AN: An idea that I've had locked away for a while now, but only just recently decided to write. Hopefully you all enjoy this little bit of sad fluff!
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck It Ralph. Disney does.
It was Felix who carried their glasses of sweet iced tea to where Tamora sat on their front porch, watching as the little city that had grown in Fix-It Felix, Jr. went about its day. Her hands were buried into Puffball's fur, her head tilted to rest against the pillar behind her as she observed their friends and neighbors with half closed eyes. To those characters it looked a peaceful scene, the couple people-watching to pass the Saturday afternoon.
None of them heard Felix's knees pop and creak with every step that he took, his almost seventy years of hopping for a living having finally taken its toll. None of them knew that the only reason Tamora was clutching her dog so tightly was to hide the fact that, without a gun in them, she could no longer keep her hands steady. Although her coding was only forty years old, it was more complex than her eight-bit husband's, and had begun to deteriorate earlier than his had. A constant tremble was her reward for being humanity's last hope. Even Puffball had been caught by time, speckles and spots of gray weaving themselves throughout the white puppy fur that she had never grown out of.
Although neither of them looked like it, over the years they had gotten old.
"How are you feeling today, Short Stack," Tamora asked softly as Felix set her glass beside her, everything positioned so that she only had to turn her head in order to take a sip from the straw. They had learned the hard way that she could no longer handle uncovered drinks, the number of clothes stained by her morning coffee when it had started a difficult lesson to accept. Setting his own glass down, Felix patted Puffball for a moment before responding, his eyes fixed upon the thirty year old dog instead of his wife.
"Gameplay was fine, dear. And you?"
"What about after the games were over, Fix-It," Tamora asked with a slightly harsher tone, flashing him a disapproving glance for purposely avoiding the question she really wanted to know. Both of them knew that, in the game, they were fine. When a player grabbed his control stick or picked up one of her guns, the consul itself make sure that they could do what they needed to. Her every shot was a perfect hit, her hands rock solid as they aimed and pulled the trigger to kill the monsters she and her men fought against. He could hop from level to level with the greatest of ease, his hammer in hand and his perpetual smile fixed upon his face.
It was after the game was done and they were no longer needed that was the worst.
"I'm fine, Tammy. Really, I am," Felix said with a smile, though it quickly turned into a wince as he settled himself onto the step besides her, the painful crackle of his joints loud enough for even her to hear. Ignoring the raised eyebrows and concerned look in her eyes, he gently tugged one of her hands free from Puffball's fur, a frown of his own appearing as, even when held tightly between his own, her hand still trembled. Taking a moment to remove his gloves, he began to massage the joints of her fingers, working the muscles and tendons until they had finally fallen still. "What about you," he asked as he interlaced their fingers, his other hand moving to her wrist so that he could work on the damage there. "How are you today, Tammy?"
"Fine," Tamora said gruffly, though her voice wasn't quick as rough as it could have been. It was harder for her than it was for him, to accept that their codes were finally beginning to break down. She hadn't actually thought that her game would live that long, that players would continue to put up with the high price that only ever ended in a loss after those first few weeks. Put up with it they had though, and while she was glad that she and her men hadn't been left homeless, they now had to deal with being very old. Letting out a pleased sigh as Felix firmly began to work on her arm itself, drawing out the tension that often remained there after a day of carrying her gear, it was with a kinder tone that she spoke again, though the words were hard for her to say. "I dropped a plate again today."
"I saw," Felix replied, forcing himself to sound as if it was no big deal. "I fixed it." It was the fifth thing that he had had to fix for her that week alone, and considering it was only Monday, he was starting to get worried. Even though it pained him, he could still walk, could even run and hop like he used to on one of his rare good days. Sometimes he even felt as if he had just been plugged in, a youngster ready to face his villain and save the apartment building a hundred times in a row. Tamora, however, just seemed to be getting worse, with more bad days than good and good days that weren't all that great to begin with.
"Do you think we'll see Wreck-It or the princess today," Tamora quickly asked as she felt Felix's gaze upon her, changing the subject to the other two members of their group. Time had not been quite as kind to Ralph as it had been to them, his unnaturally large size soon turning against him as gravity and a weakened code began to work together. He now walked with a perpetual hunch, seeming almost as if he was bent over to always talk to a character shorter than him. He had accepted his own aging the best though, laughing it off and pointing out that he could now walk into the apartment without destroying the ceiling. Out of them all, Vanellope had been the only one to remain in factory condition, her glitch keeping her just enough out of sync with the rest of the game that her coding never seemed to age.
They were safe topics to discuss, and ones that Tamora was quick to bring up when Felix began to focus on her a little too much for her liking.
"Probably not until after the race," Felix pointed out, forcing his hands to resume their massage as he went along with Tamora's unspoken desire. "Even then, I think Ralph said something about meeting up with Zangief first, and Vanellope had some sort of land dispute to settle with some of her subjects. It might just be the two of us tonight." Raising her hand up to his lips, he placed a kiss onto each of her fingertips before returning the appendage to her, watching as she easily flexed the now steady digits.
"You really can fix anything, can't you, Fix-It," Tamora asked softly as Felix pulled her other hand away from Puffball's fur, causing the dog to huff slightly in annoyance as she was left with an uncovered back. Shrugging in response, Felix set to work, determined to make sure that he had the same level of success with her left hand as he had had with her right. Even if his hammer couldn't help, at least this seemed to.
"We should probably head on inside, Fix-It," Tamora finally said a while later, breaking the peaceful silence that had fallen over them as they sat there, him working on her hand while she watched the foot traffic pass them by. "It's starting to get late, and this one wants to be fed." Using her free hand to scratch Puffball's ear, the dog perked up at the mention of food, eagerly jumping down from her lap to scramble up the stairs toward the door. Nodding in agreement, Felix grinned as Tamora held up her hands before her, only the slightest of trembles remaining, almost unnoticeable if they hadn't been looking for them.
"Sounds good to me, Tammy." Pushing himself to his feet, Felix bit back a groan as his knees protested the movement, the prolonged period of inactivity stiffening them. Leaning against the rail as he rubbed at them, it was only a moment later that they began to loosen up, enough that he would be able to climb the stairs into his house. Picking up the empty glasses that he had brought out with him, Felix lifted his foot-
"Come here, you."
And found himself lifted into Tamora's arms, his legs dangling as she began to climb the stairs herself.
"Did you really think I didn't notice you've been having trouble lately," Tamora asked with a raised eyebrow, tightening her grip around him as he leaned over to open the door for her so that they could go in. "There's nothing wrong with my eyes or my mind, Felix. And you're not that good of an actor."
"Sorry, Ma'am," Felix said sheepishly as Tamora carried him over into the kitchen, pausing by the sink so he could place the glasses into it before turning toward the cupboard so he could pull out the things they would need to cook. "I didn't want you to worry."
"Well, I will, even if you don't want me to," she said tersely as she placed him onto the counter, tapping him on the nose before leaving. Returning a few moments later with a heating pad in her hands, she laid it across his lap, making sure that it covered his knees before continuing in gathering the things they would need to make their meal, though she kept to the less breakable end of the scale. "We might not like it, Fix-It, but we've gotten old."
"We have," Felix replied as he reached out to grab her wrist, stopping her mid-step to pull her closer toward him. Leaning up to place a quick peck on her cheek, Felix smiled as a small grin took up residence upon her lips, the first real one he had seen all day. "We have," he repeated, "but at least we were able to do it together."
She was the one to pull him into the kiss, her hands temporarily steady as they cupped his face and the pain in his knees momentarily forgotten as they continued.