AUTHOR'S NOTE:

There you go folks! That's all she wrote for this story!

Joy's leadership troubles have been resolved and I think we should leave "Fuzz" and "Twink" to enjoy their blossoming romance in privacy. I know that my favorite purple Emotion is very shy, so I won't expose his love secrets any further :)

I hope you all enjoyed this StarNerve/drama and I'd like to thank everyone for reading and reviewing! As always, I will thank each of the reviewers personally in order from oldest to most recent, so here goes!

CNBW – Thank you for your touching reviews throughout the story! I'm glad you enjoyed my first attempt at writing a StarNerve story :)

Orangebird124 – Thank you so much for your detailed and heartfelt feedback my friend! I am so grateful for your wonderful support and I promise to continue writing many more stories! I have some ideas that I'm really looking forward to trying out and I know I can always count on your encouragement :)

HollyAnne1084 – Thank you for all the support and feedback you have given throughout this story as well as many of my others little fandom sister! I am so happy that I got to know you and enjoy your friendship :)

Tripledent – Thank you so much for all your inspirational feedback my friend! Your reviews are always a pleasure to read and they even help inspire some of the content in my future chapters many times :)

WriterofBliss – Thank you for the feedback! I'm glad you liked it :)

RoseEmbers99 – Thank you for your lovely reviews throughout the story my friend! Your feedback is always heartwarming and I'm happy that you enjoyed reading about the adventures of "Fuzz" and "Twink" :)

Junior VB – Thank you for the review! I really appreciate it :)

Pearl Bramble of Willowbottom – Thank you for reviewing this story my friend! It's always a pleasure receiving feedback from you and I hope you'll continue reading my stories in the future :)

Thay – Thank you for that review and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

LionesssQueen – Thank you for taking the time to review and for those sweet words! Your feedback was very encouraging and I greatly appreciate it :)

In addition to the reviewers, most of which have also put this story into their favorites/or story alerts, I'd also like to thank StarNerve for expressing interest by choosing to favorite/follow!

And of course, I'd also like to send a great big THANK YOU to all the silent readers around the world for reading this story!

Now, please feel free to read this final chapter and enjoy everyone! I'll be back with some brand new stories very shortly :)

Svinorita.


Chapter 7 – Kiss And Don't Tell!

It was around 4 AM the next morning when Joy slipped out of her room and made her way quietly towards the kitchen. As she moved stealthily across the main room, she discovered Anger slumped over on the sofa, snoring softly and mumbling something in his sleep. Luckily for her, the red Emotion was naturally a heavy-sleeper so Joy was able to reach her destination without drawing any unwanted attention to herself!

She entered the kitchen and closed the door quietly behind her, letting out a sigh of relief as she switched on the light and started pulling out the ingredients she needed from the pantry.

Joy hadn't been able to get much sleep last night. She had lain in her bed, tossing and turning restlessly, her mind full of optimistic thoughts as she concocted a plan that she hoped would dispel any negative feelings between herself and the other Emotions.

So after giving it some thought, Joy decided that she was going to show them all that she was ready to leave her troubles behind and focus on being positive! She would get up bright and early and make some cookies for everyone as a surprise treat!

Despite the drama of yesterday, Joy felt like the air had been cleared up last night and she wanted her co-workers to know how much she valued their friendship and support. Besides, it was in her nature to try to make everyone around her feel happy.

And what better way of bringing a smile to their faces than by making something nice for them! Joy thought to herself with a pleased smile.

With that thought foremost in her mind, Joy ran through a mental list of what kinds of cookies she knew how to make:

Okay…I can do chocolate chip…some macadamia…ooh! And how about some white choc and raspberry…

Once she had taken out all the ingredients she needed, Joy got to work on making her cookies. She began humming to herself as she mixed the ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly a huge smile crept across her face as she recalled how Fear had paid her a little visit last night after everyone else had gone to bed…

xxx

Joy had just about drifted off to sleep when she heard a soft knocking on her bedroom door. She remembered the fluttering feeling in her chest as she saw the door open to reveal Fear as he stepped into her room cautiously. He walked over to her and told her quietly that he had come to wish her goodnight and to let her know that he and the others had a serious talk about her recent hardships.

