CALAMITY V // ???????

By: Dickie Watson

Date: 3rd Sep 2021

He sat at his desk, his feet planted into the ground firmly upon the tile floor. His hair fell into his eyes, his curls brushing the tip of his nose. Heíd refused to let the headmistress cut his hair, stating that he didnít like the way everyone else looked at him. Heíd been adopting the British accent quicker than anyone expected, learning English predominantly well, but that didnít erase the previous years of hard consonants and rolling “rís” that heíd grown used to hearing. He still reverted to Russian, regardless of the paddle that he received every single time it rolled out of his mouth. His hand smarted, if not more than his backside — but it couldnít be erased.

It was funny, that mindset. They believed they could beat it out of him, the way he spoke. Just like they assumed that verbal torment would keep the grease from his hair.†

She was there, the headmistress, with a pair of adults looking to adopt an eight to ten-year-old. Heíd overheard her talking to them on the telephone when he was cleaning his drawers out for the third time that week (he could never get the hang of folding his clean laundry the way they told him to). These ones certainly appeared to be nice. The man had a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and a nice suit, and the woman wore a skirt and blouse, her blazer over her arm as she folded her hands in front of her.

He bet they werenít though. Somehow, he could envision the calm demeanor in the man with a belt and the woman with a sneer on her face. Theyíd keep him locked away, tortured by silence. In his mind, terrorized by the demons theyíd become. They didnít want a kid. They wanted a slave, someone to push around, someone to destroy. Somehow, that was easier than envisioning them as the parents he still never had. It was easier than envisioning them being proud of him, watching as he grew up and became something special to them and everyone around them. It was a hope, a dream, a fantasy that somehow, he just knew it would never happen.

It wasnít often that eight year olds were adopted. But here he was, looking like the dutiful student…which he was, to be perfectly honest. He rarely got into trouble — he wasnít like others that had passed through this school, always willing to bury themselves in society as they grew older, to fight the power, to be angry about the hand that they were dealt. He studied. He learned. He knew his grammatical rules, and he knew his British history. He knew that atoms were made of molecules, and he could ride his bike with no handlebars. He knew when to smile, when to frown, when to stay quiet, when to talk. (And it was never to talk).†

But he couldnít get that damned language shift on his own.

Could we borrow Dimitri?” The headmistress asked, turning to the teacher. The Orphanage educated their children on their own until they went to secondary school, or until they went home with a family. Dimitri looked up, brushing the hair from his face as he rose from the seat. A few of their other British childrenís eyes fell upon him, and he kept his eyesight down. He could not stand their gaze. He felt like he didnít deserve it, of course, but he knew what they would say, the judgments that would fall. The world that would bear its ugly teeth soon and he wasnít interested in it. If anything, he hoped that he could avoid it entirely. Perhaps he would stay mute for the rest of his life.

He walked in-between the rows of desks in the schoolroom, keeping his hands out of his pockets as heíd been instructed. Every step seemed like a movement towards his own doom. Perhaps it wasnít necessarily what an eight year old should have been thinking, but since heíd been forced to grow up far before his age, it was where he was intelligence-wise. He raised his hazel eyes to the teacher, who smiled sweetly at him like she always did, and then turned to face the headmistress herself.†

The three adults smiled at him, but all he saw was leers. He kept his eyes down then, stepping into the hallway.

This is Dimitri Watson, Mr. and Mrs. Cranston.” Headmistress White said, her tone quite positive as she introduced him. He could hear her in his head as he stood there. ĎBack straight, head up, smile no matter what.í With a swallow of his insides, he raised his head and looked at them, allowing his lips to curl upwards as he did so.

Hello Dimitri,” the woman stated, showing her teeth as she smiled. “My name is Alice, and this is Benjamin.

??????.” (Hello). He replied, automatically, without thinking. But he did it with a smile.

He could literally hear Headmistress White sucking in her teeth. Not only would she tell him how heíd completely bastardized his own chances of getting adopted right there, but he referred to the forbidden fruit of his own world. He wasnít allowed to speak in Russian. He wasnít allowed to speak in Russian. He wasnít allowed to speak in Russian.

?????. (Fuck.)

Oh, you speak Russian!” Alice stated, surprised. She looked up at the headmistress, blinking wildly, slightly confused.

