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tower of light

April 2017

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senna, amor de deus, f1, asms

A City Called São Paulo (F1, ASMS)


A City Called São Paulo
(Ayrton Senna/Michael Schumacher)
by Renata Lord (snowlight)

Though years have passed and
So many memories dim,
It is there I still see your
Flashing dark eyes, smiling lips.
—Clark Crouch, "Somewhere in Time"


He was buried there, and I hadn’t seen him since.

I know what is inscribed on his gravestone, but even though I have visited that city many times for the Brazilian Circuit, never once did I venture into that particular section of São Paulo. This is not out of bitterness, disrespect, or even pain. The truth is simply that the person I am today would have nothing to say to him face to face, much less to a slab of mute stone. Besides, Cemiterio Morumbi is hardly a part of the city that he loved.

Despite its population’s heavy European ties, São Paulo embodies all things a typical German might find disturbingly unaccustomed to in South America: seemingly boundless waves after waves of people under the sun, a city constantly devoured by its own riotous dwellers, grandeur and poverty finding themselves embraced in a strange form of co-existence.

In contrast, the cemetery in the rich Morumbi suburb is completely sheltered from the heart of the dizziness, the noise, and the sheer throngs of people who seem to fill every street corner of São Paulo. It’s designed to be a tranquil and dignified final resting place, with serene shades of green one wouldn’t expect to find in the city proper.

How strange it is, then, that in death he should lie there. Him, who was shaped as much by São Paulo as he had shaped it. He was a son of the city, and very much proud of it. In a few nostalgic wee-hour conversations, he had mentioned sailing on the Guarapiranga Lake with his father, jogging in the Ibirapuera Park, and—he didn’t forget to add—being dragged to the odd-looking art museum for his school trips.

At the time I didn’t know how to react to these randomly dropped details, so I shrugged and decided that was the caffeine in him talking. I certainly wasn’t about to tell him how one time Ralf and I got lost in the Kerpen Castle looking for vampires.

Yet to this day, I am amazed at how those exotic names in Portuguese have stayed with me through the years. Perhaps it was the way he said them in his mother tongue, smooth and playful. I always thought he was hard to love, but I didn’t know he was even harder to forget.


I would have preferred for the Brazilian Grand Prix to had stayed in Rio, but of course he made that impossible. Despite its gritty slums and horrendous traffic congestion, São Paulo had become synonymous with the high-flying world of F1 racing for the Brazilians. Even the city’s motto, as he once enthused to me, was meant for a F1 champion—“I lead and will not be led.”

There can hardly be a more fitting phrase. Second only to the racing tracks, São Paulo was the one place that brought out the best and the worst in him. Bluntly, blatantly, and both at once. More than anything else, the city’s complexity suited him. Certainly cultured yet not above a down-and-dirty brawl, things being the way they were. For him, the city was like a permanent shot of adrenaline in the arm. When he got any bit of free time, he roamed the streets like a big cat prowling for food. He went to bars, pretended he could dance to the Brazilian tango, and refused to shut up about his favorite restaurants, even the ones that had gone out of business.

Here was his home territory, and he had no problem flaunting it. At least, that was my interpretation as a twenty-three years old. After all these years, as I passed both his records and his changeless age, I have come to see him in a somewhat softer light. Now I wonder if this was his way of revealing himself to me, even though if so he had failed astoundingly. The more intimate details he divulged about this city, the more I felt separated from him by both space and time. Post-race or not, being with him in São Paulo was often unbearable.

Being in São Paulo without him for the past eleven years, on the other hand, has turned out to be elegantly efficient. Interlagos has given me some great memories, and I have come to treat it like every other professional destination. Finally I can sit back, listen to Rubens or Felipe chatter about their wonderful hometown with a polite smile on my face. No longer am I being pulled into a world that is not my own by a man whom I do not understand.

Today I am heading towards that city for one last time.


