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X-treme Wrestling Federation » Warfare Boards » Warfare RP Board
Bonfire
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
10-06-2023, 07:21 PM



"Look, I'll admit that I was not certain what you meant by "burn the past," but…"

His arms crossed, Ned leaned against a brick wall, illuminated by the gentle flicker of a blazing ballet. His eyes watched the sparks flutter and twist, colliding into small bursts of energy, twirling into the small inferno as they fell, warm air and smoke lifting like hands tuggin down a piece of cloth, disappearing into the flames like carrots into a stew.

"...But, this?”



"This is… baffling. At best."

Beside the barrel hosting the flame is one Mark Flynn, dumping a large jug of peanut oil, balancing it precariously in his loose grip. Managing to splash a large geyser directly into the flame, the combustible… well, combusts almost immediately! The blazes pirouette and plie. The chances of spontaneous explosion increase from "possible" to "likely."

"Nedbare Tapestry, riddle me this! Why do YOU have such a big problem with fire, huh?!?” Flynn side-eyes Ned with sudden and complete distrust. “Pretty SUS-picious that you wouldn’t be a fan of man’s greatest invention! Are you, perhaps, GETTING PAID OFF BY THE FATCATS THAT RUN BIG FIRE EXTINGUISHER, HUH? Getting paid off by the shareholders whose pockets are full of POTASSIUM ACETATE!!!" Mark "asked" in his surprisingly consistent adversarial-and-defensive tone. Ned's lips pushed outward as he exhaled, having become a little more adept at unpacking the baggage that Mark passed around like White Elephant Christmas gifts.

“First off, that's not a thing. And if it were, that would not be a bad thing to advocate for. I legitimately cannot understand being anti-fire safety.”

“EASY!” Flynn begins, immediately ready for debate. “POINT ONE FOR BEING PRO-FIRE! It’s pretty. POINT TW-”

“But all of that is beside the fact that there’s no way it’s okay to be doing this in the alley BEHIND THE DENNY’S!"



Shining even brighter than Mark’s grease fire? The shimmering, stuttering glow of a neon Denny’s sign, warmly overseeing them. Another exhale escaped Ned, his fingers perching upon the bridge of his nose as any sort of scrutiny bounced off of Mark with complete ease. If Mark Flynn was breathing, he was opportunistically clueless.

Flynn scoffed, repeating the noise a few times, louder with each repetition to accentuate the indignant outrage he felt at the implication he hadn’t thought this ‘fire idea’ out completely.

“Ned, THINK for ONE SECOND. Do you really believe DENNY’S would protest the presence of the warm bosom of Prometheus on their property!?! THEY PERFECTED IT, NED! They USE FIRE… to cook EGGS! That’s ALL an OVEN IS! Be-sides!”

Outstretching his arm, Mark gestured towards a placard adorning the Denny’s exterior. Written in small print, juuuuust under the logo…

‘Want to participate in quasi-legal activity on the premises? Please pay Your bill beforehand.’

Ned stared at the plaque in disbelief as Mark clarified, “Their commercial slogan is...”

[Image: Denny-s.png]

“...There’s no way that’s true.”



Within the premises, a severer peered out the window, their face contorting at the sight of two customers apparently deciding to begin a trashfire right outside of the restaurant. Making his way to the waitress for their table, his fingers are intertwined, twisting out of a growing sense of confrontation. He cleared his throat to get her attention, her eyes lifting from a book of crossword puzzles she was tending to. Her gaze, shielding slightly by a pair of glasses, holds little patience.

“Yes, sug?” She asks, managing to make a contraction of the word sugar slightly intimidating.

“Well,” the server began lowering the volume of their voice, trying to be subtle in front of the other customers, “we-uh… we have a few patrons who are-”

“Excuse me? You’re going to need to speak up.” She interrupted, turning a page of her book after dragging her forefinger and thumb across her tongue to grip the paper.

“I’m just saying that we have an issue and w-we might need to… get a-”

Interrupting him again, she rolled her eyes, “If you can’t even get your mouth to work properly, maybe you should worry more ‘bout that than the customers. Sug.”

“Look!” The server raised his voice, pointing towards the window, “those two customers are burning something right outside the establishment! We can’t just allow that!”

Her chin lifted, finally staring the server in the eyes.

“Know what corporate says?”

He shook his head, admittedly not holding the job for long enough to know the policy.

