A/N: I guess this is the end. To me, this seems like it's been a hell of a lot longer journey than just four chapters. I have mixed feelings, I feel like somethings wrong with it. But this is where Mr. Roddy Muse insisted on taking it and ending it. I don't know. Bah. I'll definitely do more Rod and his cohorts though. Most likely, they'll be oneshots, but I really like writing about them so they'll be back. It's been fun.

Oh, and…I've been looking at Piper's wiki page, Ortons wiki page, Orndorffs wiki page, and old clips of these three and I've managed to get pretty confused over times of things and dates sometimes I felt like pulling my hair to shreds. I think after much reading and re-reading, watching and re-watching, that I have things pretty much in order. Just one last thing, I put a promo from Roddy in here, and a piece of one from Bob, and a song. That is what originally inspired this fic. I suggest after reading this chapter, go to Youtube and search Piper and Orton Buildup From SNME. That is the vid and the phenomenal promo which birthed this whole fic, and got me started on the Piper/Orton relationship.

Please please go watch it when you're done reading this, you won't be disappointed I promise. Now, I need to shut up. I hope you've all enjoyed this, and I hope the ending is good for you all. Thanks so much for your time reading and reviewing. Now, I'll be quiet. Rods threatening me with lobbing coconuts at my head if I ramble any more.


Rod watched the gray evening wane on to a dark night. Stars popped out against the sky, a backdrop for the towering buildings that made up a jagged skyline. The arena was dark and empty, since drained of fans, staff, and superstars. He was still around, alone, sitting against the dumpster outside once in a while picking up a pebble, and shooting it over the pavement, like skipping flat stones on a lake, only it didn't exactly work out that way. They just skittered across the stony surface and somehow reminded him that he was there alone, except when his mind drifted back to Paul or Bob.

Behind him, he could hear minute scratching and rustling in the dumpster, mice and rats no doubt. It was a sound he had once became used to, a lullaby at night, when a lonely teenager with a dirty face huddled in the darkness, waiting for morning, hoping he would be tough enough to survive another rough night on the streets. At least tonight was a mild one.

The wind picked up a little, blowing like a warm sigh between the buildings, and rustling his auburn hair off his forehead. The gentleness almost felt like fingers, the way Bob might stroke his hair lazily after they'd made love. In the life of Roddy "Piper" Toombs there was very little he regretted. But how things had happened with Bob was one of them. He'd moved on, sure, both of them had. He still had his wonderful wife Kitty, their four beautiful kids, whom he adored with all of his being and more. But even still, there had been nights spent in his Oregon home, cozied by the fireplace in the den, his wife's head laid against his chest, the kids sprawled sleeping on the floor, when things should have seemed perfect, but always there was a piece that was missing and he knew just what it was—and that it was long gone.

Bob was married to Elaine, and they had three kids, one of course highly successful in the business of his father, grandfather, and great uncle. Since 1987, there had been nothing between them, no contact.

Rod found his thoughts drifting to Wrestlemania III where he had taken on Adorable Adrian Adonis—that idiot with the damn Flower Shop talk segment that had replaced his own Pit segment after he'd left for a bit in 1986 to pursue a couple of movies, right after the big fight with Bob. The movie deal had fallen through that time, and that's why Rod had found himself back in the WWF but this time, Bob was his rival rather than his beloved body guard. Bob was now in a storyline that put him with Adrian, and that flaming weirdo crowned Bob Orton with a pink cowboy hat, and Don Muraco.

When Rod came back to reclaim his talk segment from Adonis, Bob turned on him and aligned himself with Adonis—adorable or not up for debate. Wrestlemania III was billed as Roddy's retirement match, before he made another attempt at Hollywood. He was glad to have one last hurrah with WWF, but behind closed doors it killed him to work with Bob when their real-life relationship, not only on screen one, was on the rocks. Ironically, Bob left shortly after Wrestlemania III as well. He tagged with Don Muraco for a bit, but then he said goodbye. Rod had always wondered if it had anything to do with him, but he supposed that was a ridiculous conclusion. More than likely Bob wanted time with his family, and to finally heal that nagging forearm injury which refused to mend.

