low chant of TRIPLE H, TRIPLE H began to reverberate throughout the arena. Vince looked around nervously as the assembled group of his employees began to close in tighter around the ring. He looked up and noticed that they left a tiny path from the top of the stage down to the ring. Shawn slowly began to walk down that path toward the nervous man in the ring. He held the sledgehammer tightly in his left hand as he entered the ring. 

"Shawn, you need to think about who I am and what I'm capable of doing to you and everyone that you care about before you act." Vince said, trying to threaten Shawn. "You know that I destroyed Marty and I can finish off Hunter just as easily."

"No, McMahon, your games are over." Shawn said calmly as he held the hammer up over his head. "You will never touch Hunter again. You will never hurt your daughter again. You will never hurt anyone of us again."

"Michaels, I don't think you have the balls to do anything. You didn't when I first started punishing Hunter as I saw fit and I doubt you have any now." Vince said cockily. "Besides, do you really want all of you adoring fans to know what type of a pervert you really are?"

"You know what, Vince, I don't give a fuck about anything you have to say. Hell, tell them all about what you've done to each and every man and woman standing around this ring." Shawn spewed venomously. "Or better yet, why don't we let them refresh your memory. Who do I start with? Oh, yeah, Rocky,
why don't you jog the boss's memory a little?"

The Rock got into the ring and stood toe to toe with his boss. He took the mic roughly from Vince's hands and then began to explain his reason for supporting Linda's take-over of the company. He told of the first time he met with Vince to sign his contract. He explained how his whole life had revolved around the desire to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father - how they'd told him that if he did what Mr. McMahon told him he'd be a great star. He explained how as a young man of not much more than 23, he was virtually molested by Vince in order to get his contract. He also told the crowd that he was one of the luckier ones - he wasn't abused to the point that he drank himself out of a job and he was not one of the ones that was on the receiving end of Vince's twisted idea of Personnel Management any longer. Rocky then handed the microphone to Shawn and stepped out of the ring. Shawn looked around and then pointed to Trish Stratus. Trish nervously entered the ring and told the crowd a similar tale to Rocky's, however; she did go on to explain that her storyline of being Vince's lover was a prime example of life imitating art. Trish then slapped Vince as hard as she could before Shawn walked her out of the ring. Hunter and Stephanie couldn't believe what they were seeing. They neither one were able to speak as they watched the Undertaker enter the ring. The Deadman stood quietly for a moment before removing his exceptionally dark sunglasses. He then stared straight into Vince's eyes for a moment before

"You know, when I started with the WWF, things were cool. I don't have a horror story about what I had to do to initially get a contract here." Taker said quietly. "But once my back and hips started to go and I wasn't as exciting to watch for my sheer athletic ability anymore, then I was on the verge of becoming another one of your throw-aways. Then you came to me with a proposition. You'd let me keep my spot in the food chain, so to speak if I helped you rule the roost with an iron fist. At first, the idea of beating the other guys senseless or doing other demeaning things to them sounded like you were a desperate, depraved man, but in a way I liked the power you offered me in return. I was the first man who got to fuck that lovely daughter of yours - you told me to look at it as a great perk. But everything gets old after awhile. Vince, you sick twisted bastard, you have ruined most of these people's self-respect and are lucky to have enough performers left to put on a show on a weekly basis. Hunter, Stephanie, I know you probably won't believe me and I deserve it if you don't, but I do want to apologize for everything that I have had a hand in doing to either of you."

Taker then hoisted Vince up for a choke slam and pounded him hard into the
canvas. He quietly got out of the ring and walked up the ramp. 

      As they continued to watch Raw in Hunter's hospital room, Stephanie decided that she needed to ask Hunter a few questions about his feelings regarding the proposed arrangement.

      "Hunter, did Shawn tell you about what we were thinking about doing relationship-wise?" Stephanie asked quietly. "I want to know how you feel about it and I guess how you feel about you and me as well as you and Shawn."

      "Well, Steph, I love you both very much and I don't want to hurt either of you. I mean you are my wife and that is different from what Shawn and I are to each other." Hunter whispered. "Not that the difference is bad, actually it's exactly what I need to have balance. But Shawn is kinda like my soul mate. He and I never have to say a word to know what the other is thinking. I hope you can grow to love him, cause he truly is wonderful. Not that he's perfect, just that he makes perfect sense with me."

