It was just another day at Tapper's. Ralph's life had gotten a lot better, now that things were on the flip side and he actually got some respect for once, but he still enjoyed hanging around the bar after a long day of wrecking and getting tossed off of the apartment building.
The back was noisy as several people were egging on a boy who was chugging a root beer, and Ralph smiled: everyone knew the amicable Sora. Bright, cheery, strong sense of morals. A protagonist through and through with eyes as blue as his namesake, spiked hair that was a warm caramel brown, and an outfit that had too many zippers and belts to be useful(but you had to admit, it looked pretty cool). He was about 15 or so now, but used to be 14 and much more dorky. Having recently gotten his sequel game available in the arcade caused a growth spurt and a surge of confidence and reassurance in his skills, but occasionally he slipped back into his younger self. It wasn't a glitch, per-se, just two copies of the same person being in one body at the same time. He often split into his older and younger selves when the day began to ensure that the players wouldn't get a "busted" game, but hung around as a "two in one" Sora when the day had ended.
Sora slammed his mug on the bar triumphantly, declaring to his onlookers "FIFTY!" He wiped his smiling mouth with pride as the crowd around him cheered and paid off bets. Several members patted his back in congrats, and he only laughed. It was a natural response from him, right in his programming. Ralph felt his eyebrow raise as the laugh faltered for the first time since he heard it. Sora's smile started fidgeting. Moments later the cheering died down as Sora quickly scooted away and dashed towards the bathroom, holding his gloved hands to his mouth and looking queasy.
Ralph shook his head. The boy could also be a bit of an idiot. Smart enough not to let his foes trick him and pretty knowledgeable in the heart and its emotions, but quite blind in some more obvious pursuits.
He heard a sigh next to him, and saw that a boy about Sora's age had silently sat down next to him. His resemblance to Sora was almost uncanny, the only difference being paler skin and blond, curvy, softer styled hair. Not to mention there wasn't any smile in his features, just a scowl of disappointment, sorrow, and envy. His clothes were also a little more like a normal kid's, but there was a black leather cloak in his lap that he gripped tight like a security blanket. He looked quite new. Sora had been around for several years at least, but the sequel to his game brought along some new faces with all the changes.
The boy glared at him "What are you looking at?" His voice was quiet, gentle, but surprisingly bitter considering its lilt that could be associated with a well behaved and reasonable person.
Ralph shrugged "Just haven't seen you before."
The boy leaned against the bar "I haven't been here. Thought it was an alcoholic bar until now." He flipped the coat, which was apparently body length, onto his shoulder. It was subtly protective, wary. Ralph made a note that he was probably an antagonist like himself, or one of those recent-ish "Anti-Heroes".
Ralph shrugged and took another swig "Eh, Tapper does sell the real stuff, just not often and not to residents with an official age that could be considered a minor. Most, like myself, prefer the root beer anyways."
They watched as Mario left to go check on Sora, the group that had egged him on looking a little worried and guilty. They murmured with concern for the boy. Ralph's companion scowled "It's all about him."
Ralph blinked "You know Sora-"
"We're from the same game." The boy snapped back, suddenly growing angrier. It was clear he didn't want to talk about it. But what got Ralph intrigued was how much he seemed to hate Sora. Ralph thought for a moment to see if there was anyone who had such resentment.
"Hey stinky breath!" A cheery voice popped out from below the tables. Vanellope was jogging over to Ralph. She jumped up, holding out her fist "Top shelf!"
Ralph smiled and fist-bumped the little girl. She smiled, jumping up onto a stool "So, who's pouty boy over here?"
The boy scooted away, murmuring with only a single word heard "...Nobody."
Vanellope only climbed up onto the bar to wrap an arm around his shoulders "Aw come on, everybody's somebody-"
"I'M A NOBODY!" Roxas yelled, shoving her away. He got off of the chair, summoning two intricate looking blades. The bar grew quiet.
"Roxas!" Sora called over to the boy, looking sad and concerned. He was recovered and about to walk over, but he wobbled a little and ended up leaning against a bar in an attempt to clear up some nausea.
Ralph turned to Vanellope, who just looked confused. She shrugged "I just wanted to make a new friend-"
"I don't have friends... Not anymore." He sounded less bitter and angry, and more sad, depressed, mourning. Roxas put both blades in one hand, resting the tips on one shoulder, and walked away when he noted Tapper walking over to ask him to leave. Sora arrived, but Roxas only brushed past him coldly, even daring to shove him and hiss "Outta my way." Sora reached after Roxas, looking guilty, but stopped himself. His look faded back into joy and cordiality, but a little troubled, and he quickly asked "Hey, I'm sorry, was he giving you any trouble?"
