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Roman felt his heart plummet straight down into his stomach as he watched Paige lose the Diva's Championship to AJ Lee. Some would call it 'poetic justice', but it just made him feel sick. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Paige was not supposed to lose like this. Not by a fucking roll up pin. Paige was a fighter, god dammit, she deserved better than this!
He wanted to break his fist against the wall when he saw the pure devastation on his girlfriend's face and the tears in her eyes. In this moment, he vowed he would do everything in his power to never see tears in her beautiful dark eyes again.
The powerhouse didn't want to believe it was true, but this had Authority written all over it. On more than one occasion, Paige has defended him against the Authority—one memorable occasion was when she and Emma joined him and Dean in the ring the week after Seth's betrayal. It had been incredibly risky for the women to do that, and no matter how much he pleaded with her to stay out of this, he knew Paige would always stand by his side. And this was her punishment for it. Of course, he had no proof, but Stephanie had threatened consequences. A rage fired through him and he wanted to destroy everything in his sight.
But he needed to get to Paige. Nothing else mattered. Not even his damn match he needed to prepare for.
The large Samoan stalked down the halls in a faster pace than usual for him and his features were contorted into a dark look. Everyone knew to steer clear of the man otherwise they'd likely get thrown through a wall.
Roman stopped short in his prowling when he caught Eden chasing after Paige, trying to get an interview out of her. The hell is she thinking? Roman thought furiously. He would never ever harm a woman, but he sent the new interviewer a glare so harsh, it caused the woman to take a step back, eyes wide with fear.
He swiftly walked away, following the path his distraught girlfriend just ran down. She had locked herself in one of the empty trainers rooms. He didn't hesitate to knock on the door.
"Paige." He called and his heart tore up at the sound of her choked sob. "Paige. Open the door."
"Go away, Roman." Came Paige's muffled reply.
That was not happening.
"I'm not going away. Open the door." He demanded adamantly. She may be upset but it was all the more reason for him to stay with her. He would never abandon her under any circumstance.
But Paige wasn't relenting. "I said go away!" She screamed through the door. She felt absolutely pathetic. She didn't want Roman to see her like this. As a loser.
Roman closed his eyes and swallowed. This was going to be hard. Just last night, despite his loss, everything was fine. He and Paige left that arena hand in hand. Despite his loss, he still had Paige. He still got to hold her in his arms at night and everything was okay. They would be okay again after he coaxed her out of the room, but she just lost her title. The only title a woman could win in this company. Getting back to the okay part wasn't going to be easy for them.
"Paige, I'm not leaving you alone." He told her firmly. "Nothing you say or do is going to make me leave. Now, open the damn door before I break it down." His voice was almost calm, but there was an edge to it. A promise, really. He had no issues ripping this door from its hinges to get to Paige.
He heard another sob from the other side of the door, and his muscles tensed as he prepared to actually bust through this door. Luckily, he heard it unlock and the door opened. Her head was bowed and her long raven hair covered her face. Roman immediately grabbed her, pulling her to his chest, and wrapping his large arms around her small frame.
The young Brit's shoulder's shook as she sobbed into her boyfriend's vest. She felt like a complete and utter fool. She was devastated, and she promised herself that she would never get attached to a title. It was just a belt in the end, but it couldn't be helped. She worked her ass off for nine years to get to this point in her career, and then to have the belt taken away with a simple roll-up pin? How much more pathetic could she be? AJ Lee just proved everyone right—she was just another flash in the pan.
Roman held her close, one hand caressing her soft black locks while the other hand rubbed her back comfortingly. He has never seen Paige like this and it killed him. He remembered her joyful tears after winning the butterfly. He remembered the pure euphoria in her eyes. A complete contrast from what she is now. And it was just downright unfair to see her this way, but it was the way of the business. They both knew that; there are wins and there are losses. But this felt more than a loss. This felt like a screw job. Those were well known within this company—one of the many downfalls of being a wrestler here. Piss off the wrong person, there went all your hopes and dreams. Sure enough, it looked like he, Paige, Dean, and Emma were on that shit list.
Paige clutched on to him tightly, afraid that if she let go, he too would disappear. She couldn't lose Roman. Losing him would be far worse that losing the title.
As if reading her thoughts, Roman pulled back a bit and tilted her chin up so he could look in her eyes. He frowned at the wetness in her eyes and her terribly smudged make-up. "Hey, I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere." He promised her, brushing some hair from her face and placing a soft kiss on her head.