She puts a hand on her heart above the Denny’s logo on her uniform before bringing her hand to the side of her face, shielding her gaze from the window in question.

“If I don’t see it, it didn’t happen. ‘Sides, don’t matter much anyway. It’ll take another hour and a half to get their food out to ‘em.”

The server snorted, suppressing a laugh as he responded, “90 minutes? That fast? Man, someone’s really gunning for a promotion! They’re really taking their best shot with that one! If they get passed up on, that would be highway robbery! We are about to get held up in an armed hostage situation, huh?”

He’s greeted with a bizarre, confused expression from the waitress as his demeanor deflates once more.

“It… it’s a thing kids say.”

The chime connected to the front door rang as it swung open. Two men entered, their footsteps clacking against the tile floor, pristine despite being in Hell and being a Denny’s. At first glance, they were average-looking patrons, although overdressed with combat vests and half worn ski-masks. It was only once you gazed at their torsos where the holes could be seen, the bullets that shot them dead having ripped the muscle apart, riddling them with little reminders of their most recent and catastrophic failure. They bickered with one another upon stepping inside.

“How the HELL did you lose the briefcase? The boss is gonna be so mad! This was his whole plan!”

“I’m telling you it wasn’t my fault that we- that something went wrong! That doctor was trying to fuck on me!” One said to the other, his stature large, but the spot where a heart should be covered by a close friend’s credit card, used previously to try and prevent his lung from collapsing in life.

“Oh sure! You know, without that money card on your chest, you’re just any other jabroni trying to push your weight around!” The other robber had a clear shotgun wound that ripped off his leg. It was only with a shiny, silvery piece of metal that he was able to stand and even then, he was hobbling. Despite their clear dysfunction, they seemed very cagey about the “d” word.

“Are we gonna keep bitching about this or are you just gonna go around criticizing people you can’t even earn a payday without?” The larger man questioned pointedly, “I don’t have enough time to develop a personality that can get more angry at you, so let’s stop yapping and overlapping, start capping, cash strapping, getaway mapping while your gums’re flapping and hit the jackpot for once?”

They begin drawing their firearms, wincing a bit from the pain of recently departing the mortal coil. The customers and employees within the Denny’s begin to cower, ther faces sinking at the violent, inept duo before them. Can any save them? To illuminate a better way?! Are there any heroes ANYWHERE?



“You listen here, Mother-Kaye-I…” Flynn mutters, as he unscrews the cap on… another peanut oil jug? (That’s like… four so far…) “Not only is this fire NOT UNSAFE… I dare say that THIS WILL BE THE SAFEST FIRE HANDLING YOU WILL EVER WITNESS!” Flynn declares into the hellish night sky, pouring concerning amounts of oil into a flaming barrel, which had shifted its style from an elegant ballet of heat to something more akin to a burning mosh pit.

“You think I don’t know fire, Laborious One!?! I was BORN in it! MOLDED by it! I hadn’t felt *even* MILDLY moist air until I was WELL GROWN! WHY, when I first debuted, my whole gimmick was being a…”



“A…” Flynn scratches his head.

“Dammit, what’s the word… It’s on the tip of my tongue. It’s kinda like ‘fireman’... but it’s not ‘fireman’...”

He pondered the nomenclature, tossing the emptied container of oil to the side and clumsily tearing another open.

“Pyrotechnician?”

…Flynn purses his lips, gritting his teeth. “No.. Close, though…”



Flynn snaps his fingers!

“Ah! That’s right! SERIAL ARSONIST!” Flynn’s brow relaxes like a massive weight was lifted off his skull… As he smacks the bottom of the peanut oil barrel, getting every last drop fed into the fire…

“WHAT?!?” Ned’s voice boomed out, echoing throughout the alley, “Flynn, you’re a serial arsonist?!”

“WAS!” Flynn was quick to correct Kaye, “I WAS a serial arsonist! NOW, I’M A GOOD GUY, OKAY?!? We’re not just ONE thing forever! I’ve been a pseudo-cult leader, Theo Pryce’s mortal enemy, an attempted manslaughterer… A pseudo-cult leader!”

“You said that one already!” Ned points out.

“I WAS THAT ONE TWICE!” Flynn spits back. “But all that’s DONE! I’m a GOOD GUY NOW! As in, IN THE PRESENT. Leave the PAST in the PAST.”

