Author's note: Warning, rather long chapter…
"Job well done," Woody said to himself as he watched a girl run off with a toy she had won (he helped her with only the last ring, but she made the other two just fine on her own).
Watching the girl run off with her new toy in her arms made him feel at peace and proud with himself. Seeing the joy on the faces of the kids (and the toys) gave him a sense of purpose he lost when he was with… Bonnie.
Instantly, his mood dropped, and he felt his heart (do toys even have hearts?) throb.
Since he decided to join Bo and her little group of lost toys he's tried to ignore and avoid any and every mention concerning the little girl who saved him from Sunnyside. The little girl who gave him a purpose again after Andy grew up and no longer needed him. The little girls whose name was written on his boot. The little girl he left behind… Bonnie.
Bonnie is gonna be alright, Woody thought repeating the words Buzz told him before they parted (he really hopes Buzz stopped listening to his voice commands and started listening to his ACTUAL CONSIENCE, knowing Buzz however… well there's hope).
After all, it's only been a few days.
He doubts Bonnie's even realized he's gone.
So, it turns out that this whole lost toy thing is way harder than he anticipated. Even after weeks off the map.
He expected the different living conditions after all he's now basically living in the outside and the occasional ride if available. He likes to think his social skills have gotten better since he's meeting new toys practically every day. His sneaking skills have also improved. The new sights are defiantly a bonus.
He just, never expected to find himself forcefully stopping from saying "Look at this sight Buzz," from on top of the Ferris wheel overlooking the carnival at night. Or "It's gonna be okay Jessie, take deep breaths and take my hand I won't let anything happen to you," when it would be time for the carnival to change locations and they would have to hide in dark, cramped spaces. He even found himself already looking around for the aliens who would no doubt wonder about or stopping Rex from getting too excited at the sight of kids, and not seeing Slinky or Bullseye at his side.
Being lost meant missing not only your kid, but the friends you made along the way as well.
"This is the life Woody, wouldn't you agree?" Bo asked as they overlooked the carnival from on top of one of the main tents during broad daylight.
Looking down you were able to see all the kids joyfully running around, you could hear their happy yells echo and the smell of popcorn filled the air.
Woody glanced around taking in the sight he never thought to see before he turned his gaze on her and smiled.
"If he catches on, we could always hit him with a Plush Attack," Ducky said earning a nod from Bunny who was (unsurprisingly) onboard with the idea.
"We are not attacking him you guys," Woody replied trying hard not to facepalm. These two were almost as bad as Ham and Mr. Potato Head when they try to come up with plans.
"He's onto us we have to find some way to throw the guy off our fluffy backs," Bunny tried earning a nod of agreement from Ducky, no surprise there, again.
This time Woody couldn't refrain from his hand making its way back home to a very familiar spot on his head.
"I think what Woody is trying to say is that while we have to throw him off our trail, attacking him and locking him up in one of the public bathrooms is not the most reasonable way of doing it," Bo said removing Woody's hand from his forehead.
"You guys are missing out," Ducky frowned.
"Big-time," Bunny agreed.
"It's not easy coming up with names for these things," Ducky said shaking his fluffy little fist, err, wing?
"It's really hard," Bunny nodded.
Sometimes, Woody prefers the company of Mr. Potato Head and Ham.
It only took a couple of hours planning to come up with a plan to keep the booth attendant from catching on to their plan. They had to be a bit more selective in the toys and the places they help the kids win.
"Nice job Bossman," Giggles laughed jumping on top of Bo's shoulder.
"Duke Kaboom agrees," the man, err, toy nodded.
"You still got it," Bo smiled over at him while Ducky and Bunny (though disappointed they couldn't use one of their many plush attacks) nodded their heads in agreement.
He missed this. Not the being in charge bit (though it did relieve some of his controlling tendencies) but the way his ideas benefited his friends.
If he couldn't take care of his kid and his old friends, he would take care of these weird lost toys.
"Bonnie is okay. Bonnie is okay. Bonnie is okay."
While he got used to life as a lost toy rather quickly there was one aspect, he doubted he could ever get rid of: worrying about the safety and future of his kid.
It was something he did when he was still getting used to living with Bonnie. He wondered if Andy would be okay. He knew Andy would be alright after all the boy was now a man and he was ready to tackle the world but Bonnie?
