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X-treme Wrestling Federation »   » Archives » March Madness V 2023 RP Board
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Author Message
Ned Kaye Offline
per cogitabat, per facis
TITLE - Tag Champion



XWF FanBase:
The IWC

(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


#1
03-25-2023, 08:41 PM

OOC: This roleplay is going to involve some serious subject matters and themes, so just a heads up. Content Warning here:


Road to Redemption
Part VIII(Finale)

Jigsaw Falling Into Place



A piercing crackle boomed through the atmosphere.

A smudged portrait of the floor pressed against him greeted Ned as the waking world reclaimed him. His cheek was softly stabbed, prodded by the splintering oak of the cabin. His eyes struggled in adjusting, the staggered haze of his mind reliant on touch. His hand, drowsily deliberate, passed over the smooth, carved glass of several bottles. He reached in the direction of the futon, pulling himself off the ground cautiously, his legs hardly keeping him vertical initially. Just as he seemed to gain footing, a flash appeared out of the corner of his eye, shining through the window.

That's when the thunder boomed once more, causing Kaye to almost fall over in shock.

He hadn't noticed because of the alcohol polluting his system, but the hum he’d attributed to his acclimating senses was instead a downpour of rain. Stumbling towards the window, he peered outward, every detail beyond the cabin lost in a sea of shadows. Stumbling toward the door, his hand tensed, the plummeting ocean outside intensifying against the thin cabin walls. Steeling himself, he grabbed the handle and braced for the gusts to swing the door open. Somehow, he kept steady, but he had to depart the cabin immediately, slamming it shut behind him. The rain drenched him instantly. He sauntered towards where he'd seen a nearby cliffside, the arid dirt that had cracked for months transformed into sloshing mud as he pushed onward, only able to see the edge once he risked tumbling over it.

The path down was steep. On another occasion, he might’ve convinced himself that he could leap. Yet the twisted honesty of inebriation forbade him the illusion of that. He held a stubbornness that grinded against the self-destructive wish to end this sensation of utter misery. He wasn’t sure when it would pass. If it could.

He didn't know. He never knew.

The sky lit up again as lightning illuminated Ned, standing alone in front of the edge. Another spotlight pointed on him in his moment of misery, a camera of the cosmos positioned to merely watch him crumble. His fists clenched, nails dug into his palms as the rage he imprisoned inside escaped violently.

“IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT!?” His voice boomed like thunder in the emptiness of night.

“Does it please you to watch me like this?! Everytime I have something that makes me feel an iota happier, you want to see it stripped away, don’t you?! You’d love for me to hurt endless because it's entertaining, right?! Anytime someone else has something good, it’s given without a second thought! But for me, there's always a cost! So what is it?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”

Ned collapsed, his hands squeezing into the mud, the tears on his cheeks and the rain combining until they were indistinguishable.

“Do you want me dead? Is that it?” He asked quietly. His head rose, fully aware there wouldn't be a response, still wishing for one

“THEN DO IT!” He outstretched his arms while his knees pressed into the mud beneath. He closed his eyes, awaiting a bolt of lightning to strike. Anything.

DO IT!”

Still no response. His head fell, despair nearly overtaking him. His voice sounded like a whisper in the noise.

“I'm not strong enough to do it myself... so just do it...”[/color][/font]

His eyes opened, unsure what to expect. The pattern of the clouds reminded him of the draped fabric of his childhood bedsheets. The past seemed simple. Certainly, he wasn't constantly happy, but it was well-charted. The worn pains of then felt far preferable to the bleak unknown tortures of change. But there was no reverting history. All that stood before him was a choice: to go forward or to not.

A choice never stripped of him.

Exhaling, his head clearer, he stood, tossing the muck that coated his hands and knees aside. The walk back to the cabin was grueling, his shame pulling his gaze downward. That’s when he noticed an extra pair of tracks. He rushed forward, sprinting into the cabin. He was greeted by a cloaked figure sitting on the futon. Before Ned could say anything, they turned around.