Ned propped a foot on the container as Mark went to pick it up, leaning his weight down to prevent him from adding literal fuel to the flame. Kaye wasn’t certain exactly how to articulate his disapproval immediately, but the frustrations grating against his mind were soon given form.

“This is idiotic,” Ned insisted, “The past isn’t an old pair of sneakers or some embarrassing poetry you wrote in grade school. You can’t just make it disappear by dousing it in flames! It happened. Mistakes aren’t a marker you can wipe away, they’re the etching in tree bark that scars the oak for the rest of time. You can’t undo it, only live with it there. It won’t just burn away.”

“It WOULD… if you weren’t STANDING ON MY FUEL SOURCE!”

“I’m just trying to prevent you from blowing up this entire back alley! Impeding your metaphor is just an extension of that desire to not explode!” Crossing his arms, Ned dismisses Mark’s notion as Flynn gazes up angrily at him, watching the fire only slightly diminish in the few moments Ned’s prevented him from adding more oil.

“...TRUST ME, NED.” Flynn tugs the thing under Kaye’s boot. “I’ll show you if you just GET. OFF!”

Successfully dislodging the container from under Ned’s foot, Mark pulled it back, nearly tripping Kaye up, but he merely stares disapprovingly as another large gulp of fresh oil is added to the metal throat, belching flame and smoke into the air. Putting the container to the side, Flynn stood near the immense fire, gazing at the swirling maelstrom of heat purposefully. Ned had seen countless moments akin to this from Mark. It would only be a second before he tossed some old photos, wipe the soot from his hands onto his jeans, and declared the whole affair handled. Opportunistically clueless. Conveniently incurious. It was a habit that Flynn showcased often and no time was more fitting than now to display it.

But that wasn’t what Ned witnessed. Instead, he witnessed Mark’s greatest ability; the one most people never got a chance to even consider, let alone see. His ability to surprise others.



Flynn sniffs, scratching his head, staring into the flames. His eyes try to pierce its center, its core… its warmth…

As if he’s… searching for something in the embers.



After a moment, he sighs.

“I can’t make it right.”



“What I did to NK, I mean. Y’know, the whole… throwing him into an electrical box. Betraying him. Robbing him of his chance.”



“There’s no… one-step… overnight way to undo what I did. I can’t come in with a pair of tights and a cape and save him from what I’ve done.” Flynn’s lips flatten, accepting this bitter truth. “Hell, even if I could, I doubt it’d be welcome.”



Flynn exhales.

“But. That’s the trick, isn’t it? We’ve seen all these multiverses that stretch the realm of what reality could be… We’ve seen ALIAS doom the universe to a civil war apocalypse where the Always Sunny Cast is brutally murdered daily. We’ve sseen billions get spent so Vin Diesel can drive a shit Chevrolet in fucking SPACE...”



“That wasn’t in the XWF… but I don’t THINK that was a dream I had…”



“Point being, despite all these disparate realities… WE only get one life.”

“...Maybe somewhere out there, NK and I are still going on adventures, picking at each other, two pieces that don’t fit any puzzle but somehow click together.”


…Flynn grins, briefly lost in a fond memory of his tag-team partner…

…The flame twists… And Flynn nods.

“But, here? I’m on a path now. And NK… he’s on a different one.”

“...Beating NK didn’t prove his points wrong. I did betray him. I was…”
Flynn’s nostrils flare, as he swallows down bile to face the facts. “Angry thinking about him getting a chance and not me… And that did make me a shitty partner.”



“Beating NK didn’t prove he was wrong…”



“But, I know what will. And I’ll do everything in my power to prove NK wrong. Not by beating him…”

…Flynn sniffs. “(I mean, any more times than I have to…)”

“But, by being different.” Flynn nods. “I’m… I’ll be better. I’LL BE MORE.”



…Flynn seem to gaze deeper into the embers, as if entering another level of flame.

“It’s been… a little over half a year since I lost the Uni. And decided to try something new.”

“Being a… ‘good guy’.”
Flynn wraps the phrase in finger-quotes.

“...And… looking back… No, I didn’t start going good for the right reasons.”

“Nor was I good at being good from the get-go… Had a few… bumps on the road…”


“Sorry.” Ned clears his throat. “By bumps in the road, do you mean… exploding a kid?”

