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We Are The Queen

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Four months. Four months ago Charlotte Flair had it all. Four months ago she was engaged. Four months ago she was on top of the business. Four months ago Charlotte still had a brother. Four months ago Charlotte would have never signed up for some “ground-breaking experiment” to help pay for a funeral. But here she was, entering the shady building where the trials were being held.

At first, Charlotte didn’t think she had the right address. She stood in front of a beat up warehouse covered in rust and chipped paint. There was a sign on the slightly ajar front door that said “volunteers please enter”, so Charlotte now knew without a doubt that this was the place. She psyched herself up as best she could as she shuffled into the building.

Charlotte glanced around as she walked into the place, heavy steps echoing in the silent room; it didn’t look much different on the inside. There were three women in the warehouse with her, all of them seemingly unbothered by the state of the warehouse. All three of them had a very distinct sort of vibe they gave off. The girl closest to Charlotte had deep purple hair with streaks of blue, her arms were crossed as she glared; on her chest was a nametag that read “Sasha” in neat purple lettering. Next to Sasha was a woman who had her brunette locks pulled into a high ponytail, sporting a warm smile at Charlotte. “Bayley”, Charlotte silently read off her nametag. She turned her attention to the final woman. She was clearly different from the other two, she bounced on the balls of her feet and buried her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket. Her hair was a shade of orange, but the sort of orange that reminded Charlotte of Fall leaves and a warm hot chocolate topped with cinnamon.

“Hi, I’m Becky, Becky Lynch, nice to meet ya’.” The woman’s-No Becky’s Irish accent made itself apparent when she spoke. Charlotte was slightly taken aback when she heard the woman’s deep and raspy, yet energetic voice. “Charlotte Flair.” Becky grinned at the introduction, causing Charlotte’s stomach to do flips. How could a smile be so bright? “Charlotte Flair? Like the wrestler?” Bayley’s eyes filled with awe as she chimed into the conversation. Charlotte just nodded slowly, pursing her lips. “Stephanie’s late...again.” Sasha huffed, finally uncrossing her arms. Charlotte cocked an eyebrow at the word ‘again’; Had they been here before? “Oh, yeah, we’ve been doing this for about a month. There was a fourth girl before you, Paige, but she pulled out last minute.” Bayley explained keeping the warm smile.

“Well,” Becky walked in front of the group and clapped her hands together, “the way I see it is that we can show our new friend around since Steph is so late!” Becky winked at Charlotte, again her stomach flipped. “No way, Bex. Stephanie said no snooping.” Bayley crossed her arms and lifted her chin slightly. “Oh come on Bayls, a little snooping never hurt anybody! Besides, Stephanie also said we couldn’t have ‘outside contact’ with each other but we get lunch every Sunday. Plus it beats just standing around.” Bayley flushed a shade of pink and mumbled a short “I guess.” as Sasha playfully punched her shoulder. Just like that, the four began making their way around the warehouse, Becky leading the way. The place was deceivingly spacious, and had many twists and turns and long hallways.

“So, do you know what the experiment is?” Charlotte asked as Becky showed her the bathrooms. “No clue, lass. ‘S the only thing they won’t tell us. Just that it’s life changing.” Becky took a couple sharp turns, finally leading them the end of the hallway. In front of the four women was a wall with the same old and rusted look as the rest of the building, however in the middle of the wall was a metal door. On the door was a heavily faded “Do not enter” sign. “I don’t think we should be here.” Bayley says rather dully. “Yeah, no shit, Bayley. What gave it away, the sign?” Sasha rolled her eyes and huffed, “I think we should go in.” Charlotte blurted out. Sasha and Bayley widened their eyes and furrowed their brows. “You know Charlie over here might be onto somethin’. I mean, whatever’s behind there, we’re goin’ to find outta ‘bout it sooner or later.” Now it was Becky’s turn to get the “are you crazy” look from Sasha and Bayley.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea, we’re already breaking the rules.”

“For once, Bayley’s right.”

“Aw come on! What’s a little snoopin’!”

“We could get kicked out.”

“Yeah,then we’d all be out of money.”

“Oooor we could speed up the process! It’s going so slow, we’re jus’ hittin’ fast forward a bit.”

Charlotte was rather done with their bickering. She turned the doorknob and pushed the, surprisingly heavy, door open. A cold burst of air hit the four as the door opened, chilling them to the core. “Well shit, new girl is just as crazy as Becky.” Sasha shook her head. “Well, now there’s really no avoiding going in. The door is open. It would almost be rude of us not to look around.” Charlotte smirked as she held her arm out, gesturing for them to go in. “Yeah, Charlie’s right. We wouldn’t want to be bad guests, would we?” Becky heartily chuckled as she stepped through the doorway, followed by Charlotte, who had a new pep in her step. Sasha came after muttering “crazy ass lesbians” as she shuffled through the door. Bayley was last, taking small reluctant steps after the group.

Inside the room was just as cold as the initial burst when Charlotte opened the door. Surrounding them were, what could only be described as, glass boxes with breathing holes in them. There were about twelve of them from what Charlotte could see, and all of them were empty. Except one. One of them contained a girl crumpled up on the floor, her black hair a mess around her. Her pale limbs were twitching uncontrollably. Charlotte turned to the silent girls next to her, each of their jaws were slack, some tears were welling in Bayley’s eyes. “That’s-that’s Paige.” Becky shook her head as she spoke.

“Girls? Girls, where are you?” A voice called. Charlotte, Becky, Bayley and Sasha darted out of the room, shutting the door as quickly as possible. They rushed down the hallway as fast they could, bumping into a woman with a lab coat. “Oh, there you are. I thought you skipped out on me. Where were you?” Charlotte knew this woman to be Stephanie. Stephanie had convinced her earlier that week to sign up for the project in the supermarket while Charlotte was picking up some cereal. “Oh, uh, they were just showing me the bathroom.” Charlotte scanned Stephanie’s eyes for any sign of doubt. “Okay, well, I’m glad you could make it, Ms. Flair. Since I have all of you here, why don’t I explain what we’re doing.” The four all exchanged worried glances, remembering what they saw in the back room.

“Now, here at McMahon Laboratories, we rely on trust. So, I trust that you four can keep a secret. Is it understood that you will not discuss what we say here, see here, and do here outside of this facility?” The girls all mumbled their agreement, which Stephanie seemed delighted by. “Great! Now, the project is called NXT. Specifically, your experiment is called NXT: Four Horsewomen. We have selected the best four women in tip-top shape to partake; Sasha being a swimmer, Bayley a runner, Becky a personal trainer and ex-wrestler, and Charlotte also an ex-wrestler.” Charlotte flinched at the word “ex”. It wasn’t her fault. It was Ronda’s fault. Charlotte shook the thoughts out of her head, following the now moving group down the hall.

“McMahon Laboratories’ main focus is extra-terrestrial beings. As you may know, McMahon Laboratories sent a probe to a specific asteroid. What is not disclosed to the public however, is that we found evidence of life on another planet.”

“What planet?” Becky’s voice squeaked as she shook her head in disbelief.

“I am currently not at liberty to say, however, you four are the perfect group of volunteers, so we really do hope you decide to stay with the project. Assuming that you all stay with the experiment, it is now vital that you all interact outside of the facility. We need you guys to trust each other. Any questions?” The “Four Horsewomen” looked at eachother with the same look of what the fuck?. Charlotte was the first to speak, “Now, is this project going to be physically taxing?”

“Elaborate.”

“Is it going to hurt us, Stephanie?”

“It may, but what is a little pain for a brighter, better, and stronger future?” Charlotte bit her lip and exchanged looks with the three girls again. “You know, Steph,” Becky spoke up, wetting her lips with her tongue, “you said this was a team effort, right? We gotta trust each other?” Stephanie nodded. “Well, if that’s the case, I think we need to make the decision together. I mean, you did say we were the ‘perfect group’, we can’t really afford one of us up ‘n leavin’.”

“Yeah, Becky is right. We need to make the decision together, can we go somewhere to privately talk it over?” Charlotte could practically hear Sasha’s smirk as she spoke. Sasha’s voice dripped with so much confidence that it almost intimidated Charlotte. Almost.

“Oh, yes! Of course, that is a great idea!”

“We could go get lunch and weigh our options?” Bayley suggested. Bayley was a polar opposite to Sasha, her voice screamed I’m shy!, Charlotte had a weird urge to hug the girl. She almost gave in. Almost. “That’s far too public, Bayley. Someone could hear you, possibly jeopardizing the future of McMahon Laboratories.” Bummer, lunch sounded good to Charlotte. She hadn’t registered her hunger because she was, well, occupied with what they found in that room. “I don’t live with anyone, we could head to my place, order pizza or whatever and discuss.” Charlotte suggested. It was her stomach talking, but it definitely didn’t help that Becky’s whole face lit up at the aspect of being at Charlotte’s. “Yeah, you can’t deliberate on an empty stomach, it’s the law.” Bayley, seemingly coming out of her shell a bit, tried to reason with Stephanie.

“I don’t know girls…”

“Come on, Steph, we’ll behave ourselves.”

“Pleeaaaaassseee.” The four women, suddenly 4-year-olds, all wined in the most annoying high pitched unison Charlotte had ever heard, but somehow it brought her some semblance of contentment.

“Fine! Fine, just, be careful and never do that again, for the sake of all the dogs in this neighborhood.” Stephanie chuckled as she left the four girls to their devices, presumably to the back where they were holding Paige. Charlotte, Becky, Bayley, and Sasha hurried to leave the building with a quick “Thank you Stephanie” and “You won’t regret it...I hope” from Becky.

When the group was outside of the warehouse, Charlotte gave everyone her address and phone number. “So, like, right now would be a good time to mention that I took a Lyft here and don’t have a ride. Do you think I can tag along with ya’?” Becky squeaked as Bayley and Sasha, who had apparently come together, pulled out of the parking lot. Charlotte noticed that Becky’s sort of “I’m funny also I don’t give a shit” attitude washes away a bit when she asked her for a ride. It was cute, the way she got nervous all of a sudden, it gave Charlotte a new sense of confidence.

“Oh, yeah, no problem. I’m parked right over there.” Charlotte smirked as she pointed to her, slightly intimidating, baby. It was a navy blue 2018 Sportster Iron 883 Harley Davidson, it was expensive as all hell, but it was completely worth it to Charlotte; she loved it as if it were her own child. She glanced over to Becky, who was uncharacteristically quiet. Her jaw had gone slack as she looked at the bike parked in front of them. Charlotte lightly put her hand under Becky’s chin and slowly closed her mouth for her.

“Come on, Bex, I don’t want them getting to my place before we do.” Charlotte tasted the nickname on her lips as they walked to the bike; she liked it. She noticed Becky’s blush as they were walking. She almost felt bad for teasing her. Almost. This felt oddly right to Charlotte. She like the reactions she was getting out of Becky, she liked it even more than when Becky cracked a joke. Charlotte grabbed the helmet hanging on the handlebar and slung her leg over the bike. She turned to Becky, who was still standing. “Is-Is this safe?” Charlotte giggled at the girl. “Babe, you’re about as safe as you can be in my hands. Take my helmet though, just in case.” Becky nodded, quickly taking the royal blue helmet and sliding it onto her head. Ever so reluctantly, Becky slinked behind Charlotte. Charlotte turned the bike on, revving the engine, suddenly she felt a tight grasp around her waist. She chuckled once again before finally taking off from the warehouse.

The ride was smooth, just as Charlotte had expected. “You have a fucking motorcycle!?” Sasha exclaimed once Charlotte pulled into the driveway next to Sasha’s SUV. “Dude that’s sick.” Bayley ran over and immediately ran her fingers over the curves and edges of the bike. Charlotte simply chuckled as she got off, giving Becky a hand for her to keep her balance. Charlotte felt her heartbeat pick up as Becky’s hand tightly grasped her own for stability. Charlotte grinned down at the shorter woman, their hands still attached. “Sooo, are you going to let us in or..?” Charlotte looked back to Sasha, shaking herself from whatever that was. Charlotte apologized profusely as she ran up the walkway and unlocked her front door. Where were her manners? The group went inside, Charlotte closing the door behind them. The doorway let out into a hallway, the kitchen, and the living room. It was a good sized house, especially considering that she lived alone. However, it was nothing like the house she grew up in, and for that she was exceptionally grateful. Charlotte let out a small giggle as she watched Sasha and Becky make themselves at home by plopping down on her couch.

