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One Game at a Time

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Vanellope wants to go exploring right away.

Or that's what she says. But then she finds really important things she has to do in Sugar Rush, like fixing everything Turbo programmed wrong -- the reboot gave everybody back their memories of Vanellope, but they still remember everything how it has been too and it is weird for everyone -- and figuring out what the actual difference between a President and a Princess is. Apparently it's not just the title.

It takes Ralph a couple of weeks to realise that she's stalling.

"You'll be able to pass through now," Ralph says, putting her down in front of the gate to Game Central Station and pushing her towards it. She wobbles, but stays on her feet. "It's all fixed. You can go on right through," he adds, encouragingly.

"No, I know! I know!" Vanellope says. "I... know. Okay."

She takes a deep breath. She reaches out with one hand, tentatively at first, and then she thrusts her jaw out determinedly and pushes her arm straight through the barrier.

Everything stops.

Vanellope shouts and jumps up and down, darts towards the exit, remembers Ralph, darts back to grab his hand and pull him along, beaming all the way.

Ralph likes it when Vanellope is happy. He’s not good at friends, but he is pretty sure that this is what it feels like to have one. And part of being a friend is wanting your friend to be happy, surely?


"Name?" The surge protector pops up at the entry to Game Central Station, clipboard in hand. Ralph is outraged. He didn’t even bring anything this time! For real! The surge protector is just so prejudiced when it comes to bad guys. He is definitely going to bring this up at the next Bad Anon meeting.

"Vanellope von Schweetz!" Vanellope says proudly, bouncing on her feet. She either hasn’t seen Ralph’s expression or is ignoring it. "What's yours?"

The surge protector actually looks up at that. “What?”

“Your name, stupidhead,” Vanellope says, impatient now. “You do HAVE one, right?”

Ralph isn't entirely sure he does. It is honestly not something he has ever thought about before.

The surge protector blinks. “Er. Phil. My name is Phil.” He hesitates, clutching his clipboard. “...It's nice to meet you?”

Vanellope beams at him and skips off. Ralph waves to Phil the Surge Protector and follows her. Phil the Surge Protector has forgotten the rest of his list of questions and is still blinking after them in confusion.

Ralph feels pretty good about life in general right now.


The first place Ralph takes her to is Tapper's. Tapper isn't a friend, exactly, but he is friendly and he has good root beer.

“What is it?” Vanellope asks suspiciously, peering at her glass. It’s foaming over.

“Root beer,” Ralph says. “It’s good! You should try it!”

Zangief nods, leans over the bar and holds up his glass for Vanellope to clink against. “Cheers!”

She takes a sip. “Oh! I like this. Can I bring some to Sugar Rush?”

“Sure!” Ralph says, while Zangief and Tapper both shake their heads. Pff, what do they know?


Calhoun has her troop lined up in front of Vanellope for inspection. “Markowski!” she barks out, scowling. “Get back into formation!”

“Yes, sir, sorry, sir!”

“Troop, this is Princess--”


“President Vanellope von Schweetz. Say hello!”

“Hello President Vanellope von Schweetz!” the troop choruses obediently. They really are very fond of their commander. Her tragic backstory is their tragic backstory. The wedding between Calhoun and Felix is coming up, and they are very, very determined that the past will not repeat itself.

Kohut is in charge of the arrangements. He takes it very seriously, and has cornered Ralph at Tapper’s more than once to make sure Ralph knows exactly what he is supposed to do during the wedding. Which is to stand there and be prepared to leap at Felix and protect him with his body if cybugs or similar creatures should appear. Kohut seems to think Calhoun can take care of herself. He is probably correct.

“Everybody do this,” Vanellope demands and demonstrates.

The troop obediently do jumping jacks.

Vanellope giggles.

Calhoun looks proud.


Felix and the Nicelanders have decorated the street with banners -- WELCOME VANELLOPE!!! -- and Mary has made a cake especially for Vanellope. It looks like Vanellope’s race car crossing the finish line. Felix has been telling everybody about their adventures in Sugar Rush, and they are all very impressed.

Vanellope looks overwhelmed when she sees how much trouble they have gone to. Ralph can't really blame her. He’s a bit overwhelmed himself. He’s not used to the way the Nicelanders tend to go all out on parties. He's not used to being included in their celebrations or parties. It's nice, but it's also a bit strange still.

Apparently Vanellope's visit warrants a big party.

“Well, she's your friend,” Felix says, looking pleased. “And mine, I guess, but mostly yours. Of course everyone wants her to feel welcome!”

Vanellope feels very welcome and shows it by starting a food fight. She smushes whipped cream into Ralph’s face, giggling while she does it.

Everybody stares in shock, waiting for Ralph’s reaction.

Ralph glowers while Vanellope has a gigglefit. He considers it and picks up a piece of cake, tossing it in his hand thoughtfully, before he nails Gene in the back of the head with it. Gene jumps into the air, then spins around and glares. And that kicks off a full out food war.

Life is good.

Qbert and Deanna team up to take down everybody else. They are vicious. But magnanimous in their victory, and allows everybody to eat more cake. Apparently given half a chance Mary will bake a whole lot of cakes.



Sour Bill is waiting by the portal, looking depressed about everything. A couple of devil dogs are gamboling around.

Vanellope hugs him before Ralph can drop her onto the candy grass. “Today was AWESOME!”

“Good to hear,” Ralph says, pleased. He tries to dim the beaming grin a little. “You're still a brat with dirty hair, though.”

“Well, YEAH.” Vanellope grins back.