1979

"He really gets my goat, you know that, Pipes?" Ric shouted, as he stormed around the locker room naked. Roddy bent over the bench, carefully folding his kilt, and only half listening to Flair rant. His own head was full of ravings, his thoughts clamoring and falling over each other, the way his interviews did sometimes when they got really out of hand.

"Pipes, are you listenin' to me?" Ric stopped pacing, his blue eyes wide with his annoyance, his fluffy platinum hair sticking to the sides of his heated, sweaty face.

"A'course I'm listenin' Ric. You're on about that kid again. Mr. Babyface Beautiful himself!" Roddy announced, sarcastically, his mock name for Ricky Steamboat. He finished folding his kilt and scratched at his ear.

"Your damn right, I'm on about him!" Ric snapped, resuming his nude pacing.

"Are you gonna shower, or just walk around an' stink like the week ol' garbage you are?" Roddy moved to the tiny cubby where his things were stuffed awkwardly, and put his kilt away. Coming next were the boots and trunks, which didn't require as much particularity as the kilt.

"Who's he to say NO to me? Does he know who I am, Roddy? I'm the man brother, and I'll do what I wanna do, hear me Pipes? I'll do what I wanna do cause I—I am Ric, Flair!" Ric jabbed his finger into his own chest, as if he really needed to point this fact out to Roddy. "I'm Ric Flair! I am! I do what I want, when I want, with whoever the hell I wanna do it with!" His face was that dark shade of red, his eyes blazing.

"Well whatever it is you got your head set on doin', why don'tcha come do it with some soap and water."

Roddy launched a bar of soap at Ric's head. The aggravated scowl on his face slipped into a grin and laugh when the bar caught Ric right between the eyes. The blond was stopped cold in his rant. Roddy doubled over laughing, nearly tripping over his blue trunks which were down around his ankles.

"You asshole!" Ric finally got his loud voice back, but the one corner of his mouth was now curved into a smile. Maybe, Roddy hoped, that Ric was done with ranting about that kid that he wanted.

"Be careful when ya bend over to pick that up!" Roddy called, as he headed to the shower area, leaving the rest of his gear in a careless pile on the tile floor in front of his cubby. He started up the water, and winced a little as the cold prickles rained down against his skin. Moments later, the sound of the water hitting the tiles doubled, and even with his eyes closed to keep out the bubbles of soap, he knew that Ric had decided to join him in the next stall over. This was further confirmed when the small room was filled with a near-deafening holler.

"Fuck, that is COLD! Wooo!"

Roddy grinned, the soap and water sliding over his lips and into his mouth. He spat.

"Aw, come on Ric."

"Come on Ric my pretty ass!" Ric retorted, the shiver and click of his teeth evident with his words. "You come from up North, that great ice hole—and I did say ice hole so don't get hot with me—you and your Eskimo brethren are used to this!"

"Damn right Flair!" Roddy rubbed at his eyes, and cracked one open to peer at Ric's face through the rain of water. "It's so cold in Saskatchewan, I saw a moose piss yella ice once. Ha!"

"You did not!"

"We-ell I most certainly did, ya dog!"

Both of them laughed, the tension from moments ago dissolving away a little. However, it was still in the back of Roddy's mind. He and Ric had become instant best friends the moment they met. Their escapades were akin to cyclones racing through trailer parks at the craziest of times, which was most times. But even when all the booze and fun times were cleared away, there was still a bond that Roddy felt deeply to this guy. Roddy was an outrageous person in every sense, there was very rarely a middle ground for him, even his affections were over the top like everything else, and so was Ric Flair.

Roddy finished his shower and padded back over to the locker area, scrounging for some clean towels. When none were found, he dug around a laundry bin stuffed with towels, the fabric squares tossed over the basket and onto the floor. He sniffed one, coughed, and tossed that one aside.

"Pipes, what are you doin'?" Ric asked, standing back and taking in the view of Roddy's backside as the blond wrapped a towel around his waist. Unlike Ric, Roddy seemed to have a common habit of forgetting to bring his.

"What does it look like, genius!" Roddy hollered, tossing one of the dirty towels at Ric.