Their conversation was interrupted when they saw Vince fall to the mat as the result of a vicious chair shot from Shane. Stephanie couldn't believe her ears when she heard Shane's tale of abuse and molestation at the hands of their father. She looked over at Hunter and saw the understanding and sympathetic look in his      eyes that told her that he believed and empathized with Shane's story. Shane continued to beat on Vince with the chair until Shawn said that there were several more people to go and they all wanted to get a piece of Vince.

      "He's enjoying this entirely too much." Hunter said, as he looked at the devilish smile that curled Shawn's lips. "He's wanted to take it to your dad for a long time now. I only wish I could be there with him." 

      When no one else wanted to step forward, Shawn held the sledgehammer up again. He looked up to the top of the ramp at Linda and when she nodded her head, he slammed the sledgehammer down hard upon Vince's crotch. A stunned silence fell over the crowd when Shawn kicked Vince out of the ring and motioned for Linda to join him there.

      "That was for Hunter. Get him out of here." Shawn commanded. "Mrs. McMahon, would you like to address your employees now?"

      "Thank you, Shawn." Linda said as she began to address the group at ringside. "I have a few more items of business to address before we leave this evening. Again, I wish to apologize to all of the fans that had to witness this spectacle, but as we are certain, you realized how overdue this meeting was. Now on to more important and fun business. All matches that have currently been contracted for the upcoming pay-per-view will go on as scheduled. At this time I wish to add the following matches: Rob Van Dam will face Booker T for the Intercontinental Title, Shane will be facing Vince in a street fight, and Big Show will be facing the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. Now we have time for a few matches this evening in the time remaining. "

      Linda and Shawn then exited the ring followed by the remaining members of the locker room. Hunter turned the TV off after the 1-½ hours of the show. He then turned to Stephanie and pulled her close to him. She laid her head against his and closed her eyes. The doctor had told them that he would be released on Friday and could go back to work in a week or two after that. After a few minutes of silence, he had an idea that he wanted to share with her.

      "Baby, I just had a thought." He whispered as he took her hand. 

      "Uh, okay, what was it." She answered sleepily. 

      "What if we all sort of get married?" He asked. "You know something like a three-way ceremony. It doesn't need to be - hell, probably can't be official - but it would be very cool. You'd get a chance to marry me again in a more formal setting and Shawn and I could also pledge our feelings for each other at the same time. And I guess if you have any feelings that you and he want to express toward each other it could be done then too."

      "Just have our friends and family that support us around and get all dressed up for it?" Stephanie asked with happy tears in her eyes. "Oh, I can't wait until we tell Shawn about this. He'll be so happy."

      "I think we've all earned the right to be happy, don't you?" He whispered against her forehead.

Stephanie returned to the hotel a short time later satisfied that her relationship with her husband was on the right track - even if she had to share him with Shawn. She called Shawn's cell phone after she got back to let him in on Hunter's idea. 

      "Hello." Shawn answered.

      "Hi, Shawn, it's Stephanie." She answered. "Hunter had an idea that I want to bounce off of you."

      "Okay, shoot." He said.

      "Well, he thinks it would be a good idea if the three of us kinda got married." Stephanie answered. "What do you think?" 

      "How many drugs are they giving him?" Shawn asked with a laugh. "No one is going to legally marry the three of us."

      "He's not talking a formal ceremony, just he and I will renew our vows and then kinda share them with you at the same time." Stephanie answered. "We can have a big party with our friends and family that support us and everything."

      "Well, then I guess you need to go shopping." Shawn said.

      "What are you talking about?" Stephanie asked, puzzled.

      "Well, I think you need to go get yourself a fancy dress, our bride-to-be." Shawn said. "I'll be flying back to Denver in the morning. See you then."

      "Bye, Shawn." She replied. "When do I need to pick you up?"

      "My flight gets there at 8:15." He answered. "Goodnight."

She hung up the phone and drifted into a peaceful sleep. However, in the hospital, Hunter wasn't as fortunate. He lay awake staring at the ceiling for several hours. He hadn't expected Stephanie to so readily agree to his suggestion, but it didn't bother him that she did. What did bother him was that he did not know Shawn's reaction to it. He was desperate for the two of them to get along because he couldn't imagine living without either of them. He'd been without Shawn for too long as it was now and he'd grown so close to Stephanie in the interim that he couldn't lose what they shared either. A nurse came in to check on him and asked him if he needed something to help him sleep and he refused. Finally, he decided to turn on the TV and watch a boring movie until he dozed off. 

