oh no I made a really sad thing
I’ve tricked you all with my adorable AU idea, I was just setting you up for tragedy! Okay not really, but I got this idea last night and had to do write it out.
Spoilers and sadness warning.
“No.”, she spits out between grit teeth, tears welling in her eyes. Her words waver under the weight of what he’s asked. She tries to stand tall. “I won’t do it.”
The light of the orange-tinted sky is pouring in through the stained glass windows of the throne room. The pink (salmon, but they’re not in the mood for arguing anymore) walls have turned blood red. He stands before her, hands to his chest, looking so sincere, so serious, so fragile. His body shakes and breaks apart into lines of blue coding, zeroes and ones, sometimes flashing into oddly textured jumbles of the landscape that’s supposed to be outside. The matrix of the game is exposed before her, pouring out of him like a bleeding wound. She just wishes he could stand still. He’s trying.
“S-s-sweetie”, he begins again, forcing down his spasms as best as he can. “You ha-ave to.”
“Make me!” she yells, turning on her heel and heading straight for the door.
She hears a crack of electricity and suddenly the broken king is standing right in front of her, shaking his head. The expression on his face is confusing- he’s smiling, but there’s so much worry, so much sadness in those eyes.
“Vanellope-e!” he laughs, weakly. “We can’t keep ignoring this! W-whether you like it or not, I’m d-dying!”
“No!” she screams, raising her fists. She’s hit her breaking point, and she begins to cry.
He steps forward, carefully, as she takes one step back. But no more. He closes the space between them and takes her hands in his. Her aggressive posture melts. Her shoulders slump, she lowers her head and lets the shuddering sobs take over. He quietly shushes her tears and brushes a gloved hand through her hair.
He gives her a moment before he speaks again.
“Y-you know I can’t le-eave. If our game is still broken tomorrow-w, they’ll pull the p-pl-plug.. I’m going to vanish, either way.. And I-I’d rather y-o-ou let me go the way I came.”
A loud gasp of a sob bursts from her lungs. She looks up into his eyes, and now she’s shaking too.
“I don’t want to..”
“I know, I kn-n-oOW-…”, he says, shutting his eyes as the glitching passes through. He gains stability of himself, for a moment. Only the flickering of pixels pulls at his edges.
“I know it’s tough. But sometimes- leaders have to make the tough choices. The hardest thing about being royalty is doing what’s right, n-no matter wha-aat.”
She wraps her arms around him, and she can feel the constant, jittery movement of the code in his chest. She clutches him tighter, wishing that it would help him stay solid.
“I want you to stay! I don’t want to lose you again!”, she weeps. He wraps his arms around her too, hushing calmly once again.
“You- you kids did f-fine without me before! And you’ll do fi-ine without me now..”
“No! It won’t be the same!”, she says, already starting to feel the ache of his absence.
“I know-w-w.. An-nd I’m going to m-miss you too..” He says, choking on a lump in his throat.
She holds onto their embrace as long as she can, but finally starts to ease her grip when he pulls away to look down at her. She keeps her gaze on the ground, wiping her dripping eyes and nose with her sleeve.
“But- this isn’t about me.”, he says, and she chortles. “The-ere’s a wh-hole kingdom ou-t there who n-e-eeds our help-p. T-this is their-r home to-oo..”
“S-so you’ll do it?”
She looks up, red eyes pleading for another way.
“Y-yeah..” she sniffs, wiping her face again.
She hugs him again, much weaker this time. He closes his eyes and remembers the first time he held her- not the pre-programmed memory of a princess, but the welcoming arms of his savior. His best friend. His home.
She lets him go this time, and he softly kisses her forehead.
“My-y brave, brave little girl.”, he says. “I am s-so proud of you.”
“I love you, dad..”
“I l-l-love y-you too.”
He wipes his eyes as well, still holding one of her hands as she reaches into her pocket and pulls out the small candy wrapper with a code written on it’s surface.
“Y-y-you should hurry. Th-he arca-a-aa-a-de’s going to o-open soon-n.”
She nods. Hugs him one more time, kisses his cheek, and turns to the red curtain behind the throne, and the secret corridor that lies beyond it.
He stays behind, walking slowly to one of the windows and gazing at the “Out Of Order” sign still hanging in the sky.