Joy tensed up instinctively upon hearing this. After the scene she had caused this morning and then running away instead of trying to resolve the issue like a true leader would, she dreaded learning what the other Emotions had to say about her…

Fear seemed to sense her unease and he had gently taken her hand in his and held it reassuringly. Then he explained to her how everyone had promised that there would be no more fighting or arguing. After some careful deliberation, the other Emotions had reached a unanimous decision that Joy was still the best leader Riley could have and all of them would try their best to support their yellow co-worker in her duties from now on!

Joy was in awe as she learned of the lengths Fear had gone to in order to defend her honor! She never had anyone stand up for her like that before and she was so stunned that she actually had to ask him twice just to prove to herself that she hadn't misunderstood what he'd said!

"Fuzz! Did you really talk to the others on my behalf like that?!" Joy uttered, her blue eyes wide with wonder.

Fear looked away from her face and nodded awkwardly. It was as if the realization of what he had done had just hit him and he couldn't quite believe it himself!

Joy leapt out of bed and threw her arms around Fear's neck, showering his face with kisses as she laughed delightfully. "I can't believe how brave you've become my Fuzzy-Wuzzy!"

Fear stiffened up instinctively at this overwhelming display of gratitude, his heart beginning to pound in his chest as his natural fight or flight response set in. But almost as suddenly as it appeared, the feeling subsided and was replaced with an intense sensation of love. He wrapped his long arms around her and embraced her back, relishing the affection she was showing him.

Fear gave a nervous chuckle and uttered in a small voice, "Neither can I Twink! But when it comes to you, I feel as protective as a lion defending his young…"

A puzzled look appeared on his face and he pulled out of her embrace gently. Scratching his head thoughtfully, Fear ventured hesitantly, "Or is it the lioness that protects her young…?"

Joy laughed at his confusion and took both his hands in hers as she exclaimed, "It doesn't matter! You are my protector…my Lion King!"

She started spinning around exuberantly, forcing Fear to follow as she held onto his hands and sang, "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…"

A huge grin appeared on Fear's face as the two of them danced together, accompanied by Joy's enthusiastic singing.

"Thank heavens! My beautiful Twink is back to her old self!" Fear said as he gazed into Joy's bright blue eyes lovingly.

xxx

Joy gave a dreamy sigh as she remembered her chat with Fear from last night fondly. Bless his kind, sensitive heart! If it hadn't been for him, Joy didn't know whether she would have found the strength to pull herself out of the spiral of depression she had fallen into recently.

But thanks to Fear's help and perseverance, Joy felt like the darkness that had settled over her has been finally lifted and she was once again returning to her former happy and optimistic self!

"Okay! Let's get these cookies baked so everyone can experience a little bit of Joy this morning!" She told herself cheerfully as she went about her task with renewed enthusiasm.

XXX

Joy must have spent a few hours in the kitchen, but she was so engrossed in her baking that she didn't mind at all! She had just placed her tray of assorted cookies in the oven when she heard the first signs of activity coming from the main room through the closed kitchen door.

I guess the other Emotions are finally beginning to wake up... Joy thought with a little smile.

Then she looked at the oven apprehensively as another thought flashed through her mind.

I hope these cookies won't take too long to bake!

Meanwhile on the other side of the door in the main room, Anger yawned loudly from the sofa, having just awoken from a restful sleep.

He was soon joined by Sadness as she descended the ramp and walked over to the console, dragging her feet sluggishly and complaining miserably. "I hate mornings…"

The blue Emotion glanced at the monitor which showed that Riley had woken up and was staring out her bedroom window at the early morning sunshine outside.

Sadness gave a depressing sigh at the sight of this. "And it looks like it's going to be a sunny day…where is all the rain?" She whined solemnly.

Disgust had just entered the room as Sadness finished lamenting and she regarded her blue co-worker with scorn. "Oh give me a break! You and Joy have been flooding Headquarters with so many tears over the past few days that it feels like we're in the middle of the rainy season in here!"

"Girls! Be quiet! I'm trying to concentrate here!" Anger broke in brashly.

Both Disgust and Sadness looked at their red co-worker curiously.

"What's wrong?" They asked simultaneously.

Anger held up a finger to signal silence as he sniffed the air intently. "I don't know what's happening, but something smells awfully delicious in here!"

