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This Is Not Just About You

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Friday, 8th July, 2011

05:00 pm, Somewhere near Gainesville, FL

Being early, as usual, it sounded like a good plan to take an exit to eat and take a short nap before arriving at the MLK Center in Gainesville. It was a better idea than being there too early and having to spend extra time around the other guys.

Seth didn’t like them, and they didn’t cherish him either, so any awkwardness he could save himself was more than welcome.

He felt like he could relax after spending most of the drive practicing his lisp correction exercises and delivering promos; word after word, trying to give them meaning, making a considerable effort on spelling each syllable as cleanly as he was able to.

Seth yawned and stretched out his arms lazily, wiggling his back to relieve some of the tension from driving for over two hours. A small smile spread across his lips as his eyes fluttered closed and he enjoyed the summer afternoon sun, the cool air conditioner brushing his face and arms.

Knowing he couldn’t prolong his stop anymore, Seth rubbed the back of his wrists against his eyes, willing the tiredness away. He regretted not leaving Tampa even earlier to take a lengthy nap before the show.

Except for certain moments of stress, it wasn’t usual for Seth to have any issues when it came to sleeping. More relaxed after his talk with Dusty and the promise that things would get better for him if he kept working as hard as he was, he’d been sleeping like a baby.

Or he had until he was told he would finally have his first clash in the ring with Dean Ambrose.

Granted, it wasn’t a televised event; it was a six-man tag match, but it would be the first time both would meet in a ring for real. Dusty said he wanted to test their in-ring chemistry before launching the feud, just in case anything needed to be modified — or the rivalry would be dropped for good — before it happened.

To hear they would finally wrestle each other, even when briefly and not going all-in, had taken over his ability to sleep. He didn’t remember the last time he was so excited for a match, and it had been way longer since Seth had faced an opponent he admired.

Because as he had confessed to Dusty a few days ago when they spoke, he admired Ambrose.

Seth had watched some of his old matches before Dean signed with FCW and had been excited to be able to work with him finally. However, his curiosity turned into impatience after watching his ‘I owe pro wrestling’ promo during class.

He was unable to stop himself from digging around the Internet, blown away by the challenge standing in front of him.

To say Dean was good at the mic would be unfair. The guy had a way with words and would captivate an audience with just his voice and the feelings he screamed and vomited as soon as a camera pointed at him. It was as disturbing as it was magnetic, something people couldn't turn away from.

Seth envied that. He knew how good he was in the ring, but now he couldn’t deny that he wasn’t good with a mic.

At first, he felt overwhelmed and angry the moment he watched that promo, the realization that someone was better than him at something related to wrestling cutting a gash through his ego.

But once he shook himself out of it, Dean’s words had kept repeating themselves in his mind over and over. Stand up to the challenge or fuck off. And Seth wasn’t one to step down from a dare. Nor was one to give up without a fight.

He approached this as he did with anything else he wanted to achieve in his life. With determination and effort. Trying to get better every passing day.

While he hadn’t seen any results yet after countless hours of promo practicing and obsessively doing his speech therapy exercises, it also took him a long time before he was able to perform a perfect moonsault. He knew it would take time, but he would get there, would be able to stand his ground with a promo someday and not be outshined by anyone.

 

Placing his thick-rimmed glasses back on the top of his nose, Seth sighed contentedly and started his car, intent on driving the last few miles to the venue where he would perform that night.

Music blasted through the car the moment the engine was on, and he absently sang ‘Show ‘Em The Ropes’ by A Day To Remember while he drove immersed in his thoughts.

He was glad he had overcome some breakdowns in the last couple of months, becoming a stronger man. While not happy to admit he had been humbled, he knew in the back of his mind that it was necessary and that he’d just been creating obstacles in his way to the top.

Things just looked like they were getting better down in FCW too, because even if he still had to wrestle people who weren’t any real competition for him, now he had a challenge.

Seth would never hear the end of it if he admitted out loud that he’d watched each of his promos several times, because he would lose himself in them, too shocked to register what his eyes and ears were witnessing.

Seth wanted to learn from that gift and be able to get everybody’s undivided attention even if just talking about how he made breakfast.

He was on fire in the meantime, hours away from going one step further in his career. His excitement only grew as he drove nearer to the arena.

 

 

Friday, 8th July, 2011
MLK Center, Gainesville FL 

Steam tickled his nostrils as Seth inhaled the coffee he’d gotten from a member of the FCW crew, humming to the music on his headphones. His smile didn’t falter as he pushed the locker room door open and made his way inside.

Most of his colleagues were there already; changing into their wrestling gear, warming up, practicing promos. Other guys were on their phones or playing PSP video games. Different conversations mixed in the air as small groups were gathered together and chatted animatedly.

As usual, nobody batted an eyelash the moment he came into the room. Nor that he cared, but sometimes he was still surprised by how he could be inside the room, surrounded by so many people and feel like there was nobody else around. It wasn’t a bad thing in his opinion.