“I’m starving.” Bayley whined, throwing herself down onto Sasha’s lap. “Well, the pizza should be on its way. You two were taking forever so Bayls and I ordered food for all of us.”

“Well, I don’t know about pizza-”

“We get it Becky, you’re vegan. Bayley and I aren’t that dense. Plus, we figured Charlie over here would be too, given that she seems turbo-healthy and all.”

Charlotte laughed heartily when Becky looked at Sasha with the dumbest pout. Sasha had been right, she was vegan, she needed to sustain a healthy diet for wrestling so vegan was the best option for her. “Thanks, Sasha.” Charlotte said, taking a seat next to Becky.

“So, we kind of have a lot to talk about…” Bayley started, picking at her fingers nervously. “Yeah, for starters, I rode a motorcycle today.” Becky joked rather dryly. “No, I mean, what we saw back there.”

“I know Bayley, I was just pullin’ your leg.”

“Bayley is right, though. We need to decide what we’re doing. Who wants to start?” The room grew quiet at Sasha’s request for ideas. Bayley nervously scanned the women’s faces, looking for any semblance of an idea. Charlotte thought it over, what they saw was serious. From what Charlotte could gather, this Paige girl was their friend. She looked like she was in pain when the girls walked in. Charlotte didn’t like the idea of someone in pain; quite ironic that she was a wrestler. There was something she could do. There had to be.

“Let’s break her out.” Charlotte blurted, jumping from the couch. Silence. It was now Charlotte’s turn to scan the room for any sort of reaction. They all sort of stared at her. Had she actually said anything? She was expecting at least a snarky remark from Sasha or a look from Bayley; but they all just stared. Brrriinng. Charlotte moved as fast as she could to the door, Saved by the bell, she thought as she opened the door for the pizza guy. She hears the pitter patter of footsteps behind her, assuming it was one of the girls to help with the pizza.

“$23.61 is your total.” The cheery man with a thick accent and striking blue eyes announced. Charlotte reached for her back pocket to grab her wallet, but a hand quickly stopped her. “Nah, I got it. You let us into your place, might as well buy you lunch, yeah?” Sasha smiled at her as she stepped in from of Charlotte. “Thanks Finn.” Sasha handed him some cash as Charlotte grabbed the pizzas from him. “Enjoy your night!” Finn called as the door was closed. Charlotte set the the two pizza boxes on the kitchen counter where Becky and Bayley seemed to have migrated.

They all made a beeline for the boxes, helping themselves immediately. Charlotte chuckled as she grabbed a stack of paper plates from her cupboard. The women shuffled about the kitchen, settling on the island in the middle to eat. They ate in pleasurable silence for, what seemed to be, all too short for Charlotte.

“So, what ya’ said earlier, were you being serious?” Becky was looking at Charlotte with a glimmer of something the she couldn’t quite read in her eyes. Charlotte thought about Becky’s question for a second. Was she serious? Well of course she meant it to some degree, or else she wouldn’t have even brought it up. But was she really willing to save a stranger for another group of strangers? She was in pain, Charlotte reminded herself, Whatever they are doing is inhumane, and no one deserves that. “I’m dead serious. Let’s go save your friend.” Becky gave her the biggest grin, which was enough to prove the mission to be worth it to Charlotte.

“No. No no no no no. Listen Crazy Girl, I was okay when you showed up, I was okay with the tour, Hell, I was okay when you opened the door, but no. No more. We are not breaking into the lab.” Bayley exhaled hard as she let it all out. Charlotte was stunned, she’d never thought Bayley would be the one to tell her she was crazy. In fact, she was expecting Sasha to be the one to call her insane. But it was Bayley. “Bayley’s right, we’re not breaking into the lab,” Sasha starts with worried glances all over the house, “not without a plan.” Becky broke out in a grin as Bayley groaned. “Well, then we better hurry ‘n make one then. Bayley?”

“Fine, but only because it’s Paige.”

Chapter Text

“Alright, so tomorrow, Bayley is givin’ us all a ride to the labs, since she has the largest car. From what Stephanie texted us earlier, we’re only takin’ vitals, so as they walk us to the back or wherever they take us, look around for any exit points. When the trials are over, Bayley will take us back to Charlotte’s house while Finn keeps watch at the labs. When he sees all the cars leave, he’ll shoot us a text and we’ll head out. Sasha will pick the lock, Bayley will stay in the car to get away, and Charlotte and I will grab Paige. Finn is goin’ to stay to keep watch, just in case Steph shows back up. Clear?” The three girls and Irishman nodded as Becky recited the plan.

It had been three days since the initial meeting of her new found friends. They went to the lab as if nothing happened in those three days, however they were spent with bated breath. Even Finn, who was roped into this by Becky, was nervous about what was to come. Charlotte spent the three days in complete focus. She threw herself into everything she did, from working out, to strategizing, even getting proper rest. In her mind, she was ready.

Today, taking vitals couldn’t have taken any longer for Charlotte. Every time she heard her heartbeat on that stupid monitor it felt like another year was taken off of her life. They took the four of them separately, as to be more time efficient. Charlotte was taken to one of the back rooms by a man named Hunter. He wasn’t talkative, so it was a good opportunity to scope out any doors or windows. Jackpot! As the walked down the long hallways and into a large opening, she caught glimpse of a side door with an exit sign above it, She would be sure to mention the to Becky.

Finally, Charlotte was let out by Hunter, who proved to be a jolly man by the time they were done with all the tests. Charlotte’s vitals were “extremely perfect for the trials”, which slightly surprised her. She expected her heart rate to be at a resting heart attack, but alas she let out a breath of relief. The ride to her house was silent. You could hear a mouse breathe in that car. It was unsettling. For the short time she knew the three girls, one thing they didn’t do was quiet. Becky was constantly making a joke, Bayley was always laughing and Sasha was always telling them how unfunny Becky was. Charlotte wasn’t quite sure where she fit in, but she would figure it out soon enough.

Six hours. Six hours they waited in agonizing silence for Finn’s go ahead. Six hours of nerve racking contemplation. Were they really doing this?

Operation: Goth Girl is a go!

Charlotte shook her head as she looked at the message. There was no turning back whatsoever.

They met Finn at the lab at about 7:45. Charlotte felt uneasy when she got out of the car to lead Sasha and Becky to the exit from earlier. It got even worse when Sasha took out her “old friends”. The lock seemed to give her no trouble, she worked quickly with the picks as well as with purpose. And just like that, the door was opened.

“Ya ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” Charlotte huffed as she entered the building. The mission was simple enough; go in, grab Paige, and get out as soon as possible. However, no matter how simple the plan was, it was Mission Impossible for Charlotte. Thankfully, Becky seemed to know this place fairly well, so she led the way with ease. “You know,” Becky chuckled, “for a top secret lab, this place sure don’t have much security.” Becky was right, there wasn’t any security, not even a padlock or guards.

“Prolly whatever’s in here. I mean, there’s no doubt that there is somethin’ here what us after what Steph said.”

That really did not help Charlotte’s nerves. They came to the clearing. The wall. They were right in front of that room. No obstacles. Just that door. So why couldn’t Charlotte bring herself to wrap her hand around the handle like the first day? She took a deep breath. She could do this. She extended her shaking hand and wrapped it around the cool metal.
She pulled the hefty door open. Becky quickly made her way in, Charlotte coming in right after her.

There she was. Paige was still huddled in the corner, twitching uncontrollably. Charlotte heard Becky gulp as they began to step closer to the girl. Unlike the last time, the room wasn’t completely freezing, although still chilly. Becky leant against the glass of Paige’s prison. She didn’t move, not even an inch.

“Hey crazy, it’s Becky. My friend is gonna get ya outta here, all right?”

Charlotte scanned the cell. There didn’t seem to be a door in sight. They’d have to break it. Wonderful, they already broke into a top secret lab, now they were going to shatter their cell? Just great. “Hey, Bex, go grab me something I can throw at the cell.” Becky gave a curt nod as she ran off. Now it was a waiting game. She looked at the shell of a girl in front of her. How could someone do this to another person? She knew it wouldn’t get through to her, but Charlotte just felt the need to talk to her. “Hey, I don’t know you, and you definitely don’t know me but, we’re getting you out. How does that sound?” Paige shifted slightly at Charlotte’s voice. “I’m Charlotte. The others have told me a lot about you. I heard you used to wrestle, too. I think we would’ve given all the guys in the back a run for their money, you and I.” Charlotte chuckled. Paige shifted closer to the glass; closer to Charlotte. “They told me about your girlfriend, too. We’re gonna bring you home to her. I promise.” She looked up. Her eyes were sunken in and bloodshot, like she hadn’t slept for months. She was scared, Charlotte could tell. Her pale face glistened with sweat and tears. “Sonya.” Paige whimpered.

“I got a rolly chair and some pipes!” Becky runs in, pushing the chair filled with pipes in front of her. Charlotte smirked; Perfect. Becky met Charlotte at the cell, handing her one of the pipes from the chair. The pipe wasn’t as heavy as Charlotte had expected, but it should do the trick. She swung it back, bringing it forward with all her force. The pipe bounced off of the glass and buzzed in Charlotte’s hands. Next to her, Becky tried the same also to now avail. Charlotte tried again, swinging with everything she has. The pipe bounced back with a bit less force than first swing, but this time where the pipe hit, the glass began chipping. Charlotte started swinging rapidly, her muscles ached and her hands burned from gripping the pipe but she’d be damned if they weren’t getting this girl out. Paige had sunk back into her corner, watching her saviors hack at the glass with something she hadn’t had in weeks: Hope.

Charlotte threw down her pipe in exhaustion and assessed the damage she and Becky had done. The cell was cracked to hell and back but Charlotte couldn’t swing the pipe any longer. The cold metal had grown heavy and freezing in her hands. Becky was tired too, she could tell. She was propping herself up with it like a cane to catch her breath. Charlotte’s eyes darted to the chair and she got a wicked idea. She huffed as she brought herself to the chair, knocking off the remaining pipes from the seat. Charlotte let out a yell as she picked up the chair and chucked it with her remaining strength at the cracking cell.

The glass shattered around the chair like as if the glass was merely a window in a violent hail storm. They did it. Charlotte ran through the glass without a care, making a beeline for the girl still in the cell. Charlotte bent down to pick the girl up but something stopped her. She didn’t know what it was but something hit her. Something hit her hard.

“CHARLOTTE!”

Charlotte felt like she had just been hit by a semi. She fell back quick, her body hitting the cold concrete and jagged glass like a ragdoll. Charlotte saw stars. Her vision began to blur with red and every part of her body hurt like a bitch. It almost didn’t feel like she was in her own body anymore. Is this what it’s like to die? How ironic would it be for her to die now. Charlotte figured she would get her life back on track now that she had new friends and a temporary source of income. She had just paid off her bike, too. At least it wasn’t in vain. At least she was helping someone. Charlotte would rather die million deaths than see someone like that ever again. Thankfully, she wouldn’t have to. Thankfully it would all be over soon. She was okay with it. In fact, she was slightly happy; maybe she’d get to see Reid again. This was definitely worth it to Charlotte.

Every breath she took burned coming in and going out. She felt her lungs swell smaller with every shaking breath she took. This was it. This was really it.

“CHARLIE!” A familiar accent called to her. It sounded so far. Maybe it was Charlotte’s last chance to reach out and live. She was so far. Becky was too far. But somehow, for some reason, Charlotte held on to her voice. Charlotte didn’t let go; she wouldn’t let go. The heavenly rasp felt closer to her every time her name was screamed. In any other situation, Charlotte would be proud of her name being screamed. In this situation though, she just felt weak.

Sweet Irish nothings were whispered into her ear as sticky hair was brushed away from Charlotte’s face. Charlotte felt like she was being lifted from her bed of glass, shards sticking in her arms and back. Had Becky picked her up? Charlotte refused to open her eyes; her head just hurt too much. One thing lingered in her mind, though: Paige. Where was she? Is she okay? Did they save her? OR were they too late?

