I adore Inside Out so much. And, dare I say it, even more than Monsters University. So they're both the BEST! I don't really have to say a lot about how this is WAY better than Frozen. Because a whole lot of you already agree with me. Sadness is best Disney princess! :D
But anyway, this fanfic has been in my head for sometime since seeing the premiere. Just like my post-Monsters University story "Life's a Scream!", this is going to be multi-chaptered (a LOT of chapters). I'd like to thank all of you out there who have read my first ever IO fanfic "Bitterness". I promise you this story will be just as grand. ;)
This takes place after Sadness saves Riley, but before the movie's epilogue. Think about it: the islands of personality undoubtedly took time to be made, and during that it took time for Riley to actually adjust. It's not like a Disney princess movie where the problems just suddenly get solved in a few seconds. In reality it takes longer than that, especially for Riley even after sharing a heartfelt moment with her parents. What is great about Pixar is that they make their films feel so realistic, so relevant to what we deal with in real life. Had they ever thought of a "sequel within the film", this would be it.
PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!
Sadness and Joy watched as the familial hug resumed, mom's and dad's pained smiles easing their daughter's. Through Riley's eyes the emotions gazed into the sorrowful faces of her parents as they continuously embraced the 11-year-old. They just continued sitting on the floor, clinging to one another as if the end of the world was near (to which was one of many presumptions through Fear's many lists since coming to San Francisco).
Worry, relief, and above all sympathy was silently shared between Riley and her parents. Pain still lingered, and Minnesota was just as greatly missed as before. No doubt that they would continue to contemplate their old home as their days of San Francisco resumed.
But if Joy had learned anything from all this, she knew that they could get through it. After all, she and Sadness had been through a lot these past few days. From being uncertain about the blue emotion's purpose to wondering if they could ever think on a preferred level, Joy had seen the complicated yet meaningful attributes that made up Sadness.
She had been put in Riley's head for a reason. Although crying seemed like the worst thing they could ever do to their child, Joy realized that she had been wrong. So, so wrong.
Although she brought Riley happiness, Joy knew that she needed to be sad just as much as being happy. Without it...well, Riley would have remained what represented that dark essence that took over the console moments before. The yellow emotion still shuddered at the thought, watching everything lose color, with the inability to make their girl feel anything.
She hoped they would never reach a situation like that again. And she knew that was a promise because Sadness would make sure of it.
Their personalities still contrasted, but, for the first time ever, they actually found relevance with each other. And Joy couldn't deny that she herself knew what it meant to feel sad.
Glancing away from the screen, she looked down at the blue emotion. Her heart warmed to witness a genuine smile upon her friend's face, one so sincere and full of life, she almost forgot she was the embodiment of feeling sad.
But they needed sadness. Without it, Riley probably would have never returned. And who knew what would have become of her mind if Joy hadn't thought through. If she didn't realize just how important Sadness was to all of them.
Noticing the yellow emotion looking at her, Sadness cocked her head to the side, staring back in question.
"Joy?" she spoke softly, holding her blue memory core close to her. "Are you okay?"
The leading emotion swallowed, unable to fight back tears as she gazed at her.
"Sadness..." she spoke, her voice shrouded with guilt. "I'm...I'm so sorry about everything...I just thought-"
But the smaller emotion stopped her. Joy peered down at their hands, Sadness' fingers gently gripping her own. Tears sliding down her cheeks, Joy looked back at her, noticing that same empathetic expression she had given Bing Bong when he had been upset; something Joy had failed to acknowledge.
"It's okay," Sadness murmured calmly. "It'll be alright, Joy."
Swallowing a lump in her throat, the golden-skinned emotion knew sincerity when she heard it. Even after all these years, Sadness was willing to push those moments away, only moving toward the future. Now that she realized her true purpose, and that she and Joy were better friends than ever before, all she wanted now was to work alongside her fellow emotions like she was supposed to do.
Speaking of the others, the two were immediately attacked with shaky shoulder rubs and deafening cheers as they were surrounded by red, green, and purple.
"You did it!" Disgust cried, displaying an expression of astonishment as she focused it on Sadness, holding her by the shoulders.
"Oh, you fixed it, Sadness!" Anger chortled, still in disbelief that the disaster that had left them hopeless had suddenly vanished just like that. "You fixed everything! I almost thought we'd never see her stinkin' parents again!"
The teardrop-shaped emotion couldn't help but beam at everyone. She had never received praise before, and the feeling was strange yet incredible. Despite her serene exterior, deep down she was squealing with euphoric bliss. This must have been how Joy felt every time she was applauded for making Riley smile, or when Anger made her feel strong-minded, or Disgust being able to bring out the critic in her, and especially how Fear made Riley more observant.