Bonnie was shy and quiet, and she gets nervous easily. He still remembers the way she reacted to her first day at orientation. The way she coward at the thought of leaving. How could he not go with her?
He wondered if she got over the fear. If she made a friend (an actual friend). If she was okay.
If she missed him.
Days turned into weeks and soon those weeks turned into months and before Woody knew it, he's spent 3 years as a lost toy. He never thought he would be a lost toy and much less that he made it this far.
He was taking a break from the booths and let Giggles and Duke handle it while he explored the scenery a while.
It was something he liked to do whenever the circus moved to a new location. Taking in the new sights made him feel like he was an explorer.
"Like some company?" a voice called from behind and after 3 years Woody's gotten used to their voice like it never really left.
"Yeah if you don't mind going up for a bit," Woody smiled over gesturing to climbing on top of one of the booths.
"Keep up cowboy," Bo laughed quickly brandishing her shepherds hook and using it to start swinging up.
"Cheater," Woody muttered good-heartedly as he made his way (slower since he didn't have a hook to swing on) up to follow her.
He wished he was younger.
"Woody? Are you okay?" Bo asked placing her hand on his shoulder.
Woody couldn't answer. He felt all the words he wanted to say jumbled up in his throat trying to get out, but he couldn't muster his mouth to move.
"Woody?" Bo frowned glancing at him before she turned her attention to his line of sight.
Once she caught sight of what he was looking at she couldn't hold in her small gasp.
"Is that- is that Andy?" she asked not quite believing what her eyes were clearly showing.
Where in the world did the small boy who used to play with her go? It may have been years since she last saw him, and he was still a young teen when she left but a toy never forgets a kid.
"Yeah," was really all Woody could muster.
When he was given to Bonnie (there goes that little ache again) he never imagined he would see Andy again. Especially when he became a lost toy.
"He's- he's gotten so tall," Bo said refusing to take her eyes off him.
"His voice got deeper too," Woody smiled remembering the way Andy's voice kept cracking until it suddenly stopped, and the way Andy wouldn't stop testing out the way his new voice sounded.
Bo snorted at the thought. "Bet he had fun."
"Molly had fun teasing him," Woody recalled, and his comment only made Bo laugh.
Both got silent as they continued watching Andy in silence. He was with his friends and they were all laughing while playing at one of the booths. This is what Woody wanted to see. His kid all grown up being happy. He wondered if Andy was doing all right in college. If he graduated yet. What he was studying. If he had a girlfriend.
"Time really flies by huh?" Bo said watching Andy with a soft smile. She never thought she would see Andy again. Much less all grown up.
"Goes by quick," Woody agreed.
Bo smiled taking her eyes from Andy before turning to Woody who was still watching Andy with a small smile.
"Well, I'm gonna go check on the others to make sure they haven't made the new guy quit," she told him.
Woody nodded feeling still slightly shocked at seeing the kid he said goodbye to years ago.
Bo glanced back to Andy silently wishing him the best before turning around and making her way back to where the others were no doubt trying to prank the newbie.
Woody waited until he was sure she was gone before he quickly got up and made his way down.
Andy was here! He was really here!
Glancing around the corner from where he was hiding, he could hear the laughs and the teasing of Andy's friends.
"Ohhh another loss for you man!" a man Andy's age yelled slapping Andy on the shoulder.
"Yeah well, it's still one more than what you got," Andy smiled handing over the ball to him.
"Remind me again," the guy said pulling back before releasing the ball trying to hit the center of the pins and managing to knock off the top but leaving the bottom half. "Why we've spent like 10 bucks on this booth instead of going on the rides?"
"Because," Andy began handing the booth guy another dollar before taking the ball from him. "I want to get that toy for a special someone." He signaled over to a fluffy colorful duck which was the main prize.
"Ooohh don't let Sarah hear you, she might get jealous," A guy teased earning a swift punch from the only female among both boys.
"Loser, not in that way," she answered before watching Andy throwing the ball and hitting edge only knocking off two.
"Why don't you just buy one," the guy suggested seeing Andy pull back, release the ball and miss.
"You really think they would have something like that?" Andy groaned pointing to the duck.
"Amazon has some pretty weird shit," the guy answered.
"What Andy is trying to say is that this way is a lot more special," the girl answered smiling at Andy's groan of defeat as he missed again.