"Yeck!" Ric tore the thing away from his face. "Somebody wipe their ass with that?" He muttered, scrunching his nose.

"Stop lookin' at my ass or you're getting' another one launched at that ugly face a'yours!"

"Roddy, get the hell over here. You are not putting one of those grungy used towels on your body."

Ric jerked the towel off of his waist, and rubbed it over his hair. Roddy sauntered back over, out stretching his arm.

"Give 'er here."

"Naah, you look like you need some help, Pipes." Ric grabbed Roddy's arm and pulled him closer, their noses nearly touching.

Roddy's hazel-green eyes peered brightly into Ric's blue ones. His hair stuck to his forehead and sides of his face, the color usually the soft hue of coffee with cream, darkened by the wetness. His long lashes were still wet together, the remains of a soap bubble still clinging and glimmering between two of the delicate hairs as he blinked back at Ric. Ric draped the towel over Roddy's head and carefully dried his hair, moving to dab the extra drips and trails of water from Roddy's face which was turning a soft shade of pink. The Rowdy One closed his eyes and felt the terrycloth, with Ric's hands underneath, move down his neck, over his shoulders and chest, then to his back. Ric's hands worked over his body, drying off the warm skin. His palms drifted down bringing the towel with it, until they cupped the rounded muscles of a nicely shaped backside. The cupping, clothed hands, lingered there for a bit, before Ric got to his knees to dry his favorite part of Roddy—his legs.

Ric sighed as his hands roamed slowly up the toned muscles, the warmth of Roddy's inner thighs inviting. He almost wanted to press his lips there intimately. His tongue peeked from the corner of his mouth as he focused, playing that scene over in his mind. Roddy's fingers traced through Ric's platinum hair, and Ric dropped the towel, giving out a low whistle and a last admiring look over of Roddy's legs.

"Damn Pipes, ya know I'm a leg man, and man, you have some legs!" He patted Roddy's hip, and stood up, tossing the used towel onto the bench.

Roddy grinned at Ric, thinking that maybe all really was well. Maybe he was making too big a deal out of this 'thing' Ric had for that dark-haired kid. Besides, Ricky had no interest in Ric, which he'd expressed several times. He was a married man devoted to family, who often brought his wife and young son to the ring with him. He was straight laced, he didn't party with the party crowd, he didn't bring young women back to his hotel room, he didn't drink, he was everything opposite of Ric Flair so how could there possibly be anything there? Ricky obviously didn't want such a lifestyle, and being connected to Ric would mean being connected to just that kind of carrying on. Roddy on the other hand was somewhere in between the two personalities, but leaning precariously closer to the 'Ric' side of the spectrum than he probably should.

He pulled his clothes out of his duffel and started to dress. Ric was already finished, looking dapper as always in a pair of white slacks with the wide bells, and a powder blue button up. His hair was beginning to dry and puff up around his face. Roddy was smitten with him, really. He had been since the moment they'd met. He'd appreciated everything about Ric, and had soon grown to love him in a way he never really imagined was possible. Roddy pulled his t-shirt over his head and tucked it into the band of his high waisted jeans.

He and Ric left the arena arm in arm, chattering wildly to one another. They approached the motel they'd booked a room at in the same manner, laughing, and lugging their bags towards the door of their first-floor room.

"Ooh, Roddy…hold on a minute." Ric had turned, catching movement out the corner of his eye in the falling darkness of evening. "It's Ricky, I'm gonna go say hi."

Roddy scowled. He peered into the dimness to see down a ways, Ricky was feeding quarters into a Nehi machine. Roddy shoved the door opened, and dumped their suitcases onto the two beds in the room. Even though he and Ric slept together 99% of the time, Ric still insisted on getting a room with two beds, simply because he didn't want to go through the looks and comments easily dealt out to a man who looked like Ric requesting a room with one bed, when there was another man with him. It was all too obvious and Ric grew tired of hearing in not so nice terms just what people thought he was, or what people thought he and Roddy were.

