AN: Well, this was unexpected. I finished posting 'Pictures,' and realized that, in order to properly tell the story, this mini-series would need three more one-shot. This is the first of those three, and actually the last one to be written. Hopefully you all like it, despite its quality (I kind of wrote this at two in the morning, to be honest), and believe that its fits within the universe that's been created. Thank you, and have a wonderful day!
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck-It Ralph. Disney does.
Sometimes, when he thought that he was alone, a state he was finding more and more common as his nearly grown daughter spent her time with her friends instead of at home, Felix like to pull out the old disk that had been given to him and Tamora as a wedding gift, place it into the old, dusty player that had not been used regularly in many years, and dance.
It had been a gift from the toads that had played musician at their reception, a collection a songs from each of the games that had fit the occasion with a few of their own creation thrown in as well. They had been exited to give it to them, for never before had the creatures thought to put their remarkable voices together to create the kinds of melodies that others could enjoy, instead having, until their performance at the wedding, remained fixed upon creating for their own enjoyment. Having seen what they could do together, they had quickly created a band of sorts, practicing for weeks until, finally, they felt comfortable enough to record and present the couple with the disk.
Both of them had loved it, and when Tamora had still been there, they had often played it when neither wished for silence.
There was a fairly large medley of tunes that had been added to the disk, the most numerous of which were bouncier almost dance mixes, perfect for the party or two that they had never gotten around to holding. These were the songs that Felix most often found himself half-hopping to as he wandered around his house, cleaning and repairing anything that the aging house needed fixed. They were the ones that he found himself enjoying the most, reminding him of a time not too long ago when his nights had been spent partying with his friends instead of waiting up until the dawn hours of the morning to make sure his wild teenager of a child came home. Whenever he listened to the disk, he would often find himself humming them under his breath as he dodged bricks and ducks while at work, pitching his voice so that none of the words could be heard over his own game's theme.
They were common, they were ordinary, and they were the easiest to listen too, for in their normalcy there was nothing to make them painful.
There were other songs that he found himself swaying to when they began to play, slower, orchestral pieces that the toads had been able to masterfully recreate, giving their otherwise rasping voices a wooden tone to imitate the instruments. Without his permission, his feet would slide into the proper steps, carrying him through the house in a waltz-like fashion, though time had allowed him to forget many of the moves he had worked so hard to memorize. These he would make up, stumbling through something close to the proper style the he truly could no longer care about matching. It was not about the dance itself, but the images that came to mind when he allowed himself to remember.
However, there was one song that, if he could get to the player quickly enough, he would always skip, allowing a moment between the one before and the one that was to come after to catch his breath and relax, suppressing the memories that were associated with it. Felix knew, for a fact that, if he was to listen to the song that had played during their first dance as husband and wife, he would be lost. However, sometimes, when he was focusing more on where to place his feet so that he did not stumble over the pile of books his daughter had left in the hallway, he forgot what was to come, and so was struck when the first cords began to play.
"Dad, I'm home," her voice called out just as the first note had finished playing, its fading echo a pain in his chest as he struggled to breath. There were very few things that could send his heart aching the way it was, having accepted long ago that the constant throb was to be his companion until his coding expired, but he had learned the hard way that this song was one of the few things that could, one of the few that could leave him in this kind of state. Cursing silently under his breath as he rubbed at his eyes, his daughter's voice breaking the spell that the haunting melody had cast over him, Felix quickly bounded over to where the disk player was sitting, his fingers fumbling as he tried to press the switch that would turn it off. Finally managing it, he turned towards the door, forcing a smile as he watched his child slid off her coat and fully enter their home.
"You're here early," he said with a raise of his eyebrow, his smile becoming a little more real as he watched her totter on one leg as she tried to tug off her boots while still standing, a skill that she had never been able to quite master due to her lack of balance. Chuckling as he bounced over to her side, reaching it just in time to give her the small push she would need to remain upright, it was with a sigh that he waited for her to respond, giving her a true question to answer in case she had not picked up on his earlier invitation to talk. "I though you and the others were going to be spending the rest of the day boarding down the side of Ice Cream Mountain." Even as the words left his lips Felix winced, forcing the image of his child doing something so dangerous from his mind. Besides her mother's high definition, height, and good looks, she had also inherited her daredevil personality, one that he had learned long ago was almost impossible to curb.