The plane will land in Guarulhos International this afternoon, hopefully on time and before dusk. A few years back—I think it was 2000 or 2002 because I won at Interlagos again that year—on the car trip to Guarulhos from the hotel, I noticed that Rubens had suddenly became very quiet, his face distorted in an effort to not show pain. Out of politeness I did not ask him why, but eventually he turned to face me, his voice twisted and hesitant.

“Michael, do you know the name of this road—the one we just got on?”

I shook my head. I never made much of an effort to know São Paulo, despite his obvious love for it. I’m a German, he was a Brazilian, we had different tastes.

Not one to be deterred by my apparent disinterest, Rubens continued in a strange near-whisper. “It’s called Rodovia Ayrton Senna……Ayrton Senna Highway.”

For a moment I felt him looking at me imploringly, as if expecting me to say something in reply. Unfortunately I didn’t know what I could say, so I kept my mouth shut and looked out from the tinted car window. It had just rained, and I had no doubt that the sky was beautiful in the open space, far away from the city pollution. But I didn’t roll the window down. I simply looked at the outside because I did not want to look at Rubens.

I don’t know if I will pass through that road again this afternoon, this time with yet another São Paulo Brazilian. What is certain, however, is that this is my last visit to this place. Event invitations or not, I don’t think I’ll ever return to it.

This city is swarming with his ghosts, ordinary people uttering his name from their reverent lips as if he was a martyred saint. Yet somehow with him resting in Morumbi, São Paulo has lost its colors of him. Once, a drunken Rubens had spoken of feeling him lingering in this city, watching over his countrymen and fellow racers. But I don’t believe that. He has gone away from here, and all the regalia are but broken shells of his image. There will be nothing left for me here once I run for one last time.

And this is indeed, as they say, the end. The WDC results are assured, and it feels like many people would rather skip the actual racing and just go straight to the post-race conference. But I know that I will go into Interlagos like it was my first race on those tracks, reveling in the exhilarating speed, against him and against the rest of the world.

That was 1992. This is 2006.

One last race. It will be a grand spectacle, one like the F1 world has never seen before.

It will be good.



Postscript: Rather than Imola, I chose São Paulo as the subject of this story because I wanted to have Ayrton remembered for his life instead of death. It is also a kind of a farewell memento for Michael, who will end his F1 career at São Paulo. But above all this is a present for a dear partner in crime (belated birthday/belated 2nd anniversary/Christmas present in advance).

Constructive criticism is always welcomed. :) It’s my first time writing F1 slash, and I haven’t written any RPS in a few years. My portrayal of Ayrton is quite influenced by Transmission Failure’s writing, as for this Michael….well I am crossing my fingers that he’s not too OOC.


I'm always glad to find another one who loves this pairing! This is indeed a wonderful piece of writing, and noooo, I do not think your Michael is OOC at all. I liked this a lot, it's reflective, serene, but still makes you ponder.... Need to keep it in my memories. ;) Thanks for writing this!
Oh, it's SO great knowing there are people out there like this pairing as well! *tears of joy* I have pored over the net in TWO languages for this pairing, and have found...well, next to nothing. -_______-

Do you know of AS/MS fics I can read? I mean, it's the height of patheticness when I am reading a pairing I don't particularly care for just to get to see Senna. (Don't get me wrong, I ADORE Transmission Failure's portrayal of Senna, but I want to see that Senna with Michael! *sobs*)

PS: Your icon...well it's cute but it makes me so sad. ^_~
First of all, I love the pairing. Honestly. It's absolutely great to see someone else writing this pairing also :).

And secondly, this is such a lovely piece of writing. I love the way you connect Ayrton's life and Sao Paulo together, I love the mood of the fic, I love the details you put in the story (like the part about Michael and Ralf got lost in Kerpen Castle :)), I love the way Michael reacts to the memory of Ayrton.

It's deep, insightful, mature, poignant and beautifully bittersweet and I completely adore it. You wrote so, so well. You really did a terrific job :).

