JJ eventually told Jamie and Jack what happened the night he disappeared from the fire. And Jack finally told JJ about Rapunzel's situation, after several attempts and deep breaths. JJ took it all in a stunned silence as MK and Jamie added a few details. Not another word was said until they had stopped for lunch, nearly a few hours away from Cedar Grove.
"So, you're saying Justin's telling the truth?" JJ asked.
Jack nodded, "He has no reason to lie."
"But, I think you've finally got him thinking that it wasn't you he saw," remarked MK.
"Yeah, that's what's scary, because if it wasn't Dad he saw, then who was it? And how could he look so much like Dad?"
Jack shrugged, "I don't know, the only thing that could be similar to this is a nightmare."
"What? Like a waking nightmare?" JJ winced. "Sorry, dear."
JJ smiled sadly, "It's OK, it would have been worse if the Sandy's hadn't gotten me out of there when they did."
"Um, I don't, I don't want you to relive any horrible memories, but, besides getting back at me, why did Pitch take you? Didn't Gothel want to keep you to find out if you were her key to eternal youth?"
"Yeah, that's the thing, my powers weren't working fast enough for her, so she let Pitch take me. He, he was going to turn me into his darkling prince." Jack uttered a shaky gasp and glanced down. "Dad, listen, it wasn't your fault . . ."
"It is my fault that he hates me, and that could have fueled some of his treatment of you. I mean, come on, Rapunzel and I were given power by the sun and the moon for crying out loud, his worst enemies. I mean, yes, this has just been a series of, of . . ."
MK sighed, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but, I think you mean a series of unfortunate events."
Jamie snickered, "Wow, Mom, referencing a series isn't all that bad."
Jack smirked, "Yeah, but, it's the best term to use for this, as that is what this all is, a series of unfortunate events. Sometimes it seems like it has been orchestrated by one person with an agenda, sometimes, it's just a bunch of freak accidents with no one to blame it on. But I do believe that his treatment of you could have been fueled by his hate of me in particular, and for that I am sorry. I am also sorry for not being more diligent, I should have known that Gothel and Pitch would have been back at the first chance they had, but, I was so happy at being able to be with your mom and you that, that I practically let them in myself."
"Well, if it helps, I don't blame you for anything, but, if you're going to just beat yourself up over it every single time, then, I forgive you. And, right now, we are so close to being back together again, we just need to get Mom's memories back, and we're complete. I have been waiting for this moment my whole life, I am not going to let your regrets ruin it for me, alright?"
"What? You mean you can't let your old man pour out his sob story? OK, that sounded weird."
JJ began to laugh, "Oh boy, did it ever!"
"Hey! I want no flak from you, young man! Oh no, I'm starting to sound like a grandpa!"
Jamie snickered, "Well, technically you are. And having both Jack Frost and Hiccup Haddock as my grandpas is the coolest thing ever!"
"Glad you think so, squirt. Oh, and speaking of . . . wonder how Hiccup's going to take meeting you."
JJ chuckled nervously, "Uh, what do you mean?"
"Well, you kind of did break his little girl's heart, so, you know, prepare for the meeting of the in-laws."
"Don't worry, I'll protect you," smiled MK.
JJ chuckled, "I don't think I need protecting from your dad, MK, in fact, I probably deserve every single bit of reprimand he sends my way."
"Andy . . ."
He shook his head, "No, I'll take it, I did break your heart after all."
"Not, not really, I mean, it really hurt a lot thinking that you were dead, but, you really didn't technically break my heart. You never saw another girl in Sleepy Hollow, did you?"
JJ shook his head, "How could I? You were the only one for me."
"See? My heart would have been only broken had you fallen in love with another woman."
"Yeah, but, your dad's not exactly going to think that way," pointed out Jack.
"He's got a point there, MK. But like I said, I deserve it, I did leave you two stranded in Burgess without a single word to my whereabouts, making everyone think I was dead."
"But, you had good reason. I mean, it worked, didn't it? Pitch didn't come looking for us, he's still looking for you, isn't he?"
"Last the toys checked, yeah," nodded JJ.
Jack rose from his chair with a stretch, "Well, all the more reason to get back to Cedar Grove pronto. Let's go."
"Right," the others agreed and followed him out to the car. MK took the final leg of the journey, getting them back into Cedar Grove around seven.
"Let's treat Dad to a meal at Goodie Tree!" exclaimed Jamie.
MK glanced at Jack, "What do you think?"
"I think that you'll be letting me take the tab, aren't you?"
MK grinned, "Goodie Tree it is!"
JJ and Jamie laughed as Jack groaned, "How did I guess."
"Well, it certainly doesn't help that you are the richest man in town," winked MK.
Jack chuckled, "That is true. Alright, Goodie Tree it is."
Jamie whooped, "Yes!" MK slowed down the car as they entered Cedar Grove so that JJ could get a look at the town. They drove through a couple of times, allowing Jamie, Jack and MK to give JJ quite the tour of the place. When it came to Jack's shop and the art studio next door, Jack was more than willing to talk JJ's ear off about his shop, but he basically clammed up when it came to the art studio. Especially when they saw someone coming out of it.
"Rose?" called out MK. She glanced up sharply, a hint of fear in her eyes.
