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The events leading up to that John Cena/Shawn Michaels match at the 4/23/07 Raw in London.
word count: 1942
notes: This is based on the rumor (trufax?) that Randy Orton was taken off the April 2007 European tour for destroying a hotel room in Munich. 'Ricky' is Ricky Steamboat, Convenient Road Agent Man, and I used real names in this story as I've decided not to base this on kayfabe or storylines. Much thanks to OnlineWorldofWrestling for the house show results that I needed, to the tds-rps LJ community for the handy-dandy disclaimer and to Danton for being my beta and sounding board.
disclaimer: Any similarity between the fictional version of the person portrayed here and the actual persons is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. This is not an attempt to defame the character of said person on the basis of libel, as the work is FICTIONAL (and NOT an intently false statement created with the express purpose of misleading others about the actual character of said person).
Any mention of 'World Wrestling Entertainment', any associated entities, or any copyrighted material pertaining therein is reasonably protected by the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976 and is not intended to infringe upon any copyrighted material.
Shawn looked up from the slightly-smudged text of the 23rd Psalms at the sound of the door unlocking. 'Ric's early tonight,' he noted, then saw Adam peeking out from behind him. 'Ah.'
"Hey, hope you don't mind me staying here tonight," the younger man said.
"No problem," Shawn replied, easing himself to a sitting position on the bed. "What happened?"
"Randy," Adam stated flatly. The shopping bags he carried (emblazoned with the logo of a Munich night-market Shawn recognized) made odd clinking noises--almost unbearably loud in the uncomfortable silence--as he set them down on the floor with deliberate care.
Shawn eyed Ric, who was stripping off his jacket in jerky movements, twitching like he was restraining himself from cutting a promo-slash-tirade, and turned to Adam, eyebrow raised. Adam plopped down on the sofa and and rubbed his face tiredly. "Long story short, he called me and when I got to our room--" his mouth twisted "--well, there wasn't much of a room left."
A faint alarm went off in Shawn's head, but he concentrated on Adam, who didn't look like he was having a ball himself. "You can tell me the whole story later; you need sleep. Grab a t-shirt from my bag." Something occurred to him. "Wait. What did you do with Randy, and what happened to your luggage?"
Adam nodded his thanks and said, "Thankfully, Randy spared my stuff. I left him to sleep off whatever it is he drunk or took, met Ric on the elevator up." When he noticed Shawn frowning, he added, "Don't worry, we made sure he won't roll over and impale himself on a shard of glass."
Shawn's thumb absently caressed the rough, cracked spine of the book on his lap. Yea, though I walk through the valley...
Ric's voice, muffled by the closed bathroom door, drifted out to them. "Of all the things Hunter and I taught him, the stupid kid had to go and pick that. First thing tomorrow, remind me to disown him.
There was a long stretch of silence on the line after Shawn announced just how much Randy had to pay for the hotel room.
Shawn sighed a little and muttered, "You're impressed, aren't you?"
"Just a little bit," Hunter admitted sheepishly. "I didn't even know you could do that much damage to a hotel room."
More silence, broken only by the faint crackle and pop of the shaky connection. 'And people wonder why Randy gets himself into these messes,' Shawn thought, picking at his still mostly-full plate. Long-distance travel didn't really give him an appetite.
"Although," Hunter said very carefully, "I suppose everyone can take consolation in the fact that he didn't pull that shit on national TV. I mean, imagine how it would feel, doing that stuff in front of millions of people, being immortalized on tape, then having to pay a huge sum of money--"
"Shut up. That was a dare, it doesn't count." He stuck his tongue out, fully aware that it was childish and glad Hunter wasn't there to see it. He caught a waiter's roving eye and waved him--and the pot of piping-hot coffee in his hand--over.
"You still have those shorts? I miss those shorts."
"You know, sometimes I wonder why I bother calling you." Ric, who had been absorbed in the English newspaper procured for them by the concierge, peeked over at him, smiled and went back to reading.
He could just imagine the saccharine-sweet grin on Hunter's face when he said, "Because I'm the one who tells you to eat right and get plenty of rest since you're retarded at taking care of yourself. For example, coffee is one of the reason's why you're so short, so stop trying to drown yourself in it."
The mug stopped halfway to his mouth, then continued on its destination. 'I've decided to stop listening to you," Shawn declared, letting steam curl from his mouth in vindictive little puffs. Across him, the newspaper shook, as if rustled by abbreviated gusts of wind.
"Yeah, Shawn, stick it to the man."
"How about you 'stick it' to Randy instead? I'm worried about that kid." He idly watched some of the younger guys horsing around on the far side of the restaurant. Asked himself who was next and the stab of guilt that came didn't even make him flinch at all.
"Oh, you better believe I'm sticking it to him. I'll be driving out to the airport when he arrives. This shit is getting ridiculous."
Shawn wondered if someone had cranked up the AC in the locker room and he didn't notice. No, wait, it was because Ricky said, "We need you to go fifty-five minutes" and he wasn't joking at all.
There were only three or four other guys left in the room, but it still sounded like there were twenty. Bags were haphazardly stacked on benches; clothes managing to sneak themselves out from lockers and into damp piles on the floor. The three of them--him, Ricky and John--had cleared out a space farthest from the hiss of the showers, and huddled together.