He chose a distant locker nobody was using and placed his stuff on the bench. Seth paused the music application on his phone and stored it in his bag with the headphones still attached to it. A quick look around the room revealed the person he’d wanted to see since the moment he left his apartment in Tampa.

Ambrose was sitting on one of the benches, leaning back against the wall like he wanted to melt into it and his head tilted back against it. Was he sleeping? He couldn’t tell due to the dark eyeglasses covering Dean’s eyes and the tense line of his lips.

Seth stood on the spot for a while, hesitant to approach him when he didn’t look exactly friendly. He was trying to get along with Dean, so he didn’t want to be all over the place. But Seth didn’t want to let go of a rare opportunity to get back at him and joke around a bit if he had it.

For all he knew, he could even have a potential friend in Dean inside the small promotion, someone to call his equal.

While he was usually infuriated and embarrassed to no end by Dean’s mocking and better than thou attitude, he admired the guy, kind of liked him. He was curious to get to know the person behind the character and get to the root of how he’d come to be so good at what he did. It was the only reason Seth endured the endless teasing about him being a diva and following him around like a puppy.

It wasn’t like that, but it was true that he was always enthralled when he listened to him speak, he just couldn’t help it.

In the end, Seth’s enthusiasm ended up winning the battle against his insecurities, so he stepped toward Dean and took a closer look at him, looming over his body to no reaction at all. He noticed the pale clamminess of his skin and what looked like dark rings poking under the tinted glass.

Nerves poked his stomach, torn between being amused by the sight, and the irony of Dean being sick or hungover — most probably both —, the first time they were going to meet inside the squared circle.

He suppressed a chuckle after leaning closer to Dean’s ear, finally getting a glimpse of his eyes, shut tightly to the point of twitching behind the sunglasses. It looked like he was going to have fun at his coworker’s expense for once.

Seth swung one leg over the bench and plopped down next to Dean, sniggering silently when he flinched. “Woah, ya look like shit, dude,” he teased with playful mischief, leaning a bit closer. “Rough night or fun one?” He wondered briefly if both were as nervous about their incoming match, but he’d seen enough hungover people in his life to know better.

Dean sighed in exasperation, shaking his head and rolling it to the side, looking back at him even if Seth couldn’t see his eyes before he leaned back against the wall. It took him a while to speak again. “Da fuck ya want?” It was more of an annoyed croak than spoken words. Seemed like all his efforts went into scrunching his forehead and curling his lips.

He couldn’t help but chuckle nervously, realizing he hadn’t picked the best moment to taunt Ambrose yet unable to back down from it.

Seth looked down and decided just to be honest. “I say rough as fuck. I thought you’d be excited that they’re putting us together in the ring today, that’s all,” he said softly, feeling warm as the words left his lips and images of his future in the main roster crossed his mind. “I can’t wait to get out there and see how it goes.”

He was startled by Dean suddenly sitting up and turning toward him, openly snarling. Seth had no clue of what was going on but was confident it wasn’t his fault, so he didn’t let himself be intimidated by the aggression emanating from his colleague.

“I’d be a lot happier if you knew when to shut up,” he spat. “Dude, I’m trying to keep it together here and you’re just giving me a headache.”

Seth bit his lip to keep himself from making any comment that would make things escalate into a physical fight. He still felt like he’d been punched in the face the moment Dean reached up and lowered his sunglasses to the tip of his nose, sunken and red-rimmed blue eyes glaring at him.

A wave of disappointment shook through him. Seth was disgusted.

This was the guy who had taught him a lesson about being humble and he was trying to befriend? The one who made him decide the moment he watched that promo that he would learn from, use the experience to get better at what he did. The person he’d come to admire enough to want to become familiar with his work before they had an actual match.

The person whose words he’d been drinking for weeks now, that he’d lowered his walls around.

Dean was the same guy he had admitted out loud he admired and looked forward to learning from during their FCW feud. He would have grinned at the memory of Dusty beaming after that confession, how it took him back into the legend’s good graces.

He would if he hadn’t just crashed back into reality.

The guy who kept going on and on about how he was going to show him how stars carried themselves, how to behave in a wrestling promotion and dared calling out his behavior.

Seth felt his face tighten and couldn’t stand looking at Dean anymore. He averted his gaze, looking down for a moment before he stood up and stared down at him without blinking. “For somebody who brags about teaching professionalism, I expected to see some.”

He didn’t miss the flash of regret in Dean’s eyes before he turned around and went back to his space, refusing to look at him again. He took out his wrestling gear and his phone, ready to finish his coffee before changing out of his clothes.

 

A few minutes later, Seth left the locker room and wandered around to get another coffee; he heard a conversation he was sure wasn’t meant for him to spy on.

“And you gotta fucking do that the night before the bloody fucking test for the feud that’s supposed to launch your career and change the whole fucking WWE?” he could hear Regal screaming, and turning around in the hall revealed he was shaking Ambrose by a fistful of his tee shirt. “We only asked you to do one thing, and you let us down.”