Flynn spins around, red in the face. “IT’S MY TURN TO BURN THE PAST, NED. WAIT YOUR TURN!”

…Ned smiles, acquiescingly lifting his hands.





Flynn exhales, turning back toward the flame.

“What’s the use? No matter how hard I try to do better… Someone else opens their fucking mouth.” Flynn shakes his head. “Anytime I take a half-step in the right direction, a half-dozen assholes in the peanut gallery remind me of the slip I made along the way…”

Flynn pinches the bridge of his nose. “Lording over me… Every way that I am not enough. That I CAN’T be enough.”

“Every second of every minute of every hour of every day… I am reminded that I am IRREDEEMABLE. And UN-FORGIVABLE.”




Ned’s smile vanishes. A little bit of guilt spreads on his face.



…Flynn smiles.

“Straight-talk?” Flynn turns back, eyeing Ned.

“I think that’s why I was fucking EC-STATIC to… uh…” Flynn coughs awkwardly. “Play uncle and all that.”

Ned’s eyes narrow, trying to understand Flynn’s meaning.

Flynn turns around, back to the flame. “It woulda… Woulda been someone NEW. Someone that wasn’t around when I was… uh… ‘not good’. Somebody that might see how hard I’m trying to be better. That might see what I’m selling and buy it.”

“That might think… I’m a.. Real good guy… y’know?”

“Not a work-in-progress.”

“Not a fake clout-chasing, cheer-hoarding, two-faced WHORE like half the XWF’s ‘good guys’.”
Flynn spits.



“But. Just… a good guy. A real one.”



Flynn’s eyes spark imaging a fantastical world where someone believes in him.

His fists tighten. Like a kid imagining Christmas the first time his parents explain it to him

“God… Someone would fuckin’... TRUST ME.” Flynn smiles ear-to-ear. “Listen to the words streaming out of my mouth and regard it like a fount of truth… Hear my speech and Fucking KNOW THAT I MEAN EVERY SYLLABLE.”



Flynn strikes himself in the chest. “Goddamn, my heart is RACING just THINKING about it!!! GAHHHH, I WANT IT!” Flynn giggles. He starts squeezing his fists intermittently to try and calm himself down.



…For a moment, the fire wanes. Like a hare diving into his hole… The warmth and light is gone.



…And with it, Flynn’s joy vanishes.

“But… That’s not happening.” Flynn sighs. “Not right now, at least.”



“And that’s okay.” Flynn nods. “Because the thought of that happening? Represented a hope. Another possibility. A fucking CHANCE at something REAL.”

Flynn squeezes his fist so hard, his knuckles audibly crack.

“And the fact that it won’t happen right now? Doesn’t mean I should let go of that hope.” Flynn shakes his head.

The fire starts to creep back up the sides of the barrel.

“If anything… It’s a… a SIGN! IT’S A FUCKING VISION OF WHAT COULD BE!” Flynn starts sounding a little more like his over-the-top self. “FUCKING PROVIDENCE LAY-ETH BEFORE ME TO ACTUALIZE ON THIS GLIMPSE OF A BETTER WORLD!”

The embers ROAR WITH FLYNN, as he howls into the night air with abandon.



“It is… a GUIDING LIGHT. To keep going.” Flynn nods. “To NEVER STOP swinging. To DRIVE! Marching forward until the next hope comes around.”

…Flynn turns around to side-eye Ned, blushing a little bit.

“...Nederick, this might be awkward...” Flynn chuckles to himself. “But, I cannot fuckin’ WAIT for your boy-slash-girl-slash-non-binary progeny… WHO I WILL ACCEPT UNCONDITIONALLY IN EVERY WAY, AS ANY GOOD UNCLE WOULD!” Flynn shoves a finger at Ned, daring him, fucking DARING the Notorious One, to claim that Flynn won’t be the best uncle to ever live.

“...I cannot WAIT for your child to get there… So, I can work every day to be worthy of their trust.”

…Flynn smiles.

“BUT! That doesn’t mean I’ll start trying to be worthy WHEN they get here.” Flynn spends every calorie of energy in his body, shaking his head back and forth to deny that thought! “HELL NO! NO WAY!”

“I gotta start now. I gotta fuckin’ COMMIT EVERY DAY, EVERY HOUR, EVERY MINUTE, EVERY SECOND… to being better.” Flynn emphatically nods his head, getting high on his own idea supply. “So when he/she/xe/ze/el-em-en-oh-pee, THAT’S NOT A PRONOUN JOKE, I WILL LOVE THIS KID REGARDLESS.”

