A/N: Words that are italicized within double quotes indicate flashbacks.

This story contains massive spoilers for the climax of Ralph Breaks the Internet, so if you haven't watched that, then maybe you should steer clear.

By the way, trigger warning — this fic gets really tragic and feel-sy, especially if you adore Vanellope and her relationship with Ralph. So uh… yeah, you have been warned. :(


Chapter 1: Initializing Full Scan

The antivirus district.

"I have found two results for 'what should I do if an evil virus clone of me is trying to catch my best friend?'. Either you put all of the clones in therapy-ahem, not very feasible, mind you… or you can eliminate them by using antivirus software from the antivirus district of the internet. If you can lure the entire swarm of viruses that are chasing your friend to that secure place, you could delete them all at once!"

I'd learnt a valuable lesson the hard way — never trust someone's plan without first dissecting it to pieces. The thing was, Mr. Knowsmore's plan really did sound like a good idea on paper for getting rid of a plethora of purple gelatinous-like Ralph viruses that was devastating the entire internet.

I mean, come on! You've got to admit that the idea did sound as though it was somewhat feasible, at the very least. Even skeptical ol' me, sucker that I was and desperate for any way to get rid of the swarm of purple Ralphs who were chasing after me, fell for Knowsmore's plan as well — hook, line, and sinker.

And that was the reason I was currently glitch-teleporting from building to building, daring the huge fifty-foot Ralph monster to "come and get me" so that I could lure them all into the antivirus program and save the entire internet… and my own skin as well. Because you see, the purple viruses were all chasing after me out of some insidious self-need that they wanted fulfilled, or some other dumb reason.

Admittedly, the part where the giant virus monster was specifically chasing after me on foot was sorta improvised, kind of like how I usually had to think on my feet during the many Random Roster Races held daily within Sugar Rush in the past.

I shake my head, firmly ejecting those unwanted thoughts from my mind and tossing them away like used candy wrappers. All in the past, remember? Don't be a dolt, Vanellope! You've left it all behind you!

A wistful sigh left my mouth. Well, unless I got rid of the needy, clingy virus who was chasing after me, I wouldn't have a past to reminiscence… let alone a future to dream about.

So back on topic, the actual plan was for me to be calmly sitting in the comfortable web browser owned by Yesss—the Buzzztube chief search algorithm—while we all zipped off to the antivirus district with the monstrous Ralph following me… ahahahaha!

Sorry, I couldn't say that with a straight face. Honestly, it was so much more efficient to let the enormous thing chase me on foot. Plus, that was also the more exciting plan. Woo!

I could taste salt on the tip of my tongue as beads of sweat trickled down my cheeks. The fun, the exhilaration, the thrill of the chase… now this was what I lived for.

It was what I was coded for!

"Hey, mister!" I jerk my head around, feeling the cool wind blowing against my face. "You wanna be my friend, don'tcha?"

The question cut through the air, hitting the beast where it hurt. Flashing the giant purple mess beneath me a somber grin, I use the opportunity to disappear with a flash and reappear on top of a building five blocks away. "You want us both to be as inseparable as low-fat milk is to my creamy Oreo guards back at my castle, huh?" I pose the question to the mindless beast, my voice echoing throughout the vicinity.

It nodded in a desperate fashion, moving its head so vigorously that a few smaller chunks of the not-Ralph virus (I don't care what anyone says, that's my nickname for it from now on) fell off the head portion and ended up being absorbed into its upper shoulder blades.

Well, it looked like it was just about time to deliver the gut-punch to not-Ralph. I playfully tousled with my hair, a casual twirl of the candy-coated bangs by the sides of my face.

A cheeky chortle could be heard from a distance of over ten blocks away by any hapless bystanders who hadn't already fled as I rambunctiously mocked the monster that was on my tail. "Hee hee! Oh man, you should have seen the look on your face when ya actually believed that I'd just stand there and let you get me! Oh man, it was priceless!"