Early Tuesday morning, Shawn and Stephanie showed up at the hospital. Hunter hadn't expected Shawn to return from the road that quickly, but he was glad to see him. He was up from bed and getting ready for his morning therapy
session when they got there. Shawn immediately let him know that Stephanie
had talked to him the night before.

"So, how's my other favorite fiancée this morning?" Shawn asked with a smug
grin. "I can't wait until we're all just one big happy family."

Shawn kissed him deeply and then turned and kissed Steph with just as much
passion. She in turn kissed Hunter. The three of them were growing more and
more used to the idea of being a trio instead of a couple. Shawn asked when
Hunter was going to be released from the hospital.

"Well, I'm supposed to get out on Friday. I guess we'll all go to one home
or the other after that." Hunter said.

"Which home do you want to go to, baby?" Stephanie asked. "Connecticut or

"I don't really care - as long as we're all together - it could be a
cardboard box under a bridge and I'd be happy." Hunter answered.

"Yeah, but we could be arrested for public lewdness if we were just under a
bridge somewhere." Stephanie giggled. "Maybe, since I've never been there,
we could go to Shawn's ranch for a few days?"

"Sounds like a plan." Shawn answered. "Well, I think they're here to take
you off to therapy. We'll see you in a little while. I think I'm going to
take our little bride here shopping for her dress and get her ideas on what
she wants her grooms to wear."

"Okay, see you later." Hunter answered as he left the room.

      Stephanie and Shawn went to an upscale mall close to the hospital to
look around. In a one-of-a-kind dress shop, she found the perfect dress. It
was a sea-foam green color with tiny crystal beading all over the
lace-covered bodice. When she tried it on, it fit as if it were made
especially for her. Shawn had been perusing the racks in case the dress
wasn't as perfect as she thought it was when she put it on, but stopped dead
in his tracks when he turned and saw her in the mirror with it on. She
looked up and saw the beaming smile on his face and knew that she had to
have the dress. It was strapless and clung to her breasts in a most
flattering way, while the skirt appeared to be like flower petals that had
been laid over each other dropping down from the waist and giving a
scalloped appearance to the hem of the dress at the tops of her feet.

      "So, do you like it?" She asked nervously.

      "Yeah, do you think that Hunter will like it?" Shawn asked quietly.
"I think he'd be crazy not to like it, myself."

      "I haven't even looked at the price tag yet." Stephanie said softly.
"I don't want to pay too much for something, cause I don't know what's going
to come from returning to work."

      "Stephanie, just go back into the dressing room, put your clothes on
and I will pay for the dress." Shawn answered. "Do not look at the price
tag. Even if the dress is $10,000, I want you to have it. You look
absolutely ravishing in it."

      Stephanie - even though she was kind of bothered by it - did as she
was told. Shawn grabbed the dress from the top of the dressing room door
when she put it over. He looked at the tag as he carried it to the counter
to pay for it. The dress cost $550 and he decided it was worth every penny
to see her and Hunter happy. He knew in his heart that Stephanie had to be
something truly special for Hunter to love her as much as he did. As the
girl at the counter rung up the dress and ran his credit card for the
purchase, Stephanie came to join him at the counter. She hugged him and
thanked him for buying it for her. He smiled and kissed her cheek. They
returned to the hospital about four hours later. Stephanie carried the dress
in for Hunter to see it as well. When they walked into his room, he wasn't
there. Steph figured that he was still in therapy, but Shawn was a little
more leery of other things. A short time later, he returned, tired from his
therapy session and work out.

      "I know her when she's shopping and I figured I had time to get a
full workout in while the two of you were gone." Hunter said when he came
back into the room. "So, did you find something?"

      "Yeah, she did. Stephanie, why don't you go put your dress on so
Hunter can see how lovely you look in it?" Shawn asked as he removed the
price tag from it.

Stephanie slipped into the bathroom and changed into the new dress and shoes
that she and Shawn had picked out. Hunter had made it back into bed when she
emerged from the bathroom. Immediately, his heart was a flutter when he saw
her. She turned around slowly and asked him what he thought of it. He nodded
thoughtfully and told her that she looked lovely.

      "Shawn, you should've brought your vests and ties in for him to see
them." Steph said with a pout. "They match my dress as if they were made at
the same time."

