In Threes

Dec. 6th, 2011 01:15 am
hoopyfrood: (Mario and Ronnie [F1])
[personal profile] hoopyfrood
Title: In Threes
Pairing: Ronnie Peterson/Mario Andretti, James Hunt
Rating: PG-13
World Count: 1,640
Disclaimer: Never happened, don't own
Summary: Ronnie learns to embrace the other special day that happens to fall on February 14th.
A/N: I've taken slight artistic license in the sense there wasn't a Formula 1 race on Ronnie's birthday in 1978. Hah. Hope you enjoy, regardless.



Ronnie enjoys racing on his birthday. It adds a new dimension to the once childish excitement he used to feel each year once February 14th inevitably rolled round again. Before the day became a never ending reminder that his youth was slipping away, that is.

He meanders through the pits, collecting slaps on the back and promises of a drink or two as he goes, before ducking into the Lotus garage. More smiles greet him and he matches each one as brightly as he can, adoration swirling within his chest.

There is one thing that instantly makes his mood deflate, however - Mario is no where to be found. Usually he hears the American before he sees him; laughing loudly with anyone that he can grab, but the garage is so very obviously missing his comforting presence.

It's an unbearable disappointment. One that's actually beginning to make a lot more sense as Ronnie finally allows himself to filter through his emotions. Emotions that have been bubbling beneath the surface for far too long now.

Unwilling to let it get him down, he heads over to where his helmet is waiting for him. Routine, that's what will help clear his thoughts, he reasons. When Ronnie picks it up, however, a small slip of paper curiously falls out and flutters to the ground. He stares down at it for a moment or two, brows drawn together in a frown, before bending over and swiping it off the grubby floor of the garage.

There, in the middle, is a heart; smoothly drawn but crudely coloured in. Clearly done in haste. Ronnie quickly whips his head up and looks around, his face heating slightly in surprise. How had a fan snuck into the garage without anyone noticing?

He traces his finger around the outline of the heart, unable to stop a small smile from tugging at his lips despite the lingering twinge of embarrassment. In all honesty, he usually forgets that he shares his birthday with Valentine's Day. It was always a secondary thought when growing up, presents always coming before icky romance in the eye of a little boy, and now it rarely crosses his mind at all. But with the sweet sign of affection looking up at him from his palm, he'd be lying if he said his spirits hadn't been lifted further.

With a spring in his step, he tucks his helmet under one arm and grabs a cloth; deciding to clean it outside in the sunshine.

**

Ronnie settles himself on the side of his 78 and balances his helmet on his knees with perfected ease. Slowly, he starts to buff the outer shell, removing all the finger smudges and other scuffs. It's oddly therapeutic, and gives him an opportunity to people watch undisturbed before the majority of the media and fans are unleashed amongst them.

He spends another fifteen minutes or so making sure his visor is spotless, when just as he's about to go back inside, something catches his eye. Another little slip of paper, laying inconspicuously on his seat with the heart facing upwards for everyone who happens to glance down into the car to see.

Ronnie shakes his head in disbelief. He had to hand it to whoever was orchestrating this, admittedly, rather touching display; the thought and planning behind it was really quite something.

"What are you doing?"

Ronnie jumps in surprise, knocking into James who had somehow managed to creep up behind him in relative silence. "Nothing," Ronnie insists, turning to face the other driver in an attempt to block his view. "I was just..." He flounders, trying desperately to kick his mind back into gear.

"Going senile in your old age?" James jokes after a few seconds, clapping him on the shoulder. Ronnie sighs inwardly, thanking James' inclination to tease rather than pry.

"You're coming out with me and Niki tonight, by the way. My treat," James adds, pointing his cigarette at Ronnie.

"That doesn't sound like a request," Ronnie challenges.

"It's not," James says simply, taking a drag of his cigarette, daring Ronnie to say otherwise. "I just thought it polite to at least give you a warning before throwing you over my shoulder and taking you to an appropriately seedy hovel where we can celebrate your impending bus pass in style."

Ronnie laughs and holds up his hands in surrender, "Okay, okay."

"Good man," James smacks Ronnie on the shoulder once more and turns to leave. "Make sure Mario knows. I demand a rematch after last month," he points out, swiveling around so he's walking backwards as he talks.

Ronnie groans. "Please, forget about last month," he begs, fed up of hearing about Mario's supposed cheating at the hideously simple drinking game James had come up with during their last get-together.

"Never," the Brit says with one last cheeky grin.

Ronnie rolls his eyes as he watches the James amble away, looking forward to whatever he has planned for the night. He envisions not being able to walk particularly straight tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, however, he really should start getting ready.

He snatches up the almost-forgotten heart off his seat, replacing it with his helmet, and wanders back into the garage to the somewhat secluded alcove where the rest of his racing gear is.

