AN: Something that I wrote during my creativity dry spell, so sorry if it isn't that good. Hopefully it's enough to get a smile, because that's kind of what I was aiming for. One thing that I realized is that, really, the men of Hero's Duty are probably the closest thing that Tamora has to brothers. So, they would probably be heavily involved in her and Felix's lives, taking part in anything life changing that happens between them. That realization led to this. I hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck-It Ralph. Disney does.
Although it was getting increasingly difficult as they all left Hero's Duty and began to build their own lives within the arcade, on nights when the players had been good, the cybugs were calm, and none of them had any other plans, Tamora liked to take her men and go for a drink at Tapper's.
It was becoming almost something of a tradition, the closest they had to one at least, to set aside a bit of time every once in a while for themselves, to let the Surge Protector close off their game while they all threw back a few in the relative safety of the bar. It was something that they all could trace to the earliest of their pre-programmed memories, an activity that their backstories said they had done dozens of times after one successful battle or another, and so it was almost soothing to do it in reality. Although none of them could ever really truly forget, it did them good to sit around, drink a few beers, and pretend that the cy-bug scum were no more.
The fact that they were allowed to get flat-out drunk, for it was only on nights when the arcade would be closed the next day that Tamora scheduled these little reprieves with the Surge Protector for them, was what probably did them the most good, for nothing made you wish for your normal day of killing mutant insects then trying to get over a Tapper's induced hangover. Say what they would about the eight-bit game, it had some strong spirits.
It was a night that they all looked forward to, for it was one of the few nights a year that they were actually able to relax and just be.
So, considering how rare these nights were, when Sergeant Calhoun declared that they were having a second one only four months after their last, while strange, no one batted an eye, for any time that they could be free of patrols and drills was time they were taking without question. When she was one of the last to arrive at the bar instead of the first, missing her chance to accept and beat Green at his normal pre-drinking drinking challenge, a few raised their eyebrows and shrugged, figuring that she had had something important to do beforehand. Instead of interrogating her, which would have been a surefire way to disrupt her unusually good mood and find them all scrubbing the tower floors come morning, they had instead just shuffled their seating arrangement so that she was sitting at the head of the table they had commandeered in the back corner of the bar, making sure that she would be the first served by the barkeep. If the past was anything to go by, the quicker she got something in her system, the nicer she would be for the rest of the night, allowing them to get away with minor infractions that she otherwise would have shot them for. They were hoping for a good night, and, with Fix-It helping some other game rebuild their arena, Tapper's drinks were their next best chance at getting one.
This hope was crushed and red flags began to fly the moment Calhoun, instead of accepting the aptly named 'Bug Kill' that Tapper had offered her, just shook her head and asked for a root beer instead.
"Is something the matter, Sarge," Johnson finally asked hesitantly as he and the others watched her drain the bottle, their own drinks still full before them as they carefully examined their leader. She looked normal, that they could see clearly as she leaned back in her chair, balancing it on its hind legs as her head rested against the wall behind her. She even seemed normal, for just like they usually did when she was waiting for the barkeep to make his way back to them, her fingers were fiddling with the top of the bottle, rocking it back and forwards to make the rhythmic 'thunks' that always accompanied her visits to the game. However, something just had to be wrong with her, for never once in the many years that they had known her had Calhoun ever turned down an alcoholic drink.
"No," Tamora replied with a startled tone, not expecting that kind of question from one of her men. They knew, oh how they knew, if something was wrong with her, so the fact that they were asking when something was not threw her. "Why do you ask?"
"What was that about then," Green demanded as he leaned closer to her, his head jerking towards the blue cocktail that Tapper was pouring down the drain, the man's voice lost in the low roar that was the bar as he answered one of his customer's questions. "Why didn't you take it?"
"Didn't feel like it, Private," Tamora replied with a shrug, her arms crossing themselves as she automatically responded to the accusation in his voice, the tone of her own a quiet warning. "Thought I'd keep an eye on you ladies to make sure you all get home in one piece instead."
