Keeping Kayfabe

by scifiscribbler

Tags: #cw:noncon #dom:male #f/m #wrestling

When a famous MMA star is assigned a grizzled veteran pro wrestler to train her, her biggest obstacle is getting into character. But he has some ideas for how to help her…

Diana batted away the straight left being thrown at her jaw without even putting any effort into it. There was a right hook following up which made it through her guard but she took it on the chin without flinching, turning in toward the strike and bringing up her knee sharply in a Muay Thai styled strike. The man fighting her fell back three steps and sighed. “Okay,” he said, his voice mingling the gruff, shortened syllables of his Japanese upbringing with the more casual intonations he’d picked up over ten years living in Atlanta. “I think we’re going to have to try that again.”

“Sorry, Yuji,” Diana said, but she didn’t seem sorry. She turned away and walked toward the far corner of the ring, where she’d left her water bottle. Behind her, Yuji Miyato pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, inhaled deeply, and tried again to come up with a way to make her take this seriously.

The problem, of course, was that she could go right back to being famous without succeeding here; most of the people Yuji trained needed to work with him if they wanted to make it big. Most of them had an actual passion for professional wrestling. And, of course, most of them weren’t going straight into a high-profile match a money-hungry promoter was already laying the building blocks for.

Most people weren’t Diamond Diana Doyle, seven-time womens’ MMA champion across two different promotions, one-time movie star (barely more than a cameo and a fight scene, but still), and primary investor and part-owner of a vodka distillery that marketed its products on her brand as a legitimate fighter.

When he’d accepted the job, Yuji had been told that Diana had set her heart on conquering pro wrestling the way she’d once conquered MMA. He’d discovered since starting her training that it would be fairer to say her agent was the one with the heart set on professional wrestling. Diana had clearly just assumed it would be easy.

And certainly that wild charisma that had done so well for her in the heptagon was working well in wrestling, so long as you didn’t give her a script. It was everything else she was having trouble with.

Diana Doyle didn’t believe in pro wrestling, not even while competing. In Yuji’s eyes, that was the only real crime. Being bad wasn’t as much of a problem, so long as when someone jumped off the top rope toward you, you reacted like they were trying to kick you in the face.

He could teach you to be better, and experience absolutely would. But if you didn’t believe in what you were doing, it showed. Diana would never look as if she cared when she took a punch; not like she was powering through or even shrugging it off, but like she didn’t think it mattered since it was all fake anyway.

There had to be a way to engage with her…

*

Her cardio was faultless. Her pain tolerance was high. She knew the limits of her body like she’d been testing them scientifically. Diana felt that she knew her value, and she felt a lot like her new trainer didn’t. Frustrating. More so because he had an MMA record of his own, and it had more losses on it than she had. Just as many wins, certainly, but balanced out with a lot more losses, and no championships to fit in.

Diana didn’t really believe her time in legitimate fighting should be done, but her agent did and the promoters running her last company had agreed, at least for the time being. “Come back when we’ve built up some others,” she’d been told. She’d kept her own counsel on that; she could hear the unspoken so we can make them more famous when they beat you while you’re rusty. Didn’t want to be thought of that way. Exploitable. Expendable. Those words weren’t her or at least they shouldn’t be.

Other promoters just hadn’t been willing to match her price, but there was one man willing to not just match her old contract but exceed it. Professional wrestling it was going to have to be.

Yuji had been chosen because he was a good trainer who’d fought in MMA and they’d all assumed he’d be able to work with her, but Diana had assumed there’d only be so much work. She knew how to execute her own throws, holds, and takedowns. She knew how her strikes were meant to go. And you’d hardly match Diana Doyle’s contract demands unless you wanted her to fight like Diana Doyle.

So she’d assumed all she’d need to know was how to take the kinds of throw you’d never see in a heptagon. The ones that needed the victim’s cooperation. Know how you should fall for a cutter, or how to land safely from a tombstone. That kind of thing. But they’d been training now, one on one, for most of a month and Yuji was still concerned mostly with how she dealt with the sort of thing she’d faced every match, for real.

Diana didn’t think she needed to be shown how to react to a punch. She’d dealt with the real thing too often. Fake stuff was just the same but faker. But when she’d said as much to Yuji he’d told her that idea was the problem. Maybe it was, but that advice hadn’t exactly helped her.