“B-Bex? Where’s Paige?” Charlotte was screaming at herself, with every word her head throbbed painfully and with every syllable her throat felt as if someone had just sanded it down.

“Ssh. She’s fine, Finn’s got her in the car. Try not to talk, love, I can tell it’s killin’ ya.”

Charlotte let out a sigh of relief. That was all that mattered. Charlotte obliged Becky’s advice, not talking the whole way to the car. She felt Becky lay her down in the car, taking the seat next to her and laying her head in her own lap. Charlotte finally opened her eyes, her head screaming at her. Becky’s face was tear stained, Sasha was looking at Charlotte with pure concern as Bayley focused on the road.

“You’re crazy.” Sasha shook her head with a slight giggle. Charlotte couldn’t help but chuckle along, ignoring her headache. Soon, the whole car erupted in a sweet laughter. Besides the fact the Charlotte definitely needed medical attention, she was content as she held up her hand, throwing up four of her fingers.

Chapter Text

The rocks came in showers. Everytime one thudded against the battered ground, they came faster and angrier. She could see the ships overhead, hear the whirring of engines and the whooshing of thrusters. She knew she had to leave, but she couldn’t. She saw her friends try to leave, but get caught in the crossfires. She ran as fast as she could to save them; there had to be a way. Her legs pounded against the rubble, every stride tormenting her tender muscles. Still, she kept on. She could feel the needles piercing her side, but she had to reach them, she was so close. “CHARLOTTE!”

 

Charlotte jolted upright from the springy bed in a cold sweat, her head still killing her. What was that? Who was that? It definitely wasn’t her. At least, it didn’t feel like her. Charlotte looked around the dark room. Finally, something familiar to her. Although the lights were off, Charlotte couldn’t help but smile at the royal blue walls. She remembers the day she painted them. She had just moved in and she was high off of her big signing with WWC, so she called up Reid and picked up some paint. They spent the day together, laughing and chucking paint at each other. She glanced at the corner, locating their handprints in white. She remembers yelling at Reid for ruining her walls, but she soon placed her handprint right next to his. She missed him. She missed him a lot.

 

Charlotte felt hot tears start to roll out of her eyes. She had to let it out. She hadn’t let anything out since it happened. Well except initially with Ronda and her job… But after that, Charlotte pushed everything to the back of her mind. She had to pay for his funeral because their dad sure as hell wasn’t. That’s how she ended up at the lab. Once the tears started flowing, it was apparent that they weren’t stopping. So, she sat there and let herself sob.

 

“Charlotte?” a confused voice piped up from beside the bed. Charlotte peeked over the side to see Becky sitting up, wrapped in a blanket with some outrageous bedhead. Becky’s faced softened when she saw Charlotte with tears racing down her cheeks. The Irish girl popped up from her spot on the floor and shrugged her blanket off almost instantaneously. Charlotte felt the bed shift as she felt strong arms envelop her pathetic and grief stricken body. And for the first time since Reid died, she let herself go. She allowed herself to be comforted. Charlotte cried into Becky’s embrace for what seemed like an eternity. Becky hadn’t asked any questions, she simply stroked Charlotte’s hair, reassuring her that she’d be okay with tiny whispers. Just like that, Charlotte was being held by Becky once again.

 

Charlotte felt something she hadn’t felt in a long time: Safe. She felt like it didn’t matter what the universe threw at her right now, it would just bounce right back off of her because she was safe in Becky’s arms. She trusted Becky’s arms.

 

I like her. So do you.

 

A voice within her head spoke. It wasn’t her. It sounded like maybe a distortion of her voice but nonetheless, not hers. Charlotte shook it off as her fatigue from the previous night. Charlotte, begrudgingly, pulled away from Becky’s warm embrace. She ignored her pounding head;she had some business to attend to. Becky looked at her with tender eyes, wiping away the remaining tears from Charlotte’s cheek.

 

“Bex, where’s Paige?”

 

“She’s safe. We put her in the guestroom with her girlfriend. She looks like she’ll be jus’ fine thanks to you.”

 

“Thanks to us.”

 

“Yeah...Us.” Charlotte saw Becky’s lips quirk up into her signature grin.

 

“Thanks for being my knight in shining armor last night after I ate shit.”

 

“Twas the least I could do after you went all Captain Marvel on that box thingie. Which, speakin’ of you gettin’ yer shit kicked in by air, we need to get you seen by a medical professional.” Charlotte panicked at the thought of being seen. Wouldn’t that compromise the rescue? McMahon Labs would simply find them and boy would they be in trouble. “Don’t worry, lass. Paige’s gal is a registered nurse. She wants to run a concussion test and then check for any abnormalities with ya’.” Charlotte let out a sigh of relief. They’d better get it over with now.

 

Strong individual. Very compatible to you. Compatible to me, even. Not like you though, Charlotte Flair. No, she is much like the other.

 

The voice began to take shape in Charlotte’s head. The voice was still distorted, but now it had a regal edge to it. Although it was disembodied, Charlotte felt inferior in its presence. Charlotte began to rise from the bed, feeling a wave of dizziness hit her. She lost her footing ever so slightly, but quickly regained her balance.

 

Yes, Flair. I think you and I will make an excellent team.

 

God, Charlotte must’ve been concussed to shit. She was hearing things, she was lightheaded, and on top of that she had this funny feeling in her chest. Becky helped Charlotte through the short walk down the hall into the bedroom. On the plain bed sat an inexplicably familiar raven haired girl. Paige looked like a million bucks compared to Charlotte. She was talking, and even joking around with the other girl in the room. The other girl was also quite familiar to Charlotte. Too familiar. The girl cuddled up with Paige on her guest bed was none other than Daria Berenato. Charlotte’s ex-girlfriend. Charlotte’s ex fiancé. The woman who left her right before Reid did. This was Paige’s girl?

 

Becky seemed to notice the tension, or perhaps she noticed the immediate scowl on, the normally soft, Charlotte’s face. She cleared her throat and began explaining the situation to Daria. Charlotte’s Daria. “Yeah, Sonya, you should of seen her! She was like a woman possessed or something. Whatever it was it was cool as shit.” Paige gushed on about “her hero” to her girlfriend.

 

“So how long have you been going by Sonya?” Charlotte was stoic. The way she always used to be. The way she was supposed to be. She didn’t want Daria or Sonya, whoever she was now, in her home. Charlotte could feel her blood boil as Daria looked at her with shame, guilt even. She should be guilty. She ruined Charlotte.

 

“Since I finished out medical school. I wanted a fresh start.” Sonya said curtly, checking Charlotte’s eyes for any sort of dilation. Fresh start? What was that supposed to mean.

 

“You always used to do this to yourself, Charlie. You never know when to quit. Are you nauseous?” Charlotte shook her head.

 

“Consistent or recurring dizziness?” Charlotte nodded this time.

 

“Light sensitivity?”

 

“Given that you just shined a light in my eyes and I didn’t howl in agony;no.”

 

“Do you remember the accident?”

 

“Vividly.”

 

“Okay...Did you lose consciousness at any point during the accident?”

 

“Kinda?”

 

“Yes or no, princess.”

 

“One, don’t call me that, and no, I guess not.”

 

“Did you see stars?”

 

“No.”

 

“Increased irritability?” Charlotte shook her head.

 

Sonya felt around Charlotte’s head, searching for any signs of a bump. Charlotte hated the fact that she missed the feeling of someone playing with her hair. Charlotte hated the fact that she still held onto Daria.

 

“Well, you don’t show any signs of a concussion and you don’t have a bump so, miraculously, it seems you got out Scott free.” Charlotte heard Becky release a sigh of relief. At least Becky was here. At least she wasn’t totally alone.

 

“Wonderful. I’ll be going back to my room now, enjoy yourselves.” Charlotte forced herself to give a smile and stormed off to her own room. She flicked the light switch on and plopped herself in bed. Charlotte felt around for her phone. 12:08pm. Bayley had texted her that she and Sasha wouldn’t make it to the house today and to “Feel swell soon x”. Charlotte groaned as she set the phone back on her nightstand.

 

“Hey.” Becky stood in the doorway with a worried glance.

 

“Yo.”

 

“Mind if I intrude?”

 

“Be my guest.” Charlotte stared up at the ceiling as she heard the door shut and the bed dip. Becky laid next to her,staring up at the wall with her.

 

“So, how d’ya know Paige’s gal?”

 

“Ex-girlfriend. Almost ex-wife.”

 

“Ouch.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“How’re ya feelin’, after last night?”

 

“Sore, but I’ll manage, thanks to you.”

 

“Aw, shucks Charlie, ya know ‘twas nothin’.”

 

“Sometimes nothing goes a long way.”

 

“You really are quite the charmer, Flair.”

 

“Why’d you stay with me last night?” Charlotte flipped over on her side to look Becky in the eyes. She had turned over too.

“Well, I could say I was tryin’ to keep watch or somethin’ to make me sound cooler, but truth be told, I was real worried about ya. You were bleedin’ a lot and you needed a lot of stitches and all that. And when I saw ya’ go down, when I saw the blood, I thought you were a goner. I thought I had lost you before I got to know ya.” Becky’s voice was soft and tender. It made Charlotte’s heart melt. They were so close, their faces were just inches apart.

 

“And that woulda been a real shame ‘cuz I am a motherfucking catch.” Charlotte couldn’t help but giggle at her.

 

“Thank you, as silly as it sounds, I’m glad you were here with me. I’m glad you picked me up and took me home. And I’m really really really glad you stayed.” Becky hummed in response. A comfortable silence fell upon the new friends. It made Charlotte feel safe and confident. Confident that she could ask Becky for the world and Becky would break her back to give it to her.

 

“Hey, Bex? You know what would make me feel better right now?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“Taking a nap with you.” Becky shook her head and chuckled.

 

“Whatever ya say, lass.” The two darted under the covers, Charlotte quickly curling into Becky like a tired house cat. She felt the strong arms around her again, along with the safety. Becky’s embrace washed away every negative feeling Charlotte had felt that day.

 

“Hey, Bex?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Tell me about when you used to wrestle.”

Chapter Text

The Queen sat upon her throne among her council. Ever since the majority left, all she’s had is her three most trusted companions. Friends even. Being new-era symbiotes, their names weren’t quite like Venom or Carnage. No, they had titles. Roles. The Man, ironically, was The Queen’s main companion. Best friend, even though she’d never admit it. Then there were the inseparable pair of The Hugger and The Boss. They never went anywhere without each other. They made a good team, the four of them. It was apparent that the three were talking to her, but all the voices just mixed into a confusing jumble. Just as it seemed like the voices began to separate, The Queen could hear loud booms of explosions. She could clearly hear screams of her people. The 4 glanced at each other without a word, darting out of the throne room to find the cause of the chaos.

 

“Charlie. Charlotte..” Becky lightly shook Charlotte’s sleeping body awake. With heavy eyelids, Charlotte took in the sight before her: Becky Lynch holding her with the worst case of bedhead. Charlotte couldn’t help but smile as her stomach twisted in a painful knot.

 

“Hey sleepy head. We gotta head to the labs in a little bit.” The labs? Weren’t the labs the enemy? Why would they go back? “I know what you’re thinkin’ but Stephanie says it’s mandatory and we don’t wanna raise any suspicion, do we?” That made sense.

 

“Lovebirds! Get your asses moving!”

 

“Sasha!”

 

“When did the other two get here?” Charlotte wiped the sleep from her eyes and reluctantly sat up, ignoring Sasha’s comment. She really did not wanna leave the bed. “Oh, not that long ago, just 6am maybe?”

 

“6am!? What time is it?”

 

“About 7 now.”

 

“Why didn’t you wake me up.”

Truth be told, I was sleepin’ too. You got quite the comfy bed.”

“Oh my God! We get it, just get your asses moving already!” Sasha barged into the room with Bayley hot on her trail profusely apologizing for their friend’s rudeness. Becky chuckled, which soon became a hearty laugh and, just like before, the whole group was laughing along with her.

