The end of another show revealed nothing he hadn't seen before. The world of sweaty locker rooms had been his domain for longer than he cared to remember or honestly admit. There was every kind of body from the tight and lithe to the tubby and lax. Kev had always considered himself a man of impeccable taste in both looks and body shape despite his personal shortcomings in both departments.
It wasn't in his nature to be as ego-driven as he came across on the mic but the reputation he'd earned over the years sometimes came in handy. The snivelling kids that wanted to use him for a push kept well clear after the third or fourth time he rejected them with his usual cutting words. He'd be lying if he pretended that sometimes he wasn't tempted as the loneliness of the trips to Orlando ate away at him. His wife was long gone, tired of the lies and his kids grown and gone to their own lives. All he had was the people around him which made him all the more careful which of them he took into his bed.
The older guys though were longer in the tooth and knew how to handle both themselves and Kev's sometimes maudlin moods. Over time he'd allowed himself to engage in the occasional dalliance that went beyond the ring but those guys were mainly married or attached already and he was only something to take the edge off the boredom. At the end of the day he was still a man; his needs and wants certainly hadn't diminished with the years. There was nobody who regularly shared his bed or any other aspect of his life and that was something that he found himself anxious to change.
After another night on the pound and ground he was grateful for the pressure washer qualities of the showers in the Impact Zone. One rough landing on his left shoulder had reinforced to him the need to work with guys who knew what they were doing. As the shower gel started to foam he set himself a mental note to go to Bischoff again and ask for that program with EY to get restarted. Kev smiled when he thought back to when he had been out there with Eric. They had some great times and he hoped that he'd be able to repeat at least part of that on what he thought would be his final run.
A handful of shampoo was soon being worked through his hair, the tangles being pulled at as he lost his patience with the long strands that curled into tight knots around his fingers. The one thing he looked forward to was getting it all cut off when he was finally retired. He thought the shorn look took years off him and most would agree that he was right. Most, except the guy who stood at the other end of the shower room.
That man stood facing the wall, his back to Kev and his eyes fixed on a spot on the tiling that needed to be repaired. That man was unable to turn around lest someone would see that he wasn't quite spent by the exertions of the night. With a sneer he replayed in his mind the sum total of his involvement in the tapings which was hitting Taz with a guitar in the latest lame storyline Russo gave him. That man was Jeff Jarrett, dethroned founder and man of a thousand genuine suffering faces.
He was making all efforts to make his shower as quick as usual, despite the fact that he was painfully aware of Kev only a few metres away. There was no personal tension between them other than that which built in Jeff's groin whenever he let his brain wander to that forbidden place where his desires could be indulged more wantonly than ever before. The bigger man as affable and funny, handsome and loyal but more importantly Jeff had heard rumours about all the things Kev was into behind closed doors. That information was what knotted his guts the hardest and had gradually made it impossible for him to even look at Kev in less than full street dress. A recent embarrassing dash away from Kev backstage when he was wearing his spangly ring gear had confirmed that there was a definite part of the attraction.
Once the last of the soap was running into the gutter Jeff wrapped the large white towel around his waist hoping to disguise anything he might not want anyone to see. In his haste to gather everything back into his shower bag the towel came unravelled and gathered in a white cotton heap around his ankles. Then the shower bag hit the floor, spilling it's contents and making the whole situation all the more difficult. He felt Kev's eyes burning into him and did his best to gather up the scattered toiletries that were slipping and sliding back out of his hands as he tried to rush.
What Jeff couldn't know was that at the other end of the room Kev was swallowing a laugh he'd been waiting months to release. Every time it was just him and Jeff in the showers, which was often enough as they both stayed back to sign autographs and take pictures most nights, he found it highly amusing to watch Jeff shower. It was always the same kind of frenetic routine that made it look as if the smaller man was on fast forward. For a while Kev hadn't had such a high gear to go to, preferring to enjoy his shower and let the hot water sort out what the heat rub couldn't seem to manage any more.
He considered going over to offer a hand picking the toiletries up but decided against it, knowing that if he'd made such a klutzy move that he'd want to be left alone to sort it out. As he looked on he admired the curve of Jeff's body as he was bending up and down, the slender waist leading to an ass that would make angels weep. It was an enduring feature of a man he'd known for years; a man who had been a good friend until recent times when they hardly found time to speak and only ever really met in the strange and strained confines of the locker room.
Finally all the bottles were piled back into a hastily zipped up shower bag and the towel knotted more securely in place. Jeff hurried past Kev, slightly disappointed that the older man's back was turned but relieved that his previous state of arousal had been tamed by the panic his butterfingered actions had brought about. The air conditioned locker room was a blessed relief and he sat down where his holdalls were piled in the corner, discarding his shower bag and grabbing his comb to begin the careful coiffuring of his hair.