She bit her lip and nodded as fresh tears burned her eyes again. "I jus'… I can't believe I lost it, Roman. Everyone was righ' about me. I'm jus' another flash in the pan." She spoke despairingly.
Roman would have none of that. "Don't you dare, Paige Bevis. Don't you ever say that again." He told her fiercely. "You're not a fluke. You've fought and worked your ass off since day one for this business. You were the youngest champion in WWE history. Don't you ever forget that, doll."
"But I lost and I—"
"So, what?" He interrupted. "Everyone loses. I lost last night, but I still know that I am the future champion for this company. Just like I know you're gonna win the belt back from AJ because you're a fighter, and I know you're not just gonna lie down and let this go. You're going to win the belt back and you're gonna kick everyone's asses, like you always do."
A smile tugged at Paige's lips and Roman mentally encouraged her to brighten up. He couldn't stand to see her this way. "You're righ'." She replied with a whole new determination. The loss was still so incredibly fresh, but Roman was correct. She's a fighter whether she's champion or not. "I'm going to get my championship back."
"That's my girl." Roman said proudly before leaning down and kissing her make-up smudged face. Pulling away, he licked his lips and tasted the saltiness from her tears. "I'm want you to remember something, doll."
Paige tilted her head, her hands lowering to his waist and slipping her thumbs through the belt hoops of his pants. She was still so hurt over her loss, but she felt comforted by his arms and words. "What's that?"
"We are the future. That doesn't change with our losses. We are the future of this company. AJ Lee has had her time, and her time now will run short. It's our time now, and we're going to take what's rightfully ours." Roman told her with such determination, Paige actually smiled now. It had his heart beating a little bit faster now. She had that effect on him.
"I know. I know that we are. I jus'…" She trailed off looking away momentarily. "I jus' wish I could've done better tonight, ya know?"
He made a face at her. "Are you kidding me? You dominated that match. A match against a woman who was the longest reigning champion."
"Who is champion again." Paige sighed.
"Hey, what did I say? None of that now. You are going to be the champion again, Paige." Roman told her, not allowing her to go down that distraught path again. She needed to stay focused.
"I know, I know." She rolled her eyes half-heartedly. "I will be champion again."
"Believe that, and whoever doesn't they can… think again."
Paige blinked twice. Did she just hear that right? "Did you jus'… did you jus' use both our catch phrases in one sentence?" By the silly grin on his face, she took that as a yes. "I can't believe how much of a closet doofus you are."
"Well, did it make you feel any better?" He asked smiling, but there was a seriousness in his tone.
A smile pulled at the corner of her lips and she nodded. "A bit. Ya cheered me up a bit."
"Then it was worth being a doofus. Just don't tell anyone, okay? I have a reputation to uphold." The Samoan joked and she chuckled softly. She didn't have much energy left in her and she just wanted to lie down or something.
"As long as you don't tell anyone about my hysterics then we're good."
"Those were hardly hysterics, baby doll." He cupped her damp pale cheeks in his large palms. "And they caught you a little bit on camera."
Paige sighed and closed her eyes. That video was going to be up on the WWE website and YouTube soon enough. Just what she needed to add on to this already fresh wound. "Lovely." She muttered bitterly.
"Don't be like that. They have a way of catching us at our worst. That's what reporters do to get their dumb ass story." And Roman was sure the Authority told Eden specifically to try and get that interview from Paige after her loss. He wondered if they laughed about it—about ruining a young woman's dream simply because she stood by her man's side.
It infuriated him, and for a moment he wished Paige had stayed out of the whole thing like he had told her to. But he understood why she didn't, and he even appreciated it. Just as he would always be at her side, she would stand by his. They were going to go through everything the Authority threw at them together. At the end, they would stand tall and they would be victorious. No matter what the Authority thought, they are the future of this company.
He kissed her head again and gave her a soft smile before pulling back but he took hold of her hand. "I'm gonna walk you to the locker room then I've gotta get ready for my match. Wait for me so we can go back to the hotel together."
Paige nodded and squeezed his hand. She didn't want to go back to the locker room full of those Divas who were going to look at her with those eyes screaming 'I told you so'. But she was never one to back down from anyone. They could look at her all they wanted. It didn't change the fact that she's beaten almost all of them anyway.
She wasn't just a flash in the pan, whether she lost to AJ or not. And soon enough, she was going to prove them all wrong once again.