Ned coughs. “Some people just say ‘they’. As like a… catch-all.”

…Flynn’s eyes widen. “Wow… That’s a great word. I’ll try it.”



“When THEY GET HERE.” Flynn PUMPS HIS FIST. “AH, THAT FELT GREAT.”



“When THEY get here… all that hard work will come to fruition. And I will be EVERYTHING THEY NEED in an uncle.”



“Yes. I WAS a bad guy. And it’s become CRYSTAL PEPSI CLEAR… My fucking co-workers… will NEVER stop telling me I’m a bad guy.”



“BUT!” Flynn’s fists shake with excitement. “I have the POWER. TO PROVE THEM WRONG.”

…Ned sighs. Here we go. More of his ‘winning-matches-justifies-wrongs-bullshit’...

“NOT! By beating them in the ring! NOT BY SNAPPING THEIR ARM IN HALF AND TAPPING THEM OUT!”



“But! By acting better! By being good! By committing myself to this new path! Each and every day.” Flynn nods.

…Ned briefly beams with pride.

“OUT OF SPITE!” Flynn spits, cackling. “HAHA! THEY’RE GONNA LOOK SO DUMB FOR THINKING I WAS EVIL! THOSE FUCKING DWEEBS, HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

…Ned sighs.

But, still, it’s something.

“I will NEVER!” Flynn sticks a finger in the air, as if declaring his new worldview to every higher power on every plane of reality that anyone believes in. “EEEEEEEVER! PERMIT EVIL TO TAKE PLACE UNDER MY WATCHFUL EYE AGAAAAAAAIN!”



Back inside Denny’s.

“You hear something?”

“Oh, some guy is yelling in the alley about turning over a new leaf.”

“Feh.” Says the Robber, mid tying up the server’s as his partner in crime pours cash from the register into a sack. “Why would anyone ever try to change or grow? That’s stupid. You know what’s way cooler than self-improvement? Jetpacks!”



“These fucking BUFFOONS! Can dredge up my past! They can DIG THROUGH MY DIRTY LAUNDRY. THEY CAN SWIM IN THE SHIT I EXPELLED YEARS AGO ALL THEY LIKE.”



“All it’s gonna do is leave the stench on THEM.”

“It holds NO SWAY over who I want to be.”

“Who I WILL BE from THIS DAY FORWARD!!!”




Flynn draws his hands toward his chest… Like he’s… reaching for something.

…His face contorts in exertion. He clears his throat, struggling… gritting… gnashing his teeth.

…Phooom… Flynn’s hands leave his chest. The flames dance, clearing a path as a wall of air is pushed into it…

…Is that all that entered the flame, though?

Ned blinks. For a moment, he could’ve sworn he saw Flynn push something away…

Flynn takes a deep breath. His shoulders lift… And drop.

“What’s done is done. I cannot change that.”

“But… The PAST… is in… the PAST.”


…The flame… seems to waft.

Almost like a… burp?

Like it just swallowed something heavy and dense…



“YES!” Flynn hits his knees like he just won a big match! “FUCK!” He fist-pumps in the air. “KNOCKED IT OUTTA THE PARK!” Flynn spins, shooting double finger-guns at Kaye. “Did you fucking SEE THAT, NEDENTIALS? I BURNED THE PAST LIKE IT WAS YOUR MOM’S LASAGNA!” Flynn pounds his chest with his right arm, beaming with pride.

”Phew, that felt good.” Flynn claps. “All right.” Flynn points at the Notorious One. “Ready to see if you can one-up me?” Flynn nods, running his knuckles across his chest. “Let’s BURN THE PAST!”

Unease filled Ned’s chest, like water replacing the space in his lungs. Watching Flynn grow and reach a salient point was a reminder that even though Ned was flawed himself, the end goals he pursued were still absolutely worth it, even if he gave too much in order to do it. A part of him prepared to laugh off the situation and just head inside so they could resume their dinner, but something compelled him to step forward. A wordless need to look into the flames and watch the reflection of the embers.

He could see her. Darcy Ellis, one of the only people who had ever truly believed in him the way he had other people. Her hair, the color of dark oak, slung over her face as she snoozed away silently. There were so many flaws that she found in herself or others insisted existed within her, but Ned never saw that. The imperfections were half the point.