All the time he was preening the blonde locks his eyes were directed towards the door through into the wet area. Jeff couldn't look away, envisioning Kev appearing through it, safe in the knowledge that there would be no towel and very little modesty. His late night fantasies often contained a continuation of that moment where he'd get grabbed by both wrists and then Kev would bind them with a worn t-shirt that smelled of the expensive citrus cologne he wore. The action would move back into the showers where Jeff's bindings would be looped over a towel hook and then he'd be spanked and fucked into delirium and back again.
The mere thought of it coming true was enough to make him break into a cold sweat of anticipation and he felt the trickle of one bead of moisture as it ran over the sensitive skin of his cheek. He was quick to ditch the comb and use the corner of his towel to wipe away the telling sheen from his face. Judging himself to be air dried enough to get dressed he picked a t-shirt from the pile he always carried, sliding the slim fitting garment into position. He took a glance at his arm, pleased with the way that the sleeves clung to the bulge of his bicep. Vanity was not truly his thing but there was a certain amount of body consciousness that he couldn't help but fall victim to.
Next on were his boxers and jeans, socks and shoes added last of all. He concentrated on carefully packing his bags until he heard the water shut off in the shower which made him pick up the pace somewhat. He was determined to keep up his routine of being out and gone by the time the now infamous 'Nash Shower Session' had finished. That way he'd be in the parking lot by the time the naked figure appeared and he'd have some chance of a decent night's sleep undisturbed by self-pleasuring or vivid and entirely too lucid dreams.
Jeff bent down to pick up the bags but in his haste one of the long shoulder straps seemed intent on dangling loose and, unbeknownst to Jeff, that led to it getting looped around his foot. The action of hoisting the weighty bags did the same to his foot and his balance was gone before he could think to put them back down. Unable to find anything to grab onto the next thing he knew the stained ceiling tiles were in his direct line of sight and a strip light was making him squint. Much as it always seemed to Jeff, fate was conspiring against him and his good intentions yet again. As the white glare slowly faded into a pinhole in the blackness he allowed his eyes to drift shut, his last thought placing the blame for his tiredness on the long day he'd had.
In the silence of the showers Kev couldn't help but wonder what all the commotion was. He heard a bang and some other indistinguishable noises and towelled himself off a little quicker, hopeful that he wouldn't be facing yet another after hours brawl between Sabin and one of the GenMe guys. Shaking his head he hoped that they'd finally settle their beef like men and hopefully out of his earshot so he wouldn't feel obliged to play wise old Grandaddy to them any more. He towelled off more quickly than usual and then threw the towel over his shoulder, half hoping that the awkwardness of his nudity would shut the little bastards up the second he walked in.
Turning the corner he found himself faced with the closed door and listened for a split second, surprised that he couldn't hear them any more. He assumed that one of them had finally done the wise thing in taking his advice and asking Alex Shelley just what exactly had been going on rather than tearing chunks out of one another. Pushing the door open showed him a clearer picture of what had been going on and there laid Jeff in the middle of the floor, two bags by his side and a third draped in an odd position across one of his legs. It took mere seconds for Kev to cross the room and kneel beside the still body, checking first for a pulse and then for chest movements. In his time in the wrestling game it wouldn't be the first time he'd seen a guy collapse after a match, he could only ever hope each time it happened that it would be the last he'd have to see.
Kev breathed an audible sigh of relief when he realised that there was life left in Jeff and pushed the bags aside. He got back to his feet and crossed the room to pick up the thick towel he was saving for his hair, instead spreading it out on one of the wooden benches in the middle of the room. Turning back to Jeff he scooped him off the ground as best he could, the dead weight like lifting up a leaden rag doll. As he lowered Jeff down to the bench he was relieved to see the flickering of eyeballs behind the closed eyelids and the beginnings of a soft groan coming from the back of Jeff's throat.
"Hey, cowboy, take it easy. Just let me put you down a minute."
Kev tried to sound reassuring and calm despite his brain working overtime as it wondered just what had happened to Jeff to knock him out cold. Returning to his bag he brought over his sweatshirt and rolled it up as a makeshift pillow, gently cradling Jeff's head as he slid the fabric bundle underneath it, surreptitiously checking for blood or swelling as he did so. Fortunately there was neither and he moved his hands away, satisfied that Jeff was as safe and comfortable as he could make him with such limited resources.