**

Ronnie runs a hand through his hair; wiping away the slight sheen of sweat gathered underneath his fringe with the back of his wrist whilst he mentally ticks off what he has left to do. He gets as far as reminding himself to ask for a new pair of gloves, when he sees the now familiar sight of a penciled heart on a scrap of paper. This time pinned to the front of his race suit.

The surprise has worn off by now, but the intrigue continues to grow. He carefully removes the pin, sliding it slowly through the fabric and paper with precision.

Pulling the two previous hearts out of his pocket, he adds the third and fans them out in his hand. He squints, trying in vain to find a clue as to who his secret admirer could possibly be. There are no initials, no words, nothing. He huffs in frustration. This can't just be a fan, surely.

"Three years," an unmistakable American voice says from the door way, shattering his reverie.

Ronnie looks up and immediately breaks into a smile, "Mario! Where have you-"

"Three years ago," Mario interrupts, "James threw a party for Barry."

Ronnie furrows his brow in confusion, slightly annoyed at being cut-off so abruptly. Mario, unaware, continues.

"Do you remember? It was meant to be a get-well-soon thing after his crash, but really, it was just an excuse for the two of them to get spectacularly pissed," he chuckles to himself. "The entire night, you wouldn't stop worrying. Every little wobble or stumble Barry took on his crutches, and you were there by his side in a shot. Steadying him, asking if he was okay... telling James off when he got too rough with the poor guy."

They share a small smile.

"You didn't even know him that well!" Mario says in disbelief, causing Ronnie to duck his head in embarrassment and look at his shoes.

"It wasn't a big deal," he murmurs.

An awkward silence stretches between the two of them. Ronnie's so used to their friendship having a effortless ease to it, he starts to internally panic. Has he done something wrong? God, he hopes he can fix it. Whatever it is.

"Mario, please," he begs - not sure what he's asking for.

"I couldn't take my eyes off you," Mario finally admits, sounding tired and utterly worn out. "So, three hearts," he finishes, gesturing to the three pieces of paper Ronnie is holding.

Ronnie stands stock still, tentative hope overtaking that heavy, sick feeling that had started to settle in his stomach.

"Sappy, I know, but hell, I thought the day called for it," Mario shrugs. "And what with Gunnar being so ill, I decided it was probably time I stopped being such a coward."

"These are from you?" Ronnie asks dumbly, his heartbeat pounding in his ears.

"Yeah, they're from me."

Well, Ronnie doesn't need to be told twice. He takes a confident step closer, slides his hand round to the back of Mario's neck, and pulls him up into a kiss. It's gentle; a promise, a thank you, a me too.

It's not enough.

Mario surges forward, causing Ronnie to open his mouth wide in a gasp; which he greedily takes advantage of. He dips his tongue into the willing mouth, running it along the inside of Ronnie's bottom lip before sucking at the soft, plump flesh. Ronnie responds in kind, pushing back against Mario with just as much unrestrained passion and crowding over him.

The force propels them all around the small confined space until, finally, they find their footing and begin to trade deep, languid kisses. Mario snakes his arm round Ronnie's waist, firmly keeping their hips pressed tightly together, and hums low in his throat. The sound slithers down Ronnie's spine like liquid. He doesn't think he's ever felt so warm.

Unfortunately, the need for air becomes necessary, and Ronnie reluctantly pulls back to lean down and rest his forehead against Mario's. Their breaths mingle; short, shaky puffs that steadily start to even out as they calm down.

"I'm thinking that, maybe, I should have done this sooner," Mario muses, absentmindedly stroking Ronnie's cheek and marvelling at the pink flush decorating the skin under his thumb.

"I'm not complaining," Ronnie says with a smile, still holding tightly onto the three little hearts within a clenched fist.

Mario laughs and pulls Ronnie flush against him.

"Happy Birthday, Valentine."

Ronnie enjoys racing on his birthday.

Ronnie enjoys racing on Valentine's Day, too.

Date: 2011-12-06 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theruo.livejournal.com
RONNIE <33333333

I am so happy that this story exists in the world I exist in. Thank you, thank you I LOVE HIM.

*rereads*

Date: 2011-12-06 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silentchord.livejournal.com
Oh, yooou~♥ /squish

Glad you enjoyed it! :D

Date: 2011-12-06 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akkrenskarin.livejournal.com
OHH, THIS IS ADORABLE!

I love Ronnie, and I love how you've written him, it's so cute and perfect ♥

Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Date: 2011-12-06 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silentchord.livejournal.com
Hee, thank you so much! I didn't intend it to be so cutesy when I started but, well, it was inevitable. They're just too sweet together. XD Thanks again. ♥
Edited Date: 2011-12-06 07:42 pm (UTC)

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