AN: HAPPY BIRTHDAY Calhoun-mun! I hope that you are having a wonderful day, despite having to spend it at school. Please accept this little fic as a present from a number shaped muffin. And, just so no one gets confused, this takes place sometime in Hero's Duty's backstory before the wedding. Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Wreck It Ralph. Disney does.

Kohut was acting squirrely, and Tamora didn't like it.

It wasn't often her second in command tried to keep a secret from her, the general need for honesty between them so they could both do their jobs normally a deterrent. If she wanted to avoid a coup, she needed to know that he had her back, just like he had to remain secure in the knowledge that she could lead them and eventually win this war. It helped that they were the closest thing each other had to a friend, and a desire to keep that intact went a long way to promoting truthfulness between them.

Which made it even worse that he'd been spending the last week avoiding her, the guilty look on his face whenever he scurried away from who he'd been talking to when she appeared just testing her patience with the man.

So, when Kohut requested that they take the night patrol together, Tamora had jumped at it, despite the cringe worthy fact that them being together would mean Markowski would be on his own. Figuring it would be best to beat the reason for his secrecy out of him when they were out of the way and none of their subordinates could overhear them, she allowed him to take the lead, figuring she would know when to pull him aside and begin the confrontation.

She never got the chance, for not even halfway through the patrol, he stopped and, before she could protest, unwrapped and shoved a thing into her hand.

"Kohut," Tamora said slowly, staring at the gooey, sticky, burnt, misshapen mess her second in command had just forced her to take, "what is this?"

"It's a cupcake, Sarge," the man responded, his face stoic except for the light blush that had darkened his cheeks. It was clear he wasn't proud of the treat he had handed her, but, since it was the best he could do, he was giving it to her anyway. Taking a moment to glance around, he dropped the act when he saw no one was near and reached out for her, drawing her to his side in a quick, one armed hug. "Happy birthday, Tams."

"You remembered," Tamora said softly, allowing herself to relax against him as he tightened the hug. Even she had forgotten the day had been coming up until just the evening before, reminded by a chance glance at her daily report as she was waiting for it to send. That he'd remembered, and had jumped through the necessary hoops to make her the treat, touched her. "Thanks." Breaking off a small piece for a tentative taste, it was her raised eyebrow that started his laughter, his hand ruffling her hair with brotherly affection as her nose wrinkled.

"We ran out of sugar months ago," Kohut explained as Tamora stared at the mess in her hand, fighting to keep a disgusted look from her face, "so Cook lent me some honey to make it sweet. Course, we're also out of flour, milk, non-cybug eggs, and just about everything else needed to bake, so what you've got there is a cooked ball of unsweetened cocoa powder and baking soda held together by honey and willpower. Best I could do under the circumstances."

"Just like mother use to make," Tamora deadpanned as she broke off another piece, careful to keep her face blank as she ate it. She fought giant mutant bugs each day for a living; there was no way she'd be defeated by a cupcake, no matter how much it made her stomach turn.

"Give me a piece," Kohut said after a moment, deciding to take pity on his sergeant and share the burden with her. Chuckling as half was handed to him, it took a great deal of courage, almost more than the man had, to take a bite, only to recoil a moment later and begin coughing as his throat refused to swallow and his tongue started a rebellion. Gasping as Tamora pounded him on the back to dislodge the bit, he watched in amazed awe as she took another bite of her own, seemingly unaffected by its taste. "Scott's right," he said as she wiped a crumb from her lip and licked it off her thumb, finishing the tragedy he'd given her when Kohut himself, its creator, couldn't even stand a single bite, "you really are one dynamite gal."

"Shove it, Kohut. We've got a patrol to do." Despite the actual words, Tamora's tone was gentle, even grateful for the effort he'd put into her, despite the failure it'd turned out to be.

"Course, Sarge," he replied, twisting his helmet in his hands as he prepared to put it on. "Again, happy birthday."

"Thank you." Her words, after a single moment of hesitation, were accompanied by a hug of her own, one he was quick to return before she could pull away. Hearing what she said into his ear, though, he almost wished he hadn't. "I'll have to return the favor when it's yours."

Honestly, he hoped either the war was done or the cybugs took him before that day came, for if Tamora got into the kitchen, her cooking would kill him instead.