A/N: Yo... short story. Thought it would be good to write something small so people can get a taste of what I'm about. Hopefully, more people will take a peek at my longer works after this.
He could hear them. The faint sound of a crowd outside. He was used to this feeling. It was comforting. It meant they were interested, desperate for the next match. Though he couldn't tell if they were amused or frustrated. A small smile crept across his lips; their current mood didn't matter. Once he made his entrance, they would all be screaming his name.
He took his time today. The others were finishing up. He could relax. He was always relaxed, but today…
"How ya feeling?"
He didn't need to look back. He could tell from her voice who it was, "Warm." He peaked at the girl. Her bright red and orange gear brightened the dull room. The purple shirt she wore on top was a nice contrast to the blinding light that her flaming hair emanated. "Though that might be your fault."
"Har har…" she closed the door behind her as she entered. Amber's radiant personality was always nice to have. To say she lit up every room she entered (while cliché) was very true.
The seat she took on the nearby bench was… less than comfortable. But the air of this tiny room gave her a discomforting chill. She could tell something was off. Upon inspection of her companion, she saw that his movements were sluggish. The amount of care he took just to put on his wristbands was strange. And the hissing was a sound she didn't like to hear. "You okay?"
"Hmm? Of course, when am I not?"
"That's the problem." Her statement, while tentative, was heartfelt. "You've been slowing down. Is something wrong?"
He couldn't help but chuckle, "Kind of you to care for me. But I think you're a bit too young to worry about this old man."
"Old? Come on… you don't look a day over thirty!"
"Flattering." He opened the locker he was dressing in front of. Rummaging with some items within, out of her sight.
The silence turned the mood stale again. She hated this feeling. Her usual bubbly self being replaced by this silent and nervous girl. Though she knew an easy way to remedy that, "So what's the plan for tonight?"
He didn't turn to her, absently responding as he continued to fiddle with his locker. "I'll go out there and put on the best show ever."
She gave a quick response, "And… win right?"
He didn't fully turn to her, but his signature smile was visible. "Was that even a question?"
"Right," she faintly giggled.
There was that silence again. Why was it so loud? And she hated it so much. The way it screamed at her and threw off her tempo. She wished she could bring back that fun, lighthearted feeling they used to have. When she first joined the show and was taken under the wings of those two. When it was all smiles all the time. Now everything felt so heavy, and she hated it.
She looked up to him again, hoping to find something to talk about. But her throat was clogged by her apprehension. Just as she worked up the nerves to try again, the chanting of the crowd outside grew louder.
She could hear it, the demand for his arrival. He hid mostly behind his locker, "You should head out. The show's about to begin."
"Right…" Though she didn't want to end this meeting on such a somber note, she didn't know a way to fix the tension they had created.
As she reached for the door his voice piped up again. "Thank you." She turned to look at him but got that same smile. "For coming to every show. I don't know how you never have a performance at the same time. But I appreciate it."
Amber was always on fire. Her flames were what made her so famous. Her warm personality had made her so welcoming to newcomers. But right now, she truly felt like she was on fire. Her stomach igniting with a new feeling she wasn't used to. "Oh well… umm… you know I guess I'm just lucky." He snickered as she tried to remain calm, "Speaking of luck… Good luck."
"You think I need luck?"
"Well… you are defending the title."
"You think I can't beat him?"
Amber was flushed, "I just think he's tough."
"I'm not too shabby myself."
"Right…" Amber opened the door, the sound of the crowd now flowing in freely. "Well… Me and Poco will be in the front row. Opposite of the ramp. We'll be rooting for you."
He only returned a playful wave, allowing Amber to have the last word. Once the door shut behind her, the room was once again muffled to reality. He could faintly hear them, the crowd's roars. It was like a drug for him. This rush that only they could give him. The dopamine that filled his brain was pure and intoxicating. He lived for these moments.
He wrapped his hands around the blue mask within his locker. The white film covering the eyes seeming to stare back at him. For so long he believed that the character he played in the ring was just that, a character. But over the years, after his first title win, he realized that this was him. He was both. The man in the ring was an extension of himself. And outside those ropes, he could see more of this character appearing in his life.
Perhaps that's why the character fit so well? Why so many people loved him. And he loved all his fans. He reached his hands up to put on the mask, a sharp pain running through his collarbone. He grit his teeth and slid on the mask. A quick inspection in the mirror showed that he had put it on perfectly without any aid. Of course, he had, this was no mere mask. It was another face.
As he walked through the dark hall, he could hear their voices clearly. The children in the crowd seeming to pierce the swarm of voices that flooded his ears. He could feel his blood pumping, his heart racing as the adrenaline rushed through his veins.
Many chants were coming from the stadium. Calls for random stars, demands for strange and dangerous stipulations, and just the random murmur of the people outside these hollow walls. But the one name that he could hear rising above all others was…
"EL PRIMO! EL PRIMO!"
