Features: Undertaker (Mark Calaway) and Jeff Hardy in an . . . unexpected supporting role -facepalm-
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual situations
Usual disclaimer - own nothing but my original characters, all the other people own themselves, WWE owns the trademark names, I'm doing this to exercise my creativity and for the sheer pleasure of writing. Ask my therapist!
Thanks so much for the feedback so far - so glad to know people are enjoying the story! And you are just going to have to keep trusting me! Things will all work out in the end . . . -winks-
Someone was shaking her shoulder. She flailed out blindly with one hand, her face still buried in the pillow.
Jeff laughed, catching her hand. "No way, Harley - it's my room."
She turned her head, opening one eye to look at him. "And you invited me to stay. You can't change your mind halfway through the night and throw me out."
"Ah, it's morning. And I'm not throwing you out - I'm waking you up so we can go to breakfast."
She blinked wearily. "Morning? No way - I only just went to bed."
Jeff propped himself on one elbow beside her, smiling. "Nope. You've been snoring for hours."
"I do not snore!"
"Okay, not snoring. Snuffling. It's cute."
Harley hid her face in the pillow with a groan. "Are you always this cheerful in the morning, Jeff?"
He leaned over and dropped a kiss on her shoulder. "Pretty much. You want to shower here or go back to your room?"
She pushed herself up, sitting up and facing him. "I think I should go back to my room. I don't think 70s glam is exactly breakfast wear," she chuckled.
Jeff laughed. "Perhaps not - it might inflame my manly passions. And me throwing you down on the table to do you again might put some people off their breakfast."
Harley collapsed in helpless giggles. " 'Inflame your manly passions'?"
He grinned, pouncing on her and tickling her. "You'd prefer 'give me a boner'?"
She was gasping for breath, laughing and trying to squirm away from his hands, when suddenly he yelped and sat up, one hand going to his hip.
"What the hell . . . ?"
Wiping streaming eyes, she sat up. "What's wrong?"
Jeff held out his hand, on which rested one of her mesh earrings. "It bit me!"
She reached up to her ears, checking for the other earring. "It has a mate, somewhere. Be careful - they're dangerous when they're cornered."
He stared at her and then burst out laughing. "Harley, you're nuts!"
She grinned at him as she patted her hands around in the sheets, finally locating her other missing earring under her pillow. "Stand down - I've got it."
He dropped the earring he held into her hand and leaned in to kiss her. "Okay, now, about that boner . . . "
She giggled, shaking her head. "Please. Before breakfast? And before I've brushed my teeth?"
"I have some gum, and isn't there some rule about not doing it for thirty minutes after you've eaten?"
"You're not allowed to do it for thirty minutes after you've been swimming?"
"Jeff, you're killing me!" she managed to gasp in between giggles.
He just grinned. After a few moments, her giggles subsided and she gave him a grin.
"So, breakfast?" he smiled.
She glanced at the clock in the nightstand, wincing. "Aw jeez, I really don't have time. I gotta get to work." She scooted off the bed, bending down to pick up her panties and stepping into them.
"Without breakfast?" Jeff frowned.
She chuckled, pulling on her hipsters and looking around for her top. "I have time for either breakfast or a shower. And at this point, lover, the shower is the more pressing need."
He bent over to pick up her top, holding it out to her. She leaned down to kiss him as she took it from him, tying it on quickly.
"What are you going to do for breakfast then?"
She shrugged. "Catering will have something going at the venue. I'll grab something there." She picked up her sandals, and tucked her earrings into one pants pocket, feeling her keycard still safely in it. Then she groaned.
"My bag from last night - it's got my workboots in it. And I'll bet it's still with the concierge." She sat down on the edge of the bed to put on her sandals. "Going barefoot back to my room is one thing. Going to the lobby - not so much."
Jeff leaned his chin on her shoulder as he sat behind her. "I could go down and get it for you."
She grinned back at him, her eyes flicking over his nude body. "You're not even dressed, Jeff."
He laughed. "Take me two seconds to fix that."
She kissed him with a laugh. "Nah, I'm ready to go now, but thanks for offering. See you at the venue later?"
