Any Friend of Ria’s…
Posted on 07/30/22 at 7:53pm by The Anglo Luchador
The Anglo Luchador
The following is a TH/Anglo Luchador and Heather/Anna Daniels co-written joint. Enjoy!
ReVival 12 is in the books, another successful showing on the ACE Network, the first officially under the Phoenix Wrestling Alliance banner. The crowd has dispersed, either to their homes or to the floor of the MGM Grand casino or to the various restaurants. Wrestlers are also scattering, going to their various devices in waves, except one. Accosted by Tony Gamble. Accused by Hoyt Williams. Most crushingly, defeated by Anna Daniels.
The Anglo Luchador stands by the egress from where wrestler locker rooms are located. He’s maskless at this point. Fans and journalists don’t need to see his face ever in a context that would allow them to put two and two together. His peers? He’s been fast and loose with it before. Timo obviously. Ria. Nate Colton in an untelevised meeting that totally happened (maybe it’ll air on a best-of DVD, if you want to see an old guy awkwardly dispense advice and beer to someone wet behind the ears for a match that happened at the last pay-per-view… that shit draws, man). What’s a time lord?
She passes him brusquely, taking him for a male groupie or a fan looking for an easy score for eBay. It’s not until she gets ten feet away where he goes to catch her attention.
“You’re not the only one who misses her.”
Anna Daniels turns around.
She puts two and two together. The voice is too familiar.
“oh. it’s you. you look weird without the mask.”
Firebug’s feigned disinterest aside (because let’s be honest, all masked people look weird maskless until you’re used to seeing it), that little comment he spewed out to get said attention was striking. Was her little response an attempt at deflection? Possibly.
There’s no way we’re so obvious that this assclown has picked up on it.
That’s the thinking…but even so, how to respond to that? While it would be easy to brush him off, the Prime could get the sense that this is one of these dreaded Conversations You Need To Have. And no matter how varied the Multitudes may be, there are very very few of them that would get super-de-duper emotional. Especially in front of somebody that they threatened to decapitate. So that really only leaves one way to do it. Five-of-Four steps up to the plate, causing the vessel’s arms to go to her back and her stance to be militant. Without even knowing it, she sighs.
“We’re used to it.”
There’s a temptation to add “aren’t you?” to the statement but that gets bitten back in a hurry. It’s not a cold unfeeling quote. It’s just a statement of fact, perfectly balanced as all things should be. Besides, she’s had more than enough practice.
“Can you get used to it?” the old luchador replies inquisitively. “I’m not entirely sure you do, no matter how long you live on this earth.”
He’s behaving himself for once.
“You can’t take credit for my screw-ups anyway,” he continued, not leaving a nanometer edgewise for a retort. “You didn’t make Ria go away. Whatever injury she has now did, an injury she probably sustained or exacerbated in a match I wanted because I screwed up.”
Pensive momentary silence.
“But fault or no fault, I miss her too.”
Is he…trying to console her? This has never happened before. There’s a mix of a lot of feelings here. Sadness, of course, that Ria’s on the shelf. Disgust over feeling like this in the first place. Anger. Bafflement that this is even happening. The vessel closes her eyes for a minute, waiting to ease the flurry. There’s a shake of the head when they pop open.
“Okay. Let’s say it is your fault.”
Just because they say it doesn’t mean they believe it. Logically, it makes some sense. But deep down…
“It ultimately doesn’t matter, does it? Ria made the choices she made. She chose to be here. She chose to get close to us.”
A pause as she flinches slightly. Not from any physical attack or from any aches and pains from the match. It’s the hit of we should have told her. Except what good would that have done? They’ve done that before and everybody says the same thing. People with good intentions say things that they mean at the time, but turn out to be very stupid in hindsight. It’s with this thought in mind that the New Era finally locks eyes with the Intense Champion.
“And she chose to go toe to toe with you. We think that even though it hurt her, she doesn’t regret doing that. Ria Nightshade might come back. Never say never, blah blah blah. But it still sucks and we miss her too, okay? Is that what you need to hear, you fucking asshole?!”
The last sentence comes out in a snap of annoyance. Another shake of the head. She swallows.
“Sorry. Well, we’re not sorry. We’re sorry-not-sorry.”
“Eh, I’ve been called much worse by people I’m closer to,” the Intense Champion shot back. “You know, Timo once punched me in the face.”
He puts down his bag.
“But I’m leveling with you here. The whole aloof loner thing the moment something goes sideways isn’t a good look. I knew before the events of last cycle, well, I had some help from chemical enhancement, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I’m sure you’re aware of how many cults are crawling around here, right?”
The Muse scoffs.
“There’s three too many for our taste. Although perhaps we shouldn’t say that. Given the whole Bathory and his gods thing.”
This starts another internal conversation. Does Bathory’s whole thing technically make us in laws in a way? Jacky has similar connections… Exhale. Let’s not think about that, shall we?
“Pretty sure you have a reason for bringing this up. Spit it out.”
In truth, the Multitudes have an inkling. But it’s always better to hear from the horse’s mouth.
“Who are your friends around here now? Anyone to watch your back. Youngblood, maybe. He seems to have taken a shine to you, but have you seen his battles? Every single feud he gets into consumes him. He barely has time to make a cameo in Nova’s panic trips let alone save your ass if MESSIAH gets your tentacles in you.”
Daniels looks unimpressed.
“My point is… Ria looks up to you. We have that in common. She looks up to Timo too. And Sykes. And anyone that Ria Lockhart looks up to? I need to make sure they’re okay. And I know you think that me asking to be friends is rich. You think I’m mocking you. Do you know why I bring up the Time Lord stuff so often?”
Anna’s face scrunches up.
“well, if it’s not mocking us, then what the hell is it for?”
“It’s because I believe you,” he stated flatly. “I believe you when you say you’ve lived 400 years and have seen shit that would make milk curdle on the spot, I believe you. I believe it because I’ve also seen shit that will make milk curdle on the spot. You inspire a sense of wonder in people, and I admire that.”
He picks up his bag again and then continues.
“Look, you beat me tonight. Fair and square. By all rights, you deserve a shot at my title, be it at ReV 14 or sometime after provided I survive past Ultraviolence with it. We may be rivals, but we don’t have to be enemies.”
“In other words, you don’t want your life to keep being breakfast cereal.” Anna smirks. Couldn’t help but make the joke. Oops All Enemies, indeed. “Look, we can’t promise that we won’t be aloof and loner-y because that is us to an extent. But little sis has good taste in people. We’re willing to try.”
The old luchador nods.
“That’s all I can ask.”
He takes his bag and heads towards the elevators. The Time Lord watches him leave. As he disappears into the lift, her mouth forms into a smile. An honest one. There’s a bit of relief.
She walks into a door nobody’s even bothered to look at. Within a few moments, it’s not there anymore.