Desiree’s voice boomed over the speakers, wrenching Mitch out of his own head. She informed the audience that there would be a short intermission before the main event, and encouraged everyone to buy merchandise from the wrestlers during the break.
Mitch stood up straight from where he was crouched, his hands clasped to keep from touching his face and smearing the paint. He hadn’t put his jacket on yet since his skin was much too hot and tight for his liking. With nothing better to do, he paced about like a tiger enclosed in a cage, every passing second more unbearable than the last.
The door handle jostled and grabbed his attention. His head whipped towards its direction; seconds later, light from the main hall poured into the closet. In the doorway stood Avi in his Hunter’s gear, stupid big hat and all. Mitch’s immediate reaction was to chastise him for showing up now when the match wasn’t for at least another 20 minutes, but he reigned it in. He’d be committing relationship suicide by being an asshole to the guy that was eternally out of his league and hadn’t figured it out yet. Not when they hadn’t yet established what this even was.
“Hi,” Avi greeted once the door shut behind him. “I’m sorry, I-”
“Don’t,” Mitch responded somberly, the irritation already gone. They stared down one another for a moment, the silence hanging heavy in the space between. Finally, Avi stepped forward and took one of Mitch’s hands between his own.
“C’mere.” He guided Mitch over to the short stack of pallets towards the back and sat down on them. Putting up no argument, Mitch followed along, his bicep flush against Avi’s as they sat together. Avi freed his hand and reached behind Mitch’s back to pull him in close, until he rested on Avi’s shoulder.
No further words were exchanged, but Avi kissed the top of his head every so often. Though the gentleness drew Mitch away from the aggression that he needed, he guessed that the gesture wasn’t specifically meant to make him feel better. So he continued to say nothing and allowed Avi to keep doting however he needed to. The only sound that filled the small room was their respective breathing, and Mitch prayed that it stayed that way. He didn’t want to ask Avi’s thoughts on what loomed ahead, because he didn’t want an answer. If he hesitated in the ring for any reason or -god forbid- tried to be careful, he couldn’t win. He’d probably get even more hurt. Never before had Mitch been apprehensive about abusing himself in the ring. Usually he looked forward to it.
He squeezed Avi’s hand as tightly as he could.
“Five more minutes!” Desiree called out, and Mitch let go of a breath that he’d held in his lungs for the last few days.
“That’ll be me,” he remarked, already moving to stand up. He went to take a step forward, but found himself still anchored by Avi. Again, neither of them said anything, but Mitch paused and waited, not bothering to protest or struggle or make assurances that he couldn’t truly know. Eventually, Avi released his grip, giving Mitch the opportunity to pull on the bomber jacket and grab his kendo stick from out of the corner.He turned back to Avi, whose normally open expression was unreadable in that moment, and wished that he could kiss him. But between the facepaint and the need to want for something, he refrained.
Instead, they hugged tightly before leaving the sanctuary of the closet together.