Roddy maintained that he'd just punch the desk clerk in the nose should he open his damn mouth. Then with a smile hung smugly on his face Roddy would go on to ask the dazed dumbbell: "So, we're fags huh? Tell me there Mr. Straight n' Tough, how does it feel to get beat up by a fag?" Ric could probably hear the words in his head, he knew Roddy, and he decided against it once more even though Roddy thought his whole charade was stupid. Tonight however, Roddy looked at their suitcases sitting on different beds and he thought that tonight, their bodies might be in separate beds too. Maybe he was over reacting to the flirting, maybe. But Ric was never shy about things when it came to Ricky, whether Rod was present or not, it didn't seem to matter.

Roddy went back to the door and cracked it open. He could see the two still hovering around the Nehi machine. Ricky held a purple can in one hand, and his other hand was wiggling away from Ric's. Roddy could tell simply from Ric's body language that he was pouring the charm on, something that Ric Flair was pro at. Roddy watched as Ric's hand gave up its pursuit of joining with Ricky's, and instead cupped the smooth cheek. Ric's palm and fingers moved down Ricky's strong neck, over his shoulder, and his chest. Roddy could imagine the soft sound of Ric's skin whispering over the cotton of Ricky's t-shirt, Ric's hand finally coming to a stop at the hip he gripped.

The space between the two men at the soda machine was closing, and the fight seemed to be leaving the dark haired one. Ric's other hand pulled Ricky's tucked shirt free of his jeans, and delved up under it, touching the warm skin beneath. That was supposed to be Roddy's skin Ric was touching, it was supposed to be Roddy's head tipped back to allow Ric's lips to dance up his neck, until they were connected at mouths, and suckling at tongues. Roddy's vision blurred with a combination of anger and tears as Ric pinned the young man against the machine, and rubbed at the denim between his legs. For someone who was iffy about telling a desk clerk they wanted a room with only one bed, he obviously wasn't shy about molesting his fellow man in public against a vending machine.

Roddy went back into his room and sat in the middle of his bed, glaring holes into the door. His mind was racing with so many things, a mash up of emotions causing his hazel eyes to turn dark and stormy behind the tears. His hands rested against his knees, the clenched fists trembling as his nails dug tiny crescent bites into his palms. He waited, each passing moment serving only to further hurt and anger him. He might be sitting there for hours, seeing spots of black flash before his eyes, if Ric and his plaything decided to take their toying to a more private location. He chewed at his lip, tasting the tang of blood as the tender flesh tore beneath his teeth.

Roddy's infamous temper was about explode all over the platinum playboy the moment he strolled through the door. He watched the door and waited until his heavy breathing became more like a growl, broken only by the occasional sniffle or whimper. He loved Ric. He would do anything for Ric Flair and Ric told him the same but his words didn't match up to the way he conducted himself. Since that pretty little Asian boy had shown up, Ric had made it no secret that he wanted him, even though he already had a loyal, loving, partner, a man who Ric claimed to be his best friend and his other half.

His mind flashed back pictures of times they'd shared together, never a dull moment between the two. They were always smiling, laughing, raising hell, and stealing kisses as the edge of night sank into dawn. Like the soft rays of morning sun their hands rough from fighting would become gentle with the caress of lovers, and a wild young man would be calmed by the peace of feeling completely loved, as Ric's fingers brushed through his hair. Roddy unfisted one of his hands and ran his fingers through his own hair, tangling up the soft, long locks. It usually comforted him but not now, because those intimate touches did not belong only to him. They were apparently not as special as he had made them out to be, holding those quiet moments close to his heart.

Had he been that stupid to believe Ric could have loved him? Could have been satisfied with him? There were women, that was true, there had been women on both sides but that was a completely different thing. Those women, none of them understood anything the way Ric and Roddy did. The women Ric endlessly paraded were simply one night escapades. The ones Roddy sometimes followed home, were nothing, nothing.

For months now, Ric had been fascinated with Ricky. He was obsessed to the point of pushing his best friend and lover into a corner, taking him out only when he seemed to glance over there and remember that the little doll in the kilt was standing over there collecting dust. This was how relationships ended, this was how it all crumbled into nothingness…

The door opened.

