5,000 dollars. It was rare for Birdy to get a check so large for one show, but not unwelcomed. She found herself occasionally glancing over to it in the dressing room as she zipped up the gym bag with her Halloween costume in it. Walking away with this much money and a win should have felt like the most rewarding experience in the world.
...and yet it wasn't.
She had an overwhelming feeling of guilt tonight for her win, even if she didn't want to admit it. Nevertheless, she pocketed the check into the pocket of her gym bag, and threw the bag over her shoulder, before walking out into the busy hallway of ROSE. Making her way to the parking lot, her eyes glanced towards the door to her partner's dressing room as she walked past it. She just wanted to keep on walking, and never bring up this night again, but she found herself stopping and backing up to face the door. The golden nameplate that read 'Anne Cortes' hung above the door, out of her reach, and only serving to intimidate her even more. She didn't want to do this. She really, really did not want to do this. But she was goin to. After a long pause to stare at the nameplate, she took a deep breath, before knocking on the door. Anne's voice quickly shot up from inside the room.
"Who is it?"
Birdy tensed up. Hearing her tag team partner's voice suddenly made her doubt her decision, but threre was no escaping talking to her partner now.
"Hi...it's uh...It's Birdy. Can I...?"
Before she could finish her sentence,the door swung open, almost striking Birdy had personal experience not told her to take a step back. Anne was seemingly already on her way to leave, in the middle of zipping up her jacket before Birdy interrupted.
"Oh my god, Birdy...are you okay?" she asked, concerned. "You're not, like, still dazed, are you?"
Birdy shook her head.
"Whadya waiting for? Get in here already." she said, invitingly.
Birdy nodded, before following Anne inside her dressing room.
"So, lemme guess. You're here to talk about how ObNOXIous and her friend got what they deserved, right?" Anne laughed.
Anne paused for a response, only for her tag team partner to go silent.
"Oh my god, their face when I clapped was HILARIOUS. El. Oh. El. All that talk about her being 'real', and WHO was the one who won tonight?" Using her thumbs, Anne pointed to herself. "You're lookin' at her! Justice was served tonight. I beat her, and at the end of the day, I'm the former Valkrie champ in ROSE, while she's just...out there. With that Atari girl or whoever. BEING LOSERS. So, whatever."
"They'll never be us. All that talk about us being fake was just jealousy because they WISH they could be us. We're the ones who will be future tag team champions, right, Birdy?"
Anne waited for a few seconds for some kind of response from her. Yet, Birdy stayed as silent as she had since she entered her room.
"Hey! Don't be rude! Talk to me! Helllooooo? ...Are you really, like, just not going to talk? Did they beat you up so bad that you forgot how to talk? C'mon! I heard you say stuff earlier. Like, are you trying to trick me? Cause I already heard you talk. So, it's not gonna work."
Birdy stayed quiet, starting to frustrate Anne, before she just as quickly calmed down.
"double-you slash e. Later, Birdy. Anne said. "We'll talk later."
Zipping up her coat, Anne grabbed her own gym bag and walked out of her dressing room door, into the now near empty and isolated backstage. As Anne walked slowly to the parking lot, drifting farther and farther away from her tag partner, Birdy finally broke her silence.
"A...Anne." she said in a tone loud enough for her partner to hear.
Anne stopped, before turning around.
"Tell me! Why did you cheat?"
Anne sighed, before dropping her bags, and then snickering.
"Uh...what? What the duck do you mean, like...?"
"You faked a tag."
"Well, yeah. Cause you were out. We would have lost. What you should be saying right now is 'I'm sorry Anne, I almost made us lose'. Not be up on her high horse for helping us win. C'mon." she laughed.
Walking up to Anne, Birdy put a hand on her tag partner's shoulder.
"...Oh. Em. Gee. Are you, like...serious? Are you SERIOUSLY showing sympathy for the people who BEAT YOU UP last show?" she said, becoming more and more agitated. "What's with you?"
"Anne, please. I know that we won, and I know who they are, but we can't do this. It isn't fair."
Anne slapped Birdy's hand off of her shoulder.
"FAIR? Oh, I'm sorry, Birdy." Anne said, in a sarcastic tone. "Apparently I'm at fault here for getting YOU money that you can use to get out of that apartment filled with RATS, and BLOOD, and YOUR BROTHER THAT YOU HATE. Is that it?"
Birdy looked shocked at her partner, in disbelief of what she was hearing.
"Well guess what, Birdy? I only have to cheat in matches because I'm forced to when you're my partner, anyways. Do you like...realize how many times I had actually 'lost' in AES before I started teaming with you?"
Anne held up her left index finger to Birdy.
"ONCE! And guess what? When I was away from you and I got to be in a battle royal for at title shot, I won MY shot to fight the UWOT Women's Champion in my DEBUT. So tell me, like, what did you do last PrimeTime when you were in a battle royal where you could have won a shot to fight Gilry?"
"YOU LOST! Just like you lost to Noxi and Atori, and everyone else. I am amazing whenever you're not with me. I get title shots and get to fight for Number One Contendership in my other feds. You can't acheive ANYTHING without me. Do you, like, realize that?"
Birdy covered her ears, trying to stop herself from hearing any more.
"I could dump you right now as my tag team partner and acually succeed, but like, I just really care way too much for my FRIENDS. And If I left you alone, you would never win, Birdy. I mean...really, when's the last time you've beaten anybody one on one?"
Tears started to fall down Birdy's face from under her mask.
"That, like, says it all, doesn't it? You want to say that how I won 'wasn't fair'? Guess what, It's not fair that I have to be the one who helps us win all the time. Or that my reputation was ruined BECAUSE OF YOU. HOW IS THAT FOR NOT FAI--"
"...I won't doubt you anymore. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for screwing up your career, Anne."
Taking her hands off her ears, Birdy started to wipe away the tears from under her mask.
"I do...I do need to win. I've not acheived anything my career. I'm sorry I doubted you. You're my friend...I know you're only speaking the truth."
Anne hugged Birdy, letting her cry over her shoulder.
"Jeez...just...don't worry. I'll be here for you, Birdy."
"...Thanks, Anne...I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
Anne patted Birdy on her back.
"Look, I've stuck with you this long. I'm not leaving you behind. Let's talk on our way to the parking lot, 'kay?."
Taking in the time to cry, she managed to calm herself down enough to respond, in a raspy voice.
"Okay." she said, wiping away a few more of her tears, as she broke away from the hug.
"Let's get your bags..." Anne said, as she escorted Birdy back to Anne's room to get her bag. Birdy felt relieved to be in the loving company of a friend, at least until the two partners would leave for their respective flights.