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from every care (release)

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Without the sure, solid weight of her title belt beside her, AJ sleeps restlessly. It’s been about a month now, and when even Tamina, her trusted confidant, her always unwavering muscle, couldn’t get it back, get it away from Paige, she knew she’d have to start thinking outside the box.

Still – at least that’s something AJ’s always been good at, if she does say so herself.

She needs something – someone – to throw Paige off her game, to keep her on her toes and make her forget all about the fact that the rightful Divas Champion could pounce at any moment.

Her options are pretty limited, and she knows that. There’s no hope in trying to convince say, either of the Bella twins into helping her out here. Even if AJ wanted to, Brie’s far too caught up in whatever the hell’s going on with Daniel right now to focus on anything else. AJ’s glad she’s past that now.

Thinking about it, she’s pissed off just about everyone over the past year alone. Forget pretty limited – these are some very, very limited options right here. It’s not like it was before, when she could enlist someone like Big E to guard her and stop her exes from trying to mess with her. It has to be a diva, and it has to be a distraction. Someone who’d be outraged that this rookie just walked in and ended the longest reign the Divas Division has seen, someone desperate to prove that she can take that title for herself.

Someone like Alicia Fox.

She’d be hungry for it, AJ knows. She must be – it’s been almost four years since she got to hold title gold. It’s hardly even been a month since AJ lost hers, and she’s suffering serious withdrawal from being champion. Who knows how someone who hasn’t got to have that for any longer would feel? AJ only hopes it won’t happen to her.

So, she finds out which house show circuit Alicia’s on and gives her a call (who knew that keeping the rest of the division’s numbers after AJ practically exiled herself from them would actually come in handy?) to arrange a meeting. A private one, preferably in a hotel room.

Of course Alicia’s wary at first – what could AJ possibly want with her? – but eventually, she yields. AJ smirks when she hangs up at the end of the call. She’ll have her title back soon enough.



“What’s in it for me?” is the immediate question when AJ proposes her plan. Alicia’s arms are folded across her chest, and she’s looking down at AJ with sharp eyes.

“You’re getting into the title picture. Exposure. And if you don’t win, maybe I’ll even let you have a try when I come back for it. If it all goes well, anyway. You better do well.” Really, whether things go well rides on AJ beating Paige when she comes back for her rematch, but AJ needs to intimidate.

Really, she’s pretty impressed that Alicia doesn’t actually seem that intimidated by her, though. A little infuriated, but impressed.

“And what do you even think I should do to distract Paige, hm?”

“Do as I would do,” AJ says simply, because obviously, and Alicia snorts. “What?”

“You mean throw a tantrum when things don’t go your way? Because that’s what you would do.”

AJ glares, her eyes hard and stony, but she doesn’t retort. She needs this. She just takes a deep breath, and then softens her gaze, making sure her voice is as sleek as silk when she speaks.

“I’ll show you what I would do,” she says, and she takes a step closer to Alicia, right into her personal space. “Or, at least what I’d do to convince you that this is a good idea.”

Alicia cocks her head to one side, curious.

“Go on.”

She doesn’t even flinch when AJ moves closer, when AJ stretches out a hand and tangles it in her hair, when AJ kisses her. Considering that that’s the opposite of the effect AJ tends to have on most people, she can definitely respect that.

(She can also definitely respect the bruise Alicia manages to suck onto her neck, the scratch of nails on her back as they fuck, the way Alicia’s mouth works her clit and has her whole body trembling from the pleasure, the noise Alicia makes when she comes.)

All of it is enough that AJ wants more, that she wants this waiting for her backstage after her matches, that she wants this in nondescript hotel rooms on the road, but – no. Wanting more always leads to needing more, as she’s found out.

And AJ can’t need. She can’t get attached to anything, not anymore. The only thing she can let herself care about is her title. After all, isn’t that why she’s here in the first place?

“Keep her distracted,” AJ says once she’s stood back up. She’s in front of the bed, stretching out and tossing her hair over her shoulder. “I’ll be waiting in the shadows.”