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Play the role (but don't lose yourself)

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Tugging at his overall’s sleeve, Checo unsuccessfully tries to cover up the tiny Greek symbol etched into his outer palm, just between his thumb and index finger. He glances at it – a bright black letter that resembles the English ‘B’ – and is reminded of how much he detested the concept of this Alpha-Beta-Omega hierarchical system.

In this world, each and every single person were born with a stamp on their souls, however what that stamp would be was determined throughout their lives. Usually the markings did not appear until late teens, seeing as that was the age when most people formed their character, and it was easier to establish which one of three you were: an Alpha, a Beta or an Omega.

Checo always wanted to be an Alpha, he worked his entire childhood to get that ornate α appear on his wrist, however the fate thought that the ‘humble’, absolutely pointless, from Checo’s point of view, role of a Beta was more suited for the young Mexican.

He hated the small tattoo ever since it appeared on his skin at the age of 19.

He knew for a fact he wasn’t an Omega – no obedience or humbleness was ever seen in his eyes – but that just made his newly established role all more painful and harder to accept. Even today, almost 10 years later.

A voice brings him back to the reality – the starting grid, to be precise – and Checo snaps his head in the direction of whoever was speaking. A second later he, however, pursued his lips and wished he was anywhere else but here.

“Whatcha thinking about?” Nico’s unnecessary cheery voice is too loud for his liking, and the Mexican driver pulls his Force India cap further down on his forehead to escape the gaze of the German’s piercing blue eyes.

“Nothing, just the race,” he mumbles in response, hoping that it will be enough for the blond and he’ll be left in peace again.

“So, is it nothing, or is it the race?” Asks Nico again, a cheeky smile playing on his thin lips, showing off two rows of pearly whites. This time Checo groans out loud and doesn’t reply, getting openly irritated by his former teammate’s flirting.

It’s not that he hated Nico Hülkenberg. Oh no, it was much worse.
Sergio Perez was head over heels for Nico Bloody Hülkenberg, and that made the situation even harder to bear.

In his defence, he didn’t choose it. Well, not exactly. He knew all about mating and how if an Alpha and Beta or an Omega formed a bond, that bond will be with them till the day they die, and that it was especially strong if the two people were ‘true soulmates’. He knew all of this sappy stuff, he just never believed that it actually existed (the soulmates part, of course, the mating was a pretty ordinary thing), up until he met Nico and realised just how fucked up his life became.

The thing is, when an Alpha meets his or her mate, both of their marks would become much brighter, indicating the proximity of the other person. Checo’s mark has been flaring for four years straight now, and there’s nothing he could do about it, because he knew that Nico’s mark didn’t.

He knew that Nico was his mate, but he wasn’t Nico’s. He doubted the man could have a mate at all, considering how much flirting and fucking around the German performed. But that did not stop Checo’s inner Beta from tying itself to the Alpha inside Nico and thus making the Mexican hate the German driver for making him miserable.

When Sergio blinks again, even more furious now because of this little trip down the memory lane, Nico is still there, smiling like an idiot and making Checo’s mark hurt like it was set on fire. The younger man huffs in pretend annoyance and starts walking away from his former teammate, relaxing when the pain in his wrist slowly eases out of his body.

They’re called for the national anthem and Checo is the first one to get to his place in line, taking his cap off in the process. It’s his home Grand Prix, he knows the stakes, knows how much it means for his family who are somewhere out there, supporting him.

He will not let one bloody perfect German with his Alpha-ness ruin all of that.

~~

When Checo’s back disappears in the swarm of bodies of engineers, reporters and other drivers, Nico lets out a heavy sigh, letting his gaze fall to his left wrist, where a small, barely visible α was imprinted into his skin.

Sometimes he thought that him being an Alpha was some cruel joke from the above. How can he be an Alpha without a mate? Hell, how can he be an Alpha when he’s so insecure about himself?

His own mark appeared on his skin quite early in his teenage years, when he was still in karting, and his manager could not be more excited about this. Fifteen and already classified as the highest rank in the hierarchical system – the boy will go places! Nico could see why the fate would decide that he’s an Alpha, his wit and teenage self-confidence earning him a good reputation around the paddock. The winning-spree he was on at that time also ‘helped’. All that, however, changed once he moved to the higher ranks, and especially, when he met Checo.

