Author's Note: Takes place between chapters 21 and 22 of "I See The Moon."


2008:

It was quiet except for the delicate patter of rain against the windows. Unlike the Davis home, the Andersons had no guest room and their living room didn't have a door. In the sewing room, Woody had pulled out Mom's cardboard cutting board for privacy, standing it up like a screen.

The Cowboy had his arms wrapped around Bo's torso so that he was spooning her as they lay together in some blue fleece fabric. "I've missed this."

She laughed softly. "Mmm, I could tell."

"Not just…this. I've missed you."

Bo was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry."

"What?"

She rolled over. Touching his face, she said, "I never apologized for not saying goodbye five years ago. Maybe if I had, things would have been easier for you."

He caught her hand and pressed the back to his lips. "Nah, it would've still hurt regardless."

"Well I still should've said something. I was wrong."

Even without her eyes, Woody could still see the cloud passing over her face, casting a sad shadow over the rest of her beautiful features. Gently, he pressed her to his chest. "Hey, don't worry about it. That's all behind us now. In two weeks we'll be married and nothing'll ever come between us again."

She nuzzled deeply into his vest. "I'm sorry I had to leave you at all."

"I know why it had to happen. I get it now. Still," he sighed, staring up at the ceiling as he caressed her shoulder. "I was a mess at first. I didn't want to do anything but just curl into a ball and lay there."

"Oh Woody…"

"I might still be on that sofa if it weren't for Jessie. She got me out of my funk."

Bo smiled. "Jessie is such a dear friend. How'd she manage to help you?"

"Uh," Woody touched his face. "She slapped me."

Bo sat up. "What?"


2003:

Buzz stood outside the living room door. "He's still there."

"He's been there for three weeks."

"Well he's suffered a tremendous loss."

"I know, but…" Jessie wrung her hands fretfully. "What if he don't snap outta it? What if he just keeps on bein' depressed and not talkin' to anybody? Buzz," she touched his arm. "This isn't like him. He hasn't done a staff meetin' or played checkers or read the newspaper since she…" She stopped, the words caught in her throat.

Buzz's eyes searched her anxiety ridden face. She had begun to play with her braid, a sure sign that she was upset. "You're right." He gently took her hand. "Jessie, you are absolutely right. We need to help Woody. He's our friend and we need to find a way to get through to him."

She smiled gratefully. Pushing the door open, Buzz allowed her to enter first then followed.

On the Davis's green sofa, Woody lay face towards the back cushions. The exact same position in the exact same spot every weekday. Every moment the family was absent, he retreated to the couch corner. Why the couch, Buzz had no idea, and he didn't know where Woody had found that pink blanket he was lying under either.

Buzz cleared his throat. "Woody? Woody, it's us…"

On the sofa, Woody just pulled the blanket over his head.

Miserably, Jessie thrust out her bottom lip and looked at Buzz. "What do we do?" she whispered.

"I…" The Ranger began to rack his brain. Woody had always had his melancholy moods and fits of irritation. That was just Woody, but this was a whole new frontier. He wanted to help his best friend, but he wasn't sure how. In fact, the best person at lifting Woody's spirits was…

"What would Bo do?"

Jessie looked at him as if he had just sprouted Vulcan ears. "What?"

"Bo always knew how to get through to Woody," Buzz said resolutely. "She could always make him happy."

"Bo's the reason he's sad now!"

"It's our only chance!" Jessie looked skeptical but still followed Buzz to the couch and climbed up after him. She watched as he took a seat beside Woody, who didn't even move.

"Hey there, Woody." No response. Jessie nodded encouragingly for him to go on. "Woody, I know you're feeling bad, but we all miss you. You're an important part of Andy's room and Jessie and the other toys and I need to you come back. Also, um…" he paused, trying to think like Bo. "You're…really cute?"

Jessie looked at him exasperated and he shrugged. Turning back, Buzz frowned. What else did Bo do to help Woody feel good and important? "You know Woody, I misplaced the hacky-sack awhile back. Maybe you could help me find it?"

Slowly, Woody pulled the blanket down from around his head. Buzz held his breath waiting for a response.

"Leave me alone."