Seth couldn’t see Dean’s face, nor did he hear whatever he seemed to mumble in response to Regal’s accusations. His body revealed he was terrified though, and he understood that something serious was going on, way more than his coworker being moody after a long night out.

Pressing himself closer to the wall, like that would avoid him being seen, he watched Regal let go of Dean’s clothes and push him like one would hit a door closed. “Grab yourself a coffee and make sure you don’t injure anyone out there. Your career depends on it. We thought you were serious about FCW.”

Open-mouthed and shaking, Seth dropped his initial idea to get himself another coffee and returned to the locker room. Images of everything he had to crawl through to get to where he was assaulted his mind.

Backyards, the gay softcore wrestling for Cyberfights, the years of knocking on doors that would never open. The effort, the sacrifices, every single thing he had to do to get money out of nowhere so he didn’t have to let go of his dream, of what he was convinced he was meant to do with his life.

Seth had to do anything in his power to avoid disaster, and it looked like it wouldn’t be easy.

 

 

By the time he stood behind the curtain, watching the heel team come out to the ring, Seth was seething.

His head hurt from the tension and overthinking, and the knot inside his stomach tightened further, still fighting against the anticipation and his hopes that everything would be okay during the match.

When his music hit and the fans reacted with delight, Seth came out holding his FCW 15 championship medal proudly. He suddenly felt more grounded and confident, taking deliberately slow steps toward his teammates as he let the fan’s adoration sink in.

He needed to put on a great show and keep cementing himself as the big star he knew he was. As focused as he was, he could barely control his anger when his eyes set on the ring and roamed over Ambrose, who looked a bit better than he did back in the locker room earlier.

The match finally started, and Damien and Seth carried the first part of the action, wrestling each other for a few minutes to gather heat. They traded momentum, and the fans got into it quickly, torn between cheering for Seth and booing Sandow.

The balance set on Seth’s favor after he put Damien through an impressive tornado DDT, with the crowd erupting into a chorus of cheers. Seth went for the pin but the heel kicked out at two, launching him a couple of feet away.

Adrenaline spread through his veins as he began to enjoy the performance and the attention, excitement rising together with the fans as he tagged Titus in. Damien and Titus exchanged some blows, slowing down the pace of the match, and soon Sandow tagged Dean in.

Following Dusty’s booking, he started to call out Titus the moment Dean set foot in the ring, demanding to receive the tag so he could face him. Now that it was the moment of truth, he had forgotten about everything else that happened earlier, only wanted to wrestle and do what he’d been yearning to for weeks now.

Titus looked from one to the other and smirked, letting Seth have his way and tagging him in.

Facing each other in the ring for the first time, both moved in slow circles around the mat, seizing the competition. The fans got impatient and so did Seth, stopping on the spot after a few seconds of the crowd chanting his name insistently.

He took a step forward and intended to hit a forearm, blocked easily by Ambrose before he could hit it. A little shock ran through him at the contact.

Seth was surprised by the precision and gentle firmness of the touch, which he wasn’t expecting given the state Dean was in. Ambrose knew what he was doing. 

Their talks on the previous weeks came back to his mind. Did they want him to go all-in and release everything he’d bottled in? Then they were going to get the fucking river they asked for.

“This is not just about you,” he hissed between clenched teeth, releasing his arm from Dean’s grasp and going for another hit. “Ya gonna fuck it up for all of us.”

He didn’t expect any reply; there was no question in the air but a warning. Blocking the second strike again, Dean quickly spun over his heels and grazed a kick to the back of his knee. Seth did his part and dropped down onto his back rapidly before jumping back on his feet, and they went assessing each other again.

Seth wasn't playing any games, and it infuriated him to see Dean slipping into his psycho wrestling persona, taunting both him and the audience.

He almost laughed in satisfaction when his hand collided painfully against Dean’s cheek, slapping a loud ‘Fuck!’ out of him. He wasn’t holding back.

Dean wobbled on his feet, but he hit back, not as hard as Seth did, but there was a hidden threat of the blow which he didn’t care about. He just wanted to beat the real shit out of him at this point, live up to his ‘The moment I get in the ring with you, I’m gonna fucking kill you.’

Something crossed through his opponent’s features, confusion, pain and something else taut that Seth couldn’t put a name to.

So he did what made sense, slap him with all his might again, but this time Dean just stopped and stood there for a few seconds, cradling his cheek and fixing a dead stare back at Seth that made his blood freeze.

Seth had no time to duck before Dean lurched forward and smacked the air out of his lungs with a hard forearm. He bent over in pain and couldn’t manage to cover himself before it was immediately followed by a real kick to the stomach and a hard shove. The back of his head bounced against the canvas, and he lied there paralyzed by fear, unable to believe he was being attacked for real in the ring and how things had taken for the worse.

