Ralph woke up entombed in darkness, one hand over his chest and the other resting atop a warm, breathing mass. Getting suckered into 'sleepovers' in Sugar Rush by Vanellope had long taught him not to move too quickly. The racer getting squashed could just as easily and non-lethally happen on the track by a falling cake or pie, but he really hated the guilt that he experienced when his fist was the culprit.
It took him a moment to realize that he was in his own game and the person next to him was not Vanellope as the events of the previous night to came rushing back to him.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see that the lights in the apartment remained black, suggesting that it was still a few hours before the arcade opened for the day. Faith had maneuvered one of his arms as a makeshift blanket and was sleeping under it, facing away from him, a hairs breadth of space between her and the wall. She looked significantly more innocent despite her choice of clothes this way, not to mention blissfully unaware of how close she had come to becoming 2-dimensional.
He wondered what it must be like to have lost such a large scope of a world and so many people. He'd never thought about it before. If the situation with Sugar Rush had been different, and alll those candy subjects who made up the racing audiences had actually had their rightful ruler in place...and he had destroyed it...
He closed his eyes, sighed deeply and tried to go back to sleep, but his dreams were tormented by candy mutated cy-bugs.
The first light filtering in through the apartment windows finally roused him fully from both his torment and the peace of Niceland at rest.
She remained asleep.
"Hey, wake up!" He shook her shoulder.
She seemed disoriented but also seemed to eventually come to realize where she was and why. Ralph swung out of bed to allow her room to move but also to avoid looking at her increasingly downcast expression.
"Remember our deal?"
"If you want, you can stay here - but only in my shack, or go to Game Central. Your choice."
"I...think I'll stay here."
He figured she would say that. She seemed like she might be a bit like Felix in that regard. Someone who was always loved in her own game and very reluctant to travel outside of it for great lengths of time.
"Alright. We'll set things straight and..."
There was a sharp tap at his door. "Ralph. Almost time for positi-"
Faith had slithered by him and yanked open the door. "Yo. You're Felix?"
"That I am, Ma'am."
"Okay, let's get some shit -" Felix cringed. "-straight. I ain't banging your dudebro here. He's just been lettin' me hang 'cause I'm out of work an' he's going to help me find a new gig after hours. Step off. It was my damage that I came here, he didn't offer or anything."
Ralph had to admit that he'd never seen Felix blush like that since he talked about Calhoun giving him the 'honey glows'. He coughed into his hand to hide his snort of laughter and he couldn't help but let the handyman squirm a little before coming to his rescue
"Listen Felix, if there's anything I didn't tell you, it's that I'm doing a bit of dating is all. Faith here just panicked and I offered to help. She'll stay well hidden during work hours." he jerked a thumb to indicate his shack.
"Oh. I see. I'm dreadful sorry for your loss, Ma'am. An' I'm awful sorry for losing my cool with you too, Ralph. I wish you the best of luck in your dating endeavours." Felix still looked hurt and the bigger man had a feeling he knew what that was about.
"I didn't say anything about the dating because, well, I already fall in the mud a hundred times a day in front of a whole audience. I wouldn't mind messing up in private once in a while. Besides, I don't need competition, even if you are married! Who'd look at a lug like me, next to you?"
"Well now, I don't think that's entirely true, Ralph. Why just look at this lady here. Do you honestly think she would have came and found you when she was in distress if you didn't have just a little charm?"
Flattery always worked with Felix. Faith seemed to be either on the verge of crying or laughing again - he wasn't sure which, and from the opposite side of the screen, Mr. Litwak was crossing to the door to let in the kids for the day.
"Let's wrap it up. I'll see you at closing!" he added to Faith. She nodded and stepped into the shack, closing the door behind her and ducking well out of sight as kids and teenagers came rushing in, scrambling to be the first to line up their quarters for their favourite games.
Around lunchtime, when most of the kids departed to the snacks counter and lunchroom for pizza or hamburgers and sodas, Mr. Litwak joined his summer help girl at the Felix Jr. Box. He'd been doing that a lot ever since the Sugar Rush incident and ever since Stacey had signed on for the summer. She'd traded her glasses for contacts and she was certainly older than anyone remembered her when she had first 'unlocked the bonus level', but she was well known to the Fix-It Felix Jr. gang as the one who had very nearly (if unknowingly) cost them their home when Ralph had gone MIA.
No one in Niceland ever deviated from their normal routines when this occurred but somehow Ralph always thought that maybe Mr. Litwak and his protegé knew more than they let on. If Felix or any the others shared his idea, they did not say.
The kids trickled back in until their parents pulled them away slowly but surely and the final high-scoring hopeful trudged out at last, leaving Litwak and Stacey to clean and lock up for the night. After what seemed an eternity the only lights left came from the consoles themselves.