 

Charlotte and Becky got ready rather quickly. Becky had to borrow Charlotte’s clothes, which were slightly oversized but worked nonetheless. Charlotte, still not having the will to get ready, hastily pieced together an outfit of jeans and a white t-shirt; nothing too outrageous. However, when Becky walked out, Charlotte could feel her heart pounding in her throat. She was wearing a black pair of jeans (that she had to cuff at the ankles), Charlotte’s ACDC tank top, her snapback and her leather jacket.Charlotte never thought her clothes could look so much better on someone else.

 

I must say, Charlotte. This girl is quite the catch.

 

Charlotte tried to push the voice to the back of her head. She really did not wanna deal with this right now.

 

“Can we go now?” Sasha whined from Charlotte’s bed.

 

“Yes, Sasha, we can go.”

 

“Finally!” Sasha sprung up from the bed, pulling Bayley along with her.

 

“So, who wants to ride with me?” Charlotte looked at the three with a smirk. She knew that Sasha and Bayley liked her bike, but she was really holding out for Becky to volunteer.

 

“I’ll go.” Sasha quickly piped up. Damn, maybe next time.

 

“Drive safely, Char!” Bayley called after them as the two mounted the bike. Charlotte kicked the engine, and the duo were soon speeding down the road. Charlotte felt Sasha grip her waist, just like Becky had, but it didn’t feel the same. Charlotte didn’t feel warm or giddy. Charlotte didn’t feel the comfort of Becky’s toned arms holding her for dear life. It wasn’t the same and that scared Charlotte. She wasn’t supposed to feel like this ever again. Not after Daria. Not after how she had been hurt before.

 

Charlotte killed the engine when she pulled into an empty spot in the lot. Bayley’s SUV wasn’t there yet, so it looked like it was just going to be her and Sasha for a bit.

 

“Now, I don’t know you all too well yet, Charlotte, but I’d say after what we’ve been through this week makes us close friends.” Charlotte couldn’t disagree with Sasha. They had broken in and stolen a person from a lab together, you can’t exactly get casual coffee after that.

 

“Close friends give each other advice, right?”

 

I suppose.”

 

“Cool, so I’ll give you mine. You seem pretty close to Bex despite the fact that y’all just met. Y’know she’s my best friend, besides Bayley. So I’ll tell you this, I’ve known her for maybe 6 months now, and I see the way she looks at people, and she doesn’t look at no one like she looks at you. Hell, the Becky I know wouldn’t have stayed with any girl two nights in a row.”

 

“We aren’t together, though.”

“Regardless of whatever is or isn’t going on between the two of you, please, don’t break her heart.”

 

“I would never, Sash. At least not on purpose.”

 

“I know you wouldn’t but it’s the mandatory ‘break her heart and I break your face’ best friend speech.” Charlotte nodded with a smile.

 

“I’ll give that talk to Becky too, by the way. You’re one of us now.”

 

One of us. Charlotte liked that.

 

Sasha Banks. She seems very wise, like one of my friends. I must admit, although I hate them, they’ve found stellar hosts.

 

Friends? Whoever this voice is has friends? Charlotte hoped those friends were still sane. Just as soon as the voice had come, the sound of a car pulling into the lot greeted her ears. Charlotte found herself grinning as soon as she saw the fiery head of orange hair appeared from the car.

 

“What took you so long, slowpokes?”

 

“We’re not slow! Charlie just speeds through all o’ the way here.”

 

“Charlotte, you know you shouldn’t speed! What if you get caught!?”

 

“Good, you’re all here. Please, follow me inside, we have some business to discuss.”  Charlotte grew rigid when she heard Stephanie’s voice. I wonder if she knew it was them. Maybe when they walked in they’d have the riot squad ready to attack. Despite all of their discomfort, the four girls followed Stephanie into the building. Charlotte, much to her disliking, was the first to follow Stephanie.

 

Once they were safely inside the building and the door was shut, Stephanie broke the silence. “So, I think we should address the elephant in the room.”

 

“Hey, I may’ve bulked up a bit but I’m no elephant. I’m like, a bull or somethin’.”

“Not you, Rebecca. The labs were broken into two nights ago. One or our experiments was stolen from us.” The word experiment cut Charlotte deep. Paige was a person, and from what Charlotte knew of her, she was a damn good one at that. Was that all they were to McMahon Labs? Experiments?

 

“Really? How did they get in?” Sasha feigned concern quite well. Charlotte was impressed.

 

She really is just like her. I’m pleased.

 

Apparently the voice was impressed, too.

 

“We’re assuming that a team of thieves worked together and took out our security systems.”

 

“I’m sorry, Steph. What does that mean for us then?” Becky’s voice was high-pitched. Well, more than usual. Her usual confidence oozing voice was taken over by uncertainty. Charlotte felt uneasy too, now.

 

“I think you know exactly what it means, Rebecca.”

 

The room became silent. The four girls exchanged worried glances with each other. Bayley’s face was contorted in the most heartbreaking frown Charlotte had ever seen. She almost felt guilty, like it was her fault for upsetting Bayley.

 

“I cannot believe the four of you! You broke into our labs and stole our specimen!”

 

“Given that I’m out of practice and I picked the door like it was a diary lock, it wasn’t that hard.” Sasha snarked. Bayley gave her friend’s stomach a quick whack.

 

“Paige wasn’t just an experiment, Stephanie. Is that all we are to McMahon Labs?”

 

“It doesn’t matter what you are to us anymore, Charlotte. After the stunt you pulled, there is no getting out of Project NXT whatsoever.”

 

“W’dya mean? We saw what ya did to Paige. Ain’t no way we’re stickin’ around.” Becky piped up. Charlotte saw a glint in Becky’s eyes. Almost a glint of fear. It was obvious that she was trying to act tough, but she was scared. Charlotte wanted nothing more than to scoop Becky up and wash away any fear she had.

 

“You don’t have a choice. See, you may think you weren’t seen, but we have multiple angles of Sasha breaking in, Becky and Charlotte vandalizing our equipment, and Bayley driving away with our property. So, if the four of you would like to stay out of prison or save yourself from much worse fates, I would stay compliant.”

 

“Is that a threat, McMahon?” Sasha stepped up to Stephanie’s towering figure. She sure never knew when to keep quiet. Bayley tried holding her back, but it was obviously to no avail.

 

“It’s much worse, Miss Banks.” Stephanie gave her a pat on the head and addressed the rest of the group. “Now, since the four of you’ve derailed our plans, I will explain to you what we’re actually doing here, though, Charlotte may have a better idea than the four of you.”

 

She’s onto us Charlotte. Do you have a plan to get us out of this?

 

Us? What do you mean ‘us’, we are NOT a team. Charlotte replied to the voice. God, she really was going insane. Why was she even replying to it?

 

“Fine, explain. I have no idea what you mean or what’s going on, but be my guest, Miss McMahon.”

 

“I wouldn’t get snarky with me if I were you, Charlotte. As I was saying, there is a lot I have to explain. I suppose I should start with the project. Project NXT’s main goal is to figure out a solution to sustainable life on other planets. So, when McMahon labs launched the probe, our goal was to find any signs of life. Boy, did we hit the jackpot. We discovered what we’ve been looking for for ages: Klyntar. Now, the origins of the planet are unknown to us at the moment. However, after the probe had returned, and we found that the Life Foundation had also retrieved life forms from Klyntar. Most notably, Venom came from Klyntar. Our original plan was to lure Eddie Brock into helping us, but that proved to be in vain with his destruction of the Life Foundation.”

 

“Hold up, Eddie Brock is Venom? The reporter dude ?”

 

“Yes, Sasha, Eddie is Venom, but that is unimportant further on. So, we borrowed some information from The Life Foundation’s archives, how we acquired it is confidential. So mid-2019 we sent our best to capture as many specimen as we could. Well, actually from the archives we learned their names to be symbiotes. We found that extremely loud sounds or extremely high frequency sound waves can shock the symbiote, and even cause it to separate from its host. So we created frequency bombs to disorient the symbiotes enough to encase them, much like they did at the Life Foundation. When we arrived to Klyntar, however, we found that most of the symbiotes from Venom’s generation were completely gone. All we saw were ‘new age symbiotes’, if you will. Upon further examination, these new-age symbiotes were stronger, faster, smarter, and more civilized than that of the previous generation’s. The symbiotes developed a hierarchy and civilization. Every symbiote had a role.”

 

“We got straight to work. We threw out as many bombs as we could and funneled as many symbiotes into the chambers as possible. At first, we were very happy with our results. There were a few stragglers, but we were satisfied with what we had. The we saw them . They ran at us with their full might, towering over the crew. The four of them wreaked havoc on our crew before we could even set off a bomb….”

 

Stephanie watched as these four symbiotes tore through her research crew. Each of them had a distinct, different look. The tallest one had royal blue streaks all throughout her lengthy body. Speaking of her body, it pooled out from her back, creating a sort of train behind her body that seemed to connect to some sort of a tall spiked plume on the back of its neck. Finally, atop her grotesque head, were three points resembling a crown. The one next to her was covered in orange with some black splotches here and there. She looked like there were gears etched into every joint of her body, almost like a machine. The tall one and the orange one seemed to work together in perfect devastating sync. A good amount of distance from them were the two others. One of them was tall, not like the one in front of Stephanie, but still tall. This one had streaks of a rosey gold and deep turquoise flowing through her. Out of her head came a tall lock of goop with the same colors. Fighting alongside was a much smaller symbiote who was decked out in sparkling gold and deep purple. On her hands were what looked like golden rings.

 

Once almost all of the crew had been thinned out, all four of them approached Stephanie.

 

“W-Who are you?”

 

“We are The Queen’s Court.” The tallest one spoke, her voice oozing royalty and confidence.

 

“Good to know.” Stephanie turned to  the source of the voice to see that her husband, Hunter, had thrown a bomb in their direction. Stephanie scrambled out of range as soon as she could. She watched as the symbiotes melted into this sort of puddle, just as all the others had. Stephanie quickly encased them and they were off back to earth.

 

“And just as quick and intelligent and strong as they were, they were also incredibly picky. The hosts had to be perfect for these new-age symbiotes. So, we did a bit of digging and we found Becky, Paige, Bayley, and Sasha. When we met those four, we realized we had to find out who they were. The Court, of course, weren’t so compliant. So, we got help from one of the others we managed to bring back: The Architect. We had one of our bodyguards, Tyler, be his host. It was a perfect fit, we must say. The Architect informed us that the names of The Court were as follow: The Queen, The Hugger, The Boss, and The Man. Originally, we had Paige paired with The Queen, Bayley with The Man, Sasha as The Hugger, and Becky as The Boss.”

 

Horrible first picks, to be frank. Now, Paige wasn’t too bad, but not as good as you, Charlotte.

 

“But as we worked with you we realized we had to change things around with you three for everything to work. So, Bayley became The Hugger, Sasha took The Boss, and Becky was The Man.”

 

That is much better. They’ll be quite satisfied to have their new hosts.

 

“Now, obviously, things didn’t work out with Paige and The Queen. Unfortunately, we had to leave them together for two months until we could find a replacement, and when we did, we were overjoyed. Charlotte was our perfect candidate for a certain symbiote: The Man. We were going to transfer The Queen to Becky and dispose of Paige, but that obviously didn’t work out and now we’re here. Any questions?”

 

“Yeah, I have a question, Stephanie.”

 

“Go ahead Bayley.”

 

“Fuck you.”

 

“That’s not a question. Now, since you have no choice, we’ll start bonding the rest of you with your symbiotes next week. Sound good?”

 

“I mean, no, but it’s not like we got a choice or anythin’.”

 

“I have some conditions.” Charlotte piped up. Suddenly regaining some sort of confidence. The Queen had picked her. She picked Charlotte. That had to have meant something.

 

“You don’t really get conditions but humor me. What are your requests?”

 

“I have 2. One, you give us a job. The four of us are out of jobs right now. Give us a business, something to run like a coffee shop or some shit. More importantly, all business expenses will be on you.”

 

“Will that keep the four of you out of trouble?”

 

“Of course, Steph. Why would we ever get in any trouble?” Becky quips. Sasha stifles a  laugh. “Then fine.”