He tried to whisper and demand him to stop, but Dean didn’t seem to hear him. Fuck, he didn’t even look like he saw Seth at all. It was out of instinct that Seth rolled away from danger as he saw a punch coming his way.

Gasping for air and clutching at his stomach, he crawled desperately toward the ropes, hoping somebody stopped Dean before he had to defend himself and their futures went straight into the trashcan.

Dean looked around, the crazed, empty look still set on his features. Seth was trying his hardest not to snap himself and control the situation. He needed to do something to stop this and get both of them out of the ring.

He sat against the turnbuckle and held onto the first rope, still gasping for air as his mind worked hard to stop Dean without fucking things up any further. Ambrose didn’t look like he could be stopped though, his fingers painfully digging into Seth’s thighs as he tried to tear him away from the ropes.

“What the fuck are you doing!” He snarled as he tried to kick him off, finally seeing the referee appear behind Dean. Seth didn’t dare move any further.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” The referee hissed as he tried to tear Dean away from Seth. Since it didn't work, he started a count in the corner. “He’s getting up and kick you out. You stay down after,” he instructed, shoving Dean harshly.

That seemed to snap him out of whatever he’d gotten into, and Seth found himself looking into shocked, damp blue eyes as Dean stumbled back to his feet and took a step back. Ambrose directed his attention to the crowd, suddenly playing his heel character again while Seth just stared.

Seth tried to regain his balance and held onto the ropes as he carefully rose to his feet.

Dean quickly turned around to continue the sequence and as advised, let Seth kick him on the head. Seth’s nostrils flared as his eyes followed his coworker dropping to the floor upon contact and roll out of the ring.

The referee approached Seth to check on him and discretely instructed that he tagged Rotundo in immediately. Boy, he didn’t have to tell him twice, he was dying to get out of the ring, struggling to calm his heartbeat down as it pounded so hard Seth thought he’d pass out.

It gave Dean enough time to crawl back into the ring and tag Cannon in before he rolled out again and laid down on ringside.

He watched the match continue from the apron, and it didn’t take long for Rotundo to hit his finisher on Lucky Cannon for the win.

For an instant, the world froze around Seth until the crowd lost their mind with the babyface win. It was an unspoken rule to send fans home happy, and by the sounds making the venue shake, they did it.

Seth was still shaken as he celebrated the win in the middle of the ring with Bo and Titus, trying not to look at the heel team as they made the walk of shame toward the backstage area.

Chapter Text

Friday, 8th July, 2011
MLK Center, Gainesville FL 

With his heart still trying to pound a hole through his chest and more than a bit lightheaded, Seth struggled to control his breathing as he surveyed the backstage area.

He knew exactly who he was looking for and almost immediately spotted Dusty and Regal, their faces into a harsh rictus as they spoke to a nearly recoiling Ambrose.

Panic rushed through his body as he put two and two together. They were firing Dean.

Seth wasn’t stupid; he knew that no matter what management said, FCW needed both wrestlers for their plans to work. If one of them got fired, Dusty and Regal would never convince Vince McMahon to start all over again. So his best possible outcome would be staying in FCW, maybe make it to the ring as a jobber until the end of his three-year contract; then move somewhere else and hope he could still have a decent career.

He could say goodbye to a Wrestlemania moment, to a career full of titles and historic matches. To arenas covered with his face on posters.

No Hall of Fame, no recognition. Not being remembered like one of the best ever.

All the years of busting his ass performing, learning, traveling; the laughs, the hate, the hunger, the frustration, the injuries sustained so far… Seth's whole life dissolved before his eyes faster than the shaking in Ambrose’s body grew.

Feeling his own knees tremble, Seth stepped closer, noticing moist trails of sweat falling down Dean’s back, Regal’s grimace, Dusty’s disappointment.

It only took a few steps to be able to listen. “-fucked up? Were you frustrated because you aren’t getting what you think you deserve, drowning it in cocaine and alcohol? Or did you just believe you’re some kind of wrestling god and that you’d do fine anyway?” Dusty was implacable. “I don’t give a fuck if you destroy yourself, but I won’t let ya endanger any of my boys.”

There was a long silence between the three men, only disturbed by the noises in the room and Dean’s arduous breathing. Seth watched his body falter and his knees drop an inch, Dusty’s eyebrow arching up in worry.

With a flick of his gaze, Regal stared into Seth’s eyes for a moment before looking back at Dean. “If you were struggling, you could have spoken to us. That's part of what we do,” he assured softly, his words too slow for Seth’s frantic brain. “But you thought it was better to fuck it all up and deal with things your way. For what? For almost beating the living shit out of a coworker, fucking up your future and everybody else’s. Was it worth it, Ambrose?”

Dean’s head tilted down and his body wobbled unsteadily as he seemed to clutch at his collarbone, his elbow swung directionless and appeared to tear at his own chest as his breath hitched.

