Title: Without the Mask

Rating: PG-13 for language, mild sexual content, and violence

Characters/Pairings: Trish/Batista, Stacy/Randy, Molly/Christian, Triple H, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Lita, others?

Summary: Trish decides to investigate the mysterious personality of Dave Batista.

Feedback is much appreciated!!

Part One

Trish Stratus hastily yanked her elbow pad off, tossing it to her gym bag, a sour look etched on her otherwise pretty face. It was all over. Her six month, record setting reign as the Women's Champion had come to an end.

A scowl formed on her lips as the image of Chris Jericho popped into her head. This was all his fault. He had been trying to get her ever since she turned her back on him at Wrestlemania, and he had finally succeeded. The GM-for-a-night booked her in a title match against Lita, and somehow, the redhead and done the impossible: she pinned Trish for the title. And now, while Lita got to prance around in post-match celebration, she was left to sulk in the back.

For the first time in months, Trish was hit with an agonizing pang of loneliness. It took until after her defeat for her to realize, but she was all alone. She had no one. Even after her breakup with Christian, her head was still up because she was the champion. That belt was her only friend. And now it was gone, taken from her by, of all people, her mortal enemy.

With a loud exhale, she rose from the floor, where she had been kneeling before her bag. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking a deep, calming breath. When she opened them, she found herself eyeing her own reflection as she curiously gazed into the mirror hanging on the wall.

"Oh my God..." she muttered under her breath, her eyes widening in horror.

It felt like - despite the countless times she'd spent staring into a mirror - she was seeing her own face for the first time. It was a shocking realization... she looked awful. Her complexion was still flawless, her makeup still perfect, and there was not a hair out of place. That wasn't what seemed so horrible. It was her eyes.

Trish was always big on reading people through their eyes. Hers were empty... dark, cold, and sad. She had never seen such a pitiful gaze coming from her own eyes. The chocolate colored orbs sent her a profound message... she was truly unhappy. A tugging sensation pulled at her chest, and she released a shaky sigh.

Her eyes began to burn... it was an unfamiliar sensation. She blinked a few times, but the feeling persisted. Leaning forward, Trish examined her eyes again, a puzzled look crossing her face. Moisture was building up in her eyes... was she crying?

Taking a deep, shaky breath, she backed away from the mirror, her jaw dropping in surprise. She couldn't remember the last time she'd shed tears. The fact that she was actually crying upset her further, causing even more tears to well up in her ducts. She bit down hard on her lip, hoping to stop it from quivering.

"Stop it," she urged herself, staring dead into the mirror again. What the hell was wrong with her? "Ugh, stop it!"

"What did I tell you about talking to yourself?"

Trish's whipped around, placing her arms in front of her in a defensive nature. She could never be sure who was trying to sneak up on her. Her arms dropped to her sides, though, when she saw it was only Molly. Throughout this entire ordeal, the brunette was the only person she considered a friend. They related to each other well, seeing as how they were two of the most hated figures in the women's locker room.

"I'm not in the mood, Mol," she replied.

Molly frowned as she stepped into the room, a disheartened gaze taking over her features as she realized just how upset Trish was. She looked so defeated, and that was not the Trish Stratus that she had come to know over the past months.

"Keep your head up, Trish," she suggested, trying her best to smile for her friend. "It's not the end of the world."

Trish froze for a moment, taking Molly's comment into consideration. She found it odd that Molly would make such a statement, considering how much she valued the title as well. Shaking her head, she reached down and grabbed her bag, flinging it over her shoulders and storming to the door.

"Maybe not to you, Molly," she said, tossing a sad glance in her direction. "But it is for me."

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Swallowing the ominous lump lurking in the depths of her throat, Trish forced the tears back. She also forced a scowl on her face should she bump into anyone, reminding herself that - despite losing her title and feeling like total shit - she had a reputation to uphold once she stepped out of that locker room.

As she walked - head up, of course - down the hall, one of Molly's statement's played in a mantra through her mind. "It's not the end of the world." Easy for her to say... she didn't just have her world yanked out from under her. She didn't just come to the realization that her only famliy was a plastic belt that she no longer even owned. She wasn't left with absolutely nothing.

All the thoughts floating through her mind triggered the tears again. The second she felt the moisture hit her eye, the Canadian diva blinked rapidly. She made it a personal goal not to succumb to the tears till she got to her rental car, since it was obvious she wouldn't be able to make it back to the hotel.

She kicked up her pace a few notches, wanting to get out of the building as soon as humanly possible. God only knew how much she dreaded bumping into Chris Jericho... or even worse, bumping into Lita. Increasing her tempo even more, Trish flew around a corner, smashing right into what felt like a brick wall. She stumbled back a bit, and the strap of her gym bag slid off her shoulder, causing the back to fall to the floor. She gave herself a few moments to gather her bearings, and then she looked up.

What she had run into wasn't actually a brick wall, but it may as well have been. She craned her neck, her chin practically having to be parallel to her neck to see the face of the man she'd collided with. He easily towered over her.

"Sorry," she muttered quickly.

Her apology was made not out of sincerity, rather out of the fact that she worried what his reaction would be if she didn't. From what she had seen, he hadn't been all that stable lately.

"Don't worry about it," came the reply from Dave Batista, as he took a step away from the blonde woman.

Trish almost raised a brow at his comment, and at the calmness in his tone. He had been so testy with Triple H and Ric Flair lately, he didn't seem to ever be in a good mood. She glanced down for a moment, noticing that her gym bag was still sitting on the floor. As soon as she bent down to pick it up, Dave beat her to the punch, dropping down and grabbing the strap himself.

"Here, let me get that," he insisted, handing the strap over to her.

Trish took the bag from his hand, a thoroughly confused look on her face. Was Dave Batista being a gentleman? And with her no less?

"Wow..." she said. "Triple H must've hit you harder than I thought."

Dave cringed at the reference to the accidental chair shot he took to the head earlier in the evening. Grumbling something under his breath, he shook his head and pushed past Trish, continuing his path down the hall. As his figure began to disappear, Trish watched after him, the puzzling encounter with the large man taking her concerns off of her other problems.