Sadness followed his lead and closed her eyes as she breathed in deeply. "Mm…now that you mention it…"

All three Emotions looked in the direction of the kitchen, tracing the source of the yummy smell. Suddenly, the door swung open and Joy stepped into the room holding a tray of freshly-baked cookies with a proud smile on her face.

"Ta-da!" She announced cheerfully as she showed them her peace offering eagerly. "Am I all forgiven guys? Can we put everything that happened over the past couple of days behind us and go back to being friends again?"

Sadness gazed into her yellow co-worker's eyes with fondness as she replied, "We will always be friends Joy!"

Anger seemed much more interested in the tray of cookies than anything else at the moment. He spoke to Joy without taking his eyes off the appetizing treats that she paraded in front of them as he offered, "If you come a little closer with that tray we'll be friends for life!"

He placed a hand on his belly and stated, "This rumbling stomach is making me go stir crazy!"

Even Disgust was nodding in agreement. "With an offer like that, how could I refuse?"

She looked up at Joy, her face full of sincerity as she added apologetically, "Yeah, of course I want us to be friends again…and Joy? I'm really sorry about what I said to you yesterday. It's just that everyone has been acting so weird lately and I was feeling so frustrated!"

Disgust took a deep breath and averted her gaze from Joy's regretfully. "I know what I said was uncalled for and insensitive and I just wanted you to know that I didn't mean it…"

She felt a gentle touch on her shoulder and looked back up to see Joy smiling at her reassuringly. "It's okay Disgust. I forgive you! I know I haven't been acting like myself lately but I promise you that's going to change starting from today!"

Disgust gave her a grateful smile in return. Joy put the tray of cookies on the sofa and looked around with a puzzled expression.

"Hey, has anyone seen Fear this morning?" She asked curiously.

The other Emotions had already begun helping themselves to Joy's cookies hungrily.

"I wouldn't worry about it! Beanpole probably just overslept…" Anger answered through a mouthful of chocolate chip cookie.

"Yeah…" Joy muttered, her voice sounding unconvinced.

XXX

Once everyone had eaten their fill, Joy suggested that they could all have the rest of day off! She knew that she had neglected her duties lately and while she was wallowing in her self-pity and depression, the other Emotions were forced to work extra-hard to make up for her absence.

Despite everything the others said in her defense, Joy felt that she owed it to Riley as well as her co-workers to make up for her ignorance and resume her responsibilities as Lead Emotion. She assured them that she was feeling much better now and she wanted them to spend the day doing whatever they liked while she took charge at the console.

In the end, everyone agreed that if it would make their leader happy, they would take her advice and give Joy some time alone at the console. Disgust decided to go down to Fashion Island to do some shopping and check out the latest trends while Sadness and Anger both chose to spend some quiet time in their rooms and relax.

Fear still hadn't shown up but nobody was feeling overly concerned about his prolonged absence. They all assumed that he had overslept after his exhausting search for Joy in the Mind World yesterday and he would come down in his own time.

Joy didn't mention anything more about Fear's delayed appearance as she went about her duties with her former upbeat attitude. But Sadness couldn't help noticing that she kept looking in the direction of the ramp expectantly.

Finally Joy sighed quietly and turned her full attention to the monitor. As she took her position at the controls and started helping Riley get ready for school, Sadness and Disgust exchanged a knowing look. Their female intuitions were telling them that it wasn't only cookies that had been baked recently, there was something cooking between Joy and Fear as well…

Anger on the other hand seemed completely oblivious to the situation unfolding between Joy and Fear. Even if he did sense something subconsciously, he probably just dismissed it with a blunt "Who cares?"

XXX

As soon as the other Emotions left to enjoy their downtime, Joy glanced quickly at the monitor and smiled. Riley had just finished getting ready for school and everything looked normal as she packed her books and prepared to leave the house. Joy decided Riley would be fine without her input for a few minutes and she started busying herself clearing up the plates from this morning's breakfast.

All of a sudden, she felt someone come up behind her and cover her eyes with their hands as she was about to pick up a plate.

"Guess who?" A gentle male voice whispered into her ear as Joy smiled and played along happily.

"Mm…let me guess…" Joy said as she reached back with her hand and started feeling the mystery Emotion's face.

