Summary: Tamara had never liked being told what to do. Hero's Cuties pairing.
Disclaimer: I'll own Wreck It Ralph characters on the day when I get my own spaceship and my paintings sell for millions of dollars…or millions of chocolate chips. ;)
Had he done something wrong? The question came to him repeatedly, lingering at the back of his mind as game followed game followed game. It came to him each morning as one day's wait became two and two soon became a week followed by another. The happy confidence characteristic of his personality slowly took a nosedive into uncertainty, enough that the Nicelanders and even a few Gamers had started noticing.
But what was he supposed to do? He was torn, conflicted, his emotions askew. And all because of a simple mishap.
Truly, everything that had happened had been nothing more than a happy accident, a series of meetings and adventures brought about by his brother-figure Ralph's dissatisfaction. Had the one-man wrecking crew not acted on his feelings another thirty years could have gone by without Felix knowing that anything was wrong or that there was more to life than his comfortable corner of the arcade. So what had happened—meeting the Sergeant and helping save and restore Sugar Rush—wasn't fate, it wasn't meant to be, and it most certainly wasn't in their code. Nothing stated that he and the blonde were even meant to meet.
Yet they had. They'd more than met.
And those hours spent first in Hero's Duty and then later in Sugar Rush had been the most thrilling, exhilarating…life-changing hours he'd ever experienced! Topped off with a kiss that had sent the world as he knew it crashing to the ground, unfixable even for the great repairman of lore. He'd never known that kisses could be like that, familiar only with the buss on the cheek he earned each game.
It felt like earning a billion extra lives, and Felix had hoped that Miss Calhoun might feel the same way, but…
Apparently he'd been wrong.
The Sergeant wasn't taking callers, her men had told him gruffly. She'd also returned the one letter he'd had the courage to send via Paperboy's messaging service. She didn't have downtime, preferring to train in her game on Sundays and after the arcade closed down. And she most certainly didn't mingle with her men as they indulged in heavy drinking at Tappers.
Men whose scowls burned holes through his head more fiercely than any laser could.
"I just don't know what to do, Brother," Felix admitted wearily when Ralph was finally able to corner him. The bigger man's eyebrows had taken a permanently raised place on his forehead from the moment Fix-It had admitted to the shared kiss, but he still managed a passably sympathetic expression.
"I feel you there, buddy."
The shorter man continued in a sniffly mumble, "I just…I'm so conflicted. One side of me says to just let it go, but the other…"
Blue eyes stared out through their game's screen as though Hero's Duty might suddenly appear in view. But Ralph knew better—only Sugar Rush was in their immediate vicinity and he wasn't about to change that for anything.
"But the other…" Felix sighed with bittersweet heaviness, "…she really was a dynamite gal."
If Ralph's eyebrows could have gone any higher they would have by now. 'Dynamite' was certainly the right word for it.
"Well," he started, rolling around for a response that might help. He wasn't really accustomed to giving comfort, much less advice, so this was really all new to him. Especially as in the past Felix had been the one with all the answers.
Feeling a light bulb go off (and promptly short itself out. He tended to have that affect on appliances), Ralph's epiphany nearly lit up the unnaturally darkened sky. That was it!
"Well," he started over again, "what would you normally do when something goes wrong?"
"I would fix it," the fellow in blue mumbled despondently.
"So why don't you?" he prompted.
"Huh?" dragging his face up to meet Ralph's, Felix was the very definition of rejection. But not for long, his coworker hoped.
Ralph paused long enough to know that he had the smaller man's attention, then restated, "something's wrong. So why don't you go fix it?"
Felix looked at him blankly for several moments. But the arc in his spine slowly started to straighten as optimistic thoughts began replacing negative ones and a plan for his next mode of action commenced developing.