She tried the exchange a couple more times and bounced off each time. Yuji was visibly getting angrier - no. Not angrier. Worse.

He was sadly disappointed.

In the early afternoon he started varying up his strike combo without letting her know what was coming, and she had to work harder to dodge, had to push herself a little more. It definitely seemed to help her reactions, but any time she wasn’t in position to block, there was no flinching, no surprise - or, worse, she’d flinch a clear couple of seconds after Yuji stopped moving.

It just didn’t occur to her to flinch; she knew there was no danger. Yuji was a professional; his hits stung, but no more than that.

Toward the end of the day they broke from the physical training. Yuji led her out of the ring and across to a couple of cheap old plastic chairs in the corner of the room, where he perched with an exaggerated slowness that looked like grace but which Diana knew was just compensating against the wear and tear his body had been through.

“It seems to me,” he said, “that you think you’re doing something like you have been, but lesser.”

Diana wasn’t at all sure she liked the way he said that, but over years of MMA training she’d learned that the best way to get through rough conversations was to stay quiet as often as she could. She put that training to use here.

Yuji continued. “The two things look like one another from a distance. And you’re proud of your history. You should be. So what we’re doing now - what has always been my focus - that appears to you to be a lesser thing, a smaller thing. And I think this is proved to you because you’re being paid more for doing it after your MMA career has slowed.”

Her cheeks burned. Yuji just carried on, and Diana wondered how much of the afternoon he’d been thinking of this, refining and rehearsing this speech. “My boss - and your boss, these days - has a great love for legitimacy on our fake sport. He pays a lot for it. And he’ll make his money’s worth back from you, so long as this first match is good. That’s why we’re here. But there have now been twenty years of MMA fighters coming to professional wrestling. There have been perhaps four MMA fighters who made it big.

“Diana.” He sat back in the rickety old plastic chair and fixed his eyes firmly on hers. She met his gaze unwillingly, her strategy of silence about to be interrupted and overruled. “Let’s be honest with each other. A mark of some mutual respect and understanding. Yes?”

“Yes,” she nodded.

“Do you want to make it big?” he asked bluntly. It was the sort of question that could easily have come across as angry, demanding machismo, but for all Yuji’s height, in spite of the muscle he maintained, he came across usually as quiet and self-effacing, almost unrecognisable from the character he played in front of the public. This wasn’t an attempt to shock her straight; he wanted to know.

“Yes,” Diana nodded again.

“Then we are going to need you to understand that pro wrestling is not simply MMA with planned storylines,” he said. “It’s a different thing. Your first match, we have you fighting Chantelle. Someone very like you.” It was true. At the upcoming PPV event, she was going to be fighting an Olympic wrestling champion who’d moved sideways into professional wrestling a few years earlier.

Kerri had briefly been one of America’s heroines during the Games, then all but forgotten afterwards; it had been a good year for Team USA and the wrestling medals weren’t exactly the big headlines of the event. There wasn’t much money in the sport, but it gave you plenty of options; Kerri had chosen to avoid potentially being embarrassed in MMA and had instead made a name for herself in fake fighting. But there’d been an undercurrent throughout that some people wanted to see Diana Doyle and Kerri Reeve lock up, wanted to see who’d win.

Diana was under no illusions that her new employer wasn’t going to make back all the money he’d spent on her contract on that first match, whether or not it was any good.

Yuji went on again. “Let’s assume we get past your current frustrations, and it goes well. What happens then?”

“I’ll be feuding with someone else.”

Yuji nodded. “Exactly. Feuding with someone else. Probably someone with fewer moves in common, yes?”

“Yes.”

“A different style. Whatever we can mask with your first opponent will be on display. Is that what you would like?”

Her cheeks burned. Wordlessly, she shook her head, and Yuji smiled.

“We’re making progress,” he said. “At least I hope so.”

He had an earnestness about him that Diana couldn’t quite decide was or wasn’t a put-on, an act because he was Japanese and a pro wrestler and he was used to playing up stereotypes for the Western audience. It was part of his character, but if it was a natural part of him it would be.

“So. We have a different opponent. Let us consider the likelihood. Succeed in your first challenge. Who is the other biggest name in the womens’ division here?”