Seth reacted out of reflexes because his brain was already fried from everything else when he lunged forward. His hand clenched at the back of Dean’s neck, barely noticing the sweat and how cold he felt to the touch. “Dean? What the fu-” he dug his fingers into Dean’s skin, hard enough to cause pain but not enough to bruise.

Still on his feet, Dean stumbled back against Seth’s chest, destabilizing him and nearly making both fall over. Ambrose was a hair away from passing out.

But they never fell.

Faster than Seth could focus his sight, Regal had shot forward and grabbed Dean by the trunks at his hips, holding him up. Seth steadied himself, noticing his hand had never left Dean’s neck. “Oh my god, Regal. We need a do-” He almost felt backward again when he felt as much as he heard the smack of a large hand against his colleague’s face and his body jerking against his.

“Pull his head up,” Regal instructed. “We’re going to make him lie down and get a medic.”

“Fuck, dude-” was all he could whisper in his eloquence. Seth slid his hand up Dean’s neck and grabbed his hair, tugging firmly to keep his head for dangling wildly. A small whimper could be heard when he did so, and suddenly Dean was gasping for air; shaking, only held up by Seth and William Regal but unconsciously trying to stand on his feet by himself.

For many long seconds, none of them moved besides Dean twitching as his body responded again, still out of it.

Seth exhaled in relief when Regal stepped back, letting go of Dean’s neck but still too scared to break the contact. Instead of settling for such an intimate touch, he placed the hand on his shoulder, steadying him up with a firm grip.

Dean blinked at them and looked lost, like he was trying to focus. Dusty was sweating, pale with worry and Regal didn’t tear his eyes from Ambrose with a mix of something unreadable that could have been recognition, or pity, Seth didn't care.

Feeling Dean twitch in anxiety while he felt ready to vomit his heart at any moment, Seth took a deep breath and did his best to plaster a grin that he hoped replaced the panic he suspected must be showing in his face.

“Dude, why the long face? The crowd fuckin’ ate it up,” he did his best to sound ecstatic as he threw a pleading gaze to his bosses. “You guys saw that? They were marking out; they loved it! Was that the hate ya wanted, Dusty?”

Dean finally squirmed out of his grasp, turning toward Seth with a strange look in his eyes and two red, slightly swollen marks on his face. It didn’t look like he’d noticed what had just happened, or maybe he was just trying to pretend nothing happened. Seth didn’t know and didn’t care. However he saw that amongst the turmoil or whatever was going through Dean’s mind, there was an evident touch of surprise.

Dean probably didn’t expect him of all people to obviously interfere in his favor, even if in a subtle enough way.

“Not like that, son,” Dusty emphasized with a tired shake of his head before he addressed Dean severely. “That you had a panic attack is not gonna erase what you’ve done. I’m not firing you tonight, but you’re hanging on a thin thread here. And neither Seth or the crowd will save you next time.”

Something clicked on Seth's brain when Dusty mentioned Dean having a panic attack. Had it been stress then? Ambrose tried to kill him because he was stressed?

He'd seen people go through these before, at school when he was a kid and sometimes from other wrestlers under a lot of pressure or after a dangerous botch. Some would hyperventilate, others would scream their minds, others would... pass out. It made sense, but it didn't help Seth any better.

Regal took two steps forward, revealing a small notebook and a pen out of his jacket’s pocket. He scribbled something on a page and ripped it off, handing it to Dean. “Our initial plans for you to win the medal off Rollins during the feud have been aborted. We will not reward your attitude with titles.”

Seth’s mouth hung open, surprised at the change of events.

Not long ago, during his meeting with Dusty, he’d been told he’d lose the title to Dean to prolong the feud. He would reclaim it soon afterward to lose to Ambrose again, and then they’d push him into the Heavyweight Championship. Now he was back to point zero? Or was there anything else they weren’t telling him again?

Ambrose hadn’t been fired, which was good. If him keeping the medal was also something to see positively, he wasn’t so sure.

But still, Seth tried to remind himself that the feud hadn’t been dropped, that he still had his chance. His stomach hurt, and he felt weak now that his heart had calmed down from the spiral of events.

He noticed Dean glanced at him, confused and exhausted, and wasn’t sure if he was trying to speak or just mouthing incoherently. Seth just shrugged, unable to provide an answer to whatever his fellow wrestler was looking for.

“Well, I just came over to say I’m fine and willing to forget what just happened out there. Off to the showers now,” Seth said apathetically, avoiding to look at Dean and turning his attention back to their bosses. “Need anything from me? I’m dying to get back home.”

It was a relief when Dusty smiled amicably, his expression a stark contrast with how he was looking at Dean when Seth spotted them. “You can go shower son; you did a good job. Thanks for staying professional above everything else,” he said fondly, glancing at his watch. "By this time traffic is better so you could make it home in under two hours."

Going home had never sounded like a better idea. 

