Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, no disrespect is intended, I have no right to use the names. Lyrics used without permission.

Mellifluous

Is it self-fulfilling prophecy? I'm not sure as I take my orange juice and bagel and flop down in one of the big chairs along the edge of the room. I said I wasn't going to be able to sleep once I got to Los Angeles, and now I can't. A sip of the juice, but the sight of the bagel turns my stomach. I set it aside untasted.

Early morning feels earlier because of the time change. The muscles along my shoulders ache, more from stress than from the hard workout with Benoit. Another sip of juice, and my stomach settles slightly.

Welcome to the future...straight into the future.

The song must have played six times in a row last night as we filed down the stairs. Everyone joked about being sick of it, but this is my future. I close my eyes, hold the juice glass balanced on the arm of the chair. While it isn't quite the future I had envisioned, I do have to admit that it's better.

Funny how upstairs in my bed, with the soft sounds of breathing next to me, I wasn't able to sleep. But down here in the room off the hotel lobby, in this comfortable albeit small chair, I feel myself begin to drift off, the song on endless repeat in my brain.

Cereal pinging into a bowl startles me awake. I grip the glass tighter, sit up, and focus my eyes on the person across the room. I watch as he pours milk into the bowl, picks up a spoon, a knife, and a banana. He smiles as he walks toward me.

"You can't sleep, can you."

It's a statement more than a question. Blonde hair tucked behind his ears, he sets the bowl on the table in front of him and goes to work on slicing the banana. Somehow it seems incongruous to watch him engaged in this mundane activity.

"And were you able to sleep the night before Vengeance, when you were slated to win the undisputed title?"

He looks at me from under his eyelashes as he slices the last of the banana into the bowl. The peel set aside, he leans back in his chair and takes a healthy bite of corn flakes and banana. "It's normal," he says, mouth full, "For nerves to get the best of you."

The sound of his munching sets my stomach off again, so I bend forward and set the juice glass on the table. "So what are you nervous about?"

He gives me a puzzled look, then shovels another spoonful into his mouth. "It's not nerves that woke me up," he chuckles, "That would be a hungry toddler."

"Ah, I remember those days." I stretch my legs out in front of me, flex my bare toes. "But if he's the hungry one, then why are you eating?"

He puts on a sad face, his lower lip trembles, and he says in his most pathetic voice, "I want my mommy."

I chuckle as he finishes his cereal, bends forward to set the bowl next to my glass, then flops back into his chair. "You're supposed to reassure me that it gets better," he says.

"Just when it gets better, something new comes along. Kindergarten, braces, boys, driving... hate to burst your bubble Chris, but I don't think it ever gets better."

"Thanks for nothing," he moans.

"Would you reassure me about the nerves?" I say softly.

"Touch" he says, "I don't think the nerves ever get better either."

We sit in companionable silence, the room lighting up slowly as the day dawns. He breaks the silence first.

"June 2001, you were destined for greatness you know. I knew that the first time I saw you at the Louisville Gardens." He raises his hand and strokes along his beard gently as he speaks. "JC and I go back a long way. All the way back to Smoky Mountain Wrestling days. He isn't one for speaking through his ass, so when he told me that you would end up as WWF Heavyweight Champ within five years," he turns to look at me, "I believed him."

"You remember that?"

"He said he knew it back in 2000 when you first came to OVW, He told me, and Mark, and Glenn when we were down there for that super show."

"Hmmm," I still remember Cornette's enthusiasm, and know that I've likely squashed any of it that was left by bashing the OVW system in interviews.

"Listen Dave," he leans over his chair, closer to mine. He speaks softly, his eyes intense. "Maybe you're worried that this is too soon, or that you don't deserve it, or that you aren't ready. But you are ready, and you do deserve it. There aren't many in this business like you, most of us are out for ourselves and only ourselves. You go out there tonight, and you give it your best shot, dig down deep inside for that something extra. Be proud, and you'll make us proud." He cocks his head to the side. "Be mellifluous in the way that only you can be."

"Ma—what?"

His lips curve into a smile, and he tosses one look over his shoulder before standing up. He steps around in front of my chair, and bends down again so his face is level with mine.

"Smooth," he whispers, "And sweet."

The air is charged for a moment, and then he stands and winks. I watch as he saunters from the room, his meaning clear.

"Mellifluous," I whisper.

I lean forward and pick up my bagel. Suddenly I have an appetite.

--end

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