The crowd was rooting for their superhero. The warrior in blue spandex was currently pinned to the ground by his opponent, stuck in a powerful headlock. To them, it looked as if Primo was losing, but many of the fans knew better. Primo was never really losing, he just wanted to give them a good show. He would often let his opponent get the upper hand so that he can make a triumphant come back in the final seconds. It was classic babyface wrestling.
What they didn't know was how tense it was inside the ring. The sounds of heavy breathing coming from both parties. The amount of stress that was being put on their bodies. And the nervous sweat that Primo was producing.
He wasn't pretending, he was losing. He didn't know what to do, this opponent had been around for years. This one eternal crux in his side. An opponent that was his antithesis in character, but equal in combat.
A man dressed in a purple luchador costume similar to his. Though the mask he wore was more sinister with a black film covering his eyes and purple fins resembling the wings of a pixie. The red contacts he wore beneath them gave him a sinister glint and made many of the bystanders anxious in his shadow.
He could see the referee checking on him from the side. Constantly asking if he wants to give up. It was insulting, to think these referees thought a simple headlock would be enough to stop him. Though he had to admit, the lack of oxygen was getting dangerous.
Rudo was playing the villain perfectly, taunting Primo and antagonizing the crowd as much as he could. He put this headlock in so late in the match just to raise their ire. Slowing down what was a fast-paced match so that the crowd could be thoroughly blue-balled.
Rudo's face was close to his, currently squeezing his biceps to try and slice his neck with his muscles. With their bodies close to the ground, many of the spectators couldn't see their mouths. Allowing Rudo to speak freely. "It's been an honor fighting with you sir."
Primo was still fighting the grip but returned the sentiment, "Well done kid, you'll be a great villain someday." He was currently wrapping his fingers around Rudo's arm, trying to break the hold. But the younger fighter was quick to tighten his grip.
"Thanks. And I think that I know how to solidify my legacy." Primo was currently rising to a vertical base. The two beefy men now standing tall in the center of the ring. The crowd was screeching as he finally started to mount his comeback. But Rudo's sinister stare was unwavering, "I'm gonna be the man that retires you, old man."
Primo wasn't fazed by his words. He and Rudo had gone to war many times. And every time Primo came out on top. Rudo was not the first to propose such a conclusion. Many wrestlers noticed the age getting to him, his movements becoming sluggish and his punches growing weaker. But none of them stood a chance at defeating him.
Though tonight, he felt so powerless. Rudo's grip was like a trash compactor, and Primo was a compact car. He could resist, but not for long.
His eyes scanned the crowd, taking in the sight of so many fans watching his predicament. They all seemed so starry-eyed and excited at the performance they were given. He could see several children at the front wearing his masks, holding foam fingers and signs with his symbol visible. Beside them he noticed several boys brandishing Rudo's merchandise. The two groups battling over which of the wrestlers would win this bout.
Rudo violently ripped Primo around, his back now facing the entrance ramp. His vision blurring from the lack of oxygen and tiring activity. For a second, he could feel his vision fading. And the crowd noticed as well.
That's when he heard it. The sound of his family. He forced his eyes open and locked onto the golden skeleton that sat upfront. His hat off as he waved it in the air to grab his attention. The same skeleton he had accepted as his brother was now visibly begging for him to continue fighting. To not allow himself to succumb to the fatigue. Beside him was the young face of Amber. The girl they had taken in under their wings. Her usual bright light was fading away. Realizing he was the cause of her pain, hurt more than any move Rudo had used all match.
Primo's blood boiled at the scene. He was a superhero. A sign of hope to the visitors of Starr Park. A beacon of light in the sea of darkness. And the ray of hope when despair has clouded their vision. What kind of hero passes out before his family?
"El Primo?" he saw the ref ahead of him. "Do you quit?"
He had heard enough, "El Primo never quits!"
He leaned forward, using his momentum to throw Rudo over his back. The tone of the arena shifted as he went on the offensive. Rudo threw a wild punch which was easily ducked by the veteran. He used the ropes for momentum and pushed forward with a deadly amount of force. His shoulder crashing into Rudo with enough force to dent a car door.
Primo didn't give him a second of respite. He reached down, lifting the young man by his head and throwing his arm over his neck. With a heroic amount of strength, he raised Rudo over his head, effortlessly suplexing him in the middle of the ring. The younger man writhed in the center of the ring, holding his back as he tried to recover from Primo's sudden onslaught.
This boost of energy was heroin to him. He couldn't get enough. His eyes scanning the crowd and finding his family once again. They had those smiles he had fallen in love with plastered on their cheeks. His heart threatening to explode with the speed of its palpitations. Then he took in the arena. The small hometown feeling of the tiny ring and matching guests made him feel connected to all of them. These people, he couldn't dream of disappointing them. So right here, right now, he would show them that their hero is still here.
