Friendship's Flower

This is a one-shot that I put together the other night just because it kept floating around in my head with nowhere to go. :laughing: It’s a character background one, this time based on Red. A long time ago I read a fic called “Silent and Sexy” which was promoting the Sally and Red pairing. This fic is NOT about that, but it got me thinking about the bond they share. It takes place only a few months after the first film. I think it is just a nice light read, so I hope you’ll enjoy it! As always, Cars and all associations with the film are property of Disney Pixar. I take no credit for them, nor do I make profit off this.

[size=150]FRIENDSHIP’S FLOWER[/size]

“Friends are flowers in the garden of life”

Snowflakes swirled down in soft flecks to rest on the chilled ground of Radiator Springs. Some were unfortunate enough to be much more short-lived as they landed on the warm exterior of a certain fire truck’s body that rested peacefully in front of the town’s courthouse. He could feel their feather-light touch before they instantaneously melted to cool droplets of liquid and trickled along with gravity. His hefty engine kept him heated though, making the snow seem like just a refreshing sheath around him.

Red took in the sight of the long stretch of road in front of him. It was the afternoon of Christmas, and all the townsfolk were out enjoying the rare display of winter weather. It was nice to see everyone enjoying time together again. The last few months had been rather hectic since Lightning’s return. Sally had been focused on the re-opening of the Wheel Well, Lightning and Doc had drawn up plans to prepare for the headquarters to be built in the spring and the rest of the townsfolk were busy with the general increase in tourism. The visitors hadn’t been out of control, thankfully. There was a spurt after Lightning’s Piston Cup race and one more after the opening of the Wheel Well, but it had been relatively steady and manageable.

Sometimes Red wished that things could go back to the way they were. He liked how the town was now, but those old endless days of nothing added up to more than their worth. Sunrise to sunset, any car would have seen their lives as empty, but they weren’t. The silence and ease of it all, he missed that. It made him feel most comfortable.

But he knew the others were happy with how things were now, especially Sally. And it pleased him to see her so proud of their tiny town. He’d known Sally for a shorter time than anyone else in town- aside from Lightning- but they held a special bond. They had a friendship unlike anyone else in town.

Red hadn’t gone through the best childhood, in fact, it was awful. His parents had been blessed to bring him into the world, and they took due care of him. He still had faint images in his mind of their bright smiles looking down on him in their station home. If he concentrated hard, he could even depict some other features, like his father’s deep brown eyes or his mother’s gentle voice. But one night they’d gone away and never came back for him. Alone he’d sat in the station, not making a sound out of pure fear.

It wasn’t until the station’s chief came and retrieved him that he learned his parents had died in a forest fire that was beyond their control. Red had then been sent to an orphanage, where he lived among tough and insensitive cars. Naturally, they picked on him given the fact that he was the only one of his size there. He was different, and that made him lower than them it seemed. All his mother’s words of being gifted with the ability to save lives were long lost. His peers were set on disintegrating this belief, and they did.

The taunting and torture left Red speechless. There was nothing he felt he could say to make them stop their cruel ways. The world felt heartless, and it knocked him down to the point of being weak and defenseless, despite his size. So, he kept his mouth shut.

When he was matured, the orphanage directed sent him to a course where he was taught the basics of firefighting. From there, he was sent to Radiator Springs. That was when he truly found a home. It was also when he discovered that the world wasn’t as callous as he thought.

He settled in comfortably, and he found that the citizens were kind cars who were fond of his company. He was never pressured to speak about his past, or at all for that matter. Red quickly became a part of the thriving community and even began indulging with passion in gardening. After everything he’d been through, he liked nurturing fragile things to bloom into something beautiful.

Many years later, the town had dwindled in its business. This didn’t bother him. He adjusted quite well to the slowed pace and accepted it as a change. That’s when Sally came to Radiator Springs. Amongst the drab surroundings of dust and cacti she stood out like flourishing flower. Everything about her portrayed youth and she was practically bursting with energy and life.

“Hi there. My name’s Sally. I just moved here recently and I’m looking for some nice plants to spruce up my office over there. A few cars told me that you might be the one to ask?” She had asked him with the sweetest tone he’d ever heard. For days he had replayed her introduction in his mind and for weeks her charming smile.