He nodded. "I got Axxess this morning, be going over to the gym this afternoon. Lunch? Or maybe dinner?"
"Sounds like a plan. Have a good session this morning," she smiled as she stood up.
"Still friends, definitely," he smiled at her.
She smiled and nodded, and then walked to the door and let herself out.
If she had hopes of making it to the lobby and back to her room without being spotted, they were dashed before she had gone fifteen feet down the hallway. Adam Copeland gave her a grin as he came out of his room.
"I didn't realise breakfast was a formal affair in Vegas."
She just shook her head. He fell in beside her as she headed for the elevators.
She looked at him. "Nah, I'm getting a jump on the club scene for tonight."
As the elevator doors opened, her heart sank. More members of the roster, including a couple who had been at the club the night before. Shannon Moore gave her a wide grin. Why the hell weren't all of these people at breakfast, she wondered. The lobby was even worse - the first contingent to head over to Axxess were waiting. Oh well, she guessed by the time they had their first break, the news would have spread that 'the pyro chick' had dumped 'Taker and had taken up with the Ultimate Thrill Seeker.
She chuckled to herself as she strode over to the concierge desk, presenting her keycard and collecting her bag and then going back upstairs. Once in her room, she stripped out of her clothes and tossed them in her case before heading in to step into the shower.
And jumped straight out of it once the water hit her back. Dragging back the shower curtain, she turned to look over her shoulder at the mirror, wincing when she saw the reddened area around her new tattoo.
"Shit," she muttered, shaking her head.
She stepped back into the shower, wincing as the water ran over her back, but there was nothing for it. She showered quickly and then dried off, patting the tattoo dry with a fresh towel. No ink loss or weeping, she was pleased to note, but damn it was sore. She applied a light coat of her usual moisturizer to the area, sighing as it relieved some of the soreness, and then dressed for work, foregoing a bra under her crew t-shirt. She yawned a little in the elevator on the way downstairs, and prayed Catering would have coffee made by the time she got to the venue.
She grabbed a bagel in Catering, and a welcome cup of coffee, before heading for the trucks to unload the pyros for the evening's show. She was well aware of the soreness in her back as she lifted crates of pyros, and she mused on that as she wheeled the dolly inside. As she lifted the first crate of pyros up onto the front of the stage, looking at the Titan-tron entrance, she laughed and shook her head. How many times had she heard them announce Jeff's entrance - he weighed over two hundred pounds, for God's sake! Not that he looked it, but she guessed that was because it was mostly muscle.
So, yes, two hundred pounds of muscle tacking her rather delightfully to the mattress would definitely be described as "pressure" on her healing tattoo. She couldn't help her grin as she hefted the next crate up to the stage.
By mid-morning, she was ready for a break, and she headed for Catering and the coffee pot. She leaned on the table, her head propped on her hand as she sipped her coffee. She wasn't the only one with the same idea, and there was a low buzz of conversation around her, which she mostly tuned out. She resisted the urge to close her eyes, and wondered if she could find some time this afternoon to catch a nap before the show.
Catching herself as she was about to doze off, Harley shook herself awake and downed the rest of her coffee. Movement was the thing, she decided. And music - she hauled out her iPod and got some alternative rock happening as she went to work setting the pyros for the evening's show. As she worked, she was thinking about the new pyros she wanted for Glenn, going over specs in her mind.
While it was still fresh in her mind, she hauled out her well-thumbed manual of pyrotechnic compounds and a pad and pencil, taking them with her as she headed to Catering for lunch. And her lunch sat forgotten beside her as she pored over the manual, scrawling chemical formulas and energy yields, totally absorbed in the problem as she scribbled out ideas and tried new ones.
She tapped one fingertip on a page for compounds used for sparkle displays, scratching her head with the end of her pencil, her eyes gazing off into the distance with an unfocused stare. Jeff shook his head as he saw her, coming over to sit opposite her, waving a hand in front of her face to try to get her attention. It took quite a few passes before she registered the movement, shaking her head a little.
"Jeff - hi," she said, a bit distantly.