The giant beast appeared confused when it heard me jeering at it. I suppressed the urge to facepalm when it shot a hurt, yearning look towards me, unable to comprehend that I was actually taunting it.

Well, if it wanted to play dumb, then so be it! I would simply explicitly spell it out until his puny little brain couldn't deny the facts. "Hey!" I proceed to holler at not-Ralph, "You really think that I'm gonna let you be my friend so easily? Don't make me laugh my pants off, Major Body Odor… multiplied by… however many of you there are inside your combined… hey, how many of you are inside that gigantic mushy pile, anyway? I don't actually know…"

Finding my words trailing off as my verbal jab backfired, I clear my throat and hastily make an attempt to recover. "Ahem! Anyway… if you want me, I'm afraid that you're gonna have to catch me first, guh-doyyyy~" I drawl my words out for emphasis while glitching to the next building—which was colorfully decorated with a sign that I think said something about 'Googles'—momentarily pausing my getaway to briefly give the giant monster a smug smirk while I remained cutely perched on the parapet of the blue-tinted structure.

As the raging not-Ralph monster furiously charged towards me, causing massive collateral damage to the surrounding area and any poor buildings which were unfortunate enough to be situated around it, I perk up and make sure to stand upright on the parapet, a cocky grin firmly upon my visage as I snidely add on to my earlier taunt.

"That is, if you can actually get ahold of me! Ahahaha! Bring it on! There's no one out there who can catch President Vanellope von Schweetz—" I make sure to thrust both of my arms outwards with absolutely no restraint whatsoever as I formally announce my full title, "—on or off the race track! And yes, not even you are an exception to this rule, Stinkbrain! Prepare to eat my dust, ya big dummy! Pffffttttthhh!"

Okay, maybe sticking my tongue out at the giant monster that was chasing me wasn't exactly the brightest of my ideas. But the mischievous streak within me meant that I simply couldn't resist the temptation given the opportunity. And besides, the gesture was worth it for the look on everyone's face alone — the real Ralph, who was sitting in Yesss' personal web browser hovering at a safety distance of about a hundred meters away, almost looked like he was about to faint. And puke. Awww, that goofball.

It really was a shame that by contrast, the giant combined not-Ralph monster appeared to be positively furious upon seeing the admittedly rude gesture that I'd directed towards it. A bellowed "fffrrriiieennnnddd" as it swiped its arm and wrecked the area which I had been standing at three seconds prior was my cue to resume my dash to safety.

Man, was that thing persistent. I pointedly scowl, pushing aside my hair as it got in the way. "That shade of ugly purple doesn't fit you, you know?" I mull, placing a finger to my chin as I ponder about the topic on hand. "Hm… I'm thinking that a nice tinge of lavender would be a better color for you. Yep, you'll definitely need some lavender air freshener to suit your stinky breath! Ahahahahaha!"

The suggestion-cum-insult didn't even faze the howling monster behind me, causing me to groan in displeasure. Hey, at least I thought that my joke was kinda funny! But soon, I perk up, grinning triumphantly when I finally see my intended destination closing in on me.

The antivirus district.

I swiftly glitch myself to the main lobby of the locale, filled to the brim with antivirus programs, letting out a small whoop of victory as I arrive.

Said victory cry didn't last very long, however.

"Yow!" A pained wince was forced from my lips as I swivel around. Instead of marveling at the sight of the antivirus district, I was forced to squeeze my eyes shut in pain. The entire place was a glistening white, gleaming so brightly that my squinting eyelids didn't protect me from the full force of the glare, forcing me to shield my eyes with one hand.

Geez, it was almost like someone applied polishing fluoride toothpaste on every single surface in the vicinity!

"Cripes, which nutcase turned on all the lights in this bloomin' place?" Still blinking my eyelids from the blinding light, I proceed to jot down a mental note in my head. If I ever went back to Sugar Rush, I was going to personally get rid of every single tube of polishing toothpaste that Rancis had on his person. After knowing that rascal for a good six years, I was absolutely positive that polishing the very area that he stepped foot in was totally a thing that the self-conscious Rancis would do.