Yes, Red had definitely felt something for Sally back then. He had been swept away by her natural beauty and her caring disposition. There was an angelic kind of aura that hung around her graceful movements and constant effort to revive the forgotten town. Everything she touched seemed to spring alive with new purpose. He had been more than grateful to give her some of his plants.

Time wore on though, and Red came to term with his feelings. Sally was full of too much zeal for him to keep up with. He admired it, but it wasn’t tailored to his personality. He was also older than her and quite content with his single life in Radiator Springs. Sally, she was destined for more than him and he knew she still had so much ahead of her. So, he let go of the romantic desire and let their bond give way to friendship instead.

Gradually, he opened up to her. No one else, just her. She would visit all the residents daily, but always him last. That way she could sit watching him garden and speak of all the things she’d done with her day, or what she planned on doing next. Then, once in a while, he’d whisper a response. Not much, but when he did he knew that he could trust she was listening. She never pushed him to speak more either. She simply took what she got and let herself be a sounding board to him. He didn’t care if she told the others, since they were his friends too, he just wanted for her to be the one to hear it from his lips. He got the feeling that she didn’t tell them though, and that made her all the more valuable as a friend.

Red pulled himself out of his memories and back to the present moment. Down the street, he could see Sally snuggled closely to Lightning. The pair of them looked effortlessly happy with each other’s presence. Red smiled as he recalled the night he’d caught them cruising together. Lightning had done a lot to make Sally happy; he knew that the racer would take good care of her. This Valentine’s Day he wouldn’t need to send her a yellow rose to make her special, Lightning would most likely have something for her. But maybe he would, just to remind her friendship would always be cherished.

There you have it, my take on a possible past for Red.  :slight_smile: Also, for those who might not know, a yellow rose is the traditional flower for friendship. That's part of the meaning behind the title. The other meaning is that Sally represents a flower full of life and friendship to Red, if you know what I mean. Anyways, thank you for reading and a comment would make my day.  :smiley:

Woop, woop! First! :sunglasses: Well, I actually read this on FFN because I didn’t know if you were going to post it here but I read through it again anyway. I love it! I always thought of Sally and Red having that special bond. I mean, she’s one of the very few characters that actually talk to him. (The others, I think, being Lizzie and Lightning.) :laughing: So, I mean, this was great to read because it’s exactly what I imagined. I love Red’s backstory and Sally visiting him every day. Awww, it made me a little bit sad that Red had a crush on her but I see why you included it. When you described Sally and Lightning together in the winter air, I couldn’t help but think of my drawing as like the humanized version of what Red saw. :mrgreen: I think my favorite part is the ending with…

^^^ Although, I think you meant to say “to remind her that her friendship…” :laughing: :blush:

P.S: I wish “Silent and Sexy” continued, it was a great idea. :wink:

Yeah, I meant to post it on here the same day but I totally forgot. :stuck_out_tongue: That’s what I thought too! They just seem to have that little bit more of a bond than the others. Yes! I never thought of that! It is like your drawing! :slight_smile: Thank you very much for your feedback and compliments. <3 Oh, wow. Epic fail there. And on the last line too. face palm :laughing: I know!! I wanted it to continue too!

I think you did a wonderful job with this story! I think your back story of Red fits in with the films very well and I really like the way you showed the special relationship between Sally and Red.

Thanks! I’m glad it fits with the movie so it seems realistic. :-D) Thank you very much for reading it! :smiley:

Very poignant and thoughtful take on Sally and Red’s relationship. I hadn’t really thought much abbout their friendship during my multiple viewings of the movie, but now that I reflect on it, they had a special bond, much like Luigi and Ramone’s rivalry or Doc and Sheriff’s mutual respect, etc.

I also find your explanation of his origins and the reason behind his muteness enlightening. He had a pretty sad and awful past, and it made me feel glad when I later read that he felt a sense of belonging when he arrived in Radiator Springs.

The metaphors with flowers and blooming were a nice touch too. I can’t really think of any criticisms, you had an idea to explore a character’s past and you did so with gentleness and finesse.

Sometimes it is the quiet ones who are the most interesting, and Red is proof that a lot can be said with very little at all.

Thank you very much for your praise and feedback tdit! I’m thrilled that you took the time to read this. :smiley: That is a great point you make about the other relationships between those characters as well! Honestly, your review has made my evening. Thank you! :mrgreen: