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  • Writer's pictureHenry Cavanaugh

RT Sports: Part IV

Alfredo could hardly believe he now lived the life he could only have dreamed of as a kid. He was paid to sit around in his comfiest clothes, play video games like a boss and make immature jokes. He’d always insisted that all those long sleepless nights playing Call of Duty and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion weren’t for nothing and he had been right all along, the opinions of his overbearing parents be damned! Working for Achievement Hunter was better than anything he had truly believed his future would hold and he wasn’t taking a single moment of it for granted. He’d tolerate the toilet humor and the constant ribbing because at the end of the day he got to work at a place that made him excited to get up in the morning and alongside people who were guaranteed to pull a smile out of him even on his most tired days.

Every now and then a crazy opportunity would fall into his lap thanks to the various media connections that Rooster Teeth - and Achievement Hunter by proxy - had with other companies within the creative industries. Case in point, out of everybody in the company, he had been chosen to travel to the WWE Performance Centre in Florida to play a couple of games of WWE 2K20 and interview the brand new WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre. Alfredo hadn’t anticipated such an opportunity being possible in a hundred years and yet he’d stepped right off the plane in Orlando to find a vehicle waiting to take him to the WWE’s training facility. Deep breaths, Diaz, he told himself as he relaxed in the backseat of the vehicle, Don’t fuck this up!

Truthfully Alfredo wasn’t quite as up to date on his professional wrestling - or “sports entertainment” as WWE insisted on calling it - as some of his other coworkers but with the core group of Achievement Hunters busy working on a new project the options were a little more limited and somewhere along the chain of command had decided that Alfredo’s ultra-competitive gaming style would make for some good comedy when he was matched up against the Scottish titan that his quick google research confirmed the new WWE Champion to be. McIntyre looked like he ate guys like Alfredo for breakfast and that was more than just a little bit nerve wracking but when had he ever backed down from a challenge before?

Okay, maybe he’d backed down the time Gronk had visited their office and was offering to football tackle each of them. Alfredo had enough brains to know that getting tackled by one of the best Tight End players in NFL history probably wouldn’t end well for him. He already knew that his answer would be the exact same if McIntyre offered to put him through a table or hit him with a steel chair or any of the other crazy nonsense wrestlers got up to. How they could put their bodies through so much physical wear and tear Alfredo really didn’t know. He was a squishy sort and was well aware of it too, it’s why no matter how often Blaine offered to coach him and the other Achievement Hunters, he wouldn’t be signing up to the gym just a few doors down from their offices. Even just trying to curl a forty pound barbell would probably cause his skinny body to snap in half and that was a big old “no thank you” as far as he was concerned!

The day continued moving at a break-neck pace and almost as soon as he’d arrived at the impressive training complex he was ushered into a small sparsely decorated room with two armchairs, three industry-standard cameras (one capturing a wide shot of the both while the others were clearly already angled for close-ups), a large screen and an Xbox. WWE 2K20 was already loaded up on the console and the young man was encouraged to sit in one of the chairs and play a few practice rounds as he waited for the interview subject to arrive. Indeed he hadn’t been alone in the room long when the door opened once more and an absolute titan of a man entered. Truthfully Alfredo wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting but as the six-foot-for and two-hundred-sixty-five pound man approached he suddenly felt very, very small in comparison. The somewhat ridiculous thought that he was glad the other man had shown up wearing normal clothes rather than his in-ring gear flashed across his mind because that would have only made him feel even more inferior!

“Hey man, it’s Alfredo, right?” the taller man queried in his rich Scottish accent as he approached, holding out his hand and flashing a charming smile. “I’m Drew. Pleasure to have you here.”

Alfredo’s brain took a moment to catch up before accepting the other’s hand for a brief shake, glad that the other man didn’t apply more pressure than he’d needed to. Gronk’s grip had almost crushed his fingers! “Thanks for inviting me,” he replied, before quickly second guessing. “Well, WWE did. I don’t think you did. Unless…” He trailed off with nervous laughter and shook his head. Pull it together, Fredo. “I mean, thanks man, it’s great to be here!”

