“What’s that guy doing to your boy?” Basil nudged Mitch. In a panic, Mitch scanned the room for Jodie, needing a sign about what to do and whether he could run in and assist. Lately, there’d been a few events where enthusiastic fans tried to get a little too involved with shows, from indies to The Fed itself, and it put everyone on edge.
He finally locked eyes with Jodie, and she gave a firm nod for the go-ahead. Pushing from off of the wall, he sprinted to the ring and slid under the bottom rope, praying that he wouldn’t fuck up his shoulder again. By the time he reached the brawl, Lucian was back on his feet and had launched the mysterious aggressor into the ropes. Without hesitation, Mitch charged at the stranger. Taking note of the wide brimmed hat and long jacket, and snarled “C’mon Van Helsing, let’s fucking go!”, before he spotted a very familiar beard and warm set of eyes staring back at him. “Avi?” he mouthed.
“Gonna kick, get ready,” Avi whispered back, his arms wrapped the ropes behind him for leverage and both knees lifted to his chest. Instinct took over and Mitch went pliant so that the impact was minimal. Avi doublekicked his midsection, and he fell backwards onto the mat. In a state of shock, he lay still and allowed Avi to step gently on his chest. “Don’t move!” Avi shouted and pointed at Lucian. “I’ll kill him! Get back!”
Lucian complied and remained anchored to his spot. “What do you want?” He growled, and Avi lifted the brim of his hat as they stared one another down.
“This is your notice that The Hunter’s arrived. Tell everyone.” He lightly pushed against the side of Mitch’s ribcage with his boot, and Mitch took that as a cue to roll towards Louis. Sandy now also stood at ringside, looking as genuinely bewildered as Mitch. Lucian snorted, then gathered his tagmates and ushered them into the back. The lights went on, and the intermission was announced over the speakers.
“What was all that?” Sandy shouted at Louis.
“Did you know about any of that?” Mitch chimed in. “I thought it was a fan at first.”
“Of course,” Louis confirmed. “Needed to keep it under wraps, though. Anyway.” One of his meaty hands clasped Mitch’s shoulder while the other ruffled Sandy’s hair. “I’ll be back, I’m gonna go check on Arin real quick.”
“I’ll come with,” Sandy followed, latching onto Louis’ elbow.
“Right,” Mitch nodded, attention already diverted as he heard Jodie’s ear piercing squeal. Following the sound, Mitch encountered a huddle made up of Jodie, Victor, and Avi. She was in the middle of lavishing Avi with praise, wildly gesturing the whole time as she gushed. This was bound to go on forever, so Mitch decided to take off. He had to get ready for the next set, anyway.
“Mitch!” Victor shouted, and Mitch flinched at being caught. He spun on his heel and faced them again, then moved under Victor’s outstretched arm for a side hug. “C’mere, my boy. My talented music man.”
“Dude, wasn’t Avi great?” Jodie asked, then her entire tone changed to concern, and she began to palpate around Mitch’s right shoulder. “You’re not hurt, are you? I know it was irresponsible to let you go in like that, but-“
“I’m fine,” Mitch waved her off. “Avi’s a professional, he knows what he’s doing.”
Jodie opened her mouth to say more, but someone urgently called both her and Victor’s names before she could get anything out. “Aw shit, that sounds like a fire to put out. I’ll see you both later.”