"So this place is supposed to get rid of any viruses, huh?" I murmur while pacing about, "Wonder how it works…"

"Not-ron™ Internet Security Suite has been initialized. To begin a full virus scan, please execute via vocal command."

"Sweet!" I pump my fist and do a little twirl in the air as I hear a female robotic voice drone over the loudspeakers. "This antivirus thingamajig is voice-controlled! Oh, I so got this! You're going down!"

In retrospect, I should have realized that Knowsmore's plan had gone perfectly. Too perfectly. In layman's terms, that meant it had been executed a little too easily. But in the heat of the moment, my mind was more focused on the fact that I'd arrived at my intended destination without so much as a scratch instead of the unusual turn of good fortune I've had.

"Heh heh heh…" I couldn't resist a chuckle when I finally saw not-Ralph approaching from the horizon. "Gotcha, you little sucker." I tap my foot impatiently against the ground as I awaited its approach. "Man, this is like taking candy from a baby."

The next few seconds as I waited for it to fall into the trap were agonizing. "Come on, now… just a little closer. Hurry it up, you slowpoke…" While waiting for the big lug to get in position, I tentatively chew on the bright red licorice strings of my mint-green hoodie.

Finally, not-Ralph neared. I watched with bated breath as it finally stormed up the steps that led up to the antivirus district. I have to admit… the virus Ralph was actually kind of intimidating up close, when I wasn't fleeing from it with the help of my glitch ability.

As it angrily strode within the boundaries of the district, I proceed to wave at not-Ralph with a brutal smile, before slipping my hands into the pockets of my trusty hoodie and giving the virus a slight bow. "Heh! I totally have you now, Ralphy! Say bye-bye!"

It cocked its head at me, evidently curious as to why I was so eerily calm despite being cornered.

Well, that thing was about to find out the answer, and I bet my whole candy collection that he wasn't gonna like it. Not in the slightest.

Oh well, too bad. It can blame itself for being an inferior copy of my best friend with all of his worst possible traits… and for trying to obsessively cuddle me with thousands of freakishly big arms. Yeesh! Stay away from my precious, fragile body!

With fiery determination in my hazelnut-brown eyes, I raise my right arm up to the sky in a slow, deliberate fashion, before snapping my fingers with a smirk. The sound that was generated from the motion actually ended up being relatively loud due to the silence that had filled the air prior, reverberating around the vacant antivirus district only to end up being muffled by my next words.

"Alrighty! Time to do your stuff, wise guy!" A naughty smile graced my facial features as my voice rang out throughout the entire district. "Oi! Hear my voice, yer dumb scanning software! It's time for the grand finale! Let the full virus scan commence!"

Right on cue, the order was processed and immediately went through. My ears twitched as I heard a soft humming noise begin to whirl around the vicinity.

It soon became obvious what the soft humming was for when I observe a white translucent force field materializing, surrounding the entire boundary of the antivirus district that not-Ralph and I were in.

"Full virus scan started on command. Commencing preliminary scan to assess potential threats."

"Yessss!" I cheer jubilantly, spinning on my heel and flashing the not-Ralph monster a smug pose by holding my head up high and folding my arms. "In your face, diaper baby!" I smugly jeer at the beast. It was going to get what it deserved soon enough. Now that it was trapped within the force field, it was going to get destroyed once the program identified it as a virus.

"Detecting potential threats… 8% complete."

I only calm down from my exhilarant high when I suddenly observe that not-Ralph was still somehow not eradicated from existence yet.

"Detecting potential threats… 16% complete."

Si-sixteen percent?!

Whup, so much for everything going according to plan. Apparently, this thing was so slow to start that someone like Rancis could literally go through his entire morning routine and it would still not be done.

"Oh, come on…" I groan, apprehensively biting my lip as I see not-Ralph narrowing his giant eyes at me out of the corner of my vision. "What's taking this crummy thing so long to actually start deleting?!"