His awkward behaviour was met by gentle laughter from the professional wrestler but thankfully it didn’t seem to be mocking in tone. Alfredo considered himself a pretty good judge of character and even though Drew was an absolute spectacle of masculinity - the Achievement Hunter was comfortable enough with his sexuality to admit the obvious - he didn’t seem to radiate the ego that one might expect of a professional athlete, especially one who was champion in their respective sport. That was a relief, at least. Alfredo didn’t want to consider how uncomfortable the hour he had been allocated to spend with the other would be if that hadn’t been the case.

“Did you want to interview first or play the game?” Drew inquired as he placed himself in the available armchair. Even the decently-sized piece of furniture seemed to be a poor fit for his large frame and he was perched close to the edge of the seat just so his muscular thighs weren’t forced together. It wasn’t the only thing struggling to contain him either - Drew’s dark red tee was stretched over what Alfredo’s Google Image search had confirmed to be a barrel-like chest with a shredded six-pack. If he was the type to care about his own physicality Alfredo would totally be jealous of just how big each of Drew’s muscles were. Thank heavens I totally don’t care about that, then… The words sounded dubious even as they entered his mind, although he didn’t really want to dwell on that fact.

“Game,” Alfredo decided with only a split second of thought. Not only was he a kickass gamer and ready to prove that to the other man but he was logical enough to know that his slightly alert nerves would likely calm during the gaming session so when it came to the interview he probably wouldn’t be as highly strung. “Always the game. Fair warning though, dude, I’m pretty good at video games.”

“Well, dude, I’m pretty good at wrestling,” the Scotsman fired back without a moment’s notice, picking up the wireless controller. “Looks like they’ve got us set up for a gauntlet match. I’m playing me, you’ll be playing the nine guys trying - and failing - to kick my arse.”

“You really think you can beat nine guys in a row?” Alfredo queried. He had his doubts, both in reality and in the video game. Sure, Drew was tough, but that was a shit-ton of guys to get through and, in his humble opinion, didn’t seem like a possibility in the slightest. “I’m calling it, you’ll hit game over before you even eliminate my first guy!” That claim earned him an arched eyebrow from the other man and Alfredo just shrugged his slender shoulders. “Not to brag or anything but I’m a pro gamer,” he remarked in his usual self-deprecating style, well aware of how lame it sounded, “You’re in my ring now!”

Once the game was loaded up though, the men noticed something a little unexpected: Drew didn’t seem to be controlling his own video game counterpart but rather the opponent across the ring from him. When Alfredo suggested that they switched controllers, the wrestler chuckled and shook his head. “You were so confident you could kick my arse a moment ago, why don’t you try running the gauntlet instead?” he challenged, controlling his character to pace around the ring.

Alfredo smirked in response. Now that was a challenge he was willing to take on. When it came to video games he was as competitive as it came - even among the Achievement Hunter guys - and there was no way he was about to let some amateur beat him, even if he did happen to be the WWE World Champion. That fact was currently unimportant, thank you very much.

The duo exchanged competitive comments for the following five minutes as the momentum of the match swung back at forth but when Alfredo was able to hit his finishing move - a nasty looking high kick that used Drew’s whole body like a cannonball for force - the real life Drew beside him let out a huff and sure enough a referee’s three count confirmed that Alfredo’s first opponent had been eliminated. “Score one for the Fredo!” the younger man exclaimed, pumping his fist into the air with a victorious whoop.

As his grip returned to the controller he vaguely noticed that it sat slightly differently in his hands, the smooth plastic caressing the calluses on his palms. He stretched out his long thick fingers for a moment before returning his thumbs to lightly hover over the necessary buttons as the second match started. Thankfully he hadn’t endured much damage during the first match so he wasn’t at too terrible a disadvantage and just a few short minutes later he had Drew’s second character locked into a submission hold and successfully won the button-mashing minigame that the submission entailed.

This second loss resulted in a muttered curse under Drew’s breath and Alfredo’s smile tugged a little bit wider at his cheeks. He didn’t want to say he was a boastful winner or anything but it did feel good to win as often as he did. What didn’t feel quite so good was the fact that his sneakers were now painfully tight around his feet, pinching at his scrunched up toes and the sole failing to support the full width of his feet. When did these get so small? He was certain they’d been comfortable enough throughout his journey but there was now no denying the manner in which they imprisoned his feet.