(And I also love how you chose Sao Paulo over Imola :). The Imola tragedy always provides a good plot base, but it's just totally refreshing the way you focus on Ayrton's life rather than his tragic end. Brilliant :))
(forgot to say)

I think you did Michael really nicely :). No, he's not OOC at all. I had the same worry when I first wrote Michael, but my beta pointed out that really, none of us really know how his character actually is, so you really can potray him in any way, just as long as we can still relate it with the Michael we often see on the TV :D.

I'm babbling. Anyway, again, I think you did a splendid job :). Thanks for sharing and I sincerely hope that you'll write more in the future (preferably more Michael please XDXDDD~!).
This is stunning. For a first-time fic, this is seriously overwhelmingly beautiful. I am personally not much of an Ayrton/Michael fan, but I do adore Ayrton very much... and I think, looking at Ayrton from Michael's eyes in this fic is just indescribable.

Words can't just describe what I think of this... I'm really stunned speechless. :D Keep this up, and welcome to the community! It is always nice to see more fics with Ayrton. He was such a darling.

(Random : Saw your userpage and damn, we do share a lot of similar fav pairings. *laughs* Savage Garden's Darren/Daniel, YYH's Hiei/Kurama, FF8's Seifer/Squall... :D That's cute.)
Hahaha, your icon is...dear God. I can't stop laughing now. Let me guess, you are an Ayrton fan? Always happy to meet one! ^_^ Got any fic recommendations?

Thank you very much for your compliments and welcome. I was a bit nervous about this, but so far the signals are positive. I hope that you lovely people will not get sick of this style, because, umm, I'm afraid it's the only one I've got in these days.

PS: Were you active in the Savage Garden fandom? I was waist-deep in it, although under a different name.
Yay for more ASMS. Very VERY well written. You definitely should write more when you can.
I really love this. The whole Sao Paulo connection you made is brilliant. I don't think Michael's OOC at all!
Oh, and I always enjoy beta-ing.
Thanks a lot. ^_^ Do you bite? I am looking for a beta who bites (and who is, preferably, familiar with both Ayrton and Michael).


诚实的背负了我们所期望的激情和冷酷的东西,在表现上却不得不如此的清水....T T
诚然如你所说,他们两个就算失去了对方也能过得很好,只要还有赛车在...对他们而言,对方应该是一个在离开了赛场,在某个秋日的午后,突然想起会微微一笑,会一夜白头的存在...(注:我这是在为以后的煽情文培养感情....)不过啊,会忧郁哀伤的沉沦在回忆里的肯定不是我们家的。- -
and to hiro_chan :yes, I'm the black hand in all these things! ^ ^ Glad to know there're other people like this pairing, though I know you prefered MH/MS...Anyway I'll try even harder to beat her for more AS/MS fics!


但是,M同学的确用了那个L-word啊~ -v-

Sorry to barge in with some sort of an OT comment here but, wow, it's really weird (in a good way) for me right now to read comments about F1 in Chinese! ^^;; Would you have any recommendations for some Chinese reading? I'd write in Chinese now except it's not installed on the comp. Q_Q;
Unfortunately, I was informed by saltree that most Chinese F1 fanfiction suck due to OOC-ness. Judging from the few ones I've read (involving Senna), I am inclined to agree. But then again, I have ridiculously high standards.

As for Chinese input, you can download NJStar for free. I used to use that before I installed IME.
It sounds like you know Senna and Sao Paolo personally! The way it comes together, Michael's thoughts on his last race, plus his memories of someone he cared about who had passed long ago, and the city so associated with him, it's very touching and appropriate.

(Do you have any links you can recommend?)

so you finally read it...thanks

I did the background research, yes. All hail Google and Wiki! ^O^

(Links for what?)


I...simply can't believe what I saw...

Oh my god. *tears of joy* can't believe there are still people writing ASMS! I have read a lot of F1 fanfictions in Chinese and I could hardly find anything about Ayrton and Michael together.Sigh:P. In the very few fanfictions in which Ayrton was involved, I got disappointed again and again. So...wow. Really hard to describe how I feel now. I'm just...simply so glad to see so nice ASMS fics.