Dimitriís family, from what we gathered, moved here from Moscow when he was a baby. He grew up around them, but of course, as all of our children have horrible stories, his mother passed away and he was left alone. Tragic, yes. But he is a bright, bright child, and has all the potential in the world.” She tried to cover for him, pressing her fingers onto his shoulders as she did so. He could literally feel the pads of her fingers digging into his skin.

I can speak in English.” He added, his accent almost perfect. “I just…I just forget.

Hm.” Alice smiled still, and she knelt down to look at him at his own eye level. She had blue eyes, and blonde hair. She didnít judge him, though the man looked away. “Tell me, Dimitri: would you like to have a family?

His eyes widened. “???????!” (Of course!) He blurted, before shaking his head and trying again. “Of course!

Of course he did. But wasnít that what any kid in his predicament wanted? Someone to love them. Someone to take care of him? Someone…someone that would be proud of him? Even as he looked at them hopefully, he knew that it wouldnít last. He knew that heíd be back here soon enough, even if this lady seemed nice. Even if this man didnít say much to him. Heíd mess up. Heíd be here. Again. And again. And again.

It turned out to be like that. Just like he expected. He could recall it all still as if it was a perfect memory playing in his mind over and over again. Theyíd adopted him, certainly. But heíd discovered that it was her project, Aliceís. Barren, unable to have children, sheíd adopted a child because she wanted it. And her husband didnít really care, just wanted to make her happy. A year later, she passed away. Cervical cancer, undetected. Itíd been the culprit that caused her to be barren in the first place, and a year later, it took away her very life. Benjamin couldnít handle it, and he couldnít handle Dimitri, so he ended up back at the Orphanage. Abandoned. Again.

Over and over.

???????. (Of course.)

He supposed it was the same now as it had been all of those times before. He supposed he should be used to it now. Dickie sat where the plantiff sat, his head held up by his hand as he rested his elbow on the chair. The clock ticked away the time in seconds behind them, a consistent clicking that was silenced only by the shuffling of papers, the coughing of the older man that sat behind the Judgeís podium. He was dressed in a suit and tie for this, and his leg bounced up and down in a mixture of irritation and boredom. He didnít have time for this, this game of waiting around for someone else to figure out that they needed to get off their fucking ass and own up to their own mistakes. Their own wants and desires. Their needs. He was here. He was adulting. He was the one being the fucking adult in a world that consistently told him he was being a neurotic pain in the ass child.

His lawyer, one Patricia Scott, sat next to him, her hands folded neatly upon the desk in front of them. She kept her eyes forward, didnít bother looking at him as they waited. Finally, she turned to look at him, shaking her head.

We can go ahead and move forward if you like, Mr. Watson. The grace period has been long over, and as far as we know, this isnít contested. She probably wonít show up.

I doubted she was going to anyway,” Dickie shrugged his shoulders. “Itís been a long time since she bothered actually putting herself forward in any situation anyway.

WellÖ” Patricia trailed off, a small smile on her lips. Pitiful. But understanding. “Would you like me to go ahead and start?

As soon as Dickie nodded, the doors in the back of the courtroom swung open and a harried public servant ran into the room, holding up his hand. The British National turned his head and looked in the direction, following him with his eyes as he pushed open the small gate and headed to the desk opposite them.

Mr. Shumer…youíre quite late.” Patricia told him, coldly, as she rose to her feet.

I apologize. I just now got finished speaking with Ms. Morrison. Mr. Morrison–

Watson.

Hm?” Mr. Shumer questioned.

Clearly, you just got handed this case…as you donít even know the name of the plaintiff in this divorce proceeding. This is Dimitri Watson, Mr. Shumer. Not Morrison.” She rolled her eyes. He looked at them, flustered entirely. Patricia looked forward and smiled at the Judge. “Your Honor, if we may begin so we do not waste any more of Mr. Watsonís time. My client is a champion in a wrestling company and I believe weíve dilly dallied as much of his time as we absolutely can.

All right, Ms. Scott.” The older man nodded, leaning forward. “Is. Ms. Morrison attending, Mr. Shumer?

My client will not be able to make it, unfortunately.” He stated, rising to his feet once more. “She is detained. She is not contesting any bit of the agreement. This could have been done without your presence, Your Honor.

Unfortunately, it could not be.” Patricia snapped. “Your client refused to answer any of my calls. My client had to resort to the court having to send her her summons — very telling here. Your Honor, if this is all uncontested, then may I begin the list of assets that my client intends to keep within his possessionÖ

Dickie wished he was surprised. But he wasnít. He wasnít at all.

