Author's Note: I got inspired after seeing the latest installment of this magnificent franchise. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Toy Story © Disney/Pixar
The moon looked particularly beautiful tonight—large and round and illuminating brilliantly against the inky blue sky. It glowed so luminously that Bo could feel it through her porcelain exterior, as impossible as that seemed, but then, perhaps the glow she felt had nothing to do with the moon at all.
She welcomed the coolness of the earth as she lay on the ground, tucked safely behind the foliage overlooking the carnival. It had been one exciting day, to say the least, filled with the thrilling rush of adventure she so cherished as a lost toy. Truthfully, though, she never considered herself lost so much as she did free and loving every second of it, alongside her faithful sheep, whom she cared for so deeply, and her reliable companion, Giggle McDimples, whose no-nonsense, spunky attitude always kept her in line whenever she needed it most. There was also Duke Caboom, a rogue toy with something to prove and a whole lot of guts to do it, and now Ducky and Bunny, quite literally attached by the wing and paw and with such gusto combined between the two of them that she knew they'd be welcome members of this growing team of lost toys.
And now, most incredibly of all, she also had the one toy back in her life whom she'd always admired above all the rest, from his noble leadership to his far more sensitive and modest nature he kept hidden beneath the surface, all wrapped up in kindness and bravery. A toy any kid would be thrilled to play with, even only for a day, a toy so dependable and encouraging and absolutely wonderful he could make any kid smile. A toy who, admittedly, had crossed her mind every so often over the last nine years they'd been apart, and every time it happened she'd always feel a pang of something she could never quite pinpoint. It was more than a mere twinge of missing an old friend, something much deeper, more powerful.
Of course, she'd felt something else entirely upon locking eyes with him in that sandbox, a euphoric moment of glorious amazement when she realized it was him, it was really him, after all these years. And now he was back in her life and they were together again, and suddenly it dawned on her what the source of that warm, glowing feeling was, a feeling of…
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of rustling leaves, and for a moment her thoughts shifted into panic. A stray cat? Only when she heard the hushed sound of his familiar voice did her panic vanish, and she grabbed her cane as she got up and quietly approached the fumbling cowboy who'd somehow gotten himself tangled up in a branch from a nearby shrub. She hadn't planned on laughing, she truly hadn't, but seeing the way he flailed and tried to break himself loose only to stumble over and over again, her laughter soon bubbled up to the surface and rippled through the air. He immediately froze in alarm like a caught deer, only to relax when he saw her.
When her laughter subsided, Bo walked up and yanked away the stubborn branch with her cane. Their eyes caught again, a timid, yet grateful smile etching over his face, and at last he stepped out of the entangled twine. She withdrew her cane and planted it into the dirt, a hand on her hip, while he cleared his throat and shuffled his boots nervously. Eventually, he straightened up and placed his hands on either side of his belt.
"I couldn't sleep," he said at last, an answer to the question she would've asked but didn't have to now, as if he could read her mind. "Figured I'd go for a little walk."
"Care for some company?" Bo asked.
"With you? Always," he said with such smoothness that she felt the glow again, even more strongly than before.
They set off, walking along the dirt path in silence. Bo kept her eyes forward, the moon serving as their guide on this blissfully serene night, though every once in a while she could feel his gaze, and she smiled to herself. She'd caught him staring at her from the corner of her eye a few times earlier that day. At the antique shop, certainly, she knew he was just as captivated as she was by all of the dazzling, colorful lights, but with the way he looked at her, she couldn't help wondering what he'd been feeling in that moment, no doubt everything she'd been feeling, too.
She glanced at him now, and his brows twitched upward for a split-second, as though he hadn't meant to get caught staring. She simply offered him a slow, warm grin, allowing him to relax again.
"So, what's on your mind, cowboy?" she asked, a gentle nudging for him to let her in. He'd been through a lot today, more than some toys ever experienced in a whole lifetime, between rescuing his new friend, Forky, and generously giving away his voice box to a toy in need. Most heartbreakingly of all, though, he'd parted ways with the toys he'd been such close friends with all these years. They'd been through so much together they were more like family, and saying goodbye was never easy. She knew the feeling all too well. Voicing her concern aloud, she said, "Thinking about the others?"
Now he cast his eyes to the ground, kicking once at the dirt. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. Those guys are the greatest friends a toy could ask for, and I'm going to miss them a lot, but…"
She kept her gaze on him, waiting patiently, as he grew deeper in thought.
"To be honest," he said, "I'm mostly thinking about… lost time. Buzz, Jessie, all of us, we spent years in Andy's toy chest, hoping by some miracle he'd open it and remember what it was like to play with us, but that never happened. Don't get me wrong, I always knew in the back of my mind his days of playing with us wouldn't last forever. The important thing was that we were there for him whenever he needed us, but the fact of the matter is, Andy's not a kid anymore." He paused, and his voice grew tender. "Still, that day he played with us with Bonnie before heading off to college was one of the happiest moments of my life, a memory I'll cherish forever. And now, all I can think about is what a fine young man he'll grow up to be and how proud of him I am, even if I'll never get to see those big moments in his life. Like when he graduates college. Or when he starts his career. Or when he…"
"Falls in love?"
He stopped in his tracks, as did she, and his silhouette against the wide and shining moon took her breath away in all its beauty. She smiled with beaming affection, and she noted how the pensive look on his face melted away as his eyes searched hers.
"Bo?" he said softly.
"Hmm?" she said, bringing up her free hand to grip her cane as she found herself leaning toward him.
He didn't have a chance to finish what he was about to say, however, as she leaned a bit too much on her cane. The next thing she knew, the cane slipped from beneath her, and she tumbled down the small slope in the ground, landing in the grass and erupting into an unstoppable fit of giggles. In the midst of her laughing she heard his frantic voice call her name coupled with the sound of his rushed footsteps as he scrambled over to her.
She grinned up at him, assuring him she was fine, and the fearful look on his face went away as he held out his hand. She grasped it firmly, and for a moment neither one moved. But then, unable to resist, she yanked him down with her, and she laughed joyously all over again.
He, too, laughed, richly and deeply, until finally she got up, retrieved her cane and offered him her hand. His eyes flickered from her hand to her face, as though he were contemplating pulling the same trick on her, but he accepted her outstretched hand and she promptly heaved him to his feet. Their chests bumped, and they both froze.
On instinct, she reached up and straightened his hat over his head. This time, her hand lingered, and she gently caressed his cheek. She felt it lift beneath her palm as his mouth ticked up in a handsome grin, and she found her eyes drifting shut as their lips met, gingerly, lovingly. When they drew back, his smile only grew, communicating everything he felt for her, a smile she returned, eyes shining.
I love you too, Woody.
As they turned and headed back, Woody took her hand, and right then Bo knew neither of them would ever feel lost again now that they had each other.