AN: Written as a 'Thank You' present for ask-sergeant-calhoun. tumblr . Seriously guys, go check out her blog; it's amazing. She's the best Calhoun I've found so far, and is quite nice as well.
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck-It Ralph. Disney does.
Sergeant Calhoun's voice was trembling as she lowered her gun to her side, her hands shaking too heavily for her to support the weight of the weapon. Behind her, she could hear the smothered gasps and harsh whispers of her men, their own blasters still pointed at the foe that had managed to breach their security system and start the game wide hunt. A couple of them even went so far as to call her name, an attempt to draw her away from the front lines and into the protective custody that was the middle of their group, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Taking a step towards the enemy that they had sworn to kill on sight, Tamora fell to her knees and reached out for the cy-bug that was staring at her, uncaring of the danger that she was putting herself into.
The only danger that was present in a nightmare was the damage it inflicted on your sanity, because that was exactly what this had to be. It had to be some sick, twisted part of her mind forcing her to live her greatest fear in her sleep, for that was the only explanation that made the fact that the cy-bug cowering before her looked just like Felix bearable.
"Sarge, no," Kohut yelled as he fired a warning shot between her and the bug, the sparks that burned the tips of her fingers even through her gloves forcing her to draw away and him to jump back. Before either of them could do anything, Green and Johnson had appeared at Tamora's side, wrapping their arms around her waist as they hauled her to her feet, dragging her back as the others began to obey the rapid orders that their second in command had just completed. Keeping their eyes trained on the cy-bug, shouting out nonsense to confuse its sound receptors, it was only moments before the team had surrounded the creature, trapping it between the concrete wall where they had finally found it and a solid half-circle of hardened warriors who would only think about what they had done when the mission was over.
Tamora knew that formation. How many times had she drilled it into her men to use those exact same movements when they greatly outnumbered the opponents, to organize themselves into that exact same shape so that, when they started to fire, they not only hit their target but also missed hitting each other? How many times had she led her men into that series of moves so that they could utterly obliterate the cy-bug scum they had captured?
Even though she knew it was a dream, Tamora began to thrash against her captors, struggling for her freedom even as she did the one thing she had never thought she would have to do: beg for a cy-bug's life.
"No, Kohut, don't shoot," Tamora cried as she elbowed Green in the stomach before slamming the back of her fist into Johnson's nose, taking advantage of the former's still tender bullet wounds from a week before and the latter's weak cartilage to break free. "Don't any of you dare shoot him, that's an order!" Her eyes widening as she watched her oldest friend shake his head and put his finger around the trigger, it was with a roar of fury that she finally grabbed onto an arm and pulled, flipping its owner over her back and onto her other captor as she ducked away, running as fast as she could towards the firing squad that was about kill the man she loved. Her gaze settling on the skewed stance of Markowski, his weight unevenly distributed, thus making him the perfect target, it was with a quick prayer of thanks to whichever programmer had added incompetence to his program that she forced her way past, breaking the line as she threw herself around the bug just as Kohut began to pull.
"Stand down," Tamora snarled as the man jerked his gun to the side, his bullet grazing her cheek instead of penetrating her skull as it had intended. Biting her tongue to keep her gasp of pain in check, her glare never wavered as she repeated the order that would save the creature behind her. "I said stand down, Kohut, now do it."
"You don't know what you're saying, Sergeant," Kohut growled in return, the tip of his gun flickering between possible shooting sights as he tried to gain a clear shoot. "You're letting this bug's appearance get to your head. Let me take care of this, and then you can hate me all you want. Demote me, kill me yourself outside of the game if you want, but we have to put this monster down."
"He's not a monster," Tamora argued, shifting her position so that she was always dead center in Kohut's sight, ensuring that any rounds he fired would hit her square on, "he's my husband." Out of the corner of her eyes she could see the rest of her men slowly lowering their weapons, their own distress about the turn of events clear on their face as they examined the cy-bug behind her. If she could just get Kohut to listen to her, then maybe there was still a chance that everything would be okay.
She continued to believe that until a set of blue-tinted claws pierced her side and teeth grazed the back of her neck, causing her to cry out in pain as the cy-bug spread its wings and took off, carrying her with it.
"Get ahold of yourself, Fix-It," Tamora barked as she pounded on the hand that held her, forcing herself to focus on her anger instead of the fear that was coursing through her veins. "This isn't you, Short Stack, so cut it out." Each word was punctuated with a blow to his arm with the heel of the gun she refused to shoot yet still clung to, though something told her that it would be useless to fire it anyway. Each crack that had formed on his armor had quickly disappeared with a golden glow, leaving behind no trace that he had even been damaged. Biting back as yelp as the creature dived towards the ground, sure that she was about to be dashed against the rocks and eaten, Tamora tried one last time to reach him.
