Author's note: I wasn't supposed to publish this one before awhile, updating other fics first, but this week-end, something happened to Heath during a House Show in Asheville and… if the WWE decides to repeat the experience, I'd better publish this story before it happens in some TV shows ;-)

Warning: English isn't my mother language. So if you find any spelling/grammar mistake, don't hesitate to tell me :-)


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"The Corre of our Souls"

Chapter 1 - Iridescent

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Justin Gabriel reached the ring with some worried knot in his stomach. His new music "Power" was blazing through the arena, but he wasn't sure if he would get the same positive reaction from this American crowd as he had gotten in South Africa.

Back in Cape-town, his home-town, it was normal that the crowd would be behind him. Plus he had fought alongside Sin Cara, SmackDown's new babyface. All the ingredients were there to see him not just cheered but LOVED by the crowd. And after more than a year being booed when he had emerged from NXT with the NEXUS, and later on, the CORRE, he had forgotten the bliss it could be to feel all this positive energy passing through every patch of his skin, making him feel like he was glowing even brighter than the many spotlights surrounding the arena; that joyous power gathering up in his chest for a moment, like feeding the core of his soul, where it finally exploded and raced down his legs and arms before shooting upward into his head. He had briefly thought it was better to close his eyes, in fear that the light would shine through them like powerful white rays.

After being deprived of this for so many months, the return to the source was intoxicating. It was like a drug he wanted to test again. And he was afraid now that they had returned to USA, that he would face again the classical boos draining him like so many vampires.

Words had been passed amongst the WWE Universe of what had happened in Cape-Town, and many were whispering that perhaps, the WWE had decided to turn him face. Just like he was in NXT. Just like he was in FCW when his worst enemy had been a true son of the darkness. The same enemy who had later become his fearless leader, and even later, his big-brother/father figure. Wade Barrett.

The fact he had entered with a new music theme had somehow confirmed the rumor spreading amongst the public. And so, their reaction was somehow mixed, but mostly careful. To his relief, very few booed him. But very few cheered him. Actually, most of those who were supporting him were wearing a Corre tee-shirt, hoping perhaps that the group wasn't dead but just… asleep. Most of the crowd remained carefully silent. Waiting. Waiting for whoever opponent would be placed in front of him before they took their decision.

In reality, Justin had heard that his face-turn was indeed a project the WWE had been thinking about for awhile. But the management could change their mind so quickly that the South-African had long-learned never to take anything for granted. He ended his salutes to the crowd from the top ropes and jumped down on the mat. If his opponent was a Heel, this would solidify the move the WWE had started with him. But it his adversary was a Face, this would mean that holiday was over, and that he was back into the darkness. He leant his back on the ropes, waiting. Waiting for his fate to come. He wanted to become a Face, but deep inside he was afraid of the price to pay.

And when the music of his evening opponent started, he first didn't recognize it. Rather, he refused to recognize it. 'Is this a joke?', he thought automatically, his lungs freezing. The distortion guitar low strings leading to a theme slightly reminding of "Buffy", he knew it. He knew it way too well. It was still his own theme two weeks earlier. The theme he shared with…

And then he saw him emerging quietly from behind the led panels on the top of the ramp and suddenly, Justin felt like liquid lead had been injected into the veins of his legs. Heath Slater, his long-time tag-team partner, the one with whom he had walked through Hell, the one with whom he had been so many times victorious; the one for whom he had preferred facing the wrath of CM Punk and the rest of the Nexus instead of beating him with a kendo stick. His best-friend, more than his brother, his soul-mate...

Heath Slater, was now standing on the top of the ramp with a mic in his hand. His brown eyes seemed empty and his pressed lips showed that he didn't like the situation either. He scanned the public, measuring their reaction. And before long, a bittersweet grin appeared on his face. He resumed his walking, lifting the mic to his lips as he brushed his free hand through his red golden hair.

"Justin…", he marked a pause during which the South-African realized the crowd reaction. The boos were for his red-haired friend. Heath was paying the price of his own face-turn. Justin secretly cursed the WWE bookers for their cruelty. They could have booked anybody against him, even Wade Barrett himself - it wasn't a secret for anybody that the two of them had a war history together - but no. In their dark humor, the bookers had decided to turn the brothers against each others.

"We were on the top of the world in the tag-team division", Heath continued, walking down the ramp. Justin was trying to remain expressionless but his throat was clenching, and his eyes were betraying the turmoil of emotions in his soul.

Through the boos, Heath went on: "three times tag-team champions". He smiled, but Justin didn't know if it was due to some sweet memories of the past, or because of some mischievous ideas. "But lately, you've been dropping the ball", his brown eyes lit slightly, "and I am TIRED of sharing my spotlight, with you!".

Justin didn't say a word. He had felt all the anger and hatred pouring from these latest words. He couldn't believe his own eyes. Was Heath really thinking what he was saying? Or was it just the script and he wanted to look as credible as possible, for the sake of his best friend?

"And in Money in the Bank, it's gonna be MY time to shine". His voice has dropped in a threatening growl, increasing the confident and arrogant tone. Justin was trying to search for the truth in his friend's eyes, he didn't want to fight him. Heath was his best friend. He couldn't fight him. Suddenly, he realized he rather preferred giving up the iridescent energy he had felt in Cape-town, if it meant keeping Heath by his side. They had been together for so long that he couldn't imagine a future without him, directly by his side, or nearby. They were supposed one day to fight for the same goal and face each other, but Justin had always believed that it would be for the duration of a match only. Not for a whole piece of future.

"Because I aaaam…", Heath breathed in, "the One Man Rock Band, baby!". The boos increased as their music - 'no', Justin corrected himself sadly, 'his music now' - started again. The South-African high-flyer walked toward his friend near the ropes, but Heath looked at him with dark malevolent eyes and an evil grin. The red-haired wrestler climbed on the apron, pointed to the Money In The Bank briefcase above the ring, and told Justin with an haughty smile that on Sunday, this briefcase would be his. Justin didn't know what had happened earlier while he was gone in South-Africa, but there was apparently nothing left of his joyful friend in these dark brown wicked eyes.

This was not a joke. This was real. His friend was gone.

Justin closed his eyes as the referee rang the bell.


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The next chapter should be online quite soon. Come back regularly! :)