Action. He was meant for action, not for crying over spilled milk and broken windows. So why didn't he just fix the situation? After all, the zing that they'd shared had been the kind of connection one finds only once in thirty years, an electric link spanning genres and hearts. Calhoun might not be wired for positive emotional expression, but that kiss she'd given him had certainly indicated that the feeling was mutual. But what she was coded for was self-doubt and anxiety, if what her right hand man had said was correct. Meaning that what he was feeling was probably nothing compared to the denial she was probably putting herself through—plus a boatload of other negative thoughts.
He wasn't willing to give up yet. Not if his happiness and hers had anything to do with it.
"Thank you, Ralph," Felix beamed with newfound energy, patting the one area he could reach—the man's elbow. Then with a BOING he was headed in the direction of the Niceland apartments, a newfound bounce in his step.
Several Nicelanders attempted to stop him in his goal but he did no more than wave them away, leaving a puzzled crowd in his wake. Only once he was alone in his apartment did he change from his usual uniform into something a little more serious. A dark blue button-up, sleeves rolled to the elbow. No gloves, no hat, no nametag. The jeans and shoes would have to do but he certainly wasn't bringing his tool belt. Instead he jammed his golden hammer in the belt loop of his pants.
Today when he went to visit Hero's Duty he wouldn't be going as Fix-It, the repairman and all around construction worker. He would be going as Felix, the man. He would face her head-on, not simpering but strong. And tell her straight out what he felt.
The ride to Game Central Station was both shorter and infinitely long, his thoughts the only thing present to keep him company. By this time of night the crowds had settled a bit, so he only earned himself an odd look or two. Even Surge Protector didn't stop him as he headed straight from one of the mildest games in the arcade to one of the most dangerous ones.
Riding the rails through Hero's Duty's was a whole different experience from what he was accustomed to, the seats hard and unyielding as graffiti marked the walls. Any light that may have leaked from the station into the tunnel was quickly snuffed out as the car fell into the path of darkness, and a time or two the flickering florescent lighting went out before humming back to life. But he didn't let any of this deter him, nor even the puzzled expression of the sole soldier headed home to his usual turf.
The sentries which greeted him when he arrived exchanged a look he couldn't quite decipher, and with a deep breath Felix forced himself to walk up to the stern duo, attempting not to trip on the rough steel walkway in the process.
"I'm here to see Mi—Sergeant Calhoun on a matter of utmost importance," he stated firmly, proud that he only started squeaking at the end. The words he'd planned all the way here didn't put a dent in their skepticism, however, and the broader of the two, a man with dark skin and a head as bald as Sour Bill's, crouched the slightest bit to address him.
"This isn't a safe place, snack-size. You wanna go and play, you visit the Pokemon world."
Straightening his spine, Felix felt his hand reflexively land on his hammer for courage, "do you really think that the Sergeant will appreciate you standing in the way of something this important? Do you, soldier?"
"So hand ever the message," the other warrior, a freckly redhead with a scar across his cheek.
"The information I have is for the Sergeant's ears only," he maneuvered. Finally the duo exchanged another look, the former shaking his head to the latter, who shrugged.
"Fine," the first muttered turning away as though washing his hands of the shorter man, "but if you get killed no-one's to blame but yourself."
"Understood," the repairman nodded sharply and headed down the open path. Until shouted words stopped him short.
"That's the wrong way!" the redhead threw at him, "you want Calhoun's quarters, you take the hallway to the left. Last one down on the end. You can't miss it."
"Right. I mean, left," he muttered, honeyglows affecting him for reasons other than what he wished, "thank you. At ease."
The two men rolled their eyes at him and returned to their post, leaving him to wallow in his own embarrassment. But he wasn't going to let that get in the way of him now—he was too close to his objective to return with his tail between his legs. And thus Felix began walking down the hallway to his left, watching room after room pass him by.
Unsure if he'd missed his destination, he tentatively continued on, tread slowing with every minute. But just when he thought to turn back he really did come to the end, presented front and center with a door looking exactly like all of its predecessors.
With exception of the bolted sign posted at its entrance.
DO NOT DISTURB. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. SERIOUSLY.