Diana twitched. “Bloody Mary.”

If Chantelle was someone who would almost have fitted in back in the heptagon, an almost purpose-made opponent for Diana, Bloody Mary was the exact opposite. First showing up in pro wrestling nearly two decades earlier, she’d been a mainstay of the division almost constantly since then, and she’d never been far from the top spot. Wrestling fans would insist she’d earned it; Diana was much less impressed by the woman’s weird gimmick pretending to be a ghost, and she’d rolled her eyes more than once when Bloody Mary matches with special effects had showed up on highlight reels.

They might now share the same name signing their paycheques but as far as Diana Doyle was concerned, Bloody Mary was everything wrong with pro wrestling.

“You’ll almost certainly be faced with some of her skits,” Yuji said gently, as if he were breaking the news to a child. “And those only work if we, the performers, believe in them - at least while they’re happening.”

Diana looked away. “I… don’t think I can do that.”

“Mm. Did you ever watch any of my Japanese work?”

“Yes…” Her heart sank as she realised where Yuji must be going with this. Yuji had spent over a decade in America, but before that was nearly sixteen years in Japan, beginning as a teenager. And for one two-year period beloved of the fans, on the outs temporarily with the promoter who’d given him his first choice, Yuji had been part of HAMMER (the block capitals apparently essential), a dark stable themed around bad British horror B-movies. Yuji had wrestled in white face paint, red eyeshadow, guyliner, and a pair of vampire fangs.

“It’s part of the sport,” Yuji said. “To succeed, you have to be able to work with the big names around you, and Bloody Mary is one of those names. You have to be able to mesh your character to theirs, just as I had to make my style fit into HAMMER.”

“So what do you suggest?” Diana hated how sulky she knew she sounded.

Yuji shrugged. “Your problem is the same throughout. You don’t believe, and it shows. You have to believe when you’re out there, in your ring gear. Whether that’s believing you’re at risk of a piledriver or that Bloody Mary may influence your mind. Think of it as a soap actor, but with much better fight scenes.”

Diana Doyle glowered. “How do I believe either, when I know I’m equally safe from both? Anyone who wrestles me will be safe. And mind control isn’t real.”

Yuji just smiled. “I’m so pleased to hear you know you’re safe, Diana. That must be the biggest change of all for you, yes?”

“Definitely.”

Yuji shifted position and leaned forward, a glint in his eyes. “And safety is so important, even if wrestling has to be very real.” Diana could feel her scalp tingling suddenly. Was it just his focus on her? “And everything in wrestling is very real, even the things you don’t believe in.” He was smiling, and she felt her lips twitch into a small smile in response, not that she knew why she was smiling or even why he was. His eyes were steady on hers.

Diana was oddly reminded of Yuji-as-vampire, the strange gimmick from Hammer, and the intent stare with which he had bewitched opponents in the ring. She felt suddenly a curious remoteness, a numbness, as if she were only vaguely associated with her own body. “What’s happening?”

“Well, you don’t believe in hypnosis, so you wouldn’t believe the answer,” Yuji said. “In years past, wrestling trainers were violent and rude. Today we have other, better methods to reach someone.”

“You’re hypnotising me?”

“You don’t believe that,” Yuji said, his voice a purr. “And so you shouldn’t worry about it. It’s exactly as real as wrestling. Does that make sense to you yet?”

“None of this makes sense…” Diana blinked, or at least she tried to. Her eyes didn’t want to break contact with Yuji’s. “What are you doing?”

“We’re finding that out together,” he said, and then, quietly, “it’s years since I’ve done this. Never done it to train someone, either. You are a special case, Diana; in more ways than you think.” She was sure he was grinning, but her field of vision barely extended beyond his eyes. “Not that you’re thinking much. Much too hard to think.”

Diana nodded in fractional agreement. Thinking was hard and slow and much, much too cumbersome, though she was not at all sure when that had begun.

“They say hypnosis is all in the mind of the recipient,” Yuji said. “That it’s all a fantasy crafted between the hypnotist and their subject. But right now, Diana, it doesn’t feel like that. It feels as real as anything you’ve ever experienced. That’s true, yes?”