"You okay there Jeff? I'm tryin' to figure out just how I found you sprawled out on your ass over there but-"
Slowly Jeff registered the words and opened his mouth to speak, the words taking a long time to get from his brain to his voicebox. In the seconds that their journey took he could only just open his eyes and make out the vague shapes of the face that were thankfully obscuring the bright lights from above.
"I don't remember. I... think I... I think might'a fell but I don't know. Is everyone else okay?"
Unable to stifle a chuckle Kev shook his head as he looked down. It was typical that Jeff would worry about everyone else first and himself second. It was an endearing facet of his personality but one that led to him being stepped on by everyone that was minded to take advantage of his kindly nature.
"There was nobody else here when I came outta the shower. I think you might've had a tumble all on your own there Jeff. You don't remember?"
"Not right now. It's all a little hazy in the back 'a my mind right now," Jeff paused to try and collect his thoughts but all he could think of was that he was glad someone had been there to take care of him. It was an unusual feeling and one that made him oddly warm to his middle. Slowly he lifted a hand to his face and rubbed at his eyes, trying to make out if the body matched the voice he could hear and thought he could recognise. "S'at you Kevin? Boy am I glad you take an age in that shower!"
Kev couldn't help but laugh again, relieved that Jeff was coherent enough to crack a joke, even if it was at his expense. He watched as Jeff's eyes were beginning to open wider and he decided that as soon as he was happy it was safe to leave him for a minute he'd be going to fetch a medic to get him checked over. Bumps to the head were the curse of their career choice and he knew the importance of getting it looked at properly.
"Yeah, it's me. Nobody else was around to scrape your sorry, knocked-out ass off the floor. So, you gonna lay there and stay off the floor while I go get someone to look you over? And no, you're not fine and I'm not taking no for an answer."
He placed a hand on Jeff's shoulder and swept his thumb backwards and forwards as silent reassurance that he wasn't alone. He was also keen to convey that the firmness of his tone was because he knew how fiercely independent Jeff liked to come across as being.
"I'll be just fine, I promise. Thank you Kevin, for pickin' me up off the floor. I don't know what happened but I'm sure grateful for your help."
Their eyes connected and a genuine moment of feeling passed between them. For that short time gone was the cynical old man who thought anyone who wanted in his pants was nothing more than a glory hunter. Gone was the nervous man who'd lived too long waiting for the courage to speak his mind for a chance to follow his heart and his hormones. The silence and peace of the moment was never going to last long but while it did both men hoped that an understanding had been reached.
It was Kev that broke the gaze, feeling that it would be inappropriate to kiss a concussed man who may or may not have all his faculties. He levered himself slowly to his feet, conscious of the fact that he was still naked as the day he was born. As he strolled over to his bags he swallowed hard, the words he wanted to say sticking in his throat as he tried to expel them.
"You know there's usually a reward for rescuers like me Jeff," The pause saw him waiting for a mocking laugh while he slipped a t-shirt over his head and a pair of loose shorts up his long legs. "I mean, if you wanted to say thank you then I could go a beer when you're recovered from your bump."
Jeff had just as much trepidation in his voice when he answered but at least he'd be able to blame it on the dull ache that had made itself more firmly resident in the back of his head as the fog that had filled it started to drift away.
"Well Kevin, I've never let it be said that I'm not a gentleman. If you'd do me the honour of takin' a drink from me then I'm sure I can shell out for a bite ta eat too. If you wanna, that is. No pressure. I mean-"
"Jeff, shut up. That sounds great and besides what kinda example would I be settin' for my kids if I turned down a free feed?"
The tone of the scolding made it clear that Kev was only kidding around. Jeff's self-deprecating nature was both endearing and frustrating as hell at times and Kev often found himself minded to tell his colleague to get some backbone. He knew in all honesty that his words would fall on deaf ears but maybe he'd just been handed the perfect reason to try a little harder.
The other alternative, although previously unthinkable, was that he'd be allowed to step in as defender of their joint realm. His knowledge of Jeff's darker desires was long standing and his desires to sate them almost the same. Maybe their reintroduction as friends could lead to something more but for now he'd have to wait and hope.
"Right, I'm going to the trainer's room. I'll be back in a hot minute so keep your clumsy ass still, okay?"
"No problem Kevin, I'm going nowhere right now."
The sound of the words rang in Kev's ears as much as the implied truth in them did. As he passed by the bench he paused to brush the still damp hair off Jeff's forehead and smiled at him. No more words were needed and he moved towards the locker room door and through it, out into the deserted corridor. Maybe there would be nothing more between them than an hour in a bar but he had hope that more could follow. For now at least there were no strings attached.
A/N: All reads and reviews appreciated :D