"Detecting potential threats… 32% complete."

I kick at the ground, letting out a nervous chuckle when I saw not-Ralph beginning to storm towards me. "Hey, what gives? Why isn't this thing doing its job?"

Like, shouldn't not-Ralph be eradicated by now? It was moving at the speed of molasses! What gives, man?

"What in the holy mackerel!?"

Even from the distance between us, I could clearly discern that the one who had screeched that statement in a most uneloquent manner happened to be Ralph, who then proceeded to mutter even more undignified words that probably shouldn't be mentioned in front of an "innocent sweetheart" like me.

I couldn't resist giggling at his slip of the tongue, hitting my striped thigh in laughter as I mentally noted down the words that he used. I would have totally teased Ralph for it, too (I was almost willing to break my "I'll never act like a princess" charade just to mess with him)… until I realized in the very next second that the reason that he was screaming like that in the first place was because I was currently in mortal peril.

"Um, Ralph?" I nervously twiddle my fingers, brushing my bangs behind my ears. Honestly, he was the last person I wanted to seek help from right now after what he'd done to Slaughter Race earlier, but I couldn't complain at the moment. "A little help here?"

"Hang on, kid!" I couldn't resist smiling at the endearing term as the red wrecker who I knew well quickly directed Yesss and their high-tech advanced web browser towards my general area.

"Detecting potential threats… 64% complete."

"Sixty-four percent?" I gnash my teeth as I hear the announcement detailing the progress of the scan. "Oh, hurry up already! It's so, so close!"

Unfortunately, not-Ralph was able to hear the progress of the scan over the intercom as well. Determined not to lose, it bellowed and charged towards me. "Frrrrieeenndddddd!"

"Gragh!" I vanish from my spot, glitching behind the monster and catching my breath as I re-materialize with a burst of blue.

"Kid!"

I tilt my head to the sky, seeing Ralph and the flying web browser closing in on me. "Ralph, can you tell your ugly twin to knock it off?" I grumble snarkily, before spazzing out into 0s and 1s as I dodge another swipe from the purple not-Ralph monster.

As I reappear a good distance away from the giant, my eyes joyfully lit up when I finally heard sweet, sweet salvation.

"Preliminary scan is now 100% complete," the antivirus program informed. "All 1,000,001 potential threats have been diagnosed and will be deleted upon commencement of full scan."

"Yes!" I cheer with glee, sticking my tongue out at the monster without any shame. "Praise the candy overlords, I'm saved!"

Unfortunately, I had said those words of relief too soon. Immediately as those words left my jaw, the robotic voice proceeded to continue with its speech, delivering devastating news in its addendum.

"Note: the viruses detected in this preliminary scan is currently not in our virus database bank and is likely to be a new zero-day security vulnerability. Source code for the new viruses has thus been identified and logged into our Not-ron™ Internet Security Suite backend server. Scheduling immediate automatic update of new virus definitions for all end-users before commencement of full scan."

"No, no, no, no, no!" I howl in a mixture of horror and anger, clenching my fists in agitation when I realize that the dumb virus scan still wasn't getting started.

Are you kidding me? Just how long was this stupid scan going to drag out? I could literally make five karts in the bakery before the program got its lazy behind moving!

"FRRRIIIEEENNNNDDD!"

My eyebrows twitched. Speak of the not-Ralph, and it would appear… just like Gloyd on a day when one wasn't in the mood for pranks. "Ah, would you shut yer trap!?" I snarl, spitting at the monstrous beast.

"Don't worry, kid! I'm coming for ya! That thing won't get ya! Just try and stay safe for the moment!"

"Oh, just relax!" I call out to the actual, non-purple Ralph in reassurance, cupping my hands to my mouth so that I could throw my voice as far as possible. "There's no need to get your suspenders in a twist, Ralph! I can handle this!"