???????. He muttered, under his breath.

????????

Toxic Tag…well, it didnít go the way that we expected. Despite the fact that Paul and I tried to get on the same page, we were unable to get there. His insistence that I was literally there just as a prop trying to get the win as opposed to a fuckiní tag team wrestler in other promotions…that was his fault. Not mine. You see, on a regular basis, the Australian Wolf, Aiden Reynolds, and I are a team. We know each other in and out, and we know exactly what the other one is trying to get across. He is my brother, in all senses of the word, that I never had and am blessed to know. But this is precisely why wrestling with people that you donít like, nor trust, is a massive issue. But thatís neither here…nor there.

Iíll bury him next time I see him. Oh, Dickie…are you sure youíre going to be able to do that?

Absolutely. Even despite the numbers game that heís got on his side, eventually, those numbers are going to rise on my side, and itís not with people that I think are my friends. Thatís one of our massive differences, you know…I donít constantly get berated or belittled for who I am by the people around me primarily because Iíve finally risen from the ashes of who I was told I needed to be. Of who I couldnít be. Of who I was going to be if I kept on that path.

Wins. Losses. They donít mean anything in the long run. Championships are king in our world, and hate to break it to you all, but guess what? I run this Empire. And itís about fucking time I figured that out. I spent a month hardly believing it, thinking that it was all a bit of luck, but the more I thought about it, the more I fuckiní realized that this isnít luck. This is ownership. This is taking it by the balls and holding it for as long as I can. I havenít proven myself as the type of man that yíall needed. I havenít done what I was supposed to do. Lost to Dane, beat that Kain bro, and then fell apart at the seams two weeks in a row afterwards.†

I bet yíall are sitting there, trying to disprove my rise. Trying to prove that youíre better than the rest of the fuckiní gambit of me and women in this business, in this company, trying to make claims that youíre going to rise to the top and ruin my rise.

Nah, fuckiní nah. Mate.

I fell into a mode that Iím not proud of. Iíll admit that. I fucked up, and with the life that Iíve had in my hindsight, Iíve had a million and three excuses. I wonít list them. Itís been pretty prominent. Lost the love of my life, or at least, who I thought was that — but I was wrong. It wouldnít be the first time, and it wonít be the last. You see, I trusted my heart, my soul, in the hands of someone that fucking took that heart and soul and chucked them into oblivion because they didnít give a shit about anyone but themselves. They were loyal to the one person that mattered to them…and that person wasnít fuckiní me. That was her and her only. All those times she said she had my back, all those times she said that I was her best friend, her only? They were lies.

And man, am I tired of being lied to.

And Iím tired of lying to you. Iím tired of saying Iím something, but not proving that time and time again. That is where I should be. That is where I should rise. I should be proving every night, day in and day out, why I am this companyís champion. Why I am FIGHT!ís champion, why I earned this fucking championship and everything else that gets tossed in my direction. I havenít done that.

I start today.

And it starts with Asher Jules.†

Iím not sorry.

Iím not sorry that I see a kid whoís down on his luck. Iím not sorry that I see a bruv who obviously has been handed the fuckiní short end of the straw. Iím not sorry that Iím going to have to make him my fucking enemy just to rise to the top. Itís rare that you see people like us: lanky, weedy, not one hundred percent the competitor that the eyes of the universe would consider championship material, but the one that has to fight out from under the rubble and the rubbish and somehow rise above everyone and everything. It is fucking exhausting trying to shoot for the stars when youíre already down to the plate in the tenth inning or whatever the fuck baseball reference that is. Iím British-Russian, not American, and Iím not even going to try to understand that oneÖ

But itís exhausting. Itís miserable as a fuck to sit there and be the one that everyone expects to fall But it is everything when you realize your potential. When you shake off the dust and the dirt and the grime and you shine despite the filth that surrounds you. Your life. Your family. Your friends. For that one moment, when you hold that glory in your hands, and deny everyone elseís attempts to dissuade you? To fucking destroy you? That moment matters.

Every moment like that matters. As a kid, I never thought I would be in the situation Iím in. I never thought that I would be the Emperor of a company. I never thought Iíd be the one that could do this. But time and time again, Iíve proven my standing. Here. Three times over otherwise, I was the one left standing at the end, the one that everyone thought would never rise to the top. Over and over, I proved myself. Over and over, I left people lying in the dirt. And I am not the type of person who allows their mistakes to do anything more than push them to grow. To become better. To fucking annihlate whatever anyone else thinks and to do my own thing.

