I. Am. So. Sorry.
So apparently this fic was featured in a Tumblr post (I was wondering why all of my reviewers were using Tumblr lingo) which, coupled with all of your wonderful reviews, makes me get warm squigglies all over. Thus, I got right to work on the next chapter. Which I didn't manage to finish until over a week after I promised you.
This was inspired by another post on Tumblr that was passed on through the Hero's Cuties tag.
Her heart skipped a beat.
One breath, that's all she gave herself, before her finger pulled the trigger. Blasts from the guns of her soldiers burned her ears, but she kept running. A drop of sweat fell from her forehead as she fired that gun in rapid succession—bangbangbang—and the bugs burst into green flashes of light, one by one, in midair. Not one escaped her. Not while she lived.
"Sergeant, with all due respect, leave some for the gamer…" she, barely understanding, heard from behind her. She paid him no heed. It was their job to help the player. She was just getting them to the top of the tower faster. And she needed them to that tower faster.
"Just stay in position soldier and don't bother me." She let loose another fury of bullets with a glare in her face, both in expression and fires from the barrel. One of her men was aiming at a nearby hoard and she flew past him with her gun aloft, dissipating the screeching scorpions before he even had the chance to try.
A buzzing blared close, and before a moment passed she had spun, shooting into a swarm of gnashing flies. Glowing sickeningly green wings roared as their owners dove. Her teeth clenched and ground. She aimed, and she fired an equally swarming series of bullets, circling smoke clouding her vision but not slowing her down. The pincers barely grazed her before they exploded into a fading "100X", one after another, until the last beast fell to her (lack of) mercy. Breath ghosted on the plastic shield of her helmet. Keep going, Tamora, keep going…you need to finish this game.
She reloaded, bullets clicking from a hidden pocket in her armor. That's all the rest she gave herself before leaping into action. One bug, five, twelve, thirty, she lost count. The world around her was lost in a daze of her fire. The glowing eyes of the cy-bugs were snuffed like flickering candles, leaving only grey darkness.
"Get moving you flivvering flock of pikers! Let's finish them off!" she shouted back to her lagging division…and the gamer, "I—we don't have all day for you to suck your thumbs!"
She briefly saw two soldiers give each other confused, wide eyed looks. "James! Carson! Something amusing you?"
"No m'am!" they blurted back.
"Good! Now get back to work before I make you!" With a flick of her wrist, she landed a shot right in the head of a bug directly behind her. "I'm getting impatient!"
The buck-toothed, pink-shirted young male gamer, left alone to shoot from the tiny robot monitor, seemed conflicted between relief (she was, admittedly, making this level much easier on him than it should be) and confusion. Tamara knew she wasn't supposed to play this active a role in the game—she was an unlocked summon in this level of battle, and may have stayed a little longer than her summon was meant to—but it wasn't like she wasn't always committed to the war and besides, he looked young. No more than ten. It wouldn't hurt anyone to make his game a little simpler.
They were in the last room of the tower before the boss, and if this kid didn't win soon she didn't know what she was going to do. She liked to believe she wasn't visibly shuddering with impatience. She knew she was probably wrong.
It was a grounded bug, yellow. Even with the canon, it would take many shots to kill. Too many. Hidden with the team at the top of a ledge, the first person shooter fumbled with his gun, and she could see a drip of sweat run down his brow. It was just then she noticed that his life meter was extremely low; he had barely a couple hit points left. He adjusted his pink cap and gripped his weapon.
The bug clicked its pincers and gave a short screech. Its antennae twitched, taking note of everyone in the massive metal room they were surrounding.
"Make a move, kid," Tamora hissed under her breath, holding back. He had to kill the last bug himself if he was going to advance. There are some things her programming just wouldn't allow. Her fingers drummed against her trigger. She heard a gulp. The bug spun to meet him. He aimed. And…
The bug had shot a fast bolt of yellow no more than a fraction of a second before the boy pulled the trigger. The screen shattered with a loud crack, going black as a high-pitched young voice faded with a loud "Aw ma—!"
Tamora smirked—maybe this boy was beyond her help after all. She kicked out the door and looked to the sky, which stayed its smoky black, completely unbroken by the usual fiery blue stream of light. "Come on now…" Did the beam usually take this long to appear? She shot the bug before it had a chance to bite back, leaning her gun and her hip and huffing.
"Um, Sergeant?" a deep-set but timid voiced piped up from behind her, "is it just me, or did you…really want this game to end today?"
A ridiculous proposition. She was far too professional for that and besides, what reason would she have for wanting this game to end quickly? The beam finally shot into the sky. With a flip of her gun and a hand through her hair—now uncovered by her helmet—she straightened her body and face and stared him square in the eye.
"Just get back to base, soldier. That was the last game of the night and we're done." Tamora marched right past them and continued without looking back, "Now, I have some business to attend to. Don't know when I'll be back, but behave or I'll make sure you have more than cy-bugs to dampen your armor about."
"Yes m'a—!" was all she heard before she slammed the door.
Her eyebrow was cocked. Her fists clenched. Her body was tense, except for a single moment to flip her bangs out of her determined eyes. She left her shuttle at the edge of the blackness that was the sky of Fix It Felix Jr., wide open to allow hasty reentering.
"—erybody! That was some fantastic wreaking today too, Ralph!"
"Now if you'll excuse me folks, I have an appointment with my wife tonight, and—"
"Your wife is here." Felix jumped at her voice, tripping over his feet as he ran to peer over the side of the building with his ridiculously large, shining eyes.
"Oh, hi honey!" he shouted down to her. There was a touch of tentativeness to his voice. Granted, she had her hip crooked with a fist pressed against it, and had just shouted to him her presence, so perhaps he had a reason, and if not she most certainly was about to give him one.
"Need you down here, Fix-It."
He gulped, before abandoning the Nicelanders to hop down the windowsills to the ground. He landed with a small thump, fingers twiddling around his hammer as they always do when she is deliberately making him nervous. She clicked her pointer fingernail on her armored hip as he stepped, one after another, towards her, smile growing weaker with each moment.
"Why, Tammy! You look a little…cross, but I don't remember doin' anythi…uh, I mean—"
Tamora watched him like a hawk until the he made the final step into her arm's length. Before he could make the next one, he was yanked from the ground and into her grip and finally against her lips. She felt his hat tumble off his head when she buried her fingers in his hair, and his hammer just missed her foot as it hit the ground too. He was apparently too shocked to have much of a reaction at all.
When she decided to let him go, she leaned back from him but kept him in her hold. His eyes were wide, his mouth slacked and cheeks touched with bright red honey-glow.
"I've wanted to do that all day." Tamora bent down to scoop up her husband's hat and hammer before carrying him right to her shuttle, waiting open for this very purpose—they were ditching this game and the residents of this apartment won't be seeing him again anytime tonight. He tried to give an apologetic look to his co-workers, but the tip of the golden tool gently dragged him by his chin till he was again eye to eye with her. She smiled and he smiled back nervously.
"Hard day today, sweetie?"
"You have no idea."