And now she was gone. Exiting his life for reasons he understood entirely. He wanted to say something, to put the past in the past, but the emotions choked him, the unease in his lungs drowning out any opportunity to speak in a manner of closure. The hesitation ate at him. Why was he struggling to declare the past as merely that?

Why did it have to extend into the present?

His opportunity to dissect the sensation was short lived as the two robbers burst from the door, brandishing their weapons and bravado in tow.

“Now, let’s all be cool here, back alley weirdos! We don’t need anybody trying to be heroes here!”

“Heaven knows we don’t!”

“Dude,” the larger robber turned to his compatriot, “I’m gonna stop coming up with names for people I never plan to work with again if you keep talking about being d-e-a-d.”

“I don’t see what our cool, totally-will-be-used-more-than-once name has to do with the DEA, man.”

While the two argued and misunderstood, Ned preemptively turned to try and make sure Mark wouldn’t do anything irrational. Unfortunately for Ned, he saw, mid-turn, Mark hoisting the flaming barrel over his head and throwing it at the attackers, screaming a guttural cry of self-defense and burning hands.

“DONKEY KOOOOOOOO-AAAHHHHH! FIRE, YOU BURNT ME! YOU TRAITOR!!” Flynn screams as he tosses the barrel, at first aiming it at the robbers, eventually just to get the burning metal out of his hands.

As the barrel toppled the larger robber, Ned leaped over the flaming grease to kick the smaller man over, prompting him to also get set on fire, Ned gasping in audible horror as it occurred, quickly extinguishing the situation before too much harm was done to the assailants. A few more minutes and Hell PD would quickly apprehend the two attempted robbers, their cop car merrily driving off as Ned and Mark finally went back to their seats.

Mark’s hands were bandaged, wrapped up multiple times over due to his brilliant scheme of throwing a burning, metal barrel turning out to not be such a well-devised stratagem after all. There’s a bit of silence between the two, having managed to begin a bonfire and stop a crime all while waiting for a single order.

“I can’t believe they’re STILL making two HEROES pay! After all we’ve done for them! This is the WORST best place on Earth ever!” Mark proclaimed angrily, smacking the table with his bandage stumps. Ned hears him, but isn’t listening, still ruminating on something earlier.

“I SACRIFICED MY HANDS(for a few days) FOR $74 DOLLARS AND I CAN’T EVEN GET FREE MOONS NOR A COMPENSATED HAMMY??? BAH, I say! BAH AND HUMBUG! BALDERDASH, EVEN!”

The sounds of Mark’s aggressive anger resemble mere noise to Ned as he stared at a spot on the table, his eyes peering over the coffee stain.

“Can you BELIEVE they would do US like tha-”

“Mark,” Ned responded solemnly, “you said something earlier… in the alley.”

“I don’t think you’re irredeemable or that you can’t change or don’t deserve anything. I’m actually really proud of you.”

“OH?” Mark latched onto Ned’s approval preemptively.

“That doesn’t mean you get to stop trying.”

“Oh C’MOOOOOON, NED.” Flynn sneers, in disbelief.



“*thorat-clear* I mean, OF COURSE!” Flynn snorts. “No, yeah, that’s… *sigh*... YES, I WILL KEEP TRYING. AND SUCCEEDING, OF COURSE. I am the BEST GOOD GUY, after all.” Flynn smashes his hands against the table… Immediately, his face contorts in pain, from his burnt hands colliding with the particleboard table.

“Look,” Ned reached over to the napkin dispenser, doing his best to scrub the stain on the table away, “just because I struggle with letting go of things doesn’t mean everyone needs to. That’s a me problem. I can feel my world kind of fracturing apart, like gravity tearing it apart and I just want to be strong enough to pull it back together, but also never… let go.”

“That sounds like a therapist’s job to clean up.” Mark observed.

“Yeah,” Ned chuckled weakly, “I tried that-”

“NOT TO INTERRUPT,” Mark said, with the tone and timing of a guy who did not give a shit whether or not he was interrupting, “But that reaction you just described there, bucko? I mean- I’m no physicist, but that sounds like what you want is-uh-... well, gravity pulling all back in one place is called…”

“Implosion.”

It was a salient point, one that had already come to Kaye’s mind in clearer times.