With Drew’s third character already making his way down to the ring, Alfredo hastily kicked off his sneakers without asking for permission as he normally would have in order to be polite. He wouldn’t be able to focus on his game if his feet hurt and he was in the zone. There was no way he was about to start losing now, not with two victories under his belt and his opponent getting increasingly desperate and therefore sloppy! A quick glance across at Drew confirmed that there were lines of tension appearing on his face and his steely gaze was firmly locked on the screen as he sent his character in or the attack.

Unfortunately that moment of distraction had cost Alfredo a little bit of health so he quickly retreated to outside to let his character regain some stamina for jumping Drew’s character when he gave chase. A cheap tactic, perhaps, but certainly a winning one. “Hey, I don’t play a heel anymore,” the Scotsman beside him joked. “As a babyface you’re supposed to play fair!”

“Good thing I’m not you then,” Alfredo fired back in a smug tone. “I’m just playing smart. I’m playing to win!” The remark earned a huff from Drew but it was clear that the conversation had distracted the other enough for Alfredo to be able to sneak in a roll-up pin and get his third three count in just ten minutes. “Like so! I’ve got those winning plays, dude!” Feeling confident, Alfredo even reached out to lightly punch the other man’s upper arm and met nothing but pure muscle in response. “You know, that might have hurt me more than it hurt you,” he muttered before mirroring the other’s soft chuckle.

Rearranging himself on the armchair, Alfredo was momentarily surprised by just how cushioned the chair was, even more so than it had been before. He also seemed to be sitting up a little higher in the chair, even if he still maintained his poor slouching form. Perhaps the most surprising factor was that the front of his jeans felt a little tighter around his junk and as he reached down to try and loosen some of the pressure, he was certain that it felt like he was packing more heat than he was used to. Quickly insisting that his mind was making mountains out of molehills, Alfredo turned his attention back to the game right as Drew’s fourth character entered: Dolph Ziggler.

“Hey, you used to tag with this guy, didn’t you?” Alfredo remarked suddenly, although he wasn’t sure where that knowledge had even come from. Must have read it on his Wiki page or something. That was the only logical possibility.

“I did?” Drew questioned for a moment, before his memories seemed to return to him. “I did! We were tag champs, actually. That was a while ago now though actually. Can’t believe it slipped my mind.” The larger man threw a guilty look towards the camera next to him. “Sorry Dolph!”

“Well, you’re a champ. Probably got lots to think about,” Alfredo rationalized to help him out, before delivering another cheap blow: “Like how you’re going to lose this next match. Hope I don’t get you with another roll-up, that would be embarrassing.” Just as he’d expected, the longer they played, the more comfortable Alfredo felt around the other and that meant making jokes at his expense. There was no doubting that between them Drew was far more successful than Alfredo would ever be but there was no harm in a bit of back-and-forth competitive banter, especially in a medium where Alfredo actually stood a chance of beating the other.

Unfortunately even when controlling his former tag partner Drew didn’t have much more luck and just a few short minutes later Alfredo had put away his fourth opponent in a row! This time the noise of irritation that escaped Drew’s lips seemed like less of a joke and Alfredo wisely held back his celebration. Well, externally at least; he still felt rather pleased with himself. Rolling his shoulders back, he had the strange urge to tense the muscles in his arms and as he did so he realized that they had expanded to almost three times the size! His upper arms were the size of goddamn footballs, for crying out loud! “Okay, how the hell did--”

“Next entrant, Roman Reigns!” the other man interrupted, something of an edge to the voice that had been so warm and friendly just a few minutes earlier. “This is the one. I’ve got it. I’m winning it.” Sure enough Drew was straight on the offensive and Alfredo found himself missing every single reversal button. He was helpless to watch as the video game version of Drew was thrown all around the ring and he even took a Superman Punch, one of Roman’s signature moves. “This is it, this is it!” Drew exclaimed in elation, only to be let down moments later as Alfredo finally managed to hit the ‘Pin Escape’ bar and kick out before the three-count.

“Not so fast, my friend,” he remarked proudly, “Fredo McIntyre’s going all the way, baby!” The momentum of the game shifted once more and Alfredo was comfortably back in control, beating down Reigns’ health bar in punishing fashion until finally - “CLAYMORE KICK! Another one for your boy!” Sure enough, Alfredo had scored another pin and, forgetting his previous concerns with the sudden development in his arms, tensed up all of his muscles once more. Seeing the biceps bulge and the lean definition of his meaty forearms was absolutely fascinating for someone who had always been on the skinny side. Was this why guys like Blaine were always showing off? It felt good!