Darcy’s face stared back.

They both seemed surprised at the reunion given the circumstances. Composing a sentence was difficult, but Ned forced something out.

“Did you... hear all that?” He asked, dreading the answer.

Don’t,” she responded, glancing away after witnessing his rough state. She inhaled sharply, a million conflicting emotions battling within.

“Do you have any clue how painful it is to see you like this?”

“I'm sorry,” Ned replied softly, his head lowering shamefully, “I... I didn't want to be around anyone when this happened.”

“Then why did you let it happen?” She questioned pointedly, her eyes meeting his.

“Don't pin this all on me,” Ned shot back indignantly, “I didn't fall off the wagon over nothing!”

“Pin it on you? No, Ned, I know I’ve more than fucked up and you made me feel awful about all of that! I said I was sorry!”

“Don’t act like apologizing erases my ability to get hurt!”

Darcy pointed at him, her own eyes becoming glassy, “It doesn’t! I hurt you! I have to live my entire life feeling terrible about that, but you didn’t even give me a chance! You refused to hear me out!”

“That's why I'm here!” He shouted, causing her to hesitate. He walked over to the empty spot next to her. His gestures were awkward, but sincere.

“May I?”

She gave a nod, scooting over to give him a little more space as he fell back into the futon, exhaling deeply, his eyes glued to the ceiling.

“I finally had something positive in my life with another person after years and I threw it away because I couldn’t handle things changing. I wanted it all to be simple and easy. God, I sound like I’m 19 again…”

His mind wandered as his hands hid his face.

“I just needed to accept that things would be different and a little difficult, but I couldn’t. I ruined what we had for nothing.”

“That's not true,” Darcy interjected, fiddling with her glasses somewhat, “... I felt the same way. I liked being seen as this kinda stable part in your life to the point where I went “okay, Darcy, let’s keep the lie going because the truth sucks!” The whole reason all of this started is because I didn’t want to lose my sister. Out of us, I’m the one who was so scared of life becoming different.”

He gave a weak chuckle, pointing at himself, “Can you really say I dealt with it better?”

“Point taken,” Darcy said lightly, “y’know… most of that stuff was outdated anyways. As much as you joke about it, you have changed. I did, too. I used to join projects and think about science first and ethics second, but after you, I couldn’t turn a blind eye anymore.”

“I... like the person I am when we’re around each other.”

Ned smiled, adding a quiet, “me too.”

“I suppose it seemed everything was becoming unreliable. The stuff with you, all of my friends, there were even rumors about some of my fans being plants based on stuff Sarah Lacklan investigated. And… it made me wonder if the Sidney Greys of the world are right... that you can only count on yourself.”

Darcy leaned towards him, placing her hand on his cheek as she turned his gaze to match hers.

“Then why am I here?” She asked.

His words became trapped in his throat. He couldn't provide an answer.

“I care about you. Saga does. There are tons of people here for you. You hear their voices when you wrestle. You’re really gonna trust an investigation by someone who’s hated you since day one? She'd probably ignore her own house burning down if it seemed uncool. But even Theo, as much as he's the antichrist, told me where you were. People care, Ned. They want to see you succeed,” She handed her phone to him, pulling up the XWF app with a few videos downloaded.

“What's this?” He asked, scrolling through them.

“It's that stuff your opponents have been saying about you. I know that’s important to keep up with, so I downloaded them! You don’t gotta say it, I know I’m the best,” She waved her hand regally, shrugging as reality set in, “okay, not literally, but I feel like the best when I’m helping you out. Your passion is infectious.”

She shook her head, giving a flustered, exaggerated groan before speaking once more, “Look... I can’t bear my heart like you, but I know that you make me wanna try. That has to matter.”

“Darce,” Ned spoke, his index finger carefully lifting her chin so their gazes could meet, “you are the best.”

Her cheeks turned a soft crimson.