Seth felt drained after the day and just wanted to get out of there, scream to some music in his car with a huge coffee, roll a joint and listen to some music in his couch before crashing into bed. Or maybe just directly go to bed, he was done with the day.

Still, he flashed a small smile to Dusty and walked away, leaving Dean alone to deal with the two legends and with his own shit. He’d done his part already, show Regal and Rhodes that he hadn’t been scared.

Of course he’d been, but the thought of dropping his dream was way more terrifying than anything that could have happened in that ring.

 

 

Once he made sure he was out of the three men’s sight, Seth quickened his pace toward the locker room. He practically stormed into it, desperate to be done and just drive home.

He was glad that he wasn’t on speaking terms with almost anyone, and Sandow and Bo Rotundo didn’t even flinch when he rushed toward his duffel bag, they continued making some small talk while they dried down after showering.

Seth sat down and furiously removed his kick pads, angrily stomping at them with his foot before he picked them from the floor and dusted them, placing them to his side before he removed his boots.

Soon after, his wrestling gear lied on a small pile next to his bag and he stood in the room naked except by a pair of old flip-flops. There were things he didn’t want to experience again like a fungus infection.

He winced and reached between his legs uncomfortably, sweaty and sticky after removing his wrestling trunks and compression underwear. Seth didn’t pay any attention to his dick, a bit fat. 

After all, it was a natural reaction every wrestler experienced when their adrenaline rushed into the ring, and he was more than used to it.

As his feet led him toward the shower area, he was still on edge, a little dizzy and out of himself. Seth’s skin tingled, and his hairs stood up when he walked into the slightly steamy, humid room, glad that he’d probably be the only one left there once the other two wrestlers left.

He hung the towel over the shower’s door and got inside while gripping a soap bar tightly, his body moving on autopilot and suddenly cold water was streaming out of the nuzzle, falling onto the floor and licking his toes.

Seth braced an arm against the wall and rested his forehead on it, shaking and letting the tension pour out of him as he breathed deeply.

When the small pool of water around his feet felt warm enough, he shifted to stand under the spray. He could only hear the stream as it cascaded down his face and body, his mind grateful as some of his thoughts were washed away.

The warmth made him aware of the soreness in his body as his muscles relaxed, starting to come down from the extended rush of emotions he'd lived that night.

Tilting his head down at the burning ache under his collarbone, Seth saw a dark red mark where he’d been hit before; sure he would be bruised for a few days. Slowly, heavy-limbed, he raised a hand and splayed his fingers against the damaged flesh. He vaguely noticed the slight flush spreading through his chest.

Seth’s heart sped up its beat again, pieces of what had happened in the ring replaying before his eyes again while he raked his fingers through his hair to wash the sweat away.

Contemplating how his excitement before the show had turned into this, his mind was a bold contrast to his tired body. Seth grit his teeth and repeatedly hit the wall in front of him, trying to release his frustration in the easiest way he could.

This wasn’t how he had imagined his first match against Dean Ambrose, anything but this.

While they had been booked to have a short interaction that was meant to last less than one minute, it was an important minute for Seth.

Sixty seconds that would decide his entire future.

He frowned as he lathered his hands with the soap bar, ready to wash his body. There was no testing their chemistry like Dusty intended; he had almost been beaten up.

Instead of flowing through an intense yet short performance, just like he’d imagined so many times from the moment he learned about the match, he had been thrown to the wolves.

Seth had imagined too many times how their first clash would be, hyped himself up thinking how their styles would mash, how much strength he would have to use to lift Dean into the air, the impulse he would need to perform a Falcon Arrow on him.

He bent over, frowning as he rubbed the soap up his legs, annoyed by how heavy his cock felt when he wasn’t even hard and certainly wasn’t turned on in the slightest. Natural bodily reaction to a fight or flight situation or not, it was uncomfortable as fuck.

During the countless hours he’d spent watching Dean’s videos, Seth had seen vividly how his coworker would throw him around. He could almost feel the physical, solid mat wrestling, the chops, the bumps against the mat after fast-paced sequences, his high flying comebacks.

Seth had imagined the crowd going nuts during their matches, torn between cheering him and booing Dean out of the country, the praise to the quality of their wrestling.

Enthralled by his thoughts as he was, he just vaguely realized his fingers had curled around his dick at some point while he lathered himself, sliding back and forth lazily, spreading the lather along his heated flesh.

While his mind kept going back to the way he envisioned his future, his body seemed to have taken a scheme of his own, and Seth let it be since he was too far into his mind.

It had felt so close, so tangible… He’d seen himself as part of the main roster, cementing the company’s future in a great match against Dean to main event Wrestlemania. Dusty had said they were the future of WWE, and after seeing what the other could do in a ring, Seth had no doubts that it would have been a match of epic proportions if they played their feud well.

A Wrestlemania moment was what he had always dreamed of, and boy, it felt close when Dean told him everything about Dusty’s plans. He was surprised by a soft moan coming out of his lips as his wrist’s pace increased, a bit too much once water washed away the soap and his callused hands increased the friction on his skin.