Roddy's eyes rolled up to watch Ric, a strange smile curving his lips as he took note. He felt drunk off his emotions, as if he would stagger and sway when he got up from his spot on the bed, and slur his words together. Ric swaggered through the door, brushing back a lock of hair from his forehead. He was wearing a smug smile beneath his blue eyes, his shirt looked messed up, in his hand he held Ricky's can of grape Nehi.

"Hey Pipes." He brought the can to his lips and drank. Ric glanced at the beds, noticing his suitcase on one, and Roddy plus Roddy's suitcase on the other. "What's goin' on?"

"What's goin on?" Roddy tilted his head at Ric, his torn lips parting for a laugh. "Hoo boy Ric, ain't that a good question? But seems like you ain't the one that oughta be askin'."

Ric came over to the bed where Roddy was still seated, and frowned down at tears drying against his cheeks, and the blood drying against the pink of his lips.

"Rod…you know I hate it when you chew on your lips." Ric's fingers touched Roddy's chin, tilting his face up, and Ric's grape-and-Ricky flavored lips brushed against them. With an enraged growl Roddy's bit down hard. Ric shrieked and pulled away, leaving a smear of new blood on Roddy's mouth, only it wasn't his own. Ric backed away, touching his fingertips to his bleeding mouth.

"What the f-"

Roddy was suddenly off the bed, and he grabbed the purple can that Ric was still clutching. He bashed the can into Ric's face sending a shower of soda over them both. The crunched aluminum fell to the floor and Ric stumbled back, dazed by the punch.

"Yeah Ric, what the fuck? What the fuck! You comin' in here and kissin' all over me with those lips a'yours after they been on his?" Roddy spat, and dragged the back of his hand over his mouth. Ric's eyes grew wide, one of them already sporting a dark bruise beneath it.

"Roddy, come on man! You know I love you, just calm the hell down!"

"Ha! No no no, Ric I don't think I'm gonna calm down. I don't think I am pretty little Ric Flair. Pretty little Ric Flair who can have anybody he wants whenever he wants ain't that right? Well not me. Not me anymore pretty little tricky Ric Flair. You ain't gonna play me like some game. I'm Roddy Piper and I'm not anyones fool." Roddy had advances on a retreating Ric until the blond was pinned into a corner.

"Pipes, come on man, just listen to me! Just…just calm down for a minute!"

"Ooh Ric, I'm calm. I'm so calm right now." Roddy smiled, fisting his hand into Ric's collar, as tears spilled from the corners of his eyes. "I am so…calm right now…let's go for a walk pretty Ric."

Roddy hauled Ric up out of his corner. The strength behind his boiling anger scared Ric, who just kept babbling. He had seen Roddy go off a few times before and he knew what that hot temper was capable of, and he did not wish to be on the receiving end of its full swing.

"Roddy, Roddy, ya got it wrong!" Ric stuttered as Roddy dragged him down the sidewalk.

"Shut up! Just SHUT UP! I don't wanna hear your lame ass excuses ya little puke! Just close that big, blabberin' mouth a'yours if you can, Ric, because I don't wanna hear none of it until I ask you to speak."

They ended up at Ricky's door, with Roddy's fist pounding into it and making it rattle with the force of his knock.

"Hey, Dreamy Steamy!" Roddy hollered. "What're ya doin in there, jerkin' off? Huh? Jerkin' off thinkin' about my guy! Open up your fuckin' door before I tear it off, boy!"

Ricky opened the door to a crack, and a yelp sounded as Roddy shoved his way in, dragging Ric along with him. He kicked the door shut and shoved Ric to the floor, his hands twitching at his sides itching to plant one or two solid swings into Ricky's stunned looking face. Surprised as if Ricky didn't know. Roddy's hazel eyes flared with a dark fire, flicking from one man to the other. Tears trickled from the corners of his eyes, sliding down the tiny creases at their edges and over his cheeks. He sniffed.

"Whose it gonna be, Ric?" Roddy finally spoke, his voice soft as he smeared the wet splashes of liquid hurt against the backs of his hands.