“Do you want to try us ag-”

“Ned,” Darcy interrupted, shut up and kiss me.”

He leaned in, his lips softly embracing hers as they embraced, their warmth cutting through the cold rain that coated them. Despite the storm raging, all he could hear was the beating of her heart, a gentle reverberation that sent shockwaves through him. He’d never felt this close to another in his entire life. Her arms wrapped around him as he fell backwards, enjoying the soft pressure of her weight. Out there, countless little issues piled up, yet drifted away.

In here, they were together.





It was nearly dawn as Ned awoke. Darcy rested on his chest, mumbling incoherently in her sleep. Doing his best not to wake her, he shimmied out from underneath her, leaving her a pillow to rest upon. He grabbed the VCR, hooking it up to the television. Slightly hesitating, he grabbed the video tape that Steven Cooper left for him. Breathlessly, he placed it in the VCR.

The glow of the picture illuminated Ned, revealing a small, cramped apartment filled with wrestling memorabilia. Steve stepped in view of the camera. He appeared exactly as Ned remembered. Frozen in time.

“So,” Steve began, rubbing his hands together as he contemplated, “I guess if you're watching this, kid, it means I kicked the bucket. I could get all mopey about it, but we all have our time and the clock's catching up to all of us. But we can leave things behind for the livin'. And in my time working with you, Ned, I figured that you're not this dark force you've been trying to be. You picked up four people that nobody really gave a damn about and gave 'em something important: hope.”

Ned held back the tears, averting Steven’s “gaze.”

“Hell, after I threw you in rehab, I started thinking about how much time I got left and I used some of that money I got from this gig to go to rehab. No shit, I've been trying to tie up my loose ends! A far cry from the guy I used to be, but I 'spose that's the neat thing about living: no one's forcing you to stay one way forever. Now, my therapist, as much of a long-winded shrink he is, gave me this way to think about your problems just to break them down and make them a little easier to confront. Basically, you think of your problems like a mountain and then break down the steps to climbing it. When first climbing a mountain, you must learn how to fall. Because climbin’ is easy, but fallin’ is the tough part...”

...

“...what separates those at the peak from those on the ground. No one can make that choice for you, but you. And I know you will.”

Steve gave a knowing smile as the tape began to reach its end.

“Make us proud, kid.”

The tape finished, a cyan emptiness left in his wake. Picking himself up, Ned walked outside, stepping towards the cliff as sunrise slowly started. With each step, the earth beneath him was malleable, shifting beneath his feet. Where Ned walked, the world made way. He looked over the cliff to see sunlight, bright as it washed over him.







“Redemption.”

“It's a word that is as difficult to define as it is easily tantalizing. That can be used for atrocity and generosity interchangeably. Everyone here in this final four is flawed. We wear the world's unforgiving reality on our sleeve in our own unique varieties. Yet, throughout all of my opponent's words, the same narrative of countless broken homes rears its ugly head: “if you give me what I deserve, then you'll understand that my actions were justified.” A philosophy that what is owed must be reclaimed at any cost. But that's not all. Despite their attempts to hide it, my opponents also had another bit of collective consensus: that this tournament was “my moment” and that they would be the one to spoil it.”

“You are all correct on half of that.”

“This is my moment. March Madness is where I made my first mark on this company and, four years later, I shall climb the mountain that has cast its shadow over my career here. And yet despite all that time, the way the three other finalists refer to me, you'd swear I was the same kid who walked in here in 2019. And just like my tormentors from high school, they almost had me believing it. That I was playing “The Notorious One” again, desperate to become the idealized version of myself that I swore was the only person worth being. But I'm not. I grew, evolved, and changed. I'm not the naive rookie everyone swears I am. I am Ned Kaye: five time champion. The man who paves paths forward long before people like ALIAS started tweeting cryptic clues or Sidney Grey starting playing copycat. Even Noah Jackson needed me to wear a jockstrap before he had the idea to. For as much as everyone wants to characterize me as my past or my mistakes, you keep finding a lot of comfort in my footprints.”

