Prologue -1997

Pain, without love
Pain, I can’t get enough
Pain, I like it rough
‘Cause I’d rather feel pain
Than nothing at all

3 Days Grace had been on repeat all morning.

Briar hadn’t come down for breakfast. Nothing unusual in that. Once, she had been a fairly normal kid; an average moody teenager. Than when she turned fifteen all of that had changed. When she was fifteen, she also met her step-father, a famous wrestler by the name of Mark Callaway.

Soon after she had fallen into the wrong crowd, refusing to give up her ‘new’ life. Drugs, drinking and sex soon followed. She wound up in trouble with the law several times; went through boyfriends who were always as bad as her if not worse.

She was nothing but trouble. But that was the story of her life. She had always been nothing but trouble.

Sighing, Theresa looked up at the ceiling; rolling her eyes. “Briar, turn that shit down!” She screamed.

This life is filled with hurt
When happiness doesn’t work
Trust me and take my hand
When the lights go out you will understand

If anything the music only got louder.

“Worthless, bitch.” Theresa muttered.


Briar was sitting in the middle of her bedroom, a cigarette between her lips as she stared down at her wrists. The faded, cream carpet felt scratchy against the backs of her thighs. She looked so innocent. Her long black hair falling neatly down her back, over the plain white tee shirt she wore; matching white panties covering her lower extremities.

But the vision of innocence was marred. Firstly, by the cigarette that dangled off her bottom lip. Then there was her body, what was visible. Scars and fresh cuts lined her wrists and inner arms, her thighs were the same way.

In her right hand was a knife, a sharp knife; her favorite knife. She had bought it when she first entertained the idea of cutting herself. At first, she had merely studied the knife, fingering the blade from time to time.

Then as her inner turmoil got worse, she got braver. At fifteen, Briar had been sloppy with her cutting. Now at eighteen she was a pro. She knew how deep she could cut without seriously harming herself. She knew that the first slice would bring the sweetest pain, the blade cutting through her skin; the sharp stinging sensation would spread across her skin as the blade went deeper. Blood would pool for just a moment then spill, streaking her pale flesh like paint splattered against a canvas.

Physical pain was a release for her emotional anguish. Life had spiraled out of control and Briar didn’t know how to get it back. Maybe she didn’t want it back. Maybe she just wanted a way out.

Holding the knife steady, she inhaled deeply.

Pain, without love
Pain, I can’t get enough
Pain, I like it rough
‘Cause I’d rather feel pain
Than nothing at all
Rather feel pain than nothing at all
Rather feel pain

Then all was silent.


“What?” Mark roared into his cell phone, bolting upright in bed. His eyes widened with every word coming from his wife’s mouth. “Fuck… I’ll be there.” He hung up and rolled out of bed, running his hands through his hair.

Briar; his step-daughter, was in the hospital.

He hastily stepped into his jeans from the night before, rolling his eyes when the woman he had picked up the night before groggily raised her head off of her pillow.

“C’mere, I’m not finished with you.” She murmured sleepily, crooking a finger at him.

“Gotta go.” He grunted, now lacing up his boots; a shirt already covering his chest. “Got work to do, honey.” Snorting, Mark swiped up his duffel bag, his essentials having never been unpacked and walked out of the hotel room without a glance back.

“Briar, what have you done?” He whispered as he walked, knowing it was very likely she had crashed her latest car in another drunk driving accident. Or maybe a fight where she had come out the loser.


Theresa was waiting for her husband in the hospital parking lot, a cigarette dangling from her yellow tipped fingers. Her bloodshot eyes were rimmed in red and filled with worry. “She slashed both arms.” She said the minute Mark was in front of her. “From here, to here.” She gestured from wrist halfway to the elbow. “Along the vein. Doctors stopped the bleedin’ but…” Her frail shoulders began to shake. “Mark, she’s been cuttin’ herself for years they said. They found scars and cuts all along her arms and even on her legs.”

His face was growing grimmer and grimmer with each word coming from her mouth.

“They found drugs in her system, again.” Theresa continued, oblivious to her husband’s sudden mood change from worried to irritated. “When she’s able to leave, they’re recommending either a wellness program or an institution.”

This was not the time for Theresa’s dramatics. “It’ll be fine.” He stated, sounding mildly annoyed. Briar had been a beautiful girl when he had first met her, so sweet and innocent; what the hell had happened? Then again, her mother used to be a beauty too. After less than five years of marriage she was already looking more and more like a hag. Shaking his head, Mark took her cigarette and tossed it aside. “Stop that crying.”


Briar was awake, staring out of the hospital window from her bed. She was listening as her doctor explained she was suffering from depression; wondering if he was for real. Snorting, she turned to face him, one black eyebrow raising coldly. “No shit?” She drawled, raising her heavily bandaged arms up as far as the restraints that kept her in bed would allow. A grim smile marred her otherwise beautiful face, her gray eyes cool. “Whatever gave you that idea, doc?”

“We also found cocaine in your system.” He said, clearing his throat; obviously trying to ignore her tone and mocking words.


“You'll need to go to rehab.”

Briar snorted at that. Her eyes widened then narrowed when the door opened, seeing Mark following her mother into the room. “Aww… how sweet. Daddy comes running home for his baby.”

Mark studied her for a moment, taking in the wild look in her eyes; the barely hidden rage and anguish lurking beneath the insanity. “What the HELL is wrong with you, girl?” He demanded, anger rolling off of him in waves.

Theresa opened her mouth and instantly clammed up when he held up a hand.

“I was dragged off the road, during a tour, for THIS? Look at you. You’re sick and you need help, Briar.” Mark sighed heavily, not believing this. What a waste of his time. When Theresa began crying, he all but shoved her out of the room. “Damn fool woman.” His eyes were on Briar, taking in the padded cuffs on her arms. “You’re going to a mental institution, kid.”

Briar laughed him out of the room.


-2 Years Later, 1999

Briar was officially free to rejoin society. She was clean and sober. She hadn’t cut herself in eighteen months and finally, she had finished her therapy. Though they could never get her to completely open up. At least not outside the journal she had been asked to keep.

As there was no indication that she was likely to harm anyone else or herself, she had been released. Though the courts had set it up so she was still under her parent’s guardianship until twenty-one, another year away.

Theresa had been outside the chain link fence of the institution waiting. She had immediately handed Briar a plane ticket and cab fare.

Briar could remember her mother’s scrutinizing stare on her. Those cold brown eyes taking first the black fingerless gloves Briar wore to cover her scarred arms; gloves that ran all the way to her elbows. She wore all black. She always had unless cutting herself, than she had worn white. Simply because she liked seeing the pure color stained with crimson.

Theresa’s gaze roamed up, black sneakers that melded into black jeans that fit Briar’s lean frame like a second skin and then a black tank top; her porcelain skin all the more pale for it. “You’re going with your dad.” She said flatly, watching as Briar tightened her ponytail, black hair as well. This child was a walking storm cloud and it disgusted her.


“Because he can handle you better than I can.”


Mark wasn’t happy to find out his psychotic step-daughter was joining him on the road. Especially since he was doing an angle that had him assembling a team of men for his ‘Ministry of Darkness’, that’s all he needed. To be playing a lunatic on screen while dealing with one off screen.

He waited in the employee underground parking lot, leaning against the building; his green eyes narrowed. He was going to kill his wife, what was left of her anyway. The woman was wasting away; she was skin and bones; looking like something from the pits of Hell. She knew he had been cheating on her throughout their marriage but on the other hand, she hadn’t been entirely faithful to him either.

Mark pushed away from the gritty cement building when he seen a cab pulling in; folding his massive tattooed arms over his chest. He watched in silence as Briar passed fare to the driver from her place in the backseat before reluctantly opening the door and stepping out, a duffel bag over her shoulder.

Briar had to blink behind the sunglasses she wore, staring up at him. “Mark?” She asked hesitantly. It was him but… gone was the dark auburn hair; instead now an inky black much like her own. He had shaved clean his face save for a black goatee that was simply evil looking; there was no other word for it.

When he merely grunted she repressed a sigh. It was all too obvious he wasn’t happy to see her, that made the feeling mutual. Two years had done nothing to extinguish their dislike for one another. She flinched when he suddenly grabbed her by her thin wrist, her glove being jerked down her arm.

“Don’t!” Briar hissed angrily; narrowed eyes watching him examining her arm and knew what he was looking for. “I haven’t done it in almost two years.” She snarled, jerking her arm away.

Mark had seen the nasty vertical scar that ran through the multitude of horizontal scars, her ultimate fuck you to the world. His face was grave, not believing this was happening, not believing he was stuck with her. “Good.” He said finally, stepping back to open one of the many doors that led into the arena. When she hesitated, he grew impatient; once again grabbing her wrist and pulled her forward; a not so gentle nudge pushing her inside.

Briar scowled, adjusting her glove back into place; falling into step beside him.

“You’re going to keep quiet and stay in my dressing rooms. I don’t want you talking to anyone. I don’t want anyone knowing we’re related.” Mark said coldly, his voice leaving no room for arguments, staring straight ahead. If any of the guys even so much looked at her he was going to brutally murder them.

“You think I want people to know you married my mother?” Briar looked sickened by the very idea. Whereas he was looking dead ahead, she was openly taking him in. He wore his wrestling costume, all black and spandex. Her upper lip curled into a sneer, seeing the symbol etched from the chest of the cloth.

“Cocky brat.” Mark thought with a snort, guiding her into his locker room. Though he did approve of one thing: she instantly went to a chair in one of the corners and dropped down. Good, maybe she’d learn her place without him having to beat it into her thick skull.

Ignoring him, Briar rifled through her bag; finally pulling out a sketchpad and a walkman. Soon music was blaring from the headset and she was immersed in her own thing.

“Is this the child?”

Mark rolled his eyes towards Paul, his warning growl all the answer he and the rest of the following Ministry needed. “Leave her alone. Any of you even look at her wrong and you’ll answer to me.” He cautioned. Not because he felt any parental obligation to the girl but because he wasn’t having any extra bullshit to deal with. “Now, to business…”

Briar had watched as the men filed into the room and then took their own seats, arching an eyebrow when yet another tall man with black hair winked at her. Apparently all wrestlers were home grown on a farm somewhere. She turned down the volume on her walkman, listening to Mark; inwardly rolling her own eyes at his warning.

Edge and Christian were both looking at her, sneaking glances in whenever they thought they weren’t being watched. Paul clearing his throat told them that they weren’t as slick as they tried to be.

“Sorry.” Edge murmured.

“EYES ON ME!” Mark roared, not amused. Within less than five minutes Briar was already distracting his men were her mere presence, the thought making him growl angrily. These fools were going to learn to listen and obey, which is why he decided he was arranging matches for all of them. As both punishment and to see if they truly belonged in his group.

“Taker, are you-“

“Yes, I am. Any of you fail and you’ll answer to me. Dismissed.” He said flatly, pinching the bridge of his nose.

Briar waved when she got another look from the exiting men, shaking her head when the door finally closed. “Mark, this is boring. I don’t need a baby sitter, I can go do my own thing.” She offered, knowing he wasn’t happy with her being there but then again, neither was she. “I’d be out of your hair.”

How temping. Mark only needed a few seconds to consider it, finally lazily waving his hand at the door. “Fine. Get out.” It was almost amusing to see how fast she flew out the door.

“How old is she?”

“Twenty something, I don’t know. Stop asking questions, Paul, she’s none of your concern.” He growled, not wanting to discuss his step-daughter who was still giving him a headache without even being near him.


Freedom! Briar was very tempted to just take off but that would be grounds for jail time as a violation of her release from the institution. She didn’t like the idea of going to jail. She had spent a lot of time in and out of juvenile centers before her time in the institute and had hated it. The walls, the guards watching your every little move. She couldn’t stand that.

Even if she had deserved it.

A scowl marring her pale blue lipstick painted mouth, she wandered the halls, ignoring the looks she got from other people who were obviously wondering who the hell she was. As if she would go out of her way to tell them? No. Nobody needed to know her relationship to Mark, ever.

“Hello.” One of Mark’s crew fell into step beside her, a tall blond with a curious smile. “I’m Christian and that’s Edge.” He nodded to her other side where another tall blond man had taken position at. “You are?”

“Are those your real names?” She asked, disregarding his question.

“No, but we like them.”

“Briar.” She looked back and forth between the pair.

Edge flashed her a toothy grin, remembering ‘Taker’s warning but as the Dead Man wasn’t around to be a physical reminder, he didn’t care and he knew his brother didn’t either. They were both openly curious about this woman, or was she a girl, sometimes it was hard to tell. “How do you know the boss?” He asked, watching Christian’s eyes widen and scoffed. “It’s a relatively simple question, moron.”

“I just do is all.” Briar replied evasively, snickering when Christian said something that sounded an awful lot like ‘fuck your mother’ to Edge. These two were going to be entertaining, she could tell already.

“Not one of his whores, are you?”

“Do I LOOK like a whore?”

“Well, no, but who knows these days?”

She froze to glare at him, her gray eyes darkening angrily. “I was under the impression he liked BLOND boys!”

“Okay, okay, so you’re not a whore…” Edge tapped his chin thoughtfully, wondering just who she was and what her purpose here was, besides annoying ‘Taker. Which he had noted, she seemed to do without even opening her mouth. Now that took talent. “Are you the one we’re supposed to sacrifice?” That was another long shot and he knew it.

Christian was just shaking his head. The show was scripted but ‘Taker made it look as real as possible. The man was a genius and could weave one hell of a story out in the squared circle, Christian would never deny that. Even if the stories sometime’s left people with a bad taste in their mouths afterwards.


Edge deflated, scratching the top of his head. “Well damn, I’m clueless now.”

“Somehow I’m guessing clueless comes natural for you.” Briar said teasingly. Which had been a mistake, as soon as she showed she wasn’t a complete bitch, both men began badgering her again about how she knew Mark. “I’m his fucking daughter, okay?”

“Whoa… you are… No way, you’re too hot for one.” Edge said uncertainly.


Christian let out a sigh of relief. “That makes more sense.”

“Damn, ‘Taker brought his kid on the road…” Edge mused with a smile, draping an arm around her shoulders. “Well, Bri, let us show you around the place, eh? We’ll probably get our asses handed to us if the boss found out so kindly keep it under wraps, alright?” He grinned when she nodded.

Edge and Christian were amusing. They kept her entertained, telling her who was who. Then they started in on Mark, or ‘Taker as they kept calling him, telling her stories that she knew would probably send her mother into suicide.

The irony made Briar giggle.

“Um, Edge, dude, I think we missed our cue.” Christian said when he heard a gong echo throughout the arena.

Briar could only watch as they off flying down the hall, her eyes wide.

“SHIT! ‘Taker is gonna kill us!” Edge screeched, blond hair streaming behind him, though it had been worth it to make friends with the interesting Briar.



Briar spun around quickly, her startled gaze meeting a pair of amused soft green eyes. Quickly, she gave the man a once over, taking in his purple and blue streaked hair and friendly smile, finally looking down at his extended hand.

“You look new. I’m Jeff Hardy, you are?”

She was getting that a lot all of a sudden. “Briar.” She murmured, trying to keep from getting lost in those beautiful eyes, she bet he knew the effect they had on woman. Clearing her throat, she took his hand, shaking quickly before stuffing her hands in her back pockets. She had been locked up with other ‘crazy’ people for two years and before that… well, her social skills weren’t exactly polished to say the least.

Jeff merely stared at her, a patient expression on his face as she sorted through her thoughts.

“I’m sorry, I think I might be lost. Could you point me towards ‘Taker’s dressing room?” Briar asked hesitantly, looking back the way she had come and frowned. She had been so immersed in Edge and Christian’s prattle she had lost track of the twists and turns they had taken down the hallways. “Or maybe show me?”

“Taker’s room?” Jeff echoed softly, his Carolina drawl filled with curiosity. He was intrigued with this black butterfly and didn’t bother hiding it, his face and eyes an open book. “Sure, I’ll walk ya there.” He agreed, holding out his arm. A smile lit his face when she linked her arm through his unable to help noticing the black gloves she wore. He wondered if it was a fashion statement or something more, but not asking, it wasn’t his business. “Mind me askin’ how you know ‘Taker?” That was a safe question, for the most part.

Chewing on her lower lip for a moment, Briar finally sighed. “He’s my step-dad and please don’t be repeating that.” It was a hurried sentence and request, giving the information immediately. She felt like she had known this guy her entire life, he was that comfortable to be around. “Are you a wrestler too?” She questioned, her own curiosity just as evident as his. He was built, but he was small. Like Christian and Edge now that she thought about it. How did these tiny guys last with all the monsters around here?

“Yep, I am. Me and my brother Mattie, erm… Matt Hardy. Don’t worry by the way, your secret is safe with me.” He winked reassuringly at her as they walked. “So what brings you on the road with him?” When he felt her tense, he cringed, looking sheepish. “Sorry, sore subject. What kinda music do you listen too?”

The way her eyes lit up told him this was a subject they both could probably talk on for hours.

They made it to the dressing room before either realized it, then just stood in the hallway talking about music. Briar found out he was just as eclectic as her when it came to music; the conversation finally shifting into a discussion about Pearl Jam, which turned out they both adored.

“How long have we been standing out here?” Briar asked suddenly, glancing around for a clock, frowning when she finally seen the time. Mark would be back any second most likely, ready to rain on her parade.

“I’m not sure, I lost track awhile ago.” Jeff admitted, once again looking sheepish, though he was adorable when he did it. He couldn’t believe how much Briar loved music, how many bands and singers she could name that were favorites of his. This was a woman after his own heart, one he wanted to get to know better and had every intention of doing so. “Do you think I should make a run for it?” He teased.

“I wouldn’t run but it might be a good idea if I was inside before he got back.” She said seriously, not entirely sure what Mark would say if he caught her talking to one of his co-workers and not in the mood to find out either. Given that this was the first night she had seen him since laughing at him in the hospital, she didn’t think it too wise to test his boundaries just yet. “Thank you for showing me back, Jeff.” Briar murmured, tugging nervously on her gloves, pulling them higher over her arms.

Jeff didn’t miss that gesture, knowing she probably didn’t even realize she was doing but just smiled. “Hope to see you around, Briar, take care.” He kissed her cheek before jetting away, groaning when a door opened and he was smacked right in the face.

Briar winced.

“Lord Hardy, you would lose your head if it wasn’t attached.” Lisa sighed, helping him up with a shake of her head. “Down the hall to your left, go get some aspirin from the trainers.”

“Thanks.” He mumbled, shooting Briar a grin over his shoulder. He had a horrible habit of running into things.

Giggling, she slipped into the room, instantly depressed by how dark it was; immediately flipping on the lights. Briar walked back to her chair and dropped down; pulling a leather bound journal from her bag. She had started keeping a diary during her second year at the institution, a healthy way to express her feelings and thoughts. The perk to doing it now was she didn’t have to show it to a therapist.

Not more than ten minutes later, Mark stormed in, bellowing at the top of his lungs. “You two idiots sit down right!”

Edge and Christian dropped to the floor on their knees, their heads bowed.

“You nearly missed you match! You are in the Ministry now, this is not a fucking game! You’re here because you’ve earned a spot! Yet tonight, all you showed me was how fucking irresponsible you are! I swear to God if it happens again, I don’t care what’s keeping, you I will fucking bury you both alive! Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir.”Edge mumbled, feeling like a child.

Briar had listened to the rant with a deepening frown, finally getting to her feet. “Mark.” She blinked when he whirled on her, seeing his eyes were practically on fire and almost stepped back. “I was lost and they were showing me the way back.” It was a half lie. “It’s my fault they were late, okay? Chill out.” She would have instructed him to find his happy place like herself had been taught but… he probably would have taken her head off.

She had done what she had wanted. His temper was no longer focused on the pair crouched before him. Now it was focused directly on her. One second Briar was standing in the corner, the next she had been tossed down onto a small, shabby couch; her step-father looming over her with fire ridden eyes.

“I TOLD you not to talk to them, did I not?” He demanded. When Briar didn’t answer him, he snatched the journal from her hands, hurling it across the room. “Did I or did I not ask you not to talk to them?”

She mumbled a ‘yes’.

Mark growled angrily, glancing at Christian and Edge. “You two, get out.” He snarled, watching as they scrambled over each other on their way out the door. Not sparing Briar a second look, he stormed into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

The minute he was out of sight, she was retrieving her journal. Briar held it between her hands, taking in the broken binding with a sigh. Ignoring Paul’s penetrating stare, she crossed the room to put the book back in her bag along with her sketchpad and walkman, slinging the duffel over her shoulder.

Screw this. Her mother would simply have to deal with her. She’d play the good daughter until her year was up then she was gone. She wasn’t sticking around with her prick step-father. She heard him coming from the bathroom and ignored him, feeling his piercing stare on her back.

Good, she was leaving. Mark sighed when his cell phone rang, accepting it when Paul passed it to him. “What?” He demanded edgily.

Paul watched on with wide eyes as Mark’s face went paler than usual, frowning. Briar’s attention was also on her parent as well. When Mark hung up, Paul asked: “What is it?”

Mark stared at him almost blankly, his eyes slowly drifting to Briar. “My wife is dead.”


Briar stood at her mother’s casket beside Mark. She was covered from head to toe by a black veil, underneath wearing a long black dress. Her cold gray eyes were rimmed in black, her lips their usual pale blue. She could hear people whispering, more audible now that the funeral was over.

Theresa’s cheating husband and wild child, suicidal daughter had driven her to killing herself. She couldn’t handle it anymore.

“Stupid bitch.” Briar snorted, watching with no expression on her face as the coffin was lowered into the ground. She could still hear her mother telling her to ‘be a good girl, you’re going to get a new daddy but I won’t love you anymore if you mess THIS one up’. What kind of mother pulled that card? No wonder Briar was screwed up.

“Mr. Callaway?” A man in an expensive three piece suit asked nervously, glancing quickly at Briar. He fidgeted with a briefcase he carried in his arms.

“What?” Mark muttered gruffly. He was the reason for the other man’s nervousness. Dressed from head to toe in all black; at his height and the almost evil way his face appeared; he made a lot of people nervous. Honestly, Mark had known this day was coming, his wife was just as fucked in the head as her daughter.

He stared down at the man, his eyes cold behind his black sunglasses. Did these people have no respect? His wife had just died, not that he loved her, but still; this was her damn funeral. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he wrapped an arm around Briar’s shoulders. “What do you want?”

“I’m here to inform you sir, and I’m truly sorry to be doing this at your wife’s funeral, but… With Mrs. Callaway dead, you’re now Briar Callaway’s official guardian until she turns twenty-one next year.” The man, apparently a lawyer, said in a trembling voice. He watched as the girl in question –Briar- shoved her step-father away. “Given her special probation… the courts have ruled you parent since her biological father is dead.”

The veil Briar wore shook with her own barely suppressed anger. “You mean I’m stuck with HIM?”

“Um, yes?”

“Only for a year.” Mark clarified, nodding at the lawyer, watching the man scurry away. He had been expecting this. After all, he had made the mistake of letting Theresa give Briar HIS last name when they got married; though he had drawn the line at adopting her. “Maybe if you hadn’t sliced and dice yourself, you’d be a free woman already, Briar. Think about that.” He added viciously.

Overdose. His wife had died of an overdose. It wasn’t even an accidental overdose. She had purposely killed herself with heroin. And Briar had followed right in her footsteps.

Where in the name of God did he find these woman? Seriously.

Grunting, Mark dropped back down in the metal chair he had rested in throughout the ceremony and closed his eyes.

Wanting nothing more than to slap him upside the head, Briar stormed past Mark; making sure to shove him off his chair and into the fresh mound of dirt that was being shoveled over the coffin. She heard him curse but didn’t look back; just walked to wear he had parked his car; leaning against the hood. Raising the veil, she draped it about her shoulders like a shawl in order to light a cigarette, watching as he brushed dirt off his suit with narrowed eyes.

Mark wasted little time in stalking over to her, anger dripping from his every pore. “You think that was smart, little girl? It’s not my fault your mommy decided to kill herself!” Snarling, he took the cigarette from her, crushing it in his fist. “Let’s get one thing straight, Briar. I’m stuck with you for the next year. Then you can go out and cut yourself all you want, sugar. You can go back to your drinking; drugs and whatever else it was you liked to do. Until then, I’m your guardian and you WILL obey me or ELSE. Now get in the fucking car.”

Briar stood there, just glaring at him.

Sighing, Mark opened the passenger side door and forcibly sat her down. She wanted to do this the hard way? Fine.

Briar didn’t say a word until they got home, and even then she was still silent. She hadn’t been in this house since the day she tried to kill herself. Unsurprisingly, nothing had been changed. Maybe it was a bit dustier then she had remembered, some things scattered here and there but essentially the same.

Through with her quick visual inspection, she headed up the stairs to her bedroom, freezing in the open doorway. Was her mother insane? Had she been? Briar’s blood STILL stained the cream carpet. The KNIFE she had used was STILL resting where she had set it down.

Automatically, she reached for the blade, blowing dust off of it. She held it up to the pale sunlight that streamed through the open curtains, staring at the dried blood that stained the blade; a rusty color.

Sighing, Briar carried it downstairs with every intention of throwing it away. She halted however when she spotted Mark peeling off his jacket; knowing damn well he’d be attacking his whiskey soon.

Some things just never changed.

She returned upstairs to grab a shower, needing to wash the day’s events away. Her mother was dead. She reflected on Theresa once out of the steamy water, drying and dressing slowly. Her tears had been shed underneath the sprays, unable to stop herself. As much as she had hated her mother, she had also loved her.

In a desperate, I need your love and attention sort of way.

Sighing, she pulled a form from her bag and headed downstairs. Sadly, she had to deal with Mark.


Mark was indeed drinking his whiskey. After all that had transpired, he needed a bottle. He was sitting in the den, a fire roaring; his chair a few feet from the flames, just staring into them broodingly. His thoughts were consumed with his step-daughter.

Briar. What a punk. She was twenty years old and he had to fucking watch her like some damn guard dog. This didn’t make him happy at all. A year though… No, not now. He was at a huge peak in his career and now instead of focusing one hundred percent on it, he had to make sure his little slicing step daughter didn’t do a dive on his watch.

“Um, Mark?”

Speak of the devil…

“I know this isn’t a good time but could you sign this?”

He could hear the hesitancy in her voice, a paper being held in his line of vision and grunted.

“I have to send in forms twice a week to let my probation officer and counselor know I’m not in trouble.” Briar explained. God this was humiliating. Not to mention if she pissed him off he’d probably refuse.

Mark slowly shifted in his chair to face her, taking a thoughtful sip of his whiskey. “Apologize first.” He said finally, a smirk curving his lips. He watched as her face contorted into an angry expression. “Come on Briar, you want something from me, than I want something from you. You had no right shoving me earlier so… you either apologize or they can think you ARE in trouble. What’s it going to be, kid?”

What a bastard. Taking a deep breath, Briar forced herself to say the words without choking on them. “I am sorry for pushing you in the dirt, Mark.” She said, amazed that it hadn’t come out in a monotone and extended the paper and a pen. “Please?” She was going to cram that glass right down his throat if he didn’t wipe that nasty smirk off his face.

“There now. That wasn’t so hard, was it?” He couldn’t help but laugh softly, finding this amusing. He snatched the paper from her, scrawling his signature on it and passed it back. “Now get out of here. I want to be alone.”

Calling him every name in the book –under her breath of course- Briar headed upstairs to seal the form in an envelope and set it on her dress to mail in the morning. She knew he would be heading back out on the road which meant she was really stuck with him.

“Great…” She muttered, flicking on her CD player. When ‘Pain’ started playing, she quickly pulled the disc out, flinging it across the room and slipped in a different one. Soon Nirvana filled the room and she relaxed, laying down on her bed. It was hard to believe she hadn’t been in this room in two years.

If I had to lose a mile
If I had to touch feelings
I would lose my soul
The way I do

She really couldn’t believe Theresa had left the room the way it was. Especially the knife and bloodstained floor. Talk about a homecoming. No doubt mommy dearest had been hoping she would finally finish the job.

I don’t have to think
I only have to do it
The results are always perfect
And that’s old news

Maybe if she had been listening to this song when she had tried killing herself, she would have succeeded.


Mark was in a grouchy mood the following day, not looking forward to dragging his dead wife’s kid all over God’s green earth with him. Sighing, he stepped off of the plane; guiding the way through the terminal and then security. Once they were both searched and cleared to go, he led her out to their waiting rental car; handling the paperwork quickly while she pretended he didn’t exist.

He had to remind her of the rules, not about to have a repeat performance of her last excursion with Edge and Christian. He didn’t need anyone asking questions, especially the boys. When all he got was a derisive snort as a response, he took that as her answer.

While driving, he mused about what he could do to keep her out of his hair, wondering if maybe Vince would consider putting her to work. “I’m going to try to get you a job.” He said finally, frowning when she didn’t reply. Glancing over at her, he seen she had her earphones on, bobbing her head in time to music he thankfully couldn’t here. Rolling his eyes, Mark snatched them off her head. “Hey, I’m talking to you.”

“WHAT?” Briar snapped, shifting in her seat to stare at him. One eyebrow raised when he repeated himself, was he serious? “Yeah sure, whatever. As long as it gets me away from you, I don’t care.” She muttered, slipping back on the headphones.

Looking out the window, she tugged on her gloves; the silver bracelets she wore glinting in the sunlight. She tilted her head back against the seat, her black lips pursing into a smile. Hmm… traveling with him wouldn’t be so bad if she got to see more of a certain Hardy.

When they reached the arena, Mark shooed her off while he went to his dressing room. He had a meeting with the Ministry and honestly didn’t have the time or the inclination to watch her. If she decided to chop herself to little pieces, she could do it away from him. He had a career to think about.

“I’m fine.” He said irritably when Paul instantly started asking questions.

“Your wife DIED.”

“She killed herself, so get to the point and quickly. She was psychotic and loved her drugs and pills.” Mark said coldly. “Enough about it. Let’s get down to business.”


Vince was reviewing a backstage brawl that would air that night, pausing the video and then hit rewound, his son Shane looking up from his place on the couch to see what had attracted Vince’s attention. Together they watched as a young woman in all black dived out of view, a startled expression on her pale face, her black lips turned down in a frown.

Shane arched an eyebrow; taking in the black skirt and tank top. Most importantly, the gloves.

“Find out who she is.”

Nodding, Shane got up and walked out. He searched the hallways, finally spotting the woman from the video leaning against a wall. “Hello.” He greeted her, watching as startled gray eyes flew open, somehow not surprised to see they were ringed in black eyeliner. “I’m Shane McMahon.” He held out his hand to her. “I’m a partial owner of the company. I know every face, but not yours. New?”

“Um, no, well I mean yes. I’m just… on the road with… Mark. ‘Taker, I mean.” Briar stumbled hastily, watching as he politely raised a confused brow and inwardly sighed. Curious people made her sick. “He’s my dad, step-dad. If I’m bothering anybody, I can leave.” Not a problem, nope. She had no issue with going outside and hanging.

“You’re ‘Taker’s daughter?” Shane echoed, blinking; not expecting that one. From her stammering, he gathered ‘Taker wasn’t keen on people knowing, that or she wasn’t. Mark was a smart man but not slick enough apparently or he would have kept her in a room somewhere. “Come walk with me. What’s your name?” He was already taking her by the arm in his, guiding her down the hallway.


Vince stared at the young woman, Briar –now that was an unusual name. He had listened to Shane before turning his attention on her. She had a gothic look but was young, which he could see would be good for the new Ministry angle. “You’re traveling with Mark then?” He watched her nod, noting how she nervously tugged on her gloves. “Briar, how would you like to try out for a job?”

“Um, how?”

“Can you swing a chair?”

When Briar finally was done being questioned and had left, Shane started laughing. “You’re not serious? You’re going to have ‘Taker’s daughter swing a chair at him?” He shook his head, chuckling wickedly. “This is going to be interesting to say the least. Dad, I love how your mind works.”


Mark was in the middle of his meeting with his men when Briar quietly entered the room. He hadn’t heard her but the sudden loss of attention from the boys and the subtle whiff of perfume told him she was there. “What the hell do you want?” He demanded, turning to stare at her. When all he got was a blank look, he rolled his eyes. “Briar, what the hell happened?”

“Um, I have a job… like you wanted.” She said finally, snapping out of her daze. “I just thought I’d let you know. So um, I’ll see you later then.” She walked right back out, only to almost instantly be snatched up by a woman with short blond hair who was wearing a black shirt with WWF Attitude on it in white.

“Briar? Let’s go over what you’re going to do…”

Briar listened carefully as the woman explained, a frown appearing on her face. “And he’s not going to know?”

“Nope. This way everything comes across as ‘real’, you know what I’m saying? We’re live so try not to goof up. Just swing the chair and make sure you get his back, can you do that?”

She nodded, wondering just how pissed Mark was going to be about this. Though he DID say she needed a job, and he DIDN’T specify what kind.


Mark was in the ring with the Rock that night. Inwardly wondering why he was jobbing to this rookie, deciding to turn the tables on the young man. He frowned though when the fans suddenly went nuts, wondering what the hell was going on. They sure as hell weren’t cheering for him, he was the heel.

Then he felt a chair being smacked against his back, hard.

When he did turn around, his green eyes narrowed at the sight of Briar. His distraction cost him, the Rock taking advantage to roll him up. After the show went to commercial he rolled out of the ring, anger coursing through him.

So THAT was her new job.


“That was great!” Vince laughed when Briar got backstage, having been waiting to greet her. He watched as a trainer passed her a bottle of water, waiting patiently while she drained it. “You look like you’re going to faint, do you need to sit down?”

She shook her head no.

“You got a pop.” Vince chuckled, patting her head gently. “Which means the fans liked you. Interesting… Now, make sure you come with Mark tomorrow and we’ll have a line for you.”

She could only watch him walk away, overhearing him say to Shane ‘get the writer’s going on this’.

“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” Mark roared from behind her, spotting Vince and Shane now running down the hall. “MCMAHON, YOU’RE DEAD!” He was livid; a growl escaping him as he stared down at his step-daughter. The little bitch had nailed him with a chair, without letting him know she was going too! “Briar…”

Briar actually began laughing; holding up her hands when he began advancing and backed away. She stumbled over a cord and fell back into a table, giggling like mad. He was beet red and it was hilarious in a deadly sort of way. “S-sorry!” She gasped out, shutting the hell up when he grabbed her by the arms. “Vince wanted me to do that to see if they could work a storyline from it.” She whispered.

“Without me knowing about it.” He growled angrily, wanting to kill his boss for involving Briar in this. The Ministry was HIS baby, his creation! Mark dragged her down the hallway by her arm, not caring who saw them, his dangerous eyes keeping everyone who even thought about approaching away.

Briar flinched when she was suddenly thrust through an open door, the entire Ministry springing to their feet.

Mark let go of her only to snatch up Paul. “Where the hell were you?”

“I- I didn’t know!” Paul wailed, trying to wiggle free.

Christian frowned, watching as Briar rubbed her arm, having a feeling it would bruise and took one step towards her. He immediately backed off when Mark’s dangerous green eyes landed on him.

“I told you, Vince wanted me to do it, nobody but us knew.” Briar said angrily.

“You should have fucking told me when you barged in here earlier and interrupted my meeting!” He shouted, his face going red again; releasing Paul. “You better fix this, Paul. I don’t care what it takes. Briar is NOT a part of the show!”

Christian again took a step forward when it looked like Mark was about to grab up his step-daughter again.

And again he got an evil look.

“You got something to say to me, boy?” Mark demanded, snorting when Christian’s head just lowered. “That’s what I thought. DISMISSED.”

Briar watched them all shuffle out, disappearing into the bathroom to check on her arm. Pulling off her glove, she laid it on the sink before studying the finger print shaped bruises that covered the scars with a frown. Good thing she did wear gloves.

Sighing, she wetted a towel with cold water and pressed it to her aching arm, leaning back against the sink. “Go away.” She said dully when Mark opened the door. “Tell your boss you don’t want me in the show. You’re the one who said you wanted me out of your hair, it’s not my fault he decided to put me to work.”

Sighing heavily, Mark felt a momentary twinge of regret, very brief. “I’m sorry.” He said gruffly, examining her arm, ignoring the scars that leapt up at him. “I won’t put my hands on you again.”