Randy's words to him, screamed in his face, in front of an arena of people echoed throughout his mind. They were all true, but Randy failed to realize one thing. He failed to realize how much Rod and Bob had loved each other at one time. From the beginning their friendship had been easy, and quickly developed into more, with Paul sometimes getting in on the action, or cheering from the sidelines. His career had blessed him with so much, so many fond memories, so many wonderful people and relationships, success, support for his family, but one of the best things it had offered him, was a man he liked to call Ace, and he'd lost his Ace.

He thought about the stupid fights, the angry words, that spilled out of their personal life and into their jobs. The one that stuck out most to him was a segment leading up to Saturday Nights Main Event. Creative had pieced together clips of Rod and Bob showcasing their 'friendship' to the tune of the song "You're a Friend Of Mine". The words suddenly crowded into Rod's mind, as he sat there alone against the cold dumpster, with the scrabbling mouse claws inside. He imagined being instead with Bob, curled up together with a couple of beers, laughing, talking, stealing kisses.

Striking out? Well count me in
I'm gonna stand right by your side through thick or thin
Ain't no doubt, gonna win
A walk through hell ain't bad compared to where we've been

Oh you can depend on me
Over and over...over and over know that I intend to be
The one who always makes you laugh until you cry
And you can call on me until the day you die

Years may come and go
Here's one thing I know
All my life you're a friend of mine
What if mountains fall?
Nothin' left at all
I'll be fine 'cause you're a friend of mine

That argument I can't forget
We fought so hard I don't think I've recovered yet…

Rod stopped, and found himself wiping at the tears in his eyes. That song was so fitting to them, and no one but a select few really knew how many volumes it spoke the truth, or what nerves it hit, and how it had made him want to cry when they'd ran the segment past him. It meant so much to him, that after all these years, he could still remember each word as if Bob had directly spoken them to him.

Oh you can depend on me
Over and over... over and over know that I intend to be
The one who always makes you laugh until you cry
And you can call on me until the day you die

Years may come and go
Here's one thing I know
All my life you're a friend of mine
What if mountains fall?
Nothin' left at all
I'll be fine 'cause you're a friend of mine


Roddy stood under the shower, despite having his clothes on. Orton had just cut a promo before hand, then that video package about their former close friendship was going to be played. Right now, it was just about Roddy's turn to cut his promo piece for Saturday Nights Main Event where he'd have a match against Orton. Never before had he felt so unnerved before a cutting a promo. Hell, he'd been doing it since a tender young age, longer than most. This one was different though, because this was personal. It was so deeply personal, and he could hear some of the words from Bob's cut ringing out in his ears.

There was never any friendship.

Rod ducked his head back under the cold water, hoping and praying to have some kind of hold over himself when he went out there. Of course, he was known for cutting wild and crazy emotion-filled promos but now he was afraid of really, completely falling apart. He ran his hand through his hair, and turned off the water, leaning against the slippery tile wall. The water dripped and gurgled down the drain and over the slick shower floor. He shook his head like a dog, spraying water. He wiped at his face, warm tears from his eyes mingling with the dripping water. He made his way towards the door of the locker room. He knew on the other side Gene Okerlund was waiting with a microphone. He tugged at his ear, in that habit of his. It seemed to be ringing, and the things going through his head made very little sense to him.

He pushed open the blue, double doors, so hard they bounced back against the wall. Gene was interrupted in his introduction, by Piper yelling, and shaking his head around, as he walked towards the camera.

"--on the heels of that interview with Cowboy Bob Orton," Gene started off, as Roddy turned toward him, Gene in that black suit with the funny little bow tie. "Apparently Rowdy Roddy, there was never any friendship according to Orton, between you and him."