All their talents were always recognized. And now so was hers.
Her thoughts were halted the moment lanky arms reached behind her, pulling her off the floor. Sadness gasped in alarm, clutching her memory core tighter. She was almost afraid that the memory tube had gone haywire and was taking her away again. But instead she was met with delighted purple eyes as she was hoisted above.
"Oh, you have no idea how relieved I am!" Fear cried, his hands under Sadness' arms and raising her upward.
Sadness just blinked down at him, glasses sliding down the ridge of her nose. She smiled sheepishly, unsure of what to make of this sort of physical contact. But Fear hardly noticed it, his exuberance reaching levels that were almost above Joy's.
The blue emotion felt the wind continuously wrap around her face as the purple emotion swung her around. He felt a little giddy, practically dancing with her while continuing to hold her up.
"Oh, Sadness, you wonderful, wonderful emotion you!" he exclaimed, almost twirling.
He finally stopped, lowering her back down until her toes touched the floor. Hands at her waist, his purple eyes gazed into innocent yet curious blue ones. His smile softened, feeling as if everything was right with the world, and he didn't need to worry about anything.
Fear continuously gazed at her for some time, with Sadness unsure of what to make of it and just smile back.
Until Anger cleared his throat.
"Ahem," the red emotion said, cutting into the long and slightly awkward moment, he and the others having watched them in confusion.
Instantly Fear's eyes widened before he drew his hands away from Sadness. Hiding them behind his back, he chuckled with embarrassment, managing a timid smile in her direction. She was not at all bothered by what had just occurred, simply giving him a nod and a decent grin in return.
"Sadness," Joy called to her. "Riley still needs you."
The blue emotion's head whipped toward the screen, noticing that Riley had just ended the hug with her parents. Instinctively she hurried toward the console with everyone standing behind her. Placing her blue memory core down, she set right to work.
Although she never had many moments with the controls over the years Riley needed to cry, Sadness had salvaged her experience and recalled from the many, many manuals she had read during that time.
Everyone watched the screen, witnessing once more the faces of mom and dad. Although they had just shared their inner feelings with their daughter, it was still a long way before Riley could really move on from Minnesota. After all, it had only been days since they came here, and the pain was still evident as tears still streamed down Riley's face.
Mrs. Andersen reached over and caressed her daughter's cheek, wishing she could do more to ease the hurt. Just earlier she and her husband had been frightened they would never see Riley again. Now they needed to step up and try to make things easier for her as possible. While they missed their home state, they had begun to grow accustomed to California, even see the better aspects in comparison to Minnesota.
But Riley was not like them.
At that moment she realized that Riley had probably not eaten anything since she tried to run away. Managing a tender smile, Mrs. Anderson stroked her daughter's cheek once more.
"Are you hungry?" she asked gently. "Do you want me to cook anything for you?"
"We could order pizza," Mr. Andersen piped in, hoping he was doing a great job in comforting their child. "I...I know that one place might not seem promising, but there are a lot of pizza places here in San Fran."
Sadness paused, her fingers hovering over the controls. Filled with mild uncertainty, she turned to the others, particularly Joy.
"It's okay," she told the blue emotion. "Let's not jump to being too happy right now."
Anger regarded her closely, raising his eyes in amazement. "Wow, never thought I'd hear you say that..."
The yellow emotion chuckled dryly before they watched as Sadness began pressing buttons.
Riley didn't look at her mother, nor her father. Blue eyes glancing down at the floor, she reached down and picked up her backpack. Home was still embedded in her thoughts, along with Meg, her hockey team, and everything else that San Francisco could never have.
"Actually," she murmured, "I'm not really hungry. Can I...can I just go to my room? I just really want to be alone right now."
Although her words were hurting her parents, especially after everything they had been through just now, Riley knew she needed to think for herself at times. Whether they were upset or disappointed that she could turn them down like this, she refused to change her feelings just to placate their own.
It wasn't that she hated them, or was angry with them, she just wanted to be alone with her thoughts. Somehow they were the only things that could comfort her right now.
If her mother was pained by her response, she was doing a great job of hiding it. Mrs. Anderson turned to her husband, who said nothing and gave a stiff nod in her direction.
"Of course, Riley," he told their daughter in his most soothing tone, hoping his voice didn't crack. "We completely understand."
Before Riley left, her mom did plant a light kiss on her forehead. The young girl thought nothing of it, looking away from them as she trudged toward the stairs and up the steps. Her parents just stood there, watching her leave with broken hearts.