"Maybe Prince Charming escaped from Dream Productions? Nah…no crown…" She concluded as she ran her fingers over the top of his head, almost poking him in the eye in the process!

Joy continued her search as she trailed her fingers over his long nose and brushed the downy texture of his cheek. "Hmmm…feels so soft and fuzzy…and smells like peppermint tea!"

Fear chuckled and took his hands away from her eyes as Joy spun around and exclaimed, "Why it's the Emotion of my dreams! My sweet purple Fuzz!"

Fear gazed into her beautiful blue eyes with adoration before throwing a nervous glance around the room. "Are we alone Twink? Have the others left?" He whispered anxiously.

Joy nodded and laughed at his relieved expression. "Yeah! I told them they could all have the day off and to leave Riley in my hands today!"

She gave him a sideways look and teased lightly, "I think you overslept a little my dear Fuzz! You missed out on morning regroup."

Slowly, a mischievous grin spread across Fear's face. He put his hands on his hips and informed Joy confidently, "No, I didn't oversleep. I just wanted you all to think that I did!"

He noticed Joy's puzzled expression and reached out to touch her forearm reassuringly. His big gray eyes were full of admiration as he explained, "I was more than happy to speak up for you last night Joy, but you needed to face them on your own to truly clear the air and to convince them that you really are back to normal!"

He rubbed the back of his neck nervously and pointed out, "If I was here, they might have seen the situation differently. They may even have thought that it's us against them and that would have created a division in the team rather than bring us all together again…"

Joy nodded slowly as she contemplated his words carefully. She couldn't deny that Fear had a good point.

"Yes you're right Fuzz." She looked up at him and smiled proudly. "I can assure you that all has been forgiven and I feel everyone was very understanding of my situation."

She shrugged and admitted apologetically, "I still don't know what triggered my depression in the first place, but I was overcome by a serious case of the blues and I guess I just needed time to snap out of it…"

Joy smiled at her purple co-worker and declared, "But in a way, you could say that all this drama was worthwhile!"

She took Fear's hands in her own and laughed fondly. "If I hadn't overacted following that incident with Anger in the kitchen, I never would have discovered just how much you really mean to me Fuzz!"

Fear blushed and looked away nervously. "I…I guess you're right about that Joy…"

He gave her a timid smile and expressed, "Helping you made me realize how much I love you and that I would do things for you that I never would have dreamed were possible for someone like me…"

Fear didn't get to finish his sentence as Joy threw her arms around his shoulders and embraced him lovingly. She kissed him on the cheek and whispered, "I feel so lucky to have you in my life Fear! I love you so much and I don't know where I would be without you!"

Fear closed his eyes and held onto Joy tightly.

I still can't believe she's mine! He thought to himself with love and pride in his heart.

Suddenly Fear detected a delicious smell hanging in the air. He tensed up and inhaled deeply, turning his head towards the kitchen as he traced the scent.

"Something smells really nice in here!" He took Joy by the arms and studied her face curiously. "What's cooking good-looking?"

Joy's smile grew wider as she pointed to the empty tray on the sofa and explained, "I baked some cookies this morning as a peace offering to the others!"

She picked up the tray and turned in the direction of the kitchen. "Don't worry! I have some more that I put aside for later…"

She giggled. "They were a real hit with Anger and he wanted me to save some for him later!"

Joy winked at Fear and said, "I can go make some tea and bring them out for us to enjoy instead!"

With that, Joy hurried into the kitchen while Fear stayed behind to mind the console. He looked up at the monitor and saw that Riley was currently sitting in class, staring at her math book rather anxiously. It turns out she had a math test today which she completely forgot to study for and now the poor girl was on the verge of freaking out.

Fear felt his own heartbeat quicken as he heard Riley mumbling in a small panicky voice, "Oh no! I'm going to fail so badly…"

Fear was just about to press a button on the console which would have sent Riley into a full-blown panic attack, when he stopped suddenly, his hand hovering over the controls as a thought hit him.

He pictured the past few days he spent with Joy and remembered the courage he felt whenever he was around her. Slowly a massive grin appeared on his purple face as he decided to try to be a little more adventurous for a change…

His axon sprang upright and curled over his head confidently as he took a deep breath and pressed a different button, his new-found cockiness spreading through the console as Riley registered his input.