Ric pulled himself to the bed in the middle of the room, and sat on the corner, running his fingers over his busted lip. He was thinking about it. He was actually considering, and the fact that Ric could not right away chose Roddy, the man he confessed to loving, was the only answer Roddy really needed to know. Still, he stayed standing quietly, the silence heavy as doom between all three of them. If Ric still spoke his name, Roddy would take him back. He'd still give him the fair chance to put this Ricky shit behind him for good because Roddy didn't want to go back to that hotel room without Ric. He didn't want to face the night curled up alone on his bed, staring at the other empty one, feeling every bit of pain. Physical pain was something that seldom bothered a rough and rowdy type like him, but abandonment was not something he could take very well.

"Ric…" Roddy stopped, the words hanging on his lips and wanting so badly to come out in a last ditch effort to plead, but he couldn't do that. He could not, would not, plead with Ric to stay. He wouldn't lower himself to such desperate measures. If Ric had chosen then he had chosen, and Roddy wasn't about to guilt the blond into a choice he didn't whole heartedly mean.

"Roddy…" Ric's voice was soft. It's usual raucousness collapsed into only a shadow. His eyes might have been glistening with tears, but he head was bowed enough that Roddy couldn't really tell for sure. "Pipes, Roddy, man I…I'm sorry."

"Wha…whaddya mean you're sorry, Ric?"

Ricky looked uncomfortable, his fingers laced but jittering with each other, his boyish face sullen.

"Ric, you should go be with Roddy. He's right for you. I'm married Ric, a family man, I don't have the sort of social life you do, and I can't…be with you." Ricky finished, fidgeting.

"Women mean nothing, Ricky. Women don't understand The Nature Boy, women don't understand men, us kinda men." He looked from Ricky, to Roddy, then back to Ricky. "Married don't mean nothin'."

"Ya didn't answer me Ric." Roddy said, his voice trembling a little, but he already knew. "You said…you were sorry…"

"I'm sorry Roderick but I can't be with you no more. I don't like bein' tied down, you know that. I can't-"

"Whoa, tied down? What the—where the—when did I-" Roddy sputtered, looking incredulously at Ric.

"You want me all for yourself Roddy, and Ric Flair is a man who needs to be shared. I can't do it, I can't commit to ya the way you want." Ric pulled his sunglasses from his hair, and slipped them over his eyes. He couldn't let Roddy look into his eyes. He dropped his head, looking down at the tips of his designer boots. He couldn't look into Roddy's eyes either, because they were crying.

"I love you god damn it Ric Flair, yeah I fuckin' want you to myself!"

"Pipes, love is a str-"

"What Ric, ya told me you loved me too. Loves like marriage huh Ric, it don't mean nothin'?"

Roddy turned and headed to the door, swiping his palms over his soaked face. He left, slamming the door on the rest of Ric's meaningless words. Ric came by a bit later to ask, in a soft voice with his head hung, for his suitcase. Roddy stood at the door, looking a complete mess, hair tangled and twisted, his eyes bloodshot from crying. Ric had always kept two bottles of Crown in his suitcase, one for him and one for Rod he said. One of those was clutched in Roddy's hand, his knuckles bruised and split from the earlier contact with Ric's face. The other bottle had toppled empty onto the floor. Roddy reeked of the strong liquor and he stumbled to the bed where Ric's suitcase lay open, his clothes and personal things having been riffled through to get to the booze.

With a sigh, Ric came in and shoved the crumpled clothing into the case, not bothering to fold the things, and snapped the clasps shut. He left without any words, there were no more to be said. Roddy collapsed back onto the bed. He still felt like crying but his throat ached from the sobs and there were no more tears to fall. He tilted the bottle of Crown to his lips draining it of its last offerings. A trickle of the burning liquid leaked from the corner of his mouth and dampened his neck and the collar of his shirt. He tossed the bottle, not caring where it landed or if it busted. He moved his hand beneath the pillow his head rested on, and tugged out a wadded t-shirt. He opened it up, and pressed the blue cotton and the red 'S' logo to his face. It was Ric's Superman t-shirt, he just couldn't let it go.