"Ha!" Rod spat, indignantly turning from Gene, and towards the camera. "Never any friendship, huh? With that ugly mug a'yours how 'bout—how bout that time I got lovely Lucy to go out with you huh? It took me fourteen—fourteen--months a'Sundays and a hundred dollar bill to get—and you?" Rod slapped his hand to his forehead, his thoughts raging a hundred miles an hour, still stuck on their last fight, all the things they'd done together, all the times they'd shared and now Bob had said to the cameras that there was never any friendship? Was that just a line in a script, or did he mean that? He couldn't mean that, he couldn't. Rod barreled on, carried away in the moment, his emotions running off with him.

"How 'bout when I picked you up outta the gutter eh? You and that bottle a'Thunderbird, and that Thudnerbird, away it went! And I picked you up and I put a hat on your head Bob Orton and stood you up like a man Bob Orton!" Here he was using his arms and hands, as though dragging his friend up from the ground, remembering it all clearly. "Ugh, you ugly son-of-a-gun. How bout that time--"

Here he stopped himself, his voice pitching up, as he pinched his fingers at the bridge of his nose, his head pounding now with a hell of a headache. He had to stop with 'this time' and 'that time' and actually cut the promo before it became a two hour event. Talk about Adrain, Muraco, that's what this was about. Not about a broken love life.

"Oh you think you're a big shot now cause you got Don Muraco with you now?" That's right. He told himself, able to get back on track a little more. "The Fat Albert of professional wrestling—Hey hey hey! Very tough, very tough. So tough, there comes Adrian Adonis, hittin' me upside this side of my head!"

As if a demonstration was needed, he slapped himself in one of his ears, partly to illustrate his point, and partly to make the never ending movie reel of him and Bob shut the hell up. It was gong to be his undoing, and now was not the time.

"Then comes Bob Orton, hittin' me up that side!" He smacked at his head again, internally yelling for those things to shut up.

"Then comes Muraco up that side--" Muraco's reenactment was Rod hitting the butt of his palm against his forehead, as Gene probably wondered if he should get out of the way."I don't care! I don't care anymore, y'see!" He advanced on the cameras, a wild look in his eyes, jabbing and pointing his finger. "I'm here to take care of Orton tonight y'see, 'cause I was Rowdy, before rowdy was cool, hah!"

He walked off to the side, rid of the camera not a moment too soon.

"Alright folks, we got action here on Saturday Night's Main Event." Gene said, casting a concerned glance towards Rod, as he spoke into the microphone. "Let's go out to the ring."

The promo wasn't really live, and it was a good thing. As the cameras cut out, Paul came to Rod, trying to figure out if he was okay but he wasn't and he was blowing up at the blond. Bob involved himself, and words were exchanged, but Rod was too far gone in his rantings and ravings and Muraco separated the two, not appreciating the fist he got from Piper as a thank-you. Rod stormed out of the building, peeling his sopping shirt off, and throwing it to the side. At any moment he was going to cry like a big baby, and none of them could see that. His father's voice rang out in his head, as his heavy-handed blows made contact with the child scared in the corner.

Cry for me, cry you little fucking cunt!

There was never any friendship.

Just go talk to him—Paul said.

There was never. Any. Friendship.

He made it out to his rental car, parked crookedly between yellow lines, and he ducked in. He slammed his head again and again into the steering wheel, as tears fell. Another promo Bob had cut not long ago when the two of them were setting up for a Bull Rope Match, played through his mind, the words cutting bitterly.

"Nothin's fair," Bob had said into the microphone, his cowboy hat perched regally on his mass of dark curls. His arms looked strong and curvy poking out of the leather vest with the tassels on it, opened and showing his bare torso, and jeans that were just the right amount of tight on him."Roddy Piper's so wrapped up in his own ego, so wrapped up in his own self, that he doesn't see what's happenin'."

