In the busy, noise filled arcade is Autumn Raven, sitting on a stool in front of one of those arcade zombie survival games; frantically pressing on the buttons with more force than you would need.
Things were a bit topsy turvy in every way possible, ever since the news had broken that her and PJ Blake had joined together to form their tag team. People online and off were buzzing about this new duo. Even more so, now that they were together for the first time in a number one contendership match for the tag team titles. Autumn didn’t want to disappoint her new-found partner on their first go by losing. She wanted to win and take that spot.
A shadow fell over her side, and Autumn let out a sigh, continuing to furiously press the buttons in rapid succession. Without missing a beat, she started to address whoever was there.
“I told you before, those crane games are a waste of time. You’re gonna lose all your money trying to get the prize. I’m not helping you if that’s what you did.”
A box, bearing the Beats logo was set down on the console within her range of sight.
“It took a couple of tries, but I got it.”
There was a shrug in response to what was said.
“I thought you had a pair already dude.”
“I do, I’m giving them to you. As a backup pair in case your other ones go the way of the dodo.”
A game over flashed on the screen just then, and Autumn released her grip on the joystick to grab the box in front of her, giving it a quick glance before looking up to the taller dark blond haired man standing in front of her. It wasn’t her better half, sad to say, but an old friend that she hadn’t seen in quite a while. They had decided to make an evening out of arcade games and drinks.
“Hey, I appreciate it. You ready to go or do you wanna sit down and play some?”
He sniffed, nodding his head at the game.
“You didn’t break it, did ya? Mashin the buttons the way you did.”
An eye roll.
“Seriously, I didn’t. Get real, and sit down to play some.”
“But the other kids…”
“They can wait their turn.” Autumn quickly cut him off, slipping in a coin and smiling when she heard the echoing call of another coin going in. Time to destroy some more zombies, she thought.
“Brutal, lady. You need to learn how to share.”
“Nah, I don’t but thanks.”
The beeps and rapid punches of buttons slowly faded out as they got into random conversations about everything. Life, her job, and if she’d met any real famous wrestlers yet. To that, she had stayed quiet.
He didn’t need to know everything.
[Several years ago…
Training facilities of School of Punk…]
“Go go go! Focus on your target and make sure you have a spot to go to. You miss, get up and try it again.”
The voice of their mentor barked over the noise of the other students and the music that was playing in the background. Today, they were learning how to do dropkicks. Later it would be some team-work stuff. Everyone was getting their turn to perfect this tool in the wrestling game. A younger Autumn was next in line, dressed in an old pair of gym clothes, bouncing on her heels as she nervously watched the guy in front of her run up to the teacher in question and land said trick, bounding up and in line again quickly.
“Ugg, here goes nothing…”
Autumn muttered and took a deep breath, running up but managing to miss her footwork and just barely strike the bottom instead of the center of that giant pad. She sighed and rolled out of the way, slowly climbing to her feet and getting back in line.
“You look like you freaked out there, Autumn. What gives?” Her teacher, the man in charge, Shannon, asked her.
A shrug of her shoulders.
“One of those random thoughts entered my head. Y’know, did I turn the toaster off at home, that kind of thing. I lost my focus, my confidence. Sorry.”
“Hey, no sweat. Everyone’s gonna make mistakes at this point, and that’s fine. Ya gotta focus yourself though, that’s the key. Free your mind, like the Matrix.” He flashed a grin at her.
“Only if it lets me do this and not go splat on the concrete. Pretty sure I don’t wanna be spitting up blood tomorrow.”
“You won’t. Now go back out there and do it again.”
Autumn sighed, scratching her head, stepping up to the front and running forward, leaping up to make the hit in the dead center of the mat, leaping up as soon as it was over. She couldn’t help but do a little dance right there, proud of what she had done.
“See, you had faith, confidence...and you didn’t end up as a pancake.”
“You gotta quit watching that movie so much dude.”