Ralph shrugged "Not really, we were just being friendly and he kinda exploded." Although his pointed glare to Vanellope explained some more things to Sora. He bent down to her level and asked very gently "Were you giving out those playful nicknames of yours, Vanellope? Because those can be kinda hurtful."
She put her hands behind her as she chewed on her hoodie strings thoughtfully for a moment. She spat them out, saying softly "Well, not really. I called him a 'pouty boy', but nothing REALLY hurtful-"
Sora was starting to look worried again "Was the term 'Nobody' ever brought up?"
Ralph nodded, taking another sip of root beer "Yeah, guy's a bit self-deprecating-"
Sora cut in very somberly "He literally is one."
Ralph did a spit-take in confusion, drenching the boy in soda. Sora was never one for saying such hurtful things. He treated everyone- even villains -respectfully and politely.
After Sora briefly let disgust and discomfort cross his expression, he grabbed a paper towel, wiped himself up the best he could and continued "He's... Mine, actually." He looked sad and regretful.
"How could someone literally be a nobody?" Vanellope asked, kicking her legs innocently.
Sora thought for a moment, then said "Okay, so you two have heard of a Heartless, right?"
"Um, those shadowy things that got out all over Game Central when your game was first plugged in, right?" Ralph said while motioning Tapper over to take care of the mess.
Sora nodded, although a little sheepishly at the memory. It was often referred to as a literal Day of Darkness when the monsters had accidentally escaped from Sora's game around the first day or so of it being plugged in. "Okay, well-" he stopped, seeing Vanellope's confused look "Um, shadows made from the darkness in your heart to put it bluntly- anyways, in my older game, to explain things as simply as possible, I became one to save Kairi, you know who she is right?"
Another nod from Vanellope, since she had recently become friends with the Princess of Heart, but Ralph was doubtful "Really? I mean aren't those things-"
Sora cut in bluntly, as if the subject was a little too sensitive "I got better," he lowered his shirt a little "but if you need proof I have a scar." Indeed, there was a small, white-ish, star-shaped scar over his heart.
Ralph felt a surge of admiration, and said jokingly "Dang, and I thought you and me had it rough, Vanelleope! He actually nearly died in his game." The girl only smiled wide as she leaned in "Cool! I never thought a weenie like you would get something like that!"
Sora glared at her in an amused way, then let go of his shirt and continued explaining "So, now that you've gone through Heartless 101, back to a Nobody. A Nobody is what happens when someone with a strong enough heart becomes a Heartless, however brief it is. And so by my heroic sacrifice for Kairi, I made Roxas."
He then thought briefly, and noted a girl with pale blond hair, creamy skin, icy blue eyes, and wearing a short dress walking in with Kairi. Kairi waved cheerily, but she looked worried. Sora waved back, but pointed to Vanellope and Ralph in a gesture that he was busy. She nodded, and the two girls sat down and got some root beers.
"I also... kinda made her too. Her name's Namine, and she's a Nobody of Kairi. Because, see-"
"Sweet mother Hubbard your game has gotten complicated." Ralph sighed.
Sora shrugged apologetically "Yeah, I know. Anyways, while Namine got powers over the memories of me and anyone connected to them, Roxas got nothing. Not a single memory of who he was or who I am." He thanked Tapper for the clean-up power up he received(made special for after hours), and soon his sticky residues on his clothes and face vanished.
He sighed as he leaned against the bar opposite Ralph and Vanellope and held a glass of water, presumably for comfort "I don't know much, since he's not saying a whole lot about what's been going on with his backstory, but I do know he only was around for a year, and ended up losing his friends. Heck, at the beginning, he eventually rejoins me. He's been told over and over that he's not his own person, and generally treated like a puppet from what I gather."
Ralph and Vanellope cringed.
"Ouch. Poor kid."
"That's some rotten pudding."
Sora took a drink of water and nodded with a sad smile "Glad you two understand." He looked up thoughtfully "Now that I think of it, he was probably triggered by your lack of understanding. For a Nobody, he feels some pretty powerful stuff..." He trailed off, like there was a theory of his own forming.