Good, she would hate to have to stab him. That would definitely count as a violation of her probation.

Silence once again reigned in the car as he drove to the hotel. Though Briar was quite talkative in her own mind. Last time she had been on the road with him, they’d left immediately because of her mother. So next on her list of things she never wanted to do was spending a night in a hotel room with him.

Great, just great.


Sharing a hotel room had been a barely tolerable thought. Needless to say, when Mark found out about the screw up on said room, he was pissed and trying not to throttle the desk clerk’s scrawny throat. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“I’m sorry sir,” She apologized nervously, wishing there were more than a counter between her and this giant. “We accidentally put you in a room with a single bed. We’re out of rooms or I’d switch you.”

It took every ounce of self restraint not to hurt her. As it was, she gave him a discount for the mistake –not that he cared, he just wanted two damn beds! When they got up to their room, he was semi appeased to see that at least they had gotten something right. There was a mini bar.

The bed, thankfully, was a king sized. Though given how big he was, that didn’t account for much.

“Well, Briar, looks like we’ll be sharing tonight.”

“Actually, I’ll sleep on the floor.” Briar said, shooting him a horrified look. Hell no. he was her dad! Well, step-dad but still. No way. Taking her bag, she quickly disappeared into the bathroom and turned on the shower before setting out her pajamas. Soon she was under the sprays, relaxing as best she could given the circumstances.

When she finally came out, Mark pushed her toward the bed. “I catch you on that floor and we’re going to have problems.” He threatened, refusing to hear her whine about her back or something in the morning from sleeping on the floor. He’d have to strangle her then.

After taking his own shower and whatnot, Mark was pleased to find her laying on one side of the bed. Granted, she was clinging to the edge but that wasn’t his problem. “I’ll make sure we have separate rooms from now on.” He said, slipping under the comforter and turned out the light. “I know I haven’t asked this,” He began after a few minutes of silence. “But how are you holding up?”

Knowing he meant about her mother, Briar snorted and rolled onto her side. She was lying on top of the comforter, refusing point blank to get under it with him. “I hope she burns in hell.”

“Me too.” He grunted, folding his arms under his head. Theresa had been a hell of a woman when he first met her. But she hadn’t been able to lay off the drugs and pills long enough to be a decent wife. Mark had stuck around simply because he didn’t want to go through the headache of a divorce.

Another one.


Briar woke up roasting her ass off. One glance at the clock told her she could catch a few more hours sleep but it was too damn hot. Then she realized she was under the comforter and being squished. “Mark!” She groaned, trying to push him away, his body pressing against hers, feeling like a furnace. “Get off me!” Dear God he was heavy. “Mark, get your fat ass off of me before I scream!” She ripped on his hair when all she got was his snoring as a reply, screaming when she in turn got an elbow in her ribs. “MOVE YOUR FAT ASS!”

“WHAT THE FUCK?” He roared, bolting upright in the bed. Glaring down at her, he reached around to press a hand against the spot her elbow had connected. Then Mark seen how sweaty she was, how close he was to her and got the picture. “Damn…” He muttered, throwing the comforter off of himself and rolled out of bed.

Briar pulled a pillow over her head.

“GODDAMN IT!” Mark bellowed, a loud; painful sounding noise preceding it. He had banged his knee on the damn nightstand, now hobbling to the bathroom.

It wasn’t really funny. Okay, it was hilarious. Briar had to stay under the pillow to keep from laughing; hearing him cursing even as he pissed, served the moron right. ‘It’s a big bed, Briar, we can share’. She snorted into the pillow, biting her lower lip when she heard Mark walk out, though her shaking body was a dead giveaway.

“Laugh it up.” He grunted, not amused in the slightest; snatching his shirt from the floor and pulled it on. “Get dressed, we have a long drive.” He ordered. When he heard her grumble a ‘fuck off’ and pinched the bridge of his nose; not in the mood to deal with her shit tonight. “Briar, do it or I will BODILY force you too.”

Briar was up and already on her way into the bathroom before he finished his threat.

She came out five minutes later, in black jeans and a long sleeved thermal top; hair hanging loose. She was ready to crash as soon as she was in the car. When he mentioned making her drive, she shook her head. “My license was revoked after my third DUI, Mark. Really, you didn’t pay attention to jackshit did you? Mind telling me why the hell you stayed married to my mom if you didn’t give two shits about her?”

“Because I didn’t feel like having another woman trying to take me for every dime I have.” Mark snorted; leading the way out of the room, his tone signaling the end of the conversation. He didn’t want to talk about Theresa. His mind was on other things, like the feel of his step-daughter’s soft body pressed against him.

He was going to hell.


Another boring day, thank God for her walkman. They stopped ONCE and she had had to piss like a race horse. It wasn’t good that she was roasting her ass off either. One they were back on the road again, she peeled off the thermal, wearing her customary gloves underneath it along with a black tank top; which she reached back to pull off her sweaty skin with a groan.

“What?” She demanded, catching Mark looking at her. “Does my mere presence really annoy you that much? I can jump if you want.”

The little cock tease was torturing him. Gripping the steering wheel tightly, he shook his head stiffly. So help him God if the hotel fucked up their reservation again, he was going to shoot someone. “No, that wouldn’t look good on your record kid, jumping from a moving vehicle.” He said sarcastically, ignoring the glare she shot him. He finally turned the air conditioning, feeling very warm and knew the reason for it was sitting beside him.


“Yes!” Briar exclaimed when they got their two bedroom suite. A glance at the clock told her she had time for another shower, needing to stop feeling like a sweaty pig. She frowned when she realized the bathroom was what separated their bedrooms. “Would you like the bathroom first?” She offered, seeing him tossing his stuff down without even looking at her. Rolling her eyes, she slipped through to her room.

Mark closed his eyes, dropping down on his bed. He could hear the shower starting and had to take a deep breath. The little bitch was tormenting him, just like her mother used to do, before she went back to her drugs of course. Where did he find these women? The daughter was crazy and sliced herself up while her mother had been addicted to heroin and who knew what else.

Of course Briar had also done her fair share of drugs too. If he remembered rightly, her drug of choice had been cocaine.

Sighing resignedly, Mark reluctantly got up and peeled off his clothes, deciding he would be hitting the shower next.


Briar was out of the shower, now sitting on the closed toilet seat in her towel. She was rubbing a cream into her scarred legs and arms, something to lessen the scars but so far she hadn’t noticed any results. Every time she seen the ones from when she tried ending her life, she flinched; the slightly puckered skin mocking her.

She’d meant to die and damn it, they had stopped her!

Not that she would try again. After this year was up, she’d be free to run and never look back.

A second later the door was opened and she looked up to find Mark standing there.

“You about done in here?” He demanded, his green eyes taking in the scars that marred her beautiful body; not caring that he was nude, or her for that matter.

Her answer was to vacate as quickly as possible.

Sighing, Mark stepped into the shower, turning the cold water on; ignoring the hot. He needed to get himself under control before he hurt that girl, physically that is.


Didn’t anyone fucking knock anymore? Briar was fuming as she dressed, a black thigh high skirt with black tights and a crimson off the shoulder top, the sleeves flowing over her arms and wrists. When she heard Mark groan from the bathroom; she froze, hoping he had stubbed his knee again and smirked, beginning to brush her long hair out.

She looked up when the door flew open, gray eyes narrowing at the sight of Mark. “What?”

“Get moving, we have to be at the arena, kid.” He said coldly, growling when she just stared blankly at him. “Don’t look at me like that. Next time put your shit on in your ROOM instead of the bathroom.”

Briar was going to be traumatized for life. After she had recovered somewhat, she remembered he had been naked, thanking God she hadn’t gotten that good of a look. “Next time asshole, try KNOCKING.” She spat, shoving him out of her way to go snatch her gloves off the bathroom counter and pulled them on under her long sleeves; frowning as he glared at her through the mirror. “Take a fucking picture, it’ll last longer.”

“Girl, if you keep running your mouth, I’m gonna put something in there to silence you.” Mark growled threateningly, pointing towards the door. “Out.” He ordered, shoving her when she didn’t move fast enough. Her mouth was going to piss him off and he felt sick at the thought of being stuck with her for so long.

If he put his hands on her one more time, she was going to his him back; with a baseball bat. Silence was the norm again, until they got to the arena. Briar was instantly ushered off to speak with Vince, shooting Mark a look over her shoulder; not surprised to see him fuming.

After being told her new line, she vacated, wondering if she really wanted to do this shit on television. Hell, maybe she couldn’t even act. Making her way to Mark’s dressing room; Briar hesitantly peeked in and sighed in relief when she seen it was empty. She walked inside, needing a moment to breathe.


Briar didn’t get that moment.

“Hey Bri!” Jeff grinned at her, his head poking through the door. When he seen she was the only one in the room, he strolled in; walking over to sit with her on the couch. “Wicked chair shot last night girl!” He wrapped an arm around her shoulders; shaking her gently. “Let’s go get something to eat, I’m starvin’.”

“That would be great.” She smiled, allowing him to guide her out of the room, hoping nobody had seen him come inside because she knew that would only piss Mark off even more than he already was. “Vince, um, stuck me in a line with the Ministry.” She said quietly, watching Jeff arch an eyebrow. She knew instinctively he wouldn’t pressure her to explain but she wanted too, having a feeling he wouldn’t tell anyone anyway. “I’m supposed to be this insane woman who wants to join the Ministry and am ‘trying to get the Undertaker’s attention’. Mark’s not supposed to know.”

“Oh shit.” Jeff grunted, knowing that was going to piss her dad off to no end, swallowing hard. “Well, I’m sure Vince will pay you well for.” He finally said with a smile, trying to look on the bright side of things. “If you ever need a change in storyline, you could join the Hardy Boyz.”

Briar blushed when he winked at her, lowering her head shyly.

His green eyes lit up at that.

“Maybe if Vince keeps me around.” She murmured finally, shy moment passing. “Hey… after the show, would you like to go out or something? Like to eat? Cause to be honest with you, I’m too nervous to eat right now.”

“Briar, you need to grab a chair and get to the far side of the arena, batter’s up!” Linds –the woman from the night before- called.

“Oh shit, time to go attack.” Briar hesitated, looking at Jeff longingly for a moment before taking off.


To say Mark was livid when he got hit with another chair was the understatement of the fucking century. He stormed backstage, his head busted open and instantly went hunting down Vince. When he found the boss –and that was a loose term- he grabbed Vince by the throat, slamming him against a wall. “I want the storyline and I want it NOW, McMahon!” He shouted, pleased to see Vince looked ready to piss himself.

“She’s trying to attract your attention because you refused her and she wants to join your Ministry!” Vince all but yelled. “I was going to tell you eventually, we just wanted some good shots of you and her before-“ He groaned when the hand around his throat tightened. “Do what you want, ‘Taker. If you want her pulled, we’ll pull her!” He was a coward and sighed in relief when he was let go.

“That’s all I wanted to know, was that so hard, McMahon?” Mark snorted, shaking his head. “Keep the damn line.” He stormed out, not believing eventually his daughter was going to be a part of the Ministry. Though that did give him a few ideas, God he was sick.

When he reached the Ministry’s dressing room, he was pleased to see Briar had been caught this time. She was being held by Bradshaw, looking pissed off. “Honey, if you wanted a go with the boys, all you had to do was ask.” He drawled, watching as her face reddened before waving his hand. “Let her go. It seems we’ll be adding another member to the group, men.”

They all chuckled, shooting Briar looks.

Snorting, Mark sat down so Paul could have a look at his head.

Paul watched with wide eyes as Briar threw a boot at ‘Taker, ducking and let it hit the man; falling back when ‘Taker shot to his feet. “Woman, are you mad?” He demanded, knowing he was probably in trouble for dodging.

Briar soon found herself being restrained by Bradshaw again. “Go fuck yourself, Mark.”

“You shouldn’t speak to your daddy that way, honey.” Farooq rumbled, rolling his eyes.

“Briar, remember what I said earlier about your mouth?” Mark growled, his eyes fastened on Paul. “You are a coward. Now get over here and sew.” He dropped back down into the chair, acid green eyes finally moving to stare at his step-daughter. “Bradshaw, hang onto her. And try not to touch her… much.”

Christian and Edge watched with wide eyes as Shaw took that to heart, both men wanting to help Briar.

“Stop, enough.” Christian said finally, glancing at ‘Taker then back to the pale faced Briar. This was the man’s step-daughter for chrissakes.

“She likes it.” Bradshaw snorted, caressing her breast with a thumb; then tugged her shirt tightly against her chest, displaying her erect nipple. “Don’t you sweetheart?”

Briar was biting her lower lip so hard it was bleeding, refusing to look anywhere but straight ahead. She had already decided that as soon as Mark was asleep tonight, she was running.

“Relax boys, it’s not like he’s all out raping her.” Mark shook his head. “Enough with the dramatics, release her.” He ordered, daring Briar with his cold; calculating stare to do something. He would make her regret it, not caring if she was a suicidal freak. “The next time you think about attacking me, remember this.”

She flew into the bathroom; closing and locking the door behind her. Then she did something she hadn’t done since she was a child; she crawled into the shower and tucked her knees under her chin, fighting back tears. Her legal guardian was a fucking fruitcake. Let him go further? Would he really?

She inhaled deeply, getting her breathing under control before walking back out. It took everything in her to not break down when lewd comments were hissed at her, just focusing on walking out the door.

Edge inwardly snickered when the second boot hit Mark in the back of the head, Briar long gone. She was suicidal apparently but her aim was dead on.

After a few choice curse words, Mark took off after her, his long legs easily catching up. Snarling, he pulled Briar back against him; tossing her over his shoulder and smacked her ass when she fought him. “I warned you.” That damn boot had hit him right where he had just been stitched up at, he wasn’t happy.

Once back in the dressing room, he set her down, pushing her right back into Bradshaw’s waiting arms. “You are no longer allowed out of my sight, Briar. If you don’t listen, I’ll send your ass back to that institution so fast it’ll make your fucking head spin.” He threatened. “You wanted to play the slicing game, not my problem. Bradshaw, don’t touch her again unless I give the word.”

Briar stared at him like he was out of his mind.

All eyes were on her gloved arms.

“Institution?” Bradshaw murmured, sharing a look with Farooq.

Christian could see this would all end badly.

“My step-daughter was a drug addict a few years ago.” Mark stated as if it were no big deal, not caring if he was hurting her or not. His men had the right to know what they were going to be apparently dealing with. “She also found it amusing to cut herself, she tried committing suicide. Ironic, isn’t it? Considering her mother was also a drug addict who killed herself. Like mother, like daughter.”

Bradshaw’s eyes crossed as Briar broke free, bringing her foot up between his legs. He reached out for her a little too late to catch her, watching as she flew out the door.

This time she wasn’t caught. She ran straight out of the arena, tears flying down her face. Briar pounded pavement, shoving people out of her as she made for the hotel. She had some odd cash in her wallet; an ID, that was all she needed.

There was no way she could stay with Mark anymore.

Briar slowed to a walk, clutching a stitch in her side. While she was a slight woman, she was by no means athletic. She had never been so good at running, it required duration and that hadn’t been high on her list of abilities back when all she was interested in was scoring a line of coke.

She wasn’t bound to Mark anymore except through this stupid guardian thing. He had no blood ties to her, why should he care about her? He didn’t, obviously. He had no problem in being cruel to her and tonight… tonight he had taken his cruelty to a whole new level.

The realization that she couldn’t leave, simply could not leave, hit as soon as she was in the hotel room. Briar knew damn well leaving him would mean she’d go back to the institute. Crying, she rifled through her duffel bag; pulling out her walkman and a sharp pocket knife she had bought at a gift shop in the airport when she had flown out to join Mark after being released.

Soon she was sitting in a corner of the room wearing nothing but a white tee shirt and matching panties; staring down at her scarred arms and thighs, the knife clenched in her hand.

She wouldn’t kill herself, no. But maybe switch out the emotional pain for physical.

Walking through life unnoticed
Knowing that no one cares
Too consumed in their masquerade
No one sees her there
And still she sings

Mark had informed Vince that Briar would no longer be participating in the storyline, which in turn caused Vince to cancel her altogether. Mark was pleased, he had gotten his way with just a few words. He was evil and heartless, the first to admit it. After making the suggestion that Vince should leave the brainstorming to him, he walked out, not surprised when Paul fell into step with him.

“’Taker,” He began thoughtfully. “Given that your step-daughter is… um, suicidal, do you think it’s wise antagonizing her the way you have?” When he received an annoyed look, he knew he was pressing his luck; especially considering he had already played the coward earlier. “If she were to kill herself under your care, the media would destroy you, you know that right?”

Though on the other hand, he was hoping the little psychopath was floating face down in the tub as they spoke.

“Hell, the media already thinks I’m responsible for my wife’s suicide, Paul.” Mark rolled his eyes. “If that little bitch decides to join her mother, good fucking riddance.” He didn’t have time for this, it was bad enough his step-daughter was probably chopping herself up right at this very minute.

Oh yes, the mental institution had really helped her out. Not. All that money… down the drain.


“What the hell?” Briar looked at the clock beside her bed, frowning; trying to figure out what woke her up. She slipped from the bed, going to make sure both doors were locked. Obviously she couldn’t trust Mark, he was more insane than she was. Only he hurt OTHER people.

Then, as she was locking the bathroom door, the reason for being woken up became clear.

“Oh yeah, fuck yeah!”

That was followed by a woman’s shrill squeal.

Oh dear God… Briar retreated back to her bed, pulling the pillow over her ears after putting on her headset and cranking the volume. Just to make sure she wasn’t hearing anything, she started singing along.

If you were dead or still alive
I don’t care
I don’t care
Just go and leave this all behind
Cause I swear (I swear)
I don’t care
I don’t care

If she had been able to hear what was going on in the other bedroom, institution or not, she probably would have taken off. Especially since it was her name Mark bellowed out instead of the woman’s he had picked up.


Briar was woken up at four AM to a gentle tapping on her door. Yawning, she once more rolled out of bed and padded over, peeking through the spy hole. Eyes widening at who she saw, she hurriedly pulled on a pair of jeans and a long sleeved top, peeling off the gauze she had used to cover her bleeding wrists and stuffed the bloody cloths beneath the bed.

“Jeff?” She whispered when she had opened the door, quickly pulling him inside. She had to giggle through her hands when he grinned. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I had to make sure you were alright.” He said quietly, staring down into her pain filled eyes and sighed. “I heard about what happened.”

The WWF was a steadily flowing stream of gossip, especially after Edge and Christian spouting off at the mouth. Now virtually everyone knew she was ‘Taker’s step-daughter and something about her mother committing suicide. Something also about Briar having been institutionalized.

None of that mattered to Jeff though. “Are you alright?” He asked softly.

Great, so now everyone knew she had problems, serious problems. Just great.

“I’m fine, Jeff.” She murmured, walking back over to sit on her bed, patting a space beside her and smiled when he bounced down next to her. “Sshh.” Briar glanced at the locked bathroom door, fairly certain Mark had passed out but she wasn’t risking it either. “You came here at four in the morning to make sure I was okay? That’s sweet.” It also sent a wave of warmth through her.

“Well… yeah. You’re my friend, Briar.” Jeff wasn’t about to ask her out, like he had been contemplating. She looked like she had been to Hell and back, not good. She probably didn’t need him bugging her for a date. “We get along, like the same music and stuff. I want to help you through whatever it is you’re going through.”

Briar just stared at him.

Grinning, he continued. “I can be there for you. I can be your rock; your shoulder.” Then, he went totally cheesy and started singing softly. “I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away the pain…”

She started giggling, trying not to but he was so cute. “I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away.” She finished just as softly, her grey eyes sparkling in the moonlight that shined through the open curtains. “You are something else, Jeff.”

He was definitely the first real friend she’d had since… grade school.

That song was also going to be on repeat for a few days.

Jeff just smiled and shrugged, studying her intently. She was beautiful, especially without the dark make-up he had come to associate with her. He had noticed she wasn’t wearing her gloves, though the long sleeves were also noted. “I like you a lot, Bri. But I’m not gonna push anything on you either. I want to be your friend and see where it goes.” He said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “Anytime you need to talk or just vent, or if you just wanna hang out; you can always come to me. I’ll make time for you.”

“Oh gee, thanks.” Briar rolled her eyes sarcastically, the smile never leaving her face. Of course there was the slight problem of Mark but she was fairly certain he wouldn’t care what she did, as long as she was out of his hair. “Thank you, Jeff.” She whispered, leaning into him for a moment then stood up, glancing at the bathroom door. “You should probably leave, just in case he wakes up.”

Nodding, Jeff didn’t question it, just pulled her into his arms. After planting a tender kiss to her forehead, he reluctantly stood up, pulling her with him. He hugged her, pulling her against him in a tight; comforting embrace. After what he had heard from Edge, he didn’t doubt that Briar needed a lifetime of hugs. “Sweet dreams, Bri.” He murmured in her ear.

Briar watched as he walked out of the room, smiling when he pressed a finger to his lips as he quietly closed the door behind him.


“Another five minutes…” Briar mumbled when she heard: ‘get your ass up so we can fucking leave’, groaning and pulled the pillow back over her head. She smiled sleepily, a certain song stuck in her head.

“I said NOW, Briar!” Mark shouted through the door, banging on it. He heard her curse and knew she was up, smirking. “We’re leaving in ten minutes, be ready.”

Briar walked into his room fifteen minutes later, wearing her usual black clothes and gloves; hair pulled back with a bandanna and her face pale except for her pale blue lipstick.”Could you sign this for me, please?” She asked, holding out another form.

Grunting, Mark rolled his eyes and snatched it from her, locating a pen and scrawled his signature. “Let’s go.” He said flatly after passing it back, not in the mood for her smart mouth today. He had the headache from hell and had regretted kicking his fling out early, he still had some pent up frustration.

Stuffing the form in its envelope, she followed him from the room, headset firmly in place over her ears. She had had to look but had eventually found a cassette with Hero on it, unable to get it out of her mind. Her grey eyes widened when she seen Jeff and assumedly his brother running to catch the elevator before the doors closed; stepping aside to make room, blushing when Jeff brushed against her hand.

Mark stared straight ahead, though he hadn’t missed the sudden bloom of roses in her cheeks.

“Hey Bri. This is my brother Matt. Matt, this is Briar.”


“He doesn’t talk much.” Jeff grinned, reaching over to take her headset, beginning to laugh when he heard the song. “You know, I haven’t heard this in awhile.” He teased.

“It’s stuck in my head for some reason, Jeff.” She laughed.

“Jeff, stop flirting.”

“Mattie, shut up.”

Giggling, Briar snatched back the earphones, frowning when Pearl Jam’s ‘Last Kiss’ blared from the tiny buds. “Mine!” She growled, stopping Jeff from stealing it again.

Matt watched as they each took an earphone, both heads bobbing to the song. “You’re obsessed too?” He asked Briar, arching a curious eyebrow.


“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being obsessed with good music.” Jeff countered, nudging her with his hip.

“ENOUGH!” Roared Mark, completely destroying this sickeningly sweet moment with a snarl. “Leave my daughter alone Hardy, or else.” He yanked Briar by the arm out of the elevator, dragging her towards the exit. His headache was now a full blown migraine thanks to her. “Shut up.” He growled when she opened her mouth. “My word is final.”

Her arm was going to remain bruised if he didn’t stop grabbing it. Briar burned with shame, remembering the shocked looks on both Jeff and Matt’s face as she was carted off like a disobedient child. She clung to the passenger side door after being shoved unceremoniously into the car. “You can’t tell me who I can and can’t talk too, Mark.” She said coldly, when he had slid into his seat.

“Yes, I can and I will. Whether you like it or not, I’m your guardian and if you don’t listen, I’m sending you back to that institution.” He said heatedly, watching as she scrambled into the backseat. “You’re going to stay in my locker room from now on. If you HAVE to go somewhere, you’ll have an escort. I don’t want you talking to that Hardy kid. He’s nothing but trouble. If you don’t listen to me Briar, I swear to God, padded walls are BACK in your future.”

“I am NOT staying in that room with those… men!” She protested angrily. Hell no. not after what he had insinuated, let Bradshaw do. And then blabbed for all them to hear, which was now also apparently a topic of conversation backstage. “And they wouldn’t put me in a padded room, sorry to disappoint; ASSHOLE, I’d get mine back.”

“Right.” Shrugging, his shoulders, he did an abrupt U-turn, ignoring the sick smack her head made on the window as she went flying. “I’ll drive you back there personally since you don’t want to listen to me, bitch.” Mark spat, catching her large grey eyes in the rearview mirror, his lips curving into a sneer. “You will listen to me or I will make sure you spend the rest of your miserable, pathetic life in that fucking institution!”

And there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that he wouldn’t do it too. Swallowing hard, Briar got on the seat before him; ignored the throbbing in her head and leaned forward to rest her chin on the headrest. “I’ll listen.” She said softly, wanting to wrap her arms around his throat and squeeze.

She could envision him choking, his face turning purple while the car careened out of control. Maybe into the path of an oncoming eighteen wheeler and then BOOM!

“I’m sorry.” She slumped back into the seat.

Mark smirked when he heard that, nodded and made yet another turn. “That was your last warning, Briar.”

Briar didn’t say another word for the rest of the trip, eventually falling asleep in the car. She woke up when he announced they had arrived, glancing tiredly out the window to see they had apparently bypassed the hotel and went straight to the arena.

Remembering the new no Jeff rule, she bit back a sob; adjusted her headset and followed him inside.

Stopping just before they reached his dressing room, Mark looked down at his step-daughter, sighing at the sadness in her eyes. “You can hang out with Jeff Hardy if you want.” He couldn’t believe these words were coming out of his mouth, feeling sick with himself for taking pity on her. “Just keep a low profile.”

Briar hesitated.

“Go before I change my mind, Briar.” He slammed the door shut in her face.

She was off.


“Jeff…” Matt called from his place in the doorway, watching as Briar literally ran down the hall; wondering what in the hell was chasing her. Though if his dad was anything like ‘Taker, he would of ran too. “Your friend is-“ He watched her run right by the door. “Running.”

“Hey, Bri!”

Briar swerved back around when she heard Jeff, inhaling deeply. “Hi.”

“Hey… did you make a run for it?” Jeff’s green eyes were wide with both fear and relief. Without letting her answer, he grabbed her hand and pulled her into the room.

“My dad let me come.” She got out finally, dropping down on a bench next to him.

Jeff had to wonder what had come over ‘Taker, blinking for a moment, especially given his earlier actions and words in the elevator. “Well hell, I’m not going to question it.”

“Neither am I.” Briar laughed, refusing to feel bad for herself when Jeff was here like her own personal ray of sunshine. “Do you mind if I chill with you and your brother?” She asked hesitantly, realizing she had basically imposed herself on them. Well, Jeff had dragged her inside the room but… “I don’t really feel like… um, staying with the Ministry.”

After what Edge and Christian had told him the previous night, there was no way Jeff was going to let her stay with those psychos anyway, not if he could help it. “You’re more than welcome to hang with us, though Matt does his own thing.”

Matt snorted.

“Hey man, don’t be bitter just because I spotted her first.”

Matt raised a slow eyebrow, looking Briar over; his eyes narrowing in on her gloved arms. “Like I’d really want another woman with issues.” He said flatly, walking out.

Jeff gaped after his brother.

Briar instantly retreated into herself, feeling her cheeks burning and automatically adjusted her gloves. Now she felt dirty, tears stinging her eyes. She seen the shocked look on Jeff’s face and quickly got to her feet. “I should go.” She mumbled.

Thanks Mark, even when he wasn’t present he could still manage to successfully ruin a moment.

“No, wait!” Jeff grabbed her arm, forcing her to turn around so she was facing him again. His heart seemed to be constantly breaking whenever he looked into Briar’s eyes. They were nothing more than grey pools; filled with pain and sadness that seared his own soul.

“Don’t leave. Stay with me. Matt won’t be back.” He assured her, trying to pull a goofy face. When she didn’t bat an eyelash, he tried again. This time he was rewarded with a tremulous smile. That would have to do. “Come here.” He whispered.

Briar let him pull her into another one of his tight, comforting embraces; reveling in the safe feeling that consumed her.

“I don’t care what happened to you, or what you did, Bri. Don’t run from me.” He whispered, resting his head on top of hers.

How did she tell him it wasn’t what happened to her but what she had done to herself?

“Jeff… Matt’s right, I do have, um issues.” Briar murmured, unable to stop herself from burrowing into him. With great force, she pulled herself away. “Nothing really… happened to me, I did things.” She didn’t feel like going into an explanation, watching his eyes drop to her gloves. Always the gloves.

“That doesn’t matter. That’s your past.”

What she was still doing to herself.

“Bri, whatever happened to you is your business. Just cause you have a shady past doesn’t mean I don’t wanna be there for you.” Jeff said softly, holding her hands in his now. “I’m not a judgmental person. Just put some faith in me. I won’t let you down.”

“Okay.” She whispered.

“That and if anyone gives you shit, tell them to go fuck themselves.”

“That usually doesn’t work too well for me.” Briar smiled sardonically. Considering whenever she told people to go fuck themselves they threatened to have her committed, like earlier for example. Her stomach rumbled, rudely reminding her she hadn’t eaten anything in two days. “Want to go get something to eat?” She asked, laughing.

Jeff grinned at the sparkle back in her eyes, nodding. “Of course. I’m starved too. C’mere.”

Briar started shrieking with laughter as he pulled her up into his arms, shifting her behind him; her arms and legs locking around him.

“Hold on.” Jeff ordered, a second later both of them were laughing as he ran full speed toward the cafeteria.

Jeff was truly out of his mind and she loved it. Briar was laughing her ass off when they arrived in the café, ignoring the curious looks they got and giggled when someone said ‘Hardy’s acting crazy again’. “So… you cart women around on your back a lot?” She teased, dropping to the floor.

“None as beautiful as you.” He shot back with a wink; guiding her to a table. “Now you sit there and I’ll make you a plate.”

Briar just watched him, shaking her head as he loaded two plates, wondering if he seriously thought she could eat all of that, but touched by the gesture nonetheless. “I don’t think I can eat everything.” She said when he put the plate before her, watching as he sat across from her.

“You better, or I’ll tickle you until you pee your pants.”

And so she ate, not in the mood to piss herself in front of everyone and rolled her eyes when he began smirking. “I can’t believe you put this on my plate.” She said musingly, turning her spoon over and watched as what was supposed to be some kind of macaroni salad –maybe- stayed attached. “You try it first.” She held out the spoon. “I’m not sure I trust it.”

Chuckling, Jeff took the spoon and fearlessly plunged it into his mouth; his eyes locked with hers.

Briar watched curiously as his face went an interesting shade of green.

“Scuse me.”

Then she started laughing as he bolted from the cafeteria. Poor Jeff. Briar became aware she was very much by herself without a friend when someone walked by asking if she really did ‘slice and dice’ herself. Then she got up and vacated, wrapping her arms around herself as if to ward off the verbal blows.

“Don’t go that way.” Christian cautioned, busy taping his hands in the hallway. “’Taker is PISSED.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Jeff asked from behind her, looking like he hadn’t just lost his breakfast and lunch only moments ago. “Bri’s been with me, is he mad because of that?” He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, sighing when she only shrugged him off.

“No, nothing to do with her.” Christian looked over his shoulder. “He had your storyline scrapped last night but apparently… But uh, Shane went behind Vince’s back and hired a lookalike to continue with the attacks and the line.”

“Mark doesn’t think it was me, does he?” Briar asked hesitantly.

“As far as I know he doesn’t.”

“Good.” She glanced at Jeff, smiling apologetically. “Sorry, still not used to that.” She slowly reached for his hand.

“That’s okay.” He returned the smile briefly, then frowned. “Why the hell would Shane do something like that?” He had to wonder if Briar wasn’t in trouble anyway. “How bout you go talk to your father and I’ll meet you back in my dressing room?” He suggested, glancing at Christian. “Make sure he knows it wasn’t you.”

“Edge is in there.” Christian murmured, nodding towards the dressing room door, offering a hesitant smile of his own when Briar looked at him. He waited until she was inside before shooting Jeff a look. “Are you insane? Her dad treats her like shit, Jeff.” He wasn’t about to go into details because he liked living. “The man is seriously off his rocker.”


Briar stood quietly in the room, near the now closed door and listened as Mark ranted to Paul. She visibly cringed when his venomous green eyes landed on her. “It wasn’t me.” She said quickly. “I was with Jeff.”

“I fucking know! What the hell do you want?” Mark wasn’t happy, especially with the McMahon brat out to make his life a living hell. “Briar, I don’t have a lot of patience right now, what the hell do you need?”

She could only stare at him.

Rolling his eyes, Mark stalked over to rip open the door. Ignoring her shriek; he grabbed the back of her neck and hurled her out the door, slamming it behind her. “Stupid bitch…”


Christian caught Briar before she could go flying into the wall, staring down at her with wide eyes. “What the hell?”

“He knows it’s not me.” She grunted, rubbing the back of her neck gingerly. “I think I’m going to go to the-“ Shit, she couldn’t do that either. They hadn’t checked into the hotel yet.”

“How bout we go back to Jeff’s room?” He suggested gently.

Briar hesitated, staring at him.

“Briar, I’m not like Bradshaw. I’m not going to force myself on you, neither will Edge. We would never… touch you like that.” He felt sick saying those words, not wanting a visual replay.

Mark was a sick man.

“Just don’t tell Jeff about… that… with Bradshaw.” She pleaded, not really needing the fact aired that her step-father hinted he had no problems letting her basically get raped by one of his ‘Ministry’, well proved it by allowing a man to touch her. Briar couldn’t repress a shiver.

Christian mimed locking his lips and throwing away the key. He looked up when the door opened, sighing in relief when Edge slipped out.

Luckily, they hadn’t told Jeff about the incident with Bradshaw. Briar would have had a fit.

Not that they hadn’t been tempted too. Jeff was going to play a role in her life, they both could feel it. Hopefully ‘Taker would allow it to happen, though that was doubtful. The man thought of her as a possession, his own step-daughter…

If the way the man treated her now was any indication of what her home life had been as a teenager, no wonder she was as fucked up as she was, or had been. She was perfectly normal to the brothers. Well, in a gothic; blue lipped kind of way.


Jeff looked up when he heard a knock on the door, followed by Christian and Edge ushering Briar inside. “Everythin’ alright?” He asked softly, walking over from his duffel bag to pull her into his arms.

“Yeah… ‘Taker knows it wasn’t her, she’s in the clear.” Edge muttered, glancing at his brother. “Come on, we have a match.”

Jeff watched them walk right back out, guiding Briar to the couch. He could see she was shaken up and lifted her chin gently with his hand to stare into her tear filled eyes. He didn’t say a word, just pulled her onto his lap and held her close.


“Look, Mark, either deal with it or… well, actually, deal with it.” Shane said calmly, acting like he wasn’t the lamb in the lion’s den. He also ignored Edge and Christian when they slipped into the room. “The dirt sheets are eating this up and so are the fans. My father took Briar out of the picture so I put someone else in. The storyline will go on with or without her. I really don’t see what the big deal is anyway. It’s good for your group to have a woman in it, keeps the feminists off my ass.”

Who the hell did this boy think he was? In a second, Shane was in the air; his feet dangling off the ground, Mark’s hand firmly wrapped around his throat. “You will watch how you speak to me, PUP. I don’t care if your daddy owns this company or not, without me he wouldn’t have SHIT.” Mark’s temper wasn’t something to be taken lightly and this mere child had only enflamed it more.

The entire Ministry began snickering when ‘Taker threw Shane out of the room, hearing a loud smack that told them Shane had encountered a wall.

Battered but not broken, Shane eventually got back up; wincing in pain. He was going to have to hire a massage therapist for the night.

“Let’s just sacrifice the girl and be done with it.” Viscera said after awhile.

“Briar is not a part of the storyline anymore, did you not hear?” Mark snarled angrily. “Though I’d much rather it be her than another bitch.” He thought, refusing to voice that one aloud. He could just imagine Briar’s lush body encased in a black gown, strapped to his symbol…


“I really, really wish this night wasn’t ending.” Briar murmured as Jeff walked her back to Mark at the end of the show. She had spent the entire night with him, except when he had done his match. Then she had watched from his room; surprised to find how well he did as a solo competitor. “Thanks for letting me bother you, Jeff.”

