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Regium Praedator

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For as long as Charlotte could remember she was the apple of her father's eye.

She got almost everything she could ever want from her parents. But from a very young age she knew she was different, preferring dresses and dolls to ties and trucks that she was supposed to like. Her mother tried to dissuade her but the four year old held steady in her belief that she was indeed a girl and not a boy like her baby brother.

Ric’s wife, Elizabeth was beside herself at first and wasn’t quite sure what to do but didn’t want to tell Ric right away. She wanted to handle it on her own. But as the weeks turned into months she couldn't deny who she was seeing in front of her. And that someone was not her son anymore, and she actually started to feel happy if one could say it. You see she and Ric had decided they weren't going to have anymore kids after Reid since his birth was tough. With that knowledge it hurt to know she couldn’t have a little girl. But now it felt like she was actually getting the opportunity.

She started calling her Ashley because that was the name she had picked out long ago if she ever had a daughter and her little one loved it. Soon Ashley’s blond hair grew long and her wardrobe consisted almost entirely of dresses. More months passed before Ric found out the truth since he was gone for an upwards of over 300 days a year it was an easy enough task to keep the secret.

Until now.

“Daddy’s Home!” Ric exclaimed as he set his large bags down one Christmas morning. “And I’ve got presents!”

He’d tried his damndest to be there for them for Christmas after missing both of their birthdays and Thanksgiving. He had just worked a show in New York last night and took a red eye flight right after so he could make it here.

“Daddy, Daddy!” He’d heard his kids say in unison as he heard their footsteps running towards his direction.

His breath caught when he saw his oldest with long blonde hair and pink pajamas. But didn’t have any time to react as he was tackled by little arms grabbing for hugs as he picked them up in his arms.

“Daddy, I missed you! What did you bring us?” Ashley asked with sparkling eyes and Reid looking at him with the same expression.

Ric looked down at them before seeing Elizabeth in the doorway of the foyer with something akin to fear in her eyes. He cleared his throat before placing them back on the ground. “Hey...Morgan kiddo can you take your brother into the living room to play and Daddy will help you two open your presents in a little bit.”

“Silly daddy’s didn't mommy tell you my name’s Ashley now, but okay!” she exclaimed and grabbed her brother's hand and they went to play with the vast amount of toys they had already opened.

“Ric...” Elizabeth started when the kids were out of ear shot.

“Not here can we go to my office please.” Ric replied blankly as they walked across the home to Ric’s rarely used office and closed the door.

“Ric please don’t be mad you have to let me explain” Elizabeth sniffled.

“Okay,” Ric said calmly. “Explain.”

“I didn’t think you’d make it in today.” She started again with tears stinging her eyes as she twitles with her fingers not looking at him. “I’ve been trying to work up the courage to tell you for months now but you’re gone so much I just figured th-”

“That you’d keep whatever this is from me?” He cut in.

“No, yes and I’m sorry for that!” She sobbed as she crossed her arms around her chest before looking up at him with a broken smile. “God Ric, Ashley she's so smart Ric and beautiful and so funny she and Reid are everything we could have ever hoped for.”

“She? Ashley?” Ric whispered in disbelief.

“The name we’d always had picked out for our girl and we finally got her.”

Ric took a step back gobsmacked. “Our son's name is Morgan.” He said thru gritted teeth.

“She doesn’t like that name anymore and I told her about Ashley and she lo-”

“What did you do!” He accused her pointedly.

“I didn’t do anything but let her be herself you just have to see her like I do, like she sees herself”

Ric wanted to do a lot of things at that moment scream, blame her, maybe throw a fist through the wall...something. Yet he just abruptly left the room with his wife hot on his tail afraid he’d do something drastic.

He marched into the living room to do what he didn’t know but when he saw their oldest child playing with Barbies so animatedly Ric just stood at the threshold watching not saying a word. He had actually never seen Morgan so happy. He had happy moments sure but when Ric was around for a couple days or more he saw how sad his kid always looked. It was like in that moment all the anger drained out of him when some realization set in. Elizabeth waited in bated breath ready to defend her child but no yelling came. Ric left the room and came back moments later with gifts.

Reid and Charlotte lit up at seeing the gifts and Reid quickly torn his open to see a toy limo.

“Like Daddy’s” he chirped happily as he zoomed it around the room.

All three smiled seeing Reid play with his gift before Ashley torn into her own present. It was a Ric Flair plush toy. The little one screamed in glee before hugging it tight. “Thanks Daddy”

“Look…” Ric started holding back his emotions as he looked from Reid to Ashley. “ Daddy might not be around a lot because of work but just know he’s always with you and there for you, both of you okay?”

He looked to his wife who had a hand to her face holding back the tears before reaching for his hand which he accepted.

Ric wasn’t going to pretend he understands anything that’s going on but it’s Christmas and he couldn’t blow up at his child or his wife. He had a lot of questions he wanted answered but seeing Morgan the happiest he’d ever seen him he could put up with his son’s little phase for the time being at least.