She had her mother's spirit, and so long as she agreed to come home each night and at least try to stay safe, Felix would let her live her life as she wished, even if it scared the dickens out of him.
"We were, but I decided to come home instead," she said with a grunt that quickly turned into a sigh as she finally maneuvered the still knotted boot from her foot, placing it next to the other on the porch so that the sugared ice stuck to their bottoms could melt without ruining the floors. Bending over so that she could place a kiss on his cheek, it was with a smile that she threw her coat over the back of the nearest chair, stretching as she forced back a yawn. "What were you listening to," she asked curiously, her hand automatically reaching for the player, "just now, when I was walking in, what was that song?"
Before he could finish his word, before he could prepare himself for the sound that was about to shatter the fragile walls that he had been able to work around his heart, his daughter flipped the switch and filled the room with music.
"It's the song your mother and I first danced to at our wedding," Felix finally said after a while, his head bowed as he listened to the almost forgotten notes that still occasionally played within his mind when the silence was too loud. "I…I haven't listened to it in a long, long time." Sniffing, he reached past her to turn off the player once again, though this time he was stopped by her fingers wrapping around his wrist.
"Dance with me, Daddy," was all she said before pulling him into a twirl, her movements purposely out of sync with the song playing in the background. Catching himself before he could fall, it was with a surprised laugh that Felix allowed her to take the lead, hopping and jumping to keep up with her random sways and careless steps as she tugged him through the house, farther and farther from the song that seemed almost determined to follow them. Reaching the door that opened into their back yard, it was with narrowed eyes that she pushed it open and swung the two of them onto the lawn outside, their bare feet sinking into the cool grass as they continued to spin and twirl, laughing as they quickly grew dizzy. Releasing their holds on each other's hands, it was while gasping for air that they fell to the ground, their legs unable to support them as they fought to reclaim their breaths.
Even when their sides no longer hurt and they could breathe without gasping, the two still just sat there, silently enjoying each other's company like they had not in quite some time.
"Why don't you ever talk about Mom," she eventually asked, tilting her face towards the soft night's breeze as the music from the house, a different track this time, drifted out to reach them, creating a background that conflicted with the neural tone of her voice. Sighing, having known that her sudden outburst of childish antics were not just for him, Felix tried to navigate away from the topic before him, instead pointing out the obvious.
"I have," he edged, though at the look she sent him he could not help but sigh again, bringing up one of his knees so that he could rest his chin upon it. He had talked about Tamora many times before, but the words he had said had always been simple, things that anyone could have told her about the woman who had given birth to her. He had been careful over the years to avoid the harsher of memories that still lived within his mind, and his reason was simple. "It hurts," he said with a small shrug, refusing to meet his daughter's gaze as one of his hands pressed against the still sore spot on his chest. "It still hurts when I think about her too much, so I don't. I focus on you instead," he said with a soft smile, turning so that he was half facing her as he spoke those words.
"I know," she said softly as she reached out to hold his hand, her fingers still cold from the ice cream snow she had been playing with earlier that day, "but these are things I need to know, Dad. How was I supposed to know that that song would make you upset," she pointed out reasonably, jerking her head over her shoulder towards the still open door, where music was still faintly audible from the player. "Plus, even if it's just little bits at a time, I would like to know who she was, what she was like before."
"She never liked to dance," Felix said after a few moments with a small laugh, remembering the many times he had had to drag Tamora out onto the floor during a party so that she could be his partner. "You received a love of that from me. But she was good at it, even when she had no clue what she was doing." Pushing himself to his feet, it was with a smile that he offered her his hand, helping to tug her from the grass so that she was standing beside him. However, instead of releasing her the moment she stood, he only tightened his grip around her fingers so that he could pull back towards the house. "Would you like to listen to her favorite song?"
"Only if you'll dance to it with me, Daddy. Only if you'll dance with me."
So he did.