      "Good, baby, as long as you're happy." Hunter said with a far away
tone to his voice.

Shawn went over to the bed when Stephanie returned to the bathroom to change
her clothes. He looked at Hunter and knew he was upset about something. He
took Hunter's face in his hands and made him face him.

      "Hunt, what's the matter?" Shawn asked softly. "You seem bothered by

      "Not really, I'm just not quite sure how everything is going to go
once we're together." Hunter whispered. "I don't know if we are all going to
be able to handle the trading between beds and whatnot."

      "Why can't we just sleep in one bed?" Shawn asked. "I mean unless
you want to be bouncing from room to room there's no point in having us all
in different rooms. We're all adults here and Steph's more than welcome to
join in or watch when you and I are getting busy and I can watch or join in
when the two of you are going at it."

      "You have an answer for everything, don't you?" Hunter asked with a
grin. "Well, I guess that means we're going to have to stay at the ranch for
a while cause we don't have a bed big enough at home."

      "Well, I guess we also need to set a date for this big party we're
going to have, also." Stephanie said, revealing that she'd heard every word
between the two men in her life. "With the pay-per-view being in Houston,
and an off day the Saturday before, what do you think?"

      "The day before the next pay-per-view, works for me." Shawn said
with a broad grin. "It'll also give us a few weeks to determine our
schedules with each other."

The weeks went by fairly quickly and the day that they had been planning for
the previous few weeks had arrived. Stephanie woke first - actually, she
hadn't slept much the night before due to the fact that they'd all agreed to
sleep in separate rooms for the night - and decided to go about getting
ready for the evening's activities. First, she went and picked Linda and
Shane up at the airport. They had flown into San Antonio and were going to
drive over to Houston for the pay-per-view with everyone else the next day.
She also had a hair and nail appointment as well as a couple of other
errands to run before they could go back to the ranch for her to get dressed
for the ceremony and party.
At about 4:30, the invited guests were milling about through Shawn's large
home. The front hall was filled with rows of chairs and flowers. At
precisely 5:30, Hunter walked down the stairs and stood in front of the
assembled group. Shawn followed him a few moments later. Stephanie then
joined them. Stephanie and Hunter restated their wedding vows before the
group of friends, family and coworkers. Then they recited vows that they'd
written to appropriately fit their current situation with Shawn. After the
three of them had spoken and exchanged matching silver bands, they all
kissed and instructed everyone to go out into the backyard for the party.
The group laughed, ate and danced until the early morning hours. Stephanie,
Shawn and Hunter finally said goodbye to their last guest at 2:30am.
Quietly, they climbed the stairs to their bedroom. Shawn collapsed in a
chair in the corner of the room for a moment. He looked at Hunter and
Stephanie as they kissed and undressed each other. His breath caught in his
throat when Stephanie slipped Hunter's pants down to his ankles. She looked
around Hunter's legs and crooked her finger to call Shawn over to join them.
He crossed the room to join them at the foot of the bed. Hunter reached
around and took the band out of Shawn's hair letting the dark blonde strands
fall loosely about his shoulders. Stephanie quietly unbuttoned his shirt and
slipped it off his shoulders. She then removed his belt and unfastened his
pants. She looked at Hunter and he nodded before he tugged Shawn's pants
down to his ankles.

The three of them found their way to bed and even surprised themselves at
their ability to maintain their stamina through the different positions.
They finally fell asleep with Hunter laying in the middle of the bed with
Stephanie's head on his left shoulder and Shawn's on his right. For a while
after the two of them had fallen asleep, Hunter lay awake watching the two
loves of his life as they slept peacefully.  He decided that while what
Vince had put him through was wrong, tortuous and painful, he'd endure it
all over again to keep Shawn and Stephanie safe with him. He smiled to
himself before he drifted off to sleep when he felt Stephanie's naked body
snuggle closer to him.
Shawn woke first the next morning after sleeping better than he could
remember in a very long time.  Hunter and Stephanie were still snuggled
together sleeping - in fact, Hunter's strong arm was still wrapped around
his back and holding him close. Shawn brushed a few strands of chestnut hair
out of Stephanie's face and then rested his hand on top of the one she had
stretched out over Hunter's heart. Her bright blue eyes fluttered open.
First, she looked up and smiled at the light snore coming from Hunter's
partially open mouth, she then looked at Shawn.

