A few years ago
The darkness seemed endless....
It filled the room....It filled his eyesight...or what he took for his sight....
It filled his consciousness....
Something tugged at his mind...visions.....faces he hadn't seen in years....
What had happened?
Something was definitely not right....
SHE was here...
He pushed the image away....it was too much to bear....
Yet another took it's place....and his mind began to sift through the mist encompassing his thoughts...
What had happened?
What is that?...
A voice....distant...indistinguishable....yet noticeable...
He tried to speak....
Did they even hear him? Did his lips move or did he merely think the words in his mind? And to whom was he speaking anyway?
There it was again...
In and out it faded....he distinguished a phrase..
"....gonna be ok?..." "He sustained several..."
It faded back out..
"Who the hell are they talking about??"
A flash of light...
"Son of a..."
He had gone to the ring...it began to come back slowly...
Something had gone wrong....the arena.....the fans....
He thought he remembered his sister-in-law being there...but they weren't the happy little family just now....then....
Sharp pains bolted through his neck...something felt heavy on his head...a bandage perhaps....
And the voices came through once more...
"I'm gonna sit with him a while."
"Ma'am, visiting hours ended over an hour..."
"Ok, but just for a few moments..."
Something familiar about that voice...
Slowly his eyes opened...coming into focus...
WHAT IN THE HELL....
He tensed up involuntarily...then realized there was nothing he could do...
"Are you here to finish what Dewey started??"
"How's the head?"
"What do you care?"
Lindsay Troy smiled...
"I don't know...call me a softy..."
His eyes narrowed, then slammed shut in response to the pain...
"You look like sh!t...the little bastard must've really done a number on you...."
"When I get my hands on that little son of a bitch....."
He never finished the sentence....unconsciousness took over...and he fell into a deep..dark...sleep.....
Dan Ryan's wife, Alaina Troy-Ryan throws some things into a large suitcase. She's got a trip herself to pack for, but that can wait until later. Dan's flight leaves in a few hours, so while he finishes up preparations for his post-arrival plans in Sydney, she's happy to help with a little pre-flight prep.
Dan Ryan looked up briefly, then back at his paperwork.
"You don't have to do that, you know. I can do it when I finish up here."
Alaina raises an eyebrow, the tiniest of smiles touching the corner of her mouth.
"I know I don't HAVE to do it."
No reaction from Dan.
Alaina finishes up the last bit, then slams the suitcase shut, twisting the latches closed on the outside.
"My sister called today."
"She can't make it to Sydney, but there's a chance she could catch up with you later down the road."
Ryan looks up at this, but keeps working.
"Alright. If you talk to her again, tell her to let me know when her plans firm up."
Alaina pauses for a moment, then broaches a sensitive subject.
"She also said that CeCe called her about training again."
Ryan stiffens up.
"I don't want my sixteen year old daughter in the business, Alaina. You know how I feel about that and so does she."
Alaina turns, walking out of the room.
"Just passing along the message."
Ryan watches her go, then turns back to his desk and sighs deeply.
Superior Suite of the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park Hotel
Dan Ryan is sitting on a surprisingly comfortable couch, looking into his handy dandy promo recording device.
Why hello there, Ataxia. I simply cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am to find the two of us destined for another match together so closely following our first exciting encounter.
That may sound like sarcasm to some, but in fact I mean it very sincerely. Our first match, while ultimately disappointing for me in the end, was not without purpose, nor was it an opportunity wasted. Oh, I know -- I lost. You won. Tragic. But I'm here in this for the long game, and I look at it as an opportunity to learn.
It wasn't my first loss, you know.
It might not be my last either. Maybe. Probably.
You did well. You withstood a great deal of punishment, and used your instincts to take advantage of an opening, and of that I am moderately impressed. You threatened to do a lot of sexual things to me, too and you didn't. And for that, I am thankful and relieved. There wasn't any laughing either, even though you promised to take my best shot and laugh. Maybe the jokes I was telling you during the suplexes weren't that funny.
But one loss? Eh, it's all good. Like I said, not the first time.
I do want to say that I am so so sorry you couldn't beat The Shadow. I tried to give you a hint on how to beat him. I told you -- turn off the light. Can't have a Shadow without light. But you crazy types never listen to reason. Too busy being the RUBICON -- which I'm embarrassed to say I just found out is NOT a Rubik's Cube convention.
Ryan leans back, crossing one leg over the other.
Ryan raises a finger.
I do enjoy your threats. They're creative, and I give you an "A" for effort. You promised to beat me 'so god damn bad I'm gonna change your sexual preference'. That really would be a hell of a beating. But then you told me to call you a freak. You can't just tell me to call you a freak, bro. That's bad form right there. If you tell me to call you a freak, then I call you a freak, it just seems unoriginal. And you know I'd have the ACLU crawlin' all over me for being insensitive on the topic of mental illness or some shit. So, nice try A-TAX-YUH, but I'm too smart to fall into your clever trap.
There was so much in what you had to say to me during Modern Warfare that was meant to be super offensive and shocking and vulgar and scary scary scary -- but the only thing truly shocking or scary about you to me is your absolute decimation of the art of the spoken word. Tell me the truth, are you Multiple Miggs from Silence of the Lambs with a burlap sack on your head? You can tell me, I won't tell anyone. But, if you fling your semen at me, I'm gonna be very very upset.
Ryan shakes off a very unpleasant image, then straightens himself out and smirks.
But hey.. relax. You're wound up so tight. You've got all of these problems from your past. You lost part of your life, you lost the love of your life, you don't even REMEMBER some of your life. Also, that sack mask is itchy and anti-itch cream isn't cheap, am I right?
But all of the angst is so counter-productive, my friend.
You think it's your ticket to the championship, but I think we both know how unsustainable this lifestyle choice is for you in the end.
Someone says something from off screen.
More muffled words from off-screen.
I MEAN.... not lifestyle choice... something you're born with.... DAMMIT, you DID catch me with your ACLU trap. Yes, yes, clever girl.
Ryan's eyes narrow as if to say "well played", then he smiles.
Most distressing for you at the moment is the unfortunate circumstance that finds you forced to deal with me one more time.
I know, I know... you'll make me... cum a brick... or a eunuch is gonna play air blowjob with me... or... something.
But Ataxia, my friend, I've warned you already. I'm here for the long haul. I don't go away. I will find your weakness eventually, and eventually I will return to my place at the top of the wrestling business just like I always do. I'm watching you, I promise. Always watching. I don't know if Sun Tzu had anything to say about it, but I'll tell you what I say.
Every man, whether sane or not, has a weakness. I am relentless and I will not go away. That's a promise, and I always keep my promises.
This week my newest promise is that you will not leave this match without getting a slightly deeper understanding of what I'm all about.
But don't worry. I know you have a fragile mental state.
I'll only give you what you can handle.