With the Mexican it was always weird. Nico definitely felt like the dark-haired driver meant something more to him, like there was a special bond between them two, yet however the younger man always shied away from the German, becoming even more irritated and agitated in his presence as the time went on.

Hulk couldn’t grasp at why his former teammate hated him so much. All he wanted to do was to wish him good luck before his home race, yet that didn’t seem to work out, as the Mexican was now far away from him, trying to ignore the German’s existence.

Nico sighed again and followed in the direction that Checo disappeared to, finding his place at the starting line for the national anthem. Glancing at his right, he catches a glimpse of the local hero, who stood in place, scratching at his left wrist absentmindedly. Hulk furrowed his eyebrows, wondering why the Mexican was so preoccupied with his mark. He knew that Checo was a Beta – announcing their ‘identity’ was obligatory when joining the higher racing series – however always thought that the man was better suited with a role of Alpha, considering that Mexican driver always tried to act like he was, in fact, one.

“We must have been switched at birth, you and I,” he joked once, referring to the obvious incompatibility of their characters with their marks. Checo, however, did not seem to appreciate the joke.

The other drivers joined them on the starting line and the first sounds of the national anthem start playing throughout the track.

Nico takes his Renault cap off, focusing his gaze in front of him.
Whatever is happening between him and Checo, he can worry about it after the race.

~~

To say he was fuming when he got back to his apartment was an understatement. Thinking back to it, Sergio thought that he must have looked so angry that even his family hesitated to approach him, deciding to let the driver cool down.

Of course, he played his calm and dutiful role before the reporters in the media pen, and then afterwards, in the paddock, but now, being left alone, Checo could finally get his frustration out.

His head is pounding, his eyes hurt like he was looking at the sun for two minutes straight, and his legs barely obey him, so he doesn’t know how he makes it back home.

DNF, when he was on such a good pace!

He still doesn’t know the reason for his retirement, and really, he couldn’t care less. Everything went wrong for him this Sunday, and all he wanted now was to drink his sorrows away with some cheap tequila.

Just when he’s about to open the fridge and down all the alcohol he could find there, a loud knock is heard at the door, followed by a painfully familiar voice with a barely audible German accent:

“Checo? Are you there?”

“Go away Hülkenberg,” spats Sergio angrily, not even looking in the direction of the door. He didn’t want to see anybody right now, especially the irritating German. His head started to get dizzy again, most likely because of Nico’s closeness, and that only made Checo angrier.

What did he do to deserve this torture?

“I’m not going anywhere, until you open the fucking door,” came a stern answer from behind the wooden frame, and Checo could hear the anxiousness in the German’s voice, which was almost never there. Growling in annoyance, he decides “to hell with it”, and moves to unlock the front door, allowing the man on the other side decide for himself, whether he wants to come in or not.

Nico very much does, and when the blonde enters the apartment he immediately rushes to Sergio’s side, almost if he felt the other man’s discomfort. Checo snarls at him and takes a step back, almost hitting his foot on the corner of the couch in the process.

There’s too much going on in his head now that Nico is so close; the pain from the mark returns again and it burns into his mind, making the Mexican want to hit his head on something hard to stop it. He snarls again to try and make Nico go away, but that is soon lost in a deep, painful whine that escapes his lips, because he cannot bear the pain of being rejected anymore.

Checo slowly sinks on the ground, ignoring Nico’s voice that was shouting somewhere above him. Something liquid and warm starts to drop on his cheeks, and when he realises that is his own tears, he starts to cry even harder, thinking how pathetic he must look.

“Checo?”

“Checo, what’s happening?!”

Go. Away. Please.

He thinks it but can’t open his mouth to actually sound his wish. Nico is fussing over him, shaking the dark-haired man by his shoulders and patting his cheeks. Each touch of the German’s hands returns an agonising pain where they landed on his skin, and that draws another whine from Checo’s throat.

He really thinks that this, here, may be his last breaths, because there could be no way he’s surviving it.

Suddenly, a large, calloused hand clasps his own left wrist and squeezes it tightly, a broad thumb brushing over the ß drawn on his skin there. Sergio expects another wave of pain to dash through his body, but instead is met with an unexpected feeling of comfort. The warm sensation spreads through his arm onto the chest, slowly calming down the Mexican’s nerves.