 

“Good. Number two, you pay for my brother’s funeral and all costs that it involves. Everything. He deserves to go out with a bang, regardless of who pays for it.”

 

“That can be arranged.”

 

“Then we have a deal.”

Chapter Text

Reid smiled at Charlotte with the kindest smile she’d ever seen.

 

“Don’t worry, Ash, it’ll all be fine. I’ll be back before you know it.” Charlotte shook her head. Only Reid was allowed to call her by her first name. Everyone, even her father, had to call her by her middle name. Charlotte knew better than to believe Reid when he said business with their father was no big deal.

 

“If it’s all gonna be good then why won’t you let me go with you?” Charlotte was exasperated with the situation. She needed out of the house, anyway. What harm could it be?

 

“For starters, you just had a big match and you need to rest up. Secondly, not to be rude Ash, but you’re a bit emotionally unstable.” Charlotte scoffed. Emotionally unstable? She was fine.

 

“And before you say anything, you smashed a mirror yesterday because you found her lipstick in your bathroom. Don’t pull the being fine shit with me.” Okay maybe she was just a teensy weensy bit emotional right now. Reid gave his big sister a kiss atop her head and promised he’d be back before sundown. Charlotte knew better than to believe him though. She made quick work of throwing her shoes on and jumping on her bike. Unfortunately, she knew the ins and outs of her father’s business. In result, she knew every location of every meeting sight in town, but there was only one Ric Flair would personally turn up at: The Lot.

 

Of course when Charlotte parked her bike behind a nearby building, she could see her father talking to her baby brother. She could see his goons, too.

 

“I did everything you asked for, pops! What more do you want from me?”

 

“Oh Reid...You should know, once you’re in, you’re never out.”

 

“Well not me. I’m not like you and I never will be.” Reid turns on his heels and starts to head for his car.

 

“I wish it didn’t have to be like this, Reid.”

 

BANG.

 

“NO!” Charlotte sat upright in bed, glistened with sweat. Today was the day. Finally, her brother would get the proper burial he deserved. Reid would never admit it, but Charlotte always knew that he had a taste for the lavish side of things, and a funeral would be no different. She glanced next to her, remembering the sleeping bodies next to her. Charlotte had asked the girls to stay with her last night, in fear of being alone. The four had spent the night laughing and telling stories about their journey to where they are now. Bayley’s stories were probably the most interesting, as she had told the others about her (somewhat illegal) adventures with her friend Mella. Sasha told them about all the traveling she had done and where her “hobby” took her. Becky gushed about wrestling and fitness regimens. Charlotte told stories of when Reid was alive. They had laughed so hard that Paige and Daria had come out of the guest room to see what was going on. Paige quickly joined in on all the stories, telling the group about all the girls she had gotten Becky with. Charlotte felt a twinge of something in her stomach as Becky laughed along with Paige and told even more stories of her “conquests”. Two could play at that. Charlotte told the story about how she and Daria had met and all the stupid dates they had gone on together, from mini golf to the Pride Parade. Funnily enough, it didn’t hurt Charlotte to reminisce like she thought it would; in fact she felt rather comfortable laughing with Daria about their young adventures.

 

At around 12, the four bid good night to Paige and Daria, who promptly went back to the guest room. The girls had decided to cram themselves all in Charlotte’s bed. At least ,they had while Charlotte was awake. Now, it was just Charlotte and Becky in the bed, Becky grunting at the sudden movement.

 

“Mmm, five more minutes, babe.” Charlotte felt her cheeks warm up. Babe? God, if Becky kept sleeping over Charlotte would be dead before McMahon Labs could lay a finger on her. Charlotte gently shook her friend. Friend. That’s all they were, right? Sure, there was occasional flirting and Charlotte was very attracted to the Irish woman, but they were just friends.

 

You wish you were more, though, Charlotte.

 

She hated to admit it, but The Queen was right. Charlotte did want more. She wanted lazy days with Becky where they’d watch Hercules and snuggle on the couch. She wanted movie dates where they snuck in kisses every now and then. She wanted to cook with Becky and laugh as they threw flour at each other. She wanted to take care of Becky when she was sick. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t bare ruining things with her, so she had to be content with friends.

 

“Hey, Bex, wakeup, we gotta get ready.”

 

“But I’m so comfy…” Becky whined. She flopped over and pouted at Charlotte. Wow. Well, Charlotte knows what her kryptonite is now. Charlotte just shook her head and gave Becky a grin. “Fine..” Becky sat up and stretched.

 

“Where did Sasha and Bayley go?”



“Living room, maybe?” Charlotte shrugged and grabbed her phone from the nightstand. The pair shuffled out of the bedroom. The funeral was at 10am but Charlotte had to be there at 9am. It was currently 6, so they had about 3 hour to get ready and stuff. When they rounded the corner out of the hall, Charlotte couldn’t help but giggle. Sasha was curled up basically on top of Bayley. Their legs were tangled together and Bayley’s arms held Sasha in a tight embrace. A blanket was draped over them but it was too short for Bayley. They looked so peaceful and domestic. So, Charlotte did the logical thing: she whipped out her phone and took a picture of the two.

 

They greatly remind me of my friends. We would often wake up to them in the same manner. Quite endearing.

 

“Aww, look at the lovebirds!” Charlotte jumped at the chippy British accent behind her. Paige. “Yeah, love must be in the air.” From behind Paige, out came Daria who promptly planted a kiss to her girlfriend’s cheek. Charlotte agreed, love was in the air-and she was in dire need of a gas mask.

 

“Yeah, who knows, next me and Charlie will be canoodling in a coffee shop.” Charlotte’s cheeks got warm as she nervously chuckled. That would be perfect for Charlotte, “canoodling” with Becky. But she had to cover that up. No one could know.

 

“Seriously, Bex? Canoodling?”

 

“It was either that or shagging in a broom closet and trust me, you’d want to start with the canoodling.” Paige playfully poked Charlotte in the ribs as Becky started laughing like a mad woman. In all honesty, Charlotte didn’t know which one sounded better to her.

 

You have it bad, Miss Flair.

 

“Ssh, she’s trying to sleep guys!” Charlotte turns her head to see a wide awake Bayley on the couch. Charlotte approached the coach with a smirk and cocked eyebrow. “Well, well, you ditched my room to canoodle on my couch?”

 

“Canoodling? How old are you, Char?”

 

“Besides the point, we have time for a short breakfast and the we have to get ready so you’re going to have to take a break from the canoodle sesh.”

 

“Can’t a girl snuggle in peace?”

 

“Not in my living room.” Bayley sighed, slightly nudging Sasha. It takes a bit, but finally the hot tempered girl was awake, and unhappy about it too.

 

“I couldn’t have had five more minutes?” Sasha whined as Becky passed her a bowl of cereal. The 6 girls all sat around the island, eating their cereal in peace, aside from the occasional whine from Sasha. As her bowl emptied though, Charlotte felt reality hitting her more and more. As the cereal drained, so did her time. How would she say goodbye? This was Reid, her baby brother, and she was burying him today. Or, what’s left of him. After her father had, well, taken care of him , he also got rid of the evidence. So today, she would be putting an empty casket in the ground.

 

Finally, the cereal was gone. The milk was, too. Now, Charlotte had to really face to music. Face the reality of today. Charlotte stared at the bowl with disdain. She felt a hand on her thigh and she looked up. Becky was giving her a sympathetic smile as if to say “you’ve got this”, and gave her thigh a reassuring squeeze. Charlotte heaved herself from her seat and shuffled her way to the bedroom.

 

I am sorry for your loss, Charlotte.

 

It’s okay, Queen. Thanks. Charlotte smiled; maybe having The Queen around wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe, just maybe, Charlotte would get through it all; survive the impossible.

 

“Hey,” Charlotte jumped at the voice, relaxing when she saw it was just Becky, “sorry if I spooked ya’, I jus’ need to grab my clothes.” Becky chuckled as she strode to the closet and grabbed a backpack.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“What for, Charlie?”

 

“For staying.”

 

“It’s nothin’! We all wanna be here for you, and it’s gonna stay that way if I got any say in it.” Charlotte smiled. Maybe she really wasn’t alone. She wanted to run up and hug Becky, just hold her, but instead she walked to her closet and grabbed her clothes. She was careful to pick something that Reid would’ve picked out for her. Whenever she had a big event, a show to go to or even just a date with Daria, Reid would always have to approve of her outfit or even pick out for her. If Charlotte was being completely honest, she was definitely fashion challenged. Charlotte walked briskly to the bathroom to change into the outfit she knew would be Reid approved.

 

Charlotte took a quick shower, trying to wash out all of her grief and sadness so she could put a brave face on for the funeral. She tried to wash away the hope that Reid would come back. It didn’t work, of course, but it helped at least a little bit. Charlotte was quick to get dressed and dry out her hair, as she didn’t want to keep the others waiting. She forwent makeup, deciding the outfit would be enough for the day. It was rather simple, a white button up, a leather jacket, and black slacks. Reid liked her in black, whereas Charlotte was inclined to pick out bright colors, but Charlotte had grown to trust his judgement.

 

When Charlotte was done, it was about 8am, giving them another hour. The rest of the “horsewomen” took their showers in the guest bathroom, Daria and Paige promising to be there when the services officially started. Bayley and Sasha decided to wear plain black dresses, something simple yet tasteful. Thankfully, when Sasha came out of the shower she looked a lot more awake then she had when she had been shoveling cereal into her mouth. Bayley was as peppy as ever, giving happy reassurances to Sasha that she looked fine and happy chats with Charlotte. Becky was the last to come out. Charlotte almost forgot where she was when she saw Becky. She wore form fitting pants with a button up tucked into them and to tie it all together, she had black suspenders clipped to her pants and looped over her shoulders. Becky nervously gripped onto her own leather jacket as Charlotte’s mouth gaped.

 

8:40am. They had 20 minutes to get there so Charlotte really didn’t have time to ogle at the Irish woman. Sasha and Bayley had decided to ride together, meaning Becky would ride with Charlotte. Charlotte quickly grabbed her keys and helmet from the counter, and out the door she and Becky went.

 

“Y’know,” Becky started, slipping the helmet on, “we should probably invest in my own helmet, since I ride with ya’ so often and all.” Charlotte smirked as she revved the engine.

 

“Do my ears deceive me or did Becky Lynch just inadvertently admit she liked riding on my bike?”

 

“Just drive, Flair.” Becky huffed as she squeezed Charlotte’s waist. Charlotte couldn’t help but laugh as she pulled out of her driveway and raced into the streets.

 

The pair made it to the cemetery with 4 minutes to spare. She couldn’t believe it. It looked just like the plans she had made. See, it wasn’t that Charlotte hadn’t planned anything for her baby brother, no, it was that she didn’t have the means to give him what she knew he’d want. Everything was already set in place for McMahon Labs to follow through on. And follow through they did. The plot was decked out in Blue Hydrangeas, Periwinkles and Oxford Blues. All of his favorites. There was a casket in front of a 6 foot hole, where Charlotte knew his soul would finally be free. Next to it was framed picture of him and Charlotte on his 25th birthday, both of them smiling brightly. This was it, this was actually happening.

 

“Ashley Flair?” A tall man in an all black suit approached the women. His hair was slicked back neatly, but the man seemed run down and sad. “I’m Mark Calaway, I run this here funeral home and cemetery. On behalf of me and our staff, I am sorry for your loss.” Charlotte nodded at the man, giving him a quiet thank you. And just as he came, the man went in silence.

 

Charlotte looked back to Becky. God, she was really glad to have her here. Without her girls, even Sonya and Paige, she’d be all alone. This whole McMahon Laboratories shitshow was a real predicament, she had an alien inside of her for crying out loud, but she was somehow content with being with The Queen and her newfound friends.

 

Thank you, Charlotte. We will get through this.

 

“Hey, Charlie, don’t go cryin’ on me just yet.” Charlotte hadn’t even noticed the tears flowing down her face as she stared at the picture of Reid. She sure was glad she decided against makeup today. Becky gingerly cupped Charlotte’s face and wiped the tears from her face. She was doing what, Charlotte thought, she did best: Comforting the tall girl.

 

“It’s gonna be okay, lass. I promise. We’ll get through this together. All of us, I mean.” The thing about Charlotte and emotions was once she started, she really couldn’t stop. So tears continued to stream down her face until Becky finally wrapped her arms around Charlotte’s shaking body. Becky traced circles along her back, in some sort of attempt to calm her down slightly.

 

“Yeah, Char, we have your back!” Charlotte feels Bayley join in on the hug. It was nice, not like Becky’s hugs, but it felt like she was just put under a warm blanket.

 

“You’re stuck with us now, Crazy Girl.” Sasha wiggled her way into the group hug, too. Charlotte sobbed into the girls’ embrace. In an odd sort of way she felt protected by the girls she had grown to know as friends.

 

“Mind if I join in, Ashley?” Charlotte stopped dead in her tracks. No. No no no no no. This couldn’t be. She hadn’t heard a peep from him for 4 months, she hadn’t even sent him an invitation, how did he know to come here? Sasha and Bayley pulled back from the embrace, Charlotte refusing to let go of Becky’s waist. Why was he here?

 

“Who the Hell are you?” Sasha stepped up. Sasha as quick to get in the older man’s face. He was dressed in a white suit with with a blue button up shirt, which he probably paid far too much for, underneath. Atop his crooked nose was a pair of aviators that seemed to reek of malice. His pearly white teeth contrasted horribly with his spray tanned skin but matched perfect with his white and thinning slicked back hair. The man screamed black hat.

 

“Aw, you don’t know me? Guess I haven’t been doing my job right, then.” The older man waltzed his way around an irate Sasha Banks and a looming Bayley, to a cowering Charlotte and a cool and collected Becky.

 

Do not fear, Charlotte. I can take this man. WE can take this man.

 

But Charlotte knew in her heart that she couldn't. She’d never be able to face him after what he did to her. After what he did to her family. As far as she was concerned, there was no Ric Flair. He simply didn’t exist to her any longer.

 

“What time do services start, Ashley?”

 

“10am. You’re a wee bit early, sir. 40 minutes ta be exact.” Becky puffed up her chest as she spoke to the man in front of her. Charlotte slowly let go of the only thing keeping her grounded; Becky’s waist. As she began to stand upright, she felt her hand trail down Becky’s side and find her balled fist. Before she knew what she was doing, she carefully spread the tensed fingers and laced their hands together. Charlotte felt comfortable, not like how she did when Becky held her, but at ease.

 

“Oh, my apologies, Miss….?”

 

“Lynch. Why don’t you have a seat while we wait for the services to begin?”

 

“Will do, Lynch. ” If Charlotte didn’t know her father, she’d be surprised a person could speak with such venom with only three words. Then again, Ric Flair was known for his big talk. That was a real close one for Charlotte. She didn’t know what she’d do if she’d actually had to say anything. Hell, the last time someone spoke ill of Reid they ended up with a broken nose and some bruised ribs. Now, there was no knowing what she could do with the new found power of The Queen.

 

You will learn soon, Charlotte.

 

Everyone else arrived in a  timely manner. Thankfully for Charlotte, the girls hadn’t pressed her at all about the awkward encounter with the sleazebag. Charlotte’s heart swelled as she watched the people pour in for Reid’s ceremony. She invited everyone she know he would’ve wanted there. Particularly, his friends Dean and Roman showed up. Charlotte wasn’t too sure about them, especially since they seemed to bring along a mystery man with a blonde streak in his hair, but Reid considered them family. Finn was there, too, along with a couple of old friends of Reid’s from high school. Reid would have loved it. By the time Sonya and Paige showed up and promptly sat down, Charlotte knew it was time for her to begin.

 

Charlotte reluctantly let go of Becky’s hand, which she hadn’t realized she didn’t let go of after Ric sat down, and approached a small podium in front of the chairs. Charlotte looked out at the faces in front of her, some new and some old. Some she was happy to see and some she wish hadn’t shown up at all. But they all had one thing in common: Reid Flair. Well, except Ric. Ric wasn’t there for his son, no, he was there for Ric Flair. It sickened Charlotte, but she had to move on.

 

Reid had never been a religious person, so Charlotte knew that it would only be a few eulogies and then it would be off to the reception place. Reid’s and, subsequently, Charlotte’s favorite place: The Rooftops. Reid took everyone he cared about up there. The building itself wasn’t anything too special; it was an apartment complex his friend, Dean, owned. But whenever Reid was upset or just needed a good old time out, you could count on finding him sitting up there watching the sunset. Reid always loved sunsets. Charlotte used to, too. She’s never been able to watch the sunset after that day.

 

“Good morning, everyone. Thank you for showing up, Reid would have loved to see you all here.” Charlotte began with a shaky breath. She hadn’t ever been all too good at public speaking, and to make matters worse she was speaking about her baby brother.

 

“I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know where to end, either. So, I guess I’ll just tell a story. Reid had always been a kind and compassionate man, no doubt about that. There are so many stories I could tell you all, but there’s one that’s really calling to me.”

 

“When I had first moved into my house, I called Reid to help me decorate. Paint mainly. Reid came in a heartbeat. He always did. Reid was the type of person to help you before you even ask. I remember opening the door and getting crushed in one of his bear hugs. At the time, it was annoying, but now I would kill for him to hug me like that again.”

 

“We spent the whole day painting my bedroom ‘peacock blue’. He insisted that we keep the white paint out, too. ‘Just in case, Ash. You never know when you’ll need something.’” Charlotte gave a wry chuckle as she wiped at her eyes.

 

“It took us the whole day. We only took breaks to eat. Back then I was all about going as fast as I could. I would never stop to smell the roses. Reid always told me to slow down. He was right. You never know you’re out of time until it’s all gone.”

 

“We finally finished the room. I was quite happy with our work, even though it did take a while for it to be done, it was perfect. Something seemed off to Reid, though. He kept looking at the wall, puzzled. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with the paint so I just watched as he tried to figure it out for himself. Then his eyes lit up the way they did whenever Reid got an idea in his head. He grabbed the white paint bucket and cracked it open. I had no clue what he was doing at this point. He carried the bucket over to the doorway and sat down. I followed him, of course. I watched in horror as he dipped his hand into the paint. He then promptly stuck his hand onto the wall, leaving a handprint as he removed it.”

 

“I remember just screaming. I don’t know why I was so angry over a handprint. I mean, it was just a handprint. He didn’t scream back, though. He never did. No matter what, Reid would never yell, no matter the situation. He would just stay quiet and wait for you to calm down. It always worked for me, too. He just stayed quiet as I yelled, soon the yelling became talking, talking became laughing, and the laughter turned into me dipping my hand into the paint and pressing my hand next to his. We spent the rest of the night flinging paint at each other and laughing. One thing remained the same, though. I never slowed down. I wish I would’ve slowed down.”

 

Charlotte rubbed at her eyes as she stepped down from the podium. There was somber clapping from the seated people. Charlotte walked as briskly as she could to her seat next to her friends. She took her seat as soon as she could. She felt a strong arm wrap around her shoulders. And for the bajillionth time, she broke down in the arms of the girl she was beginning to think was her best friend.

 

“You’re so strong, Flair. So strong.”

 

She is correct, Ashley. You are a strong individual. This partnership will be very beneficial to the both of us.

 

Charlotte listened dully to the rest of the eulogies. She really wanted to listen carefully, she really did, but she couldn’t bring herself to focus on something. At the end of the day, Charlotte was glad that so many people seemed to care about Reid just as she had. She watched as Dean, the man who owned the apartments, tear up as he talked about when Reid moved into his complex. She listened when a woman she knew as Ruby talked about being his neighbor and when he’d help her out with repairs. What really shocked her was when Sonya went up and talked about Charlotte’s brother.

 

“H-Hi. Now, I didn’t know Reid as well as any of you, but I was around him a lot. When I first met him, I was scared as hell. I mean, any sane person would be scared to meet their girlfriend’s family. Reid was the first person I saw. He basically crushed me with a hug and welcomed me into the family.” The people around gave a resounding chuckle.

 

“It was such a relief to have an ally in the family besides Charlotte. Reid took me out every now and then. Most notably, the night I was going to propose to his sister.” Charlotte winced. She didn’t know Reid had spoken to her before. Charlotte remembered the night well, too well. Everytime she thought about it was just another jab into an open wound.

 

“I went to his apartment because I was totally freaking out. He looked so worried when he opened the door and I was standing there ballin’ my eyes out. He took me up to the roof of the building and we just talked. That’s what I loved about Reid. He never really expected you to respond, he’d just talk about anything. It was crazy how just him talking could make you feel so much better. He calmed me down, eventually. I remember him telling me, ‘I really like you, Daria. I can tell my sister does, too. Do me a favor and never break her heart.’ I promised him I wouldn’t. I broke his promise and never apologized. It was horrible, the last time I saw him. He looked at me with such disdain. I’d never seen him look at anything like that. I never got to apologize to him.” Sonya turned to the casket with a sniffle. She ran her fingers over the creases, and finally kissed the lid. “I’m so sorry, Buddy. This world didn’t deserve ya’, you know?”

 

She walked back to her seat with hot tears streaming down her face. Paige enveloped her in a tight hug as the woman fell apart in her arms. Charlotte had no idea how much Reid actually meant to Sonya. Well, he meant a lot to everyone he knew, she supposed. Charlotte knew he would have accepted her apology. He almost always did.

 

Charlotte now truly felt the ceremony to be over. Everyone seemed to be at peace with the words spoken of their late friend. She stood up, just about ready to tell the men standing behind the crowd that they could go ahead and lower the casket, when he stood. Not only did Ric Flair stand, he walked his way up to the podium. How dare he do that? How dare he even show up to the funeral let alone speak at it!

 

“Now, I know I’m cutting it kinda close but I would like to see a few words about my son.” Charlotte grinded her teeth and balled her fists. How dare he call Reid his son. Reid meant nothing to him.

 

Usually I am all for violence, but do not do something you will regret.

 

Trust me, Queen, I won’t regret it.

 

You know what I meant.

 

Charlotte felt a hand on her wrist. She looked back to see Becky’s face with a soft expression, begging her to sit back down. So, she took a deep breath and slowly sat back down next to the fiery haired girl.

 

“Reid, as you all know was a kind soul. Almost too kind for his own good. He valued family quite a lot. He also always stood up for what he believed in which lead to a handful of disputes. Most importantly, Reid was my son. He was a Flair. Although we had our differences, I loved Reid with my whole heart. I know that he’s lookin’ down on all of us right now all happy that we’re here. Thank you.” There was small applause as the eldest Flair stepped off the podium and walked down the aisle of chairs, presumably to his car. The men from the back finally came forward. She watched as the lowered all that she had left of her baby brother into the ground. She knew now that he had been set free. He could rest.

 

“I love you.” Charlotte whispered as she began to walk away from the site.

 

The rest of the night was celebrating Reid’s life on the rooftop. Just as it should have been. Everyone, for that night at least, came together and felt at peace for once. It was like a breath of fresh air as Charlotte sipped on her lemonade (provided by Dean) and listened to Ruby tell the story about the time she had gone to a tattoo parlor with him and them both coming home with fresh ink.

 

”Genuinely, it’s the worst one I’ve got, but at the same time it’s the best.” Ruby giggled as she showed the group a small tattoo of a rubber duck on her forearm. Charlotte remember Reid’s tattoo. She laughed at him harder than she’d ever laughed when he showed her the shitty cross on his shoulder. She, somehow, laughed even harder when he said it was supposed to be the Guns n’ Roses cross.

 

The night ended and everyone dispersed. This same group of people were likely to never gather again, but they had today. They gathered for Reid. For Charlotte’s baby brother, and she couldn’t be happier. She felt overwhelming peace as she and Becky began their walk to Charlotte’s bike.

 

“Good night, Reider.” Charlotte whispered as she slung her leg over the bike. As soon as she felt Becky squeeze her waist, she tore off into the night.

Chapter Text

The people around her started to close in. Charlotte wasn’t sure what she could possibly do. Her father’s men surrounded her. She had nowhere to go. She was absolutely terrified. Charlotte flair could feel her time dwindling by the second. She was alone. Absolutely alone.