Riley's expression changed as she regarded her math book with nonchalance. She shrugged dismissively and commented, "Oh well…it's just a stupid math test! It's not the end of the world!"

Fear was feeling extremely pleased with himself.

That felt awesome! He thought as he watched Riley's reaction with pride. In fact, Fear was so engrossed in the monitor, that he didn't notice Joy coming out of the kitchen with a fresh batch of cookies and tea on her serving tray.

"Honey! I'm back!" Joy announced cheerfully.

The unexpected loudness of her voice startled Fear so much, that he gave an earsplitting shriek and dove behind the sofa instinctively.

Unfortunately, his scream wound up startling Joy as well and she dropped the tray, sending cookies and tea spilling all over the floor as she jumped backwards impulsively.

Fear peeked out from behind the sofa cautiously, his eyes widening as he realized what he had done.

He gave a desolate sigh as he put his head in his hands in shame. "So much for being your Lion King!"

Fear looked up at the yellow Emotion remorsefully. His voice was trembling as he said, "I'm so glad that you're getting back to your old self Twink…but unfortunately it appears that I'm becoming my old self as well!"

Fear covered his face with his hands and groaned. "Let's just face it…I'm not brave! I'm over-sensitive and a coward!"

He looked at her desperately and shook his head in disbelief. "I can't comprehend why such a bright and beautiful Emotion like you, would possibly want to spend any time with me…"

Joy stepped forward and placed her hand on his arm reassuringly. "Please stop that Fuzz! You're breaking my heart!" She pleaded, her blue eyes full of anguish.

Fear was refusing to make eye-contact with her. Joy put her finger under his chin and slowly turned his head so that he was forced to look at her face. "Stop being so hard on yourself! I like it that you're sensitive instead of being aggressive or over-confident! And all of us can be cowards sometimes!"

Joy sighed and tapped her chest for emphasis. "I was being pretty cowardly these past few days and you don't even realize how strong you were! I mean the way you've been protecting me lately, it's…"

Joy trailed off as she noticed the look of horror in her purple co-worker's eyes. "Wha-what's wrong Fuzz?"

Fear was staring intently at her face, his whole body trembling as he stammered in a shrill voice, "Oh my gosh! Twink! You're bleeding from the corner of your mouth!"

"I…I am?!" Joy's eyes widened in surprise as she touched her lips tentatively. She looked at the red stain on her fingertip apprehensively. Then she did something that nearly made Fear faint from shock!

Joy casually licked the corner of her mouth and burst out laughing. "Oh Fuzz! I'm not bleeding! It's just strawberry jam!"

She pointed to the mess on the floor and explained to her mortified co-worker, "I thought you might like to have some jam with your cookies and when I dropped the tray, it exploded like a volcano!"

She glanced down and saw that the jam had also splattered her dress. Joy laughed and pointed out amicably, "Look! It's all over my dress and legs as well!"

Slowly, the shock disappeared from Fear's face. He looked at the carnage on the floor and sighed dismally, "But I ruined your cookies! You spent all that time making them and now we can't even enjoy them…"

A little twinkle appeared in Joy's eyes as she replied wryly, "Oh don't worry! We can still have our share of cookies…"

She leaned forward and cupped a hand over her mouth as she whispered, "You see, I left a few aside for Anger earlier and we will have those now!"

Joy gestured to the mess on the floor and added diabolically, "As for Anger…he can have these once we've gathered them from the floor! You've heard of the five second rule? Well how about we make an exception in this case and call it the five minute rule!"

A look of surprise dawned on Fear's face as he contemplated Joy's suggestion. Finally, he gave a shrug and responded, "Okay…why not!"

Joy giggled as both she and Fear proceeded to pick the cookies off the floor and place them back on the tray.

"I'm sure Anger will be none the wiser and besides it serves him right!" Joy said tartly.

She winked at Fear and said, "You know the saying an eye for an eye? Let's make this an apple to the head, cookies from the floor!"

Fear laughed in agreement. "Good one Joy!"

After they had finished picking up all the cookies, Joy took the tray and said with a chuckle, "Before I put these away, could I ask you to kiss my lips better?"

She touched a hand to her mouth and winced in mock discomfort. "When that jam hit my face, it really hurt!"

Fear smiled eagerly and took her in his arms. "I thought you'd never ask…"

The End.