Paul Montuori, if youíre listening…you expect me to be nothing. Well, motherfucker…my head is in the game. Is yours? Can you do this without everyone else helping you, guiding you, pushing you into the stratosphere of your own mind? Or are you so saddled by their support that you have none for yourself?

I donít want to see the worst.

I want the best from you. And I will give you the best that I have to offer.

I have goals in mind. I have to push myself ahead, I have to be more than what Iím expected to be. And Iím not sorry itís at your expense, Asher. Iím not sorry that on Venom Six, Iím going to have to ruin whatever expectations you had. But learn from this. You and I, we donít have to be what everyone else expects us to be. We donít have to think weíre lesser just because we look like it. We donít have to believe weíre nothing because thatís what everyone else says. Take this lesson and learn from it. Root for yourself, because in the end?†

No one else will.

Of course.

????????

Part of Dickie expected that the second he walked into the Wolfslair Training Facility, heíd be bombarded with questions. He was, at the very minimum, left alone as he swiped his card that allowed him into the main gym area. As always, there was the core of the team training for their various upcoming matches. The originals, Johanna and Alicia, sparred on the mat placed in the corner. Austin was on the weight bench, Alex was in his office. Looking up curiously at Dickie was his older brother, Finn, who clearly was on the phone. Dickie raised his hand as he loosened his tie, holding up an affirmative thumbs up. It was the easiest signal he could have come up with. The Seattle Saint nodded at him, and continued on in whatever he was doing.

He rather enjoyed the fact that he wasnít getting attacked. Not that any of them meant ill, but he just couldnít handle questions right now.

However, as he entered the break area, he caught sight of his tag team partner, Aiden, seated at the table, his thumbs furiously typing away to his girlfriend of a few months, Kallie (at least, he assumed). He wasnít dressed out to workout, and that was a telling sign right there. If there was anyone in the world who knew Dickie for who he was, Aiden was that one. He knew The Calamity would end up coming here instead of going to his newly-vacated penthouse in Queens. He knew that the British man wasnít in the mood to be by himself. But he wouldnít directly go to Aiden — no, he had far too much pride.

The Australian looked up from his phone when he saw Dickie stop in the doorway. They were quiet for a moment, neither uttering a word, before Dickie sighed and sat down at the table across from his partner. Aiden shoved his phone in his shorts pocket and leaned forward, tapping the table the second it got too quiet. Dickie waited a beat, knowing that eventually, Aidenís curiosity would get the better of him.†

And it did. Like a lithe cat just amped up to leap across the entire room in order to pounce on a mouse, Aiden leaned forward. “Howíd it go, mate?

It was uncontested. She didnít even show.” Dickie shrugged his shoulders, leaning back as he removed his tie entirely. He fumbled with a little, but otherwise, didnít show as much emotion as he expected he would.†

He wondered why that was, to be honest. When he was abandoned earlier in the year, it had taken its toll on him. Heíd grown utterly exhausted and paranoid, suicidal for a brief second. He couldnít handle the pressure of having to prove himself better than his siblings, he couldnít handle the thought that he just wasnít good enough. People tore him down, continuously, barreling down upon him every reminder that he wasnít worth their time. Maybe it was because this hadnít been as permanent as the other abandonment. Maybe it was because, somehow, deep down, he expected this to happen at some point or another.

You okay?

It was two words, but Dickie wasnít sure how to answer. Although his heart was obviously shattered in two, everything else about him…just didnít. It didnít hurt, it didnít feel. It was numb, indifferent, and perhaps that was honestly worse. People like Dickie, the longer that you hurt him, the longer than he was forced to live in his misery, the more he began to tune it out and tune it out. What was the phrase? If you were cut out of his life, you must have given him the scissors to do that — and that was usually handled by a complete lack of regard for his thoughts, feelings, or emotions.

Yeah. Iím fine.