"All clear!" someone from the game nearest the arcade door called out.
Ralph found himself staring, not at brown work boots but rather black stilettos.
"Damn!" Faith shook her head as he picked himself out of the mud. "C'mon, you could use a drink or five."
Ralph rolled his eyes but cleared away the mud and hopped into the train car behind her as they rode to Tapper's.
"Dude, I take it all back. That has GOT to suck."
"You ah...were watching." The villain concluded lamely.
"Sure. If I'm gonna be your wing-girl, I've gotta figure out a few things about you."
Chuckling ruefully, Ralph pushed a hand through his wild hair. "How do you plan on making 'gets tossed off a roof into the mud' sound glamorous?"
In response the rocker took a swig of her beer, setting the glass down on the table. "Well, let's see here. Y'think she already knows? Who was that you were doing that shy little girl wave to?"
"Wave? Oh! No, no! That's my friend. Vanellope."
"Don't tell me you're goin' all pop ballad on me! You're sweet on this Vanellope babe, right?"
Ralph gave a yowl of pain as he snorted his drink out his nose. Rising from his mug spluttering he shook his head. "Have you gone RANDOM? She's NINE! She's the one who gave me a makeover the day we met." he added.
The response was not what he was expecting. "No, this is good. Okay, so you're like her Dad or big bro or something. That's perfect!"
"Oh yeah, dude. Chicks love a guy who's good with kids but doesn't have one of their own!"
"They do?" Most of the time Vanellope was a little hard to take and despite her resilience and attitude, he still did fear making her cry as hard as he did the moment he raised his fists against her car. Ralph did love his pint-sized friend, but he'd never really analyzed what their relationship really should be called.
"Second of all. We've gotta lose the coveralls. Unless your name is 'Mario', the one strap broken off the shoulder is way in the realms of style never."
Ralph winced. "Tell me we're not doing another make-over."
"We'll save it. So let's see. Let's talk more about you." She picked up her drink again.
"I wreck things."
"I live in a shack."
"I get angry easily..."
"I'm a bad guy!"
It went on like this. By the time that they had forgotten they were supposed to be discussing Ralph's many 'attributes' and had moved on to other things, Tapper was eying them and their multitude of empty glasses rather suspiciously. It was interesting to be out with someone who could at least match Ralph in terms of holding their drink (even if most of her 'favourite' stories happened to revolve around times when she or one of her band-mates could not). Calhoun was tough but she wasn't a drinking buddy. Always too on-edge from cy-bugs to let her inhibitions slip that much. Felix was blasted after half a rootbeer and he couldn't imagine that Gene would ever accept him quite enough to ask him around for a martini.
They wove their way through Game Central Station in a kind of pixellated blur.
"Y...know, you'd make a good drummer, man." Faith slurred out as they leaned against a graffitied wall, much to the annoyance of the surge protector, who was watching them warily, irritated at the number of game entrances their erratic course had taken them near. "Hands like that..."
Ralph merely gave her a hazy look of confusion which was lost on his companion who grabbed his arm, or rather, a part of it.
"Hey! I had a great idea, dude! Check it! A phone! Why don't you call one of the girls? Got the numbers in your inventory?"
The Wrecker blinked at her, willing the fog in his brain to clear enough for rational thoughts. "Isn't that supposed to be kind of a bad idea?"
"Nah, that's only if you break up first. Shows weakness."
"Oh. Hey!" Ralph spluttered as he fumbled the receiver that was thrust at him. "I'm not really sure I should be doing this right now..."
Somewhere through the fuzziness, something cold was pressed up to his ear and he heard a female voice.
"Tell her who you are!" Faith hissed.
"It's...Ralph. Wreck it Ralph."
In the end, he wasn't sure how he'd gotten through the conversation, but Faith who had marginally better hand-eye co-ordination had stuck something in his inventory about a date on Monday, when the arcade was closed.
"Hey Ralph! You did it!" Faith's face wobbled at him. "Ralph?"
He did and he missed the rubbish bin, much to the consternation of the Surge Protector.
Several outlets over, just outside of a large stronghold along a dirty stretch of highway with a receiver pressed against her ear, a woman in sunglasses, an over-large hat and a business suit hung up the pay phone.
A smile graced her lips as she slapped a silencer on her pistol. She'd given up hope when her intelligence had told her the target had been running around with some gameless rocker chick, but things were starting to turn in her favour.
8-Bit Worlders were just so SIMPLE.
AN: Thanks for waiting everyone. Oh- I have one of those fancy tumblrs you kids are talking about now at zombie-valentine