Fandom: Disney's Wreck-It Ralph
Words 1437 words
Characters/Pairing: Vanellope von Schweetz, King Candy, other Sugar Rush racers
Summary: Vanellope wakes up with a glitch in her code and few memories other than her name.
Prompt: 100_women 092: "Closed" (as in, all doors are being closed to her).
Disclaimer It's all Disney's.
Notes: Wow, four days off a year since I last posted any fic. It's good to be back.
The ground was uncomfortable and when the small girl lying on it opened her eyes, she didn’t recognise her surroundings. Huh. Well, that was odd. Maybe she’d been racing and had crashed… yeah, that must have been it… but… if she’d been racing, where was her car, or at least the remains of it? And why was she stuck out here? Why hadn’t she reset and been sent back a nearby checkpoint? In fact, where had she ever been before she wound up here?
She sat up and rubbed her neck. “Okay,” she said to herself, “start with what you know. My name is…” She had to think for a second, but then it came to her, “Vanellope von Schweetz and I’m…” What was she? A racer? Something inside her told her that was the right answer, but she couldn’t be sure. She tried to think about driving, but she couldn’t focus on the mechanics; she had no idea how to drive. Maybe not a racer, then.
She could hear the whir of other motors in the distance, and stood up. If she couldn’t remember who she was, maybe there was someone else in the Kingdom who could help her. She began walking, but froze a moment later when a shudder rippled through her whole body. For a second, her physical form was replaced with blue binary, just rows of numbers and code. It only lasted a second, maybe even less, but she stood still in the moment following, waiting to see if it happened again. When it didn’t, she started walking again, and finally found herself coming up behind the stands that lined each side of the race track near the start and finish lines.
There stood, one hand on the bottom of the stand, watching as the race cars zoomed by one by one and crossed the finish line. Her eyes widened; it looked so exciting! How could she not be a part of that?!
As the race finished, she ran forward, eager to talk to the other racers and see if there was any way she could take part. The strange shudder coursed through her again but she ignored it. She ran up to the nearest driver, a girl with short, blonde hair. She reached out to tap the girl on the shoulder and get her attention and just at that moment the shudder passed through her a third time. Vanellope’s hand passed straight through the other girl’s shoulder, causing her to jump and spin around. Well, Vanellope had succeeded in getting the girl’s attention, but the look on her face when she saw Vanellope was so sour that Vanellope wasn’t sure this was such a good idea.
Still, too late now. Vanellope took a quick, deep breath and then quickly blurted, “Hi! I’m Vanellope von Schweetz.” She stuck out her hand. The blonde girl just looked from Vanellope’s hand to her face, and then started at her for a moment, her expression not becoming any less disdainful.
“I’m sorry, who?” she said when she finally spoke.
“Vanellope von Schweetz,” she repeated, “I just saw you race. You were amazing! And so I was just wondering if you could…” She trailed off when she realised the other girl was checking over her car, and not paying the slightest bit of attention to what Vanellope was saying. She raised her voice a little and continued, “So I was just wondering if you could show me how to race.”
The blonde girl looked up again. This time her expression wasn’t sour, but the smile on her face wasn’t exactly pleasant either. “Look, Vanellope, was it?” Vanellope nodded. “Vanellope, are you even supposed to be down here?” Vanellope opened her mouth to argue, but the other girl cut her off. “Maybe you should be up in the stands with the other non-racers.”
She didn’t even give Vanellope a chance to respond before she turned on her heal and went to join some of the other racers who were basking in the applause from the spectators. For a brief moment, Vanellope considered following the girl’s advice, but then she stamped her foot and ran after her into the group of racers. She couldn’t give up this easily if she really wanted to be a racer.
She worked herself into the middle of the group and then called as loudly as she could, “Excuse me! Is there anyone here who can show me how to race?!”
All the racers turned slowly to look at her. A short man with a face like an upside down egg, wearing a plum-coloured coat and a small crown, walked up to her and stared very closely at her.
“What have we here?” he asked, his voice bubbly but somehow unsettling at the same time, “I don’t think you’re supposed to be down here, are you?” His voice seemed to strongly suggest that she should agree with him, and he eyed her suspiciously, though Vanellope didn’t know why.
“My name’s Vanellope von Schweetz,” she said, “who are you?”
A collective snicker made its way through the group of racers. “Duh, he’s King Candy,” said a girl who was clearly part of the same group as the girl Vanellope had spoken to earlier.
“King Candy?” Vanellope repeated, squinting at the small man. There was part of her that was sure this was the case, that this man had always been King Candy and there was nothing to question, but a smaller, niggling part at the back of her mind told her that there was something wrong with this picture. She just wished she could put her finger on what it was.
As she and the King stared at one another, Vanellope saw her hands flicker into binary again out of the corner of her eye. She was learning to ignore it now, it was clearly just something that she did, something in her programming, but the King stepped back from her with a loud gasp, placing his hand over his heart dramatically.
“A glitch!” he exclaimed theatrically, his voice becoming even more high-pitched than it had been. A murmur ran through the crowd of both racers and spectators, growing louder with worry as the word spread.
A glitch? Well, that explained why her body kept flickering into binary, and also why she didn’t remember anything, she supposed.
“Um…” she began, “that aside, I can still race, though, right?”
She looked at King Candy hopefully. At first, she thought he had started choking, but then the sputters he was emitting turned into full-blown laughter. The other racers chuckled politely.
Vanellope frowned. “Did I say something funny?” she asked, crossing her arms.
The King tried to regain his composure, but it seemed every time he tried to look Vanellope in the eye, it set him off again. It was only when she frowned really hard at him that he finally took a few deep breaths and calmed down.
“Sweetheart,” he said, placing an arm around Vanellope’s shoulders; she resisted shrugging it off since he probably thought he was being nice, even if it did just come across as a bit creepy. “A glitch like you can’t race. What would the players think?”
Vanellope didn’t know. “What would they think?”
The King sighed and then explained, “They’d start to think the game was broken. You don’t want us to get unplugged, do you?”
“No,” she admitted begrudgingly.
“Then we are in agreement,” the King declared, patting her shoulder, “so I think it would be best if you left now, Vanellope, dear.” He gave her a push back towards the candy terrain she’d come from.
She turned back to him. “But where can I go?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” King Candy replied, already turning to walk back to the other racers, and just waving dismissively in Vanellope’s direction, “find a nice… candy tree or something.”
For a while, Vanellope just stood where he had left her, once again watching from behind the stand as the racers began driving their cars away from the track. When they had all disappeared out of sight, turned on her heel and began trudging back to the place where she had been when she had woken up earlier.
“You’ll see,” she muttered to herself as she walked, “I’ll race one day, glitch or no glitch.” She flopped down under a candy tree and hugged her knees to her chest. “I’m supposed to race, I know it!” She flinched as she glitched again, and then looked up through the branches of the tree she was underneath, declaring determinedly, “I can feel it in my code.”