You can't miss it, he'd said. Well, that was the Sergeant for you. Although they'd only traveled for a short time—not even a full 'night' by gamer standards, really—he thought that he had her personality pegged. And this posting fit her to a T.
Suddenly nervous now that the moment had arrived, Felix delayed his action by first clearing his throat and forcing deep breaths. A few repeated mantras reminding him that he was the hero of his own game, and that he could do this, brought the man back up and before he could second guess the action he'd knocked firmly on the door.
He didn't have to wait for long. The bulkhead slid open fast enough that his fingers almost got caught in the door, and he wouldn't be surprised if Calhoun had had a listening ear pressed against the barrier. The woman herself then exited, taking a swift look around and seeing nothing—as she was scanning the area directly above his head. He opened his mouth a moment to greet her but nothing came as his eyes landed on the military commander, performing a quick assessment.
She looked…tired. Like she hadn't been getting any sleep. Dark circles rimmed her eyes, and her pearlescent baby blues seemed dim from a combination of exhaustion and stress. Her blonde hair was messy, like she'd just run her hand through it, and her armor had been traded for civvies, a short-sleeved military issue shirt and something akin to running pants. He didn't quite know what they were called, having never come across them himself, but he could at least identify their use by their design.
But that moment's perusal soon ended as Calhoun cocked a fist on her hip, shoulders slouching inward. She hummed, and that's when he decided to clear his throat.
She had a gun on him faster than he could say Fix-It, and the man immediately leapt away in reflex, laser sight attempting to train itself on him until memory kicked in and she registered the déjà vu aspect of the situation. Her weapon fell to her side.
"Handyman, what are you doing here?" she demanded furiously, grabbing him by the collar so that they were level enough that he could see the anger in her eyes, "I could have killed you in a hot second and you KNOW you won't regenerate here…"
"I-I am aware of this, Ma'am," he stumbled before the both of them froze, remembering when they'd last shared the same position. The Sergeant then took it upon herself to drop him.
Accustomed to falling, Felix easily caught himself, and it was mere moments before she jabbed her finger in the direction of her quarters.
"You. Inside. Now. I don't want any lingering ears around, and the sooner you state your business the sooner you can leave. You got that Pint Size?"
He swallowed, "yes Ma'am. Understood."
The sliding door whooshed closed behind him and soon the short fellow found himself in a world of objects much to tall for him. A kitchenette connected to a small living and dining room area, with a long couch that probably doubled as a cot on days when she couldn't crawl to bed. A coffee table sat in the middle, and it took him a moment to realize that it was made up of repurposed crates welded together via gun-based laser heating. He guessed that the doorway in front of him and to his left were either a bedroom or a supply closet, but Felix wasn't about to pry.
"So," Tamora interrupted with all the finesse of an elephant stampede, "why are you here, Fix-It?"
She said the words as though she was interested in what he had to say, but her eyes were glued on something percolating in the corner. It looked at first glance to be a coffee maker but with a double take he realized that the liquid was clear—was it a water filter, maybe? Did this game really have problems with something as simple as clean water?
"I-I, um, I'm here to…to…"
"Spit it out, shortstop," she barked harshly, and something dark passed behind her eyes.
Alright then. Time to man up. Taking another of his many deep breaths, Felix forged onward.
"Ma'am, my purpose for being here is singular," he paused, then forced himself to continue, looking somewhere around the woman's shoulder rather than at her face, "I wish for permission to pursue you romantically."
The room was dead silent. A series of rooms, he realized with belated recognition, which probably were larger than three of her men's quarters combined.
Tamora Jean Calhoun blinked. Then scowled. Then laughed shortly before scowling again. She took a swig of her purified water, "ha. Right. What are you really here for. Lost Big Red again?"
Okay, that stung a tad. His gloveless hands fisted slightly and a determined expression lowered his brows, "I'm afraid not, Ma'am. I really am here to apply my suit."
Up went her own eyebrows, "apply your suit?"
He hedged, "or court you, if you will."