"Jeez, Harley, and they say I get distracted! You were a million miles away," he chuckled, looking over at the pad in front of her, and then at her untouched lunch. "Ah, perhaps you should put down the pencil and pick up the fork?"
She looked a bit puzzled, glancing from her pad to her tray, and then nodded, dropping the pencil and shifting the tray in front of her, taking a mouthful of her salad, chewing absently as her eyes went back to the manual. Jeff laughed, and reached over, picked up her pad and set it on the manual, then closed the manual.
"Hey! I was reading that!" Harley protested.
"Eat first. Read later," said Jeff, and then shook his head, his hand over his eyes. "God, I sound like my father!"
Harley chuckled, reaching over to pat his hand. "It's okay, Jeff - one of us should behave like an adult from time to time. And God knows, I never do."
He winked at her, taking a bite of his hamburger. "See me complaining?"
She took a mouthful of her salad and then smiled at him. "How did Axxess go?"
"Pretty good. Tomorrow will be the big day, though."
Harley groaned. "Don't remind me." She was facing a late night and a full day for the new set build tomorrow.
"Everything okay?" Jeff's expression was concerned.
She nodded. "Just a little sleep deprived. I'm hoping to grab a nap this afternoon, or tonight's set breakdown will be a real picnic."
"You going back to the hotel?"
She shook her head. "Nah, I'll find a place to crash here. One of the trucks, maybe."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Nope. I can nap anywhere. Mmmmm, nap . . . "
Jeff laughed, shaking his head. "At least try the trainers rooms first - the stretchers are padded."
"Padding? Luxury!" she grinned.
When they finished their lunch, Jeff headed for the gym and Harley went back to work. It didn't take her long to finish up, and she let Bob know she was going to grab some sleep before the show. He nodded, and she wandered off. The trainers rooms did indeed have padded stretchers, but she knew that there would be a fair bit of activity there during the afternoon as various members of the roster headed in for preventative tapings and the like.
She finally found an unused hospitality room with a couch. Stretching out on it, she put in her headphones and picked a quiet playlist, for background sound. Pillowing her head on her hands as she lay on her stomach, she heard perhaps the first minute of music before she was asleep.
Mark was finishing up a workout in the gym, pointedly ignoring the looks he was getting. He'd heard the gossip this morning about Harley and Jeff, and had ignored it. He was strangely pleased to see that Jeff was doing likewise, refusing to be drawn on what had happened the night before. At least the boy was behaving like a gentleman.
Oddly, he hadn't seen Harley around this afternoon. Usually she was a fixture at arenas as she assisted with the set build. He'd seen her helping with all kinds of tasks too, not just pyros and lighting. He headed for the locker room to shower.
Jeff had made the rounds backstage, and hadn't seen Harley anywhere. Figuring she was either working on that manual or still sleeping somewhere, he went looking for her, poking his head into offices and unused locker rooms. Not far from Catering, he opened the door of a hospitality room and spotted her on a couch, sleeping. He walked over to her, crouching down beside the couch, placing a hand on her shoulder, giving her a gentle shake.
She muttered something unintelligible, and he saw the headphones. He chuckled, taking the closest one out of her ear as he gave her another shake. "Harley?"
This time, she heard him, and she pushed herself up onto her elbows, blinking at him in the light coming from the hallway, where Mark was on his way to Catering.
"That's the second time you've woken me up today, Jeff," she complained with a chuckle as she sat up on the couch, rubbing her face.
Mark paused outside the door, hearing voices.
"Yeah, but the first time you were naked in my bed - that was way more fun," he laughed.
At those words, Mark closed his eyes. He had an odd feeling in the pit of his stomach. He shook his head and walked off, not wanting to hear any more.
"Right up until my earring bit you on the ass."
"And I never got any sympathy for that!"
"How about my war wound then?"
"What war wound?"
"My new ink feels a bit used and abused from you trying to pin me to your bed," Harley winked at him.
Jeff grinned. "My bad?"
Harley burst out laughing, shaking her head. Jeff stood up and held out his hand to her.