"What's the matter, Shawn?" She whispered softly. "Can't sleep?"

"Nah, just watching the two of you sleep." He whispered back. "I just don't
want to lose this moment. I want us all to be able to stay this happy for a
long time."

"Me too." Steph whispered as she grabbed his hand. "I want every morning to
be this perfect."

Hunter stirred lightly, but didn't wake up so Stephanie and Shawn untangled
themselves from him and got out of bed. The two of them were downstairs
drinking coffee when Hunter made his way out of bed almost two hours later.
Stephanie turned around, hearing him coming down the stairs and wasn't
surprised to see him still naked - except for a bed sheet that he had
wrapped around himself. Shawn looked up from the newspaper that he had
spread on the table and could hardly believe what he saw.

"Are we having a toga party, Hunt?" Shawn asked with a laugh. "Cause if
that's the case, Steph and I are way over dressed."

"Shawn, he's not awake yet." Stephanie said in Hunter's defense. "Baby, do
you want a cup of coffee?"

Hunter nodded his head as he sat down at the table next to Shawn.  Stephanie
got him a cup of coffee and refilled her and Shawn's cups. She ruffled
Hunter's still bed tangled hair as she sat back down. He offered a lazy
smile in return. The three of them sat in a comfortable silence for a while
- each involved in their own thoughts. Hunter finished his coffee and then
retreated back up the stairs to shower and dress for the day. When he
returned to the kitchen a short time later his appearance was so transformed
that if you didn't know how he'd left the table you'd swear it wasn't the
same man. He came into the kitchen and tried to steal a kiss from Stephanie
without Shawn catching him.  Shawn cleared his throat as he entered the room
from the den.

"So, you thought you were going to get away with that, didn't you?" He
teased. "Well, kid, at least you clean up good."

"Thanks, I think." Hunter answered. "I do my best, you know. What do we have
on the agenda for today?"

"Just taking things one day at a time." Stephanie said quietly.

The three of them nodded agreement to that idea. Over the next few weeks and
months, they settled into a comfortable rhythm of living together, at home
and on the road. Shawn accepted Linda's offer to resume his former position
as the Commissioner of the WWF so that he could be on the road with Steph
and Hunter. Hunter returned to action at the RAW after the pay-per-view in
Houston. He immediately returned to the title hunt and was working in major
storylines. Stephanie orchestrated a D-X reunion, which virtually put the
Commissioner in the pocket of the D-Generates. 
On a personal level, Stephanie was happier than she'd been in ages -
especially with her sex life. Hunter and Shawn were grateful to her
understanding nature allowing them to be together again. However, an
unexpected surprise rocked her birthday. She was pregnant and had no idea
which of her husbands was the father. Instead of questioning it, she decided
to tell them both that they were going to be a dad and let them decide if
they truly wanted to know who the biological father of the baby was. After
her announcement, Hunter insisted that they sell the home in Connecticut and
permanently move into Shawn's ranch. He figured that they would have a lot
more room for any more children that they may have that way. Steph
reluctantly agreed. She really like the time that she could spend away at
the smaller house, but Hunter and Shawn promised her that they would get a
different vacation home so that they still had an escape.
The morning of Wrestlemania, Stephanie woke up in their bed alone. Shawn and
Hunter were both in LA for the pay-per-view.  She was in an exceptional
amount of pain and barely made it down the hall to the room that Shane was
sleeping in.

"Shane, I think it's time." Steph whispered between contractions. "Damn, I
was hoping that Hunter and Shawn would be home for this."

"Well, I'll call them as soon as we get to the hospital." Shane said as he
led Stephanie out to the car. "Don't forget your breathing, Steph."

Shane got her to the hospital a few minutes later. She was ushered into a
private room and her doctor told them that it would still be several hours
before the baby came because her water hadn't broken yet.  Shane dug out his
cell phone and called Hunter.

      "Hunter, yeah it's Shane." Shane said quickly. "Yeah, I thought I'd
let you and Shawn know that Stephanie's in labor."

      "Holy shit, Shane, how far is she from delivering?" Hunter
practically shouted in his brother-in-law's ear. "Shawn and I can't leave
until after the show's over."

      "Relax, Hunter, her water hasn't broken yet. We still have to wait a
while." Shane answered with a laugh. "Just tell Shawn and then get your
flights changed to get home right after the your match is over."