Later on in the evening, Paige and Roman lay in his hotel room bed, wrapped in each other's arms. They were still at the point in their relationship where they got separate rooms, but always ended up staying in his. She usually shared a room with Emma, but the blonde Aussie pretty much did the same thing with Dean. Someday they'd stop being stubborn and just book a room for them to share. It was a waste of money, anyway.
Her head rested on his bare chest and she traced the outline of his tattoo. Roman was dressed only in a pair of sweats while she was dressed in a pair of sleeping shorts and one of her heavy metal t-shirts. Roman ran his fingers through her hair, twirling some around his large digits. He knew Paige was still hurting over tonight's events, so it was good for her to just relax, but he felt it was time for them to discuss something important.
"Paige," He spoke her name lowly, almost hesitantly not wanting to disturb the peace, "we need to talk about something."
"Hmm?" She mumbled softly her eyes still closed as she listened to his heartbeat. It was comforting to her.
"I hate to say it, doll, but I've got a strong feeling the Authority had something to do with AJ Lee coming back tonight."
The Brit's eyes opened and she lifted her head to look into his concerned ones. She was silent for a moment before sighing. "I figured as much."
It was something the Authority would do. It was basically something Stephanie McMahon had promised to do when she and Emma had stood with their boyfriends the week after Seth's betrayal. Paige had taken the billion-dollar princess very seriously, but perhaps there was nothing she could have done. What Stephanie McMahon wanted, she got. That didn't mean Paige was going to stop. No, she was going to take back what was hers and soon enough the Authority would get what was coming to them. They were going to end up pissing off too many people than they could handle. At least, that's what she hoped.
"Paige?" Roman brushed some hair behind her ear and he could tell she was in deep thought.
"They can't keep doing this, Roman." Paige suddenly sat up, fueled by—anger, determination, hope? Maybe all three. "They can't jus' keep hurting or screwing over people who aren't in their back pocket. We are deserving champions. Daniel Bryan was a deserving champion and they could have possibly ended his career! There have to be some type rules against this." She claimed looking at him almost desperately.
Roman sat up now, too. He placed a hand on one of her shoulders and he frowned. "They're the Authority, doll. They feel like they can do whatever they want."
"They purposely broke a man's neck. They should be in prison." Paige responded adamantly.
He nodded. "I agree with you, but Daniel Bryan decided not to go down that path because he knew that they have the best lawyers in the world on their side."
It frustrated her to no end. How could people just get away with being so evil? "So, they're entitled to do whatever they want whenever they please? That's insane! It's unfair."
Roman knew this whole thing had bothered Paige long before she lost her belt. He was sure it bothered her even before they started hanging out. If things had been different, maybe she would have become the fourth member of that Shield. "I know it's unfair, Paige. That's what we've been fighting against since after Wrestlemania… maybe even before then. Even though Seth—" He stopped short, wincing slightly. It still hurt even just mentioning his former brother. "Even after the betrayal, it doesn't change our mission. The Authority needs to be stopped. And we are going to stop them."
Paige frowned, remembering his battered back after Seth's betrayal. She had been so angry but more concerned for Roman's well being, not just physically but mentally, too. The Authority may have taken her belt, but they took something more important away from Roman and Dean. They took their brother, whether he willingly went or not. She told Roman once that he meant more to her than the belt, and she was telling the truth.
She closed the space between them, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her lips against his. He was momentarily blindsided simply because he wasn't expecting to be kissed right now, but he quickly returned the favor. His large arms engulfed her, pressing her closer to him to their chests were flush together. It was a soft kiss and they both pulled away before it could get any deeper.
Roman was smiling, licking his lips and enjoying the taste of her. "What was that for?"
She bit her bottom lip cutely. "I may not have the butterfly anymore, but I'm jus' glad I still have you."
The Samoan's smile turned into a grin. "Doll, there's nothing in this world that can keep me away from you. You're stuck with me."
Paige faked a wince. "Ah bollocks, I was hoping I could drop ya eventually." She teased him, her mood brightening a bit now.
Roman growled, wrapping an arm around her waist and flipping them down onto the bed so he was on top of her. He looked like a Cheshire cat (or maybe panther was a better term for him) with that grin. "You're gonna pay for that one, Bevis."
She grinned back at him. "I look forward to it, Reigns."
And for a moment, they were back to being okay.
I have a lot of Raige feels! I was extremely upset about Paige's loss so I wrote this to make me feel better. I'm praying she wins it back at Battleground, but the WWE seems to have some boner for AJ Lee so I don't know how likely it'll be.
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