"Come on. Dinner?"
She nodded as she took his hand and stood up. "Be an idea. Thanks for waking me, though."
Jeff shrugged. "Bob would have come looking for you eventually. This way, at least we get to have dinner together."
Harley scrubbed her hands over her face with a yawn as they walked into Catering, and as she and Jeff sat down together at one of the tables, she rolled her eyes at some of the looks she saw coming their way. Jeff raised an eyebrow.
"Just appears I'm living in a fishbowl again, and congratulations, you seem to have joined me in it."
Jeff laughed. "Won't bother me none. I don't think they're gonna have nearly as much fun thinking we're a couple as they did thinking you and Mark were a couple. After all, that was way out of left field!"
She couldn't help her chuckle. "Yeah, we're too damned alike for it to be interesting. Far more fun when there are sparks flying."
They parted after dinner, Harley to her pre-show tasks, and Jeff to the locker room. His mind was on the night's show, until someone behind him laughed. He turned around to see Paul Burchill.
"So," Burchill sneered, "what was the pyro chick like in the sack, mate?"
Jeff's eyebrows raised. "Excuse me?"
"Come on, don't be coy. You were all over her like a rash at the club. You tryin' to tell me you didn't shag her?"
Frowning, Jeff shook his head. "Frankly, it's none of your business."
"Hey, no skin off my arse if you couldn't close the deal. I might take a crack at her myself - she looked like she might be a real goer with a few drinks in her," Burchill grinned.
Mark had come into the locker room just as Burchill had arrived, and he'd heard just about enough. He was about to get up and say something when Jeff spoke, his tone icy.
"Where I come from, we don't talk about a lady that way."
Burchill exploded with laughter. "A lady? That old slapper? You've gotta be fuckin' kidding me! Good for two things, if a bloke's lucky - fuckin' and su . . . "
He didn't get any more than that out, as Jeff's fist pistoned out and connected hard with his nose. He screamed and staggered back, his hand going to his wounded nose, blood dripping between his fingers.
"Fuggin' cogsugger!" he roared, lunging for Jeff, until he was stopped by a pair of large hands, one on each shoulder.
Both Mark and Glenn Jacobs had stepped up, and they now dragged Burchill back away from Jeff, who was shaking his hand a little. Most of the rest of the locker room had turned to look on, more than a few of them shaking their heads.
"Did you see wha' he did?" Burchill raged, his speech slurred by the swelling in his nose. "Bassard's broken by dose!"
"Good for him," Mark drawled.
Burchill sneered. " 'Course you'd stig up for him, you were bangin' the bidge too!"
Mark's fist flew then, straight into Burchill's solar plexus, hard, driving all the air from his lungs and dropping him to the hard concrete floor, where he lay groaning. "I'm not the gentleman Hardy is, you miserable sack of shit."
Glenn shook his head, looking down at Burchill. "I guess someone should go let them know Paul here's had an 'accident'."
Dave Batista chuckled. "Yeah, I guess someone should. You wanna do it, Glenn?"
"Jeez, I'd like to, but I got a . . . thing. Yanno how it is," Glenn smirked.
"Hey, yeah, understand totally," Dave grinned. "Maybe one of Paul's friends could go?"
Glenn and Dave made a show of looking around the locker room, seeing a great many grins.
"Okay, so in the absence of any friends, what should we do?"
"We could roll him out into the hallway - maybe someone would get help for him out there," Lance Cade offered, trying not to laugh.
"Bassards fing dis iz funny," Burchill wheezed.
Mark looked at Glenn and they bent down together and hauled Burchill to his feet. Mark looked at him contemptuously. "You know what I think is funny? That you're the only one objecting to how you just got treated for disrespecting a woman. No, on second thoughts, that's not funny - that's just pathetic."
"We'll see whad da bosses hab do say 'boud dad."
Burchill lurched towards the locker room door. No one stepped forward to help him, and he banged the door open and headed down the hallway. There were a few head shakes, and someone tossed a wet towel onto the floor to cover the blood droplets where he'd lain, and then they went back to what they had been doing. Glenn clapped Mark on the shoulder with a nod and went back to his locker.
