AN: You know, it scares me sometimes how much detail video game designers put into characters that you will most likely never play, talk to, or even see just because they can. Also, I've been thinking, if Tamora has a backstory, do any of her men? The programmers went through a lot trouble to give each soldier a different face and design, so did they continue on and give them names, motivations, and memories as well? I think that they did, and that inspired this. I hope that you all like it!
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck-It Ralph. Disney does.
In the relatively short amount of time that the two of them had been together, there had been a lot of things that Felix had been forced to accept about his dynamite gal.
One of those things was that, at least for the moment, while Hero's Duty was still getting itself established at Litwak's, work would always come first.
Of course, Felix could never hold her ambitions against her, for he himself could remember doing almost the exact same thing for the first few months his own game had been plugged in thirty years ago. Although he had never had the sheer amount of paperwork that Tamora constantly had to fill and file, he could well remember the hours that he had spent going over the apartment building each night after the arcade closed, using a magnifying glass and his magic hammer to fix even the most artificial of damages. It was a drive that almost every video game character felt when they were first added to the collection of playables, the need to be the best that they could be so that they never let their players down. It was a drive that would wear off with time, and although every game made sure that things were in better than perfect condition come opening, the frantic need to make sure that it was done now would fade.
However, considering the fact that Hero's Duty was only three months old, Felix knew that it would be quite a while before the obsession faded for his lovely lady. So, when, once again, he found himself still waiting at the train station for Tamora to arrive, almost an hour later then the time they had said that they would meet up, he could not find it in himself to be angry with her.
Even if the paperwork that she had gotten caught up in was not due for another two whole weeks.
So, instead, Felix used the extra time that always seemed to come before their dates to explore, familiarizing himself with the strange, high definition world that his girlfriend came from on the off chance that it might give some sort of hint as to her own quirks and traits that he had yet to discover. Although he respected her wishes and avoided the actual battle area, thus greatly decreasing his chances of running into a rogue cy-bug that might have managed to resist the pull of the beacon, there was still more than enough to keep his interest while he waited for the date to begin. From the shooting range to the mess hall and all the extra sites in between that the player would never see, Felix was sure that he would never run out of places to explore.
He had thought, considering his nicer than normal dress, that the barracks would be a good choice for that night, a calm, quiet place where the most interesting thing he would find would be some marines playing a card game.
What he found was three of Tamora's fiercest warriors sitting in a circle, as close to tears as he had ever seen one of the soldiers get.
"E-excuse me, gentlemen," Felix said softly as he watched one of the space marines wipe a trail of moisture from his face, his hands nervously fiddling with his hat as the three of them turned to face him, "I don't mean to intrude, but is something wrong?"
"Hey look, it's Short Stack," one of the men, Green, if Felix could recall properly, said with a grin, his hand raising itself in a miniature salute to show that his words were said in jest. "How's it going down there, little guy? Nothing up here but sunshine and summertime."
"Hello, Fix-It," Kohut said with a nod as he stuffed something into his pocket, avoiding both Felix's question and his gaze as turned to shoot a soft glare at his comrade. "Is the Sarge late for a date again? I could go get her, if you want."
"No need, sir," Felix replied with a soft smile as he took that seat that Johnson, the third member of the small group, had just offered him. "I know she'll be done when she's done, and there nothin' to gain by rushing her. To be honest, and I don't mean to be a busybody, but I'm a bit more concerned with the three of you. You all looked mighty upset when I walked in a moment ago."
"We were just talking about the past," Johnson replied after a moment of silence, his shoulders shrugging as his hand reached for a chain that was around his neck, his hand clenching around the pendant that hung from it. "About our backstories and what we actually remember about them."
"Do you care to share," Felix offered gently, hoping that, if he heard what had upset the three of them so much, he might be able to help.
"Not much to tell, Shorty," Green replied with a snort. "Nothing we've got comes even close to the Sarge's backstory, and we were just being sentimental old women. Couldn't make a good story out of our lives if we actually tried."
Perhaps it was the man picking up on Felix's actual curiosity that had only increased with what Green said, or perhaps it was just his own desire to end the awkward silence that had ensued after Green's comment due to none of them being quite sure of what to say after that, but no matter which it was, after a few minutes Kohut sighed and pulled the piece of paper from his pocket, tilting it so that Felix could see exactly what it was.
It was a picture of a beautiful woman lying in the grass, her eyes fixed not on the camera, but on the three children playing next to her.
"My wife," Kohut said softly, answering the question that he had guessed would be on Felix's lips. "My wife and our children. Two girls that, when I left, still wanted to play princess and tea party, and a little boy who seemed addicted to mud. If what I remember is correct, Kallie, my oldest, was going to get married yesterday. And I wasn't there to walk her down the aisle." A frown quickly replaced the gentle smile that had crossed the space marine's face as he returned the picture to its former spot, shaking his head as he did so in an attempt to remove the emotions that were so clear within his eyes.
"It's hard being a space marine," he added on, looking straight at Felix, "and very few people actually choose to be one. While not illegal, it's frowned upon to fall in love, to have a family, because you never know when an assignment like this," here he paused to motion to the great world of Hero's Duty, "will keep you from ever going home. You never know when your newest mission might be your last, and the sleep that they put us under while in deep space almost guarantees that you'll outlive anyone you meet on Earth." Letting out a sigh, Kohut ran a hand over his face, drawing out the exhausted lines that had appeared with the thought he had given to the family that existed nowhere but his mind. "I'm thirty-four, and even though Mira was born four years after me, she'd be almost sixty by now."