“You can bother me anytime, I told you that. I love hanging out with you.” He grinned at her, reaching out to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “I really like you, Briar.” His voice became husky, his finger trailing down her cheek to her jaw line; finally gripping her chin between thumb and forefinger, their eyes never leaving the others.

The moment was disturbed when the Ministry door opened, Mark walking out; and that was Jeff’s cue to leave.

“See you, Bri.” He murmured.

She inwardly sighed as he walked off, giving him a half wave.

“You ready to go?” Mark asked with a yawn.

Not really.

“Yes.” She muttered, wondering if the explosion of butterflies was that feeling her girlfriends had told her she’d feel when she finally fell in love. It was pretty bad that it took her until the age of twenty to feel that for the first time. Innocent virgin she was not, innocent when it came to actual relationships was another story.

Mark was in a fairly good mood, not exactly ignoring her but not encouraging her to talk either. He didn’t need her mouth to destroy his almost decent mellowness. “Are you hungry?” He finally asked when they were in the car. When she didn’t answer, he glanced her way; seeing the dazed expression on her face and raised an eyebrow. Maybe letting her hang out with Jeff wasn’t the smartest idea. “Briar?” He snapped his fingers in her face. “Food?”

“Hmm? Oh no, thanks. I ate with Jeff.” Briar said softly, watching out the window as he pulled from the lot; trying not to smile. Well, okay, she was smiling. Jeff had a lingering effect on her it seemed. He reminded her of drugs, minus the damage.

Mark was thoughtful, and quiet. He stopped long enough to get himself a quick bite then straight to the hotel. “Do you like Jeff?” He asked bluntly, once they were on the elevator.

She was off in her own world again.

Those goddamn earphones! Sighing, he snatched them off her head, ignoring her squeal of protest. “I am talking to you, girl.”

“Sorry.” Since when the hell did he talk to her? Normally it was yelling. Briar just stared at him when he repeated his question, sincerely hoping he wasn’t going to give her the birds and the bees lecture since he was about five years way too late. “Yes, why? Is that a problem?” She demanded, stuffing her walkman back into her bag so she didn’t miss anymore of what he apparently had to say.

“Well actually, yes it is.” Mark said flatly, his green eyes suddenly darkening as he glared down at her. “You see, he’s my co-worker and I don’t appreciate you fucking someone I work with.” His voice was even. “Not to mention you belong to me and nobody else.” He added in thought only.

Now her eyes widened then narrowed, her face contorting with anger. “Who I fuck really isn’t any of YOUR business, Mark. I’m twenty, not two.” Not that she WAS fucking Jeff but it wasn’t his concern. “So mind your own goddamn business.” She shoved past him to step off the elevator, heading for their joint room.

“Remember my earlier threat?”

She hesitated, not looking back at him.

“Stay away from him or you’ll be going back to the nuthouse.”

Briar followed him into his room, her face red now. “You said I could hang out with Jeff, now you’re telling me I can’t?” She demanded, moving before he could push her. “And quit threatening me with the institution! If you really want to send me back, you’ll send me back! They’ll reevaluate me and send me RIGHT back to you!”

“Money talks, Briar. Or haven’t you figured that out yet?” Mark grunted, studying her thoughtfully. “You know, you’re not blood… and I can do what I please with you…” His voice had dropped an octave, low and dark.

Briar was already backing away instinctively.

“You want a real man, hmmm, precious?” He was backing her into the wall, bending down so his mouth was right by her ear. He could feel her much smaller body trembling in fear against his, groaning audibly. “You want to feel a real man fucking you?” He placed a hand on her hip, grunting when she jumped like she had been scalded, feeling her head whipping back and forth furiously. “Then I suggest you be a good little girl or I might just find one for you.”

Briar’s breath was caught in her throat; listening to him, her eyes steadily getting bigger by the second. “Get away from me.” She ordered, her voice low but firm. He was sick in the head, she was his daughter. Granted, not his biological daughter but still! He had seen her grow through her teens, and… she brought her hands up, pushing at him. “I mean it, get AWAY FROM ME!”

He didn’t even move, looking amused in a very sick way; a smirk on his lips. Slowly, purposefully, he ran a finger down the side of her cheek; watching as almost impossibly those grey eyes grew even wider. “Come on Briar, you know deep down inside, there’s that need to find out…” He pressed his forehead against hers, hearing her sharp intake of breath. “That need to find out how your daddy can get it done in the bedroom.”

Briar was going to vomit.

Laughing, Mark pushed himself away from her, making as if to backhand her. “Don’t kid yourself. I like my women experienced and you just don’t get it done for me, sweetheart. Now get the fuck out of my sight.”

For a moment, some arrogant; prideful part of her wanted to tell him she was probably more experienced than he would ever know. But that was just a tiny party and she wasn’t listening to it. Briar bolted to her room; locking the doors and hurried to the phone. After fumbling to get her wallet out of her back pocket, she pulled out a business card, needing to talk to her counselor.

They HAD to find her a new guardian.


“Get up!” Mark roared through the door the next morning, banging on it as usual until he heard Briar’s curse. Grunting, he walked back to his room, needing a cup of java. His stunt had backfired just a little last night. He had spent a good portion of the night venting his frustration. “Make sure you dress in jeans, we’re taking my bike today.” He called over his shoulder.

“We’re what?” Briar yelled, groaning. “What about my bag moron?” She muttered, not in the best of moods. Her counselor had told her there wasn’t anyone else who could take her, then had tried getting her to explain WHY she needed a new guardian. Briar frowned as she pulled on a pair of jeans; tucking in her tee shirt before slipping on her gloves. How in the hell did you explain that your guardian was crazier than the actual lunatic?

Sadly, all too soon she was straddling the motorcycle behind him. It was a beautiful Harley, obviously custom made; it would have to be. He was a big man, sadly. As for her duffel, he had stuffed it unceremoniously into one of the saddlebags with a pointed look.

Briar was used to riding, though she hadn’t been on a motorcycle in two years, give or take a few months. She refused to hold on to him, using her knees and hands to grip the seat. Why in the hell he wanted to ride –oh, wait, because he was a sadistic bastard who took pleasure in tormenting her. Her eyes narrowed behind her sunglasses. He put another toe across the line and she’d tell whoever the hell she had too what the hell he was really like.

Smirking wickedly, Mark opened the throttle once they were on an empty stretch of road, trying to scare her into latching onto him. God her soft skin… Mark was going to give himself a problem if he continued on this train of thought. Her creamy; porcelain skin, those beautiful grey eyes and soft; black hair… a figure that most women would kill for, and it was natural. Though her scars were a bit of a turn-off, she’d just have to keep the gloves on in his fantasies.

He would have her. She wasn’t his blood and with her mommy’s sudden passing, there wasn’t really anyone who could stop him. Least of all Briar herself.

When he passed a truck and almost got them ran over in the process by an oncoming car, Briar did hold onto him; burying her face in his back as she waited for the impact. “Bastard!” She shouted in his ear when she felt him shaking with laughter; punching his side before letting go. He was purposely fucking with her now.

Oh how he loved that. The pain was just a minor nuisance, like a fly bite. Coming from her though, it was exquisite and he loved it. An hour or so later, he pulled over at a rest area and dismounted, watching as she all but flew from him. “Wait.” He murmured, catching her by the wrist, staring down at her out of black sunglasses. Sunglasses that hid how much he wanted her. “You’re fine, go.”

Briar used the bathroom and then got herself a bottle of water, wandering the grassy area while she smoked a cigarette; just stretching her legs. Finally, she sat down on top of a picnic table; watching as a family pulled up; eyes narrowing as she studied them.

Normal, happy looking people with two kids.

Snorting, she took a long drag and exhaled through her nose. What a crock of shit.

Mark stared at her, wondering what had happened to the teenager he’d watch grow? Oh yeah, that’s right. Her mother was fucked in the head. Mark could remember one of the first times he had met Briar, back when him and Theresa had started dating. Theresa hadn’t realized he was there but he heard her yelling at Briar. Telling her to be a good little girl, not to screw up this relationship for her.

No wonder she was so screwed up.

Briar buried her head in her hands after becoming aware Mark was watching her; finishing her cigarette and let it drop from her fingers. She had always known he was a freak, he married her mom after all, but even she hadn’t realized he was this bad. She frowned when the little girl appeared before her, leaning away startled.

“Why do you wear gloves? It’s kinda hot for them isn’t it?” She asked sweetly, her face the picture of innocence.

Now this was amusing, watching Briar backtrack from the little girl. Shaking his head, Mark walked over to join them, sliding the shades from his face.

The little girl in question shied away from him, her big blue eyes almost ready to fall out of her head.

“She wears the gloves, little one, because she cuts herself.” He said gravely, his own eyes flashing with evil delight. “Do you know what that means?”


“Don’t, Mark.” Briar pleaded in a whisper.

“You take a knife,” He mimed his words. “and you CUT yourself.” He slashed an invisible knife across her wrist, watching as tears filled though innocent blue pools. “You bleed.”

The little girl ran away crying.

“Let’s go Briar, I’m bored.”

“Fuck you!” Briar hissed, unable to tear her eyes from that girl as she cried to her mother. The mother shot them a look before ushering her family in the car; tires squealing as they pulled away. “You bastard!”

Mark watched curiously as Briar stood up on the picnic bench, feeling her stinging blow a moment later.

She started backtracking when she seen the blood at the corner of his mouth. Her hand stung from the force of the slap but it had been worth it. “How could you tell that to a LITTLE girl?”

His tongue flicked out to taste his blood, moaning softly and seen the repulsion instantly spring to her eyes. Mark considered her for the briefest of moments before grabbing her by the arm, pulling her down to the ground so he was once more towering over her.

Briar instinctively cowered, feeling the table come in contact with her backside.

Mark filled in the gap between their bodies, still holding firmly to her arm. His free hand skimmed down her flat stomach, fingers splayed to touch as much flesh as possible before finally cupping her jean covered sex. Letting go of her arm, he buried his fist in her hair, ripping back so her face was tilted upward. “If you EVER strike me again,” He whispered, bending down so his lips brushed against her cheek; grinding the heel of his palm against her. “I will do a lot more than I am now.”

Briar just stared up at him, her grey eyes wide.

Abruptly, he let released her, watching dispassionately as she scurried away. “Now get on the bike. Unless, of course, you’d rather run and get caught?”

Almost mechanically, Briar walked to the motorcycle. Her expression was one of shock; digust, mingling with fear and anger, all of it marring her face. She climbed onto the back of the seat, refusing point blank to touch him when he straddled the bike. She’d fall off and die first.

Swallowing hard, Briar closed her eyes as they pulled away from the rest area. The remaining time on the trip, she weighed the pros and cons of going back.

Con, she would no longer have access to the outside world.

Pro, she wouldn’t have to worry about what was going to happen to her.

Con, she would never get to see Jeff again.

Pro, her step-father wouldn’t be able to rape her.

As tempting as it was, Mark wasn’t going to rape her. He might be a lot of things but a rapist wasn’t one of them. Though technically, he supposed he had already crossed that line with the unwanted physical contact. Well, he wouldn’t fuck her then, he mentally corrected himself.

As they idled at a stop sign, he brought his hand up to his face, inhaling deeply. “Mmm…” He growled, hearing a strangled noise from behind him, knowing damn well she had caught that. Simply delicious. He wanted to see her crash and burn; the look of defeat in her eyes, knowing her had broken her.

Briar sighed in relief when they went to the hotel first this time, staying as far away from Mark as possible. When they reached the suit, she finally looked at him. His chest, not his face; refusing to look into those evil green eyes. “I’m staying here.” She told him flatly. “You don’t need me at the arena.”

Without giving him time to either deny her or agree, she slipped into her room; locking the door behind her and leaned back against it; burying her face in her hands.

Mark thought about it as he sorted through his bag. She wouldn’t run, honestly, where would she go? It was probably best she stayed in their rooms from now on. He would allow it, he decided, knowingh he had scared her but oh well.


As soon as he was gone, Briar began going through her own bag. Her hands fumbled around the knife and tossed it aside with a low cry of frustration. Finally she found her straight edged razor and set it down on the bed; next pulling out a white tee shirt. Gathering up her toiletries, she carried them into the bathroom, returning only to set out her small, portable cd player.

There’s nothing left now
Standing in my shadow
Staring at the walls
Oh I’m broken now
It’s nothing you can’t see

Briar returned to the bathroom, hearing her music and enjoyed a moment’s contentment. Music… her one obsession. There was always a song playing in her head if not her ear, she could be watching someone or listening to people talk and her mind would supply a soundtrack for the moment.

Smiling, she shed her clothes, pulling on the white tee shirt and moved to the tub. Soon it was filling with water. She needed to wash the feel of Mark from her, she needed a distraction against the mental pain he was causing her.

Can you feel me breaking
I’m falling into nothing
I thought I was falling
Into you
But I’m cold now
And I’m broken
And there’s nothing to break my broken fall

Jeff had easily gotten into Briar’s room. The front desk clerk had been an easy target for his southern charm, aided no doubt by the fact that she was a wrestling fan and knew who he was. He hesitated, knowing Mark was on his way to the arena simply because he had seen the man leaving. He listened to the song that was playing, somehow knowing the beat wasn’t what had attracted Briar’s attention. It was the words

Oh yeah
There’s nothing to break my broken fall

Frowning, he turned towards the bathroom, a silver of light coming from the cracked door. She was in there, that he knew. He didn’t want to know what he would find. Hesitantly, Jeff approached the door and quietly pushed it open. His green eyes widened at what he saw.

There was Briar sitting on the edge of the bathtub in a white tee shirt, looking almost ethereal. Though there nothing angelic about the deadly sharp, straight edged razor blade she was holding to her wrist. He took in the scars that covered her arms, then the ones on her upper legs, his mouth slack.

All this time she had been sitting here and had yet to make a cut. Her left wrist was still healing from her last encounter with a knife, fading into a dull pink line. She didn’t look up, knowing this wasn’t Mark simply because he would have helped her to make the cut. “Go away.” She whispered, not caring who seen her scarred arms of thighs anymore.

Her hand trembled slightly. She didn’t want to kill herself, she just needed to forget. Pain would do that, it was once again becoming her drug of choice. A way of escaping what was being done to her.


When she heard his voice, she dropped the razor, still not looking up. “Jeff, please… go.”

“No, I’m not leaving ya.” Jeff swallowed hard, finally tearing his eyes from the scars; trying to fathom all that this woman had been through. He slowly, hesitantly walked over to her and kneeled down beside her; staring up at her. Still moving slow, he reached out for Briar, not wanting to startle her even though the danger had passed, the razor safely on the floor, away from her.

Once she was in his arms, Jeff let out a relieved sigh, cradling her close to him. She was in so much pain it hurt HIM. Even with all her issues, Jeff had never felt so strongly for a woman as he did Briar. “Let me take the pain away, let me help you.” He whispered in her ear, his tone pleading with her. “Bri, let me in.”

“Jeff, if he finds out you were here…” Briar murmured, raising her head to stare at him, trying to blink away the tears. “Jeff, I need help.”

Those were the words she had been shouting years ago but nobody had listened. Her actions had clearly said she needed someone to help her; that she wasn’t strong enough to handle what was going on around her on her own, but nobody had noticed or cared.

“I know honey, I’m gonna help you.” Jeff said softly. He believed she needed help. Being in an institution might have done her some good but her short time with Mark had apparently been enough to destroy what progress she had made. “Come on.”

Briar slumped against him as he carried her out of the bathroom to her bed, feeling the mattress underneath her and laid back, watching as he crawled in beside her. She instantly snuggled back into his open arms, resting her head against his chest.

“You tell me what to do Bri, tell me an’ I’ll do it. Anything. But don’t ask me to leave cause it’s not gonna happen.”

“Just hold me.” She whispered, moving her legs so he could stretch beside her. There was nothing sexual about this, Jeff wasn’t like that. He was simply there for her in every way she needed him to be and she knew he always would be. They hadn’t known each other very long but she could feel a connection. Even if they never made it past this; somehow she knew he would always be a part of her life.

Jeff snuggled into her, burying his face in her neck. He vowed right then and there that nobody was going to hurt her, not as long as he could help it. She was an angel who was in dire need of love and attention. He couldn’t imagine what she’d been through and he was going to do everything in his power to help her heal.

It would take time but he was a patient man.

And she was worth it.

Whether she knew that or not.


It became a nightly thing. No matter how tired or battered Jeff was; he would sneak into her room at night. Briar would wait for him, keeping both doors locked just in case, even though Mark was coming back later and later these days.

Bit by bit she told him small pieces of her life; small things that wouldn’t repulse him. He would whisper her stories of his childhood, making her giggle with endless tales of things he and his brother had done with their friends.

Jeff never showed any disgust with her scars and eventually, she stopped wearing her gloves around him. When dawn would roll around, he’d slip from the room, leaving her with the strength to make it through another day.

He didn’t understand what drew him to Briar. As they got to know each other better, and she finally began confiding the dark secrets of her past, he realized any normal man would have run by now. She had reluctantly told him about her drug use; how she had relied on cocaine and speed to escape reality.

How her ‘boyfriend’ had used her for sex; which led to her sleeping with everyone she came across; doing things that almost made him blush.

Then finally the cutting.

And even after hearing all of this, Jeff still couldn’t walk away from her. Maybe it was her sweet voice or her beautiful grey eyes that sparkled whenever she seen him.

He knew her home life had sucked. Her mother had been an alcoholic and druggie, who had ignored her only daughter unless she needed a fix and Briar was the only one there to turn too. How her step-father had been indifferent to her as well. Both parents turning to other lover’s because they couldn’t stand each other.

She was scarred inside and out, and he wanted to be the one that took her pain away.

Mark had banned him from seeing Briar, but that wasn’t stopping him. Nothing was going to stop him. Jeff knew he was falling for her and falling hard.

Currently Jeff was standing outside her hotel room, carrying an orange and white carnation in his hand. He knocked softly, waiting patiently until she answered the door, watching as those eyes that haunted his dreams met his before darting down to the flower. He held it out to her with a slight smile

“What happened to your head?” Briar asked quietly, leading him into the room, watching as he closed the door behind him; her stare never leaving the bandage on his forehead.

“Ladder match.”

Sometimes, as much as the thought hurt her, she wished he would just go to his own room on the nights he was injured, just so he would rest. Taking his hand, she guided him to the bed; pulling him down beside her. Smiling, she cuddled into him when he opened his arms, resting her head just underneath his.

Jeff had a concussion but that wasn’t stopping him from seeing his girl. That’s what Briar was, his girl. “Be mine, Bri.” He whispered, looking down to meet her eyes, reaching out to cup the side of her face with his palm. “Please…” He lowered his head, his lips softly caressing hers in a tender, sweet kiss.

Briar accepted his kiss eagerly; returning it, the tenderness causing tears to prick her eyelids. A gasp flew from her when she felt him pull his mouth away, watching through lowered lids as he raised her arm, gently kissing her wrist. She tried to pull it away, uncomfortable but he wasn’t having it.

He was too perfect. He couldn’t be meant for her. Not her. She was ruined, something tainted that was eating away at him; feeding off the purity he radiated. He was a drug and she was the leech clinging to him for her fix. “Jeff…”

“Ssh, I’m lovin’ you.” He murmured, his lips brushing against the scarred skin. He loved her, every inch of her, ruined or not. She was his scarred angel. These were battles scars. Jeff knew how depression could affect a person.

Her heart stopped for a second then resumed beating with a vengeance, like it was trying to burst from her chest. Moaning softly, Briar closed her eyes, smiling and rolled onto her back when he nudged her; feeling his weight settling over her. Through the haze when she opened her lids, she watched him pull off his shirt, reaching her hands up to skim his chest.

Smiling reassuringly at her, Jeff raised her upper body from the bed, tugging her own tank top over her head. “This goes as far as you want it too.” He whispered, leaning down to kiss her again.

That’s as far as it went.

The door was kicked opened, causing Briar and Jeff to both shriek in surprise.


The amount of anger in Mark’s tone scared them both.

Eyes burning with acid anger, Mark stormed into the room, quickly taking in the scene. He forcibly ejected Jeff from the room, closing the door behind him; not realizing it hadn’t closed completely, just turned his attention back to his step-daughter. His whore step-child who was secretly fucking that boy. So this is what she had been doing and why she had been so damn happy lately.

All that was about to change though.

“Let me show you what it means to disobey me, you little whore.” He snarled, slowly taking off his belt.

Briar whimpered, her eyes moving to the door, seeing Jeff sprawled on the hallway floor, holding his already injured head. There was no time for her to spare a moment’s pity for him, her eyes moving right back onto Mark, watching as he approached her, narrowing in on the belt. “No, Mark, please!” She begged, scrambling off the bed. An ear piercing scream escaped her when he wrapped a fist in her black hair, flying backwards onto the bed once more. Rolling onto her back, she held up her hands in a defensive gesture.

Growling, Mark ripped his shirt off, muscles flexing with every move. He studied her, letting the belt drop to the floor. He wouldn’t whip her, no. There were other ways of punishing this tramp. “You like being a dirty whore?” He asked almost conversationally, his hands moving to his jeans, unsnapping them, just to torment her with thoughts of what he might or might not do.

Briar shook her head frantically, moving backwards until she hit the headboard.

His stare was now taking in her bare chest; licking his lips hungrily. In a heartbeat, he was kneeling on the bed, his hands running up her bare calves, taking inventory of the shorts she wore. “If you can be a whore for him, then you can be a whore for me.”

“No!” She gasped, kicking him in the face, her heel catching his chin. “You can’t, you’re my-“ She had been about to say father but as he had pointed out: he was her step-father; there were no blood ties binding them. Though the same disgust factor as if there were was still there.

“I’m your what?” Mark taunted cruelly, feeling his jaw and snorted. “Still have that attitude, don’t you? Well I know JUST how to fix that, precious.”

Before she could say or do anything, Mark was hovering over her, a knee pressed firmly between her legs, digging into her groin. “Mark, p-please…”

“Please? Please what, Briar? Hmm?” He moved his hands up her ribs, skimming flesh until he reached her breasts, cupping them in his hands, molding the supple flesh to his palms. “You know you like this, don’t you?”

“I’ll go back to the institution,” She whispered frantically, her hands on his wrists, trying to stop him. “just don’t!”

“Do you think I’m going to rape you?” Mark chuckled darkly at the fear in her eyes; ignoring her slaps and pinches. He moved so his lips were just brushing against hers, watching as she recoiled from the scent of whiskey on his breath. “I warned you about my co-workers…”

She almost came off the bed when one of those rough hands of his moved down her stomach, creeping towards the waistband of her shorts.

“If you disobey me one more time, Briar, you’ll regret.” Mark said in a whisper, not looking away from her face, the terrified expression she wore captivating him. “Do I make myself clear?”

She nodded.

“Say it.” He growled, fingers delving underneath the material of her shorts.

Heaving a deep, shuddering gasp, Briar managed to choke out the words. “Clear, you’re clear!” Her voice was breaking, not bothering to hide the fear she felt. She waited tensely for him to move away, feeling his fingers drumming an almost bored tempo just above her panty line.

“Stay away from him, Briar. Stay away, understand me? You are no longer staying in the hotels, you can’t be trusted. You’ll come with me wherever I go so I can keep an eye on you. Don’t bother trying to run either, because until this year is up, you belong to ME!”

She squeaked when he kissed her, refusing to open her mouth to him. Pain coursed through her skull, feeling his hands burying themselves in her hair, ripping at the tresses.

Snarling, Mark pushed himself away from her, not bothering to fasten his jeans. His head snapped to the side, seeing Jeff still in the hallway and smirked. He walked over to the door and bared his teeth in a grin that held no warmth in it. “Hope you enjoyed the show, BOY.” He said, shutting the door and locking it with the sliding chain bolt, he’d have to pay for ruining the hotel’s door. “Good night, Briar.”


Matt Hardy was returning from a very late night out when he seen his brother sitting in the hotel hallway. He frowned, stopping just to stare. Jeff’s knees were tucked under his chin; leaning sideways against a door, his ear pressed to it. The pale expression on his baby brother’s face and the blank stare in those usually lively green eyes were what had Matt worried.

Hurrying forward, he bent down to lift Jeff to his feet, grunting when he got no aid from his brother at all. Jeff was limp, barely standing; that dead look never leaving his face. Trying not to panic, Matt pulled Jeff’s arm around his neck. “Come on.” He murmured, half carrying; half dragging his brother to their own room. He glanced back at the door, not wanting to know what had happened behind it to put Jeff in shock.

Jeff was locked in his own turmoil riddled mind, unable to fathom what he had just witnessed, the pain from his head not even a factor anymore. He was registering what was going on around him but unable to respond to any of it. He did manage to drag himself away from Matt and into the bathroom, hearing his brother trailing behind.

All he did was curl around the toilet, gripping the sides of the bowl as he vomited.

He did not just see that, no. He did NOT just see ‘Taker…

Jeff whimpered, spewing again.

Matt crouched down when Jeff had finished, watching with wide brown eyes as Jeff curled into a tight ball on the bathroom floor.

All Jeff could do was replay what he had seen over and over in his mind.


Christian quietly nudged Edge when he seen Briar following behind her step-father, concern instantly filling him. Of course he knew from Jeff that she had been so much happier though now… Now she looked like she was on the brink of falling again.

Something had happened, he knew it. His eyes took in her long black dress; a veil covering her from head to toe and wondered just what she was mourning.

Briar just stared straight ahead.

She was mourning her life.

Mark pushed Briar inside the open dressing room door, not caring how she looked or seemed to others. He shot a warning look to his Ministry, cautioning them all to mind their own damn business. He had a year to deal with her and it was going to be hell on earth. No doubt for the both of them. “To business.” He ordered, catching the furtive looks E&C were shooting Briar. “You two are starting to get on my last goddamn nerve. STOP LOOKING AT HER!”

Bradshaw cuffed blond and blonder upside their heads, watching them both drop their gazes to the floor before looking at ‘Taker.

Briar huddled on the couch, knowing this night was going to go on forever, her own personal hell. She flinched when Mark yelled at Christian and Edge, looking up at them only to find their eyes averted. Inwardly, she wished she could tell them she was alright, but that would be a lie. She was never going to be alright ever again.

Edge tried listening to the meeting, but his mind was on Briar, wondering what was wrong with her. When they were finally dismissed, he immediately walked from the room with his brother trailing behind. They needed to speak to Jeff.


“GET THE FUCK OUT!” Jeff bellowed as soon as Edge mentioned Briar’s name, shoving both men out of the open doorway, tears burning in his green eyes angrily.

Edge blinked and looked at Christian, swallowing hard. “What now?”

“I don’t know…” Christian whispered, raking a hand through his hair. He didn’t want to know what had happened to make Jeff explode at the mere mention of her. It wouldn’t, it couldn’t be, good.

“Well we have to do something.” Edge hissed in return, reluctantly leading the way down the hall. Something was wrong. Jeff had refused to step foot from the dressing room and then to snap like that. Over just HEARING Briar’s name, that wasn’t the Jeff Hardy he knew. Then he spotted Matt walking towards them, hurrying to meet him. “What’s going on with your brother?”

Matt gathered they had tried talking to Jeff and mentioned the now taboo name of Briar. He had said her name in passing only for Jeff to snap. “I don’t know.” He admitted in a sigh. “Last night I found him in the hallway outside a door. He was… in shock.” Matt said slowly, unable to repress a shiver at the memory of those blank eyes. “He either saw or heard something that scared the hell out of him. Do either of you know what that might have been?”

“Maybe, let’s talk.” Edge ignored Christian’s wide eyes, knowing someone besides them needed to know what was happening to that girl. While they walked, he quietly explained to Matt what Mark had allowed Bradshaw to do to his step-daughter.

After hearing it, Matt took off back to the dressing room he was sharing with Jeff. He burst through the door, somehow not surprised to see Jeff sitting there on the couch just staring at nothing. Sighing, he kneeled down in front of his brother, reaching out with both hands to cup Jeff’s face, forcing him to look down. “Jeff, you need to tell me what happened.” Matt said firmly. “I need to know what you saw… with Briar.”

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” Jeff screamed, shoving his brother away with such force Matt did a backwards somersault. He didn’t want to talk about it, ever. He would never get the lustful look on Mark’s face out of his mind, or the fear in Briar’s grey orbs. Jeff felt tears pricking his own eyes, his head pounding, but none of that mattered.

None of it.

Groaning, Matt straightened his limbs out, rubbing the back of his head gingerly. “Jeff, please.” He murmured. When he had first heard the rumors about Briar, he had passed her off as a nutcase. Well no wonder she was the way she was, he would have been too. “If you seen something, somebody… hurting… her, you need to tell me.” He pleaded, his mind replaying what Edge had told him. “Jeff, for her sake, tell me.”

“No, no, I can’t. I won’t. I can’t. I never want to… to talk about it… no. No. No. NO!” Jeff was rocking back and forth, tears streaming down his cheeks as if he were a mere child. Even through the heart wrenching sobs, all he could was whisper ‘no’ repeatedly. He just wanted this nightmare to end, wanted to forget what he had witnessed and covered his face with his hands as if they could stave off the mental anguish.

All Matt could do was sit beside his brother, his heart breaking. He wouldn’t force Jeff to say anything, not until he was ready.


“Briar, you in there?” Christian whispered, knocking on the bathroom door. Paul and ‘Taker had gone off for his promo while Midian and Viscera were prepping in the hallway for their upcoming matches. He had no idea where the Acolytes were and he didn’t care, he couldn’t stomach the sight of Bradshaw.

“Bri, honey, please open the door.” Edge called through it, leaning his head against the door. “Briar, Jeff is in a really bad way, we need your help.”

Briar heard that through the door, opening it and pushed them both away from her when they instantly converged on her. “No! Keep him safe.” She whispered, her eyes darting behind them to the door. “Keep him away from me.” She was frantic, tears pricking her eyes. She knew if she defied Mark by seeing Jeff again, both she and Jeff would pay the price. It broke her heart to hear he was in a bad state, no doubt from what he had seen and covered her face with her hands.

Edge and Christian shared worried looks, both men moving her back into the bathroom; Edge pulling the door shut behind them. “Briar, what’s wrong?” Edge asked softly, watching her back away. Then a hard lump formed in his throat at the sight of blood staining the sink, his eyes reluctantly straying to her left arm, which she had a damp towel pressed too. “What the fuck…”

“Bri… no, no honey, don’t.” Christian wasn’t freaking out like his brother, pushing the knife off the counter and into the trash can. Since becoming aware of her cutting problems, he had expected this eventually. Especially after what Bradshaw had done to her. “Let’s clean that…”

“Don’t.” Briar pulled her arm away; peeling back the towel and nodded when she seen the bleeding had stopped. “Get out.”

“Bri, that’s not the answer.”

She began laughing hysterically. “Oh really? You’re right, I should probably just try killing myself again and this time hope nobody saves me.” Given what her step-father had done to her the night before, she was wondering why she hadn’t done the job yet. Her face drained of all color when she heard Paul laughing from the other room. “Oh, no…”


“Fuck…” Edge hissed, knowing they shouldn’t be in here. He looked around anxiously, spotting the small rectangular window several feet over the back of the toilet. As quickly and quietly as possible, both he and Christian had squeezed their small frames through it.

Barely in time to avoid being spotted by Mark.

The sight of blood in the sink didn’t shock Mark at all, though it did anger him. “Clean for over a year, eh? You lying little bitch!” He backhanded Briar across her face, sending her sprawling to the bathroom floor. “Get up.”

Slowly, Briar got to her feet. She winced when he grabbed her left arm; the angry cut mocking him, bleeding again as he squeezed. She couldn’t look at him, her entire body trembling as last night’s events replayed in her mind.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He shouted at her, not caring that he was the reason she was now bleeding. “Is that what turns you on? Blood? Does this get your pussy going?” He shoved her out the door, bringing a firm hand down on her ass, snorting when she jumped. “Lock the door, Paul.”

Briar began retreating, her eyes darting from him then to the Ministry and back again.

She hadn’t gotten too far though. Mark grabbed a handful of her black hair, tossing her into Bradshaw. “You like pain, precious? Do you want to feel some more pain? Hmm? I bet we could help with that.” He taunted, nodding to Farooq who moved to help Bradshaw restrain her.

“No! No, please!” Briar twisted in her captor’s grip, terror etched on her face. “Mark, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again!” She promised, dry; rasping sobs beginning to choke her.

“It’s too late, Briar. You want to feel pain, then I’ll give you pain. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn a few things.” Mark sounded almost apologetic as he stepped towards her. He slowly; cruelly raised her ungloved arm up, displaying the new cut and numerous scars almost proudly. Meeting her eyes, he brought her wrist to his mouth, his tongue darting out to trace the fresh wound.

She could only cry, wrenching gasps escaping her horror twisted mouth; feeling violated just from this perverse action.

“Sweet as cherries…”

Briar tried to move but it was impossible, merely contorting her body between the men holding her captive. She tried to speak, to scream but couldn’t get enough air; tiny, shrill noises issuing from her locked up throat.

“Silence her.” Mark ordered, his lips curved in a sneer. In moments, a bandanna had been wrapped around her mouth, forcing her lips apart and almost up into a snarling smile. It was an interesting visual, her gagged. “There, that’s better.” He rumbled, patting her head almost affectionately. “You know, precious, you are a beautiful woman. A little insane and suicidal, but beautiful nonetheless.”

Briar closed her eyes as he made an inspection of her form, hearing his pleased grunt.

“I warned you, didn’t I? I warned you to stay away from my co-workers, about Jeff, about that cutting shit. And you NEVER listen, do you? So now… I have to punish you.” He placed his hand on top of her head once more, pushing her down to her knees, nodding at Bradshaw once before walking away.

Briar began trembling in earnest when she felt the gag being removed and a pair of boots stepped into her line of vision.


Matt frowned, listening as the two blond idiots before him babbled something about Briar being in trouble. Behind him, the door was closed so Jeff couldn’t hear. “I can’t leave him, he’s not right-“ He tapped the side of his head. “Up here.”

Edge was in a full panic now, not even wanting to THINK about what probably had happened in that hotel room. “Dude, he’s…” He couldn’t even say it, feeling ill. “We have to do something man, we have to help her.”

Christian tapped Edge’s arm, all three men stepping back to watch as Farooq followed ‘Taker down the hall; carrying Briar with a disgusted look on his face.

Matt’s eyes widened when he seen her arm hanging limply, the fresh slice standing out vividly against her scarred; pale skin, dried blood making it even more obscene.

Briar could only close her eyes at the trio’s faces.

“Got something to say, boys?” Mark demanded, glancing back at his step-child; taking in her pale face; swollen lips and snorted. Farooq was taking her back to the hotel, Mark didn’t need anymore distractions. Even from her. When Edge and Christian mutely shook their heads, he nodded. “By the way, you two have a match tonight, I’m sure you’ll do your best not to lose…”


Later that night once they were in the privacy of their hotel room, Matt seated himself on his bed. Not more than five feet away from him Jeff lay sleeping on his own bed; curled in the fetal position. Matt leaned back against the headboard, his not so compact laptop resting in his lap. He was busy using the iffy wireless connection, not entirely sure he liked this over a regular old PC, pulling up records on Briar. It had taken him an hour and a few payments with his credit card; along with several downed connections but… he had finally gotten her public records on the screen.

“Holy shit…” He whispered.

Drunk driving, possession of deadly weapons; possession of drugs he’d never even heard of. Public acts of- He had to scroll down, coming an article with the heading ‘Young Woman Attempts Suicide’, reading the piece. There were comments from neighbors quoted in it stating she had had a ‘troubled home life’. No shit. He shut down the laptop, rubbing his eyes.

He knew she had been institutionalized, officially crazy apparently. So even if she came forward with whatever had assumedly happened to her, or was happening, who would believe her?

Her record was completely against her.

Matt glanced over at Jeff, his fingers moving to rub his temples. He was going to have to convince the boss to give him a few days off so he could take his brother to a hospital or something. As bad as he felt for the girl, he wasn’t getting involved and he’d be damned if Jeff did. That woman seemed to attract bad karma.