 

Finally, one man came forward with a wicked smile. He was calm, eerily calm, as he pointed a gun at Charlotte’s face. She closed her eyes, waiting for the sweet release. Nothing. Her eyes fluttered open. All she saw were tar-like spines shooting out of her extended hand at the men in front of her.

 

Let it consume you, Miss Flair.

 

Charlotte didn’t quite know what the voice meant, but she trusted it. She felt herself let go as the substance completely took over her body. It all happened so quick. At one point she was surrounded, and now everyone around her was splayed across the floor.

 

Very good.

 

Charlotte jolted awake at the sound of music blaring. The sweet sound of heavy drums and raspy vocals. Usually, Charlotte would never think twice about a Paramore song from 2009, but this was a Becky song. After the prison break plans had finally set in, the girls decided to actually just sort of...chill. Becky had immediately connected her phone to the speaker, shuffling through her library of music. The girls, still somewhat being strangers, spent the rest of their evening getting to know each other at face value. Nothing noteworthy really happened that night, at least not for the other three. As Becky had been explaining all of her various likes and dislikes, Charlotte was studying the woman’s face. The way her jaw flexed every time she had laughed at one of her bad jokes, or the way her tongue darted out from her mouth every now and then, her hearty laugh that absolutely made Charlotte swoon, and her pearly white smile. Everything seemed perfect about Becky. Especially her song selection.

 

As the group talked, Charlotte found herself beginning to be entrapped by the music. One song particularly caught Charlotte’s attention. She’s not sure why, but the way the lyrics melded with the drums and guitar was heavenly for her. The way the frontwoman had sung the words somehow made the song all the more relevant to Charlotte. And what really sealed the deal was watching Becky bounce along to the beat and mouthed all of the words. Ever since then, Where the Lines Overlap has been Charlotte’s alarm.

 

Charlotte fumbled for her phone on the nightstand to silence it. 10:49 am Wednesday, October 21st, 2020. 2 missed calls from Becky. 7 new messages. Why was Becky calling her so damn early?

 

daddy: Hey char! just wanted to let you know that steph basically just opened our business for us. symbiote shit starts tomorrow. meet me at the shop.



murder hobo: you little shit you left me alone at the meeting with the two happy mcfuckhuggies. i will have your blonde head. meet us at the shop if you ever wake up btw



mom mcfuckhuggy: Are you feeling okay :((((( you weren’t at the meeting and you didn’t answer becky’s calls. I told Sash to check on you but knowing her she’s probably mad you got to skip. Do you need soup??? I can make you soup.




Alien Bitch: Hello, Charlotte. This is Stephanie McMahon of McMahon Laboratories letting you know that your absence is excused on the account of emotional distress and family emergency. Do not be absent again. I’m sure your fellow horsewomen have told you about 4HW Scoops by now. Here are the directions. I hope you like ice cream.



Alien Bitch sent a link




jersey deville: were out of apple juice you fuck. its your turn for groceries cuz i took the laundry when you forgot to. Don’t forget laundry soap too xx




mcr: hey btw i know you said it was okay for us to basically live at your house but i wanted to say thank you again. also we are out of apple juice.

 

Charlotte doesn’t remember a meeting being scheduled for today. She also doesn’t remember ever having apple juice. She sighed, shaking off whatever remnants of sleep she had and getting ready to leave for “4HW Scoops”. If she was being completely honest, Charlotte had a bad feeling about today. It probably had something to do with her weird ass dreams she’s been having since she and Queenie were acquainted. Despite her dread for the day ahead of her, she pushed through and got ready.

 

Charlotte parked her bike in an empty slot right at the front. Lo and behold, a sign was already atop the wall the read “4 Horse Women’s Scoops” with an ice cream cone with four scoops of ice cream on it; one vanilla, one orange, a purple, and a strawberry. When did they have time for this? Charlotte shook her head as she lifted the helmet off of her. She gingerly walks inside, hearing a small bell ring.

 

The inside of the shop reminded her of a 50’s ice cream parlor she’s sure she’d seen in a movie. The whole room was full of pastels, primarily based off of their ‘logo’. The orange and crème checkered floor was pristine as if it had just been polished. The booth’s along the wall all had the trunks of Chevy Bel Airs for a back. The seats were all varying shades of pink while the tables were lilac or violet and some just straight up purple. At the front was a bar with stools varying from purple, pink, blonde, or orange. The wooden walls were littered with posters of ice cream, old movie posters, celebrity posters, and old records. Charlotte’s favorite piece of decor, though, had to be the neon jukebox nestled in a corner. It didn’t match the color scheme at all, but it just seemed so right to her.

 

“Hey, Sleeping Beauty, nice of you to show up.” Charlotte felt a smile begin to form as she heard the oh so familiar accent blessed her ears. Becky’s quickly hopped the counter to greet her friend. The shorter girl enveloped Charlotte in a tight hug. Charlotte let herself go into the embrace. All she could feel was Becky’s warmth. All she could her was Becky’s breathing. All she could smell was overwhelming nutmeg and cinnamon. Then Becky let go and back to the real world it was.

 

“Yeah, yeah. Where are the other two?” Charlotte set her helmet down on the counter and took a seat on one of the stools. It was still barely setting in that this was theirs. She’d be able to make a living without the awkwardness of showing up at a promotion asking for a job.

 

“Oh, I think they went to Bayley’s apartment? They invited me but I told them I’d just wait for you to show up. Oh! And I ordered us pizza from Morgan’s! So Finn should be here soon.” Charlotte’s lips quirked into a smile. God, she was the prettiest person in the world. Inside and out. Sure, she had sharp features and doey-eyes, but she was also kind and compassionate and patient and sweet and she always knew what to say to make Charlotte feel all warm and fuzzy. Becky was perfect.

 

“So, um, ice cream, huh?” Charlotte watched as Becky skipped up to the stool and sat in front of Charlotte.

 

“Yup, ice cream! I think it fits us four well enough, huh?”

 

“Yeah, I guess it does. When do we open?”

 

“Next week.”

 

“Do we have everything ready for the opening?”

 

“Of course we do, Charlie!” Becky hops off of the stool and pulls Charlotte with her. “C’mon, I’ll show you.”

 

Charlotte rolled her eyes as Becky lead her around the counter and to the back. The back wasn’t quite as colorful as the parlor itself. As they went further in, the parlor became colder and colder. Becky unlocked a heavy door with a lanyard she hadn’t noticed before. Becky seemed to slightly struggle with opening the door on her own. Charlotte wrapped her hand around Becky’s on the handle. Carefully, she pulled the door open with ease. She held it open with the side of her foot, reluctantly unraveling her fingers from Becky’s slightly calloused hands.

 

She is impressed. You are welcome, Ms. Flair.

 

Becky cleared her throat and briskly made her way into the industrial freezer. Charlotte scooted in after her with a slight smile.

 

You will also thank me for this later.

 

Huh? Charlotte heard the tell-tale sound of a heavy door slamming shut. She turned sharply, jiggling the doorknob and ramming herself into the iron door. It didn’t budge. Not even slightly. Great.

 

“Okay, Charlie stop messin’ with me, open the door.” Becky gave a humorless chuckle as Charlotte slid down the door with a huff.

 

“Believe me Bex, I wish I was just kidding.”

 

Huddle for warmth. I have seen that in one of the movies you have made me watch.

 

You have to be kidding, Queenie. Just let us out.

 

No reply.

 

Fine!

 

“The Queen says that we should, uh, huddle together or something.” Charlotte felt her cheeks burning in the freezing cold air around her. She looked around at the shelves of ice cream and various toppings, absolutely avoiding any eye contact with Becky.

 

“Alright, but I’m grabbin’ this whipped cream container because I am absolutely starvin’.” She watched as Becky stretched for something on a top shelf. She successfully knocked it off the top and into her arms it went. She carried the tub over the Charlotte and joined her on the floor. Becky quickly nestled in front of Charlotte, pressing her back flush against Charlotte. Speaking of flush, Charlotte’s cheeks burned like they never have before as she looped her arms around Becky’s waist. Becky greeted her embrace with a thankful hum.

 

Temperature regulation really comes in handy, doesn’t it, Charlotte?

 

Their time in the freezer was spent in their bubble of warmth, Becky scooping the whipped cream into her mouth, spouting jokes every now and then. Becky swore up and down that she’d replace the tub as soon as possible. Charlotte would just laugh at her, burying her face in the shorter girl’s shoulder. Charlotte had to admit, although the circumstances weren’t ideal and she had a few choice words for The Queen, this was kind of nice.

 

“Hey,” Becky craned her neck at the sound of Charlotte’s soft voice, “you’ve got a little something right here.” Charlotte chuckled as she wiped away the ice cream topping from the corner of Becky’s mouth.

 

“That’s funny, cos’ you have somethin’,” Becky grinned as she dipped a finger into the tub of whipped cream, “right there.” She punctuated her sentence by tapping her finger with the topping right on the tip of Charlotte’s nose.

 

“Oh yeah? Well, you have some right here!” Charlotte dipped her own hand in and flung some of the treat at Becky. The two went back and forth flinging whipped cream at each other in a fit of giggles. Finally, they seemed to have settled. A silent truce may have been in the makings. Then Becky crawled up to Charlotte, dipping into the half-full tub once again. Charlotte prepared herself for the incoming attack, but it never came. All she felt was a soft finger dolloping the confection onto her lips. Charlotte went completely still as she watched Becky lean into the crook of her neck.

 

“You’ve got something right there.” Becky whispered into Charlotte’s ear. She pulled back to look at Charlotte, her eyes darting wildly from her lips to her eyes. She leaned in again, but this time it wasn’t into her ear. It was into a kiss.

 

Charlotte was stunned for a moment before she relaxed into it, returning the kiss with enthusiasm. God, kissing Becky was like Heaven. It felt like their lips were only meant for each other. It somehow felt even better when Becky slightly shifted her weight so that Charlotte was laying down on the cold floor.

 

“You’re fucking joking! I was all worried about you two and you were getting it on in the freezer!?”

 

Charlotte pulled away abruptly to see an exasperated Bayley and a giggling Sasha holding open the door. Charlotte looked at Becky’s flushed face and then to the opened door and began laughing as hard as Becky’s body would allow. Becky soon joined Charlotte’s laughter along with Sasha.

 

“Guys! It isn’t funny I paid for your pizza!”

 

Chapter Text

Darkness. That is all she saw.

 

Rope. That is all she felt as she struggled against a cold chair.

 

Light. Finally, light. Charlotte looked down at herself in the cold room. Her clothes were in tatters and her body was covered in small cuts and bruises. She could feel the rope cutting into her wrist and she could taste the blood pouring from her lip. They’d pay for this.

 

“CHARLOTTE!!” The scream was blood-curdling. It was raspy. It was scared. Most of all, it was familiar. Charlotte could almost hear the inevitable tears streaming down the girl’s cheeks. Becky.

 

Charlotte’s head shot up. Another light, a spotlight actually, was shining on her. Becky’s face was scraped and her nose was gushing. She was bound to a chair, too, but not like Charlotte’s. It looked like some sort of modified dining room chair. The exposed wood was obviously splintering from age, and unlike Charlotte, Becky was strapped in. A leather strap wrapped around her midsection tightly, along with one around her shoulders. Leather cuffs pinned her wrists to the arms of the chair. In a similar way to her wrists, her ankles were bound to the leg of her chair. Becky’s body writhed against the straps, trying her best to break free. But to no avail. A shadowy figure seemed to appear out of thin air to grab Becky’s face and strap some sort of bowl looking thing to her head.

 

“BECKS!!!” Charlotte called out to her, the scream ripping through her raw throat. Just as Charlotte had given up hope of saving her best friend, Becky’s eyes locked with hers. Tears welled in her relieved chocolate eyes. Charlotte felt a sigh of relief let out from her chest. Suddenly, the expression in her eyes changed from relief to absolute pain. Her eyes never moved from Charlotte’s as the shrill shriek left her mouth as her body convulsed. Charlotte watched as Becky’s veins popped out from beneath her skin. Becky continued to writhe as vibrant orange stripes begin to spread throughout her body where her veins were. Her eyes never left Charlotte’s; well, not until Becky slumped in her chair. Her body stopped writhing. She stopped moving in general.

 

Becky was unstrapped from the chair by burly men in hazmat suits. Charlotte felt her throat swell impossibly as she screamed for Becky again.

 

“Char.”

 

“Charlie.”

 

“Charlotte!”

Charlotte awoke drenched in sweat and trembling. Strong arms were wrapped around her; that wasn’t exactly a rarity now. What was rare, was that they weren’t Becky’s arms. Becky had gone home that night. Charlotte insisted that she didn’t want to trap Becky here and Becky wasn’t one to argue with Charlotte. The arms and soft coos weren’t Becky’s, but they were still familiar; Daria.

 

Charlotte wanted to hate the embrace. Charlotte wanted to pull away and scream at her for coming into her room. Charlotte wanted to want all of that. But she didn’t. She just curled into Daria as sobs wrung through her body. She felt Daria rub comforting circles along Charlotte’s back.

 

“It’s alright, Charlie, no one is going to hurt her. I promise.” Charlotte couldn’t help the choked sob that wrung through her body at the word ‘promise’.

 

“Oh geez, I guess that wasn’t the best wording was it?” Daria gave a humorless chuckle. Charlotte sniffled as she lifted her her face from Daria’s shoulders to look at her. Her face was twisted in a panicked expression and her hair was in a messy clump atop her head. She must’ve just woken up.

 

“Dar-Sonya, you didn’t have to come, I’m fine.” Charlotte tried to reassure Sonya, but faltered with a hiccup.

 

“Oh yeah, you sound stellar, She-Ra.” Paige made her presence in the doorway known with the cheeky remark. Charlotte couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips.

 

I am glad they are here. That scene was not favorable. And eerily detailed. Today will show to be a challenge. It may be time.

 

Time? Time for what?

 

Time to finally show them all what will transpire when you piss off The Queen.

 

Charlotte felt a grin spread across her face at Queenie’s words. She could taste the venom on her tongue. Sonya was right, no one would hurt Becky. No one would hurt Bayley or Sasha. Not if she had a say in it.

Charlotte begrudgingly departed from the embrace, which Paige piled into, and grabbed a few things from her closet. She snickered as she looked at the acid wash tank top in her hands. Paige and Sonya, who were still on her bed, let out a few giggles too when they saw She-Ra depicted on the red fabric.

 

“Nice!” Paige called out as Charlotte closed the door to her bathroom. Time to scrub away that wretched dream away. Quickly, she undressed and stepped into the cool spray of the shower. She let out a sigh of relief as the water padded against her tense shoulders and tight back. Today was definitely going to be a long one.

 

・・・

 

Charlotte chewed on her lip as she killed her engine in front of The Labs. She slipped her helmet off and hung it on the handlebars for the time being. She was the only one here; there was no sign of Sasha or Bayley’s cars in the lot. She was first. Wow. What a shocker. She might as well check her messages.

 

Prince Pizza: i cant believe bayley payed for your pizza cuz you and becky were too horny for each other.




daddy: mornin! we should prolly talk about this um...later after the whole bonding thing

 

daddy: not like in a bad way though! we dont need to talk in a bad way

 

daddy: i mean unless you need to talk to me in a bad way ;) in that case you can talk to me however you want

 

daddy: not that you couldnt say what you wanted before! your an independent woman and i totally respect that! its hot ;P

 

daddy: well uh see you at the labs xx




mom mcfuckhuggy: you owe me 12 bucks you horny bastard

 

Charlotte shook her head and giggled at the texts. It was adorable how Becky somehow stumbled with her words in her messages. It brought warmth to her cheeks and butterflies to her stomach. This girl was going to be the death of her.

 

“Hey, Adora~”

Charlotte’s eyes shot up from her phone as she heard the sultry tone of an Irish accent. Charlotte slid her phone into her back pocket with a huge grin on her face. Becky was quick to throw her arms around Charlotte in a tight embrace. She glanced down at the shorter girl, her shirt catching Charlotte’s eye. Upon first glance, it was just a plain white tee. Charlotte pulled away slightly, looping her arms around the back of Becky’s neck leaning slightly on her bike. Charlotte got a good look at the shirt, seeing a doodle of a tea bag on the shirt.

 

“What on Earth are you wearing?” Charlotte laughed as she saw the girl pout.

 

“This, Charlie”, Becky rested her hands on Charlotte’s waist comfortably as she spoke, “is my tea -shirt!” Charlotte snorted. Of course. Of course Becky had a tea shirt. Of course hearing her laugh at her own pun made Charlotte giddy. And of course Charlotte’s breathing hitched as Becky leaned into her ear.

 

“I don’t regret it.” she whispered, her breath tickling Charlotte’s ear.

 

“Regret what?”

 

“The kiss.”

 

“Oh, uh, I don’t either.”

 

“I really liked it, actually.”

 

“So did I, Bex.”

 

“Do ya think we could make it like, I don’t know, a regular thing?”

 

“Is this your way of asking me out? Pinning me to my bike and whispering in my ear?”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“Then yeah, I think we could make it a regular thing.” Charlotte pressed a small kiss to Becky’s cheek. Her heart fluttered. Becky had asked her out. Sure it was in her own Becky way, but she had asked Charlotte out nonetheless. Sweet.

 

“Are you horndogs done fucking yet?”

“Sash!” Bayley scolded as she slapped the girl’s midsection. Charlotte’s head shot up to look at the pair in front of them with a glare. Becky tore herself from the embrace to give Sasha her own choice of looks and gestures. As soon as Becky lifted her finger of choice at the purple haired girl, Sasha erupted into a fit of giggles. Soon, the four find themselves huddled together in a fit of laughter.

“Are you four done? We have business to attend to.” the shrill sound of Stephanie’s voice caused the group’s laughter to cease completely, a scowl forming on Charlotte’s face. It melted away almost immediately, as Becky laced their fingers together, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.

 

Stephanie lead the four girls through the warehouse they had grown accustomed to. The Horsewomen shuffled behind Stephanie, a sense of nervousness between them. They had no idea what was to come. They just knew it would hurt. Stephanie had said so on Charlotte’s first day. Paige had been in pain. Charlotte had needed stitches from Sonya when she and Queenie had bonded. Whatever was going to happen, the four just wished it would be quick.

 

“I’m afraid this is where Charlotte departs from the group.” Stephanie stated as they arrived the second building of the labs. They had a second building? When did that happen? Charlotte felt a strong hand on her shoulder. She flinched a little and looked back, seeing that it was Hunter; the man who took her vitals. The one who caught The Queen’s Court. He motioned for her to follow him into the mysterious second building. She looked at her friends. They all had the same look on their faces: Good luck . Charlotte nodded and reluctantly let go of Becky’s warm hand. She had to be honest, Charlotte was scared. What were they going to do to her?

 

Do not fear, Charlotte. We will get through whatever they throw at us.

 

That was slightly reassuring. What was reassuring, though, was that this second room was set up like a Pokèmon Battle Stadium toy from the ’90s. The middle was sunk in, presumably for easier battle with less destruction. Walling the battle pit (I mean there was nothing else to call it), were metal slabs, holding what looked like benches above it. Was this really a stadium!?

 

“Alright, Miss Flair. We’re going to run a few tests on you just, be prepared for a fight.”

 

Charlotte heard Hunter’s words from what she assumed was an intercom because she hadn’t seen him around her. A fight? Was there something else in here with her? Someone else? She heard the telltale sound of metal scraping against metal. She whipped around to see a piece of the wall lifting slowly. Soon, a figure could be seen waiting for the wall to finish lifting. When it did, Charlotte made out the figure of a man. As he stepped into the light, Charlotte saw him clearly. His skin was the color of salted caramel, his jet black hair pulled back into a neat topknot.

 

“Soy Andrade. Pido su perdón.”

 

Charlotte hadn’t even had time to register what was said as she heard a resounding thud and felt a large fist connect to the muscle of her stomach. She was sent soaring through the arena at a pace rivaled only by her trusty bike. Her back hit the metal, neither masses showing any give at all. Her head crashed against the surface of the metal with a loud bang. She slumped in a pile shortly after. Charlotte tasted the familiar copper in her mouth. She rose, breath ragged, and quivering only slightly. The pain in her head was the last thing on her mind at this point. She looked at the ground beneath her, spitting out the red pouring from her mouth and wiping the remaining bits from her lips.

 

“You fucked up big time.”  Charlotte spoke, but it wasn’t her. It was The Queen’s voice. She looked down at herself as she felt something climbing up her body. Black sludge streaked with royal blue covered her legs and arms. Soon, the sludge, or symbiote rather, covered Charlotte’s body, adding height and muscle mass. The symbiote pooled behind her in a dramatic sort of cape. Atop her neck frilled tendrils jutted out, almost like a frilled neck lizard or the fanciest collar you’ve ever seen. Finally, the symbiote’s head came to three peaks, symbolizing a crown. This was The Queen.

 

The Queen looked in the direction of Andrade, only to find he had been replaced. He was rather plain looking, almost a carbon copy of Venom with gold streaks. The Queen recognized him immediately: The Idol. He had gained a following on Klyntar when he began slandering The Queen and her court. He led these lesser symbiotes into a raid on The Queen’s Palace. Of course, this failed miserably. The Queen’s Court cut through the enemy hoard with little to no effort. The Idol proved to be a bit of a challenge, but he was defeated and banished nonetheless.

 

The Idol charged at Queenie. This should be fun. The Queen sidestepped the charging symbiote, giving him a kick to the back of the leg on his way out. The Idol stumbled only for a moment, quick to jump right back on The Queen, landing a strong knee strike on the side of her jaw. She stumbled backward, cradling her throbbing mandible. Anger bubbled in the monarch as she watched the hostile reel for another kick. As his foot lifted from the ground The Queen caught his ankle. She turned her whole body in a corkscrew motion, bringing The Idol and herself to the floor. Seamlessly, she transitioned from clutching his ankle to sitting atop the symbiote’s chest, a hand tightly wrapped around his neck and the other raised in a fist.

 

Do it! Prove me wrong! Prove that you are a worthy leader! Or are you weak like our stupid court!? ” The Queen squeezed her eyes shut and let out a scream. She could feel her raised hand become a sharp tendril, almost like a blade. Just as swiftly as she pinned him down, she drove the tendril into The Idol’s chest, hoping he would submit. But she didn’t hear him. She didn’t feel him breathe. She didn’t feel his pulse from his neck that she was so tightly grasping. When The Queen finally opened her eyes, she didn’t see The Idol. She saw Andrade.

 

“What!?” It was Charlotte’s voice. The Queen had retracted back into her body. Which meant that the tendril was gone too. Charlotte looked at the man before her. His mouth was agape and his eyes were wide. His white shirt was soaked with blood from the gaping hole in his chest. When had The Idol retreated? Had he done so in submission? Had Charlotte killed this man in cold blood?

 

Charlotte looked at herself now. She had rolled off of the man once she was herself again. Her tank top was covered in blood, much like Andrade’s shirt. The only difference was that it wasn’t her own blood, it was his. She put her hand on her head, the one that killed Andrade, to feel for a bump. There was no such thing, but there was a warm liquid seeping from the back of her head. She pulled her hand out of her hair and held it in front of her; her entire palm was covered, and from the corner of her eyes she could see her blonde hair becoming red. Not good. She tried to stand, but she felt a sharp pain in her back preventing it. Great.

 

“Charlie!?” Charlotte looked at the arena’s door as she hears the familiar accent grace her ears. There stood her friends, drenched in sweat and struck with horror. Bayley looked like she as going to cry. Sasha looked sick. And worst of all, Becky’s eyes were wide in fear.

 

“I-I didn’t mean to!” Charlotte let out a sob. The three rushed to Charlotte’s side, enveloping her in a comforting embrace. They all just say there for a bit, letting Charlotte cry. Until finally, Charlotte flt herself be lifted from the ground by strong arms. She buried her face in Becky’s neck, unknowingly covering it in her blood. The ride home in Bayley’s car was filled with worried glances, choked sobs, and quiet coos. What were they going to do?