Mark looked at Jeff, who was still shaking his hand. He stepped over to the younger man.
"Show me." It wasn't a request.
Jeff shrugged and held out his hand. There was an abrasion over one knuckle, and it looked a little swollen. "It'll be okay."
"Didn't anyone ever teach you not to punch a guy in the face? Go for someplace soft, it hurts your fist a lot less," Mark chuckled a little.
"I wasn't worried about my fist at the time," Jeff said.
Mark nodded. "I probably would have done the same thing in your shoes. Bet it felt good to know you'd busted his nose, after what he said."
Jeff's grin was feral. "You better believe it. Think he's gonna cause trouble for me?"
Mark snorted and shook his head. "Nah. It'll be his word against every guy in this room, including me. But I suggest you go get some ice for that hand. Try Catering though - there might be a little . . . excitement around the trainer's rooms about now."
Harley and Bob were doing a walkthrough with the stage director backstage when they heard screaming and commotion.
"What the hell?" said the stage director, heading off to see what was happening.
Bob just shrugged, and Harley took off her headset and sat down on one of the trunks lining the hallway. She stretched, her mind going back to the pyros she was designing for Glenn's entrance. She barely registered the sound of running feet, and then a hand slapped her face hard. Her hand came up to her cheek in shock as she stared at the dark haired woman in front of her.
"You slut! It's all your fault!" Katie Lea Burchill screeched in a shrill voice.
Bob was calling for security and Harley leaned back as the woman spat at her, absolutely dumbfounded at her behaviour.
One of the crew members grabbed Katie Lea and hauled her backwards as Bob extended a hand to Harley, who took it and put as much distance as she could between herself and the dark haired woman, shaking her head.
Mark had decided to go and see the road manager himself, let him know what had happened in the locker room. Burchill's behaviour had been unacceptable, certainly, but Mark hoped he could make the man see how Jeff had been provoked. When he saw Security gathered backstage, and heard Katie Lea's voice, he just shook his head. He guessed she'd found out about her brother's broken nose and, from the sounds of it, was none too happy about it.
This may not be the best place for him to be seen, he realized, deciding to head back to the locker room and deal with this later. And then he saw Harley, her eyes wide, and a red palm print on her cheek. He crossed to her in a few strides, seeing Bob Threadgood a moment later.
"Kate? What the hell?"
Harley had no time to respond before Katie Lea started shrieking, "I knew it! Your fucking boyfriend come to fight your battles for you, you filthy slag!"
Jeff picked just that moment to appear from his visit to Catering, holding a ziplock bag of icecubes against his knuckles, thinking to let Harley know about the altercation in the locker room before the gossip started. When Katie Lea saw him, she was incensed, and before the situation got more out of control, Bob took Harley, Mark and Jeff into an empty office.
"Someone want to tell me what's going on here tonight?"
Bob looked at the three of them, and Harley shrugged helplessly.
"Some crazy woman runs up and slaps me outta the blue - I'm as much in the dark as you are, Bob."
Jeff stared at Harley, only now making out the mark on her face. "Aw hell, Harley."
Bob gave Mark a long look. "Tell me. Now. And no bullshit, Mark."
Mark shrugged. "Burchill was in the locker room. Making some less than complimentary comments about Harley to Jeff."
Bob scratched his head. "I don't get it. Why would he be doing that?"
Before Jeff could say anything, Mark stepped in. "You know how gossip goes, Bob. Everyone knows Jeff and Harley are friends - doesn't take much for someone to think it's more than that."
Now Bob saw the bag of ice that Jeff was holding against his hand. "And you belted him one?"
"Broke his nose, I think," Jeff said quietly.
Harley's eyebrows raised, as did Bob's. Mark shrugged.
"For what it's worth, I would have done the same. And probably much sooner than Jeff did."
Jeff spoke up then. "And when Burchill said something about as vile about Harley to Mark, he did."
"What did you do to him?" Bob asked.
Mark shrugged again. "Gut punch."
"Jesus wept," Bob could only shake his head.