“Yes,” Diana agreed. It was easier to agree, and every time she agreed the next one came more easily than the one before. That tingle in her scalp was a strange empty lightheadedness through the back of her head now, a curious vacancy that made the rest of her head feel eerily quiet and muted, like an office when all the background chatter fell silent at once.

“But the way you feel is as real as wrestling, Diana. Another reality, where the green mist blinds, where a light palm strike is a threat, and where Bloody Mary can possess you. After all, if I can take you, hear and now, and bring you to a point where I can simply say: Diana, down on your knees.” There was no anger to his tone, no harshness, but the way he said it it was like a cosmic rule of the universe, a thing that simply would happen whether or not she wanted it to, and barely had he finished speaking before she was moving, her glassy eyes still locked to his, sliding forward from the cheap plastic chair and settling to her knees, thighs parted, hands resting just above her knees.

A wetness was suddenly cool against the bare skin on her chest above her singlet, and Diana did not have the mental wherewithal to realise it was her own saliva, a strand hanging from her open, drooling mouth. Yuji continued talking as if nothing had happened, and indeed barely enough time had passed for the two of them to draw breath. “Your mind interprets that not just as an instruction but as a law of nature, as true and as invented as if you were taking Chantelle’s big top-rope suplex. Do you understand?”

“No,” Diana said truthfully, and Yuji chuckled.

“I thought not. But you know what?” He waited for a moment, but Diana’s mind was not aware enough to respond to questions that turned out not to be rhetorical. Yuji pressed on regardless. “It doesn’t matter what you understand.”

That hung in the air, a truism, a law of the universe as important and unavoidable as the law of gravity. Diana didn’t have to understand anything for it to be true. She found herself smiling dreamily at the idea.

“So.” Yuji just smiled. “You will continue to kneel, and you will listen, and other things will become clear to you. And afterwards, because you know hypnosis isn’t real, you will forget entirely that this happened. You will not remember any of the changes that have occurred in you. Will not even remember that they are changes. Instead it will seem to you just that your trainer found a way, finally, to get you to follow wrestling correctly.”

Diana listened. She was going to be changed, and that was as true to her as the fact she didn’t need to understand. But it wasn’t necessarily a truth she liked. She didn’t want to change, and she was sure she didn’t want to forget her changes, either. She was determined to fight this off; it was all in her head, after all. She tried drawing in a deep breath, but her body remained stationary, lips parted, breathing only shallowly.

There was a total calmness to her body, a stillness, that prevented Diana from getting angry in the way she wanted to. Instead there was a strange void that just hung there, in the way of her rage, tainting what anger she had with its absence.

*

At least Chantelle wasn’t the champion; all the butterflies in Diana’s stomach, all the fears that somehow she might not have been properly and fully trained, were bad enough as it was watching her opponent make her entrance first. There was more to remember here than in an MMA entrance; in her old world she’d just walked down to the heptagon in whatever mood she’d felt like and done whatever she felt like on the way. This company expected your entrances to be a certain way, at least until the crowd was familiar enough with them that a change of style meant something.

She’d practiced her entrance but she wasn’t at all sure she would feel it, the way Yuji always advised. She glanced over to him in the quiet after Chantelle’s music cut, looking for reassurance.

“Kayfabe,” he said. Diana blinked.

Rather, Diana closed her eyes. Diana Doyle, prize fighter, opened them. Her senses were sharper; she was aware much more clearly of the wide world around her. Most especially, even from behind the stage, with the thick curtain too between her and them, she could hear the crowd as if she were stood in it. Her music began to play and the crowd, already primed for the in-ring debut of Diana Doyle, went from loud to roaring. Their excitement swelled in her as it never had in MMA, where she had always known that ultimately, her success or failure came from her own skill.

Diana Doyle knew better than that. Her success came from the fans, or was achieved in spite of them; either way, their reactions were essential to the process. She marched out to meet them, head held high.

As she went through the curtain the roar became deafening, but that just felt better than ever. She stopped where she was and her face split open into a delighted grin. Taking a couple of paces forward she turned a wide semi-circle, scanning everyone near and far, drinking in their adoration, then she raised one gloved fist in salute. She hadn’t noticed, but that punch of the air was synchronised to her music, something she’d overlooked but which Yuji had stressed was important.

She made her way down to the ring and it seemed to her that she made eye contact with every fan who’d come close to the guardrail, that somehow she managed to do that while staring a hole right through Chantelle.