Bob spoke, and turned towards the camera. His voice seemed to have a sad tint to it, unless Rod was just imagining it as he watched from off camera.

"He doesn't see what's goin' on. I'm gonna teach him he shouldn't step across the line, step across the rope so t'speak."

Then Roddy had had his turn. That promo had been worse that the one he'd cut just moments ago. If he looked back on his part of that Bull Rope promo, he was sure he wouldn't even know what he had been talking about. His mind had been elsewhere, and whatever he had said about the stupid match hadn't been really important to him. It was Ace, watching him off camera, his arms curled around his chest. It was Ace, his eyes seeming indifferent to this man in front of him. It was Ace, telling him not to call him Ace anymore. For years since then, Rod had never again called him Ace, but only in his memories.


Rod hoisted himself up to his feet, his middle-aged back creaking and grimacing as he did so. He looked up at the sun, waking sleepily and rising against the high-rise skyline. Out there, Bob Orton was in a hotel room, and maybe he was looking out at the warm, teary, sky too, thinking similar thoughts. Whether he was or wasn't, Roddy intended to find out this morning. Too many years had spanned between them, it was time, if possible, to mend what had been broken.

He took a cab, slumped in the back seat, his heart palpitating against his chest, his stomach squirming. He couldn't ever remember feeling as full of nerves as he did now. He was tugging at his ear anxiously, that old nervous habit that had never left over the years, picked up after he'd lost most of his hearing in that ear, due to a brutal dog collar match between him and Greg Valentine.

The cab seemed to arrived at the hotel too quickly, and he mumbled some sort of stupid sounding thanks to the driver, and paid him. He made it into the lobby and didn't even take time to look around at any of the familiar faces mingling and getting breakfast. He went straight to the check-in desk and asked for Bob Orton's room number.

"And who are you?" The woman attending the desk asked snottily. She snapped gum and tapped boredly at her keyboard keys with the soft end of a pencil.

"Rod Toombs. I'm…I'm a friend."

She rustled up Bob's room number, luckily without any more interrogations, and Rod headed for it as his mind raced with things to say, and things not to say. Most likely, his mouth would start off on its own regardless of whatever his head was planning for it to say. He found himself in front of the fated door, ringing the hem of his black 'Hot Rod' t-shirt. He lifted his arm and sniffed, suddenly wondering if he smelled from a night spent propped against a dumpster. He rubbed his hand over his face, told himself to stop stalling already, there were no more moments to lose. Diving right in and not looking back, he knocked on the door.

It seemed like forever before he heard the shuffle of someone coming. There was a click inside, as a lock was unlatched, but there was no move to open the door, no jiggling of the handle. He imagined Bob standing at the door, just out of bed, staring at him through the peephole in the door. There must have been a million things hurtling through his mind, just as Rod's was spinning, and just maybe Bob didn't want to answer the door. Maybe Bob didn't want to see him. Maybe he wanted Rod to stay the hell out of his life, disappeared save memories, and this new storyline Vince had going for a bit with Piper teaming with various people against the Orton's. Roddy dropped his eyes from the black number hung on the door, and looked at his hands as they fidgeted over themselves.

"Bob…Bobby…Ace." He rapt on the door again with a knuckle. "Can…will ya please open the door?" His voice to his own ears sounded old and creaky, clogged with a well of emotions that he liked to keep in check rather than let spill out. There was another small clicking sound, and the door was cracked open just a bit. He could see one eye, blinking back at him, rimmed with lines, a part of Bob's forehead crinkled with age, donned on top with hair that had gone a bit whitish. He searched for words to say, the state of being without them one he was not used to. Rowdy Roddy Piper always had something to say, but right now he wasn't Rowdy. He was just Rod Toombs, and he missed his best friend. Softly, something formed from his lips, as he played with the hem of his shirt.

