If there was anything more maddening than trying to pick out a movie with Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost had yet to encounter it.
"Ayrton, I'm reaching the bottom of the pile here." Alain said, a little strained, tossing a copy of John Carpenter's "The Thing" to the side, which Ayrton had rejected on the grounds that it would give him nightmares. And Alain knew it would, but he'd been itching to see it for months.
"There has to be something." Ayrton said, his cheek resting on his hand, watching Alain.
"To Kill a Mockingbird?" Alain asked, holding up the tape so that the picture of Gregory Peck on the cover stared deep into Ayrton's eyes.
"I want to have fun Alain, not be depressed."
"You've seen that?" Alain asked, raising an eyebrow. Ayrton didn't seem like the black and white movie type. Ayrton glanced to the side, pulling at his t-shirt.
"It was a bad date idea."
"Ah." Alain said, moving it away, blinking with surprise at the next title. "Casablanca". The movie had been considered old when he was a teenager, but he remembered a date at a drive-in theatre with a girl he couldn't remember, but he remembered the movie being very romantic.
"Casablanca?" Alain said to Ayrton, looking up. Ayrton tilted his head to the side, confused.
"Can I see it?" Ayrton asked, reaching forward. Alain handed him the tape, Ayrton reading over the summary. Ayrton looked up at Alain, smiling a bit.
"I like it." Ayrton said, handing it back to Alain, who sighed with relief.
"Oh thank god." Alain said under his breath, pushing the tapes back into the cabinet they'd found them in. Ayrton got up off the couch, going into the kitchenette in the corner of the hotel room.
"I managed to sneak this by Ron earlier." Ayrton said with a grin, pulling out a bag of popcorn. Alain laughed.
"Nice going, I can't remember the last time I had popcorn." He chuckled. Ayrton looked around the kitchen, brow furrowing.
"Damn, there's no microwave in here." He said to Alain, making the older man look up at him from his place on the floor.
"I saw one down the hall, by the ice-maker, I'll go pop it, you get the movie ready." Ayrton replied, glancing both ways down the hotel hallway to make sure no one would see Alain in his room.
"Alright." Alain said, looking back to the VCR as Ayrton closed the door behind him, sliding in Casablanca, starting to rewind it, the much-used rewinding machine whining a little. A few minutes later, Ayrton barged into the room, one hand holding the bag of popcorn, the other clenched on the doorknob, someone else's hand caught in the doorway, clearly trying to grab the bag. Ayrton yelled something in Portuguese, Alain guessed it was a warning or a threat, based on his tone. The unidentified hand darted out of the doorway, with Ayrton slamming it shut, lips pressed together.
"What was that about?" Alain asked, raising an eyebrow. Ayrton rolled his eyes, opening the bag and dumping its contents into the popcorn bowl.
"Nelson saw me and tried to grab the popcorn." He explained, dumping the last of the popcorn into the bowl, balling up the bag and tossing it into the garbage can with a satisfying thud.
"What did you say to him?"
"If you don't move your hand I'll slam this door on it." Ayrton said, placing the bowl on the couch in the space between them, sitting down.
"It's Nelson, Alain, what do you expect me to do?"
"Not break his hand."
"Then he wouldn't be able to drive, everyone would thank me." Alain shook his head.
"Let's watch the movie." He said, trying to take Ayrton's mind off of Nelson, pushing the play button, getting up to turn off the lights as he heard the Universal theme play out. Alain settled on the couch, trying his best to focus on the opening credits, but couldn't help but glance at Ayrton out of the corner of his eye, the way Ayrton rested his chin on his hand, completely focused on the screen, but rolling his eyes at how Ayrton had purposefully perched on the far side of the couch away from him. Alain looked back to the movie, missing how Ayrton started to inch towards him. It wasn't until fifteen minutes in, Alain reached for the popcorn, and accidentally touched Ayrton's hand.
"Gah!" Alain exclaimed, jumping a little, Ayrton looking at him wide-eyed.
"What?" Ayrton asked.
"When did you get there? You were at the end of the couch!" Alain said. Ayrton shrugged in response.
"I felt like moving."
Alain sighed and shook his head, but he couldn't help but smile as Ayrton put the popcorn bowl on the floor, resting his chin on Alain's shoulder.