If she even had access to a paper clip, Briar would have managed to kill herself with it. She would have straightened it out and jabbed it straight into her aorta. Hell. That was her life. If she wasn’t with Mark, she was with Paul or Bradshaw; occasionally even Midian.

She had heard from a gloating Mark that Jeff was currently on hiatus, having had a mental breakdown or something. Edge and Christian were no longer part of the Ministry and as far as she knew, they both were in the hospital.

She couldn’t even take a bath without someone watching, and there was nothing more demeaning than a man standing over you while you were trying to shave your legs. She had dealt with this in the institution, but they had wanted to help her, not hurt her.

In the course of a mere two weeks, Briar had learned that if she did something Mark considered wrong; she would be punished. The punishments were traumatizing; she would never be able to have sex, ever. Not that they’d gone as far as to actually fuck her but she figured it was only a matter of time.

So she was understandably relieved when Mark announced they were going home for the weekend. As soon as they set foot in the house, Briar had hauled ass to her bedroom; locking the door behind her.

The knife is on the table
I put myself to sleep
All I know is all I know
Remember, what you sow is what you reap

Mark groaned when he heard Briar’s atrocious music blaring, glancing up at the ceiling. Time hadn’t improved her taste any, that was for damn sure. He knew automatically she had locked her bedroom door and rolled his eyes, like that would stop him if he really wanted in?

Deciding his best bet would be to ignore it and hope she turned that shit down, he headed for the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, the cupboards were bare. That was alright, he had his whiskey. He was an alcoholic and he was also the first one to admit it.

Like you
Like me
Diminished, self-imploding
I’ll never see
Like you
Like me
I never want
To be like me

“TURN THAT SHIT DOWN RIGHT NOW!” He bellowed, heading up the stairs now. “DO IT OR SO HELP ME GOD, BRIAR…”

The music got even louder.

Do you think I’m a whore?
I’m a whore
I’m a whore
I’m a whore

Briar could hear Mark outside the door, tears streaming down her pale face as she shoved her dresser in front of it. Then came the banging, which made her smile. If she had seen herself, she wouldn’t have recognized the smile for what it was. A desperate, half mad grin, twisted her pale blue lips, a gleam in her eyes that wasn’t natural. She looked as crazy as people always said she was.

When the door actually opened, smashing against the dresser, she reached for a knife that rested on her bed’s coverlet, hurling it at him. A laugh escaped her when he dodged; hearing his curses. “Go ahead, daddy, come in and beat me up!” She taunted, darting for the open window.

“Briar!” Mark shouted, muscling his way through the gap in the door, grunting as he fought to push aside the heavy oak dresser.

Mark had wanted to break her but he hadn’t, he’d made her lose her mind instead.

Laughing and crying at the same time, Briar sat on the window ledge, watching him struggle to get into the room. One second he was fighting the dresser and the next he was jerking her back from the window.

Mark wrapped his arms around her, pressing her back to his chest and tightened his hold when she began fighting. Her head whipped back and forth against him, her black hair flying with each angry movement. Closing his eyes, he just held on even tighter.

Briar was running out of steam, unable to stop herself from slumping against him. “I hate you!” She sobbed, giving a few more pathetic attempts at breaking free. “I fucking hate you! Why didn’t you let me die?” She demanded, the tears flowing freely. Her scars were proudly on display since she wore no gloves, just a white tee shirt, the suggested innocence only making her seem even more battered. “You should have let me jump…”

“What would that solve?” He whispered in her ear, feeling her entire body trembling and still refused to let her go. “Briar…” Burying his face in her neck, Mark inhaled her smoky scent and closed his eyes. What had he done to her? He was a sick bastard and he didn’t regret anything, but at the same time, he knew he had crossed a line. A major one. Still, he couldn’t let her go and he wouldn’t. “Don’t be like your mother and give it all up.”

Briar chuckled softly, squirming until he let her turn, staring up at him. “My mother was a gold digger, she married you for your money.” She told him in a whisper. “And then when you started fucking your whores, she turned back to drugs. You kill women, you’re poison.”

Mark could only stare down at her, his entire body tensing when her arms snaked around his neck; feeling her pressing herself against him.

“Come on, daddy, poison me.” Briar’s tone had gone from pained to seductive in seconds. “You’ve been telling me for weeks now what you’d like to do to me. So DO it.”

This was throwing him for one hell of a loop. She was surrendering to him, telling and taunting him, the little cock tease. Growling, he took her wrists in one hand, pinning them behind her back; forcing her body to bow against his. “Is that what you want? You want to be daddy’s little whore?” He snarled, voice laced with anger and lust. “Do you want me to pound that sweet little pussy of yours, Briar?”

She began laughing at him, grinding her body against him while she did it; feeling him hardening through his jeans. “Hell no.” Her voice had changed again, this time sounding flat. “I might be suicidal and insane but you are NOT my brand of insanity. If you even THINK about ‘pounding my sweet little pussy’, I’ll make sure the entire world knows what a sick fuck you really are.” The insanity was gone from her eyes, nothing but anger there now; pain lurking just behind it. “You either keep away from me or send me back to the institution, because if you EVER let anyone touch me… or if YOU touch me again, I just might have to make my death a public spectacle. Just to humiliate you.”

“I will break you, girl. You belong to me.” He sneered, his face flushing an angry red color. When she in return curled her lip at him, he shoved her back towards the open window. “Go ahead, jump. You’d be one less burden on my back, just like your worthless; pathetic mother was.”

“I agree, she was worthless and pathetic.” Briar muttered, leaning back against the sill; propping a foot on the ledge, the other dangling down to the floor. She swiped a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from the floor, lighting up a cig and inhaled deeply; her head tilting back, eyes closing.

Now that she had just gone totally beserk, she was drained and not really up to jumping anymore. He should have let her go the first time. “I want to go back to the institution, Mark.” She said, resting her head on her knee, her face hidden under her black hair. “You don’t even like me, why won’t you let me go?”

“You really don’t want to know.” He said in a low monotone, folding his arms over his chest. God, she looked so innocent wearing all white, which wasn’t helping his already painful erection. “You’re not going back. You belong to me for the rest of the year and until then; you’re stuck with me.” He finally said. “You fight me and you’ll lose.”

Briar took a long pull off her cigarette, exhaling it in his direction and flicked her hair back from her face; her grey eyes emotionless. “Bury me in black.”


Eight months to go. One month and a half spent on the road, the remaining two and a half in a bedroom. Mark wasn’t about to let Briar have another suicide attempt, contrary to what he had said, he didn’t want her killing herself. At least not on his watch. When she was out on her own, she could do whatever the hell she liked.

He had immediately had bars placed over her windows and removed all but a mattress from the bedroom. Anything she could have hurt herself with, no matter how trivial it had seemed, he had taken away. A new door had been fitted, with locks on the outside of course. She wasn’t allowed out unless it was to eat or use the bathroom break.

Mark had barely spoken to her the entire time, mostly just watched to make sure she didn’t somehow claw or bite herself into an early grave. Briar had lived on soup, which meant she had dropped from her usual 135 pounds to 110, her already tall; lean frame now gaunt.

But he had been called back to work and she had to go with him. The minute they were out of the house, Briar turned her face skyward, closing her eyes and enjoyed the feel of the sunlight fully shining down on her. Fresh air, for the first time in over two months.

He didn’t say a word to her now, just ushered her into the backseat of the car; knowing damn well she didn’t want to hear his voice. Hell, he didn’t care. He had enjoyed the silence. He hadn’t touched her after that night she tried jumping out the window, not wanting to be the reason she finally took that plummet over the brink and into total insanity.

The entire Ministry of Darkness line had been discarded, all of them going their separate ways. Mark would be joining forces with Paul Wight, who most wrestling fans knew as the Big Show. He sighed heavily, sliding into the driver’s seat, not really keen on this Unholy Alliance thing but he would deal with it.

Her gloves had been thrown away, mark wasn’t risking her killing herself in any way, shape or form and had apparently decided her gloves might be strong enough for a noose if she had dared test it. Briar didn’t want to die, not really, but she also knew she wouldn’t be able to handle it again if her step-father decided to go psycho on her once more.

She tugged at the edge of her long sleeved black shirt, sitting quietly. She didn’t talk anymore, she didn’t even know if her voice would work. She just wanted to finish her time and move on.

Staring at her through the rearview mirror, Mark couldn’t help but frown, seeing a mere shell of what had once been a fiery spirit. Granted, she was still beautiful; but he no longer desired her. She had issues, major issues at that and it didn’t help that he had put what little fire left in her soul out completely.

Perhaps if that fire ever rekindled, then he would want her again. For now though, she wasn’t a woman, nor a child. Just something in between. “Briar,” He said softly, watching as her head slowly raise, though she didn’t meet his eyes. “Are you hungry?”

Briar shook her head no, turning her gaze back to the window, watching everything fly by. Beside her on the seat was her duffel bag. In it was her diary, a sketchbook and most importantly; her music. She knew there was a brand new CD walkman in there along with her case of CDs. She knew because Mark had showed her as he was packing for her.

But she didn’t move to touch it. Music had been her friend for so long, her only source of comfort. A way of expressing her pain to a world that never listened. In her head there always had been a song; music playing, a soundtrack to her life.

Now it was gone.

She had no desire for anything. Not even her precious lyrics.

The rest of the ride was silent, as always. Mark had stopped and got them both some food, hoping she would eat. It wasn’t a surprise though when she just set the bag beside her and ignored it. He knew he had fucked her up good though he still didn’t regret it. There was no room in his life for regrets. Not at the moment anyway.

No matter how far he had gone, he would never have raped her. Mark didn’t rape women, they came to him willingly or not at all.

When they arrived at the arena, Mark guided her inside the building; a hand on the small of her back. He halted, staring down at her and cleared his throat. “Do you want to see Jeff?”

Briar almost mouthed Jeff’s name, pain filling her grey eyes before shaking her head no, lowering her gaze back to the floor. She remembered Edge and Christian telling her how Jeff had been ‘in a bad way’, the whispered rumors of him having a breakdown.

No, she would never see Jeff again. He didn’t need someone with her baggage sucking the joy from his life.


“Briar’s back.” Edge announced, joining Christian and Matt at a table in the cafeteria, having spotted her walking into the building alongside Mark. “She-“ He hesitated when Jeff dropped down into a chair. “Anyways…”

“What’re we talkin’ bout?” Jeff asked tiredly, slowly returning to his old lifestyle, though he still had nightmares about Briar and what he had seen.

“Work, as always, bro.” Matt replied, shooting the blonds a dark look that implied death if they even breathed Briar’s name around Jeff. It had taken Jeff nearly two months to finally get his head on straight and return to work, that did not need messed up now. The haunted look still hadn’t left Jeff’s eyes and Matt wondered if it ever would.

He had hoped and prayed that Briar would never return. Especially after hearing she had been taken home and nobody had heard or seen her in months. And then Jeff had finally confided in him just what it was he had witnessed, cementing Matt’s feelings about Briar. So much for wishful thinking…

Sighing, Christian prodded his chicken breast, not hungry anymore. He tensed when he heard the APA as Bradshaw and Farooq had recently begun calling themselves; walked by, talking to each other quietly.

“Think he’s going too… pass her around again?”

“No man, I heard from Paul she tried jumpin’ out a window.” Ron said, shaking his head. “We fucked her up bad.”

“She was already fucked up.”

Edge had to literally jump across the table to stop Christian from attacking when Bradshaw made a comment about ‘sweetest lips ever’. “Are you INSANE? He’ll tear your scrawny ass apart.”

“Who the hell they talkin’ about?” Jeff demanded, his curiosity getting the better of him. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out when Christian hissed ‘Bri’ under his breath. Closing his eyes for a moment, Jeff listened to the APA, finally having to push away from the table and walk away.

Matt moved to follow only to wind up helping Edge restrain Christian again.


Mark sighed when he heard the knock on the door, glancing at Briar who still hadn’t moved from her chair, her head aimed at the floor. Shaking his head, he opened the door. His eyes widened as a fist came flying at him, a moment later both hearing and feeling his nose break. “WHAT THE-“

“WHAT’D YOU DO TO HER?” Jeff screamed, following up on the attack, shoving his way into the room and began throwing punches with everything in him. “TELL ME!”

Briar’s head shot up the minute she heard Jeff, staring at him for a moment before looking at Mark. Automatically, she got up to retreat to the far side of the room, cringing when he snapped his nose back into place.

Christian, Edge and Matt flew into the room, all halting to stare.

“Bri…” Christian had to look away from her, hearing Edge cursing under his breath.

“Whoa, Jeff!” Edge grabbed him along with Matt when it looked like he was going to fly off the handle, again from the appearance of ‘Taker’s nose.

“You son of a bitch! How could you do that to your own fucking daughter?” Jeff shouted angrily, every emotion inside of him bursting out, tears in his green eyes.

Matt narrowed his own eyes at Briar, shaking his head. “Come on Jeff, there’s nothing you can do…”

“THE HELL THERE ISN’T! The man isn’t FIT to be her father, he’s a fucking molester!”

Acid all but spewed from Mark’s own eyes. He stalked over to Jeff, his entire body radiating danger and grabbed the kid by his throat, growling viciously. “You mind that tongue, boy.”

“Go ahead, hurt me just like you hurt her!”

“Jeff, she was already fucked up to begin with! She probably enjoyed what happened!”

A second later, Mark had thrown Matt out the door and into the hallway wall.

Christian let Edge handle the drama, walking over to Briar who was now hunching in the corner, her face in her knees. Hesitantly, he reached down to touch her shoulder. “Bri?”

She tensed, not looking up.

The way Edge figured it, Matt deserved what he had got though by no means was he on friendly terms with Mark. He was right in Jeff’s corner on this, well, not the part with Jeff being hurt like she had. He didn’t need a mental picture of another man being… no. “Tell him, Mark.” He said coldly, making sure to keep out of arm’s reach. “Why don’t you tell everyone what a sick and twisted pervert you are?”

“There’s nothing to tell.” Mark stated indifferently, crossing his massive; tattooed arms over his chest and slowly raised one black eyebrow at the over emotional Jeff. “Do you care for her, boy?”

Jeff didn’t answer, ready to attack again.

“Do you?”


“Then if you value her life as well as your own, you’ll leave here now.” He ordered gravely, next evicting Edge and Christian.

“Is there a problem here?”

“Ah Show, kindly show these nuisances out.”

Show cracked his knuckles. “With pleasure.”

Now Briar was on her feet, watching as this massive behemoth literally picked Jeff up and carted him to the door. “Jeff!” She was right, her voice was hoarse from not being used, reaching out a hand even as Mark pulled her back.

Jeff reached for her, only to go flying.

Edge caught Jeff before he could smash into the wall, both men landing on the floor as the door slammed shut.

“I think Matt needs a hospital.” Christian muttered.

Mark’s grip on her wrist tightened painfully, his nose bleeding from Jeff’s punch. “You better pray to whatever you believe in that I don’t KILL that boy in the ring tonight.” He hissed angrily, shoving her backward, watching as she hit the wall hard and fell to her knees. “Show, you’ll be watching her while I’m out in the ring.”

Retreating automatically into herself, Briar stared at the floor, ignoring the pain in her back. She sat back against the wall, outwardly appearing her usual blank shell. On the inside however she was combing over what had just happened.

Jeff… did this mean he still cared for her? If he did that was sure to be over after tonight. She knew Mark was now out for blood. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts, she didn’t notice Mark slipping into the bathroom or the monster crouching in front of her.

“Hello, sweetheart.” Paul cooed, ten times the size of her, if not more. He had heard the stories throughout the locker room about how she had taken on the entire Ministry and begged for more, interesting. That was one of the reasons he had been so keen on joining with ‘Taker, to find out if those rumors were true.

Damn but she was beautiful, in a sad sort of way. Her long black hair and haunted large, grey eyes were definitely her best features and her body wasn’t too bad either.

Slowly, those grey orbs rose to meet his, her breaths coming hard as she read the intent in his eyes; recognizing that look all too well. Briar could hear Mark changing in the bathroom, wondering desperately if he would protect her or hand her over with his blessing.

Given what he had allowed to happen to her before –indeed sat and watched- she was inclined to believe he wouldn’t care. This man was HUGE, one of his fingers was as big as her frail wrist. Trembling, she got to her feet, trying to step around him.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Paul wrapped a hand around her arm, being gentle about it, knowing he could probably break her arm in half with just a slight gesture. He spun her around, pulling her back against his chest and buried his nose in her hair, a soft groan escaping him.

If by chance ‘Taker was to walk out, Paul could explain this all away. Briar had tried to escape and with her history, who wouldn’t believe it?

Chuckling, Paul splayed a very large hand against her stomach, feeling her body quivering against him. “So soft…”

Licking her lips, Briar tried to speak, mouthing the words though nothing came out. She closed her eyes, a warm tear running down her face. “Please.” She whispered, her voice breaking.

An exhale of relief escaped her when he stepped away, turning to find Mark stepping out of the bathroom; genuinely pleased to see him for the first time ever. Putting as much space between her and Paul as possible, she disappeared into the bathroom, knowing better than to lock the door, Mark would only break it down.

She wasn’t coming out, not until she absolutely had too. It went without saying that after ten minutes she was checked on, not even looking up from her place in the shower. She didn’t care if the tiled walls were damp from Mark’s shower, it was an old habit from childhood that she clung too.

It was foolish to feel safe in such an enclosed space but she couldn’t help it.

Anything that felt safe, she would cling too.


“Mmm… I see you love being wet.”

Briar cringed at Paul’s voice greeting her.

Slowly, Paul approached the shower, bending down so they were eye level with each other. He watched as she trembled against the wall, clinging to it like it was a lifeline. “I can make you wetter, sweetheart.” He purred, reaching out to run a thick finger up the curve of her breast. “I’m not going to hurt you…” He whispered, almost tenderly, pulling her out into the open then against him. “God you feel so good…”

He was insane, her father associated only with sociopaths. All of them hell bent on seeing her cracked and broken. “No.” Briar whispered, her hands wedged between them, trying to push away. She was roughly five foot eight, she was a ragdoll compared to him. A flimsy, tiny thing that would easily shatter if he so much as tapped her with a fraction of the strength she knew he possessed. “Don’t touch me.” Her voice was soft but growing stronger.

“But you feel wonderful…” He growled softly, feeling her nails digging into his bare chest. “That feels good.” Paul sighed, bending down to seal his lips to her neck, kissing her skin gently; a hand now sliding down her stomach and further, cupping her crotch.

Briar was breathing heavily, on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Ssh, relax, I’m not doing anything you don’t want. We’ll go at your pace.” He soothed.

Briar didn’t have a pace because Briar was terrified of sex, anything to do with being touched scared her. Being with Mark and his now disbanded Ministry had done that to her. She drug her fingernails down his chest, leaving scratches in their wake. “Stop it!” She yelled, refusing to let him go any further.

This sudden defiance was pissing him off. He used his free hand to cup her slender neck, squeezing to silently let her know just how horribly fragile she was. “Shut up.” He ordered in a deadly hiss. “You gave it to Bradshaw and Midian, you’re damn sure not denying me.”

The fear in her grey eyes was a bit of a turn on, knowing he had the power to do whatever he wanted to her. What could she do against him? Scream? Swat at him? The idea of her harming him was ridiculous. Paul resumed stroking her through her pants, capturing her mouth with his. “I want to feel you, cum Briar…” He murmured against her soft lips.

Delusional, she wasn’t even anywhere near being turned on. Not even remotely close to even feeling relaxed or pleasant. Of course it would help if he wasn’t over seven feet and scary as hell, or that he was forcing himself on her.

Then again, she also probably needed therapy once more before she even considered entertaining the possibility of dating again, let alone sex.

“STOP!” Briar full out screamed, this couldn’t happen to her. Not again, there would be no recovering her precious sanity for a third time.

“What did I say?” He demanded, wrenching her head back with her hair. Before he could finish what he was starting, he heard Mark’s angry bellow. “Until next time.” He nipped her ear, then disappeared from the bathroom.

“That COCKSUCKER!” Mark roared, driving his fist into the nearest wall, blood streaking down his face. “Him and those fucking blonds!”

“’Taker, what happened?”

Paul cringed as the gash spanning across the other man’s forehead finally got his notice, clearing his throat nervously. “I- I wasn’t paying attention. Your kid freaked out and I was calming her down.”

“Figures.” Mark snorted, going to wash his face.

Briar was sitting in the shower now, trying to fold herself into something invisible, arms locked around her drawn legs. She stared up at her step-father, trails on her face from her tears, seeing the blood. Had it been Jeff who had did that to him? She hoped so, it was the very least he deserved. She opened her mouth; closing it just as fast when Paul’s massive frame took over the doorway; her head lowering.

“Do you need anything, ‘Taker?” Paul asked, shooting Briar a cautioning look.

“Yeah, go find McMahon and let him know I want Jeff, Christian and Edge against us next week for Raw.” Mark said thoughtfully, anger etched into his face. He reached for the first aid kit, pissed beyond belief. The idea of his step-daughter hanging out with Jeff had been officially thrown out the window after that little stunt Hardy had pulled. Snorting, he began suturing himself.

Personally, Briar thought Mark deserved what he had gotten but knew better than to voice it. She waited until Paul was gone before standing up. “I want to stay at the hotel during your shows.” She said evenly, seeing the shock flit across his face. This was the first time she had spoken to him since that night she had lost it. “Please?”

Mark slowly turned to face her, setting down the threaded needle. He observed the pleading in her eyes, thinking back to that night at the house and shook his head. “I can’t take the chance of you doing something again, Briar.” He said softly, turning back to the mirror.

“Please, Mark, please?” She begged, watching as he shook his head no resolutely. “You deserved everything they did to you and much more!” She spat angrily. “If you hadn’t let-“ Briar fell silent when his eyes snapped to her, slumping back against the wall and relapsed into her silence.

He could destroy her one minute and the next he was almost kind, and people said SHE was crazy.

“I did deserve it, you’re right.” Mark spat back, slowly turning around. One long arm reached out to grab her wrist, pulling her towards him viciously, a sneer on his lips. “But THIS is the reason you’re never going to be alone again, Briar!” He ripped her shirt sleeve up, tearing the fabric. “You hurt yourself when you’re alone. So don’t you worry about that boy of yours, worry about YOURSELF!”


Briar could not sleep. Mark wouldn’t let her have her own room. She was surprised he had let her have her own, suppose she somehow suffocated herself? After a quick shower –she had a three minute rule or else he’d come in and watch her- she crawled under her blankets. In the next bed over, she could hear Mark tossing and turning; knowing his head was probably paining him and snorted; served him right.

“Mmm… I see you love being wet. I can make you wetter, sweetheart.”

“Hmmm, those lips are perfect for this, baby.”

“She’s no innocent virgin but she’s probably tight as fuck.”

“I want to feel you cum, Briar…”

“Make me cum…”

“STOP IT!” Briar screamed, clamping her hands to her head, sitting upright. “NO MORE!”

Coming out of a dead sleep at the shrieking from her bed, Mark bolted out of his own and rushed over to Briar. He fumbled for a moment; finally flicking on the nightstand light and inhaled sharply. Her pale, wan face was glossed with tears and the fear swirling through her grey eyes was enough to piece his heart. Sighing heavily, Mark pulled her onto his lap, wrapping his strong arms around her.

“Sshhh…” He whispered in her ear, both feeling and hearing her violent; body wracking sobs. “God Briar, Briar I’m so sorry… I’m sorry I did that to you… I’m sorry… Jesus…” He buried his face in her hair, tightening his hold when she tried pushing him away.

“Let go!” Briar gasped harshly, using her balled hands to push at him. “Don’t touch me! Don’t TOUCH me!” She screamed over and over when he refused to let her go, hitting him as hard as she could repeatedly. “No, no, no, no!”

“I can’t… I can’t let you go, Briar.” He whispered in her ear, holding on even tighter. “God, I’m so sorry…” His voice was filled with remorse, knowing just how badly he had fucked her up, probably for the rest of her life. “Briar, shhh, it’s alright, nobody is going to hurt you…”

Briar buried her face in her hands and just cried, ceasing her struggles.


The next night at the house show it was like nothing had ever happened. Briar refused to look or talk to him; though when she had woken up in the morning, she had found a pair of long black fingerless gloves on her bed, knowing they must have been from him.

She wore them now, having fallen in love with them the minute she seen the delicate grey lace that overload the black on her hands. She had mumbled thank you and that was it.

“Nothing is going to happen.” Mark promised, walking behind her, his hands on her tense shoulders. “You’ll stay in here with Wight.” He didn’t even notice the sudden stiffening of her body or how her pace slowed as he gently nudged her into the dressing room, nodding at Paul. “She had a rough night, she won’t be much trouble.”

“Besides a little meltdown she wasn’t any trouble last night, a perfect angel.” Paul grinned. “My match is first.”

“Good, don’t disappoint me.”

Briar tucked her legs under herself after settling on a small couch, staring at the monitor though she didn’t really see what was on it. Every inch of her was tensed and ready to spring, to run if Paul so much as laid a finger on her. She sincerely hoped he did disappoint Mark, maybe Mark would pound him into oblivion as a punishment. A wicked smile graced her pale lips for the barest of moments.

Mark hadn’t missed that smile and shook his head, wondering what on earth she was thinking about. Unless he was looking directly into her eyes, he had a hard time reading Briar. She had gotten so well at keeping her face a mask of nothingness, except her damn eyes. Though grey orbs always showcased whatever it was she was thinking or feeling, piercing into him all at the same time.

“Go.” He ordered, glancing at Paul who merely nodded and walked out of the room. No sooner had the door closed behind him then it seemed like someone was knocking, eliciting a groan from Mark. Sighing, he opened it and blinked.

Edge and Christian were both standing there with hesitant yet angry expressions on their faces.

“We want to speak with Briar.” Edge said firmly.

Amused, Mark crossed his arms in front of his chest. “If I say no?”

“She’s an adult, she can make her own decisions.”

“Briar, do you want to talk to tweedle dee and tweedle dum?”

Briar slowly looked up at them, looking blank for a moment before nodding; getting to her feet. “May I?” She asked in a whisper. “Please?” If this was him fucking with her she would follow him to the ring and destroy herself before his audience just to punish him. She couldn’t bear being taunted with her friends.

Christian didn’t give him the chance to say anything, just guided her out into the hallway, staring at Mark calmly. “We’ll be right here with her.”

“You three can talk in here.” He grunted in return, smirking at Christian when Briar immediately obeyed, the blonds reluctantly following suit. “I’ve got other business to attend too.” Mark muttered, leaving them to their privacy, shaking his head. Briar did not make friends with girls it seemed. Why must every boy in the nearby vicinity want to be around her? He didn’t understand it, nor did he like it.

Christian wanted to hug her, she definitely looked like she needed one but the look in her eyes told him if he even moved to quickly she was liable to panic. Briar reminded him of a trapped animal. “Bri…” He couldn’t even ask if she was okay, that was a no brainer. How she’d been? Another stupid question. “Do you want us to take you out of here?” He finally asked, his tone soft.

“Man, do you have any idea what ‘Taker would do if we did that? She’s under his guardianship for another eight months.” Edge shook his head, he had the date marked on his calendar, expecting that to be the day she finally killed herself. That was a sad thought.

The door opened again.

“What are you doing here?” He hissed, eyes widening.

His eyes were only for his gothic angel on the couch. Jeff ignored the other two as he walked over, crouching down in front of her and reached out to gently lift her face to meet his gaze. “Briar…”

“Jeff.” She whispered, staring at him like he was a mirage.

He smiled.


Edge and Christian watched as Briar tossed her arms around Jeff, holding onto him like he was the air she needed to breathe. Both of them were thinking the same thing, ‘God, I hope this doesn’t end with him having another breakdown.’

“Bri…” Jeff whispered against her ear; cradling her to him. He had been so worried about her, praying every night that she was alright. Moving so he was sitting on the couch and she was cradled in his lap, he began rocking her back and forth. “Girl, I missed you.”

“I missed you.”

Tightening his hold on her, Jeff closed his eyes, smiling when she wrapped her arms around his neck. Nothing else mattered, nothing. She was everything to him and he to her. Nobody was going to take her away from him, not even her father, not this time. “Honey, I can’t breathe…”

“Sorry.” Briar murmured, loosening her hold on him. She glanced up to find Edge and Christian watching with bemused looks on their faces, offering a hesitant smile and hoped it wasn’t stiff. It had been so long since she’d genuinely smiled, she was almost afraid she had forgotten how too. “Are you… are you alright?” She asked, turning her attention back onto Jeff, remembering the rumor of his breakdown.

“Never better, Bri.” He assured her, running a finger down her cheek. “My brother overreacted.” He shot his friends a look when they both simultaneously snorted. “I’m going to talk to your old man.”

Briar opened her mouth to protest, her eyes crossing to stare at the finger he pressed to her lips.

“I want to be with you, Briar. I love you.”

Her grey eyes widened at that declaration, watching as he slowly lowered his head to hers, pressing his lips against her in a gentle kiss. It was Jeff, Jeff… it was him kissing her. Briar still couldn’t repress the shudder that wracked her body, lowering her head so he wouldn’t see the pain or fear in her eyes; hating herself for feeling this way around him.

“Uh, Jeff, careful.” Edge cautioned softly, ignoring the nudge he got from Christian.

“I’m not any good for you Jeff, I wasn’t then and now… I’m really not.” Dear God, she wasn’t meant for him. Jeff deserved someone better. Someone who wasn’t as damaged as she was.

“Remember what I said?” He said softly, lifting her chin up with the palm of his hand. His sparkling green eyes offered reassurance, showing her that he wasn’t upset with her for pulling away. He understood more than anyone why she had. “I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away the pain. I will stand by you forever…” He crooned, not caring that Christian and Edge both were looking at him like he was out of his mind.

Maybe he was. So what? He loved this broken angel and he was going to do whatever he could to make her whole again.

Jeff smiled when Briar started giggling, kissing her ear as he guided her hand over his heart. “This is yours. Please tell me I haven’t lost you, Bri.”

“No.” Briar murmured, leaning in to kiss him this time, surprising herself with that. Apparently him as well because he was grinning against her lips. “And I don’t think talking to Mark will do any good.”

“Eight months to go and counting.” Christian spoke up, glancing at the clock. “He still pissed about Jeff breaking his nose?”

She nodded. “And jumping script.”

“I’ll talk to him.” Jeff repeated evenly, not afraid. He refused to lose her again. No matter what he saw or what he heard, no matter how much it disgusted, he still loved her.

“What’s going on?”

All four of them looked up to find Paul in the open doorway, his face turning an angry red.

“Whoa big man, hold up.” Edge stated, stepping in front of the giant. “’Taker said we could be in here to keep her company.”

“I did, Show.” Mark said from behind, stepping past his partner only to freeze when he spotted who ELSE was ni the room. “What the hell are YOU doing here?”

“Want him out ‘Taker?’

Mark looked at Briar, wishing he hadn’t. Those pleading grey orbs were going to be the ruination of him. Sighing, he shook his head. “No, they can stay. All three of them.”

So now for the moment it was Jeff, Edge, Christian, Briar, Paul AND Mark all in the same room. Briar was back on full alert. She trusted E&C, they had been her friends from day one. She definitely trusted Jeff. Mark she had no faith in and Paul terrified her. She lapsed back into silence.

Edge cleared his throat. “This is-“



Jeff seen how quiet Briar was and just held her, not moving for anyone’s sake, even though Mark kept glancing at them. “You know what I found?” He asked cheerfully, reaching down to unsnap one of the many pockets of his black cargo pants. He waited until she looked up before flashing a CD in her face. “I think you’ll like it.”

“Where did you get this?” She demanded, staring at the CD, now in her hands. “This wasn’t even released in the United States, Jeff.” She stared down at it, reading the songs and grinned, actually grinned. “Thank you.”

Mark watched as she threw her arms around the whelp, taking in the happiness shining on her face. Only this morning she had been lifeless, now… he couldn’t remember ever seeing her this animated.

Paul was seething, watching this Hardy punk claim what was supposed to be his.

Christian stared at Paul, arms folded over his chest; an eyebrow raised. He hadn’t missed the look that flitted across the big man’s face.

If the boy kept that up, Mark would have to keep him around. The smile on Briar’s face was melting his heart, not that he would ever admit it. “Jeff, you’re welcome to stay in the locker room while Briar is here.” He announced suddenly, ignoring the shocked expressions on everyone’s faces.

“ARE YOU INSANE?” Paul exploded. “This punk broke your damn nose!”

“Why do you care?” Mark asked calmly, his eyes suddenly unreadable as he studied the other man. “Is this something you should tell me?”

“No.” Paul growled over his shoulder, already on his way out the door.

Mark’s eyes narrowed. This alliance had just reached its end. He glanced over at Briar, seeing the change that had come over her. She was less on guard, not hunching as had become her custom, as if it would fend off anything thrown her way.


Over the next three nights, change happened rapidly. Mark ended his alliance with Paul, not citing a reason for it or apologizing for breaking script. He wasn’t asking Briar what had happened but he knew something had. There was no other reason for the way Paul had suddenly exploded over the Jeff situation, or the way Briar had suddenly come out of her shell after the man’s dismissal.

Jeff was now a nightly visitor to his dressing room, along with Edge and Christian. Mark was taking Tylenol on a nightly basis just to stave off the headaches the hyper trio always managed to bring him.


“Hey Bri, if I were to bring you something else to wear… would you wear it?” Edge asked on the fourth night, studying her thoughtfully. He had yet to see her in something besides black. Ever. When he had first met her, it was nothing but black and it hadn’t changed.

“Is it black?”

Why was he not surprised? “Um… no…”

“What color is it?” Jeff asked, mildly curious even though he loved Briar in her black clothes.

Mark wasn’t saying a word, simply listening as he tapped up.

“Actually, it’s kinda white and silver, its shimmery.” Edge looked at Christian for help, sighing when his brother just shrugged. “It’s a dress.”

“You want me to wear a WHITE dress because?” Briar demanded, arching a black eyebrow. She only wore white when she was cutting herself, which meant she no longer wore white.

“Because Vince had it made for you for that storyline that um, died. Besides, you’d look like an angel in it. Come on, Jeff, talk her into it. I want to see you in something besides BLACK, Bri.”

“That would be super hot.” Jeff grinned, seeing the roses in her cheeks and laughed. “Come on, Bri. It won’t hurt.” He coaxed, nudging her gently. “How bout this? Try it on and if you don’t like it, you can just change back. What’s the harm in trying on a simple dress?”

Mark had to agree, it would be nice to see his step-daughter in something than black for a change.


Twenty minutes later, Briar emerged from the bathroom in the dress, looking awkward. She wore dresses, just nothing like this. She tugged on her black with grey lace gloves, which contrasted against the dress’ white, gauzy material. Though the gloves also matched her black hair and the black ballerina flats she wore. “It’s gauzy, not shimmery.” She said, not looking up from the floor.

“Like I would know the difference? Can we turn around now?” Edge demanded, facing the wall along with Christian and Jeff.


At that precise moment, Mark walked inside the dressing room and froze in place, green eyes widening. Briar was in the dress. It had sheer inch wide shoulder straps and hugged her chest before flowing to her knees, the material floating around her. Briar… in WHITE, what the HELL… He honestly didn’t think she would wear it.

The desire suddenly surfaced but he hid it, a slow smile crossing his lips. “You look stunning, Briar.” He murmured softly.

Jeff turned around at that, grinning from ear to ear when he seen her. Slowly, he walked over to take her hand, gently twirling her around. “Wow.” Was all he could say, completely mesmerized.

“Your mother would have a heart attack if she could see you now.”

Briar wasn’t even paying Mark any attention, too busy blushing under Jeff’s adoring stare. “I feel naked.” She whispered, the material clinging to her thighs when he twirled her again, floating around her for a moment before settling.

The gloves covered her scars and added to the look, giving her an angelic appearance with just a hint of darkness. Christian had to grin. “White is definitely your color.”

“I think we’ve lost her attention, bro.” Edge chuckled, watching as Briar and Jeff got lost in their own little world.

“My beautiful dark angel.” Jeff whispered, his arms wrapped around Briar’s slender frame, almost slow dancing in a tiny circle as he stared down at her. She looked exquisite, her porcelain skin only made her look more angelic. “Simply breathtaking.”

Mark couldn’t agree more, actually walking into the bathroom and closed the door behind him. She was back, the fire had returned to her eyes and he knew it was because of Jeff. Groaning, he slumped back against a wall, raking a hand through his loose black hair. The way that dress hugged her… his interest had returned.


Briar listened as Jeff talked about things they could do together, wondering if Mark would even allow it. “He’d probably think we were running away together.” She mused, surprised at herself, with herself. It was so odd the way a few days ago she had felt like a walking shell and now she was filled with life again!

This is what Jeff did to her, he made her whole. In just a few days, he had managed to pull her out of the almost dead state she had been living in, injecting life and light into her.

“I think we should go shopping.” She announced out of the blue, rolling her eyes when he grinned. “Maybe get away from black…”

That would be one hell of a change but she also recognized it as a healthy step in the right direction.


A credit card was suddenly in her face.

Mark had overheard their conversation, obviously. If she wanted to go shopping for clothes, more power to her. Maybe she’d find herself some baggy shirts that didn’t give him erections. “Spend whatever you want.”

Jeff blinked, staring at the card in her hand and wondered if Mark was serious.

“Did he just-“

Jeff could only nod.


Shopping at midnight with three men was… different. And Briar found out all three of them could charm the pants off of shopkeepers, men and women alike so they’d be allowed into places that were closing. The promise of spending a lot of money helped as well.

She then found out they were all eager to help her pick out things, showing her clothes and if she liked them; selecting all the colors they could in that one style.

Giggling, Briar shook her head at a low cut top Edge held out, watching him walk away before resuming browsing underclothes; those she could pick out alone.

“Having fun?” Jeff’s sweet voice sounded in her ear, laughing softly when she jumped. As soon as she turned around, he held up a black and turquoise corset top, smiling. “I really think this would look good on you.” He said, watching her study it. “Will you try it on for me?”

Briar stared at it, remembering a time long ago when she used to wear only corset tops and nodded; hesitantly taking it. She allowed Jeff to guide her to a changing room, stepping through the door and turned to catch his hand before he could walk away. “I’ll need help with the laces.”

Nodding, he stepped in with her; cupping her pale face in his hands and bent down to gently kiss her. “You look beautiful in this.” He whispered, fingering the strap of her gown, smiling when she blushed. “And even more beautiful when you turn pink.”

“Thank you.”

After kissing each of her cheeks, then her nose, he pulled her into his arms, never getting enough of just hugging her. “God I missed you, Bri. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you, that I didn’t stop him.”

She took his hands in hers, squeezing. “There wasn’t anything you could have done, Jeff.” She told him quietly, trying not to think back to that night, or the things that had happened to her afterwards, her cheeks now red.

Pushing those thoughts away, she studied the top, finally turning her back to him. Hesitantly, she unzipped the dress and shrugged it down to her waist; looking back at Jeff over her shoulder, biting her lower lip. If it had been anyone but Jeff, she’d be panicking right about now.

After pressing a kiss to her shoulder blade, Jeff helped her into the corset, his nimble fingers lacing the back up. “Okay, turn around.”

Slowly she did,

“Breathtaking.” Jeff breathed, twirling her in a slow circle, admiring her every curve. Lacing his fingers with hers, he began dancing with her, right there in the dressing room.

Briar moved with him, smiling as he whispered he loved her, over and over.


“Quiet!” Briar shushed Edge, carrying things into the hotel room. She had to convince the guys that she couldn’t get half of what they wanted because of traveling. So they’d narrowed it down. She’d have to sort through and pick out things to go in her duffel bag and what was left would be sent home. Of course she’d do this tomorrow, right now she was dead on her feet.

“We are-“

“You wake him and I’ll murder you.” She threatened.

Muttering under their breath about being unappreciated, the pair excused themselves, leaving Briar and Jeff alone in the hallway.

She shrugged off the faded denim brown and green camo jacket he’d slipped over shoulders when it had started getting cold, holding it out. “Here you go.”

“Keep it. It looks better on you anyway.” He winked, bending down to kiss her chastely. “Good night, my dark angel.” He whispered. “I love you, Bri.”

“I love you too.”

Grinning, Jeff practically floated down the hallway, humming a Fred Astaire song, almost tempted to try dancing on the ceiling. He was still grinning when he walked into the room he was sharing with his brother, halting when he found Matt waiting for him. “What?”

“If you have another breakdown, don’t expect me to help you.”

“I never asked for your help to begin with Matt, so just stay out of it.”


The following morning, Mark knocked gently on her door, knowing she had been out late but… he kept up until she answered it. “Good-“ He stopped when he took in the white silk shorts and matching camisole. Mark looked away, deciding the floor was much more interesting right now. “Morning, get ready to leave.” He pulled the door shut, ignoring her puzzled expression and let out a barely audible groan.

In and out of the shower and dressed in record timing. Briar felt… happy. Truly, completely happy. It showed in how she dressed. A pair of light blue jeans and a white tank top, with her usual gloves though she had retired the black pair for a set of red; glittery gloves, fingerless of course. After pulling her hair up into a ponytail, she walked into his room, bag over her shoulder and headset around her neck. She had kept her pale blue lipstick and black eyeliner, too attached to her make-up to change it, busy typing Jeff’s jacket around her waist. “Ready?”

He was going to have a fucking heart attack, blinking at the woman before him. “Briar?” He made it a question, seeing the smile on her face, she was almost glowing. She was happy and her grey eyes were sparkling, not normal. “Darlin’…” He had never used that term with her before. “You look gorgeous.”

Whatever had come over her, he hoped it kept up.

Wow, that was an interesting reaction; one she stored for future chuckles later. Just shrugging, Briar followed him out of the room, soon blaring her new CD from Jeff.

The day went by pretty smoothly all things considered, she even ate something which was rare. Though the relatively good mood vanished as soon as they were inside the arena.

Briar held back behind Mark when she spotted Paul Wight approaching them, taking in his black eye, wondering how he got it and wanted to send flowers to the person who’d done it. She knew the UnHoly Alliance was over with, not sure why but…

“You ready for tonight?” Mark asked casually. It was his fist that had given Paul that black eye, especially since the man had lied to him about Briar. Mark KNEW something had happened, neither of them were talking. Then again, he hadn’t actually asked her and he wouldn’t either.

“Yeah, all set.” Paul grunted, not happy with the fact that Mark had asked for and gotten a match with him.

“Good, come on, Briar.”

Snorting, Paul cracked his knuckles.

Frowning, Briar let Mark push her ahead of him, having no idea where the hell she was going. When he took lead, she gladly moved behind him, following him into his dressing room. Instantly, she bounced to the table along a wall, dropping down and pulled out her sketch pad.

Humming along with her music, she started drawing something she had been envisioning all day, the look on Jeff’s face when she had whispered she loved him too.

When a familiar rat-tat-tat-bang-bang sounded on the door, Mark rolled his eyes. “Come in, Hardy.”

Jeff strolled in and smiled, instantly spotting Briar and headed straight for her. “Hello, beautiful.” He greeted, nodding at her outfit. “Edge and Christian are right, you look better in color.”

“Thanks, I think.” Briar adjusted a red glove, shaking her head when he tried peeking at her sketchbook. “No, you wait till I’m done with it.” She giggled, flipping it shut.

“Fine, fine, fine. Let’s go eat, I’m starving.” Jeff looked at Mark. “Is that okay?”

“Whatever, I’m busy anyway.”

Saluting, Jeff took Briar’s hand and all but dragged her from the room. “He’s in a cheery mood tonight.”

“When isn’t he?”


Laughing as usual, Jeff walked into the cafeteria with an arm around Briar’s waist. They both stopped short when they seen Bradshaw and Farooq. Jeff felt Briar tensing beside him, bending down to reassure her gently. They they were in a room full of people, nobody was going to hurt her. “Come on.” He guided her to the table Christian and Edge were currently occupying.

It wasn’t easy pretending two men who scared the hell out of her weren’t currently in the same room she was, even if it was a large room.

“Bri, you look smoking.”

“Nice gloves.”

“Thanks.” She plucked at the red fabric with a nervous grin.

“Doesn’t she?” Jeff beamed, passing her a tray. “Let’s get some food, then they can fawn over you.”

Both laughing and blushing, she followed him; not loading her tray like he did his. “How hungry are you?”

“Hmm… I could eat you, twice.” Jeff said after a moment’s consideration, arching an eyebrow her way when she snickered. “Shush, I’m a growing boy.”

“Where are you growing?” Briar looked him over critically.

If it had been anyone but Briar, Jeff would have let loose with one hell of a smartass comment. As it was, he simply shrugged and tossed a pack of M&M’s on his tray.

Christian watched as the two settled across from him and Edge, grinning. If they kept up this lovey dovey stuff, he was going to become infected or something.

“I love you.” Jeff crooned in her ear, his lips curving into a smile as Briar leaned into him, hearing her faint ‘I love you too’.

“You two make me sick.” Edge said empathetically.

“No kidding.”

“Both of you shut it.” Briar admonished with a smirk, digging into her food, suddenly feeling famished. She listened as her friends and Jeff chatted, finishing her tray then attacked the water Jeff placed in front of her.

“Chug chug chug.” Edge teased, watching amusedly as she sucked down the water. “Thirsty?”

“Not anymore, now I have to piss.”

“Across the hall.” He pointed, leaning over the table to gesture. “You want someone to um…”

“I think I can pee on my own, adult supervision not required.”

Jeff was laughing as she walked away. “That’s my Bri!”

No soon than she was in the bathroom, the lights went out and a hand grabbed her from behind; covering her mouth and stifling the scream that had been building up. Briar struggled against her assailant, wincing as her face was smashed into the wall, heavy breathing attacking the back of her neck.

When she recovered from her shock, she began screaming for help, refusing to be raped, to be touched again. For a moment she was pulled away from the wall only to be slammed into it, her forehead cracking against the tiles; stars exploding in front of her eyes though she sadly didn’t black out.

This wasn’t Jeff, that was all she knew, too terrified to attempt identifying her would be rapist.

Whatever progress had been made these past couple of days was being destroyed with each second that ticked by. Once more that hand covered her mouth, almost covering her nose, limiting her air intake. Over the thudding of her heart and harsh breaths, she could hear a zipper. That was followed by her jeans and panties being removed, tears seeping from her eyes.

A second later, Briar was letting out an ear piercing scream that nobody could hear.


“Bri, you alright?” Christian asked, knocking gently on the bathroom door; glancing back across the hall to where Jeff and Edge were watching him from the table. He frowned, not seeing any light from under the door and hesitantly pushed it open.

“BRIAR!” He peeled off his white poet’s shirt and draped it over her naked lower half; kneeling beside her. “Shit… someone get a medic!” He could hear Jeff shouting, running towards them and moved when he appeared in the doorway. “Jeff, she was…”

Jeff shoved Christian away from her, hitting the floor hard and instantly pulled her into his arms, kissing the top of her head. “Someone has to get Mark.”

“What if he did this?”

“Forget Mark, get the damn medic in here now!” Jeff ordered, just as Edge came rushing in with Alex.

“Jesus, what happened to her?” Alex demanded, kneeling down and checked her pulse, frowning as his keen eyes took in the damage.

“She was-“

Alex held his hand up, already knowing and helped his team lift her up.


“Shit, shit, shit.” Christian cursed, pacing outside the medic’s room along with Edge and Jeff, all three men frantic with worry.

“Is it true then?” Shane demanded, storming up to them and snarled under his breath when all three nodded. “Mark has to be notified if he hasn’t already, he’s her guardian.” He raked a hand through his gelled hair, eyes wide. “Great, just great. Any idea who did it? We cannot have a rapist running around backstage.”

Edge somehow thought telling Shane it could have been Mark possibly wasn’t a bright idea.

“What’s going on, McMahon?” Mark growled from behind.

Slowly, Shane turned around, swallowing hard. “It’s Briar…”

“What’s wrong with her?” He demanded, studying the four men, a sinking feeling filling his stomach when he seen tears in three pairs of eyes.

“Mark, I’m sorry-“



Briar was now awake, crying and refusing to let anyone touch her. Not like it mattered, they were finished anyway. She sat in a corner of the room, her jeans on again, sobbing into her knees. She could hear shouting outside the door and tensed. Was her rapist out there right now? Did Jeff know? What was Mark going to do?

“I would NEVER rape my daughter, Hardy!”

That was Mark, she would recognize that roar of anger anywhere. Was it him? Had Mark finally slipped into his dementia and done what he had threatened? No… it wasn’t Mark, that she was sure of. She had a feeling she knew exactly who it was and trembled.

The door burst open and a livid Mark stormed in, slamming the door shut behind him in Jeff’s face. “Briar…” He whispered, taking in her defensive huddle. Whoever had done this to her was going to pay and pay dearly. “Briar, darlin’, come here. Come to me. It’s okay, darlin’, I’m not going to hurt you.”


Briar honestly believed Paul had been the one to rape her. Of course he hadn’t been a part of the Ministry but with Bradshaw’s not to kind mouth, rumors flew. Maybe Paul had figured she enjoyed it or something, being treated as an object for sexual gratification.

The only thing that had been in Mark’s favor was he never allowed any of them to actually fuck her.

In the actual sense of intercourse at least.

Outside the door, everyone in the hallway paled.

The next thing they all heard was a loud, resounding SMACK followed by Mark dragging Briar out of the room by her hair. He shoved anyone who got in his way aside, green eyes threatening a lot of bodily harm.

“YOU THINK YOU’RE CUTE, DON’T YOU? LET ME SHOW YOU WHAT REAL PAIN IS, YOU LITTLE BITCH!” He smacked her again, refusing to let her fall back; keeping his fist firmly wrapped with her locks. Mark wrapped his arm around her throat, pinning her back to his chest and glared at the people who were gaping at them, already backing away. “Tell Vince I’m gone, I’m going on my leave as of right now.”

He was pissed beyond belief, having never felt this angry before. The bitch had had the audacity to scream something like that in front of his co-workers! When Briar tried getting away, he slammed her face first into a wall then shoved her through the door to his dressing room. “DON’T YOU FUCKING MOVE!”

Shane had recovered enough to lead security to Mark’s dressing room, Jeff running alongside them anxiously. “Mark, open the damn door!” He shouted when it got shut, twisting the knob to find it unsurprisingly locked. “MARK!”

There was no way in hell Mark was getting away with this, he wasn’t THAT damn important to the company. They still had Steve Austin to fall back on. That and Shane couldn’t let this get out to the media… there would be an investigation… he was getting a migraine just thinking about it.

Briar had darted into the bathroom as soon as Mark let her go, locked the door behind her and began climbing out the window.

Mark ignored Shane’s yells, following his step-daughter. Growling, he kicked open the door, stopping her before she could do much else.

She was gasping for air by the time he had tossed her to the couch, her throat red from being gripped in one of his massive hands.

“Don’t move.” Mark growled, the threat in his eyes. When she moved, he backhanded her, watching as her head instantly slumped to the side, eyes closed. Good, she’d be easier to cart out of here unconscious, the stupid bitch. Everything had been going fine, granted it wasn’t good that she had been raped but that gave her no right to shoot off at the mouth the way she had.

Shane was STILL pounding on the door, now ordering security to break it down. When it flew open, he recoiled, though not quick enough to avoid a blow to his face, stumbling backwards.

“Briar!” Jeff shouted, trying to get through the confused guards, struggling to reach her. “BRIAR!”

“You’ll never see her again, boy.” Mark snarled, glancing back at him, Briar tossed over his shoulder.

By the time Jeff broke through the mess, Mark was already gone. Running as fast as he could, he tried chasing after the car peeling from the parking lot. “Briar!”


After hearing what had happened, Vince suspended Mark without pay and gave Shane orders to shut this up before it leaked beyond the roster. Shane could bribe whoever, Vince didn’t care. He just didn’t want this getting out. His lead superstar had lost his mind…

Of course bribing people for their silence didn’t erase what had happened, or the memories from their minds.


When she woke up, Briar was in her old bedroom. It was the same as before, bars on the windows; nothing in it but a mattress. Of course, the door would undoubtedly be locked to keep her from leaving. Groaning, she pushed herself up into a sitting position, unsure how she had even fallen asleep.

She remembered Mark towering over her and then nothing.

Everything that had happened flooded her mind; a cruel and uncaring barrage of recent memories assaulting her all over again. Briar’s breaths came in shallow gasps, fighting back the panic that threatened to overwhelm her.

Briar managed to get to her feet, wrapping her arms around herself, trying not to cry. Her day had gone from perfect to… there wasn’t a word for how wrong her day had gone. She had been raped, smack around, speaking of… She made a face, feeling her tender cheek. Knowing it was pointless, she tried opening the door, finally retreating to a corner.

After everything she had gone through, finally it seemed her life was getting back on track. Well, it had never been fully on track to begin with but she had been going in what had seemed to be a healthy direction. She should have known better, bad luck gravitated to her.

A half hour later the door opened and Mark stepped in, his green eyes carefully guarded. “Get out.” He ordered gravely. “You’re off the hook, your probation officer and I had a talk.” He had pulled some strings, spent a lot of money but it was worth it; Briar was now out of his hair. “I don’t ever want to see you again, Briar. You’re out of my life. I wash my hands of you. Now get out of my house.” He turned his back on her and walked away, his footsteps thudding on the stairs.

Briar was shocked but that lasted one minute exactly. Finally, she snapped out of it and chased him down, making sure to keep out of slapping reach. “I want my things.” She said flatly, knowing he must have them; considering he had taken everything out of her room. “My clothes, my wallet and my cell phone.” Which was prepaid thankfully so she knew there was time on it.

“You really think I’m going to give you the things my money bought?” Mark snorted, shaking his head. “All your shit is mine, Briar. Now get out of my house.” He ordered, pointing a long finger towards the door. “Do it or I’ll carry you out. I want nothing to do with you anymore. You’ve ruined my life, you ruined your mother’s and you’re going to ruin yours. You’re nothing but a little bitch who takes pleasure in making others miserable. You poison everything and everyone you touch, just like your mother. NOW GET OUT.”

She was shaking in her tennis shoes but didn’t budge. “No, I want my wallet and my phone, which YOU did not pay for, my counselor did as a gift.” Her ID was in the wallet along with what money she did have and she needed the phone to call someone, not that she had anybody who matters number but… Briar backed away when he growled, shaking with anger and fear. “I hope I ruined your life. I hope I buried your career too! Everyone knows what a sick monster you are now.”

“That’s right, everyone knows. Big deal. Every single in this house belongs to ME. Be grateful I forked over more money than you’ll ever see to buy your freedom.” Mark snarled, shoving her towards the front door. “You can get a new ID with your life and start over or you can go kill yourself finally. I don’t give a damn anymore. All I did was scare you a bit. So get out of my house, out of my sight, out of my LIFE!”

She wasn’t fucking leaving without her wallet or her phone! Besides physically harming her, she didn’t have to worry too much about what he could do to make her life miserable anymore. His casual dismissal of what he had done, what he had allowed to happen to her angered her.

Clenching her fists, Briar fought against the temptation to hit him, hot tears running down her face. “Scare? You let them touch me!” She screamed at him. “Every time you weren’t in that room, do you know what they DID to me? DO YOU? I was FINE when I came out of the institution and YOU poisoned ME because you get off on destroying people!”

Abruptly, Briar just walked away, slipping out the front door. She dropped down on the porch steps, burying her face in her hands. If he wanted to toss her out into the street literally, that was on him; she didn’t care. She had had a shot at a normal life, her second chance and he had destroyed that with his cruelty.

Frowning, Mark followed her. Ignoring her hiss of pain, he lifted her up by her wrist, staring down into her grey eyes. “What do you mean?” He demanded, refusing to let go when she squirmed. “Briar, how the fuck am I supposed to know what they did if you won’t TELL me?”

Briar’s full mouth turned downward.

“What did they do to you?”

“Do you know what Bradshaw liked to tell me?” She whispered, backing away when he let her go. The fire that had lit her grey eyes was once more gone, the blankness returning. “That I have a sweet mouth.” Briar looked up at him. “I hope one day somebody comes along and makes you feel as empty inside as you’ve made me.” She said softly, now down the steps. Shaking her head once, sadly, she walked across the grass and onto the sidewalk, quickly disappearing around the hedge that lined the neighboring yard.

Lowering his head, Mark wandered back into the house, his mind reeling from what she had said. She hadn’t come outright and said ‘hey, they sexually assaulted me’, he wished to God she had. Maybe it would have been easier for him to take than her soft, sad remark on Bradshaw.

Either way, Jack Daniels was going to help him forget.


Two months later, Shane had reinstated Mark, very reluctantly. Though around the same time, he got to deliver an interesting paper to one of his superstars. Why oh why did he have to handle the dirty work? It would just be so much easier if his dad would sprout a set and do it himself.

Sighing, he raised a fist and knocked on the superstar in questions door, waiting patiently. When it opened, he flashed a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I need you to sign this.” He held out a clipboard with an attached form.

“What is it?” Matt asked curiously, taking the clipboard, his eyes narrowing as he scanned it.

Shane nodded to Jeff who had come to stand behind his brother, his eyes returning to Matt. “A bill we’re picking up for the abortion Briar had.”


“Please, don’t tell me it couldn’t have been yours. When she was raped, Alex took semen samples. Sign it, return it to me and enjoy your match with ‘Taker; he returned tonight.” Not saying another word, Shane walked away, disgusted beyond belief.

Jeff’s face was dark with rage when Matt turned to him, green eyes darting down to the paper. “You…”

“I did it for your own good, Jeff…” Matt swallowed hard, backing out into the hall. “Jeff, she was a whore, she LIKED it. Come on bro, you know I-“

He didn’t get to finish his sentence because Jeff tackled him to the floor and started beating the shit out of him. “Do you have ANY idea what she’s been through? YOU RAPED HER!”


It would have been all too easy to fall back into drugs, drinking; cutting herself and maybe even finishing the suicide attempt she had made. But Briar was determined to prove she was not her mother’s daughter. She had somehow made it to Tennessee, as far as she could go on her limited funds.

She had been here for six months. The first two had been hell. She had been getting sick all the time, aching and in general feeling like shit. Then she found out she was pregnant, that wasn’t good. She had gotten an abortion and then got in touch with Shane McMahon, which hadn’t been easy.

Or fun. It had been humiliating to explain to him that she needed help paying for an abortion to rid herself of a rape baby. Who else could she turn too? Her counselor? As soon as her freedom had been bought, they’d cut ties with her. Some help they had been.

Mark? Oh hell no. Who KNEW what he would have done. There was no way in hell Briar would ever talk to that man again of her own volition. Not after everything he had put her through.

Jeff? That was an automatic no. How could she ever face him again? She had known from the beginning she wasn’t good enough for him, she could not let her demons taint him in any way, shape or form.

Edge or Christian? Another no, best to just cut ties with them now while she still could.

Shane had been trying to get a hold of her too it seemed. He had been informed of who her rapist was via DNA samples.

Matt Hardy.

That was the other reason Briar would never see Jeff again. How could she after his brother had assaulted her? Would Jeff even believe it was a rape? He had no reason to believe her over his brother. What haunted her most was why. Why would Matt bother? Why risk losing it all just to molest her?

She couldn’t for the life of her figure it out. Unless it was his twisted way of proving to Jeff just how ‘fucked’ up she was. Maybe he told Jeff she had liked it?

It didn’t matter now. Briar had a new life, that was all in her past. A past she wanted to forget.

Now she had a job as a waitress at a diner that was open twenty four/seven, an apartment right across the street from her work place. Granted, it was pretty much the slums but she was clean and healthy, physically. There was damage that could never be repaired, though she did try.


“Hey Cindy, honey.” Glenn Jacobs greeted with a smile as he walked into his favorite eating establishment. It was out of his normal way but it was also low key, nobody bothered him here and he loved the owners.

“Glenny, boy! Don’t you clean up nice, handsome.” An elderly woman with graying black hair and warm brown eyes replied. “What can I get for ya, sweetie?”

“How bout the usual?” He drawled, returning the warm smile she flashed him. He sank into a booth, looking around and sighed contentedly. It was great to be home.

“Comin’ right up, sugar.” Cindy winked before walking behind the counter to the kitchen, calling out the order.

Nodding, Briar hopped around the kitchen. Tonight she was pulling double duty by cooking and waiting, the usual cook having called in sick. Not like it mattered, the diner did very poorly at night, at least until about five AM when people started getting off of work and stumbled in for a morning coffee.

When the order was complete, she tucked a strand of black hair that had escaped her bun behind her ear; carrying the plate out. “Here you go.” She said, setting it down on the table. “Is there anything else I can get you?” She didn’t actually look at him, more at his shirt. His chest was enough to tell her that he was a lot bigger than her.

“No honey, thank you anyway.” Glenn wondered if she was shy, his eyes moving down to take in her gloved arms but didn’t say anything, glancing towards Cindy. He watched the young woman hurry away then focused his attention on demolishing the green pepper steak in front of him. A groan escaped him on the first bite, closing his eyes. “Now that is heaven on earth.”

“Mmmhmm.” Cindy murmured, dropping down opposite him with a cup of coffee in hand. She could hear Briar doing dishes in the kitchen and shook her head. Cindy had known Glenn since he was a teenager, was she that old? “Everyone’s been complimentin’ her cookin’, if she didn’t need the tips so bad, I’d stick her behind the stove.” She said conversationally. “Briar, honey, why don’t you take a break?”

“Thanks, Cindy, I’ll be out back.” Briar called, drying her hands off before slipping out the back door for a cigarette.

“Where did you find her at?” Glenn asked curiously, spearing s biscuit on the end of his fork. Cindy was like a second mother to him and he always wanted to know what was going on, be filled in on things he had missed.

She always gave him free service, which by no means deterred him from slipping a hundred in her tip jar every time he was in. The woman needed to make somehow and he knew business wasn’t so good these days. The place was phenomenal but no money for advertising, Cindy relied on word of mouth. And of course she was stubborn enough to not accept any help.

“She found me.” Cindy laughed, glancing at the clock and heard Briar coming back in already. “Bri, come on out here and say hello to my favorite customer. Bring yourself a cup of coffee. You want some coffee, Glenn? She makes it, let me tell you, it’s damn good too.”

Tugging her pale blue gloves back on, Briar poured herself a steaming mug and walked out, not moving past the counter however. She smiled at Cindy briefly, reluctantly looking at the favorite customer.

“Hello honey.” He greeted warmly, groaning when Cindy started praising how muscular he was, how handsome. “Cindy, stop tryin’ to set me up.” He grumbled, reaching back to tug on the tail his long brown hair was pulled back in. “If you don’t mind, I’d love a cup of coffee. Briar, is it?”

She nodded.

“So how’s Howard?”

“Oh, he’s fine.” Cindy waved her hand dismissively. “You know my hubby, he like to putter about.” When Briar returned with the coffee, an impish twinkle lit her eyes. “I should probably go call him and let him know I’ll be home shortly. Bri, you can keep Glenn company for me, right? Thank you honey, you’re a godsend.”

Briar could only blink as she was gently shoved across the table from the man, taking Cindy’s now vacated seat, her eyes staring a hole through Cindy’s retreating back. What the hell?

Glenn was trying hard not to chuckle, the bemused look on the woman’s pale face mildly amusing and shook his head while taking a sip of the coffee. “I love you.” He groaned, taking another.

She blinked, her attention firmly on him now.

“It was a joke,” He corrected hastily, finally glimpsing her eyes. They were a clear grey, a fount of barely discernible emotions flashing in pools of slate grey. “A joke honey, about your coffee. It’s delicious.” He extended a hand, having a feeling he was getting off on the wrong foot. “I’m Glenn Jacobs.” He offered a friendly smile along with his hand.

Reluctantly, Briar took it, returning the smile with a hesitant one of her own. “Briar Callaway.” She said softly, she had been meaning to get it changed back to her mother’s maiden name; having never understood fully why Theresa insisted it be changed to begin with. It wasn’t her who married the monster, now was it?

Fiddling with an ashtray that rested between the salt shaker and ketchup, Briar pulled it towards her. “Do you mind?” She asked, fishing a crumpled pack of cigarettes from her apron’s pocket.

“Not at all, go right ahead.” Glenn finished his plate thoughtfully. Callaway. So this must be Mark’s daughter. What a small world. Though Glenn did hide his surprise, simply smiled and watched as she smoked. She was indeed a beauty, Mark hadn’t exaggerated.

Of course, if she knew Glenn knew Mark, she’d probably run for the hills. Glenn had heard what had happened. Hell, everyone had. Mark was a sick bastard, his long disbanded ‘ministry’ was just as sick. “Briar, that’s a pretty name, honey.”

“Thanks.” She stubbed out the cigarette when a regular came in, getting to her feet.

“Bri, sugar, some coffee?” The weary man asked, sounding exhausted as he sank onto a stool at the counter. “Thank you.” He accepted a mug she slid to him gratefully.

“Rough night, Sam?”

“Yes. Any chance you could whip me up some of those waffles?”

“Sure thing.” Briar glanced at Glenn. “You need anything else while I’m back there?”

“Another cup of coffee?” He grinned at her, watching her disappear and turned to stare out the window.

Mark had been wondering what had happened to his step-daughter and now Glenn knew. The problem was, did Glenn tell Mark? He had heard the rumors that Mark had assaulted her, but… Then there was the actual fact that Mark HAD gone damn near insane the day she’d been raped; slapping her and carting her off almost violently in front of a crowd of people.

“Thanks, Briar.” He said when she returned with his second cup.

“You’re welcome.” She smiled at him, more at ease now that faces she knew were beginning to amble in. the predawn rush was at the end of her shift. She was kept busy filling orders, Cindy now back helping out and chatting with Glenn as she carried steaming plates of breakfast to customers. When six AM hit, Briar clocked out. “I’ll see you tonight, Cindy.” She said, letting her hair out of the bun.

“Honey, take the night off. Howard is coming in to check the furnace and he’ll help out. You look dead on your feet girl, aren’t you sleeping?” Cindy tried keeping her voice low. “Bri, I have some sleepin’ pills-“

“As always, thank you but no.” Briar said firmly, bending down to hug the older woman. “I’m fine.” She waved before hurrying out the door.

The minute she was gone, Glenn gestured Cindy over. “I know her.”

Cindy’s graying eyebrows rose.

“Do you remember my friend, Mark Callaway? He came in here with me once? Big guy, tattooed arms?”

Cindy’s eyes widened, the connection being made and shook her head. “Oh dear… oh dear me.”

“Just… don’t tell her I know who he is, okay? I’m a regular here and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m not going to tell Mark where she is.” Glenn assured her, not missing the concern in Cindy’s eyes, wondering what she knew about her young employee.

Cindy patted his cheek gently, then kissed the top of his head. “You’re a good man, Glenn Jacobs.”


And now I don't know why
She wouldn't say goodbye
But then it seems that I
Had seen it in her eyes.

Matt Hardy had wound up hospitalized. Several times. After Jeff got done with him, he had gone off for a concussion; broken nose and broken arm. The minute he set foot out the door, Christian and Edge had been waiting and sent his ass right back inside.

Then, three months later, when he made an appearance on RAW, Mark had been waiting. Matt was now currently in a coma and thus far, nobody had any idea how he had gotten there.

Of course Mark had had some unfinished business with Paul Wight too, which he handled as soon as Shane had reinstated him. Paul undoubtedly wouldn’t be looking at another woman for a long time to come. At least not until his double vision finally corrected itself. It was mildly interesting, Mark hadn’t known that was a possible side effect of having one’s head rammed into a cinder block repeatedly.

Good to know.

Briar had been pregnant. Oh dear Lord. He was going to go to Hell for this thought but he was so damn glad she had gotten an abortion. Of course Shane had ever so politely refused to tell him where this abortion had happened, even after being threatened numerous times.

Shane was getting a set of balls.

That was amusing too.

Briar. Where was she? Was she back on drugs? Mark could all too easily see her snorting cocaine again, remembering how hopped up she had been that day Theresa had called him home from the road.

Had that much time really passed? It was almost a year. In less than two months time Briar would be turning twenty one. Only twenty one and she had had more pain and anger in her young life than most people could experience if they could live forever.

Something he couldn’t ever make himself forget was the fact that he had been one of the main factors in her pain. He still couldn’t bring himself to regret what he had done to her. He simply could not. It was very likely that if Mark could go back in time and do it all over again, he would. He was a sick man and readily admitted it.

Briar had been his cocaine.

I just can't let it die
Cause her heart's just like mine
She holds her pain inside

He hadn’t known what was going on behind closed doors with Bradshaw and the Ministry. But then again, Briar hadn’t specifically said anyone BUT Bradshaw.

Bradshaw had gone onto the injured list as well.

Mark had been fined to hell and back but it was worth it. He wasn’t going to be the only one sitting in Hell for his sins, he’d have company. Most likely, he’d still be kicking their asses in the pits.

Where was she? Was she safe? Did she have a roof over her head? Was she lying somewhere in a gutter, her wrists slashed? Her beautiful body pale blue like that lipstick she had adored and lifeless? Those intense grey eyes glossed over with death?

A million questions haunted his mind and he couldn’t get an answer to a single one. He worked, doing house shows; lives shows; appearances. Anything to keep his mind occupied and body tired. When that didn’t work he added on a night routine. His usual pint of Jack Daniels had gone to a fifth. Whiskey and women.

Women who he never remembered the next day, only knowing he had brought one to his bed by perhaps a lingering scent of some cheap perfume or a pair of discarded panties on the bedside.

The irony of his current lifestyle was this: He had stopped Briar from outright killing herself only to wind up committing a slow suicide himself.


Jeff was going INSANE. He had lost Briar again. This time thanks to his brother’s stupidity. Oh… if Jeff could have, he would have KILLED Matt. Instead, he had been stopped, bastards. He had bugged Shane over and over again, trying to get the whereabouts of Briar.

Shane had eventually fined him just for being annoying.

So if she's somewhere near me
I hope to God she hears me
There's no one else
Could ever make me feel
I'm so alive
I hoped she'd never leave me
Please God you must believe me
I've searched the universe
And found myself
Within' her eyes

Please let her be okay. That was Jeff’s last thought at night and first whisper upon waking. Please let her be okay, please let her know I still love her no matter what.


Three knocks. Three knocks were what woke Briar up. Reluctantly, she popped open an eye, staring at the ceiling as if that would somehow make whoever it was go away. Maybe it was her landlord and today would be the day he finally fixed her bathtub.

That thought alone was enough to make her grudgingly get out of her twin sized bed and stand. She was getting sick and tired of washing her hair in the sink and having to sponge bathe in her microscopic kitchen. She pulled on a pair of boxers underneath her tee shirt and padded down the hardwood floor of the narrow hallway and out into what couldn’t really be called a living room but was.

The apartment was clean, with sparse furnishings, but it was also a shithole. The way she figured it was as long as she had a place to sleep and store her music, she was good to go.

“Coming.” She called tiredly, slowly unlocking the several deadbolts she had installed –she had paranoia- though left the sliding chain in place, opening the door and peeked through the gap. “Mr. Jacobs?” She frowned.

Glenn looked more than embarrassed, biting on his bottom lip. He smiled awkwardly, thrusting out a Tupperware dish that Cindy had insisted he bring over. According to the matronly woman, Briar rarely ate and being the mother hen Cindy was, she insisted on fattening Briar up whenever she could.

“Just so you know, this is not my idea.” He said politely with a cautious smile. “It’s from Cindy.”

Briar rolled her eyes.

Chuckling, Glenn could agree with her unspoken sentiment. “She’s a mother hen. I’ve known her since I was a kid, she’s always been that way.” He cleared his throat. “But you didn’t need to know that, did you? Of course not. Well, here you go. If you want, I’ll just leave it outside the door.”

She was fairly certain Cindy wouldn’t send a nutjob her way. Cindy knew something of Briar’s history. Basically that she had been in a bad way and was starting over. Finally, finished unlocking the door and opened it, reaching for the dish. “Thank you.” She said softly, cracking the lid and shook her head. “Only Cindy would send fried chicken and chocolate cake.”

Cindy thought she was too thin or something apparently.