"Patch KB190125 created. Now distributing security update to all end-users."

I confidently beam, putting my hands by my hips as the antivirus program backed up my claim. "See! I told ya I could handle it, didn't I?"

"Do not fret. I assure you that Vanellope will be just fine." The web browser shuttle was hovering so close—just outside of the force field that was triggered by the initialization of the scan—that I could hear Yesss reassuring Ralph with a wave of her icy-blue glittery arms. "Antivirus programs are everywhere on the net, and they are completely, one-hundred percent safe for anyone without a security vulnerability."

I swivel my head around with a forced jerk, and even though Ralph was quite a distance away from where I was standing, I could discern him performing the same gesture. "Wait… hold up." The big lug raised his large arms and looked at Yesss with a peculiar expression. "What did you just say?" he asked, furrowing his bushy brow.

"Antivirus programs are safe for anyone without a security vulnerability."

I spot Ralph rubbing his chin in confusion, quickly mirroring his gesture when I hear his subsequent question. "Security vulnerability? But… I thought this thing just got rid of viruses?"

"Well, sort of. To elaborate, there are entire sub-classes of security vulnerabilities, and viruses are only one of them. There are also trojans, worms, malware, phishing URLs, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities…" Yesss listed them all, counting them one-by-one with her slender fingers.

"Get to the point!" Ralph ordered, causing me to roll my eyes. Sometimes it was just plain amusing that a grown man like him was more impatient than a little girl like me. Like, shouldn't it be the other way round?

"Anyway, an antivirus software simply detects the whole lot of them ugly annoyances, and wipes all of it out in one fell swoop. Easy-peasy!" she said as she flashed a smile.

There was silence as she concluded. Not even not-Ralph bellowed out his usual "friendddd" as the tremor of what Yesss had just revealed rocked through the entire antivirus district.

I tap my temple in annoyance. Something about what she'd just said struck out to me. But what…?

The eerie quietness that had descended upon the area was only broken by the sound of the antivirus program itself.

"Update complete. Full virus scan now commencing. Eliminating all known threats…"

Eliminating all known threats…

Not viruses.

All known threats.

The gasp of horror that left my mouth caused me to flicker, glowing a vibrant blue for a split-second. "Sweet mother of caramelized toffee milk!" I yelp, all traces of my previously calm composure completely vanishing as I frantically wave both my arms about. "Someone help me! Get me outta this place!"

Eliminating all known threats…

In the very instant that I repeat the announcement made by the antivirus program in my mind, I finally realize exactly why I had been so apprehensive once Yesss announced to Ralph that an antivirus program didn't just get rid of viruses, but rather any and every security vulnerability.

Wasting no time, I immediately blip out of existence via my glitch power.

…only to slam head-first into the translucent dome-shaped force field that was surrounding the entire area.

"Infected files have been encrypted and isolated in virus vault. Now commencing deletion of 1,000,001 infected items."

I rub my nose where I had slammed into the force field at full force, my body briefly glitching into lines of code from the impact. Thanks for the very late reminder, stupid program!

Drat… I didn't actually think that the force field would impede my escape. Cursing the antivirus program under my breath now that my exit was cut off, I inhale a deep breath…

"Deletion in progress: 2.7% — 27,001 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

…and promptly began to panic like a scared little girl when I saw the first of the not-Ralph virus clones start to vaporize into its elementary particles.

"Ralph, I'm in very big trouble!" I pound on the gray barrier that was trapping me within. "It thinks that my glitch is a security vulnerability! It's gonna delete me as well! Please, you gotta help me!"

My plea for help didn't have to travel far.

"Kid… Vanellope! No!" Ralph yelled when he comprehended my words, terror laced in his normally-firm voice. Without concern for his own safety, he leapt off the flying web browser and headed for my direction.

I have to admit that despite my current sticky predicament, I let loose a holler of laughter when I saw ol' Stinkbrain landing clumsily on the convex force field and bouncing down to the ground ungracefully.

