A/N: No spoilers for the movie. There isn't any information in this one-shot that isn't featured in the trailer.
I absolutely adored the film and felt inspired to write. I really wanted to focus on the relationship that Fix-It Felix Jr. and Wreck-It Ralph shared.
Reviews are always appreciated and replied to. Enjoy!
"I'm gonna wreck it!" Ralph knew the all-too-familiar line well; it was the very same phrase that he announced at the beginning of each game, the moment the quarter dropped into the slot. He had said that line for countless gamers over the past thirty years and yes, there were times when he got tired of it but he didn't mind. When gamers put the quarter into the slot, they were expecting him to say it and so he did. He had a role to play and not once did he complain.
There were some nights though, when the arcade had shut down and the lights from the outside grew dim, where he wanted to be someone else; some nights that had him picking himself off the ground from the last game and giving one resentful look at the celebration at the top of the building before walking back over to his stump.
Those nights had always been the loneliest.
Watching from his stump, he'd eye the party that was happening at the top of the building as its residents praised his gaming rival: Fix-It Felix Jr. Felix wasn't a bad guy, personality-wise. He'd always treated everyone with respect and had an undeniable sense of kindness. He just wasn't…the best under peer pressure. Who could blame him when you had people constantly flocking around you and praising every little thing you did? When the Niceland residents said they were throwing a party for him, he couldn't help but accept. Even when Ralph wasn't invited…
It was only when the residents were fast asleep or busy attending to their own activities did Felix come out from the newly fixed apartment and come to the darkened dump on the far side of the game. They spoke about a variety of topics from a renovation that happened within the apartment to the theft of one of Pac-Man's beloved cherries (that Ralph had nothing to do with). All throughout the day, Ralph looked forward to these talks; hoping that neither party nor celebration would take Felix's attention away from him. Felix was his only in-game friend and Ralph desperately wanted to keep it that way.
Several years ago, Ralph had made a passing comment about how much harder his job was than Felix's. To which Felix replied: "I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I agree, fixing things is a lot easier when you have a hammer to do the work for you but it takes a lot of jumping and speed to fix the damage you do to the apartment. All you have to worry about is pounding the roof."
"It's a lot harder than it looks. You try pounding concrete with your bare hands day in and day out while trying to look angry all the time. It really wears you out. I'd gladly trade all of that for a party and metal at the end of each game." The idea of being the hero for once was an intriguing one and it was one that Ralph thought about often; sometimes even picturing himself in Felix's position during a game and mentally planning out the jumps needed to fix the damage.
The so-called argument didn't last long since neither of them wanted to fight about something so trivial. They quickly dismissed the disagreement and moved onto a new topic of discussion.
Years past and Ralph had long forgotten about the initial disagreement until Felix came to his dump on the night of their sixteenth anniversary and suggested that he give being the hero a try. "The Niceland residents left for a celebration party at the Space Invaders machine." He had said. "You know all those times you wanted to try and fix up the building? Here's your chance."
"I…I couldn't do that, Felix." The so-called bad guy knew that Felix was doing this as a favour for him and the last thing he wanted was to get him in trouble. "What if the residents come back and the place is, well, a wreck?"
"That's what the hammer's for, silly." Felix lifted the tool up and gave a swinging motion. "Even if you're not able to keep up with me, I can fix it lightning fast." The smaller hero gave his friend a solemn smile. "Listen, I know how much you want to give it a try and I know where you're coming from. Doing the same thing for how many years now, it gets a bit tiring."
Ralph chuckled, nodding in agreement. "Yeah, sixteen years really few by, didn't it?"
"It sure did." Felix took off his hat and looked up at his taller counterpart. "And I know I wouldn't trade it for anything. I really value the passion and effort you put into being the bad guy so let me give you a chance to be the good guy. Think of it as a sixteenth year anniversary gift." Felix moved closer and jumped straight up in the air, placing his hat firmly on Ralph's head. "What do you say, Fix-It Ralph? Wanna try and fix it?"
Of course, he accepted. How could he not? A chance to play the hero for once… It took a bit of planning. Felix didn't have Ralph's strength so he had to resort to throwing furniture and using that 'ground pound' he picked up from someone, Ralph didn't remember who. Ralph didn't have Felix's jumping ability either so he made use of his large frame and scaled the walls instead, proving to be quite the challenge. The re-enactment was primitive but they found that its simplicity was what made it so special. It was just the two of them. No gamer. No Niceland residents. Just them. Fix-It Ralph and Wreck-It Felix Jr.
Ralph would never forget that night.
Over time, their improvised game grew more elaborate as Ralph created mock residents out of the trash found in the dumpster and even collected some extra furniture for Felix to throw during his nights alone. He'd stay up all night, waiting for the residents to leave for some sort of party hosted by another arcade game in hopes of playing a couple rounds of their own private game.