“Yeah, that sounds about right.” Glenn rubbed the back of his neck, looking ready to find a crack in the floor and crawl in it. “Don’t get too mad but she told me you were havin’ problems with your plumbing? Your shower?” When she cocked an eyebrow at him, he held his hands up. “Cindy asked me to let you know I could fix it if you want. I’m not sayin’ ya have to let me, honey.” The look on her face was enough to tell him her answer.

“My um, landlord is supposed to be getting to it.” Briar said slowly, trying not to frown. “Look, please don’t take this wrong but I’m not comfortable with strange me- people coming in. thank you for bringing me the food and you can let Cindy know I’m going to devour it. I’m sorry she made you do this.”

“Not a problem, honey.” Glenn nodded at her before walking away, shoving his hands in his jean pockets. Whatever that girl had been through… he didn’t want to know. Just seeing how skittish she was, the pain she tried to hide, it told him all he needed to know.

It seemed the rumors were true.


The next time Glenn made it back to Tennessee on a day off, he had a message from Cindy asking him to come see her. Wondering what was so damn urgent, he headed into the city. He wasn’t surprised when Cindy came flying out of her house when his truck pulled up alongside the curb.

“What’s wrong?” He demanded, noting the way she was wringing her hands together.

“Glenn, a man from one of those wrestling magazines snapped a picture of you and Briar together.” She said softly. “That night you met her? When you two were sitting together at that table. He was in the diner yesterday, wanting to know who she was. I told him it was none of his business then he explained why he wanted to know.”

“Oh fuck…” Glenn groaned, ignoring Cindy’s admonishment to not curse. “She doesn’t know who I am, Cindy!” This was bad, very very bad. Glenn began pacing the sidewalk, tugging on his hair nervously. What the hell was he going to do now? “Did you catch the guy’s name?”

“No. He said to check out this month’s magazine for the photo, mentioned digitally putting a mask on you.” Cindy rubbed her forehead tiredly. “Glenn, she just rebuilt her life, she’s still trying too I guess. Nobody in your company reads those rags do they?” It was a long shot and she knew it.

“Depends on which one it is.” Glenn said slowly, knowing the chance of it not being spotted was slim. “She’ll have to be told.” He really didn’t want Briar hating him but… she deserved to know her face was about to appear in a wrestling magazine. Wrestling. Oh yeah, she was going to hate him.

“Glenn, how do I explain to her that she was photographed and it might cause some problems for her?” Cindy clicked her tongue. “The bigger question is, will anyone come looking her up?”

“I don’t know. Maybe she could stay with you for a bit?”

“Maybe, I don’t see her stayin’ for too long though. Maybe if I tell her I need some help what with Howard having his off days and all. That’s bout all I can do without scaring her.” Hopefully Briar would agree to it. Cindy knew the young woman valued her privacy, which was about to be blown out of the water.

That was obviously the best she could offer and it would have to do. “I’ll call and let you know what’s going on.” He promised, kissing Cindy’s forehead. “Thanks again, mom.”

Cindy smiled wanly.


“Cindy, I’ve been here for over a week now, I really need to go home and make sure the rats haven’t taken up residence in my bed.” Briar laughed, gently tugging her bag out of Cindy’s hand. “I promise, I’ll come back. I just need to go home for a few days.”

Cindy frowned.

Briar’s grey eyes softened at the older woman’s expression. “I know things are hard with Howard’s health right now, I’ll be back tomorrow, okay? I just need… a night.”

“You call me as soon as you get home.” Cindy ordered.

“I will, don’t worry so much about me.” Waving, Briar walked out of the house, hurrying before Cindy could change her mind.

Cindy moved to the door to watch Briar walk away, wishing the girl would accept a ride


Glenn had finally seen the picture, and the accompanying article. He was LIVID. He actually showed it to Vince, demanding Vince fix this mess. Thought that didn’t help with the fact that pictures were cropping up on fansites all over the internet.

“This is Briar?” Vince demanded, staring at the picture with wide eyes. It was actually a good shot considering it had been taken through a glass window. She looked a bit ragged but that was an improvement over the last time he had glimpsed her.

He couldn’t get over the blue, remembering a young woman in all black. “Glenn, I can fight this but when it comes right down to it, you are a celebrity. Your picture is going to be taken and there really isn’t all that much to be done about it. We had this problem before when they snapped you without your mask, remember?”

“Vince…” Glenn groaned, frustrated because he knew Vince was right. “Do you realize how long it’s taken that girl to rebuild what’s left of her life after everything she went through in YOUR company?” He demanded, seeing his boss pale slightly. “I don’t care how you do it, but fix it! Unless you WANT a scandal.” He stormed out of the office, slamming the door shut behind him.


To his credit, Vince did try his best only to be rewarded the following week with another magazine being tossed at him. This one bore Briar on the cover with the heading ‘Kane’s Secret Love’. She was looking over her shoulder, grey eyes innocent, not aware she was being photographed.

“Look, I’m doing my best, does she know?” He asked, looking up from the cover only to realize it wasn’t Glenn standing there and pushed away from his desk.

“What the fuck is THIS?” Mark growled, slamming a fist down on the magazine. “Vince, that’s my DAUGHTER and she’s being portrayed as Kane’s new LOVE? Glenn KNEW about this and didn’t tell me?!” He was absolutely livid and long past the point of caring what other’s thought of him.

“Look, I’m trying to stop this. Briar doesn’t know about any of this and that’s the way it’s staying!” Vince said, wiping the magazine off his desk, frustration on his face. “From my understanding she’s done remarkably well in overcoming what happened to her. Leave this to me and forget about it, Mark. She’s no longer your STEP-daughter, let it go.”

“You better handle it, Vince. I don’t need any more scandals at my expense.” Mark snarled, tempted to strangle his boss but managed to restrain himself. He walked out of the room and damn near ran into Glenn.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out what had just happened, the fire in Mark’s green eyes was enough to tell Glenn the story. “What?” He sighed.

Mark hauled off and punched Glenn in the face, then tackled him for good measure.


The following week Glenn was sporting a black eye when he visited the diner. This shit with Mark was getting on his nerves.

Cindy started to greet him only to pale, opening her mouth.

Glenn shook his head, pressing a finger over his lips, spotting Briar chatting with a customer she was waiting on. “It’s nothing.” He said softly.

“THE HELL IT IS!” Cindy shouted, bustling over and forcing him down into a booth. “Bri, get the first aid kit.”

“Cindy…” Glenn sighed, knowing he didn’t have a say in this.

“What in the world happened?”


Briar came back with the first aid kid and sighed when Cindy asked her to take over commenting that her old hands were shaking too badly. “This really doesn’t need anything besides time.” She commented, leaning across the table to study Glenn’s face, her grey eyes meeting his. “A fight?’

“Kane, can you comment about your upcoming Inferno match with the Undertaker?”

“That’s the son of a bitch who keeps snapping pictures!” Cindy shrieked, smacking the guy with a dish towel.

Briar covered her face too late when a picture was snapped, frowning and shot to her feet. “Undertaker-“ She looked down at Glenn.

“Briar!” Cindy chased after the young woman when she ran out the door, halting at the road as traffic whizzed by. She shook her head as Briar disappeared into her apartment building. “Cat’s outta the bag now.”

Glenn was busy destroying that damn camera, his anger at an all time high. He chased the man out of the diner, halting besides Cindy. “Damn it.” He growled, wrapping an arm around her when she began to cry. “Look, just leave her be.” He sighed, knowing that wasn’t what Cindy wanted to hear. “She’ll probably end up leaving now, so just prepare yourself.” He felt terrible, this was his fault and now Briar was going to run because of him.


Briar hadn’t run though, she couldn’t. She didn’t have enough money to relocate herself, not again. She was working for minimum wage now because that was all Cindy could afford and that barely paid her rent, let alone food and utilities, not to mention personal items.

She had called Cindy to let her know she’d return to work in a few days, needing time to sort her mind out. Briar sat in her bedroom, listening to music as she mended a torn glove, some shirt seams, trying to keep her hands steady. She couldn’t help feeling afraid.

Would Mark show up now? Matt? Paul? She knew she was being irrational but she couldn’t help it.


“Hello, honey.”

“Mmm, I see you love being wet.”

“All for you…”

“You want to feel a real man fucking you?”

Briar shot up in bed, pulling a pillow over her mouth to stifle her screams because she couldn’t stop herself.


Glenn hadn’t told a soul about where Briar was. He couldn’t keep it hidden anymore, not now, everyone had seen the photos. And the one person who was bugging him the most was Jeff Hardy. “No.” He sighed for the umpteenth time in the past three days.

“I LOVE her.”

“I don’t care. No.”

“How bout a match?”

“No matter what you say to me Hardy, I’m not telling you. Now beat it.”

“A million dollars?”



“Hardy, I’m going to kick your ass!” Glenn bellowed, running down the hallway butt naked, his hands clasped over his front.

Edge had to cover his now wide as saucers eyes. “What the HELL was that about?” He demanded.

“Jeff put itching powder in Glenn’s duffel bag, apparently it got over all his clothes and ring gear.”

“Oh dear lord…”


“Let me see honey.” Cindy said gently, pulling Briar’s wrist to her. The phone ringing had spooked the already on edge girl, causing her to spill coffee over her arm. “Bri- just let me look.” Cindy insisted, not understanding why Briar was now trying to pull away.

“Cindy, please-“

Cindy’s eyes widened when she got that blue glove down.

Briar held her breath.

“Some aloe will make that feel better.” Cindy said finally, patting Briar’s shoulder gently.


“Where the hell is he?”

Edge groaned, staring at a livid Glenn, frowning at the black towel the larger man wore over his head. “What the hell did he do THIS time?”

“HE SHAVED PART OF MY HAIR OFF!” Glenn ripped the towel away.

Edge gaped at the huge bald spot and tried hard not to laugh. “Um, that way.” He pointed, giggling like a child after Glenn disappeared.

“He’s not giving up, is he?” Christian snorted, shaking his head.

“Nope. Glenn now has itchy shorts and a bald spot.”


When a month of nothing happening; no more pictures; nobody showing up, absolutely nothing, Briar relaxed. Glenn hadn’t even come back, though Cindy had said that was because Glenn was worried about leading anyone here.

Not reassuring.

Cindy’s diner on the other hand had become more popular when people from the city had recognized it as the place Kane ‘hung out’ at. That meant Cindy could afford to hire another girl and give Briar a small raise.

Which coincidentally, Briar was using to hunt for a new; mouse free apartment that had a shower that worked.


This was getting out of hand. In the span of a month Jeff had done everything in his power to make Glenn’s life utterly miserable. First it was the itch powder, now Glenn was BALD –which he DESPISED.

Cindy was going to have a cow when she seen his head.

He had found his tires slashed on several occasions, cars sprayed painted with all sorts of interesting things and these cars were all freaking rentals.

And tonight, tonight his wrestling tights had holes cut out of them, mostly in the areas he needed the material the most.

Glenn was going to KILL Jeff Hardy and bury his fucking ashes right outside Briar’s damn front door!

“Glenn… I hate that bald look.” Vince said, shaking his head as he passed by his pissed off bald monster. “Oh, by the way, we’ll be in Knoxville for tomorrow night’s show. That’s in your neck of the woods, isn’t it?”

Glenn just stared at him.


Knoxville, Tennessee. Yeah, this was home, but it was also the home of Briar Callaway. Glenn knew damn well Jeff was following him everywhere because apparently the little bastard had a death wish.

“LEAVE ME ALONG!” He roared, only to receive a grin from Jeff. Groaning, he slapped his face with his hands. “Fine! Fine! Get in the damn truck and if you so much as BREATH to loud I’m throwing your ass out!”

Grinning, Jeff slid in on the passenger side, buckling up with an innocent expression on his face. “See Big Red, was that so hard?’

“Hardy, don’t make me kill you. I REALLY, REALLY want too right now.”


Glenn let out a long sigh of relief when they arrived at Cindy’s diner, not seeing Briar anywhere. He glanced down at Jeff who was eagerly scanning for her, only to deflate like a heartbroken puppy. Screw him. The boy had damn near pushed him to the brink of insanity. Glenn knew from Cindy’s weekly calls that Briar no longer lived across the street, which was another good thing.

Cindy walked out from behind the counter, stopping dead in her tracks to stare at him. “G-Glenn? GLENN JACOBS, WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL HAIR?”

He immediately pointed at the wide eyed, all too innocent looking Jeff. “Ask HIM.”


Jeff smiled angelically. “He wouldn’t tell me where Bri was.” He said simply with a slight shrug of his shoulders, as if that explained and made everything he had done okay. Which in his book, it did.

Cindy began slapping Jeff with a dish towel. “So you cut off his HAIR! His beautiful, brown hair!” She screeched, finally stopping and slumped into a booth, staring at him suspiciously. “What do you want with Briar?” She demanded, glancing at Glenn. “That girl has been through enough this past month with whatever ghosts are haunting her without people looking her up.”

“I know, ma’am.” Jeff sighed, running both hands agitatedly through his rainbow colored hair, green eyes pleading as he stared at her. “I love her, ma’am. I love her more than I love…”

“Yourself?” Glenn suggested dryly.

“MORE. Much, much more.” Jeff nodded. “I never hurt her once, I’d like to think I was part of the reason she had started getting better. I miss her and I love her. I did what I had too to find her.” His tone was unapologetic. “She works here, right?”

Cindy nodded curtly.

“Then I’m sure I’ll run into her eventually.”

“Oh not this weekend honey, I’m sorry. Briar has Saturdays and Sundays off.” Cindy said, her tone sweet. “I’m afraid she won’t be in till Monday. Glenn… wear a hat.” She winced at his bald head, shooting Jeff another look before getting up to return to her work.

Jeff returned her smile with one of his own. “We’re staying until Tuesday.” He informed her softly.


Briar had taken advantage of the beautiful Sunday morning to walk to one of the many local outdoor markets, a basket over her arm as she browsed the stalls. It had been almost nerve wracking at first, walking here, almost afraid too. But, she had reasoned with herself, nothing had happened in all this time and she’d be a fool to keep living her life like she was being hunted.

She wrinkled her nose, staring down at quarts of cherries, then glanced at her left arm and frowned.

“Sweet as cherries.”

Great, now she was hearing voices during the day when she was awake.

Shaking her head, she hurried on. Following the general direction of a crowd of people, she turned to cross the square, only to collide with someone, her basket dropping to the ground.

“Sorry!” Jeff squeaked, reaching out to catch her before she fell, eyes widening. “Bri…”

She shied away, she could now add hallucinations to the voices.

“Bri, wait.” He pleaded, reaching out to gently stop her. “Please.”

He was not here, she was having full blown hallucinations in the daytime. Great, she was insane. Truly insane. This couldn’t be Jeff. If it was, then he knew about Matt and the abortion.

“Jeff?” Briar whispered weakly, finding nothing but love in those eyes she had sketched a million times over.

“Yeah Bri, it’s me.” He read the shock and disbelief in her face, knowing she probably though he was a mirage. Hell, he had thought she was one too for a moment, until he had touched her. “Briar, I know about what happened, I’m not mad at you angel. I could never be mad at you. It wasn’t your fault.” He assured her softly, automatically knowing that was a matter between them that would have to be shelved instantly.

By the tears welling in her beautiful grey orbs, he knew he had been right. The sheer relief was enough to almost render him breathless.

“God, I missed you.” Jeff whispered, slowly reaching out to trace a finger down her cheek. “I love you, Briar.”

He knew, he knew and he wasn’t mad with her, he didn’t blame her.

“I love you too, Jeff.” Briar said softly, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Cindy stood with Glenn twenty feet away, having insisted they follow Jeff just to make sure the boy didn’t try bothering Briar. Her opinion changed the minute she seen them together. The obvious love that radiated from the young pair made her smile.

Especially when Jeff bent down to kiss Briar, the young woman returning it almost explosively, obviously smiling when he lifted her feet from the ground. Cindy shook her head when Jeff began twirling in a slow circle as if Briar wasn’t anything more than a feather in his arms, never breaking the kiss.

“I guess it’s a good thing he shaved you bald, honey.”

Glenn growled playfully, a baseball cap covering his head. He had wanted to maim Hardy but one look at Briar’s beautiful lit up face was enough to change his ill intentions. “At least she’s happy now.” He murmured, deciding that in the end, maybe that magazine picture hadn’t been such a bad deal after all. “Come on, mom. Let’s leave them to it.”

Nodding her agreement, Cindy followed him away, knowing instinctively that Briar was in good hands.


When sunny skies turned cloudy, Briar knew it was time to go. Holding Jeff’s hand, they ran all the way to her apartment though still got caught in the downpour. It was almost surreal. He was HERE. Briar hadn’t even dared think of Jeff, afraid somehow, a silver of hope would creep into her only to be shattered.

But he was here. He was honest to Heaven, solid flesh here.

She was laughing as she let him into her apartment, not ashamed to show this place to anyone. It was humble but it was nice. “This is home.” She said, shaking water from her hair. The walls were lined with her music collection and a state of the art stereo system, something she had bought herself as a present when she had gotten a bonus check from Cindy.

Jeff was bouncing around, taking in everything. He had only known of Briar’s life on the road and what she had told him about her parent’s house. This wasn’t like anything he had honestly imagined. “Oh man, look at all this. Holy smokes!” He darted over to a shelf, pulling out a CD, read the case and put it back. “Damn…”

Briar watched him, rubbing her gloved arms almost nervously, a shy smile on her face.

Seeing that shy smile made Jeff’s heart skip a beat, God he had missed her. He finally bounced back to her, reaching out to cup her face tenderly in his hands and bent down to kiss her lips. “I love you.” He whispered, pressing her back against the door, hands moving down to rest on her hips.

If it had been anyone but Jeff, Briar would have panicked. As it was, she wrapped her arms around his neck, a smile on her lips as she kissed his jaw. “I love you too.” She had to pinch herself just to reaffirm this wasn’t a dream, that would simply be too cruel. He was here, really truly here. “Jeff… nobody else knows you’re here, do they?” She asked suddenly.

“Glenn, but he doesn’t know I found you.” He said truthfully, refusing to lie to her. Her eyes narrowed at him and he sighed. “Briar… Mark doesn’t know where you are. Glenn didn’t tell him and as far as I know, that magazine didn’t say a location either.” Sighing, he pulled her into his arms, trying to comfort her the best he could. “I’m gonna protect you, Bri. Nobody is gonna hurt you anymore, I promise.”

Sighing herself, Briar guided him over to the small, faded couch Cindy and Howard had given her. “Jeff, don’t make promises you might not be able to keep.” She said softly, gently pressing her hand to his mouth when he went to protest. “Sometimes things are out of our control and promises wind up broken simply because.”

His green eyes filled with pain, remembering all too well what his brother had said. For his own good. Why rape a woman for his own good, not to mention the woman who was the love of his life? Jeff nodded finally, knowing she was right. “I love you and I will do my best to protect you.” He restated empathetically, then stood up. “Let’s cook.”


Cindy arched an eyebrow, looking at Glenn. She had just gotten off the phone with Briar. “She was laughing and that young man was singing in the background. They’re not on drugs are they?” She was serious. In all the time she had known Briar, she had never heard the young woman that damn happy, giddy.

“I really don’t know Briar all that well, but I did hear that she and Jeff had a thing when she was traveling with her step-dad, Mark.” Glenn replied, rubbing his temples, a headache coming on.

Vince had called him about the magazine and wanted Glenn to convince her to come back on the road. Glenn had promptly told him to go fuck himself and hung up.

Cindy set a cup of coffee before him.

Glenn smiled gratefully, needing it at the moment. He had a feeling this bit with Vince hadn’t died.


“Vince, for the final fucking time, the answer is NO!” Glenn snapped, growling when his boss refused to budge. He had just listened as Vince explained how Kane’s new ‘love’ would bring life back into the character and a bunch of other drivel. “The woman has been through ENOUGH, she’s not going to do it.”

“Glenn… Maybe this could help Briar. Think on it now.” Vince backed out of punching range. “For one, she’d have more money than what she’s probably making now. Hell, I’d even offer her dental, medical… pay for a therapist if she wanted to see one. Matt is out of action so that wouldn’t be a problem. Mark doesn’t want anything to do with her, he doesn’t want the trouble.” Vince was really trying to sell this. “This could be a wonderful experience for her, if we provide a safe work environment.”

Shane shook his head, sitting on a couch, listening to the pair. He could remember the day Mark had carted her off after she’d screamed out what he’d done for all to hear. “Dad, I’m with Glenn on this.”

“I didn’t ASK to get involved in this shit, Vince.” Glenn said heatedly, gesturing to his head. “I’ve been shaved BALD, paid out I don’t know how much on rental cars that got trashed; my tights destroyed, the list is endless. And all because people want to get to her! No! You want her? YOU find her!” He stalked out of the office, pissed beyond belief.

Sighing, Vince rubbed his temples. “Shane, find her for me. I’ll go personally talk to her about it.”

“Dad…” Shane groaned when he got the ‘look’, knowing when Vince wanted something badly enough, he usually got it. “Damn it.”


“So how long do I have you for?” Briar asked after getting off of work, somehow not surprised to find Jeff in her kitchen at the stove, music blaring throughout the apartment. She peered into the pot, not recognizing the dish and arched an eyebrow. He had made himself quite at home in her apartment, having taken over cooking duties. Which was interesting since she rarely cooked to begin with. At this rate, she was going to get fat.

“It’s goulash.” Jeff grinned, catching the look on her face and turned to kiss her. “Tomorrow morning, sadly.” He groaned, setting down the ladle so he could hug her. “If you want, I’ll call Vince and try talking him into lettin’ me have a few more days off, spend this weekend with you?” He had been here longer than he’d planned but it was so worth it.

“Hmmm… maybe not this weekend but next. We’re closing for renovations next weekend. Cindy wants to get some things done to the diner now that she can afford it. What do you think?” Briar asked, her hands on his chest, tilting her head back to look at him. This was perfect, as close to normal as she had ever felt before.

At first it was awkward, Jeff being around all the time. But that didn’t last long. She soon had found herself looking forward to falling asleep in his arms and waking up there as well. With him, fear simply did not exist. It was Jeff. He would never hurt her. He loved her.

“That sounds great, Bri.”

Jeff still sometimes couldn’t believe he had found her, again, and that she loved him still, after all this time. After all that had happened to her. Jeff knew what Matt did wasn’t Briar’s fault, hell she had only gone to the bathroom and wound up being attacked. He also understood why she hadn’t tried getting in touch with him. He could definitely understand that.

She had been afraid he wouldn’t believe her. It was his brother after all. But… Jeff loved and trusted her. Not to mention, the evidence had quite literally been thrown in Matt’s face.

He loved her more than his own life and when the time was right, he had every intention of asking her to marry him. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, showing her the true meaning of love and that there was a whole different side to life, one she had cruelly been denied.

After a few more minutes of just snuggling, Briar excused herself for a shower and change of clothes; not wanting to smell like diner grease and stale food. She stood under the sprays, rinsing her hair and wondering if things would stay this way or like the last time she had been happy: come crashing down around her.

While she was in the shower, Jeff had made the mistake of answering his cell phone, only to be greeted to Edge’s overly cheerful voice.

“You EVER coming back? We need a designated driver.”

“I’m on VACATION. Besides, I like my house better than a hotel room.” Jeff obviously hadn’t told his friends where he really was, knowing damn well they’d be swarming over Briar like bees to honey. He wasn’t sure how she’d feel about Christian and Edge just showing up at her door out of the blue.

“Suit yourself.” Edge laughed, hanging up.


“Who’s a jackass?” Briar asked, walking into the kitchen, toweling her hair dry. She wore just a pair of cut off shorts and a tee shirt, no gloves. She didn’t have to around Jeff. “Smells good, now I’m hungry.”

“Edge is a jackass.”

“How is he? And Chris?”

“They’re fine. Edge just called to see if I wanted to go out with them actually.” He seen her bite her lower lip and frowned. “Hey, look at me.”

Reluctantly, she did.

“I see them all the time, but I don’t get to see you that much. They can go without me. I’d rather be here anyway, okay?”

“I know, I know. It’s just… this must be so boring for you, Jeff. I live a dull life.” Which is how she preferred it at the moment. “No, that’s not true. I did live a dull life, with you things are never dull. You’re just too crazy.” She teased, tugging on his hair playfully.

Growling, his arms snaked around her waist. “Keep doing that and you’ll be in some trouble.” He murmured huskily, burying his face in her neck, beginning to blow raspberries. Her giggles sounded so wonderful, Jeff could listen to them for the rest of his life. Though the raspberries tapered off into kisses, working his way up her neck, jaw and finally to her waiting lips.

Dinner was forgotten.

Briar shut off the stove before leading him back to the bedroom, not wanting to waste one precious second of their last night together.

On and off they dozed, making love half asleep in between their naps, savoring each other. After all their time apart, a week seemed like such a short time. When morning came, they moved to her small balcony to watch the sunrise, sitting on the wooden floor wrapped together in a blanket.

“Mmm, I wish you weren’t leaving.” She murmured, her back to his chest.

“Believe me, Bri, I want nothing more than to stay.” Jeff whispered back, his arms snugly around her. This week had been amazing, he never wanted it to end but sadly, all good things did.

This was his little slice of heaven, a peek into what was to come no doubt. If this was any indication, they had a very bright future ahead of them. He hoped. Everything about her, he adored and he knew she felt the same way about him because she had flat out told him so, much to his relief.

Her scars were beautiful to him, every inch of her he wanted. She loved music, she was funny and smart, she had a heart made of gold. It was surprising given what she had been through, what her father had put her through. Her strength made him love her even more, if that were possible.

He was more than aware she had caused a lot of her own problems, he remembered what she had told him about her issues before the institution. But still, afterwards… what had happened wasn’t her fault.

“I know, there’s always next time.” Briar knew with his job the next time could be months away but that was alright. Any time she could get with him, be it a day or even a few minutes, she would take and gladly. “I love you, Jeff.” She said quietly, tilting her head back to look up at him.

“I love you too.” His lips brushed against hers. “I’ll try to come at least twice a month.” He said, refusing to go more than month without seeing her. He got a few days off a week but with the traveling and everything, a lot of the time it wasn’t worth going anywhere but to the next stop on the circuit and sleeping.

Being away from her was going to be sheer hell but they would make this work. They loved each other enough to do this.

“Besides, if I came every week, I’d probably drive you insane.” He added with a grin.

“I doubt that. You’re what keeps me from going insane.” She replied with a giggle, feeling his arms tighten momentarily. “I suppose…”



“Just, a few more minutes. Then we’ll get up.” Jeff rested his chin on the top of her head, refusing to move just yet. A few more minutes, just a few.

“Okay.” Briar leaned back into him.

This was perfect.


When Briar appeared at the diner at ten AM –her shift had been changed when she had moved, Cindy hadn’t approved of the long walk after dark- Cindy arched an eyebrow. “You’re late.” She commented, trying not to smile at the roses in Briar’s cheeks. “Two hours late…”

Briar squirmed.

“I suppose… since you’re normally such a good employee, I can let it slide.”

It took Briar a few minutes to realize she was being teased, beginning to laugh.

That boy must have done wonders for her, Briar looked… happy.


Jeff sighed as he rode with Glenn, who had graciously picked him up from the airport. He stared out the window, knowing he was stupid for feeling so sad but he couldn’t help it. He had just gotten Briar back and now it felt like he had to say goodbye all over again.

“Boy, cheer up. You look like someone shot your dog.”

“I can’t. I won’t be cheerful again until I see her.”

Glenn sighed and rubbed his bald head, having sadly gotten used to not feeling hair under his fingers. “You’ll see her again, everythin’ will work out.”

Jeff could only hope.


Cindy had expected Briar’s good mood to fade as soon as the first day passed. For depression to sink in once Jeff was gone but it didn’t. Briar was radiant, chatting easily with the customers, a smile always on her face and a sparkle in her grey eyes.

Cindy had called to let Glenn know that Jeff was welcome in her diner anytime.

Briar worked HERE? Vince stared at the diner, shaking his head and sighed. Well… it was her life, not his. He couldn’t judge her. He stepped inside, his eyes scanning the room before sinking into a leather seat.

“Our special today is the homemade chicken noodle soup with-“

“I’d just like to talk, Briar.”

Briar paled, looking up from her notepad. “Vince?” She whispered weakly.

“Please, just let me have a few minutes of your time.”

Reluctantly she nodded, letting Cindy know she was taking her break and sat opposite; a cigarette in hand, mug of coffee before her. She listened to everything Vince had to say, eyes alternately widening and then narrowing as he went on and on.

It was enough to make her head spin. The amount he was offering to pay her, even benefits. Currently if she needed to see a doctor, she had to pay in cash because Cindy couldn’t afford to offer insurance. Luckily, Briar had always had fairly good health, suffering only minor colds.

“You want to place me with Glenn?” She finally asked, tapping her cigarette in the ashtray before taking another long drag. “I really don’t think going back would be a good thing for me, Vince.”

“Look, just think about this for a minute. Picture it,” Vince’s voice changed, determined to sell her on this. “Kane’s secret woman, his hidden love, someone he’s kept in the shadows all this time. You wouldn’t have to do anything besides BE there, Briar. Just be seen with him.”

She raised a skeptic eyebrow.

“I know how much pain you’ve been through with my company, Briar, because of my wrestlers. I take full responsibility for that. Just, think about it. You’d be with your friends again. I’m sure you miss them, right?”

“Yes…” She said hesitantly. Besides what he had just told her, the one thing that stood out the most was the fact that she would be able to see Jeff, be with him completely instead of once or twice a month. “Does… does Mark know you’re asking me this?” Briar finally asked, looking down at the table.

“No, I won’t tell him if you don’t want me too. Though he will find out because Kane is going to be feuding with the Undertaker.” He held up a hand when her head snapped vertical. “Briar, you have my word that nothing is going to happen to you again. If anyone so much as LOOKS at you wrong, they’ll answer to me.” It was still a source of shame to know that horrible things had happened to her during her stay with Mark, by his own employees.

Inwardly, Briar didn’t think the threat of Vince would really do much good if someone decided to make her life hell again but didn’t voice it. “Vince, the most I could promise is coming and doing one show, just a test run so to speak.” She said finally, knowing even if she waited a few days to make her decision, it would be the same as the one she was making right now. “And I wouldn’t want a contract either, free lance. We’ll take it show by show.” This way she wasn’t stuck working for him involuntarily if things didn’t pan out.

Vince beamed back at her, reaching over to take Briar’s hand and raised it to his lips. “Thank you.”


“Hey Shane-O, where’s your old man?”

“Um… He’s out of town….”

“Damn, I was hoping I could talk to him about mine and Mark’s feud, I had a few ideas.”

“Yeah, about that… there’s going to be a little change in the mix…”

Glenn didn’t like the sound of that. “Spill it McMahon, what’s going on?” He demanded.

“Um, well… you see…”

“Shane, we need you down at the creative writing meeting!”

“Gotta go!” He zoomed off before Glenn could question him any further.

This was bad, this was seriously bad. Shane was chewing his fingernails for the rest of the night, wondering if his father had really lost his mind. This poor girl had been through so much already and here Vince wanted to add fuel to the fire by putting her in a feud with Kane and the Undertaker. Mark… her step-father, who had abused and probably sexually assaulted her?

Shane felt sick and had to go throw up, twice.


“Wait, she’s actually coming?” Shane stared at Vince like he was insane. “You- you’re kidding?”

“No.” Vince smiled, looking pleased with himself. “Her plane lands in the morning, she’ll be live on RAW tomorrow night.” He then explained Briar’s stipulation. “It’s your job to make sure nobody messes with her. First sign of trouble, you let me know. This storyline has too much potential for some moron to screw it up.”

Why was Shane always stuck with the shitty jobs?


Mark sighed as he trudged into his hotel room, running a hand through his now short, auburn hair. Even as a heel, he was still the man, as the dozen of autographs he had had to sign just to make a path through the elevator had proved.

He dropped his duffel bag at the door, heading straight for the bathroom, his mind on the line Vince had run by him earlier in the night. Why the hell was he going to be involved in a feud with Kane? He wasn’t really the Undertaker anymore, he was portraying himself more or less in the ring.

Sometimes, Mark just did not understand his boss.


Vince was waiting anxiously for Briar, pacing nervously at the employee entrance. What if she changed her mind? He halted mid-step when he seen her, or at least he thought it was her.

Briar looked… different. Her hair was still black except for tendrils on either side of her face which had been dyed blood red. Her lips were the same shade, her eyes rimmed in black. She almost looked like how she used too only, not. She wasn’t wearing straight black nor did she look sad or terrified, or lifeless.

Next he took in the red dress she wore. It was strapless, fell to just over her knees and was covered by a layer of black lace. He’d be lying if he didn’t admit to himself that he had noted it was form fitting at the chest, then moved on quickly to the heeled black leather boots she also wore, leaving a few inches of skin between top of boot and bottom of dress.

“Am I late?”

“No, you are not late.” He assured her. Technically, she was but… it wasn’t a problem. Just as long as she was there he was happy. Extending his arm, Vince smiled when she took it. “Are you ready for tonight? Now, don’t be nervous. All you have to do is go out there and make an appearance during the Undertaker’s promo. Nothing big, it’ll be fine.”

Briar nodded as he spoke, allowing him to guide her inside, her head lowered so her hair shielded her face. Not that she was trying to hide, much. She just didn’t want Jeff finding out she was here until she was ready to surprise him. “What do you mean, make an appearance? I’m not hitting him again, am I?” She arched an eyebrow when Vince chuckled. “And Glenn will be with me?”

“Yes, and yes. I’ll explain everything when we get to the office.”

He did it, he actually did it. Shane had remained skeptical but here she was, in the flesh, staring at him out of those grey eyes that usually made him wince. “Good to see you again, Briar.” He said when his dad cleared his throat, wondering if maybe; just maybe, this could work out.

“Shane.” She nodded to him, sitting down on the couch and crossed one leg over the other. “Now Vince, explain.” She said politely, not about to just go out there without knowing what to expect.

Vince loved how she was getting down to the basics, nodding. “Right. Basically, Undertaker is going to have a match tonight but before he gets the win, the lights will go out and you and Kane will be on the stage, bathed in a red light. You won’t be easily recognized, which adds to the tension. That’s it. You’re just going to stare down ‘Taker for a few seconds then the lights will go out again, when they come back up; you and Kane will be backstage. What do you think?”

She personally thought Mark was going to recognize her anyway but… “Sounds great. He’s still the Undertaker, right?”

“American Bad Ass.” Shane spoke up. “Same persona but an evolved one. You’ll see.”

Briar bit her lower lip, just nodding.


Glenn looked up when his dressing room door opened, gaping at the sight of Briar. At least, he thought it was Briar. Yeah, it was. She was wearing a pair of black gloves. “Holy shit.” He whispered, not entirely sure what to say to her. Hell, he’d lied to her, somewhat. “Um… that’s quite an outfit.” He finally offered, feeling awkward as hell about this situation.

“I know, I like it though.” Briar shrugged, smiling at him.

“You ready for tonight then?” He wasn’t beating around the bush, figuring Vince had talked her into it, also figuring she knew what was going on.

“Yeah, I think so. I know what to expect.” She hoped. Briar then realized what the hell was wrong with this picture, frowning. “Glenn… what happened to your hair?” She demanded. Now she knew he had known who she was after telling him her last name, but she didn’t hold anything against him. Maybe he wasn’t aware Mark was a psychotic.

That and Cindy had told her if she couldn’t trust Glenn, she couldn’t trust anyone and Briar trusted Cindy.

“Jeff wanted to know where you were and I wouldn’t tell him.” Glenn said bluntly. “He shaved a line down my head and going bald was the only alternative to looking like Bozo the clown. He also put itching powder in my-“ He stopped when she began laughing at him. “He’s lucky I didn’t kill him.”

“I’m glad you didn’t, in fact; I’d rather you didn’t.” She was trying not to laugh anymore, but it was so hard. “Though I don’t think he’ll be bothering you anymore.” Briar looked around the room, noting the small window near the ceiling. She had gotten into the habit of locating exits everywhere she went, just in case. “So… how long till this promo thing?”

“A few hours.” Glenn murmured absentmindedly, hoping she wasn’t going to go out wandering. He sighed in relief when she settled herself on a chair, knowing he couldn’t stop her but at the same time… he felt protective of her. He had no idea if Mark was here or not, snorting at the thought of the other man.