"Why are you so short?" Ayrton muttered, trying to get comfortable. Alain tried not to let his eye twitch.
"I'm taller than Niki." He replied.
"Everyone is taller than Niki." Ayrton said without missing a beat.
"…that's true." Alain smiled as Ayrton put his head in his lap, deciding that trying to fold himself around Alain's much smaller body was an exercise in futility. Ayrton rested one hand on Alain's knee, the other tucked against his chest, fiddling with a pendant the hung around his neck. Alain pushed a lock of hair behind Ayrton's ear, running his hand through Ayrton's loose curls gently.
"You need a haircut." Alain said.
"No I don't, look at your hair. You're the one who needs a haircut." Ayrton replied, yawning. Alain chuckled.
"I'm older than you, I'm trying to enjoy my hair while I have it."
"I doubt you'll ever go bald." Ayrton replied, looking up at Alain for a moment, making Alain's face flush. He was glad the room was darkened, he knew Ayrton would be smirking and oh-so-pleased with himself if he had made Alain blush. They both looked back at the movie, Alain absent-mindedly resting his hand on Ayrton's shoulder, rubbing circles on Ayrton's shirt sleeve, as Ayrton struggled to keep his eyes open, squinting at Henry Bogart's face. They continued watching, content as they were, Alain watching, rubbing Ayrton's arm and stroking his hair, lulling Ayrton to sleep.
Alain rubbed his eye with the heel of his hand, his eyelids threatening to fall and make him drift off any second.
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
The two men walked into the mist, the music swelling, an elegant calligraphic "The End" filling the screen, and the credits began to roll.
Alain yawned as the screen faded to black, stretching.
"Mm, I liked it, what about you, Ayr…" Alain looked down at Ayrton, breathing steadily, eyes closed, fast asleep. Alain smiled, shaking Ayrton's shoulder gently.
"Ayrton, Ayrton…" Alain murmured, leaning down to Ayrton's ear. Ayrton's eyes squeezed shut for a moment before he opened them, looking up at Alain.
"What did I miss?" He asked, speech slurred with sleep, yawning.
"The last half of the movie."
"Damn it." Ayrton sighed.
"You should sleep, and I need to go back to my room." Alain said, standing up. Ayrton bit his lip.
"Can't you stay?"
The words made Alain stop dead.
"Please?" Ayrton added softly, the tips of his fingers brushing against Alain's hand. Alain looked down at him, raising an eyebrow.
"You really want me to stay?" He asked. Ayrton never let him stay with him after sex, never mind watching a movie together.
"I do. I really do." Ayrton replied, looking up at Alain, with a look in his eyes that made Alain's heart skip a beat.
"I'll stay." Alain said softly, making Ayrton smile. Ayrton got up, taking Alain's hand, leading him into the bedroom. Alain was relieved to see it was a queen sized bed, albeit with thin-looking sheets. Ayrton pulled him into bed, the next few minutes a mini-fight over blankets and sheets.
"How do your girlfriends put up with you hogging the sheets?" Alain muttered, setting his head on one of the pillows. Ayrton yawned, resting his head against Alain's chest.
"Shut up, you love me." Ayrton replied in a murmur, closing his eyes. Alain stared at him, his heart racing, unaware of Ayrton wrapping his arms around his waist. Alain petted his hair, unable to keep his eyes open.
Ayrton blinked, squinting against the rising sun, tempted to pull the bedspread over his head, when he heard a soft sigh, he blinked again, opening his eyes fully. He was not looking at a pillow, he realized, his eyes widening. He was looking at Alain's white shirt. Ayrton sat upright, heart racing.
"I wasn't dreaming then?" He thought, breathing hard. "I actually asked Alain to stay the night?" He felt his heart stop as he remembered what he said before he fell asleep.
"Shut up, you love me."
Alain stirred a little, mumbling something. Ayrton got his breathing under control again, watching Alain. Alain hadn't left, he'd wanted to stay with him. He glanced over at the alarm clock on the bedside table. 6:03. They didn't have to get up until eight. Ayrton laid down again, breathing out, resting a hand hesitantly on Alain's side. He closed his eyes, forcing himself to relax, smiling as he felt Alain put his arms around him.
"Go to sleep." Alain muttered. Ayrton smiled, and yawned.
"I am, I am…"