AN: Okay, first I need to say sorry for a lot of different things. Sorry that this is so late for Father's Day. I actually wrote it on Father's Day and needed to edit it and everything. Sorry if this is bad. It's my first time really writing Ralph and Van, so sorry if they're out of character, and I also really had no plan for this. It just kind of…happened, so sorry! Still, I hope that you enjoy this. Happy late Father's Day!
Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck It Ralph. Disney does.
When Vanellope asked Ralph through Sour Bill to meet her at Diet Cola Mountain, he didn't ask questions. Having grown used to the princess-turned-president's antics, he had just shrugged, sighed, thanked the grumpy little ball of candy for delivering the message, and headed on out to find his friend.
He also made sure to grab one of the Oreo guard's spears as he left, for if Vanellope's 'surprise' was anything like the last time she had asked him to show up somewhere without planning it before hand, he was going to need it. She was a good kid, she really was, but she just didn't seem to completely understand how trying to outrun a stampede of furious unicandycorns wasn't fun.
By the time he reached the mountain and saw her waving at him from between the two sugar free lollipops, though, Ralph wasn't quite so sure Van's plan involved some sort of mayhem. She was normally in her kart by now, screaming at him to jump on as the avalanche started or the sugar sheep broke through the fence, her impish grin as the danger began almost enough to make him regret having crawled out of bed that day. Now she just seemed anxious, her nervous energy enough to blur the edges of her outline as he slowly lumbered to her side.
If he hadn't known any better, Ralph would have almost thought she was scared.
"Took you long enough, Stinkbrain," Vanellope called out with a mock glare once he was a few feet away, springing from the ground to his shoulder so she could lean her arms against his head. "Thought you were never going to get here."
"Well," Ralph replied, his growl turning into a chuckle as she started playing with his hair, "I would have been here a lot sooner if a certain President Fartfeathers had told me that we were meeting here instead of the castle at lunch like she was supposed to." Instinctively ducking his head as he entered the cavern, he glanced at the racer from the corner of his eye, an eyebrow arched at the lack of a comeback. "Everything okay, kid? What happened to going to see if the chocolate roses bloomed last night?"
"Yeah, we can still do that," Van shrugged, keeping her eyes on the thick lock she was trying to twist into a braid, "but I wanted to show you something else first. Still remember where I used to live?"
"Course. How could I forget that dump?" His words were teasing, drawing the desired glare and stuck out tongue from his companion, but he still couldn't hide the slight hint of worry within his tone. As far as he knew, this was the first time Van had come back to the mountain since they had moved all of her things to the castle, preferring to spend her days game jumping or racing with the other Sugar Russians than in the warm, moist darkness of her former home. Clearly he hadn't been as observant as he thought he had, for Van waved him on a moment later, her motions a silent order for him to continue.
"Well, it's not that much of a dump anymore, not since the lava burned all the trash away. Anyway, I've been working on something I want you to see. Just keep going; you'll know it when you see it."
"I swear," Ralph groaned as he followed her instructions, keeping a watchful eye on the mentos above and the boiling lava below in case he had to dodge the splatter, "if I have to wrestle a wild gummy bear again, I'm…" His words trailing off into silence as he reached the nook the little girl had once called home, Ralph couldn't help it as he just stood there and stared at what Vanellope had wanted to show him.
The place was still a dump; there was no question about that. Even after the lava had burned and melted away the filth and debris that had cluttered up the corner the princess had claimed as her own, candy critters still crawled along the ground, dragging in and moving around pieces of broken track to create their lairs and homes. It didn't help that it looked like he had thrown a temper tantrum in there, broken eight-bit tools mixing with what looked like twisted pieces of high definition metal scatted across the floor. Seeing his stare, Van glitched to the floor and began kicking her mess out of the way, a muffled ramble falling from her lips as her face flushed red.
"Hammer Time lent me the tools, and Sarge gave me everything else. Heh. Turns out HD beats eight-bit any day, though it's not like we didn't already know that. How she hasn't broken him yet, I don't even wanna…"
Ralph's attention, however, was not on the mess the little girl was trying to clean up, nor was it even on the child herself. Instead, it was the crudely made and painted crown that was sitting on a marshmallow pillow in the middle of it all with his name on it that had captured and held his gaze.
"Vanellope, what is…"
"It's a crown, d'oi," Vanellope groaned, rolling her eyes as she pointed to the name jaggedly engraved into the side, "I made it for you."
"Well," she said slowly, pushing her hands into her hoodie pocket so he couldn't see her fiddling with them, "there's a holiday coming up in the player's world, and all the other Racers have people to celebrate it with. I don't." Shooting him a warning look to cut off Ralph's automatic speech about how she had an entire kingdom of people who would want to celebrate whatever crazy thing the players were doing now, Vanellope waited until it was clear he wasn't going to speak to continue, her eyes watching the progress of a chocolate covered ant as she spoke. "It's a celebration for dads, and, well, I don't have one anymore."
"Kid…" It had hurt to find out King Candy had actually been a character before Turbo's interference, his design and animations altered to fit the eight-bit racer beyond repair when he had game jumped. There had been nothing they could do to reprogram him after the reset had wiped everything having to do with Turbo clean, which had only made Vanellope's newest set of memories that much harder to bear.
"It's okay, Ralph," she said, a faint smile appearing at his tone. "Really, it's okay."
"But you know what," she cut him off again, raising her head to look at her friend, "I asked Sour Bill, and while it would only be symbolic and not legal and a hundred other things I can't remember, he said that I could. If I really, really wanted to, I could have a dad again. So long as he agreed, that is. And so long as the king's crown is big enough to fit his fat head."
"Which is why I made this," Vanellope hurried to say, the edges of her outline blurring again as she eagerly pointed to the different part of the crown, her voice containing a slight wobble as she did so. "It's covered with sugar paint, so you'll fit in with the rest of the game, but I made it out of scraps from Hero's Duty." For a moment she paused to giggle at the game's name, the most relaxed she had been since they'd entered the volcano. "Not even you could break it, ham hands, and if you decide to accept then we can have a ceremony and a party to make it official, but if you don't that's still okay, because you're my best friend and I-"
"Hey, kid," Ralph cut her off for once, his hand closing around her head to keep her from talking. "Breathe for a moment, okay?" Kneeling down so he was level with her, he waited until she nodded to remove his fingers, his tone gentle as he saw the hesitant look in her eyes. As confident as his little Vanellope was, she was still scared of being rejected. Even from him. "How about you actually ask me what it is you want to ask me."
"What do you say, Ralph, my man, my main man," Vanellope asked quietly, hopefully picking up and holding the crown out to him. "Be my dad for Father's Day?"
"Kid," Ralph replied just as softly, taking the crown and putting it to the side so he could pick her up, "I'll be your dad any day."
The smile on her face and the hug that followed was all he ever needed, but as Vanellope helped him balance the overly large crown on his ears to keep it from covering his eyes, Ralph decided that the daughter that came with them was the best extra life feature he ever could have found. And he was going to keep it.
Besides, being called King Daddy Stinkbrain wasn't as bad as he thought it'd be.