He then smiled and walked away "Just be a little more gentle with him next time. It was nice talking with ya Ralph, now I'll go try and explain stuff to him." He stopped and turned back "Hey, he's had some trouble making back up with his friend. He's still got that freshness from being recently plugged in, so... Could you guys help him out? He acts like he wants nothing to do with me, no matter how hard I've tried."
Ralph nodded "Can do. It's the least I can do since you helped everyone else see me for who I am."
Sora laughed "Oh come on! Saving Sugar Rush and the rest of the arcade?! I was just helping things along, nothing big."
He walked off, setting aside the glass as he sat next to Kairi and explained some things. Then he nodded in interest as Namine made a few gestures and explained things to him. Shortly after he got up and left with a quick wave goodbye.
Vanellope leapt up onto Ralph's shoulder "Say, I think we should go apologize, that was kinda mean now that we know what he was thinking." Ralph smiled, and they left to go apologize.
They found Roxas sulking on a bench, now wearing his cloak with the hood drawn over as much as possible. Vanellope rushed over "Hey, we didn't mean anything hurtful mister Roxas!"
He bolted up, blinking from underneath the dark shadows of his hood. There was at least a single tear track on his cheek.
Ralph spoke up "Hey, we were just trying to be friendly-"
He sank back against the bench, cutting Ralph off "I know... You didn't know what a Nobody was, I was just lashing out."
He suddenly blinked, and reached into a pocket and pulled out a letter. He scowled at it, hissing in annoyance "When will he quit messing around with MY inventory?!" He then unfolded it, undoing his hood to read it.
his irritated look faded.
He blinked, reading it again.
He then smiled, and looked at Vanellope and Ralph sheepishly "I'm the one who should be apologizing. I didn't realize you two were THE Wreck-It-Ralph and President Vanellope Von Schweetz." He laughed a little "You guys saved my bacon before it was even here!"
It was Ralph's turn to be awkward "Oh please, it was nothing..."
Sora sauntered over, grinning triumphantly "You got my letter?"
Roxas scowled "Yeah, thanks for messing with MY inventory."
Sora laughed "Roxas! It's OUR inventory! You just have limited access, and it's not that hard for me to put a letter in your parts."
Roxas sighed "I don't trust you messing around in my stuff-"
"It's not like I can wipe out your code or anything Roxas! You're always gonna be you, nobody else, okay?"
Roxas stared at him blankly, like he didn't realize he had just heard that.
Sora glanced over his shoulder to see Kairi and Riku(who had gotten a considerable growth spurt along with a drastic change in personality) and he waved goodbye to them "I told Kairi that me and Riku would join her for yoga in Wii Fit, so I'll see you guys later!"
He rushed off, tackling both of his friends in a bear hug. Roxas sighed with envy "He always has them."
"So you're under appreciated?" Ralph asked "Know the feeling, bud."
Roxas laughed "Both in here, out there... Although some players do say they love me." He sighed "It just hurts when I have to go through the whole trauma conga line all over again. Having to go through some blissful ignorance, then recall everything, then worry if I've gone crazy, then right when I'm done grasping at straws I have to go back to Sora."
He said bluntly "Summer Vacation SUCKS."
They smiled back "Hey, feel free to talk with us, maybe game jump over to Fix-It-Felix-"
"-or Sugar Rush!"
"anytime." Ralph paused, then added "Not ANY time, but you know..."
Vanellope then added "Don't worry, you can always be my special guest! I'll make sure you're always treated well. No fudge-heads are gonna pester you about anything, pouty boy."
Roxas stood, nodding. He then looked around, and spotted an older man, although still quite young, with a fiery head of ruby red hair and wearing the same cloak. He shook his head "Dumb programming has gotten my thoughts muddled up. I should go apologize to him."
Ralph asked "So he's a friend of yours?"
"Yeah, just... Things get kinda rocky and tense in-game. I got a little bitter towards him, he's gotten bitter towards me, now we won't talk with each other even when the day's done." Roxas smiled at them hopefully- a full out, Sora level smile "But maybe we can still be friends after hours."
Roxas dashed up "HEY! AXEL!"
He looked surprised to see Roxas tackle him.
Ralph and Vanellope smiled as the friends reformed their bond. Vanellope remarked "Hey, I guess you can fix stuff too!"
Small headcanon of mine that Litwak's rents out game time on consoles. Ahhh KH2 prologue. That would be fun to relive.