The bell rang, and the two women circled each other warily before closing in. Chantelle tried calling for a test of strength; Diana Doyle looked to the crowd for a moment, heard their faith in her, and kicked her opponent in the gut. A clothesline followed, and the two then went to the mat, both of them showing off their chain wrestling skills in hold and counter-hold.

And Diana Doyle reacted to every move as if it could be a threat. Watching her, the crowd believed not just in Diana Doyle’s abilities but all the more in the threat Chantelle represented. Because clearly she was a threat, if Diana Doyle thought she was.

Fifteen minutes into the match, she was tiring. Thoughts of her impeccable cardio had gone, chased by the sense of the match she was part of. Diana Doyle would be pushed to her limits at this time, and so she was visibly slowing, even if her breathing showed no nerves or hesitation. She elbowed her way out of a hold Chantelle had put her in, turned, and took her opponent to the mat with a charging double-leg takedown.

Then she grabbed hold of one of Chantelle’s legs and lifted it, hooking Chantelle’s knee behind her neck. Holding on tight and dangling her opponent from her shoulder, she stood and turned a slow, full circle, making eye contact with as many of the fans as she could before releasing the hold. Chantelle hit the mat and took her time struggling to her feet.

Diana Doyle was waiting for her. She drew her thumb across her throat, surged forward, and leapt, catching Chantelle with a huge running knee. The other woman’s head snapped to one side and she went down to one knee, but stayed upright. Diana Doyle was already moving again, hitting the far ropes and coming back with another big leaping knee. This time Chantelle sprawled.

She made a full circle around her opponent, eyes wide, grinning fiercely. Then she closed in and grabbed the same leg she’d focused on, lifting it into a heel hook and wrenching at it with the kind of cool efficiency she’d fought with in MMA. Chantelle screamed, and writhed, and crawled toward the ropes; however, Diana Doyle dug in her heels each time and dragged her back, until eventually the other woman tapped. Immediately she released the hold and turned to face the hard camera.

When the referee raised her arm, she felt a satisfaction at her victory she’d never had in MMA. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chantelle heading up the ramp to the back, and a part of her head noted with detached interest that she wasn’t even limping.

Pro wrestlers had to be hardier than MMA fighters, then; Diana Doyle absolutely believed she’d put everything she had into every hold, but especially into the heel hook.

She made her way backstage where Chantelle and a few other wrestlers were waiting for her in a loose semi-circle. There was applause from the other wrestlers.

Diana Doyle blinked.

Rather, Diana Doyle closed her eyes. Diana opened them. She found herself blushing at the applause to her own great surprise, and accepted a hug from Chantelle. “Great work,” the other woman said cheerfully. “Rematch in the summer?”

“I’d like that,” Diana said with a smile of her own. “Thank you.”

“It’s good for both of us,” Chantelle pointed out. “I’ll square it with Sam.” Meaning the company owner, who Diana was still cagey about picking her moment with. She accepted the plaudits of the other wrestlers, and an approving nod from Yuji, and went off to change.

*

Yuji was waiting by her car as she headed toward it. By this time a number of the other wrestlers had already headed out; some more were loading up their own cars, or chatting quietly in the doorways. Nobody was surprised that the man who’d been training Diana was waiting for a private word.

“So,” he said with a smile, “I think that went well?”

She smiled. “I think so,” she said. “I’m still not sure how you made that all click, though. Um… especially as it doesn’t make sense to me again right now.”

Yuji chuckled. “That’s fine,” he said. “I have good reason to believe it’ll make sense next time you go to the ring.”

Diana gave him an odd look, but decided not to press the issue. It had been a long day; she wanted to drive to the next town, get checked into her hotel, and get some sleep. Nothing else would really do. She pulled out her keys, turning her back on Yuji.

Then Yuji said, “Pay your dues.” Diana blinked.

Rather, Diana closed her eyes. Dee opened them. She found herself blushing to be stood so close to the great veteran.

She released her hold on her own suitcase. Opening the trunk of her car, she loaded Yuji’s suitcase in first, then set her own beside it. Yuji was already climbing into the passenger seat of her car; not something they’d agreed, but she was a young lioness, he was a veteran, and there was a tradition and an order to these things. She wasn’t going to embarrass him by forgetting the lessons in respect he’d taught her.