She sighed and started to walk across the small kitchenette, glass in hand, "look, Felix. What we shared…" she backtracked abruptly, eyes large, "what happened was a fluke. A mere chance of a chance. And it was just out of relief that we managed to survive that wacko's buggy hostile takeover. It was the heat of the moment," she waved a hand at him before resting it on her hip, "I was relieved to be alive, you were relieved to be alive. It was an impulse thing."
"Although I admit that relief was in the forefront of my mind, Ma'am," he admitted with a frown, "that was not why I initially kissed you."
The question, 'so why did you kiss me?' hovered unspoken in the air between them, their gazes locked as though he was daring her to look away. But for once she retreated, throwing her hands up in the air.
"Look, F-Felix," a stumble over his name made him realize that she hadn't called him by name this whole time. Thus sounding oddly intimate and unsure. She cleared her throat and continued, "our genre's are too different, and for that matter you won't regenerate if something happens to you here. You're a sitting duck."
He winced at the poor choice of words.
"Plus I'm violent, mean-tempered, and a volcano of constant PMS. I respond first with my gun and second with conversation," she ticked each off on her fingers, "and even then it's terse at best."
Well, he couldn't really argue with those facts. But there was so much more to her than she was saying! There was loyalty and courage in the face of certain death. Fortitude and concern and self-sacrifice…
Plus there had been that moment of admiration and stunned respect—he just couldn't get over it, like a favorite song on repeat. He knew without a doubt that Sergeant Tamora J. Calhoun felt her emotions 100%, and if to be hated by her was akin to a blazing inferno of 1000 suns then he could only imagine what it would be like to be loved by her. To have a purpose for his actions—to live up to his duty (whether it be as a simple repairman or something braver) to the utmost extent. To earn her respect, that was what she drove him to do.
He knew she could make him a better man. And, sure, at this time they didn't know each other very well—but he wanted to know more about her. They hadn't anticipated finding one another, true, but she more than exceeded what he'd been yearning for. Hoping for.
Just as he opened his mouth to state all of the qualities he admired she cut him off again with her final argument.
"Plus, Fix-It, I just…" the soldier's shoulders hunched as she crossed her arms and leaned her hips back to rest against one counter, hair in face, "I don't know if I can do this…again."
The words fell into his stomach in an endless drop. But the next ones lit a fire within him.
"So I've decided that I won't," she continued, the broken woman morphing into her bipolar counterpoint so swiftly he got whiplash. Her form was ramrod straight now, crossed arms a shield rather than an attempt at comfort.
She was fine on her own, her stance said, and she certainly didn't need anyone in her life.
But he did. He needed her, and essentially she was saying that he could take a hike for all she cared.
Anger, a foreign emotion, flooded him and without thought his tiny 8-Bit self straightened a full two inches, fists curled.
"So you've decided that then, Ma'am," he reiterated plainly and he saw a look of shock and something dark flit across her expression. When she didn't say anything he repeated himself again, "I asked if you've decided that, then," he paused, making deliberate eye contact until she listened to just what he was saying, "for the both of us?"
The woman's eyes widened as she looked like she'd been struck. But he wasn't finished yet.
"Because I get the feeling ," he continued, conquering yet another step, "that it's been a long time since you remember what it was like to have two people's hearts involved."
It was cruel, he knew, but a distant part of himself knew (?) it was necessary. Like cauterizing a wound to keep it from infecting further. As it was the hurt had already been left bleeding for too long.
He hopped up to the single kitchen stool so that their eye-line was level. Calhoun, meanwhile, looked like she'd been slapped, insult added to injury.
"Ma'am, if you don't mind me saying so…I think that you've forgotten what it's like to be happy. And to be l-loved."
When she said nothing to that, hiding behind her bangs, he continued leaning forward in order to plant his hands on the countertop, "I can make you happy. I know this like the sky's blue."
The quiet in the room, with the exception of his fierce whisper, was akin to a vacuum. All was still and silent, and Calhoun herself had become a statue.