The blanket went back up over Woody's face. Sighing deeply, Buzz got to his feet…

"Ooh that does it!" The tearful anxiousness had evaporated from Jessie's face and now as she shoved Buzz aside, it had been replaced by fury. She ripped the blanket away.

Before Woody had a chance to respond, she had grabbed him by the vest and hauled him up to a sitting position. "What the…"

Crack.


2008:

"She really hit you?" Bo said incredulously.

"Yeah, not exactly the best way to deal with depression."

"I should say not."

Woody shrugged with a half smile. "I guess I had just pushed her to her limit."

"Well that's still no reason to strike you."

"Oh she wasn't done yet…"


2003:

"SNAP OUT OF IT!" Jessie screamed as she shook Woody violently by the vest.

"STOP IT!"

"YOU STOP IT! YOU STOP THIS WHOLE THING!"

"LET GO OF ME YOU HOT HEADED LOONY!"

Buzz rushed over and yanked them apart. He set Jessie, still seething, down on the opposite cushion. Glaring, Woody rubbed his cheek. "What is the matter with you?"

"Me? You've been ignorin' everybody for three weeks just so you can lie on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself!"

Furiously, Woody ground his back teeth. Buzz stood between them. "Woody, we're worried about you."

"Well don't be!" Hugging his knees to his chest, the Cowboy turned away.

"Woody," Buzz tried again. "We want to help you."

"By hitting me?"

"That was…"

Woody pressed his face into his knees. "You can't help me, Buzz. None of you can. None of you have any idea how I feel."

Jessie stood up, moving past Buzz. "You think you're the only one who's hurtin'? You think you're the only who misses her? She wasn't just your girlfriend you know! She was…" A choking noise escaped her throat and she stopped.

Woody turned. His face softened. "Jess…"

Jessie curled her arms to her chest, enfolding herself tightly. "She was my best friend," she mumbled.

"Oh Jessie…" Woody sighed deeply. "Jessie, I'm sorry." He stretched out an arm and Jessie sat down beside him. Resting her head against his shoulder, she squeezed her bottle green eyes shut tight. "I really have been the backside of a horse haven't I?"

Buzz knelt down on her opposite side. "We'll get through this."

"Why's it gotta be this way? We lose our kids, we lose our friends…"

"It's just the sacrifices we have to make for the life we live."

Jessie smiled mournfully. "Bein' a toy is the greatest job on the planet…except when it's not." There was a quiet pause. "Do ya'll…ever regret it?"

"Regret it?" Buzz echoed.

Jessie had taken to messing with her braid again. "Wish we had been born human instead of…" She didn't finish.

Woody looked contemplative. "No. I mean, right now I feel like someone's reached in and crushed my voice box. But if I was a human instead of a toy, who knows where'd I be? I wouldn't have Andy or you guys. And I'd have never known Bo. I guess what I'm saying is…" he touched his heart. "Even if it hurts, I'd rather have had the few years we did have than live a full human life without ever being with her."


2008:

"Bo, Bo! Take it easy! You're kissing my eye!"

Bo had tackled Woody into the fleece and was planting kisses all over his face. "You are the sweetest, most darling man I have ever met!"

He smiled abashed. "Well it was true then and it's still true today. I love you, Bo."

More gently this time, she lay a soft kiss on his mouth and held it. Finally, reluctantly, she let go and lay back down beside him. "So what happened after that? Did things go back to normal?"

"Sort of. Things were never really 'normal' after you left. I pulled myself out of my depression and started doing my job again, but at the same time, Andy stopped playing with us. It was probably just a coincidence but when you left, it was the beginning of the end for us and Andy."

Bo felt for his hand. "I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, well…" He gave her tiny hand a squeeze. "We've all got a new life now and things are looking up."

"That they are." Bo turned over on her stomach, resting her chin on her arms. For a moment, she seemed to be contemplating. "You know something? I think tomorrow I'm going to spend the day with Jessie."

"That sounds like a good idea."

She smiled brightly. "Well she is my best friend. As for tonight…" Giggling, she grabbed Woody's vest and rolled so that he was on top of her.

"What, again?"

"We've got five years to make up for, Cowboy. I'd say we're just getting started."

With a grin, Woody grabbed the fleece and threw it over their heads.