Picking up the soap bar again, he leaned forward and pushed at the wall with a hand, keeping himself steady as the stream fell down his back, lightly pulling at his hair.

Seth had reached the point where he just wanted to get out of there and drive home, but he was tired, and now he was also hard, so there was no turning back. 

He decided that releasing some tension wouldn’t hurt him either and would save him from being uncomfortable any longer than needed. The other two options were getting into a fight or go out to try to find some woman to fuck, and he didn’t feel like experiencing any of them tonight.

He just wanted to go home.

Spreading his legs further to steady his body, Seth held his cock at the base, tightening his grip as he began a series of firm, slow strokes that made shudders run through his whole body. He couldn’t suppress a groan when he squeezed at the tip, running his fingers roughly over it with the help of the soap before going all the way down again.

Seth had gotten off on it way more times that he would ever admit, on the thought of what it would be like finally becoming the star he knew he was. Being able to taste his dream always set him on fire. 

And not only that, because he could almost feel Dean’s skin pressing him against the mat, fingers digging into his flesh to inflict pain, moonsaulting out of the ring and stunning crowds all over the world.

Seth’s hips began thrusting into his hand as the pace of his wrist grew desperate, his breath coming out in soft pants as he bit back some pained moans. His legs parted a bit further, shaking under the stream of water, the waves of pleasure and frustration making his stomach clench and tiny shocks crawl under his skin. His mouth parted as precum mixed with the soap and moisture, making everything slicker and taking over his mind.

The sound of the adjacent shower running killed his momentum abruptly. “Fuck!” he wasn’t sure if he’d cursed or moaned it before he pressed his free hand against his mouth, but it almost made him fall over as he lost his balance. 

Trying not to make any noise, the hand on his dick slowed down, and he returned to tight, long strokes, muffling the moan threatening to leave his lips as the change of pace brought him even closer to the edge.

There was somebody else in there, and they had heard him for sure. And he knew it was also a natural thing, for wrestlers to run into their colleagues relieving themselves after a match, sometimes out of excitement, others out of frustration, of pain… Hell, sometimes the guys would just jerk off quickly there before going out to last longer when they got laid after with a fan or any girl they met out there. He’d done it himself too many times to count.

But still, it annoyed him to be interrupted when he was finally relaxing and had given into one little fantasy he only indulged himself into when he was alone in the privacy of his home.

Seth's hand sped up the moment he heard the stream of water hit the body under the other shower cubicle. Feeling his cock throb, frustrated and aching to come, he ditched any thoughts of being discrete anymore. 

He wanted to come and get the fuck out of there to avoid whoever had involuntarily walked out on him masturbating to his dreams of greatness.

With his eyes tightly shut, Seth braced himself against the slippery shower wall. 

The desperate tugs of his hand mixed with images of himself winning the WWE Championship belt at the main event of Wrestlemania, and it was too much for him.

Seth whimpered as the pressure in his balls exploded and shook through his body and water washed the spurts of cum down the drain.

He stood under the stream for a while, breathless and feeling his shaky legs give up; only the pressure of his heels pushing down keeping him from falling as his flip-flops made a complaining noise against the floor.

Seth quickly washed again as soon as he was able to function before he hurried out of the shower. He had taken way longer than intended and didn’t want to have to face whoever was still there.

While still tense, he felt better than before he stepped into the shower and wanted to float in that peace for the rest of the night.

 

 

Seth would usually defend himself when anyone told him he took too long to get dressed and ready, but this time he grudgingly had to curse himself and admit that he did.

Already half dressed on a pair of sneakers and sweatpants, he patted his hair to keep it from dripping and raked his fingers through it, not wanting to waste any time combing before he tied it into a ponytail.

Nerves clenched into his stomach when he realized he had been so caught up after coming down from his orgasm that he hadn’t noticed the distant shower noises had stopped. Seth was so tired and sore that every single muscle in his body felt heavy and stiff. At least he felt calmer, focused now that he had literally sent some of his frustration down the shower drain.

Seth’s blood ran cold, yet his face burned in embarrassment when he saw Dean standing between the shower and locker area, almost hesitant to step into the same space as him. He quickly looked away and loomed over his bag, fetching an old black band tee shirt and proceeding to put it on.

Of course, from all the people who could have caught him fucking his hand, it had to be the guy who had appeared in his little fantasy; the same one who had provoked him to be so stressed on the first place.

Seth was expecting the mocking or teasing coming his way as much as he feared it, ready to retort if necessary, but it never came.

Dean didn’t say anything about what he sure knew had heard, and Seth wasn’t going to comment on it either. And fuck was he thankful for that.

Gathering his stuff quickly, Seth needed to leave the room before his nerves got the best of him. He didn’t know what else could happen and was too tired to face anything else.