"Who's the lucky girl then, 'cause there is no way that's for a boy," the man asked.
"It's for a girl who used to live in my old neighborhood," Andy said leaning on the stand. "I visited her a couple of months back and she was pretty scared about going to school, not to mention her mom told me she was having trouble with some bullies in her class."
With those words. Woody felt his body freeze. Surely- surely, he couldn't be talking about…
"Poor girl," the guy frowned earning agreement from the girl (Sarah?).
"And she loves toys, so I thought to get her one to help her feel better," Andy shrugged dejectedly gesturing to the booth. "Besides, she's kinda scared that I hate her or something, so this is my peace offering too."
"Why would she think that?" his friend asked.
"A few years back I gave her some of my old toys," Andy said. "And when I went to visit her, she cried and apologized about losing Woody."
If Woody thought his body froze with the previous words his entire being dropped. Bonnie cried? Because of him?
"Wait, Woody? As in your dad's Woody?" the girl asked incredulously earning a nod from Andy.
"But I thought you loved that toy," she frowned
"Yeah man why aren't you pissed?" the guy asked.
Andy shrugged. "I know this is crazy, but Woody is special."
"He would never leave you behind."
If he had a heart it would've broken at Andy's words.
"Well," the girl said moving over to hand over a dollar to the booth attendant. "Can't keep a girl waiting now can we."
She reared back and threw the ball hitting dead center managing to knock over the pins.
"Funny thing, about these games," she smirked over at the stunned boys. "Hit one specific pin with the right amount of force and they all come crashing down," she added accepting the duck.
"Well, let's go there's a girl out there in need of a new friend," she laughed as the guy shot up to get the car.
"Really?" Andy teased slinging his arm around her shoulders.
"No," she laughed. "But if I can embed a Wii controller into a tv dead center this shouldn't be a problem."
As they walked away, they never realized a cowboy toy deep in thought around the corner.
Maybe… Bonnie wasn't as alright as he thought…
After that day Woody couldn't get Bonnie out of his head.
He often found himself pacing the roofs of the booths deep in thought (which he was currently doing) and looking at the name written on his boot.
He knew she feared school; he saw that firsthand but the fact that she was being bullied… Sweet, kind Bonnie who would never hurt anything, who cared for and loved her toys as if she knew they had feelings was being picked on? He couldn't wrap his head around it and there was a small part of him that wanted to deny the words he heard but…
Woody let out a frustrated noise throwing his hands in the air before dropping to the ground and hugged his knees to his chest.
Why did he ever leave?
"So, this is where you are."
He peaked over to see Bo making her way to him.
"You found me," he said placing his head on his knees.
"It appears I did," she answered back sitting down next to him.
For the first time since he joined the circus his back was to the lights and instead, he focused on the other sights he's neglected.
The quiet soft lights that indicated a peaceful town. The occasional car that would drive by. He's even seen small animals here and there.
"You know everyone's pretty worried about you these past couple of days," Bo began. "They think you've gone all, loner in the mountains kind of deal."
"Just thinking," Woody answered turning his head to the sky. The stars are shinier, he noted.
Woody's gaze fell to the ground.
"That obvious huh," he sighed.
"I've known you for years," she said looking over to the quiet town. "Besides, ever since you saw Andy you've been like this and I thought it was because of seeing Andy again, but after you talked about Andy without so much as a frown to Giggles and Duke, I figured it must be something else." She turned to him smiled. "What happened."
And he told her. He told her why Andy was playing at the booths. He told her what Andy said about Bonnie being bullied and about how he talked about Woody. He told her everything.
When he was finished, they sat there taking in the sounds of the crew locking up for the night leaving them in silence and darkness only illuminated by the night sky.
"Sounds like Bonnie could really use a friend," Bo said after some time.
"She has Buzz, Jessie, the others, she's- she's fine," Woody assured. Whether he was assuring himself or her, he wasn't quite sure.
"But they aren't you," Bo whispered turning to him. "You always had this- this special way of making anyone feel like everything was going to be okay and you always went out of your way to make sure your kid wasn't' feeling alone."
Woody shook his head at her.
"There's nothing special about me Bo," he told her honestly because that's what he's always believed. There were thousands of toys out there in the world. What made HIM stand out?