"No unauthorized transfer in or out of the virus vault is allowed without administrative permission."

…was this thing trolling and messing with me by deliberately telling me all the much-needed information that I needed late? I think it was safe to by this point assume that yes, it was.

Ralph got to his feet, groaning while rubbing his head to shake off the blunt force trauma from his fall. "Wait… I can't pass through the force field?"

"Well, duh!" I fire back at him, rolling my eyes for good measure. "Didn't you hear what it just said? Nothing moves in or out!"

Ralph stared at his palms, before balling them into clenched fists. "Not on my watch, kid. There's no way I'm gonna let you be—"

"Deletion in progress: 11.2% — 112,121 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

Hearing the numbers rapidly increase and seeing even more not-Ralphs vanish into limbo, I frantically slam my hands against the solid force field before feeling a sudden a wave of lethargy come over me.

"Ralph…? I… I don't feel so good…" I murmur, before my legs gave way and I found myself slumping down to the ground.

Squinting my eyes so that I could focus my blurring vision, I could see Ralph staring at me with a gaping jaw on the other side of the force field. "What the… hey, kid! Kid! Vanellope!"

"Deletion in progress: 19.7% — 197,400 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

I place a hand to my forehead, feeling it heat up rapidly. My entire body stutter, flashing in bright blue codelines. "Ralph…" A moan of pain escaped my lips, a tremor of fear following it. "I think-gack!"

My words were interrupted by a coughing fit that rocked my entire body. That was pretty much the tipping point for me. No longer could I suppress my terrified thoughts.

This wasn't just my imagination, or a false alarm — the software actually did think I was a security vulnerability too. The program was ripping my code inside-out… I could literally feel it.

"Hey, wise guy!" I could hear Ralph screech, which made me flash the barest trace of a smile on my face in response. Although I didn't have the strength to look up at him, I could see his shadows—projected to the ground from the searing light—dancing about vigorously. "Only delete the evil clones of me, not her! No, no, no! You're gonna delete my friend! Stop doing this, right now! Cancel the stupid virus scan!"

"Virus scan can only be cancelled by the user who has initialized it." The unconcerned, robotic drone of the antivirus software felt like a mocking, uncaring mod. Immediately after, it continued on with a progress report. "Deletion in progress: 52.9% — 529,213 out of 1,000,001 items deleted," the voice blared, counting down to doomsday without a care in the world.

The fact that the program was more than halfway done doesn't escape my notice, even in spite of all the searing pain that was rocking my body. The shrill cries of the many not-Ralph virus clones filling the air as they were being torn asunder by the antivirus program's deletion procedure was a chilling, grave reminder of my inevitable fate.

Sooner or later, it would be my turn.

"Hey, kid! C'mon… get up! You ain't a quitter, kid! Come on, you can do it! Get up, Vanellope!" I hear Ralph howl out frantic words of encouragement, the big lug pounding futilely against the force field barely five feet away from me.

Gosh, he's still an endearing idiot to this very day. Like jawbreakers, there were just some things that one couldn't break.

Upon seeing that I was practically glued to the floor — not by choice, but because all my energy was being sapped up, Ralph decided to try a different approach. "Kid! You've got to deactivate the virus scan!" he desperately ordered. "It's only gonna listen to your voice! Hurry up, kid! You gotta do it… you have to!"

I blink tears away from my eyes, my face scrunching up in determination at Ralph's plan. This is it, I suppose. It was all or nothing.

Mustering up all my strength, I struggle to speak. 'Cancel virus scan.' All I had to do was to say those three words. Simple, right?

Well unfortunately, those words were unable to leave my lips. The only sound that my damaged vocal cords were able to produce was a haunting gurgle.

"Deletion in progress: 85.2% — 852,198 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

The software gave another blunt announcement, signaling my own impending demise as it grimly informed that it only had fifteen percent left to go.

"Kid… no…" I could hear Ralph mumble in a pained whisper when the realization that I didn't have the strength to save myself by cancelling the scan with my voice proceeded to hit him harder than a direct collision with my kart in fifth gear.