"Striking out? Well count me in. I'm gonna stand right by your side through thick or thin." The singing was so soft and lilted with tears. He stumbled over the words, as tears hung on his lashes. "Ain't no doubt, gonna win. A walk through hell ain't bad compared to where we've been."

Then, there was silence. It was so thick and heavy, it felt like a weight bearing down on both men. Rod's hands were shaking now, and he was terrified that Bob was going to send him away, just shut the door, as Rod had once shut the door on him. He started to turn away, as a stream leaked over his check, but stopped.

"Oh you can depend on me." Bob's voice, God, and he remembered too. "Over and over…" Bob stopped, and the sound of him sniffling against his sleeve was loud. Then he started again, his voice singing the words lowly. "Over and over know that I intend to be, the one who always makes you laugh until you cry, and you can call on me until the day you die."

The door opened a little wider, revealing Bob's tear streaked face to Rod's, and Rod's to his.

"Years may come and go, here's one thing I know. All my life you're a friend of mine." Bob couldn't go on after that, his tears were coming to hard. He buried his face into his hand, weeping.

"What if mountains fall?" Rod pushed the door open, and stepped inside. He moved Bob's hand away from his face and took it in his hand, gently rubbing it against his cheek, reveling in the simple touch of those fingers against his skin one more time.

"Nothin' left at all." Bob said through his sniffling.

"I'll be fine 'cause you're a friend of mine." Rod finished, pressing close to Bob.

For long moments, the two men just held each other. For so long, that's all either of them had wanted and now here they were like two babies, scraped down to such basic and vulnerable states, so raw in each other and clinging together because they needed this. They needed each other, still.

"Don't cry." Bob whispered against Rod's ear as he stroked his back. Although, it was a bit silly to say, because silent tears like buckets of rain were rolling down his own face, and wetting the shoulder of Rod's shirt.

"I don't know if I…if I can stop." Rod admitted. Time and a change of heart, and maybe the kind of wisdom that comes with growing older, had wore away some of his tough leather shell. There was no more room for pride, or stupidity, or fear. Bob hooked a finger under his chin, and tilted Roddy's face up to his.

"You better stop. I don't like it when you're upset." Bob kissed Rod's face, wiping away his tears with lips that had longed to caress his ex-lover for what seemed like countless life times.

"I'm sorry, Bobby. I was so stupid, I was just afraid to tell ya…I was just afraid to love you and all, but I did. I loved you then. I never stopped lovin' ya, I still do."

"I know, and I'm sorry I ran out. That there was the biggest mistake of my life. I never stopped loving you either, you rowdy ol' dog."

That made Rod laugh, despite himself, and Bob smashed him against his chest in a big Bob Orton bear hug. Tears dried up, and the two reluctantly untangled their arms. Rod pressed a kiss to Bob's lips, then another, and another.

"Can I call ya Ace?"

"You better."

The two of them stayed in each other's arms until check out time, just talking and catching up, stroking hair, stealing kisses, re-acquainting with bodies that had grown older with time, and yet still remained the same. When they left, they left together, looking like they'd never parted at all. They drove to the next destination, all the while with Rod telling crazy stories, as Bob heartily laughed, and sometimes sang to songs on the radio. When they got to the arena, creative pulled Bob aside to where Randy was. They went over what was to be done that night, showing the two Orton's some papers with lines on them. They didn't bother to write anything for Rod, Vince had learned long ago it was best to let him wing it, he was just the kind of talent who could, and always come up golden.

They played their part as rivals, and it was pulled off beautifully, despite neither man's heart being in it anymore. Randy complained, and didn't approve of the fact that his father and Roddy were suddenly all buddy-buddy again, but the kid was young. He was stupid, and still had a lot to learn about all sorts of things in life. As for Bob and Rod, well they'd already feuded too long, and lost too much time, to care about what anyone else thought of them these days. Now, their hearts were where they were meant to be again—they belonged to each other.

Ace Orton, and Rowdy.