She climbed into the drivers’ seat and pulled out of the arena, the two of them driving quite slowly at first until they’d passed the crowds of fans at the exit. As they moved out into traffic - and immediately had to slow - Dee reached out her hand and unbuckled Yuji’s belt, her eyes never leaving the road.

She was smiling as she found his cock. It could just be a dreary duty, carrying a veteran’s bags, driving the veteran from place to place, letting the veteran use you for their pleasure. But it was part of the age-old traditions of wrestling, and they were there to weed out the people who weren’t passionate about wrestling.

Dee was very, very passionate about wrestling. Her time in MMA was a pale shadow to the joy and satisfaction she felt now. It was weird that she’d started with it. But wrestling was her true passion, Yuji was her tutor, and she was very grateful to him, and she respected his body of work. She remembered watching his time in HAMMER and finding that piercing stare of his captivating, almost hypnotic.

And it turned out his cock felt just right in her hand. Not a question of size, or shape, but simply that its semi-hardness, and the fact it was his, and now it was in her hand, and it being in her hand was what changed everything. Dee felt a rosy, warm glow of satisfaction and, as she began to stroke his cock, teasing it up and down, she felt herself growing wet, the same way that Diana Doyle had felt herself become the heroine to those fans.

Yuji gave a quiet grunt of satisfaction and Dee felt better than ever. Driving such a stoic man to a noise of begrudging pleasure was deeply, deeply satisfying; a confirmation that she was doing well, something as precious to her as the pop from the crowd when Chantelle had tapped to her hold.

She bit her lip. This wasn’t like her any more than Diana Doyle was like her; Yuji must have…

…must have…

The thought crumbled and faltered, and Dee was still stroking Yuji’s cock, and without that thought to bother her, she gave more of her attention to it; yet somehow there was still enough on the road that her eyes never left the traffic and her ears listened more for any changes that might be trouble than they did for further grunts from Yuji.

They were leaving city limits when he came, warm, salty spurts of his cum on the back of her hand. She raised it to her mouth; eyes still on the road, she lapped up his cum, making her own delighted noises - little mewling squeaks of pleasure - as she savoured his taste, which was again not at all unlike other cum she had tasted and yet simultaneously something just right in a way Dee had rarely experienced before this very night.

Her hand sucked clean, she reached back down, gathering up the rest of his cum onto her fingertips. She put them back to her lips and cleaned them of every last drop, almost hating herself for her weak, soft, needy moan. The mark of a novice, that; thankfully she had a veteran to set her straight and see her right.

They were about two hours from the hotel, the sat-nav told her; Dee was looking forward to getting there and getting to sleep, but about an hour from their destination, Yuji stirred in the passenger seat and pointed at the sign of a fast food chain coming up on one side. “Dinner time,” he said.

“Yes, sir,” Dee replied, and without really thinking about it she pulled off the road and eased into the parking lot.

Yuji gave her his order and she hurried inside to fetch them both food. She checked her social media in the queue; surprising - amazing, really - how many fans had seen her have one great match and wanted to treat her as a veteran, not a student. She knew better, of course, but she retweeted a few positive comments and added her thanks to a couple of others all the same. Then, laden with a brown paper bag that smelled fantastically tempting now it was gone midnight, she hurried back out to the car.

She left the paper bag on her own seat; Yuji had got his cock back out while she’d been away, and she knew what that meant. It was another opportunity for Dee to pay her dues.

She stood beside her car, looking around the parking lot; it was almost empty, so she crossed to the passenger side and quickly pulled her leggings down and over her shoes. Her panties followed suit, and she tossed her leggings through onto the driver’s seat, then climbed into the front passenger seat, doing her best to straddle Yuji.

It was a cramped and uncomfortable place to ride someone, but the wonderful, erotic honour of service to a veteran, to her mentor, meant she pretty much had no objections. And if anyone saw her, she was determined that she would smile and wave. There was nothing wrong with what she was doing. It was part of the tradition. And besides, Yuji turned her on. She wasn’t sure when that had started to be true, but it was.

She couldn’t wait to get to the hotel. If she was lucky, this wouldn’t be her last time pleasuring her veteran’s cock before she slept…

x2

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