"T-tammy," the creature whimpered as its back hit the earth, its body curled protectively around her own as it absorbed the shock. "Tammy, darling, are you alright?"
"G-get away from me," Tamora growled as she fought her way out of the cage of arms and cy-bug legs that had saved her, stifling a hiss as her movements pulled at the wounds in her side. They were deeper than she had first imagined, serious enough that, if she didn't get medical attention soon, she would die and remain dead until the next time a gamer saw fit to play Hero's Duty.
By then, it would be too late to save him.
"Tamora, please, you're hurt," Felix groaned as he pushed himself to his feet, shaking his head to clear it of the dirt and dust that had settled on him. Swallowing thickly, Tamora forced herself to keep her gun pointed at his head, though that meant holding the weapon almost vertical as he towered above her, the largest cy-bug she had seen since they had taken out the queen. Already she could see the glow surrounding the armor on his back, healing the wounds that he had incurred while protecting her. "Please, Tamora, let me heal you."
"I said stay back!" Although her words were forceful, they could barely be heard due to the trembling of her lips, her entire body shaking as Felix skittered closer. Before she could stop him, his teeth sank into his forearm, his head twisting as he did so to tear off a chunk of the flesh that lay beneath the armor. Wincing as he swallowed the mass, he quickly pressed the wound to her side, using his claws to spread the golden substance that was dripping to the ground against her skin before moving to do the same to her neck. Already she could feel the pain dulling, her skin closing around the warmth that had encased her. Watching as Felix returned to his spot a few feet away from her, his tongue lapping at what she guessed was his blood as his arm began to heal itself, it was with a calm that she was nowhere near feeling that Tamora spoke a single word.
"A cy-bug got loose," Felix said with a sigh, folding his legs under himself as he settled to the ground, his eyes sad as he stared at her. There was sorrow within them, yes, but it almost seemed as if there was hope as well, hope that had twisted with an almost animalistic sheen that he was struggling to hold back. For a single moment, she could see that sheen become a glow, casting a reddish tint over his gaze as he licked the last drop of blood from his lips, his teeth baring themselves as he shifted from a sitting into a pouncing position, his hunger clear from the low rumble that had begun within his throat. Just as quickly as it had started, it stopped, his eye widening as he flopped back down, sending a cloud of dust around him as he unsuccessfully fought back a moan.
"It got into Fix-It Felix, Jr., didn't it," Tamora asked, forcing herself to remain still, to not run over and try to comfort him as he struggled with the beast inside. "Was anyone else hurt?"
"No," Felix finally replied, refusing to meet her gaze as he spoke. "No, I managed to lure it away before it could attack the others." Amazingly, a soft smile crossed his features as he thought of his game, relief clear within his words that the characters who had been his friends and family for the past thirty years were safe. "I'm glad that it was only me," he confessed, raising his claws so that he could stare at them. "I'm glad that it was only me."
"'Only you,'" Tamora almost spat, taking a step forward as if she was going to attack the cy-bug before her. "'Only you,' is bad enough, Fix-It, and I'm not even sure if there's a way to reverse this. Since you were eaten in your own game, maybe if we kill you there, you'll respawn, bu-"
"There's not, Tammy."
"What," she demanded after a moment, her mind running through all of the explanations she could think of for his statement, purposely ignoring the obvious. "What do you mean, Fix-It. Explain yourself."
"There's not a way to fix this. Tammy, look at me," Felix said softly, motioning to his insect-like body. "You know cy-bugs better than any of us. How long would a cy-bug have to be alive to get this big?"
"Three days," Tamora said with a swallow, her throat suddenly closing as a gust of non-existent wind blew sand into her eyes, irritating them. Swiping at the tears that threatened to fall, she repeated her answer, understanding the sadness that had been in his own from the moment he had regained control. "Three days."
"It's been a busy weekend," Felix replied with a nod, his eyes gentle as he reached out to touch her, pulling away just before he could. "You've had so much to do here; you can't be everywhere, Tammy."
"I should have been," she snapped back, shaking her head in an attempt to clear her blurring vision. "I'm your wife, Felix, I should have been there. I could have killed the monster, and then none of this would be happening. I should have been there…"
"I caught a duck," Felix said with an almost chuckle as he broke the silence, shaking his head at the thought of touching one of the foul fowls that attacked him on a daily basis. "I had Ralph throw bricks at me. I even jumped off the building. And every time I died, I came back like this." Taking a deep breath, his pointed teeth digging into his lip as he pushed down on the creature inside, turning it into nothing more than a flicker that was only noticeable if one looked for it, Felix rose to his full height and began to walk towards her, covering the space that had separated them in seconds. "You know why I'm here, Tammy. You know what we need to do." Reaching out, the back of his claws gently caressed her cheek, their dagger-like tips close enough to slice her skin if he so chose to do so. Ignoring the tremor that ran down her back at being so close to something she had seen as an enemy for so long, as nothing more than a danger to her and everyone else in the arcade, Tamora leaned into the touch, her mouth already opening to tell him to bug off and forget about it, because although she knew exactly what he meant, there was no way she was going to go through with it.