Fear played with his fingers, tensing a little as he and the others witnessed Riley reach her room. Once she closed the door behind her, dropping to her knees alongside her backpack, he couldn't hold back his uncertainty.
"Guys," he spoke carefully, "did you see the way her parents looked when Riley said no?"
Sadness clenched her fists a little, doubt seeping into her very essence as she felt maybe she took it a step too far. She turned to Joy for guidance. The yellow emotion offered a supportive smile, resting a hand on her shoulder.
"It's all painful," she declared to the others, "but it's needed."
"Riley needs time," Sadness managed to speak, looking up at the screen to see the child's tears slowly drying away. "It's...it's going to be a long process."
"No kidding," Disgust mentioned, although it wasn't in that usually snappy, sarcastic tone that sometimes bothered or annoyed the others (mostly Anger).
Instead she sounded more concerned, her large lashes curling as she watched the screen with mild despair. Anger and Fear especially looked on in worry, wondering if the the same Riley born from Minnesota would turn up again.
Of course, things didn't just happen over night. Although Riley was adjusting to her new life in San Francisco, the process would still be painful. She would still yearn for her old home and wish they had never left it.
But if Joy and Sadness knew anything, as they watched Riley slowly close her eyes and force herself to sleep, they would get through this. Riley would get through this.
For a few seconds the screen was blank, the emotions seeing nothing but the inside of Riley's eyelids.
"Funny," Fear observed, squinting, "how come Dream Productions isn't bringing up another one of their tacky Fairy Dream Adventure episodes?"
Joy tightened her lips together, hand never leaving Sadness' shoulder. Gazing at the screen once more, she looked away from it. The golden-skinned emotion carefully directed the blue one away from it. Sadness said nothing, trusting Joy on her instinct as she left the controls alone. The others watched on in confusion, but still followed the two until they were at distance from the console.
"Riley just tried to run away," Joy spoke, her voice authoritative yet compassionate. "This is a big deal for us to think over. Especially for the people who work in Dream Productions."
She couldn't help but smile, although it hurt to do so. Even if the studio wanted to produce a dream for Riley tonight, they just couldn't. Riley just needed a simple rest after everything, and Joy knew that HQ wasn't the only one that cared deeply for their girl.
"So now what?" Anger asked.
They could just go to sleep, especially since there would be no Dream Duty tonight. But none of them were the least bit tired. At least they were all at ease now.
Sadness couldn't help but look up at Joy. She was still blown away from everything that just happened today. It felt like just minutes ago the blue emotion had no idea what she was to do, just traveling aimlessly through Long-Term Memory and idly turning old memories blue. She felt hopeless during that time, wondering what was going on down there in the dump for Joy and Bing Bong-
Her mind halted at that, blue eyes blinking up at her equally blue-haired friend. It was then Sadness scanned across the room, before discovering that familiar candy-patterned satchel lying on the floor.
Squinting at it, she turned back to Joy.
"Where's Bing Bong?" she asked.
Joy's expression faded from lenient to more wretched. Her face fell to the floor, hand slowly sliding off Sadness' shoulder and falling limp to her side.
"Bing Bong?" Fear questioned. "Wait, so that's who I actually saw yesterday while I was on Dream Duty?" He turned to Joy. "He was with you?"
Joy didn't answer him, her attention focusing only on Sadness as she slowly lifted her head to regard her. Those blue eyes stared back in question, shining with so much innocence the yellow emotion almost couldn't tell her.
But Sadness deserved nothing but the truth. And she had been the only one who had comforted Bing Bong during his distressing situation.
Finally, Joy rested both her hands on Sadness' shoulders, kneeling a bit toward the smaller emotion's level. The other emotions stood off to the side, getting the feeling that perhaps the two needed some space.
They watched from a distance as Joy carefully explained everything to the tender-hearted emotion, the light of Riley's mind outside HQ blanketing their silhouettes.
After Joy finished, Sadness immediately fell into her arms, crumpling to her knees as she sobbed into the other emotion's chest. Her tears dripping to the floor, Sadness clung to Joy the way Riley had done to her parents after unveiling her misery of missing home.
Joy held onto to the blue emotion, head resting atop Sadness' as she stroked her back to comfort her. Closing her eyes, she could feel tears accumulating at the sides of her lids. Like a water balloon being overly filled, they slowly bursted, creating a gentle waterfall of tears that slid down the yellow emotion's cheeks.
The others watched on, silent and heartbroken at the sight.