Mark was usually too busy getting over a hangover, or working on obtaining one. The man was going to die of alcohol poisoning or live failure, possibly even an STD. He slept with a different woman every not, not carrying about anything but his immediate needs.

He was on a destructive path and didn’t seem to care.


What the hell? Was all Mark could think when the lights went out. Then he remembered: the new storyline. Frowning, he planted a heavy boot on Hunter’s chest, turning his attention towards the stage. His green eyes narrowed when a red spotlight shined on Kane and a woman he didn’t recognize, at all.

Kane was laughing evilly, his arm wrapped around the woman who just stared straight ahead, almost as if she was in a trance.

The lights went out again, before he had time to get out of the ring. When they came on , Kane and the woman were gone.


Edge and Christian had seen her thanks to the camera zooming in and were waiting when she slipped through the curtains. “BRIAR!”

Briar began coughing when Edge picked her up, trying to breathe. “Hey, loosen up! Those are my ribs!”

The second she was down, Christian got his turn. “What the hell are you doing here?”


Jeff zoomed down the hallway, skidding to a halt in front of them. He took Briar from Christian and twirled her around, laughing at the pleased look on her face. Not bothering to set her down, he kissed her until they were both breathless. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back?” He finally asked when he’d pulled away, watching her take deep breaths.

“I wanted to surprise you!” She laughed, kissing him again, giggling when he jokingly gasped for air. Briar tossed her head back, laughing as he started twirling again. “I’m dizzy, Jeff!”

“So THAT’S who he’s been seeing… prick, holding out on us.” Edge laughed, watching the two with a grin on his face.

Christian was just glad to see them both so obviously happy. It was a new look for Briar and it suited her.

“We ARE going out tonight to celebrate!” Jeff crowed, his grin rapidly vanishing when Mark came through the curtain, watching cautiously as the big man froze in his tracks.

Mark simply nodded once and went on his way, not even saying hello to her.

That was awkward. Briar cleared her throat once.

“Come on, Bri.” Jeff lifted her up piggyback style, heading down the hallway.

“Wait, where are we going?” She laughed, holding onto him tightly, legs wrapped around his waist.

“Hey, we’re going!” Edge chased after them, Christian right behind him.

“I’ll buy the drinks!”


She looked beautiful. Healthy and happy too. Mark almost smiled, watching them from his dressing room doorway. Briar, here in the Fed, this time of her own will and free from his rule. Damn, she looked good. She looked real good.

“Don’t even go down that road,” One part of his mind told him. “She’s finally doing good, don’t be messin’ it up for her.”

Mark usually ignored that voice.


Briar watched as Jeff, Adam and Jay all slammed their shots, a total of six for each of them. On the third, the blonds had finally told her their real names. Which meant she’d never call them Edge or Christian again. She liked Jay and Adam better anyway.

She was drinking soda. She hadn’t touched alcohol since going to the institution and wasn’t keen on starting now. She was a recovered alcoholic.

“Bri, you haven’t touched your drink.”

“Maybe she’s not thirsty, you dick.”

“That shot was ten bucks.”

“She didn’t ask for it.”

Briar shot it down, making a face but it shut Jay and Adam up. “Now stop it.”


“God that was gross…” Briar muttered once they were in her hotel room, Jeff having turned in his key and moved to hers. One shot, that was it, and she felt mildly buzzed, not cool. She headed for the bathroom, needing to brush her teeth and tongue, watching Jeff through the mirror. “You guys do that often?”

“It depends I guess. I mean, we like to wind down after the show, talk about what we did and stuff.” Jeff shrugged, it wasn’t a big deal and brushed his own teeth, standing beside her.

Nodding, she rinsed her toothbrush and set it aside then reached behind herself to unlace her dress. It slid to the floor and was gently nudged aside when she stepped out of it. Briar perched on the edge of the tub to take off her boots, reflecting on the night in general. All in all, she was pleased with how the night had went. Even with seeing Mark. He had just nodded and walked on, good.

Though he did look like shit with that short hair, not to mention up close it looked like he drinking was getting the better of him. Why was she not surprised?

“So are you happy I’m here then?”

“Very happy.” Jeff purred, bending down to kiss her, exhaling. “Minty fresh.”

“Smartass.” Briar watched as he kneeled down in front of her. Without realizing it, she held her breath, grey eyes focused on his hands, which were now pulling off her other boot.

“So beautiful.” He whispered, raising her leg, bending down to press kisses to her calf. Taking his time, Jeff worked his way up her leg, gently spreading her thighs and shifting his position, taking his time with his kissing. “Are you happy here?” He murmured against her inner thigh.

“I’m happy in this moment.” Briar said softly, not entirely sure if she was happy with taking Vince up on his offer. She was glad everything went so smoothly but this was only the first night. “Vince found me, offered me and I took it on a night by night basis so I could be with you.” She admitted.

His green eyes met hers. “God, I’m so lucky to have you.” He whispered, getting to his feet and pulling her onto her own. Jeff led her out of the bathroom and to the bed; watching as she laid down. He shed his own clothes before joining her, his body sliding alongside of hers, wishing just to be near her; to feel her. “I love you, Briar.” He murmured in her ear.

“I love you too.” Briar yawned, snuggling into him. all things considered this had been a tiring day, she’d have to readjust to life on the road. “Think you can handle seeing me all the time?” She teased, pressing a kiss to his collarbone. When he clucked his tongue, she rolled her eyes. “I can get annoying.”

“Baby, I doubt that. Just seeing you makes me happy.” It wasn’t hard to miss the fact that she was about ready to drop off, the way she kept flickering her eyelashes, trying to blink herself awake. “Rest, Bri. We have all the time in the world.” Jeff whispered, kissing her again before spooning against her, his hand splaying against her stomach.

All he could do was pray this new adventure didn’t send her away again.


One week back and Briar was ready to KILL Adam and Jay. She hadn’t realized how irritating they could be when they weren’t worrying about her. Every time she went somewhere without Jeff, they popped up, just gabbing. She loved them, they were like her big brothers or something but she was going to rip their hair out if they didn’t stop giving her headaches with the ‘dude’ and ‘whoa’ shit.

“Glenn, what’s on the menu tonight?” She asked, knocking and walking into his arm after he called ‘come in’.

“There’s my dark, evil woman.” He laughed, walking over to hug her, catching the irritated look on her face. “Blond and blonder?” He guessed.

She just nodded.

“Hmm… Nothing big. Just a small sketch with Mark out in the ring. You’ll cut a promo, that’s it.”

“Wait, I’m going to what?” Briar frowned up at him. “I can’t do that. Keep quiet and do something, yes, speak ; no. Why don’t I just go to the ring with you and stay silent?”

Mark knew she was back and hadn’t caused any problems so she didn’t see the point in keeping away from him when it came to business. And speaking in front of a camera, in front of a live audience was not on her top ten list of things to do.


“It’s not my call, its Vince’s. Just tell him you’re not comfortable talking out there. He’ll be fine with it, you have him wrapped around your damn finger.”

“Yeah, only because I’m making him money right now by agreeing to do this storyline.” Briar shot back, rolling her eyes and examined a pale blue fingernail. She had decided she didn’t need to match Glenn’s costumes to be with his on camera persona. They still complimented each other on screen and that’s what mattered. Smoothing down her dress, she smiled sweetly at his snort, next adjusting her matching arm warmers. “Sorry, I have to look pretty… you know… since you lost your hair and all…” She loved teasing Glenn, he took it so well.

“Thanks to your boyfriend.” He growled, glancing in a mirror. He licked his thumbs and smoothed them over his eyebrows. “I think I look pretty damn good, don’t you?”

“Eh, so so.”

“By the way, Cindy called. She said to let you know she misses you.”

Briar nodded, missing her adopted mother more than words could say. Though when Glenn started preening and posing, she rolled her eyes. “I’m going to go have a cigarette.”

“Because my male virility was too much for your weak, feminine psyche?”

“Sure… if you say so and it helps you to sleep at night.”


Mark was out there deep in the shadows, chewing tobacco and staring up at the stars. He seen Briar walked out and remained where he was, watching her thoughtfully. He still couldn’t believe she was back and now in a storyline between him and Glenn.

Though he would be lying if he said he wasn’t somewhat happy to see her again. She looked beautiful, healthy and happy for the first time since he probably met her when he had married her mother.

He stayed quiet as she lit up a cigarette, keeping out of sight.

Briar inhaled deeply, holding up her hand to study the ring on her thumb. It was a ring Jeff had given her to wear so she always had a piece of him with her which was kind of amusing since she seen him every day now. But she wore it proudly, it was his; and it showed she belonged to him.

Laughing, she spun in a circle; arms outstretched, just enjoying the night and her new life.

A rare, genuine smile flitted across his lips.

Hesitating, Briar’s head suddenly turned in his direction, a frown crossing his face. She moved back towards the door, not going inside but leaned against the wall, smoking. She was paranoid, there wasn’t anyone in the shadows.

Scooping down, she picked up a rock and tossed it. A second later a curse came floating back out at her. “Sorry!”

“Fuck!” Mark groaned, hitting his knees since that rock had nailed him right between the legs. “No… problem…” He wheezed. Damn that hurt. “Good aim, darlin’.”

Briar watched with wide eyes as Mark limped out from the shadows. His face was rugged, his hair cut shorter, all in all looking older than he was. No doubt he was still drinking, his eyes had a yellowish tinge to them. So drinking and whoring had finally caught up with him.

Mark studied her back, noting the fear she was trying to hide. “I’m not going to hurt you, darlin’.” He assured her softly.

She expected to feel either satisfaction that he wasn’t doing so well, or pity. Instead Briar found she felt absolutely nothing. She had no feelings either positive or negative regarding this man. Which made her realize that somewhere along the road, he had simply ceased to be a part of her world.

“I know.” She said calmly, exhaling her smoke through her nose.

Mark could see she didn’t want him around –not that he blamed her- and headed back inside. He knew she hated him, another thing he didn’t blame her for. He’d put her through hell and back. Well, he was paying for it. Sort of. In the form of wanting her again.


“You ready, Red?” Briar asked an hour later, pulling her back with a black ribbon, glancing at the clock. She had gotten the all clear from Vince as well as the reassurance that nobody would be laying a hand on her, which she had already known. He told her the same thing every day, it was a routine at this point.

“Yep, let’s go.”

The minute they stepped out into the hallway she heard this:

“Whoa, nice dress, Bri! Dude…”

Her headache was back.

“If you don’t stop calling my woman a dude, I’m going to shove these nuts down your throat.” Jeff threatened, holding out a bag of cashews.

Briar rolled her eyes, trying not to smile.

After hurling the bag at Adam, he chased after her and Glenn, planting a sloppy kiss on her cheek. “Good luck out there.”

“I’ll take care of her, Hardy.” Glenn assured him, placing a hand on the small of Briar’s back, accepting a microphone with the other. They were interrupting Mark, who was talking out in the ring.

Briar walked through the curtains ahead of Glenn, listening as his music drenched the arena. She ignored the fans screaming from either side of her; staring straight ahead at Mark. She knew he was scheduled for a confrontation, slowly building up to a fight sometime in the weeks to come.

“Relax.” Glenn murmured from just behind her, guiding the way up the steel steps and helping her through the ropes.

“Who the hell is she?” ‘Taker demanded, sounding more than a little irritated.

“You honestly don’t know, brother?” Kane’s voice was dripping with pure evil, chuckling huskily.

“Don’t play games with me, Kane.” ‘Taker cautioned, his anger pronounced in each word. “Cut the shit and just tell me.”

Kane handed the microphone to his companion.

Briar hadn’t wanted mic time, damn it! She could already feel her throat locking up on her, though she didn’t look away from Mark; seeing the comprehension dawning in his eyes. He knew she was choking. Letting the mic drop, she stepped right up to him; eyes narrowed, face angry. “Just act like you’re really pissed at me.” She said in a low voice, knowing the fans couldn’t hear and the camera’s audio wasn’t picking this up either.

“Please, Mark.” She hated saying those words, it reminded of her when she had to ask him to sign forms for her, remembering all too well what a dick he had been about it.

She was going to kill someone for this.

Mark rationalized his momentary twinge of pity with the fact that if he didn’t follow her request up, they were all going to look like morons. He was professional if nothing else. Sneering, he got right back in her face, a second later sending her to the mat, watching as she skidded backwards on her ass. Inwardly, he was groaning, catching a glimpse of the powder blue panties she wore underneath that dress.

Purgatory had nothing on this.

Briar rolled out of the ring as the two men clashed, watching with wide eyes.


“She was supposed to talk!” Vince paced back and forth, groaning. “Damn it.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Dad, she told you she wasn’t up to speaking out there.” She’d been very blunt about it actually. He found it amusing that Vince had tried to pull a fast one on her and she’d countered it. “Next time, listen.”

“Well, I had-“ Vince trailed off when Briar came storming through the curtain, not mistaking the anger in her grey eyes. “People need to know who you are.” Was all he could say. “You’re going to have to make it known sooner or later.”

Glenn just walked right on by, he wasn’t getting into this one. That and he had to make sure Mark hadn’t knocked any of his teeth loose, groaning. That son of a bitch threw a mean left hook.

“Dad, I’ve been thinking over your line…” Shane said thoughtfully, holding up his hands when Briar turned her piercing stare on him. “Hey, I’m on your side, chill out. Having her announce she’s his long lost daughter might not be such a good thing, it hits too close to incest. What with her character being with Kane.”

“Thank you for turning my stomach, Shane.” Briar moaned, covering her eyes with her hand.

“So let’s make her ‘Taker’s ex-girlfriend from WAY back in the day.”

“Um no. Do I look like I could have been with him from WAY back in the day? No. I don’t.”

Vince’s eyes were gleaming though, patting Shane’s shoulder. Ideas were already forming in his twisted mind. “Shane, that’s a hell of an idea.” When Briar opened her mouth, he held up a hand. “He’s right, it would be too close to incest. But the girlfriend from the past would make things even more interesting… very, very interesting.”

“Motive behind the ex-girlfriend coming back now?” She demanded through gritted teeth.

“Revenge because he left her or something.”

“I would hope he left since she would have been JAILBAIT. No. I’m not doing this. Mark is my step-FATHER. That’s too close to incest on this side of the camera for me.”

“Step being the keyword. You can do this, Briar. Of course it’ll mean you and Mark cutting some scenes together… Hey Mark, come here.”

“What?” Mark asked gruffly, missing the appalled look on Briar’s face. All he wanted was to go hole himself up somewhere and get that image of powder blue panties out of his mind. “What do you want, McMahon?”

“Shane just had a brilliant idea for you and Briar, for your line.”

One auburn eyebrow raised. “What is it?”

“She’s going to be Undertaker’s ex-girlfriend and she’s here for revenge.”


“I know the motive… she was jailbait and that’s why he left. So now you’re back for revenge because it broke your heart and all that.” In spite of wanting to be on Briar’s side, Shane was feeling mighty pleased with himself for this one.

“No, no, no! I’m not doing this, Vince. This wasn’t the original agreement.” Briar said angrily, not even believing they were considering this bullshit.

Shane really hoped Vince could sell her on this because she had the right to up and leave if she wanted too. “Bri, it’s just a storyline.” He coaxed, than wondered what the hell he was saying. Mark had done who knew what to her and here he was, trying too… “Aw hell.”

“The past is the past, Briar. You can’t change it so you might as well get over it. The scenes won’t be that bad, I promise.”

“You promised I wouldn’t have to talk on the mic either.” She shot back.

“Mark? What do you think?” Vince turned to his longest ranking superstar. “You see the potential, don’t you?”

“Well yeah, I see it but…” Mark shrugged, shooting Briar an apologetic look even though on the inside he was seeing a lot of possibilities opening up. He was sick in the head, she was his damn disease. “It does sound like a great idea.”

“Briar? What do you say? It won’t be that bad.”

“I say no?” She said firmly.

“If you don’t, then there’s no line and no reason for you to be on the road.” Vince murmured sadly, looking her dead in the eye. “Of course, Jeff can come see you on his time off, when he gets it…”

He would. He so fucking would. Shooting Mark a cautious look, Briar finally just nodded.

Vince was all smiles again.


A few days later, Briar was regretting letting Vince yet again talk her into doing something she didn’t want to do. She was standing in a dressing room, watching as the camera man got ready. She played with the button of her cream colored corset top, wearing a black pencil skirt and stilettos, uncomfortable as hell.

She really hoped they could do this in one take. Supposedly, she was to be pacing when the Undertaker barged in, announced he knew who she was. Swallowing hard, Briar remembered Vince running the line to her, telling her to say and do whatever came natural to her so she wouldn’t choke.

Easier said than done.

“Briar, we’re ready.”

She nodded, knowing Mark was right outside that door. She composed herself and began the pacing.

A second later the door burst open, a very pissed off Undertaker storming in. “I know who you are.” He growled viciously, watching her halt in her tracks, turning to face him with wide eyes. “And I know why you’re here.”

Okay, she had to be in character. This was acting, she had done drama in her first year of high school. Oh dear God, that seemed like such a long time ago. Motive… oh yeah.

“Good, then you already know I’m going to make your life as miserable as you’ve made mine.” She said in a sickly sweet voice. Though she did step back when he moved forward, red lips curving into a taunting smile. Briar felt the wall meet her back, still staring up at him. “You’ll regret ever leaving me, ‘Taker.” She whispered.

Vince was mentally doing back flips behind the camera man as he watched them cut the scene. Yes!

‘Taker glared down at her, both hands now pressing against the wall on either side of her head, snorting. “You were just a damn kid, Lola.” He stated coldly. “Don’t mess with me, you won’t like what I do to your boy if you do.”

“You liked it well enough before you found out I was underage.” She taunted. “Didn’t you?”

His nose was almost pressing into hers, lips pulled up into a sneer. “Not that well, I prefer REAL women who can get the job done.”

She started laughing when he pushed himself away from her.

“And, cut.”

“YES! Brilliant! Great job, Briar!” Vince was watching the playback, grinning at them both. “Perfect, great job, both of you.”

Briar didn’t hear him, she was currently remembering a time when she had been pinned to a wall by Mark. “Come on Briar, you know deep down inside, there’s that need to find out… Just how your daddy can get it done in the bedroom.”

Followed by:

“Don’t kid yourself. I like my women experienced.”


She snapped out of it, looking at Vince. “What?”

“You did a great job.” Vince repeated, shaking his head when she walked out of the room; hearing her lighting a cigarette and sighed.


And so we’re here again
I try to speak
Beg forgiveness
This fall from grace
Is in my hands

Briar wandered from the arena after leaving a message with Adam for Jeff, letting him know she’d meet him back at the hotel. She needed air to clear her mind, some time alone. Wrapping her gloved arms around herself, she headed towards the hotel.

“Hey honey, why the long face?”

Sighing, Briar just kept walking, alert that she was now being followed. The world was honestly out to get her.

“I think you’re shy, no need to be, honey. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

She began running, her heart pounding furiously in her chest. Behind her, the man picked up his own pace. Great. Briar didn’t pay much attention to where she was going, just running as fast as she could, soon realizing she had gotten lost. “Shit!”

I’ll stay away
You’re so forgiving
I’m so wrong

She was never going to stop haunting him. Hell, it was his own damn fault. He should have just told Vince no about this storyline, he should have put his foot down. Instead he had jumped at the chance just to see her again. Speaking of… Mark’s green eyes narrowed when he seen Briar fending off some guy, revving his motorcycle until it all but roared.

The man let go of her arm, spinning around with wide; glazed eyes, the dim lighting from the streetlight showing the man to be drunk. “Mind your own business, buddy.”

Briar couldn’t see Mark, one arm was being held by this moron and her free hand was covering the left side of her now bruised and swollen face.

Knowing this fool had done something to her was enough to make Mark’s blood boil. A second later, he had broken her attacker’s nose and sent him scurrying away, wishing he had killed him but… Briar needed him at the moment. Sighing, he gently lifted her into his arms, carrying her towards the Harley.

She was aware it was Mark carrying her and didn’t care, in a few minutes she might but right now, no. Briar hunched into a ball the best she could, feeling him adjusting his arms to let her. “Thank you.” She whispered.

Stinging tears
Burn resentment
All I have
Is in your possession

“You’re welcome.” He murmured back softly, straddling his bike, still cradling her against him. they sat there for a few minutes until Briar managed to pull herself up so she was sitting sideways on his lap. His gaze dropped to the front of her dress, realizing it was torn and falling off, frowning. “Did he hurt you?”

“Just my face.”

Gently, he tilted her chin up, tracing tender fingers down along her swollen cheek. “Damn darlin’…” He himself had left his own marks on her but seeing someone else do it… If not for her, he’d be out hunting that fucker down right now. He tugged off his tee shirt, not minding the cool air in the slightest and carefully helped her into it.

“Hold on, Bri.” He rumbled, feeling her arms wrap around his neck, her face burying in his chest. How many times had he envisioned this? Now he had her, right where he wanted her, her soft body leaning against his as if she trusted him.

Briar kept her eyes closed throughout the entire ride, exhaling a sigh of relief when the motorcycle finally rumbled to a halt. Though she didn’t move, she couldn’t, she was afraid of falling on her ass. “Can you help me get off?” She asked, not looking at him.

And my heart does not
Bleed for anyone
But my own

“Yes.” He whispered, mentally adding ‘in more ways than one’, dismounting and helped her down.

“Thank you.” Twice in one night, and she had meant it. The world was coming to an end. Finally, she looked up at him, her hair falling into her face. “I’ll give you back your shirt tomorrow.” She said, plucking at it, unable to help noticing it smelled like him, she smelled like him.

“Don’t worry about it, darlin’. You just get inside and get your face taken care of.” He watched as she nodded, hurrying into the lobby doors and sighed. That was the most civil they had ever been to each other, and it was strained. Briar didn’t like him, she only accepted his help out of necessity.

No doubt she was on her way to Jeff’s comforting arms. Mark snorted, once more straddling the seat of his motorcycle and pulled away from the curb.

Am I loveless?


Thursday night the first thing Jeff did was locate Mark. The second thing he did was ball his fist and drive it right into the older man’s nose, instantly rewarded with a spurt of blood. “DON’T EVER TOUCH HER AGAIN!”


“Jeff, no!” Briar shrieked, shaking her head. She had spent the past three nights trying to convince him Mark hadn’t been the one to attack her but he obviously hadn’t listened. “Jeff! Mark didn’t touch me!”

“I seen your face!”

“He SAVED me, how many times do I have to tell you!?”

Jeff stared at Mark, who was holding his bleeding nose, paling. Now that he was actually in front of the man… things weren’t so black and white. “Seriously?”


“He didn’t hurt you?”


“And the tee shirt?”

“He let me wear it after the guy who tried hurting me tore my dress.” Briar watched her boyfriend turned paler than a sheet. “Jeff?”

“Briar! We aired that segment on RAW and the ratings went up! We’re going to do another one.”

“In a minute, Shane.” She was busy watching Jeff turn all the colors of the rainbow.”

Jeff started stuttering. “I- I uh…”

“HARDY!” Mark bellowed.

“Gotta go!” Jeff zoomed off, not wanting to get cream though he managed to drop a quick kiss on Briar’s lips.

Mark stepped out into the hallway, groaning when a passing Diva halted and turned to stare up at him. “What?”

“Here.” She reached into her purse, produced a tampon and ripped off the wrapper. A second later, the tampon was up his nose. “That’ll take care of the bleeding. Try Midol for the cramps.” She took off before he could get over his shock.

“What the hell is in your nose?” Vince demanded, trying his hardest not to laugh.

“That looks like-“

“Holy shit, dude. The Undertaker has a tampon up his nose!”

“Mark, do you need some Pamprin as well?” Shane asked with a grin, unable to resist himself.

Somebody get him a pad!”

“With or without wings?”

The hallway had become crowded with people. This was Mark’s own personal hell and he had Jeff fucking Hardy to blame.

Briar was leaning against the wall to keep from falling she was laughing so hard. She wondered what the hell Jeff was going to do when Mark finally got his hands on him.

“I have a new slogan for the Undertaker.” Shane announced between chuckles. “Deadman Express on PMS.”

“Oh yeah, you all this is DAMN funny, don’t you?” Mark growled, clenching his jaw tightly. The sight of Briar giggling her ass off was more than he could take. Snarling, he stalked off in the direction her now soon to be dead boyfriend had taken off, planning on killing Maria if he came across her scrawny ass as well. “HARDY!”

Jeff was running for his life, putting people and objects in front of him


“A tampon…” Vince wheezed, dropping to his knees only for Shane to help him back up and wiped tears from his eyes. “Imagine if we got THAT on camera?”

That sent everyone into another fit of laughter.

Briar was chasing after Mark, holding her side; trying to stop laughing because generally it wasn’t smart to laugh directly into the face of a pissed off bull. “Mark, wait!” She gasped, giggling and grabbed his arms, almost colliding into him when he froze. “Jeff… he didn’t… know better…” Oh God, her side hurt. “Look, I-“

“HEY!” Alex bellowed, poking his head out of the medic’s room. “Make sure you change out the tampon before you get in the ring, Deadman. That’s a health violation!”

“He’s DEAD.” Mark vowed darkly, jerking away from Briar. “I’m going to shove a whole pack of tampons up your ass, Alex is you say one more thing!”

“They don’t come in packs, they come in boxes.”

Jeff was at a dead end, hugging the wall. “Look, ‘Taker, I’m sorry! I thought you hit her!”

“I don’t care WHAT you thought I did! Your ass is mine, son!”

“Come on man, I was just tryin’-“

“Yeah, you’re going to be trying alright, when I shove MY FOOT UP YOUR ASS! GET OVER HERE AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAN!”

“Mark, come on, Shane’s yelling for us, remember? Segment?” Briar tried again, watching as Jeff hurled a basket of women’s bras and panties at Mark. Her eyes widened when a pair of red lacy thongs landed on Mark’s face. “Well…” She commented as he slowly pulled them off his face. “The bright side is that tampons go great with thongs.”

Snarling, Mark stood there torn between work and murder. Finally, he tore the tampon from his nose, sniffing hesitantly and sighed in relief when he didn’t wind up with a spray of blood coating his hand. Reluctantly, he followed her back down the hall, shooting Jeff a murderous glare over his shoulder. Time enough for that later.

“Glad you could get off the rag long enough to join us.” Shane said with a smile when the pair reached them, the camera man already in place. “Just a scene here in the hall, that’ll be fine.”

Briar sighed, settling herself back into a relaxed leaning position against the wall, arms folded over her chest.

Mark nodded once, waiting for the signal. He could vent a little on Briar. “You think it’s funny, bein’ here and screwin’ with my career, Lola?” He demanded, slamming a fist against the wall, right next to her head. “ANSWER ME!”

Considering she already had the giggles, this was kind of perfect. “Yes!” She tittered, reaching up to press a finger just under his nose, holding it up to reveal blood. “Did you know you’re bleeding?” She asked innocently, wiping it off on his lips. “I’m going to KEEP screwing with you too.” She added, her voice lowering to a husky pitch. “I already told you, ‘Taker. I won’t stop until I think you’ve suffered enough.”

“Is that right?” His own voice grew husky as well, stepping toward her, an eyebrow raising when she kept giggling. “You think what your red FREAK did is funny? I’ll show you funny. I’m goin’ to hurt him, Lola. I’m going to break every damn bone in his body and when he’s lyin’ on his deathbed, then I’m comin’ for you.”

She had stopped giggling at this point.

“You think last time was brutal?” He gave her a once over. “You ain’t seen NOTHING yet.”

“Oh but Taker,” She was advancing on him now, licking her upper lip slowly as she pushed him back into the opposite wall. “I’ve seen it ALL.” Her eyes purposefully strayed down his body, then back up. “And I wasn’t impressed.”

Laughing, she walked away.

“And cut…” The camera man rewound to the expression on Mark’s face when she had walked away. “Damn.”

“How was it?” Briar asked curiously.

“I need a cold shower. Excuse me.” Mark grunted, pushing past her to walk away, running a hand through his short hair. Killing Jeff could wait, his hard on couldn’t.

“That was fabulous!” Vince crowed, lifting Briar off her feet and hugged her. “You’re doing a GREAT JOB!”

Briar was reeling when he put her down, seeing the shocked look on Shane’s face.

“That was insane, Bri.” Glenn called out, making his way towards them.

She was still in shock over what Mark had said, in front of her no less. Well, she probably shouldn’t have been but still… Shivering, she smiled at Glenn. “It wasn’t too much?”

“Well… the blood thing was kind of gross in a sexy sort of way.”

“Eww, Shane, eww.”

“It was perfect!” Vince was a happy camper as he strutted down the hallway, going to look over the tape before it aired later in the night.


What the HELL was wrong with him?

That was his step-daughter… no, she wasn’t even that anymore, but STILL!

Mark thought he had gotten rid of these types of feeling for Briar only for them to resurface. It didn’t help she had showed this almost sadistic, twisted; perverse side of herself on camera. Damn. Her eyes had looked so wicked, he wondered what they would exude in a moment of passion.

Groaning, Mark turned the shower sprays to cold.


“Kane! I’m sick and tired of these games, boy!” ‘Taker snarled into the microphone, pacing back and forth in the ring. “So why don’t you bring your ass out here, and your whore, and I’ll show you what evil is all about.”

A moment later, Kane and Lola appeared, standing in the center of the stage, pyros shooting off around them. Kane looked downright demonic while Lola was just smiling sweetly at ‘Taker, twirling a lock of her hair around a finger. She took her time in following Kane down the ramp, letting the two men go at it.

She positioned herself in Kane’s corner, watching the match intently. Her red lips curved into a scowl when Kane was clotheslined out of the ring, sliding in under the bottom rope.

‘Taker’s eyes narrowed when he felt a tap on his shoulder, turning around to find Lola standing there. Rolling his shoulders, he cracked his neck, obviously irritated. The irritation turned to mild surprise when she grabbed his face, pulling his head down so their lips almost met.

“Sorry.” She whispered right before driving her knee up between his legs.

In all actuality, it looked worse than it was because she had stopped her knee from connecting just at the critical point. Lola might be a devious bitch but Briar wasn’t maiming anyone just for the sake of good ratings. Not even Mark.

Mark sold it perfectly, his face bright red as she stood over him laughing. Her insane laughter was joined by Kane’s, looking up in time to see the two exchange a passionate kiss, green eyes narrowing.

It was as if the lines between their alter egos and actual selves were becoming blurred.


As soon as they were backstage, Briar let out the breath she’d been holding; hurrying to Glenn’s dressing room to go splash some water on her face. She had just stepped out of the bathroom when her cell rang. “Hi, Cindy.”

“Honey, Howard and I were watching and I have to ask you something.”

“Yes?” Briar put the phone on speaker when Glenn walked in.

“Have you ever considered dating Glenn? That kiss reminded me of-“

“Whoa! I really love you, but…”

Howard and Cindy were both laughing.

“Glenn, tell them it was for the line!”

Glenn was laughing softly, rolling his eyes. “Mom, that was all for the cameras. She’s in love with Jeff and besides, she’s like a sister to me.”

“Well, damn it…” Cindy grumbled, eliciting laughter from both her adopted kids.


“’Taker ain’t going to kill me.” Jeff announced on their way back to the hotel, smiling brightly as he drove since she didn’t have a driver’s license. “He said he’d let me live if I put some more itching powder in Glenn’s jockstrap.”

“Don’t do that.” Briar giggled, shaking her head. “That’s just mean. You did that already. Besides, shaving his head was more than enough. Cindy would probably come after you if she thought you were going to hurt her boy or something.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Speaking of Cindy,” She shifted in her seat to look at him. “I told Cindy and Howard I would come home this weekend. Fly out tomorrow morning, come back on Monday. You have anything going this weekend?”

“Actually, I was going to go visit some friends but… I’d rather go with you. Maybe this time Cindy will be happy to see me, what do you think?”

“I don’t know.” She teased, reaching over to squeeze his thigh playfully. “You DID shave Glenn bald…”

“And I’ll never live it down.” Jeff shook his head, mocking being sad. “Oh well! Let’s go get something to eat, what’re you hungry for, Bri?”

“Mmm, chocolate.” She purred, leaning across the seat to kiss the side of his face, smiling when he groaned. After unfastening herself; Briar slid to the backseat and scooted forward to wrap her arms around his neck, moving so her mouth was right by his ear. “Melted chocolate, right off of your…” She began whispered in his ear, smiling when he threatened to pull the car right over.

When she wouldn’t stop, Jeff had to find a deserted street with little or no lights. Thank God, he was ready to explode. “Now you’re gonna get it.” He growled, reaching back to help her crawl over the seat, adjusting his seat back as far as it would go and tilt it back, pulling Briar onto his lap so she was straddling him.

“I hope so.” She laughed huskily, raising her hips so he could push her skirt up around her waist, feeling his hand move to cup her, the heat searing straight through her panties. Jeff’s lips on her throat were magic, especially when he latched onto a specific spot just beneath her ear lobe. “Mmm…”


They eventually made it back to the hotel, with their food. Then enjoyed a nice; hot bath together, only reluctantly getting out when the water was cold and they both resembled giant prunes.

“Jeff,” She yawned, crawling under the sheet, not bothering with pajamas and watched as he bounced across the rom to grab a pair of boxers to place by his side of the bed. If he didn’t, he usually wound up answering the door naked in the mornings when coffee was delivered. “I love you but those boxers are hideous.”

The garment in question was neon orange with limes covering them.

“Hey, I happen to LOVE these.” He protested with a grin, green eyes sparkling. “So tomorrow, we’re going to Tennessee, right?”


The smile on her face and the way her eyes lit up made his night. “I love how easy it is to please you.”

“Just being with you pleases me.” Briar whispered, snuggling down against him; pulling the comforter up over them. “Now let me sleep, you’ve worn me out.” She teased, resting her head on his chest; closing her eyes.

It didn’t take long for her to fall asleep in his arms, it never did. Jeff was her life and her happiness.


“Briar!” Cindy cried as she ran out of the diner and embraced the younger woman the following day, tears in her eyes. She smiled at Jeff who was hanging back, holding out her arms to him as well.

“Wow, I guess she’s not sore at me for shaving Glennie bald after all.”

“Watch it, boy.” Cindy warned teasingly, guiding them both inside, more than ready to catch up.

“Don’t tempt her to hurt you, I won’t protect you if she goes on the warpath.” Briar teased, sliding into a booth, laughing when Cindy automatically pushed an ashtray towards her. “I’m good, I had my fix.” She joked. “Glenn says he’s sorry he couldn’t make it by the way and sends his loves to you and Howard.” Her eyes roamed the diner, it was odd but she missed this place.

“Yes, I know. He called and those lilies-“ Cindy pointed to a bouquet resting on the counter. “He sent those.” She was beaming when she turned back to the pair, watching Jeff wrap his arm around Briar’s shoulders. “So how are you doing honey? Sick of what Glenn does for a living yet?”

“I do it too.” Jeff pouted adorably, laughing when he got a salt shaker chucked at him. “I’m just saying!”

“Briar, I want you to come back here, sweetheart. We miss you around here. It’s not the same, please?”

Briar bit her lower lip, incredibly homesick for Tennessee; something she never would have believed when she had first moved her. She leaned towards Cindy, reaching out to take the woman who had become a surrogate mother to her, hand in hers. “Cindy, I’ve got to finish this storyline.” She said softly, feeling Jeff’s eyes on her.

She technically didn’t have too, she could leave the WWE whenever but… she didn’t want to leave Jeff again.

When she sat back and met his gaze, Jeff could all too easily read the longing in Briar’s eyes and knew when this line was over with, she’d be coming back here. That was fine. He’d do whatever he had too to stay with her, even beg for a reduced schedule, hell he would take the lesser pay, so long as he could be with Briar.

“After the storyline then.” Cindy grinned and stood up. “Briar, I know it’s a lot to ask, but-“

Jeff laughed as Briar stood up without saying a word, a knowing smile on her face. “Coffee?”

Cindy nodded, sliding into the space beside him. “I’ve missed her coffee somethin’ fierce honey, you wouldn’t even believe.”

Briar emerged from the back with three mugs, setting one in front of Jeff. “You’ve been living off of hotel coffee, try that.” She suggested, smiling when Cindy practically snatched hers away. “Grabby.” She sat down across from them, studying her adopted mother thoughtfully.