The words never left her lips as his claws twisted around her neck, his eyes glowing that bluish-red as his hunger took control of him once more.
A bullet between his eyes, a sure-fire way to kill any other cy-bug, forced him to drop her, but even as Tamora rolled to her feet, gun raised and ready to fire, the hole was already closing as Felix regained control.
"I-I heal too quickly for that to work, Tammy," Felix stuttered out, using his claws to wipe away the golden blood that had poured from the wound for the few seconds that it had been open. "I had my hammer in my belt when I was eaten, and its powers were incorporated into my programming." His eyes wild as a howl passed between his lips, his teeth cutting through the flesh as he forced the beast back, it was with a desperate voice that he said the words Tamora had been trying to deny.
"Y-you need to turn on the beacon, Tamora. It's the only way."
"No," Tamora growled, cautiously approaching the trembling creature in case he turned again. "No, Felix, we'll figure this out. I promise, we'll fix this." She was pleading now, attempting to look for a different solution when there was none, ignoring the fact that was staring her in the face.
She was refusing to accept that she had failed once again, and, once again, someone she loved was going to pay for that failure.
"Tammy, p-please," Felix said softly, digging his claws into the soil as he restrained himself, "please. I'm still me. Please," he whispered, his eyes flickering between red and blue as he forced himself to remain in control, "please, let me go as I am, not as the monster I'm going to become. Tamora, Tammy, turn on the beacon."
For a single, long moment, Tamora refused his request. There had to be something else they could do, some cure for this tragedy that would give them an out, some way to still be together despite his altered state. For a single, long moment, Tamora allowed herself to hope.
"Tower patrol," Sergeant Calhoun said emotionlessly into the command system that had been built into her suite, the computers automatically dispatching her to the men she needed, "we have a code B-16 down here. Light her up."
"Got yah, Sarge. Three minutes and counting."
That done, knowing that there was no way to recall the order, Tamora ignored everything that she had ever learned from living in the game of Hero's Duty, dropped her gun, and ran into Felix's arms.
"Thank you," Felix whispered as he held her, burying his face into her hair. "Thank you."
"I hate you," Tamora sobbed, her face pressed into the crook of his elongated neck, one arm holding her steady as the other pounded against his chest. "Why didn't you just evacuate and come get me? I could have brought my men, we could have killed it, and everything would have been fine. Why did you have to be the hero and take it on alone? Why, Felix, why?"
"There wasn't time," Felix said softly, ignoring the pain that came with each hit that she landed. "Niceland would have been overrun before everyone could have escaped, and we don't have a Cola Mountain to fix things for us."
"I hate you," Tamora said once again, shaking her head as she refused to accept his answer. "I hate you."
"I love you too, Tammy," Felix said as he carefully pried her away, his head swiveling to look at the tower that waited above them. Even as far away as they were, they could still hear the machinery beginning to warm up, the thrumming of electricity pounding against their hearts as it drew on the energy created within the planet's very core, seconds away from sending up its shoot of light and ending this forever.
Twisting his neck so that they were eye to eye, Felix gently placed one last kiss onto her forehead before whispering his sentence again, his voice steady and the monster almost gone from his gaze as he prepared to die. Without waiting to hear what she would say in return, giving her no chance to try to talk him out of what he was about to do, before the cy-bug could take over and force him into the light, Fix-It Felix Jr. jumped into the sky and flew towards the beacon of his own free will.
It was the sound of her screaming as she watched Felix's body disintegrate into ash that awoke Tamora from the nightmare she had known she had been in all along.
In her tired haze the first thing that she realized was that it was dark, something that was only unusual because she could have sworn that she had fallen asleep with the lamp on, knowing that, when he crawled into bed next to her, Felix would be the one to turn it off. This mystery was quickly solved as she slid out of bed, her feet just barely avoiding landing on the shards of glass that littered her carpeted floor, the warmth of the coarse carpet a shock since she had been preparing herself for the coolness of wooden floors. Forcing herself to awaken to the reality of the situation, to recognize the room she had been sleeping in and accept the fact her mind had been trying to forget, all it took was a single glance at the blue hat that was sitting on her bedside table in Hero's Duty for Tamora's tears to start again.
It had only been a nightmare, but the fact that it was also a memory made it so much worse.