The words floated out of his mouth smoothly. Far smoother than heíd expected. And even more surprising to him…they were true. They didnít surprise him. It was like this was what was expected to be talked about. Maybe it was true that when you stopped caring about something, you stopped crying, stopped even giving a smidgeon of a shit. And then you were just done.†

Aiden wasnít sure though. He leaned forward, crossing his elbows and arms on the table and peered at Dickie, raising an eyebrow. Trying to truly deduce his thoughts, his emotions. Dickie merely stared back at him, but it was enough for him to think this was Among Us, and Dickie was “sus”. He shook his head slightly.

Mate, are you sure? I mean, itís okay if youíre–

Iím fine.

–feeling like shit. After all, Hannah was your wife, and I can totally understand how that shatters you. I mean, after the breakup with Flo, it was easier to get under people than it was to deal with it. I just want you to know that–

Mate, Iím fine.

–we can go do whatever you want. Drinking. Finding you someone to get you laid. Hell, we can go beat the hell out of someone else in the gym; KERBEROS has it cominí, and you know that heís a fuckiní twerp. He wouldnít be able to handle the both of us at once.

Aiden.

Or, I mean, we could focus on your match ahead at FIGHT! What was the kidís name? Ashley. Asher? Asshat?

Aiden.

Aiden? Wow, fuckin’ coincidence, but I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles. Whatever you need, Dickie, Iím here to help ya out. You just tell me and Iíll–

Dickieís temper flared. As a child, he would have never opened his mouth and interrupted someone else. He clenched his fingers into the table and slammed his eyes shut, his voice rising higher than heíd expected it. “???, ????????!” (Fuck, shut up!)

Aiden paused, staring at Dickie with his eyes wide. In the years that heíd known him now, Aiden had never heard Dickie revert to his original language. Heíd never even heard a Russian word come out of the manís mouth. But it happened. It happened. The two stared at each other as Dickie leaned backwards and closed his eyes, resting his head on the headrest of the chair as he slumped in his chair. The pressure was clearly getting to him, but there was something different in the British National. He wasnít retreating. He wasnít shutting down. No. He was sitting right here, looking at his friend in frustration not because of his situation, but because he was just tired of people not listening to him.

Oi, you what, mate?” Aiden questioned.

A typical response. Typical was what he needed, and Dickie snorted, laughing afterwards almost so hilariously that his sides began to hurt. He shook his head, unable to answer the confused expression upon the second half of The Commonwealthís face for at least five minutes straight. This was entirely different than the last breakdown that Dickie had had, but this time…Aiden wasnít sure Dickie was actually having one. Regardless, the man wiped a tear from his eye and shook his head.

Sorry. Sorry…Iíve just…I spent so long muttering Russian shit under my breath that itís been a long time since Iíve actually said it to someone else. You know, as a kid…I was told Iíd never get adopted because I spoke Russian. So…Iíve kinda made it a thing not to do itÖ

…but what the fuck did you say?

I told you to shut up. Added fuck in there, but I mean…it is what it is. Sorry.

No mate.” Aiden shook his head, snickering himself finally. “Itís fine. But are you–

Aiden, Iím fine. Look.” He shook his head. “This is different. I feel like…I feel like Iím in a different place entirely than I was. Hannah…if I look at it, honestly, sheís been further away from me than I thought for a long time. It was only a matter of time before this happened. You can only lie in bed with the enemy so long before spying turns into an affair, and she was doing that for too long. Iím fine. I thought I would be affected by this more than I was, but Iím not. I just…I donít know what it is. It doesnít hurt. Maybe Iíve finally just gotten to the point where I expect this to happen. Family. Friends. We all make choices. We all rise above…and I think Iíve finally gotten there.

Aiden was silent as he processed his friendís information. Dickie wasnít speaking fast, he wasnít manic, he wasnít broken like heíd been seven months ago. Now, he just seemed resolved. Like the world had handed him a yellow card and he was taking at time out. It didnít seem to bother him.†

She didnít love me, mate.” He concluded, shrugging his shoulders. “I could perseverate on it like I did when I was a kid, but what would the purpose be? Make her believe something different? Make her come back to me? Make her apologize? Iím not interested in an apology and I donít want it anyway. All I want to do now is put this behind me so I can do what I do best: wrestle. Maybe get a girl on the side, slide into someoneís DMs. But I donít want focus on this for months and hemhaw about it. This is what she wanted, and she chose an ass backwards way of going about it. Eventually…Iíll tell you more of my thought processes, but this isnít the same. I have a goal in front of me, okay?

Asher! Itís Asher.

Yep, it is. Good job, mate. Proud of you for figuring that out.