"Is this because that pansy of a husband of yours doesn't…"
"You know, Green," Tamora said pleasantly as the soldier's words trailed off into silence, her thumb moving with practiced ease to deactivate the safety on the gun that was aimed at a spot right between his eyes, "I would have thought that you would have learned by now to not insult Fix-It where I can hear you. Luckily for you," here she paused as she returned the weapon she had drawn to its holster, allowing a sigh of relief to escape from between the private's lips before she continued. "I'm in a good mood, and so will forgive your obvious lack of survival programming and the fact that you're already drunk. You'll just spend tomorrow cleaning the mess hall." Ignoring Green's protests and the other's laughter of approval, it was with a small smile of thanks to Tapper as brought her another drink, the man's own mirth clear within his eyes as he handed it over. "Besides," she added, "do you really think that Felix could stop me from doing anything if I didn't want him to? You ladies just have fun, and I'll watch for tonight."
Deciding to leave it at that, lest the rest of them join the sulking Green for cleaning duty tomorrow, almost all of the others shrugged off their Sergeant's strange behavior and allowed the good mood that had been the prevailing atmosphere before she overturned their world to return, planning on laughing and drinking for as long as they could. For almost all of the others, her explanation of 'not in the mood' had been good enough for them, and so they were willing to just shrug and forget about it. For most of them, just her presence at one of their gatherings was good enough for them.
Most of them did not include Kohut, and it was not until almost an hour that everything finally clicked for the only man on the team to have, somewhere on a faraway hunk of rock he knew as home and within the programming that drove his every move, a wife and children.
"Permission to speak freely, Sergeant?"
"Permission granted," Tamora said after a moment, though not without a measure of confusion and concern for her second-in-command. He had always spoken what was on his mind, whether she wanted him to or not, so the fact that he was actually asking for her permission worried her. "What is it, soldier?"
"How far along are you?"
"That easy to guess," she asked after a moment, lowering the root beer that she had just been about to take a sip from back onto the table, well aware of the confused glances that the rest of her men were sending the two of them.
"No," he replied honestly, a small smile growing on his face. "You forget, Sarge, I've got three myself. I know what signs to look for. Now tell us, how far along?"
"Nine weeks," Tamora said with a sigh, her own smile widening to match his. "I was going to break the news to this lot after twelve."
"Mira did the exact same thing, only she waited that long to tell me." With that, Kohut let out a barking laugh that drew the attention of the rest of the squad, his teeth showing as he forcibly pulled Tamora into a hug, ignoring her protests as he raised his voice so that the rest of the bar, had they been interested, could have heard as well. "Well boys, looks like the Sarge isn't joining us because there's going to be a new little recruit joining the fight soon." Placing a friendly kiss on her cheek that, had they not been such good friends, would have ended with his nose meeting the heel of her boot, Kohut quickly ordered another round for them all, his excitement contagious as the others realized just what he meant. "Didn't think Fix-It had it in him, to be honest, Sarge."
"He was surprised himself," Tamora admitted with a laugh as Johnson, his face threatening to split in half with how large his grin was, forced another soda into her hand, already filling one of her ears with questions about gender, nursery themes, and maternity clothing. "Almost keeled over when I told him, though now I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't tried to have Wreck-It keep me from leaving the house."
"Like you said Sarge, as if he could try," Silivan said as he patted her on the back, having to raise his voice to be heard over the renewed roar of cheers as the slower members of their group discovered the news. They were drawing attention to themselves, something they normally tried to avoid when in such a group, but for that night, none of them could care. "He knows that you can take care of yourself, and, barring that, that we have your back," he continued, grinning as he bent so he could cast a critical eye at her stomach. "We're going to have to mess with the programming some once you start to show so that the players don't realize what's going on, but that won't be too hard. My only concern is-"
"I told you, Green," Markowski said just loudly enough from behind them to catch her attention, the playful taunting that was clear within his voice despite his slightly slurred words drowning out the rest of what Silivan said, "I told you that the Sarge wouldn't be content with just kisses and cuddles. Little man had to make it worth her time, if you know what I mean. So, I believe that makes me the bet winner."
"I can't believe," Green said with a disgusted sigh as he handed over a pile of bills, "that I just lost money over whether or not Fix-It actually has a d-"
Green never really got to finish his sentence, for as his words turned into a yelp of pain, Tamora had just shrugged and returned her gun to its holster, figuring that she had given him fair warning earlier that night. One bullet would not kill him, but it would sting like hell when he had to report for cleaning duty tomorrow morning.
At least he would have Markowski to help him.