Taking a deep, shaky breath, Checo braves to open his eyes slightly, the vision still clouded by tears.

Nico is on his knees, but still towering over Mexican’s smaller frame. The German’s icy blue eyes are wide and filled with fear and anxiety, searching Checo’s face. His left hand is still holding the younger man’s wrist, shaking visibly as he’s doing so.

“What…” Checo tries to mumble something, but is still too weak to form coherent words. His small mumble, however, seems to be enough indication for the blonde man in front of him, as in the next second the Mexican finds himself engulfed in a bone-crushing hug, with Nico’s voice starting to mutter shakily into his ear:

“I’m so sorry, Checo. I’m so so fucking sorry…”

Sergio instinctively clutches onto Nico’s back, enjoying the German’s warm embrace. Being in the Alpha’s arms was weirdly soothing, the pain from before almost completely gone now. Still not quite comprehending what this all means, he listens to the other’s man rambling, burying his face in Nico’s shoulder.

“When you retired, I felt like that retirement was my own. So much anger and pain dashed through my body, I almost lost control of the car. And then after the race, I tried to find you, but you already left, and I tried to follow but the media snatched me, and then…”

Nico’s voice is hushed and hoarse, and suddenly Checo is hit with a mixture of feelings, that add to his own emotional pool: sadness, insecurity, sorrow, anger. Not even realising it, the younger man starts to soothingly caress Nico’s back in an attempt to calm him down, show him that there’s nothing to be scared of.

“… And I thought about how you acted towards me all these years, and then I remembered all those stories about mates my mum told me when I was little, but I forgot them in racing, thinking that a mate would only distract me, and…”

Suddenly Checo twitched and drawn himself away from Nico, to look at the German’s face. His eyes were puffy red now, lips trembling with silent sobs.

“If this is all a joke to you, I swear to all that is holly…” Starts Sergio in a shaky but stern voice, trying to snatch his left wrist away from Nico’s grasp, but the blonde only squeezes it tighter, bringing their bodies closer together.

“No! God no Checo, you were never a joke to me,” the German mutters in a hurry, searching the Mexican’s dark eyes. “Never a joke. I honestly don’t know how I was marked as an Alpha, because all these years I failed to notice that my mate, my true mate, was so close to me.” These last words turn into a barely audible whisper, Nico’s voice cracking in the end because the man cannot hold his tears back anymore.

Checo is unsure what to do, because he’d never thought he’ll see Nico Hülkenberg crying in his arms. He decided to do what he’s been doing for a long time now: play the role of the Alpha.

He tugs the blonde towards him by their linked hands and draws the older man into his chest. Nico obeys and is soon tucked into Checo’s muscled chest, his head tucked in the crook of Mexican’s neck. Checo plants a soothing kiss on the blonde’s forehead, circling his arms around German’s shoulders, bringing him as close as possible.

Soon enough the hiccups in Nico’s throat quiet down and the older driver visibly relaxes into Checo’s embrace.

“We really are a fucked-up pair,” suddenly jokes Checo, looking at the ceiling above their heads. The remark earns him a loud laugh from Nico that rumbles through his chest, and Sergio thinks that he never truly noticed how melodic German’s laugh is.

“Would you have it any other way, really?” Nico asks in a teasing voice, looking up at the man beside him. Checo looks down, meeting the other man’s gaze, and finds himself drowning in the piercing blue colour of Nico’s eyes. All of the sudden he’s very much aware of how close their faces are, but not close enough for the Beta’s liking.

“No,” he replies in a very much Mexican accent, before leaning in.

Nico’s lips are chapped and taste salty from the tears that are still drying up on German’s cheeks, but Checo does not notice any of that, instead focusing on the blissful feeling of his Mate’s lips against his own.

His Mate. He had to admit, it felt right to finally be able to call Nico that.

They kiss slowly, tugging at each other’s lips with a soft affection, exploring, before suddenly Nico takes a hold of Checo’s hips and pulls him to the side, settling the Mexican on his knees so that now Sergio was straddling the German’s waist.

They could joke all they wanted, but in the end of the day it was Nico who carried the Alpha’s mark, and therefore it was logical for him to gain control of the situation.

Checo also realised that it was surprisingly easy and natural for him to submit to his partner’s will. He flung his arms around Nico’s neck, bringing the man beneath him as close as it was physically possible, while Nico’s hands travelled up his spine to tangle in his dark, wavy hair.