Ricky must've felt their apprehension, because he added almost apologetically, "I'm sorry, guys, but we can't let Adam have a match with someone else and a triple-threat is out of the question at Raw."
There were so many things he wanted to say--/'you have got to be kidding me'/ being the least of them--but John was starting to look visibly nervous and It struck Shawn then that John, in spite all of the success he had achieved, was still very much young and so very new to the business. He bit his tongue instead.
John asked, a thread of uncertainty running underneath his voice, "And no run-ins or whatever?"
The road agent shook his head. "Has to be a clean finish for Backlash." He caught Shawn's eyes. "We trust you to do this."
Shawn understood the implication in Ricky's statement. He lifted his chin and said, "Right. Let's lay this out, then."
Later, he caught up with Vince back at the hotel. Vince held up a hand and said, "I know. No more singles at house shows."
"Please," but he relaxed, just a little bit.
The total match time was 57 minutes. Two more minutes than they had asked for. He knew this because Ricky told him, right after he said, "Thank you very much."
He nodded, unable to speak. He didn't know if it was because he was still crashing down from a massive adrenaline rush, or because of the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." He liked and respected Ricky too much.
He was so messed up that when he managed to stumble back to the trainers', the first thing that came out of his mouth was, "Guys, if you're taking photographs of this, can you wait until I've combed my hair a bit?" The trainer, already used to the mercurial temperaments of professional wrestlers, barely flinched, only started cutting the tape on his wrist. Shawn accepted the warm compress for his knee gratefully.
As he sat straight up on the table and let firm hands probe his back, he thought about telling this story to the other guys. He decided not to, though, because Ric would laugh approvingly and Hunter would make fun of him being unable to use the 'f-bomb' even when it was painfully appropriate and John would worry and he'll be forced to tell him, "It was nothing you did, John." and wow, this was doing nothing for his headache at all.
He almost didn't want to get up when the trainer motioned that everything was A-OK. But he accepted the towel, declined the offer of crutches and made his way out. 'Keep moving,' he thought. 'One step at a time.'
He felt Ric's palm lightly brush his forehead before he heard him say, "You want me to stay, Shawn?"
His face felt brittle, as if a single motion would suddenly make it crumble into dust, but he tried to smile anyway. "S'okay, Ric. I'll be fine."
Another gentle touch on his shoulder, then something cool and solid was pressed against his hand. Shawn's fingers curled around the cellphone and his smile became a little stronger. Ric winked, shut off all the lights except the bedside lamp and left the room.
Ignoring the the fine tremors in the muscles of his arm, Shawn managed to lift the 'phone to his mouth and hit '2' on his speed dial.
Hunter answered halfway through the first ring. "How are you?"
"Back hurts. Knee hurts. Trainer said that some Tylenol and sleep'll do me good. Don't worry, mom, I'll be ok on the plane ride home."
He lost himself in Hunter's answering chuckle, forgetting for a moment that he was in a cold, dimly-lit room in some European hotel, his aching body sinking into a too-soft bed choked with downy bedspreads and plump pillows. Right now, he was in a car speeding down a highway, sunlight on his arms and Hunter fiddling with the radio knobs. Just the two of them, laughing and talking and maybe bickering about where they should eat. He tried to keep those memories vivid and cutting in his mind, but he was horrified to realize that he could no longer remember the feel of the seat against his back or the blur of colors outside his window.
His right hand absently rubbed a nagging ache in his chest.
"That was a great match you had there with John."
"John's good. He did good out there." Shawn stifled a yawn. "Can't remember if I told him that, though. I must have, right?"
"You have," Hunter assured him. "Or if you didn't, you will tomorrow. I'll even remind you."
Shawn licked his dry, cracked lips. He must have zoned out for a few seconds, because Hunter was saying, "You need to sleep. I'll talk to you when you get back, ok?"
His breath caught in his throat, but he forced himself to say, "No, no, stay on the line for a little bit."
"Sure," Hunter said, and it was only then that Shawn noticed that he had a white-knuckled grip on the 'phone. "Hey, Hunt?"
He closed his eyes and whispered, almost to himself, "Fuckin' Randy."
Hunter's voice, low and static-riddled, carried through the thump-thump-thump of blood in his head. "Damn right."
Shawn curled onto his side, only vaguely aware of the pain rippling through his body, and cradled the 'phone against his ear. "Don't tell anyone I said this?"
...for thou art with me.
Dressed in a polo and pants, feet propped on the barrier in front of him, Shawn sat on the front row and watched the ring crew set up in front of him. The bare, stripped down arena echoed with the clatter of moving equipment and loud voices barking out orders in English and French. He supposed that he should be used to it, but he still found it disconcerting to see emptiness where thousands of screaming fans ought to be.
"Heard that you'll be out after Judgment Day."
He craned his neck up and to the right. Adam was making his way down the aisle, a cellphone clutched in his hand. Shawn waved and gestured to the folding chair beside him, which Adam took.
"Yep. I want to take a break." He reached out and tapped his knee.
Adam grinned. "That's good. You deserve it."
He blinked at the blunt reply, then smiled, glancing up at the expanse of empty space above them. "Guess I kinda look like I do, huh?"
The other man hummed under his breath but didn't say a word.
Something occurred to Shawn. He turned towards Adam, briefly squeezing his shoulder. "You and John have fun tonight. Will you tear the house down for me?"
Adam's grin widened and he stretched his arms over his head. "I always do."