"The job takes a lot," Johnson said gently, his free hand reaching out to clasp Kohut's shoulder as his other tightened around his pendant. "But if we didn't do it, who would? It's my brother's, by the way," the space marine said in response to Felix's curious glances, his fingers loosening just enough so that the handyman could see the ornament. It was a simple wooden circle, a pair letters and some numbers engraved onto the side, but had Felix just seen it lying around he never would have given it a second thought. "Our grandfather carved this for Michael when he joined," Johnson said, his gloved hand once again tightening around the object. "It has the code he was given when he first joined, so that he would always remember it. He always was bad with remembering numbers." A short laugh followed those words, though it was clear from the expression on his face that the sound was out of place. "It was the only thing left of him after a strogg attack, and I joined up the day it was given to me. I told you," he said with a shrug at Felix's horrified face, "the job takes exactly what it wants, but we keep doing it because we're the only ones who will. If we weren't here, who else would keep these bugs in check?"
"What," Green asked with a raised eyebrow as the others turned towards him, expecting looks on the other two space marine's faces. "Fine," he growled after a moment, his arms twisting across his chest, "if you two are really going to be the ladies that the Sarge is always claiming we are, then I might as well join. My backstory," he said, turning so that he was directly facing Felix, "is completely and utterly normal. Raised by a single mother, I joined up when I was eighteen almost ninety years ago. I've spent most of that time asleep in cyberspace, and the rest will be spent on this hunk of rock. The only good thing I've ever done is make sure that my mother was at least able to spend the rest of her life in comfort. We're paid well, that's for sure, and while most men get out after one or two missions and retire, I've been on seven. Everything went to making sure that Mom was taken care of, and that's that."
"Jiminy…those are some backstories," Felix said in awe, his eyes wide as he looked between the three. So much pain, so much courage and bravery, at that moment, just being in the room as those three sent a wave of shame through him. Compared to them, to those three men, he was nothing, just a handyman who only took care of one building day in and day out. His cheeks flaming red, Felix slightly bowed his head, his hand fiddling with his hat even more as he spoke. "Thank you all for sharing them with me."
"You can repay us by telling us about yours," Kohut said, his head tilting as the handyman looked him in the eyes. "What, did you really think that we were sharing just for the hell of it, Fix-It," he asked, looking at the other space marines that sat beside him. "You've been dating the Sarge for almost three months now, and while we all like you so far, none of us know anything about you. We've been thinking that it's about time to rectify that grievous mistake, and you just gave us the perfect opportunity when you walked in. Now spill."
"I don't really have much of a history, if I'm to be honest," Felix said sheepishly, feeling uncomfortable that the three men's eyes were fixed upon him, "at least, nothing like yours. My father was a handyman before me, and one day he just disappeared, leaving behind his magic hammer and the name Fix-It. Other than that, all I know is that it's my job to fix whatever Ralph wrecks, and that's my game."
"That's it," Green asked with a snort, leaning back in his chair, allowing himself to relax against the wood. "That's so…so simple!"
"I told you," Kohut said with a grin and a chuckle, copying Green's posture with an air of sarcasm about him. "Eight-bit games were all about simple. Simple, and breaking the laws of physics and logic."
"I think it's nice," Johnson said with a slight glare at his comrades, though it was clear from the kind, friendly tones of their voices that their words were being said to tease the handyman. "Sometimes simple is better than complex." Turning to flash Felix a warm smile, it was with a small nod that Johnson continued. "I like simple."
"As do I Johnson, but you don't see me ogling another woman's boyfriend."
The three soldiers immediately jumped to attention as Tamora sauntered into the room, her movements even more graceful than normal now that she was free of her armor. Waving at them to sit back down, it was with a small smile that she bent to place a kiss on Felix's cheek, her smile turning into a smirk as his face flushed red from his fabled 'honey glows.' Nodding at her men, it was with a flash of her eyes to Felix's that she began to leave, the handyman automatically sliding from his chair to follow her.
"Thank you, gentlemen, for sharing your backstories with me. I truly appreciate it," Felix paused to say, half bowing towards them before turning to follow his girlfriend once more.
"No problem, Short Stack," Green replied with an amused smile, a look that all three of them shared after the small but public display of affection from their Sergeant. "No problem at all."
"Sorry," Tamora said the moment he had caught up with her, at least having the grace to look slightly ashamed that they were now almost an hour and a half late for the date that they had set up weeks ago. "I didn't think it would take that long to finish those papers. The girls didn't bother you too much, did they?"
"It's fine," Felix said, smiling up at her and waving away her apology. "And I'm afraid that I was the one bother them tonight," he said as he reached up to grasp her hand. "I walked in on them talking about their backstories, and stuck my nose in. They were nice enough to answer me without telling me off, as would have been their right."
"They're good men," Tamora said as she interlaced their finger, tilting her head so that she could smile down at him. "All of them are very good men."
It was then that Felix realized that, perhaps, if he wanted to understand his girlfriend better, he would be better off exploring the minds of the men she fought with and trusted each day of her life then he was exploring the scenery. So, the next time Tamora was late for a date, instead of wandering off to find the newest building he had yet to search, Felix found another member of her squad, sat down, and asked him for his story.