      "You got it." Hunter said. "Shane-O, take care of our girl."

      "You know I will." Shane answered. "See you later."

Hunter joyously looked through the backstage area for Shawn. He found him
with his feet propped up on the desk of the set that served as the
Commissioner's office.

      "Hey, Hunt, what's up?" Shawn said, looking up from his script.

      "Steph's in labor." Hunter said with a grin. "Shane just called me.
We need to leave right after the show."

      "Okay, I'll take care of the flight changes if you want me to."
Shawn said quietly. "I'm happy for you, Hunter."
      "What do you mean, Shawn?" Hunter said quietly. "I thought you
wanted this baby as much as Stephanie and I do, hell, it might even be

      "I'm just afraid of how it's going to change us all, I guess." Shawn
said quietly. "How much of ourselves will we lose?"

      "Shawn, I don't think it's going to ruin anything or that anyone
will get lost." Hunter responded as he put his arm around the other man.
"You'll see, we're going to be a great big family."

      Shawn looked into the eyes of the man he loved and felt the fear and
apprehension ebb from his body. He leaned over and gave Hunter a kiss on the
cheek and then took out his cell phone to change their plane tickets. Hunter
quietly got up from the desk and set out to tell Linda that she was about to
become a grandmother.
      He knocked on her dressing room door; he nervously shifted his
weight between his feet. Linda opened the door and invited him in.

      "I just wanted to tell you that you're gonna be a grandma today."
Hunter said with a grin.

      "Stephanie's having the baby, what in the world are you still doing
here?" Linda exclaimed.

      "Shane said her water hasn't broke yet and the doctor's going to let
things run their course so we should be able to make it home before the baby
comes." Hunter answered. "I just wanted to let you know why Shawn and I
would be leaving out right after my match."

      "Well, I fly in after the show wraps." Linda said, giving Hunter a
motherly hug. "I guess you need to go get ready for your match. I'm certain
that Vince can't wait for this one."

Hunter smiled brightly as he left for his locker room. He got his gear on
and got stretched and ready for his match. He was finally going to get his
own revenge on Vince for all the torture, and now that Linda was in control
he didn't have to worry about any payback.
Hell in a cell was a rough match, but Hunter knew that he was ready. Vince
had already gotten into the closed in cage when Hunter's music began
blaring. He strode to the ring confidently and entered the cage. This time,
he was going to wield his own sledgehammer. Vince charged at him and he
struck a solid blow very quickly. The match went all Hunter's way with Vince
barely able to mount any offense at all. Right as he covered Vince for the
pinfall, Hunter told him that Stephanie was having a baby. Vince looked
furious that he hadn't been informed about this sooner, but he'd lost his
spot in the family and the company.
Hunter went to the back and quickly showered so he and Shawn could get to
the airport. Shawn burst into the shower to tell him that he had to hurry
because Shane had just called to tell him that Steph's water finally broke.
With his hair still dripping, Hunter threw his clothes on and grabbed his
bags. They arrived in San Antonio about two hours later. Hunter called Shane
from the car as soon as they were leaving the airport.

"Shane, how's she doing?" Hunter asked nervously.

"Alright, considering." Shane said quietly. "So, how far are you from being

"Well, we just pulled out of the airport and are on the way to the
hospital." Hunter answered. "And Shawn's driving, so it shouldn't take too

Hunter and Shawn pulled up to the hospital about twenty minutes later.
Stephanie had been moved from her regular room to a delivery room and was
frantically begging her doctor to wait until Hunter and Shawn were there.
The doctor told her that he couldn't do anything more than wait for the baby
to show up. Shane met Hunter and Shawn in the hall and directed them into
the delivery room. Shawn went to the right side of Stephanie's bed and
Hunter went to the left. Holding their hands, Stephanie began the final
phases of the delivery. After a few tense moments of hard pushing and feeble
attempts at pain management, Stephanie delivered an 8-pound 13-ounce baby
The three of them stared in disbelief at the small child that the doctor
laid across Stephanie's breast. She looked at Hunter and saw some of his
features in the baby, but she could swear that she saw Shawn in him too.

"I want to name him after all of us." She whispered through happy tears. "I
think we should name him Stephen Michael Helmsley."

"Sounds good to me." Shawn said with a bright smile. "What do you think,

"It's like our family - it's a little different, but it's perfect." Hunter
replied as he carefully ran his hand over their little boy's head.



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