The kiss became more heated, Nico now fully controlling it, yet still being careful around his newly found mate. When he hesitantly painted a long line along Sergio’s lips with his tongue, asking for entrance, the younger driver readily parted them, encouraging the blonde to continue.

The fight for dominance was non-existent, and soon Nico was fully exploring Checo’s mouth with his tongue, catching every single whine that he extracted from the Mexican this way.

When no air was left in their lungs and the two were forced to separate, Hulk did not hesitate to start planting soft, wet kisses along Checo’s cheek, moving on to his jaw and then the neck, basking in the beautiful moans that rumbled through Mexican’s throat. Coming to the crook of Checo’s neck, that was not covered by team polo-shirt, Nico readily lapped at the soft skin there, his mind not entirely coherent in the heat of the moment.

It was only when Sergio softly pulled away that Nico realised what he was about to do.

Do not want to rush you,” whispered Checo against Nico’s lips, his eyes half-closed.

“No,” answered Nico sternly, looking at the man in his arms like he was the most precious treasure in this universe, “you’ve waited long enough for me to come to my senses, and I’m not making you wait any longer.”

Checo drew in a sharp breath, hearing those words, and checked the blonde’s eyes for any sign of uncertainty or doubt, but all he saw was pure determination and warm, endless love.

“Besides, now that I have you, I know I would not accept anybody else as my mate,” Nico added much quieter, not breaking their eye contact. Sergio broke into a small smile before leaning in and planting a short, loving kiss on Nico’s lips. After doing that the Beta tilted his head to the side, baring his right shoulder for his Alpha.

“I want nothing more than to finally be able to call you mine,” he confessed it a low voice, “I never believed it could actually happen.”

Nico cooed comfortingly and held Checo closer, bringing Mexican’s shoulder to his lips. He prepped him by planting a couple of soft kisses to the skin, before biting softly, leaving his teeth marks for forever on Checo’s body. The younger man whimpered at the pang of pain, but that was soon gone when Nico planted more soothing kisses on the fresh Mark, licking away the blood.

“Now it’s your turn,” purred the Alpha softly, moving his head away from Checo’s shoulder. The Beta did not need to be told twice. Hesitating a little, Sergio bended to find the spot between the shoulder and the neck of the German, planting a soft kiss there and clutching his hands when that drew a soft moan from the man beneath him.

Lapping at the skin, the Mexican let out a soft noise before biting down on Nico’s light-colored skin, tasting the Alpha’s blood that poured out. Nico continued to purr softly and card his fingers through Checo’s soft hair, while his Beta was finishing up his Mark and pulled away to admire his work. Immediately Nico pulled him into a searing kiss, not being able to stay away from his Mate’s lips for much longer.

The kiss was passionate, but not lustful, the two men just enjoying each other’s presence and the feeling of belonging that washed over them both.

“Am… tired…” mumbled Checo softly between kisses, trying to suppress a yawn. Nico chuckled at brushed away a couple of stray hair that fell onto Mexican’s forehead.

“Let’s get you to bed then.”

In the next second the German was standing up, holding on tightly onto Checo’s frame in his arms to prevent the younger man from falling down. The Beta yelped in surprise and cuddled close, not minding the fact that Nico was carrying him.

Passing the corridor, the Alpha entered the bedroom. Coming closer to the king-sized bed the blonde carefully lowered Checo onto the covers, before climbing next to him, not even bothering to undress them. Tugging at the covers, Sergio covered them both with the blanket and scurried to nestle into Nico’s side, clutching at his chest. The Alpha chuckled at the sudden affection from the Beta and held the Mexican closer, planting a soft kiss to his hair.

“I love you,” he whispered into the silence, listening to Checo’s soft snores.

“Love you too,” immediately came the answer, followed by a grumpy “but right now love sleep more.”

Nico laughed out loud, cuddling his Mate closer.

If somebody told him this morning that by the end of the day, he’ll be laying in one bed with none other than Sergio Perez who’ll end up as his Beta, the German would probably write that person off as mad.

Right now, however, he could not imagine himself happier than in this very moment. Planting another kiss at Checo’s forehead, the Mexican already fast asleep in his arms, Nico too started to doze off, the exhaustion of the day finally catching up to him.