"You don't understand Woody," Bo shook her head. "How many toys out there would rescue the toy that replaced them as the favorite just because their kid loved said toy? Or would pass on the opportunity to be placed in a museum in Japan? Or leave a daycare where they could have gotten played with every day to go back to being placed on a shelf?"
He turned in surprise to look at her at the strong tone in her voice.
"If it wasn't for you Andy wouldn't have had the childhood he had, and Bonnie wouldn't have gotten the toys she did or the confidence to make Forky."
"Bo I'm not special," Woody insisted.
"No Woody you are. You just don't see it," Bo denied strongly.
"Most toy when they get lost or replaced give up and leave, me included," she sighed the last part. "But you- "she jabbed her finger in his chest. "You care more than any other toy I've ever met."
Even if he wanted to answer he couldn't find the words to describe just how ordinary he felt like compared to the new toys these days with their fancy buttons and flashing lights. He didn't even have his voice box anymore.
"I don't know why you chose to leave and join us," Bo frowned looking down before she glanced up at him with a gentle smile. "I'm glad you did but… can you really be happy without a kid to take care of?"
Before he could even think to respond she got up and left him to ponder alone.
Hours later he doubted he had the answer.
After the talk with Bo, Woody couldn't explain the drive he suddenly got to help toys go to new owners. The work was somewhat hard what with booth getting busier and the sneaking getting harder, but he thought it was fun. Seeing the smiles on both child and toy made all the headaches worth it.
He started hanging out with the others after hours even taking part in the pranks occasionally.
Yet, he couldn't shake the feeling of longings from inside.
He often wondered how Bonnie had changed over the years. If she grew out her hair or kept it short. If she was studious or athletic, or maybe even both. If school got better for her. He had so many questions regarding how she grew up and sometimes he regretted leaving her behind.
Hanging onto the threads of Buzz's words he continued with his days.
"That poor guy is going to be in pain for days," Bo laughed recalling the incident not too long ago involving a dad teaching his son how to throw a ball. Short story the boy hit the target spot on, just not the target to get prizes.
"He never saw it coming," Woody agreed snorting down his laughter.
Before Bo could respond they heard it.
A sound every toy dreaded.
The sound of a child crying.
Woody's breath caught in his throat and he felt his heartbreak.
It wasn't just any child crying.
It was Bonnie.
"Woody, where are you going?!" Bo whispered/yelled as Woody darted away without hesitance.
He darted quickly through the shadows and made his way to where the crying was coming from.
And that's when he found her. Where he found his Bonnie.
She's gotten taller. Her hair had gotten longer. She had gotten older.
He missed out on all of it.
"Woody-pant- what happen- oh," Bo gasped when she caught sight of the crying girl.
"Oh Bonnie," she whispered feeling her own heartbreak at the sight.
Woody couldn't take his eyes off her. She was here. After all these years he finally saw her again.
He just wished he could have seen her like he saw Andy. All smiles and laughs.
He never wanted to see her like this.
"What do you think happened?" Bo asked softy and Woody barely shrugged his shoulders in stunned confusion.
Both toys hid in the back as they watched the crying girl. They didn't know what to do.
"Where's Buzz?" Woody muttered angrily glancing around hoping to see the Space Ranger. Nothing.
Buzz said Bonnie was going to be okay. THIS WAS NOT OKAY.
"Maybe he got left behind," Bo suggested.
"He said she would be okay. She does not look okay Woody whispered/shouted gesturing to Bonnie.
"There are some things even toys can't fix Woody," Bo advised.
"He could've tried," he grumbled.
They watched as Bonnie sniffed, lifted her head up, wiped her tears and shakily got up. She made her way to the edge of behind the booth and peaked around supposedly looking out for something.
"They're gone. It's okay. It's okay," they heard her whisper fidgeting with her skirt. "they're just stupid boys who get a kick out of picking on girls to soothe their stupid egos."
Woody smiled proudly at her words all the while resisting the urge to find these boys and pull the move, he pulled on Sid years ago.
"Just go back out there and pretend it didn't affect you," Bonnie advised herself.
They saw her reach inside her jacket and Woody was astonished to see his old sheriffs' badge securely pinned to the inside of Bonnie's jacket.
"It's what Woody would want."
With that, she swallowed and darted out before she could think otherwise.