He shook his head and rolled under the bottom ropes as everyone gathered around…
“You sure about this? I mean...your last tag team didn’t go so well…” A familiar voice asked on the other end of the line.
“Yeah, yeah I am. I could have just said fuck it and left it alone but PJ’s a hell of a lot different than [i]him[/i] so I think we’re gonna groove well together. She’s a cool gal, very talented. We’ll be guchi, don’t worry.”
A sigh erupted from the other end.
“I don’t want you to get in the same predicament you did.”
“I won’t, christ. Just trust me. It’s not gonna go down the same path the other one did. If there’s even a hint of a sour note, I’m outtie. I can’t deal with that again. Happy?”
“Yeah actually I am. How many retweets did you get about that little bit of news?”
“A few actually. People asking if this was for real, and if we had plans for a tag title run. Y’know the usual. Gotta keep em wondering about it. They’ll get to see us in action soon though.”
“No tag name? Unsubscribing.”
“This isn’t twitch, idiot. You don’t get to do that here. We have no name, and probably won’t. Why bother? Our names are enough to spread the message of what we want.”
There was a short bark of laughter on the other end of the phone.
“Ok fine, you got me. If you believe in this, then that’s all that matters.”
A clear, but slightly shaky view of Autumn as she walks through one of the local malls in the current city where Genesis is taking place. She looks peaceful, glancing around at the stores one by one until she found one to go into. A board games store.
“With the tournament well behind me, I can focus on the future and moving forward with my plans from here on out. It’s been nice being able to sit back and watch everyone, or what’s left of it compete for that top slot. Good time to sit on the couch and pig out on popcorn. Sad for me because I’m not out there in that last spot, going for the top. Yeah I’m a little jazzed about it. Who wouldn’t be.”
She picked up a more modern version of Clue, glancing at the artwork on the front before moving on.
“Hey, PJ, I appreciate the honesty in ya. That’s why I think this is gonna be good...for the both of us. I’m sure you’re well aware of my past daliances with Silas and all of the shit that followed that storm. Let me tell you that...that’s all in the past and that’s where it will stay. Buried forever as it rots and fades away.
You could have blindsided me when I stepped in that ring, you really could. Considering your past, you could have walked away and ignored me. You chose not to. I raised your hand in victory, essentially broadcasting to the world that we were a newly formed ‘tag team’. No one could believe it, but it’s real, it’s damn real.”
A couple of boxes were plopped down and paid for, as she walked out with a grin.
“You’ve really done a lot for yourself since you’ve been here. Done whatever you needed to to get your message across that you were stronger than your past and you were just gonna keep going. I can see a lot of that line of thought in myself. Do whatever you have to to prove everyone wrong and just keep going no matter what happens. Being transparent and honest is good, it shows you have faith...or a little bit in me and this partnership otherwise why say anything at all.”
She sat down on a bench with a sigh.
“I won’t let you down, PJ. I want this to work, and I don’t want it to be a sad echo of what was. You’re not him and you will never be. This is now, and this is our story to write.”
“As for Konrad and Ariel, what can I say to you in these last few moments before we meet? Good luck, may the odds forever be in your favor? It seems we aren’t the only newly formed tag team that wants a shot at that spot. You won’t be the last, I’m sure. You will be looking at us with our hands raised in victory, that will be the last thing you see. PJ and I have been on opposite sides of that ring, fighting against one another. Now we are combining our skills to take on a whole new set of people. When that time comes, and the bell rings, there’s no holding back. No going back on your word, and no stopping until someone gets a 3 count.”
She tapped her heel on the ground, watching the people go by.
“We’re all new to one another really, but out of all of us, I think me and PJ got this down good. We know each other, and we’re willing to throw this all out there just for a chance at that spot to face Most Known Unknowns somewhere down the line. What are you willing to do to try and snatch that space from under us? What are you willing to do just to get there Konrad, Ariel? Can you trust in your partner enough to go that distance?”
“I know I can. PJ, let’s get out there and show them who runs this ring. Who deserves to be the number one contenders.”