"Oh, um, MK, right?"
"Yeah, that's me. You remember Jack and Jamie?"
"Oh, y-yes, yes, I do. Hello again."
"Hi!" smiled Jamie as he waved. Jack just smiled at her and nodded cordially.
"Nice to see you. Um, who's that?"
"Oh, hi, um, I'm JJ." Rose glanced at him strangely.
"Why, why does that name seem so familiar?" Jack let out a soft gasp.
"Well, it's a pretty common nickname . . ."
"No, I've, I've heard it before."
"Why don't you come with us? We're heading to Goodie Tree for dinner before heading home. Maybe we can figure it out there," suggested MK.
"That, that would be lovely, but, but I can't."
"Why not?" asked JJ.
"Jack's paying for it!"
"Oh, really? Well, I guess I can go then, see, I'm not very rich. Oh, thank you." Jack had gotten out of the car and opened the door for her. He closed it and got in on the other side, Jamie sitting in the middle.
"If you want, I can pay for some of your expenses. I have more money than I know what to do with it."
"Oh, why thank you, that's very kind of you, but I wouldn't want to impose . . ."
"It's no problem whatsoever. I seriously have more than I need, I want to help you."
"Oh, well, thank you, I appreciate that a lot!"
Jack smiled, "You are most welcome."
"Alright, we're here. Let's see if we can break Jack's bank account," smirked MK.
"Hey!" The others laughed as they got out of the car. Jack leaned in and whispered to JJ, "You picked very well." He winked at JJ as he blushed a bit.
"Well, you didn't do so bad yourself, with mom."
"Well yeah, you wouldn't be here if I didn't do so well." JJ chuckled as they found a table and ordered. They sat and chatted, eventually getting Rose to warm up to them and join in the conversation as they ate. They were just about finished when they were started by a shout.
"Yeehaw, Andy's back! I mean, JJ's back!"
JJ got up in shock, "Jessie? Woody? Bo Peep? You're here? Oh, right, you were, but, how . . ."
"Wait, you know Sheriff Woody, Deputy Jessie, and Bo Peep?" asked Jamie.
JJ glanced at him, "Well, yeah. Um, Jamie, are they in A Faraway Land?"
"Well, now that you mention it, no, they're not," Jamie slowly stated.
Jack quickly laid down a few bills, "Well, it's been a lot of fun. I'll see you first thing in the morning, right, JJ?"
JJ blinked in surprise, "Uh, yeah, I guess. But, why are you leaving so soon?"
"Well, I'm getting tired, and I figured I'd walk Miss Rose home."
"Oh please, you don't need to . . ."
"I'd be honored," smiled Jack with a bow.
"Well, it would be nice. Thank you," she smiled.
"It's my pleasure," he replied, giving her his arm. She took it, and they left the restaurant.
"OK, so, where's Buzz and the others?" asked Jessie.
"And Slinky, I know your dad took him," pointed out Woody.
"Oh, they're out in the car," replied JJ as he walked towards the door.
"Wait, were they your toys too?" asked MK.
"Your toys?" exclaimed Jamie when Woody, Jessie and Bo nodded.
"Well of course they were JJ's toys. You couldn't find them in the book, could you?" came Mr. Potato Head's voice. JJ, MK, Jamie, and Ella stood there, staring in shock as a life-sized Buzz Lightyear walked in the door, the backpack in his hands with the other toys. They all had grown a bit too, but not as much as Buzz.
"Buzz!" exclaimed Jessie as she rushed to him and gave him a big hug.
"What? How? How did you get so big, but none of the others?" They all shrugged.
"We really don't know, we climbed out of the backpack to get some air . . ."
"More like Rex did," grumbled Mr. Potato Head.
"What? I couldn't breathe!"
"The next thing we know, we all got a little bigger."
"Maybe the Sandy's might be able to tell us something more," suggested MK.
"Yeah, but, they've already closed up shop." Everyone glanced at Ella. "They came in for a quick bite a couple of hours ago, wanted to head out to see if they had another secret stash of Tooth Fairy feathers. They said that they will be back tomorrow at the regular hours"
JJ sighed, "Alright, guess I'll have to check in on them tomorrow after talking with Dad."
"Yeah, but, where are they going to stay? We can't take them with us to Mom and Dad's, there won't be enough room."
"They can stay with us! Woody, Bo, and I have got plenty of room!"
"Are, are you sure?"
Woody nodded, "Sure, it'll be great to have the whole gang back together again! I'd extend the offer to you too, JJ, but, I think you'd want to spend some time with your family."
JJ smiled, "That's right, I do. Thanks Woody."
"Anything for my old partner." Woody turned to the other toys, "Well, shall we be off? I think everyone's had a long day."
"Yeah, no kidding. Do you have any idea what it's like having to be in a backpack with the likes of him for days?" Mr. Potato Head pointed to Rex.
"Potato Head!" Woody and Buzz berated him.
"What? It's true!"
"Let's just get going. We'll meet you at your Dad's place tomorrow, JJ."
"Right, see you tomorrow!" JJ waved to his toys. JJ let out a breath as he turned to MK and Jamie, "Our turn now?"
MK smiled, "Yeah, let's go home."