Harley could only sit in stunned silence. It was all a little overwhelming, how quickly it had gone from just gossip to something bad enough to rouse Jeff to violence. She didn't want to think about what Paul Burchill must have said to provoke him that much, or to then make Mark take a swing at him. She didn't much care for Burchill - he struck her as a little creepy, and she didn't like the way his eyes crawled over her when he saw her.
Taking a deep breath, Bob checked his watch. "Okay, here's what we're gonna do. You three are gonna stay right here while I go and see the road manager. I'm assuming there's a dozen guys in the locker room who'll back you up on this?" He looked at Mark and Jeff.
They both nodded.
"Good. That should be enough to get Mr Burchill and his sister thrown out of here for the evening, but you will stay put until I can make sure of that." He looked sternly at them. "I mean it - I don't want any of you wandering the halls where either of them or the tiny handful of friends they have can get at you."
Mark was the only one who nodded, but that seemed to satisfy Bob, who left, closing the door behind him. Harley dropped her head into her hands, and Jeff sat down beside her, rubbing his uninjured hand gently over her back. Mark looked away, feeling a little uncomfortable.
Harley gave Jeff a small smile, nudging her shoulder against him. "How bad is your hand?"
He shrugged, taking the ice away from his knuckles and looking at it. "It'll be fine - it was just a bit swollen."
She chuckled. "My hero." She leaned in to kiss his cheek with a smile.
Jeff grinned. "All part of the service, ma'am."
She looked over at Mark. "And you too, chief - thanks for standing up for my honour. I'd kind of expect it from my neighbour here, but you didn't have to do that. I appreciate it."
'Neighbour', Mark wondered - was that some Southern speak for 'lover' that was peculiar to North Carolina? He gave her a smile.
"My pleasure, Kate."
She smiled at him, and then rested her head on Jeff's shoulder. He smiled, lifting his makeshift ice pack to her reddened cheek, brushing it lightly against the skin before replacing it on his knuckles. She smiled and whispered a thank you. They sat in silence for a few minutes, before Harley's headset beeped. She sat up more, lifting it back into position to answer the page. Nodding as she listened, she looked at Mark and Jeff.
"Bob says the coast is clear, but they want you in the trainer's room, Jeff, so they can check out your hand."
Jeff shrugged, rising to his feet. "I'll go, but it's fine, nothing that's going to stop me wrestling tonight, or tomorrow for that matter."
Harley chuckled, taking off her headset again and hanging it around her neck. "Hey, you know the rules as well as I do. Go, let them take a look at it please?"
He smiled and kissed her cheek. "Yes, dear."
Laughing, she shook her head. "Out!"
Jeff wisely did as he was told, and Harley blew out a sigh as he left. She turned to Mark, her expression serious.
"This wasn't just Jeff over-reacting, was it?"
Mark looked at her for a long moment, and then shook his head. "Burchill was way out of line."
"Do I need to be watching out for him?"
He frowned. "I don't think so. He's a bit of a blowhard, mostly talk."
"That's hardly the reassurance I was looking for, but okay. Not the first time I've had to keep some loser in my sights," Harley shrugged.
"I'd keep more an eye on his sister - she's . . . unpredictable," Mark said.
Harley's eyebrows rose. "Jeez, ya think, chief?" She turned her head so he could see the mark still on her cheek. "Don't worry, her I can deal with."
"You shouldn't have to 'deal with' either of them, Kate."
She shrugged again. "Maybe, but I'm a realist. Life ain't fair - anyone who tries to tell you any different is just blowin' sunshine up your ass." She sighed. "I gotta get back to work. Thanks again for stickin' up for me."
She was gone before he could get a word out. Shaking his head, he left the office and headed back to the locker room. But his enthusiasm for the night's show seemed to have evaporated, along with his earlier good mood. In fact, the entire locker room seemed to have been sobered by the earlier events.
It took a pretty determined effort by the eternally juvenile Adam Copeland and Chris Jericho to lift spirits again. Even Jeff had to laugh at their antics when he returned from the trainer's room, his hand taped as a precaution but cleared to wrestle all the same.
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