He became intoxicated with the idea of being the hero and as the game received its software updates, giving its residents more incentive to stay within their own game and throw parties there, he found that the diminishing amount of chances of playing the hero weren't nearly enough. At the bottom of his heart, Ralph knew that this façade wasn't going to sustain him forever. He had already begun imagining himself going into different games and finding a place there. Whether it be fighting off ghouls or defeating some gunslinger, he'd be the hero. Of course, all of that was limited to his imagination.
On the nights Felix was pre-occupied with the residents, Ralph would find himself going to Game Central and speaking with some of the other arcade citizens. He soon became acquainted with a few other villains that seemed to have a few resentful feelings of their own. At least he wasn't spending the nights alone anymore…
Sure, he'd branched out a bit after realizing that Felix was in high demand but it still didn't replace the feeling he got when he was scaling the side of the apartment and saving the flour sack residents.
Tonight was one of those nights; not the ones where he'd go off to visit the other arcade villains. No, this was one of the special nights where the residents were out again. He'd nearly missed it too when he was heading for the train at the end of the day. Felix had gone up to him and tugged on his shirt with a wide smile. "You should stay here tonight." He probably meant to say it cryptically but Ralph got the obvious message.
It had been a long time since they'd had a chance to play reverse hero and villain; this being the only time in the past year. Ralph had difficulty believing it himself. Especially since he'd overheard some of the residents actually encourage Felix to come along. Judging by the look on his face, Ralph knew that Felix was having a hard time saying 'no'. He wasn't the type of person that normally declined these types of invitations and yet, there it was. The head shake. "I really appreciate the invitation but I have a prior commitment."
So there they were. Everything was set up and ready to go: the fake residents occupied the windows, the furniture was set up at the top. Everything was perfect.
"I'm gonna wreck it!"
As Ralph heard his famous phrase coming from someone else other than himself, he couldn't help but smile. He watched with complete and utter glee as the former hero jumped his way to the top. With Felix's usually neatly combed hair now messy, one of his overall straps hanging loosely and his clenched teeth and fists, Felix did a pretty good Ralph impression for a little guy.
"Argh! I'm gonna wreck it!" Felix shouted again from the top of the building. His "intimidating" look and voice faltered as Ralph entered from the side of the screen, holding up his hammer. He had never seen Ralph look so happy. Overalls buttoned up. Check. Hair carelessly tucked under the hat. Check. Waving the hammer in mid-air. Double check.
"I can fix it!" Ralph bellowed from below. Boy, did he love saying those words for himself. He gripped the first window and pulled himself up, signalling the beginning of their parody of a game. Furniture rained from above and the building shook with Felix's motions as he carefully dodged and planned his moves from window to window. With every window fixed, another one broke. When one flour bag resident was rescued, another (voiced by Felix, of course) called for his attention. For the first time in a long time, Ralph felt that sense of accomplishment and recognition he had been longing for.
The feeling never stayed long, unfortunately. It seemed over too quickly as time passed and Felix called down to Ralph, warning him of the residents impending return. Slightly disappointed, Ralph finished his final descent to the top and pulled himself up. His smaller friend met him on the roof and gave him a light pat on the shoulder. "You did great tonight, Ralph. A real natural."
Colour rose to Ralph's cheeks in response to the, normally unheard of, compliment. "You too, Felix. Couldn't have done it without you."
"Sure, you could've." The hero smiled warmly at his villain and squeezed his eyes shut. "All right. Throw me off. Careful not to thro-"
"Throw you onto the ground." Ralph finished, lifting him up. "Don't worry, I make sure you always hit the pillow."
"Oh! Hang on! Forgot something!" Felix opened his eyes and dug into his back pocket, still suspended by Ralph. "There we go!" Felix pulled out a homemade pie plate metal and wrapped it around his counterpart's neck. "Much better."
Holding Felix steady with one hand, Ralph looked down at his new addition. "Wow, Felix. I don't know what to say." He said softly, fingering the metal sheepishly.
Felix leaned forward and gave his friend a big hug. "Well, I know if your residents were alive they'd definitely say 'Thank you Fix-It Ralph!'."
Ralph stiffened at the unexpected display of affection before easing into the hug, being careful not to squeeze too hard. For nearly fourteen years, Felix had humoured him in playing hero and while Felix dismissed it as nothing, Ralph saw it as heaven. For a couple of 'levels', he wasn't the bad guy anymore; he was a hero.
With the amount of parties being thrown in the apartment, he knew that the residents would soon keep to themselves, making it impossible to keep up their caricature of a game. Eventually, Felix would be taking his rightful place beside the residents as they showered him with food and celebration parties. But Ralph would wait… He'd wait for the lights to go out or for the residents to leave to attend some extravagant party. He'd live in hope that one day, everything would go back to normal and they'd be able to break the moulds one more time. No longer the villain, no longer the hero.
This small taste of heroism… Ralph knew that it wouldn't last. He'd always want more. For now, however, he was content in being the villain that Felix needed.
Embracing his dear friend close to his chest, he smiled. "No, thank you, Wreck-It Felix Jr."