It’s only fitting for her last match to be against AJ, Kaitlyn thinks. After everything the two of them have been through, after friendship and love and something that Kaitlyn so badly wanted to be hatred but somehow couldn’t turn into that.
She doesn’t see AJ all that often anymore, but she doesn’t think anyone does, really. These days, AJ isolates herself from everyone but Tamina, from everything but her title. Sure, AJ never really had that many friends to begin with, but now she’s totally alienated herself from just about everyone. Even Kaitlyn.
Final match requests are usually reserved for friends, people who will freely admit that they mean something to each other, but that doesn’t mean that Kaitlyn isn’t going to see if she can get in the ring with AJ one last time.
She isn’t surprised when AJ accepts her challenge.
She is surprised when AJ puts her title on the line. Kaitlyn knows she can’t win, not when she’s leaving after this. She knows she can’t do that to AJ even if she wasn’t. AJ’s come so far, worked so hard, and she’s almost beaten the record she’s always dreamed of holding. Even after all she’s done to try and break Kaitlyn, even after all the mind games and cruel words, Kaitlyn can’t let herself win. She’ll put up a fight, but she’ll let AJ have it. She probably won’t even have to let AJ have it – AJ’s a damn good competitor, and doesn’t need to rely on Kaitlyn for her wins. Maybe she’s been relying on Tamina a little too much lately, but Kaitlyn knows AJ can do it on her own. She knows AJ.
And Kaitlyn remembers just how well she still knows AJ when they finally get back in the ring together for the match. This time, what she doesn’t expect is the hug, is AJ clinging onto her like this for any reason other than to try to get her to tap out to the Black Widow hold. It takes Kaitlyn by surprise, but she lets it happen, lets her arms wrap around AJ, lets herself smile as she pulls AJ closer. Kaitlyn can’t lie: she’s missed this. Missed AJ’s touch, missed being able to touch back without it having to be violent in some way because they’re in the ring.
She misses AJ now, and she’ll miss her when she’s gone, even if they don’t talk. Even if the first time they make contact afterwards is through a message left on Kaitlyn’s phone, AJ sobbing about some lost match or relationship failure, or if it’s a curt nod exchanged while Kaitlyn visits other friends backstage when RAW’s in her city, she’ll miss AJ.
She wonders if AJ can admit that to herself as easily as she can. Wonders if AJ would see her as a legitimate threat to the title if the circumstances were different. Kaitlyn knows she’s faded into the background since her own title loss – that’s a reason why she’s leaving, after all – but she doesn’t want AJ to think she’s a total afterthought.
But even if she has drifted off into obscurity, Kaitlyn still wants people to remember this. To remember the two of them and their story. If no-one does, then she will, and she knows AJ will, too. After all, you don’t forget a love that burned so bright and then fell apart in the same ferocious flames. You don’t forget what was once the best thing you ever had.