“Oh darlin’, this is better than I remember.” Cindy grinned, sipping her coffee contentedly. “There’s a lot of people who miss you around here.”

“They miss my coffee and my waffles.” Briar grumbled, having a feeling Cindy was either going to badger her or guilt trip her into coming back home. “Oh, look.” She held out her ring, giggling when Cindy made a face, knowing it would distract her. “I have to wear it on my thumb or it falls off.”

“That’s gorgeous child. Where did you-“

Jeff was grinning like a Cheshire cat, sampling his own mug of joe.

“Are you getting married?”

A second later, coffee came spewing out of Jeff’s nose. “FUCK!”

Briar automatically passed him a wad of napkins, grey eyes wide. “No, Cindy.” She said quickly, watching as Jeff held his nose, wincing in sympathy pain. Oh, that looked painful. She squirmed when Cindy gave her a knowing look. “What?” She aimed for an innocent tone of voice, finally getting up to go snag a cookie from the glass covered plate on the counter, still squirming under that damn look.

“You’re wearing a ring and you’re not getting married?” Cindy’s tone was deceptively sweet. “Why ever not?”

“God, my nose…”

“Boy, when are you going to ask her to marry you?” Cindy demanded, folding her arms over her chest.

“Briar, will you marry me?” Jeff asked in a muffled, somewhat nasally voice, cursing again. “Son of a bitch!”

“That’s one proposal she’s unlikely to forget, son.”

Briar was now gagging on her cookie, spitting out a piece and bent down to throw it away, coughing. “If I said no Jeff, would you hold it against me?” She asked weakly, seeing him flash her a slight grin. “Cindy, people don’t have to- I’ll just shut up now.” She said when she got another ‘look’. “Oh WOW, look at the time…”

“You just got here.”

“So is that a no?” Jeff smirked.

“Briar, why not just get married, sweetheart? We’ll throw a small reception and have the wedding in my backyard. I have the perfect dress for you. I think you’ll like it, it has a lot of lace and frills…”

“THAT’S quite enough. We’ll see you tomorrow, Cindy.” Jeff cleared his throat, gently nudging Cindy when she wouldn’t budge. Sighing, he climbed out of his seat and onto the table, jumping down to the floor and extended a hand to Briar.

“Bye, Cindy, I’ll come see you tomorrow!” Briar waved over her shoulder as they hurried out before Cindy could start naming their unborn children.

“Oh man, that wasn’t funny, not even cool.” Jeff groaned, letting go of her hand to feel his nose.

“Wow, I never knew Cindy was um…” Briar started laughing at the look he shot her, shrugging. “Sorry, that was an interesting proposal, I wish I had gotten it on camera.” She giggled when he groaned again. “How’s the nose?” Besides probably burning like a bitch, that coffee had been hot. Coming out of the nostrils, oh yeah… glad it wasn’t her.

“It hurts.” He whined, turning big green puppy dog eyes on her, bending down towards her. “Kiss it and make it better.”

Laughing, she did.

“So you’re seriously going to say no to the love of your life about getting married?”

“Was the love of my life seriously proposing?” She shot back, mildly surprised to see the thoughtful look on his face. “Only you would propose and then add a son of a bitch too it.” Briar was still trying to decide if he was teasing her or not, grey eyes narrowed.

“Well, I don’t have a ring for you yet… but…” Jeff dropped down onto one knee in front of her, smiling crookedly. “Briar Callaway,”

Briar inhaled sharply, staring down at him.

“This time I’m being serious, will you marry me?”

Smiling, she nodded, unable to form a ‘yes’ at the moment. Her throat was locked up with emotion. When he got to his feet, she threw her arms around him, right there on the sidewalk with people looking at them like they were crazy.

Maybe they were.

Crazy in love.

Jeff was almost crying as he swung her around in circles, her sweet laughter music to his ears. Finally, he set her down only to plant a passionate; soul searing kiss on her lips. “Love you, Bri.” He whispered, hugging her again; burying his face in her hair.

He didn’t care if they went off to a chapel in Vegas, as long as she was his for the rest of his life.

As long as they were together forever.


I’ll be your man
I’ll understand
And do my best
To take good care of you
Yes I will

You’ll be my queen
I’ll be your king
And I’ll be your love too
Yes I will

They wound up getting married that very weekend, in Tennessee though not in Cindy’s backyard. Howard gave Briar away while Cindy sat and cried. Adam and Jay were the best man and the not so usual man/maid of honor. After all, Jay had been her first best friend, he had to be her… maid of honor.

They had gotten married outdoors, in a public square of all places, just besides a fountain.

Nobody ever said they were normal.

“Only you would get married in blue.” Jay said afterwards, not believing he had just witnessed this. Not believing he had been the fucking maid of honor, though he insisted he was the MAN of honor, with a lot of cursing involved. “You two can get it annulled if things don’t work out, right?”

Briar smashed him over the head with her bouquet.

Laughing, Jay stepped back to join Adam, both of them just staring at the happy couple.

Derry down green
Color of my dream
A dream that’s daily coming true
I’ll tell you

When day is through
I will come to you
And tell you of your many charms

Briar wore a midnight blue, velvet corset dress, the lower half flaring gently from her hips to puddle at her feet. Of course she wore her usual gloves, this pair however had fingers for a change, the same shade as her gown.

Jeff was in a simple black suit with a midnight blue shirt to match Briar’s dress. He was all smiles as he stared down at her, his hair dyed blue for the occasion. They were insane but at least they were insane together. This was yet another chapter to their already crazy history, yet another beginning they were starting together.

They had shopped for wedding rings together, toying with the idea of tattooed rings but Briar had decided against it. Unless there was no two ways around it, she would never allow a needle to pierce her skin ever again. So instead they had settled on titanium wedding rings; silver with jade green Celtic love knots etched into the metal.

“The day our marriage is annulled or ends, is the day I die.” Jeff said resolutely, staring down at Briar, their fingers lacing together. “She’s my other half.”

“You are stuck with me for the rest of our lives, Jeff Hardy.” Briar said softly, leaning forward to kiss him. A second later she was laughing as Cindy snatched her away for a hug. “Mom, don’t cry!”

“I can’t help it!”

“I hate to say this but we got to wrap this up, we got a flight to the UK to catch.” Adam said, glancing down at his watch. “We’re going to be damn lucky if we make it in time for RAW.”

“You have to go so soon?” Cindy sniffled, hugging Briar again. “Go on then, off you get.” She murmured, nudging Bri towards her new husband. “Jeff?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“If you hurt her, I’ll hurt you.”

Jeff nodded, taking that very seriously.

And you’ll look at me
With eyes that see
And melt into each other’s arms

And so I come to be the one
Who’s standing next to you

Reach out for me
So I can be the one
who’s reaching out for you
Yes I will, yes I will

They slept on the airplane, not even having time to stop and changed. The four rushed straight to the arena, all still dressed in their wedding clothes. This was Briar’s first time out of the country, glad that Vince had made her get a passport.

“Okay, let go!” She laughed, pulling her hands free from Jeff and Jay, adjusting her gloves as soon as they were in the building. After taking a moment to smooth down her dress, she glanced at Jeff, smiling. “Think Vince would mind if we worked in our wedding clothes?” She asked, reaching out to finger a lock of his blue hair.

“I don’t care if he does or not.” Jeff replied with a grin, scooping her up, one arm under her knees, the other supporting her back and began spinning right there in the hallway. “I love you, Briar Hardy.” He said, proudly using her new name. The adoring look she gave him caused his heart to swell, she was heartbreakingly beautiful, a radiant; blushing bride.

“That dress will look great when you and Mark shoot your next segment.” Adam commented with a smirk, exchanging amused looks with Jay.

Briar frowned slightly then shrugged, not about to take it off until Jeff himself removed it from her, smiling at the thought. She was smiling an awful lot tonight. “Speaking of… I need to go find Vince, or Glenn, and find out just what’s on for tonight.” She snuggled against Jeff, kissing him over and over again. “Mrs. Jeff Hardy.” She tested it out, tilting her head to the side. “That is going to break a lot of girl’s hearts.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Jeff snorted, laughing when Briar just looked knowingly at him. “My female fan base isn’t THAT big…”

Adam and Jay were the ones snorting now, excusing themselves to go ‘blow chunks’ as Adam eloquently muttered.

“Go find Vince then, my beautiful wife.” Jeff reluctantly put her down, watching her walk away, still not believing how lucky he was. Raising his hand, he stared at his wedding ring and vowed to never take it off, not even when he wrestled.

You’ll be my queen
And I’ll be your king
And I’ll be your love too

Briar had to lift the front of her dress just so she wouldn’t trip as she played the ‘let’s not get crushed’ game in the narrow hallways, waving to Glenn when he nodded to her. She caught the puzzled expression on his face, her wedding ring flashing at him before disappearing into Vince’s office. “Hello.”

Glenn stood there for a moment, realizing Briar had gotten married.

“Hello Briar,” Vince greeted, looking up and took in her dress, raising a slow eyebrow. “You’re really dressed up tonight.” His eyes fell on her hand, blinking. “You got married?”

“Um, yes?” Briar stared at him like he had lost his mind, pushing back a strand of her black hair behind her ear, returning his raised eyebrow. “That’s not a problem, is it?”

If it was he could go straight to Hell. She wasn’t changing and her wedding ring wasn’t coming off unless it needed cleaned or something.

“Well, no, no of course not. But you’ll have to take it off during…” He recoiled at the dark; stormy look in her eyes and cleared his throat. “Actually, it’s fine. In fact, we can just say it’s from Kane if it becomes an issue.” Smiling, he stood up to walk around the desk, giving her a brief; one armed hug. “So do I even need to ask who the lucky guy is?”

“Jeff Hardy of course.” She replied, yet another smile lighting her face. After a minute, she cleared her mind of the delicious thought she had started to entertain. “So… what’re we doing tonight?”

“Actually, just a good old fashioned match, no segment. Feel free to interfere if you want.” Vince winked at her, spotting her visible relief that there would be no backstage drama to film.


“You lucky dog!”

Jeff blinked. “Huh?”

“You married, Briar.” Glenn was grinning from ear to ear. “Congratulations, man.”

“Thanks!” Jeff rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet, returning the grin. “You missed it, I proposed to her right in front of the diner, on the sidewalk.”

“Don’t you ever do anything normal?”


Shaking his head, Glenn turned when heavy footsteps sounded from behind. “Hey Callaway, did you hear?”

“What?” Mark wasn’t even sure he wanted to know, especially since Jeff was smiling like a madman. He glanced down at the candy bar he had been enjoying, sighed and took a bite.

“Bri and Jeff tied the knot.”

He choked.

“Jeff!” Briar came flying into the cafeteria, tossing herself in his arms. “Hi.” She giggled, feeling him struggling to keep his balance. “Sorry.”

“You two are going to wear each other out before you can go on an actually honeymoon.” Adam said with a long suffering sigh, having been following her alongside Jay, though at a walk.

“I think Mark is going down on a Butterfinger.” Jay frowned, slapping Mark’s back. “Swallow big man, swallow.”

The piece flew right out of his mouth and landed right in Jay’s smug face, causing the man to squeal like a little girl. Mark continued coughing, slamming a fist against his chest. Ignoring the amused looks he was getting from them all, his gaze focused on Briar. “What the HELL is this about you getting married?” He demanded hoarsely.

Briar just stared at him expressionlessly.

“I asked her to marry me and she said yes so we decided to do it right then and there.” Jeff said proudly, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and facing Mark, his entire body tensed for a fight.

Mark was trying not to fume, reminding himself that he was no longer a part of her life.

“Oh Glenn, I wish you could have been there. Dad gave me away and Mom was crying…” Briar ignored the look on Mark’s face. She had long since adopted Howard and Cindy as her parents. Mark was NOT her father, he never had been and he never would be. “It was beautiful.”

Adman nodded his agreement. “They got married outside next to a fountain, it was actually romantic in a Jeff and Briar kinda way.”

“Sounds just like them.” Glenn rumbled good naturedly. “I’m very happy for you, Bri. Though if this boy hurts you-“

“Lord, I know. I know I’ll get creamed but nothing IS going to happen. She’s my wife and the love of my life.” Jeff assured them, leaning down to rub his nose gently against hers. “Mrs. Briar Hardy… what is your middle name anyway?”

“You married her and you don’t even know her middle name? What the hell, Jeff?”

“I don’t LIKE my middle name.” Briar said crossly, folding her arms over her chest.

Jay arched an eyebrow. “C’mon tell us. You have to tell Jeff, he’s your husband.”


“Briar… what the hell goes with Briar?”

“Rose.” Mark grunted, causing everyone to turn to stare at him. “Her momma was a big Sleeping Beauty fan, Briar was named after the character.”

Jeff grinned as Briar’s cheeks flamed. “Briar Rose Hardy.” He sighed contentedly. “That’s a beautiful name.”

Glenn was grinning like a fool.

“Thanks, Mark.” She grumbled, though when Jeff said it, the name didn’t sound so bad after all. “I love you.” She whispered, kissing his jaw.

“Here they go again. Just you wait, they’ll be having a whole bus load of kids.”

Jay could envision a chubby toddler with blue hair who wore gloves. “Oh dear Lord…”

“You two need to shut the hell up before I hurt the both of you.” Briar threatened, raising a gloved fist and shaking it.

“In that dress?” Adam snorted. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Don’t tempt her.” Jeff said, wrapping his arms around her waist; kissing the side of her neck and groaned softly. “I can’t wait to take that dress off of you so I can-“

“THAT’S quite ENOUGH you two.”

“We’re newlyweds, what did you expect?”

“Stop fucking each other with your eyes until AFTER the show.” Jay grumbled.

Mark had already walked away by this point.


When it came time to get around for Glenn’s match, Briar was still giggling and he was still red in the face. “I’ll stop, I promise.” She laughed, following him to the gorilla position, tugging up the corset of her gown. “You just need to relax, Glenn. We’re newlyweds, remember?”

Seeing him covering his ears with his hands was funnier than hell.

“That is so not funny, Bri.” Glenn grumbled, shaking his head. Jeff had been in their locker room, provoking him with innuendoes. He was going to kill Jeff eventually, it was really just a matter of time. The fact that Briar was just as perverted as Jeff had shocked him to no end, then again… Jeff did bring her out of her shell so maybe it was a good, if not disconcerting thing.

“You’re going to do great out there. By the way, we need to talk about where we’re going to live.” Jeff said from out of the blue, a thoughtful look on his face.

It was Glenn’s personal opinion that Jeff was the most random creature on God’s green earth.

Shrugging, Jeff started kissing her neck, grinning as she shivered against him. “Good luck out there, Mrs. Hardy.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hardy.” Briar replied softly, her grey eyes dark with passion, staring up at him. “Tonight, you are mine.” She whispered against his lips, running a hand down his chest before following after the now thoroughly disgusted Glenn. “Hey bro, look at it this way, at least it’ll look like I’m really into you.” She teased.

“That’s not comforting, it’s actually kind of sick.”

She started giggling all over again.


She was married. She had gone off and married that little bitch, Hardy. Mark was pacing the ring, knowing he needed to get his head in the game but it was so damn hard. That dress she wore, it was her wedding gown. His lips curved into a sneer as she appeared on stage with Kane.

Lola, this was Lola, not Briar. They were on camera now, in character. Either way, Mark and ‘Taker were pissed.

As they walked down the ramp, he caught her eye, noting how dark they were, his tongue flicking out to wet his lips; the sneer changing into a smirk.

Briar met his state, inwardly shivering and had to remind herself this was all for the storyline, that look in his eyes was for the line, not her. She smiled wickedly, tossing her black hair behind her shoulder and looked up at Kane, patting his ass as he moved towards the ring.

Later on, she’d have to remind him of it just to see the disgusted look on his face. He considered her his little sister so sometimes it was interesting to annoy him.

Kane plastered a cocky smirk on his face, snatching a microphone from the official. “Undertaker, I noticed while I was away, you were harassing my mistress.”

“I was warnin’ her what was going to happen if she keeps messin’ with me.” ‘Taker said coldly, his audible though he held no mic of his own.

“Or maybe you just want her? Do you? Does big brother not like the fact that a woman wants the Big Red Monster instead of him? Or is it the fact that Lola once was yours and now prefers another?”

‘Taker visually rolled his eyes, shaking his head slowly with a smirk. “No woman would ever want an ugly bastard like you.”

Kane’s eyes narrowed. “Apparently,” He paused, glancing over his shoulder at Lola. “She does.”

‘Taker decided talking was overrated and punched his brother.

Briar watched as the fight began, inwardly laughing because Glenn had this sick sense of humor that appeared on his face when he was in character and it contrasted so much against the man she knew. She made her presence felt, interfering whenever things started going ‘Taker’s way.

Though she was beginning to wish she had switched out clothes, climbing onto the ring apron wasn’t easy, but she did it; repeatedly distracting the ref.

Snorting, ‘Taker watched her yell at the referee, rolling his eyes. The little fucking tart. When her eyes strayed past him, he whirled around; ducking at the same time. Kane flew by him, having been ready to deliver a clothesline and wound up sending Lola flying to the floor.

From her spot on the mats outside, she heard the three count being administered, groaning when the Undertaker was announced the winner. Sighing, she pulled herself up into a standing position, closing her eyes to block out the spinning.

A second later she felt pain starting from her skull and ripping down to her neck, feeling her hair being yanked viciously. She barely had time to open her mouth to scream before a pair of lips descended on hers.

She was married. She had gone off and married that little boy, Hardy. Why not kiss her? It wasn’t like it couldn’t be explained away by saying it was all for the ‘storyline’, that’s it. Taking advantage of her being a little dazed, well… he couldn’t resist.

He had kissed her only once before and she had known it was coming, been prepared. This time… well, her mouth was parted and he took advantage, caressing her tongue with his, doing his best to rouse some sort of reaction in her. For the briefest of moments, Mark could have sworn she was starting to return the kiss, hearing a soft moan from her and then it was over.

Kane had gotten up and come to his ‘dark mistress’ rescue.

Smirking, Mark made a retreat, his eyes moving slowly from Glenn to the shocked Briar.


Shane was waiting for Briar and Glenn backstage, ready to do damage control. “Bri, that-“

“I quit.” She interrupted coldly, nodding at Glenn to let him know she was fine before brushing past Shane.

“Jesus, are you alright?” Jeff was already on his way to her, green eyes filled with worry. She was shaken up, that much was obvious and if not for the fact that she needed him right now, he’d be off doing his best to force Mark into an early retirement.

Briar kissed him, reassuring him she was alright. “I’m going to go to the hotel, when you’re done for the night you can join me. I’ll have a bath waiting for you.” She watched his green eyes light up, knowing she’d be hitting the shower first, she needed to wash tonight away. “And some scented oils… a full body massage… how’s that sound?”

“Only if you’re the one getting the body massage.” He whispered in her ear, knowing damn well she was putting on a brave face for him. “I’m done by the way, let’s just go.”

Nodding, she laced her fingers with his.

“Are you sure you want to quit?”

“No, because than I wouldn’t be able to be around you anymore. But me and Vince are going to have to have a talk. I don’t want anymore surprises and he told me Mark wouldn’t be touching me.” Her grey eyes flashed angrily, her mouth a grim; compressed line. She could remember that damn kiss thoroughly, even now in Jeff’s presence. It had reminded her of back in her early days of traveling with him, when he was constantly threatening her with things he could do to her. And then it also had… no, she wasn’t thinking of that. “I need to go brush my teeth, with a Brillo Pad.”

“Come on then, my beautiful bride.” Jeff lifted her up into his arms. Mark had balls, that was for sure. They had only been married a day and he had already put a damper on it. This was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of their lives.

Well, Jeff would make sure by the time morning rolled around, Briar was thinking of nothing but him.


“Jeff, if you want breakfast, you’ll wake up.” Briar whispered the next morning, giggling as he rolled away from her; mumbling ‘tired’. She was already dressed and full of energy. Even though not much sleeping had been done, she wasn’t complaining. Last night had been Heaven. “Honey, I’m going across the street for coffee, want me to bring you back something?”

“Tired.” Jeff mumbled again, reaching out for her. When she slid her hand in his, he pulled her back down onto the bed, snuggling into her. After a few minutes of just holding her, Jeff started waking up thoroughly, noting she was dressed for the day. “I’ve been thinking…”

“Hmm?” Briar rolled so she was facing him, reaching out to finger the blue snarled strands of hair. “What about?”

“How do you feel about kids?”

Briar bit her lower lip, staring at him intently. “I don’t know, I never thought about it.”

Except once, when she found out she was pregnant with Matt’s baby. Then she had done the first thing that came to mind and aborted it, not ever once regretting that decision. She had had such a screwed up home life she wasn’t entirely sure she could be a parent.

As if reading her mind, Jeff smiled. “I happen to think you’d make an awesome mother, Bri.” He sat up, raking a hand through his hair and made a face, running into the snarls she’d been playing with. “I just wanted to know if we should keep using protection.”



“Dad… you told her the line would be ending… why would you-“

“It IS ending but we need something BIG. What better way to sell tickets and PPV’s than have Kane out to avenge Lola?”

“I am NOT telling Briar this one.”


Jeff was all smiles as he walked into the arena with Briar. Even though the baby thing hadn’t been mentioned again, he still had an extra kick in his step. He loved her and if she didn’t want to have a kid, then that’s the way it would be. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Briar smiled, used to him saying that out of the blue and loved hearing it every time.

Both their smiles faded when Shane hesitantly approached. Whenever they seen Shane, it was followed with hearing something they knew they wouldn’t like.

“What’s up, Shane-O?” Jeff asked cautiously, ignoring his wife’s resigned sigh.

Shane raked both hands through his grey hair, staring down at Briar. “Vince had an idea for your storyline.”

That automatically made her stomach twist.

“He thinks there’s not enough fuel going into the final match next Sunday so…” Shane inhaled deeply. Considering Mark had broke script already with that kiss and Briar had damn near quit, he was expecting an explosion. “This would be your last segment for us, you wouldn’t even have to appear at matches anymore.”

“Just spit it out Shane.” She said flatly, not amused with his beating around the bush.

“An assault, on camera. Not a real one! Just… a few kisses, some words and a hint of what was happening as the scene ends.”

Vince had lost his fucking mind.

“An assault? A SEXUAL assault?” Jeff demanded, shaking his head frantically. “No, absolutely not! That’s her step-father, or whatever the fuck he is now. That’s SICK! Vince told her there would be no touching!” He let go of Briar’s hand to jab a finger at Shane. “No! She’s my wife and she’s not doing this! She’s already been through much with that sick son of a bitch and you fucks want to put her through even MORE?”

Briar stared at her husband with a mixture of shock and pride on her face.

Shane was with Jeff on this, raising his hands. “Don’t shoot the messenger Jeff, I’m on your side.” He frowned when Vince walked up. “Dad, you can deal with this.”

“Briar, it would be the last thing you’d have to do.” Vince said coaxingly, pretending Jeff wasn’t about ready to kill him. “And the compensation for the discomfort would be-“

“Not enough!”

“Vince, do you have ANY idea what she’s been through already with that bastard?” Jeff was at this point rationalizing breaking every bone in Vince’s body, and then Shane’s, just to ensure the male McMahon line didn’t go any further than the pair of them. “Briar, tell him no. It’s not worth it. I make enough money to take care of us.”

“If she doesn’t do this, then I’ll have no choice Jeff but to fire you.”



“I’ll do it.” Briar said without any hesitation, looking at Jeff and then to Vince. “When?”

“Tonight, as soon as you’re ready.”

“Fine, but then I am done.” She turned to Jeff, cupping his face in her hands. “I can do this, it’s not that bad, Jeff. It’ll be in front of people.” It was funny how she was the one calming him down.

“I swear to God if ONE thing goes wrong…”

Shane was just shaking his head, no good could come from this.

“Nothing will go wrong.” Vince said confidently.

Jeff scowled at his boss. “That’s pretty low Vince, using my job against her.”

Vince shrugged. “I never said I played fair, Jeff. You know that.”

“Don’t do this, Bri.” Jeff turned to stare down at her, his hands cupping the sides of her face, pressing his forehead to hers. “I can always find a job somewhere else.”

“Where? This is the place for you and we both know it.” She said softly, inhaling deeply. “I can do this, it’s just acting, right?”

“If you two are finished, we have to get to the room. This needs to be done before we go on air, Glenn’s match is first and this will be showing during it.” Vince said coolly, glancing down at his wristwatch. “Then we’ll show him throughout the night hunting for ‘Taker.”

“You really are twisted, McMahon.” She scowled.

“And sick.” Jeff snarled, guiding Briar away from Satan. “That fucking old, rotten bastard.” He growled, halting when he realized Briar was running to stay in pace with him. “Sorry sweetheart, that just pisses me off. He didn’t give you a choice.”

“I know, but… if it means you keep your job and I don’t have to do this anymore.” Briar shrugged helplessly. She had enough money to stay with him on the road for a while, she’d just keep to hotels. “Besides, I don’t want to be involved in wrestling anymore, I don’t want to go out to the ring and risk getting hurt. Not if we’re going to start a family someday soon.” That last bit was said shyly.

The anger diminished, being replaced with pure joy. “You mean it?” He whispered, drawing her into his arms when she nodded, passionately kissing her.

There was another explosion, this one entirely different from the rage that had threatened to engulf Jeff earlier. Briar clung to him as he lifted her feet from the floor, returning the kiss desperately; pouring all her love and passion into it.

Vince cleared his throat again, having followed them. Just in case Jeff decided to say ‘fuck it’ and run with her.

“Be careful,” Jeff whispered, ignoring Vince for the moment. “You don’t have to do this, Briar.”

“Yes, I do.”

He watched almost helplessly as she reluctantly walked away, rounding on Vince. “If you EVER threaten my wife with my job again, you won’t have to fire me, I’ll quit.”


Briar wasn’t pleased with wardrobe at the moment. Hell, she just wasn’t pleased with anyone. Not after Vince’s ruthlessness. Instead of the jeans and tee shirt she had come in, they had swapped her outfit for a black skirt and a tank top with high heels.

After getting directions to where they’d be shooting, she slowly made her way there; swallowing hard when she seen they were already setting up. Her eyes landed on Mark who was lounging against a wall, bare from the waist up.

“We about ready?” He asked gruffly, ignoring her. Though in reality, the minute she had appeared, he had become all too aware of her. He was looking forward to this scene simply because it meant he had some free license to do a few things he had wanted too for awhile.

“Just about, ‘Taker.”

She refused to look at him again.

Taking advantage of her obvious discomfort in even looking at him, he scanned her. Wardrobe had given her a new outfit, one with easy access. He nearly snorted, debating on sending them a thank you card, anonymously of course.

“Okay Bri, you’ll be pacing in here when he comes in. We’ve put a table against the far wall, you guys just improvise. You both know what’s going to happen. Just a few minutes is all we’re going to need. Five at the most, we’ll edit and take what we can use.”

Nodding, she started pacing, easily enough since it wasn’t for the camera but because she was nervous. Her eyes finally met Mark’s, unable to hide the apprehension swimming in them.

He nodded at her, cracking his neck before walking out.



She spun around, somehow not surprised to find ‘Taker leaning in the doorway, her eyes widening as she took him in. He wore nothing but a pair of leather pants, rivulets of water running from his hair which looked to have been quite recently wetted and down his bare chest.

His eyes unreadable, he stepped into the room, kicking the door shut behind him.

“Get out of here, Kane will be back any minute!” She hissed, staring at him with clenched teeth; her hands tight fists at her sides. Briar wasn’t in character at all, she didn’t need to be. Fear was all that was required for this and that she had plenty of.

Backing up, she watched apprehensively as he approached, finally darting to the side in an attempt to slip around him only to wind up being held in his arms. “Get out, ‘Taker!”

“Why?” His breath was hot against her face; his voice a low pitched rumble, deep and seductive. His eyes visibly darkened from their usual emerald green to a deep forest color; staring down at her intently. Mark’s arms were wrapped tightly around her, pinning her own arms to her sides. “Why do you keep runnin’ from what we both know you want?”

Briar knew at this point these weren’t just lines, this wasn’t the Undertaker and Lola, this was real.

She wasn’t given time to protest however, any denials she might have made were smothered under his mouth on hers. Mark’s tongue swept across her lips, begging entrance; which she refused to grant. He growled at that, his fingers moving to dig into her jaw, forcing her to give him what he wanted. Rumbling his approval, Mark deepened the kiss; desire and passion pouring forth.

Briar was struggling against him, trying desperately to free her arms. Without breaking the kiss, she felt Mark picking her up, then the table beneath her. “No!” She gasped, managing to tear her lips from his, feeling him drawing her legs around his waist.

Snorting, Mark kissed her again.

Without thinking about it, she bit down on his lower lip, drawing blood and slapped him; her eyes meeting his. She watched as he felt his lip, nervously licking her own.

“I do love it rough.” Mark snarled, studying the blood on his finger, his tongue darting out to feel the swelling. Broodingly, he studied her, taking in her swollen –for an entirely different reason- lips, smirking somewhat. Inclining his head again, he once more kissed her.

She screamed in his mouth a second later. He had just returned the favor and split her bottom lip with his brutal kiss, feeling Mark’s large; calloused hand gripping the back of her neck, forcing her to somewhat return his savage kiss.

Time to move on, kissing her was delicious but he was working on a time limit and wanted to get in all he could. It was a good thing his back was now to the camera, or at least he was assuming it was, maybe they were doing a side shot and he wasn’t paying enough attention. Oh well. As it was, Mark was more turned on then he had ever been in his life.

All this time he had been squashing down the desire he had felt for her. From the moment she had come back into his life –ever so distantly, of course- he had wanted her. The fire was back in those grey eyes he adored, a new life and vitality to her that he had never seen before.

Of course that was all very likely due to Jeff’s influence in her life. He would give the kid credit, he made Briar happy. And now he wanted to destroy it all again. Anything Jeff had done for her, he wanted to seep in like a disease and eat away at it until she was broken.

He wanted to break her; possess her, he just wanted her.

A thin trail of blood streaked just under her lip, grey eyes wide with fear; trembling violently against Mark’s body. She was pressed right against him, feeling ever inch of him it seemed, burning into her. His hand was scorching her inner thigh, his knuckles caressing her flesh, skimming ever higher and higher under the skirt.

So close, he could almost feel the heat radiating from between her legs, letting out a ragged breath against her lips.


“Damn…” Mark moaned under his breath, pressing his forehead to hers, his body trembling right along with hers.

“Get away from me.” Briar whispered, his hand was still on her neck, fingers caressing her nape.

Nodding once, he released and stepped back. He didn’t miss the flush in her cheeks, her lips puffy and bloody; inwardly groaning. Without looking back, he walked out of the room… before he fucked he senseless right there in front of the camera crew.

Let them film THAT.


Jay had to hold Jeff back from tackling Vince when the scene aired almost as soon as the show opened. Briar had taken off for the night immediately after and he didn’t blame her, he’d heard what Vince had threatened to do. “Calm down, Jeff. After your match you can go make sure she’s alright, calm down!”

Adam shook his head, spying Vince standing before a monitor, grinning as he surveyed his handiwork. Shrugging, Adam did something a lot of people wanted to do and speared his boss. “There, now you can fire me.” He grunted, getting up and dusted off the knees of his tights.

Vince lie there on the cement floor with his arms wrapped around his ribs. Even he knew he probably deserved that.


Briar had taken a hot bath as soon as she had gotten back to the hotel; dressing afterwards in one of Jeff’s tee shirts. She was brushing her hair when she heard the knock on her door. No doubt it was Adam or Jay, possibly even Jeff. It wouldn’t be the first time he had lost his room key. Sighing, she set down the brush and crossed over to open the door. A frown crossed her face, instantly going to close it again. “What do you want, Mark?”

“I’m sorry about what happened in that take, Briar. I’m sorry for everything that’s happened. I need to talk to you, please, let me explain myself.” Mark was crying, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Please, just five minutes is all I’m asking.”

Mark Callaway, the man who had been a pain in her ass since she was fifteen; who had never cared for her physical or emotional well being, was crying and begging for five minutes of her time. His tone of voice was what bothered her, he sounded mentally broken and weary.

Mark Callaway was not a man to be broken in any way, shape or form and she knew it.

Either Hell had just froze over or Mark was a better actor than she had given him credit for.

Sighing again, Briar opened the door but blocked it, refusing to let him in. if he was acting, she knew damn well he could easily force himself by and fought back the wave of fear.

Knowing this was the most she was going to allow, Mark wiped away the tears. “Briar… I didn’t know what happened with, with the Ministry, with Bradshaw. I mean,” He hesitated under her piercing stare. “I know what I let them do, but… when I wasn’t around darlin’, I had no idea, none. If I’d of known, I’d of killed them all.”

Briar didn’t say a word, trying not to take a trip down memory lane.

He lowered his head, closing his eyes as if bracing himself. “I’m sorry bout everything, Bri. About your mom and me, how that all turned out. I did love her, in my own way.” He knew better than to lie flat out on that one, Briar wasn’t stupid. “I was a bastard to her and she was a bitch in return. Hell, you are the way you are because of her, she treated you like shit.”

“You did too.” She said softly, her tone firm. “You were just as guilty as she was, more so because you knew how bad off I was when I came out of the institution and you still did what you did.” She didn’t need to really remind him, he knew all too well. “I have spent the majority of my life outside those hospital walls terrified of you and what you might do to me, what you always threatened.”

Briar inhaled deeply. “Take responsibility for your actions Mark. She cheated on you, you cheated on her. She was a druggie, you were an alcoholic. You BOTH treated me like shit. She might have set the foundation but in the end… I was the way I was because it was ME who fucked up, not her. I could have chosen a different path in life and I didn’t. I’ve accepted that fact and moved on, you should try it.”

Mark nodded, staring down at her sadly. “I’m taking responsibility now, Briar. That’s why I’m here. I don’t care if you ever talk to me again after tonight but I can’t… I have to know we’ve come to some sort of…”


“Yes.” It sounded strange to him, the expression on her face mirroring his thoughts. “I’m sorry for everything that happened and what I did to you, darlin’. I was a monster, I still am, I never denied it but that don’t make anything right.”

This had to be the weirdest conversation ever. Aliens had swapped out the Mark she knew and replaced him with someone else.

“I forgive you.” Briar said quietly. “But I don’t want to see you again after this. You’re a part of my life I’m trying to put behind me. I have a new life with Jeff now and there is no place in it for you.”

Maybe that was harsh but it was the truth.

He nodded, understanding and stepped back into the middle of the hallway. “I understand.” He murmured, nodding again. “Thank you, Briar.”

She watched him walk away before closing the door, locking it and leaned back against it. After a long moment, she walked over to pull her diary from her duffel bag. Ever since the mental hospital, she had kept one. Granted, there had been several months she hadn’t during her time with Mark but that was due to being locked in a bedroom with nothing in it but herself and a bed.

There was a stack of leather bound notebooks in her apartment in Tennessee. In them held everything that had gone on in her life from fifteen until now. After settling herself on the bed with a pen and a drink, she entered everything that had happened tonight, including her conversation with Mark while it was still fresh in her mind.

When she was finished, she set the diary aside, knowing that would be the last entry for a long time to come. She had a new life now, one she had started with Jeff, the love of her life, her entire world and with that would come new pages.

The end was always a beginning.


Mark shook his head, snorting as he peeled off his tee shirt; tossing it over his shoulder. He idly wondered if she had believed a word he’d just said. Sorry? He was sorry? For what? He didn’t regret a goddamn thing he had done, he would STILL do it all over again.

Without apologies.

If Briar believed he was sorry, or anything else he had just fed her, she was as dumb as her mother.

Which, in a way, was what he was hoping for. It was always so much easier to get closer to someone who wasn’t expecting an attack.

Grunting, he got himself a bottle of water. He’d given up drinking when she had returned, best to have all his senses when around Briar. He hadn’t wanted to find himself screwing her while toasted or something.

She was scarred. By him. And not just physically, but where it really counted. In her mind. No matter how much distance she put between them, how far along she thought she was getting, he would always be there; in the back of her mind and he knew it.

Whether she did or not was another story.

Another scar in the making.