He didn't remember climbing the ropes. But with those extra four feet of elevation, he could see everyone's faces. They were all pointing up to the moon. Signaling for him to deal the finishing blow. Even the boys with their Rudo masks were cheering for him to finish it.
Who was he to deny them?
So, with the last ounce of strength he had, he flew into the sky, ready to hit his Super Flying Elbow Drop.
Amber walked to Primo's apartment alone. Poco said that he had other reservations to take care of. She wasn't going to pry, from the sound of his voice he hated he couldn't come. But now she wished she would have joined him.
Standing at his door was like approaching a final boss room. You don't know what's on the other side the first time, but after you've been in once there's always going to be this slight apprehension as you prepare to enter once again. Stepping into a lion's den would be easier than this. But now was not the time to run. She had to be there for him.
A light rasping knock on the door was all she could manage. Flinching a little as she awaited a response. She was pleased to hear him casually call for her to come in.
As she entered the room, she took note of how dark it was. The only sources of light being a few candles around the room, a fake fireplace, and the natural light from the moon. "Hola~."
She jumped at his sudden voice, from a side room he strolled into the main area. Moving towards the small kitchen that was attached to what looked like his living room. "Hola?"
Amber was apprehensive. She was trying to understand what she was seeing. He was happily moving about his home, grabbing random items out of the pantry and snacking on a granola bar. She carefully stepped deeper inside, noticing how happy he seemed. His movements were light and his attitude airy. It was like he had just gotten a new puppy and was currently shopping for toys.
Primo took notice of her confusion, "What's wrong?"
"Huh? Oh, nothing… What's wrong with you?"
Primo didn't look at her, "You know… I don't know why but I have the strangest craving for dirty rice." With his face hidden in shadows he looked at her, "But I also want a burger."
Primo continued contemplating how he would satisfy both his desires, while Amber tried to wrap her mind around this situation. She took her time, making her way to the tiny couch in his mediocre living room. When she sat down, her hands landed on the blue leather mask he wore to the ring. She picked it up, running her fingers across the fine stitching and taking her time inspecting the design. She could still feel the cold sweat from his face lining the inside of the forehead.
She couldn't stay silent, "I'm… frustrated."
"Why aren't you?"
Primo peaked over his shoulder, "Why should I?"
She quickly stood up, shoving the mask in his direction. "You lost! You lost the title. Doesn't that… upset you?"
Primo paused for a second. Quietly putting away the ingredients he had gathered and joining her on the couch. He took the mask from her, the two silently sitting in the near darkness. "Amber… I'm getting old."
Amber instantly recoiled from his words. She regretted teasing him early today, "Come on Primo. I already told you, you don't look a day over-"
"Thirty I know. I'm fifty-four." Amber was shocked by the revelation. Primo took his time, carefully choosing his next words. "I'm not getting younger. I might still look tough, but my body is giving up." She waited patiently for him to finish his thought, "El Primo's time is up. Maybe it's time for the next generation to take over."
A slight breeze could be felt through the open window. This chilling feeling threatened to freeze the tension solid. Forever placing them in a depressing box of their own making. Amber tried to break that box, "You should have seen them."
"The kids? How heartbroken they were that their hero lost? That the villain won?" Primo stood up, carrying his mask to the window. "For a split second. While I was lifted above the mat and right before I hit the ground. I saw a group of boys in the front row. One half had on my merchandise, the other Rudo's. When my head crashed against the floor, I could see their eyes so clearly, and you know what I saw?" Amber just asked for him to continue, "Wonder. They were amazed that Rudo won. I think it's good for him, that he's the one to beat me. His legacy is solidified, and the youth will be with him."
Amber was still unsure, "They'll miss you."
"For a while, but they'll cherish my legacy."
Amber wanted to agree with him. To believe that this was the best. But she just couldn't accept it. "You can't just leave them like that. You're the hero. You have to come back. Take one more crack at the villain. Show the kids not to go down without a fight."
He turned to her with a soft smile, "That was my fight."
"But… but you're El Primo…"
He stared out the window. The breeze tossing his brown hair into the light. With a soft sigh, he released his mask into the wind. A somber smile across his lips, replacing the usual ecstatic grin he wore. His trimmed mustache and bushy eyebrows accenting this new professional expression, "No… I'm just Raphael."
A/N: Okay cool. I'm done with this little story. Hope you enjoyed, drop a comment and maybe a favorite. Special thanks to Queenbookerly for giving me the name of El Primo. I can't do that whole naming thing. Just kinda suck at it. So yeah, go take a peak at her stories next.
And give my other stories a try. We're Keeping Her is a longer story with a similar set of action and emotion. Ranto Acadamey is a story focused on relationships rather than fighting. Fighter's Story is the ultimate tale that is still being created today. OC's are prevalent in the story but I promise they don't steal the spotlight. In fact they are used to enhance the characters of Brawl Stars. So maybe give one of them a try.
Alright, thanks for reading another one of...
Sammy's Silly Scripts