“You aren’t my boy,” Drew huffed in almost petty fashion, shuffling further back and slouching down in the armchair that no longer seemed to struggle to contain him. Meanwhile Alfredo unconsciously pushed forward to the end of his own, spreading his legs out a little wider as his quad muscles began to expand into boulders and his calves formed as fully pronounced diamonds. Catching a glance of his lower half, Alfredo’s heart began to race. He wasn’t stupid, he knew there was something very wrong going on - an allergic reaction, or something - but he was also too invested in the game to actually acknowledge what was happening. Even tearing his eyes away from the screen for a few seconds felt like a gruelling task in itself, one that could possibly risk giving Drew an advantage.

As the next challenger approached the ring, Alfredo attempted to lighten the mood in a room that had suddenly become rather tense: “Have you beaten this guy before?” He was of course straight on the attack once Drew had assumed control of his new character, although having run through five previous matches without any health respawn had left Alfredo’s own video game version of Drew with low stamina and few reversals to help him out with what was sure to be a tough match. Still, he wasn’t a quitter.

It took several seconds for the man next to him to formulate his response. “This guy… Seth Rollins?” he asked after his moment of hesitation, as if unsure of the name of his coworker for a moment. “Uh yeah, a few times before. He’s the next challenger for your title-- my title. See, I’m getting thrown off because you’re playing as me.” As Drew spoke Alfredo noticed that his Scottish accent didn’t seem quite as pronounced as he had thought at first. Must just be getting used to it, he rationalised, although that felt like a weak excuse given his faint awareness of the fact his own body was changing seemingly every second. If only he could pull himself away from the game, he might even be able to work out what was going on!

The challenge was escalating with each new competitor introduced but Alfredo was more determined than ever to run the gauntlet. Every competitive bone in his body was fired up and he instinctively leaned further forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his firm quads. It was a hard fought battle but he was able to sneak out another win with a pair of back to back Claymore Kicks that provoked a disappointed groan from the real life Drew.

As the referee made the three-count, Alfredo pulled himself back upright and in the process realised just how tightly his shirt was stretched out across his torso. The fabric was pushed to such extremes that he could even make out the undeniable definition of a set of abs and two large pecs. His whole body was once again all in perfect proportion, only those proportions were much so much bigger than he was used to!

Sparing a quick glance across at his opponent, Alfredo hardly recognised the other. His face was still the same and his long black hair was still pulled up in a messy bun but his body was no longer of such an epic sight of muscularity. Indeed his arms were thinner and the tee that had once highlighted his impressive chest was instead hanging loosely around his torso.

Alfredo opened his mouth to query what was happening to them but the sudden vibration of his controller alerted him to the fact that the next match in the game had already started and he was being attacked. “Now who’s the cheating heel?” he muttered sourly, focusing back on the game. He only had three more matches to get through - victory was so close and he wasn’t about to let it slip away from him!

Drew’s growing frustration with his continuous defeats was only making him sloppier though and Alfredo was able to take advantage of that. It didn’t matter that he was in the ring with a guy like Braun Strowman, a huge monster who dealt serious damage, as long as he played smart he’d be able to outlast the other. “You goddamn asshole,” the other man remarked as Alfredo successfully managed to reverse one of his attacks and this time he was certain that Drew’s voice had changed, sounding lighter and more American than the unmistakable Scottish bass he had spoken with previously.

Ultimately Alfredo wasn’t even the one responsible for his next victory - the clearly frustrated Drew had attempted to knock down the referee so he could get away with using a weapon on his video game self but the ref had been too quick in recovering and disqualified him as a result. Drew cursed loudly and Alfredo held back the snickering laughter that was so close to bursting forth from him. That was admittedly poor luck on Drew’s part but Alfredo wasn’t about to complain about his seventh consecutive victory even under dubious circumstances. Reaching a hand up to cover his mouth, Alfredo instead scratched at the thick stubble along his jawline and then ran his hand through his hair. As his fingers moved through it the strands of hair lengthened and travelled down towards his broad shoulders, even tickling at the back of his thick neck. Dark hairs sprouted along his forearms and he took a moment to survey them before returning to the all-important controller.