“Yeah,” Kaye was somewhat dismissive as he moved back a subject, “but my point is that you’re doing better. You are working hard and becoming better and that’s great! People… people change. Even when others don’t notice it.”

“No! NOOOOOOO!” Mark gasped in horror as Ned’s thoughts concluded.

“No?” Ned replied, taken back by his tone. It was only when readjusting his gaze that Ned noticed what had occurred. They finally brought out Flynn’s beloved two plates of Moons Over My Hammy and Mark’s hands were trapped behind protective gauze, unable to feed himself the most delicious looking Denny’s meal this side of ever.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” He cried out, in the most profound despair! “THIS IS HELL! THIS IS TRULY, TRULY HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!” He shakes his fists in the air over his double omelets. So close yet so far away…

A single thought crossed Ned’s mind as Mark seeped in this very minor torment.

Maybe… maybe some parts of people don’t change a lot.

He glanced down at his phone, taking a deep breath and sending a long overdue message, trying his best to drown out Mark’s screams of agony.

[Image: Screenshot-2023-10-06-at-5-47-45-PM.png]







”The past is in the past.”

“And the future is upon us.”




“I can’t wait for it.”

“I can feel it coming.”

”Do you fuckin’ feel that, kids?”

“Can you sense the earth fucking quake?”

“The mountains shake?”

“THE FUCKING HEAVENS PARTING AND ORDAINING THE DAWN OF A NEW AGE!”

“Do you feel it? Cuz I do.”

“...Er, ‘We do’.”




“I mean, we do, right? That’s not just me?”

“We do.”

“YOU GODDAMN RIGHT WE DO. KAYE AND FLYNN! SAME PAGE!.”

“Because now is the time for new beginnings! The week after Relentless. A whole new year.”

“And look at the two sides of this ring.”

“On one side?”

“MARK FLYNN.”

“The wielder of a 24/7 briefcase. The most dominant Universal champion since last Relentless! The #1 draft pick of the WINNING WARGAMES TEAM! THE ONLY MAN TO EVER ENTER AND EXIT WARGAMES WITH THE X-TREME TITLE AROUND HIS WAIST!”

“AND! You have NED KAYE!”

“Who in the last year alone? BEAT BOBBY BOURBON! PINNED SIDNEY GREY! CAPTAINED THE WINNING WARGAMES TEAM! And FINALLY BEAT CHRIS PAGE!”

“Not ONLY… do you have two of the most dominant forces in the XWF today.”

“But, together! The Peanut-butter-and-jelly, the cookies-and-milk, the fucking ICE-CREAM-AND-BACON OF THE XWF!”


“I don’t think ice cream and bacon is the kind of synergy you’re thinking of, Mark.”

“I dunno, I got it off Bourbon’s recipe-slash-fitness website. POINT BEING. You have two forces, strong on their own, that when joined in the same direction? They’re strength is amplified TEN-MILLLLLLLLIONFOLD!”

“THE FUTURE OF THE XWF!”




“Then, opposing THAT superteam?”

“B.o.B. D… And Bobby Bourbon.”

“Two men, obsessed with the past.”

“CONSUMED with themselves and their vainglorious self-image.”

“Two men obsessed with the constant, enraged booing of the crowd. Forcing the XWF Universe to unleash torrents of hatred and abuse unto them! BEGGING, PLEADING FOR EVERY MOMENT OF THEIR EXISTENCE TO BE ONE FULL OF LOUD, CONSTANT REJECTION.”




“Because if the crowd ever stopped booing? It’d be quiet around them.”

“They’d have no company but their own.”

“And they’d realize how fucking insufferable they are to be around, hahahaha.”

“BOBBY!”

“There’s nothing sadder than a white flag before the big fight. Bobby Bourbon is one of the single most-accomplished tag-team wrestlers of all-time.”

“He and TK were CRUISING onto a fucking RECORD-SHATTERING TAG TITLE REIGN… Until NK and I came along and dismantled their basic strategies as easily as Ikea furniture.”

“But! What I’ve respected about Bourbon in the past is his WILL. His fucking RECOVERY.”

“He lost first round in March Madness earlier this year… Then, he turned around and fucking gave me the match of both of our lives. Then he repeated the feat at March Madness and took the belt off me.”

“That’s the MAN that Bobby Bourbon USED TO BE.”




“Now? He’s fucking pouting. Whining hopelessly that he has to face ME in a tag-team match.”

