One night, when it began...

 "Was that really necessary?" Essa Rios demanded as he and Tazz headed back to their locker room.

 "What?" Tazz asked, giving the red-head a funny look.

 "When you lifted me up in the ring, you put your hand on my crotch!" Essa exclaimed.

 Tazz snorted as he pushed the locker room door open. "Did not."

 "Well, it was in that general area. You can't give people any ideas, or I'm NEVER going to get a push!" Essa said sulkily.

 "Ah come on, that ain't true at all!" Tazz exclaimed, grabbing his bag out of his locker. "Look at Triple H! The man flirts with guys left and right, on camera, all the time! And he's got some major push! Besides, ain't you supposed to be learnin' English or somethin', and that's why you ain't allowed on the big shows?"

 Essa glared at the Red Hook native. "As you can plainly tell, I speak English fine! Better than you, as a matter of fact. They just tell the fans that ‘cos they need an excuse for holding me back, despite my awesome moves! Can you imagine the awesome matches we'd have if they let me fight on Smackdown? I could take on K-Kwik! I could take on Edge and Christian! It would massively improve the light heavyweight league!"

 "Hey, what about the Hardyz?" Tazz pointed out, grabbing some soap, shampoo, and conditioner out of his bag. "Ain't they in that league, too?"

 Essa frowned. "I don't like wrestling them. They keep trying to feel me up during our matches."

 "How dare they!" Tazz exclaimed, feigning outrage. "That's my job!"

 Essa made a noise in his throat, glaring at the small man. "Not on camera!" he reiterated. "I have to take that enough from other people, I don't need it from you!"

 "Sheesh, sorry." Tazz rolled his eyes, glancing at Essa as he headed for the showers. "You gonna shower?" he inquired.

 "Yeah, I guess." Essa grabbed all his beauty products and followed Tazz into the shower room. It was deserted except for them. They were quiet for a moment while they stripped and each turned on a shower. "What the heck do you need shampoo for?" Essa asked, eyeing Tazz as the small man rubbed shampoo into his nearly nonexistant hair and worked it into suds.

 Tazz snorted. "I'm just trying to be pretty like you," he said mockingly. An impish gleam came into his eyes, and he stepped out of the water running from his shower into Essa's. Wrapping his arm around the graceful Mexican's waist, he pulled their bodies close together and placed a kiss on Essa's neck.

 "Baby, wait til I get the conditioner in my hair, ok?" Essa requested, gently pushing Tazz away and rinsing out his hair. "It's better to leave that in for a while, anyway."

 "But I'm ready now," Tazz whined, scowling unhappily.

 "It'll only take a moment," Essa assured him. Once he had finished rinsing the shampoo suds from his long locks, he began working his Herbal Essences conditioner into his hair. "Mmmm..." he murmured, breathing in the lovely aroma of the conditioner.

 "Hey, you ain't gettin nowhere without me!" Tazz objected, pushing Essa back out of the running water and against the wall and pressing his lips to the comely red head's. Essa dropped the bottle he was holding, wrapping his arms around Tazz's neck.

Raven headed back to the locker room after his match, thinking about the young man he had just beaten. His name was Justin something or other. The important thing about him was that he had been wearing a nice, tight, black, shiny outfit, kind of like some pairs of pants Chris Jericho was known to wear, only much tighter and less covering.

 Raven grinned and licked his lips. After the match, when he had been lying next to Justin pretending to trash talk him, he had really asked him back to his hotel room that night. He just couldn't resist. Not when the kid was wearing something that sexy. Raven planned on taking a shower, then returning to his hotel room to wait. When he entered the locker room, he groaned. While he had a strict no-sex-in-the-locker-room policy, not all of the wrestlers shared that. He could hear some couple in the nearby shower room, laughing and moaning, and not being particularly quiet about it.

 After the noises had stopped, which fortunately didn't take too long, Raven grabbed his stuff and headed for the showers. When he entered the room, he found Tazz and Essa inside. Essa's arms were wrapped around Tazz's neck, and the two were kissing. "That was a great quickie," Raven heard Essa whisper to his lover.

 "Hey guys," he greeted, completely ignoring their closeness. After being in the WWF for several months, he was quite used to cuddly couples. They didn't seem to care that he was there, either.

 "Hey Rave," Tazz greeted in his thick accent. "How ya doin?"

 "I'm good." Raven switch on a shower, after stripping off his clothes. Neither Essa nor Tazz seemed to take notice, not that he would've cared if they did. "And you two?"

 "We're great." Tazz looked back at his lover, a wide grin on his face. "You rinse that conditioner out, then we'll go back to the hotel, kay baby? You'll get a much longer show then." Tazz chuckled and raised his eyebrows suggestively, before turning and leaving the room to get dressed.

 "So how's your English?" Raven teased. Essa's supposed inability to speak the language was something of a company joke, and he got teased about it often. It was almost all in good fun, though.

 "Great. Better than yours, birdman," Essa retorted, quickly washing the last bit of conditioner from his soaking locks and shutting off his shower. "See you tomorrow. You're coming to that show with Tazz and I, aren't you?"

 "Sure, yeah," Raven agreed. "I'm coming."

 Essa nodded and headed for the door. "Oh, I almost forgot," he said, turning around right by the entrance. "Bring a date too. The other guy we invited canceled, so we've got an extra ticket. Ok?"

 "I think I can find someone to bring."

 "Good. Night, Raven." With that, the dashing red head turned and left, eager to get back to his lover for the promised "longer show".

 Raven thought quietly while he soaped up his hair. He figured he could always ask Justin, but that might give the kid ideas. He decided against it, letting his mind wander over other possible candidates. As he ran over each one, he put them in two categories: ones he actually wanted to go with, and ones he thought would actually say yes. While he was still debating it, the answer to his problem strolled into the room.

 "Hey Raven," Al Snow said cheerfully. "Cool match. Hot kid you were against. You made arrangements with him later, didn't you?"

 Raven jumped in surprise. He hadn't been expecting anyone else. "Yeah. How'd you know?" he asked, feeling a bit confused.

 "It was pretty obvious, from the way you were talking to him after the match," Al replied. "Good move. I would've picked him up, too."

 "Yeah, thanks." Raven considered for a moment, then shrugged to himself. Al was as good a choice as any, and he really enjoyed his company. Plus, with his new, clean shaven look, Al was hotter than ever. "Hey Al, wanna go to a show with me and Essa and Tazz tomorrow?" Raven asked. "They got an extra ticket, so they asked me to bring someone."

 Al raised his eyebrows. "Like a date?"

 Raven shrugged. "I guess. You game?"

 "For a free show? Sure. Just call me tomorrow and tell me when." Al gave Raven a bright smile. "Let me give you my cell phone number, so you can get in touch with me."

 Raven nodded and went back to washing his hair. Al, who was on the opposite side of the shower room, turned towards the wall and away from Raven. He bit his lip as he began working shampoo into his hair. He had been attracted to Raven ever since the dark-haired man had joined the WWF, but he had always been too shy to say anything. Besides, he had gotten the impression that Raven wasn't particularly interested in a relationship. This could be his big chance to show the bird man how great he was. Al was fine with the idea of starting at a casual level. It was always good to have a friendship to build off of.

 Glancing over his shoulder at Raven, Al felt very hopeful. He was finally going to act on one of his crushes, and this time it was going to become far more.


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