“Ready to give up yet?” Alfredo challenged, surprised by the booming bass and the hint at an unfamiliar accent that laced his words. “I’m making a better McIntyre than the real deal!” The glare he received from the mysteriously clean-shaven and short-haired professional wrestler didn’t feel quite as intimidating as it should have, something Alfredo attributed to the other’s rather extreme loss of size. He wasn’t quite as menacing now that he was no longer dwarfing the armchair he was sat in and probably about a third as muscular as Alfredo himself currently was, as ridiculous as that sounded!

“I’ve got this, I’ve got this!” the other man murmured in response, although it sounded more like he was trying to convince himself than make Alfredo believe him. The other’s leg was jittering nervously and the controller was shaking in his hand. Panic was evidently starting to set in and even though neither of them had addressed it, Alfredo wondered if the other was as aware of the changes their bodies had undergone as he was. Why neither of them had said anything he couldn’t quite tell, it was as if every time he thought too much about what was going on something happened in the game to pull his attention back, reminding Alfredo of how much he hated losing, especially at something he was supposed to be good at like video games.

With panic mode taking the driver’s seat in Drew’s mind it didn’t take much for Alfredo to sneak out his eighth consecutive win and as the artificial crowd cheered his ongoing success a strange tickling sensation rippled across his face. Despite an unconscious awareness of what their changes really meant, Alfredo’s heart still skipped a beat when he glanced over to the other chair and saw his own face frowning back at him. Everything about that other man was Alfredo Diaz physically - everything but his mind, at least.

“Last round now, it’s all or nothing!” he offered by way of encouragement, fully recognising that he was now speaking with the other man’s natural Scottish voice. “You don’t have to keep going easy on me. I’m a big boy, I can handle it!”

“Oh, you’re on,” the other seethed, turning his attention back to the game just as his ninth and final character arrived at the ring: a second video game version of Drew himself. Huh, Drew vs. Drew. Strangely fitting. Alfredo couldn’t remain distracted by the game’s impeccable choice of final opponent though as he found himself up against his toughest match yet, with minimal health on his side and an opponent who had seemingly fired up knowing what was at stake. There were a couple of nasty moments that had Alfredo holding his breath, only to be saved by a rope break the first time and the referee glitching out on the second. “Stupid broken game!” his opponent exclaimed with outright fury as he was forced to stop his pinning attempt to get the referee moving again. “That was my win!”

The other’s distraction gave Alfredo the opening he needed - one schoolboy pin later and the ref was jumping back into action to count his final three-count!

The six-foot-four muscle-bound titan of a man jumped up from his chair with an almighty roar, bringing his flexed arms forwards in a victory pose. “Who’s the champ, huh?!” he asked, his accent thicker than ever as he turned to look at his unsuccessful rival. As their eyes locked there was a fleeting moment of understanding before their brains settled into the identities that fit their respective bodies. “Sorry bud, I know gaming’s supposed to be your thing but I’m a competitive git. No hard feelings, right?”

The smaller man put his controller down and shrugged his shoulders. “Even the best gamers have bad days,” he insisted, although the corners of his lips were slowly turning up into a smile. “If we had time for a rematch I’d totally get my win back but…”

“The interview, right,” the new Drew McIntyre recalled. “Another time, perhaps. The media guys will be upset if I overrun with you. The champ’s a busy man, you know?” He flashed an apologetic smile at the other and returned to his armchair, angling himself towards the other. They both knew that a rematch was unlikely - WWE stars very rarely got free time and the champion was especially limited. Still, it was the life he had always wanted and he wasn’t about to waste his golden opportunity! “So, should we get started?” Even as he spoke, his elbow brushed over a sheet of paper on the armrest of the chair and he glanced at its contents before realizing what it was. “I think your questions ended up over here somehow. Might need those, buddy.”

“Oh! Thanks,” the other remarked with an awkward smile, graciously accepting the paper as it was handed across to him. He glanced over as if familiarizing himself with his previously prepared questions and then nodded. “Okay, okay, I’m good. Let’s start.” Then, addressing the camera capturing the two-shot of them both, he began: “Hey guys, this is Alfredo from Achievement Hunter and I’m here with the brand new WWE Champion Drew McIntyre…”

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