“How tragic is it when Big D has to bring the offensive energy to a promo?”

“And god help him, he tried. Big D huffed. He puffed. He made the best points he could.”

“Yes, Big D pinned me. And Bobby pinned Ned.”

“Therefore, they should pin us.”

“Q.E.D.”




“One big problem with that equation, Big D-Ception.”

“Your math forgets a lesson I have taught Bobby again and AGAIN and AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.”

“Tag-Team math! CHEMISTRY!”

“How well do your two pieces fit together?”

“Bobby can complain all he wants about Ned and I sharing co-starring billing in the best matches and promos all year.”


Flynn presses a hand to the side of his mouth.

“Bourbon’s probably a little jealous because his Marty Jannetty turned into Shawn Michaels and now, he’s… what, not even Jannetty? Maybe Leif Cassidy?”

“Meanwhile, Ned and I have lightning in a bottle. Somehow, some way, when he and I are on the same side of a fight? The other side doesn’t stand a CHANCE. We faced the ENTIRE XWF ROSTER AND CAME OUT ON TOP.”

“B.o.B. D and Bobby?”

“With Bourbon whining about the matches he’s lost?”

“With D complaining about how little respect he got as a goody-two-shoes and how he just haaaaaaaad to turn bad?”

“These are two men swimming in their pasts. Their heads disappearing under the waves of the ocean of what has been.”

“DROWING in REGRET.”




“Ned and I?”

“Are looking forward.”

“We have our hands around the reins the future and we’re READY TO RIDE!”

“And the Bobby D Express?”

“They’re can’t take their eyes off the past.”

“And if they’re not careful? If they can’t look BOTH aways?”

“Heheh, they’re about to get RUN THE FUCK OVER.”




“Leave the past in the past, boys.”

“Because the future?”

“Is NOW.”


“And now is the operative word there. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about what has been. I preach about the human capacity to change for the better and I can hone in on that fact to the point of being blind to some things. I’ll be frank here: I have no desire to keep explaining why Bobby Bourbon is going to slip up in this match, be it the fact that I have consistently outperformed him this year in one way or another. When I’m not climbing higher peaks in the March Madness tournament, I’m keeping up an undefeated streak that would make Bourbon blush. Even when he got his win over me, I still defied his expectations and entered a club of one: the only man to kick out of the Bobby Bomb. I could go on and on about the ways that Bourbon is a vain man doing his best to beat back anything that seems like it might resemble having a soul, but it’s not what’s giving me pause about this match. Bobby isn’t who is giving me conflicting feelings about fighting out there. It’s Big D.”

“I know, I know, he goes by BoB D now and I need to respect that decision because once upon a time you were my friend. Everyone thought you were nothing by some dickheaded opportunist and I said no. I stood up for you, I repeatedly tried to make it clear that I thought you were someone worth the compassion and sympathy I gave. But people change, D. You want to be… this. I became a bonafide main eventer, The Ace of the XWF and I always thought you would be right here by my side. My buddy. My friend. But you aren’t that person anymore. I don’t even know who you are besides the designated sidekick, clinging to a hunk of metal hoping it will make the emptiness go away. A lot of people sell out at some point, but you didn’t even sell out for much. The simple fact is that you never needed BoB to be X-Champ, but you want them there now. You like having them there just in case. What happened to the guy who had one of the most electrifying Television Title runs in company history. What happened to the man who I was able to fight and hug afterwards on my way to my second Universal Title shot. What happened to my best friend?”

“He changed. He took the parts of him that I admired and he plunged them underwater until the bubbling ceased. I used to think it was the BoB part of your name that insulted me, Daniel, but no. It’s the D, Dan. I hate seeing this distorted parody pretend it has anything to do with that person I cared for. As far as I’m concerned, I’m facing two Bobs, one who spends more time being talked to about being a person and the other who can’t even bother bringing up the subject. So, I’m going out there with a friend, a friend who reminds me a bit of the man you ripped the soul out of and now puppet his body like a cruel gag. And we are going to wreck your tag team dreams before your eyes have even shut. But moreso than wrestling, more than just pinning you to the mat, I need to stress this to you, BoB D.”

“One day, I’ll wake up and I’ll be happy and fulfilled by the path I travel. Every day you wake up that you’re on this road?”

“You’ll just be you.”

"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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