“It all comes down to change and what we're willing to do in the face of it. Sidney's world cannot handle it, so she wallpapers over everything and refuses to accept it as it is, only as it was. Your heart is as empty as your head, and I feel so bad for Angie that she runs the risk of hurting herself against your uncaring shell of a self. You need me to be the same because the world according to you crumbles if I'm not. I am the death of your escapist bullshit and when we face, you'll understand just how Earth shattering I truly am. To lose to you is to fail for a day, but to succumb to your broken worldview is to fail for a lifetime. So, while I take the crown you covet, I offer you something in return: a shared experience with the one person who genuinely wants to be around you. You can bond with Angie over facing me in March Madness and watching in disbelief as the crowd swells and your little empire of lies cracks around you.”

“Noah's resistance towards evolution is the fear of weakness. He can't accept a world where he is powerless to help himself sometimes, yet it's what we all face. So, he dresses up and does anything and everything to be the biggest clown possible, pieing his face just to keep people interested. It is a pitiful existence. He can't even pretend to care enough about himself to make a movie about him. I mean, where would you find the lead? Nobody wants to be Noah Jackson. He's resigned to the fact that this story is mine to claim. Mine to earn, even if he cannot speak the words. Your consolation is simpler: I offer you the one thing no one in this company would dare give you: an honest friend. I can't allow you the peak of the mountain, but I can offer my ear and my time. And that will have to be enough for you.”

“And lastly, Vaughn built his ego and identity so much around success that he lies to himself utterly and entirely just to keep up the facade and even he admits that I'm worthy for the finals. If you asked him, he beat me with two hands behind his back. He thinks he gives me nightmares. Peter, it's a good night's sleep when I dream of kicking your ass and CCPE isn't here to inflate your ego. You cut promos like I did in 2019. You whine and pout about being the best, but you seem to not realize that, out of everyone here, I'm the only person who's gotten to the final four without using my primary finisher. Your utter obliviousness isn't even pitiable, it's just fucking grating. For you, I give only a warning to the man holding your leash: you're next.”

“We all are given a choice in the face of our flaws. We can work to overcome them, or we can feed and enable them. All three of you want this crown for the sake of enabling your awful habits and broken lifestyles. I'm the only one working for a better outcome. Because I don't fight for spite or fear or hubris. I fight for love. I love seeing the fans' faces as I enter. I love everyone who has ever given me the chance to be their friend or ally. I love the XWF and what it stands for! For the chance to climb the mountain and become something- no- someone greater. You've watched me turn from Notorious to Nefarious to Nameless to Ned Kaye. You've all witnessed me become a man worth being right in front of your eyes. This is my story. My moment.”

“And now it's time to become The Ace.”


SPECIAL THANKS:
-You for reading this crazy series
-The other Final Four competitors for being crazy stiff competition
-Saga for being there for me
-Anyone who ever lent me an ear about my ideas for this series
-Anyone who has ever cheered me on. I love you all.
See ya on the other side!

"You can't run from yourself."
[Image: riNkNZw.png]
XWF
Wins | Losses | Draws
59 | 37 | 4


Indie Darling Eternal

#33 on The XWF Top 50(2021)
1x Tag Team Champion[with Isaiah King](Current)
2x [Image: CbviDqC.png] (Former)
1x X-Treme Champion(Former)
The Final Supercontinental Champion
1x Television Champion(Former)
Star of the Month - April 2019 | March 2021 | December 2022
RP of the Month - March 2021 (Void of the Mind)
Winner - Leap Of Faith Rafter Match 2019
1x 24/7 Briefcase Holder
Winner - War Games 2023(With Mark Flynn, Isaiah King, & Crash Rodriguez as G00D-B01)


All Time Career(Interfed)
Wins | Losses | Draws
61 | 39 | 4
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