"And I know that you've already made me happy, even though we only interacted the once," the blue-clad figure went on, digging in and getting stubborn, "but if you think I'm going to let your fear get in the way of me making you rapturously joyful then you've got something coming."
She jerked in response and he sliced a hand through the space between them, disconcerted by the lack of glove for a moment. But he went on, "you can hit me, push me away, and eject me from a ship, Ma'am, but I'll always come back. Because I'm a hero, Tamora, and that's what hero's do. They don't give up, even when there's no hope in sight! So you need to stand down."
Her flattened hands slammed down on the counter, shoulders hunched and back arched as the professional soldier gritted out a demand as cold and cruel as any she'd thrown. Whether at Cy-bugs, her men, or the gamers themselves. By the end their eyes were a parallel match.
"Are you giving me…an order?!" Calhoun growled out, sending a cold shiver down his spine. Had he been too harsh? Too blunt?
But in that questioning instant his pride of self rose within him, and Felix answered. Only stuttering the slightest bit.
"I-if need be, Ma'am."
She pulled herself back the slightest bit and some of the tension left her frozen figure. Then before his amazed eyes she actually smiled at him. Calhoun still appeared shaken, but was coping admirably to the emotional onslaught and the look she gave him even seemed somewhat proud.
"Good. I was waiting for that gumption to reappear," and then with no further ado she reached across the distance to grasp the back of his head and yank him forward into a deep, soul-melting kiss. He nearly lost a life in the process, his heart stalling from the jaw-dropping experience. And when Calhoun finally pulled back—to breathe, but only just—he blinked blearily back at her, eyes nearly crossed and mouth still half-open from the kiss. When she let him go entirely he nearly stumbled off the chair, grasping the table-like surface frantically as his brain caught up with the rest of him and he realized that he was slipping.
When Felix finally dared look up the woman was smirking, arms and ankles crossed from where she leaned against the counter and looking entirely too satisfied. He felt the honeyglows fiercely attack his person and stumbled as he attempted to speak, licking his lips.
Tamora's eyes followed the movement.
"Wha-what was that about, if you don't mind m-me asking?" His voice broke with the question, a high southern squeak.
"It's simple, fun-size," the blonde smiled with a glint of teeth, "I won't date a doormat. And if you keep it up we just might be able to make a relationship of this, yet."
With that last declaration she moseyed over to where he was, hips swinging. And then the Sergeant pulled him up for another short kiss. And then another.
Then she headed off down the hall.
The question tumbled from his mouth before logistics could stop him, "w-where are you going…Ma'am?"
Tamora Jean Calhoun turned to look at him over one shoulder, hip cocked, "to change into something less gore-encrusted. You, Mr. Fix-It, are taking me on a date."
"A d-date?!" he echoed, nearly falling again. Felix felt as though the ground has exploded under his feet, as uncertain as he was with what had just happened. Wa…was Calhoun condoning, even encouraging his actions? Her expression conveyed affectionate amusement.
"There's no time like the present. And after all, no one has unlimited lives."
I adore the "Hero's Cuties" pairing but I don't think that it is without its problems. I mean, they settled things all handily at the end of the movie, but Calhoun has issues. Real issues.
As in, her fiancé got eaten by her worst enemy. And then she had to kill her worst enemy…before it became her fiancé.
Like I said, issues.
And Felix is going to have to be a real man to deal with them all. I hate putting him in the position of uncertainty, where she's essentially testing him. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if Calhoun really did put him through something like this. Especially if he's to survive when visiting her world and dealing with its dangers.
Plus she had to make sure that he was willing to stand up under pressure, even if it's against her.
It was those moments of stubbornness, bravery and ingenuity on Felix's part that stuck with me, post-film. He is a hero, whether he be a pint-sized one or not. I'm sorry that I had to make Calhoun slightly bipolar in order to showcase them, though. XD
Merry/Happy Christmas, everyone. :) I hope you enjoyed this humble scribbling. ^^