Seth could feel Dean’s eyes fixed on his back when he turned around, could anticipate there were words trying to break out of his colleague's lips. But he didn’t want to hear them; he just wanted to forget that this day ever happened because otherwise, he would explode, there was a lot more frustration and aggression where his shower stint came from.

“Seth,” Ambrose called in a faint rasp, sounding almost scared.

Feeling his spine tense painfully, Seth’s feet planted on the spot. His teeth clenched and his vision blurred from how much his eyes narrowed. He tried to take a deep breath, to ignore Dean and get it over with quickly.

“Hey, sorry about before. I’m serious, Seth,” there was a pause and a long, shaky sigh before he continued in a defeated tone. “I could have killed you and fuck everything up for everybody. It won’t happen again, I swear.”

The sound of the words ‘fuck up everything’ was what made Seth lose control for a moment.

He turned around abruptly, his mouth tightened in a twitchy line, his face hurting from the expression he must be making. His nostrils tickled violently with heavy breaths.

“Da fuck was that out there, Ambrose?” Seth blurted, his fists clenched and his body leaning backward slightly. Just realizing he didn’t even know for sure what had happened out there felt like a cruel joke. His initial good intentions to believe he had witnessed two panic attacks immediately escalated into wanting to punch Dean’s face. “Don’t give me any bullshit ‘cause I’ll beat the shit out of ya right here.”

But Seth was too tired. His body seemed to slouch as he took a step forward, his confidence faltering as he got closer. Dean wasn’t threatening in any way though, just looked as tired and despaired as Seth felt. Even worse, Ambrose looked like he was breaking before his eyes as his gaze shifted down and he seemed to ponder his words.

“Ya want the truth? Okay, I was anxious as fuck and lost my mind. I didn’t know what I was doin’ and lost control. Was coming down from last night, hadn’t slept and then the fuckin’ drive here,” he recalled, his eyes seeking Seth’s, crazed like they were telling a story themselves. “Regal yelled the shit outta me, and then ya hit me and-”

And that was it? Dean thought it was all about what happened in the ring? Didn’t he take any sort of fucking responsibility for his acts?

“That’s not the fucking problem!” Seth took a few more steps forward, menacing. “Ya get wasted the night before a trip now? When they’re launching our feud? The first time we’re gonna step into a fuckin’ ring together and that Dusty asked us to work our asses on? Why did you do that?”

He just didn’t get it. Couldn’t get it. Seth could understand it if Dean was anxious, would gladly support him if it meant their feud would be a success, but not this. 

Who in their right damn mind would fuck up their lives like that? What kind of lunatic was standing in front of him?

Dean gasped and looked away, uncomfortable. “I get now what ya meant when you said there was no real competition here," he admitted pathetically but sounded so sincere that Seth could only relate to it. "I’m frustrated already and lost control after the match with Curtis. I drank, got some attention from the chicks-” his pale cheeks flushed as he looked away. “Sometimes ya just do the only thing ya know, and that was a fuck up. Fucked up big, dude.”

Just like that. “Yeah, you did,” Seth had to bit his lip to keep his mouth from running cruelly, but he managed to keep himself in check and try to carry a necessary conversation. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to trust you in the ring now? It’s my fuckin’ body I’m putting in your hands, dude.”

Seth couldn’t be any more honest, and while he hadn’t paid any attention to the thought, it had been rummaging through his mind from the moment he'd been attacked by Dean in the ring.

Dean didn’t reply his question directly; he just launched another question, looking confused. “Why did you help me with the bosses earlier then?” He stared at Seth, as impatient for an answer as he felt. “I don’t get it; you held me up when I was gonna pass out and supported me. So don’t give me any bullshit either, why did you do it?”

When he was gonna pass out. Had Ambrose really been that out of it? Seth looked down as he reached up to fix his bun. He sighed softly and faced Dean again, too weary to keep the despair and resignation out of his voice. “Because I’ll never get outta here if you’re fired,” he breathed as he looked away, overwhelmed by the confession.

Dean looked disappointed. Like he had any right to be when he’d been the one to fuck everything up. With an indolent shrug, he fixed his eyes on Seth again before he stepped back to finish getting dressed, making a visible effort to appear nonchalant. 

“I’m pretty sure they’ll put us on another six-man match again, I’ll show ya there that if there's a place you can trust me, it's in a ring,” he promised, his voice firmer as he slid into a tank top.

Seth had enough. “I hope so,” he said turning away again and rushing to gather his bag. He needed to get the hell out of there, get to his car, buy a coffee and drive home. If he stood around Dean for one more minute, he would just lose his mind or collapse in exhaustion.

Still, something was gnawing at his insides. His body refused to move any further when his hand reached the door handle and tightened around it. He hesitated for a moment, biting his lip in a last attempt to keep the words to himself and failed. “Please don’t fuck this up, Dean,” he pleaded between gritted teeth before he left the room, pushing the door closed with a kick.

He still had a two-hour drive until he got home.