"Deletion in progress: 97.3% — 973,472 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

Using my last reserves of energy, I lift my head up and take a final glance at Ralph, stuck behind the opposite side of the force field.

I almost wince out of guilt.

Pure terror and horror laced his tear-filled eyes. In all honesty, I have a feeling that the same look would have been reflected in my very own eyes mere moments ago.

But now…

"Deletion in progress: 99.9% — 1,000,000 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."

…now, the only things my eyes wanted to do was close, taking my specter of vision along with it.

Heh heh heh…

Despite the excruciating pain, I couldn't help but to let out a cold, icy laugh at the ironic twist of fate that I'd been dealt. It was just too bad that I was the last one left standing… none of the virus clones could lament their final moments with me.

So this is how it all ends, huh? I'd always thought that I would meet my end in a more… I dunno, graceful manner? Like being captured as a glitch back in the old days and thrown into the Fungeon forever? Or-cough… gack, I dunno, a car crash in a race gone wrong, maybe?

But at least if I'd gone down in Sugar Rush, I would regenerate. This, however, was a different story.

That speedy blue hedgehog whom I've had the honor of racing with once… he had previously talked about this topic before, on a PSA that was broadcast all over Game Central Station. And now, his words hauntingly reverberated in my memory bytes, an echo of a warning heeded far too late…

"Remember, Sonic says — if you leave your game… stay safe, stay alert! And whatever you do, don't die! Because if you die outside of your own game, you don't regenerate, ever! Game over, man! Game over!"

As the light around the antivirus district suddenly grew a blinding white, I let a final wave of regret wash over my broken body, with Ralph's anguished screams as he pounded on the barrier being the last thing that I hear.

Ma-Maybe I shouldn't have recklessly gone off, blazing fearlessly into that wi-fi outlet in pursuit of that steering wheel… maybe I shouldn't have… left—

"Full virus scan is complete: 100%. System now fully secured — 1,000,001 out of 1,000,001 items deleted."


Author's Note:

Happy New Year! A new year means brand-new emotional angst from me! Yeah… I'm sorry.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not torture characters whom I like for fun. Just putting that out there, because I do indeed feel for them. Now do kindly excuse me while I go cry in the corner. Poor, poor Ralph and Vanellope…

Watching WIR2 in theaters, I actually kind of expected the antivirus district to be more than a one-off mention in the protagonists' plans against the Ralph virus, especially when I remembered my own antivirus program always declaring false positives back in the day… and hey, wait a second, doesn't Vanellope have a glitch within her? Won't detecting that cause the antivirus program to potentially mistake her as a threat?

Well, it didn't exactly go that way in the film considering that they never make it there before forcing the actual showdown (plus, it's a Disney film, they'd never get away with killing off non-supporting characters for real). But since the plot bunny was already firmly planted in my head… yeah. I just had to write it down, no matter how bleak and angsty it ended up being.

And no, I'm not ending this story on a downer with Vanellope being wiped from existence and concluding it just like that. Please, I'm not that cruel — this fic isn't going to be a oneshot. Still, I predict that this story won't be too long. I'll say three to six chapters, max.

Your friendly owl hopes that you all liked this silly idea of mine, even if the prose turned out rather depressing. Apologies if any quoted dialogue from the film is a little off from how it actually went in-film. I'd only watched the film once during Christmas, so any quotes taken directly from the movie is purely based off memory from my initial viewing of the film, and thus might vary slightly from the actual source.

Anyway, I broke my usual writing norms with this story by opting to write in first-person POV instead of my standard third-person POV. Why, you ask? Well, it was because I felt that Vanellope's POV would be more gripping and heartfelt. And yes, it will remain in Vanellope's POV in the following chapters. Make of that what you will.

So, um… any thoughts, laments, sobs, and/or death threats for hurting Vanellope? I'm open. Send 'em all my way.