Both toys were left in silence at what they had witnessed.
"It's what Woody would want," Bo repeated slowly. "That doesn't sound like a kid who didn't care about her toy."
"It sounds like a kid who needs said toy."
Stunned Woody turned to see Bo smiling sadly at him.
"Bo- I-I what are you saying?" he asked still trying to wrap his head around what he just heard from the girl.
"You said it yourself years ago, you were made to help a child," Bo gently answered. "It seems like she needs some support."
"Are you asking me to leave?" Woody asked not believing what she was saying.
"It's hard to leave something you never left behind," she said using her Sheppard's hook to point to Woody foot. The foot that still held Bonnie's name written on even after all these years.
"Besides, I always knew this was temporal," she shrugged.
"Bo-" he tried to interrupt her but was cut up by her placing her hand on his shoulder.
"What we've done these past years were great. We helped so many toys find their kid and we shared so many memories," she smiled before gently placing her hand on his cheek. "But you love kids too much to just leave one behind."
"I don't want to be left behind," Woody muttered closing his eyes.
He didn't want to feel the same pain he felt when Andy's dad left him behind. The pain he felt when he realized Andy was done playing with him and kept him locked up in the toy chest for years, occasionally getting glimpses of him through the years.
The pain he felt when Bonnie began tossing him in the closet.
He didn't want to feel abandoned or that he wasn't enough. When he met Bo again and decided to stay, he did so (not just to be with her again) but to not feel the pain again. Lost toys can't feel the pain of their kid leaving them behind as they left to do other things.
"Woody," he glanced up at her words and suddenly he felt his eyes burn (can toys cry?) at the soft look she gave him. "I know you're scared. You might not admit it, but I know," she said.
"Kids grow up. There's no stopping it, they grow up," Bo said. "But it's our job to make sure they don't grow up alone."
"She has Buzz and the others," he said swallowing hard.
"But they don't do the things you do," she smiled. "I love them I really do but even you have to admit they give up rather easily."
Woody chuckled lowly not bothering to disagree with her.
"We never know when or why kids are going to stop playing with us, but we do know when we're needed, and…" she trailed off turning to look at where Bonnie had left. "I know Bonnie still needs her cowboy."
"I can't just leave Bo," Woody frowned because it was true. He couldn't just up and leave his friends and her. He liked it here but…
"That's the cool thing about carnivals Woody," Bo grinned over him. "They come back every year or so."
Woody breathed out glancing to where Bonnie had been.
Could he- could he just, go?
"What about you?" he said looking back at her.
"Aw Woody I've survived without you for years I think I could survive a year more," Bo smiled brightly at him.
"They'll understand now go before you miss her," Bo said nudging him towards the exit.
Abruptly Woody turned around and embraced her. He couldn't believe she was encouraging him to go to Bonnie.
"At least this time we get to say goodbye," she muttered hugging him back.
"More like a see you later," he smiled pulling back.
She grinned before doing her signature move.
Correcting his hat and giving him a nod.
"How am I supposed to get her attention if my voice box doesn't work anymore?!" he panicked pulling his string to only hear a distorted sound come out.
"Well there has to be some way you can get her attention without a voice box," Bo said frowning trying to figure out a way. "A way of just showing up in front of her."
With those words, Woody stopped panicking and smiled over at her enjoying her confused face.
"There are trees around the exits right Bo?" He asked.
"Yeah why?" she answered before she grinned catching on to his plan. "I'll get the others."
Woody nodded feeling giddy for the first time in years.
I'm coming, Bonnie.
Author's Note: Well, that is done. And on a much happier note than the last one. Everyone wanted me to reunite them or they were torn (I was too!) but like Woody said it's only a see you later. I'm sorry I didn't include the official reunited scene, but this was already too long, I didn't want to bore you all with a super long chapter and I wanted to include Woody's side of the years. The next chapter is the last and the POV's will be split between Bonnie and Woody. Don't worry about Woody just being placed on a shelf or something or them saying goodbye, I have an idea that will suit both parties. Well see you all next time and thank you all for the AMAZING responses I received.
Writingisrealzing: I understand where you are coming from. The movie was mostly comedy and somewhat confusing with decisions made by the characters, but I rather enjoyed it. Not as much the previous ones but it was okay. I hope I explained Woody's decision about leaving and then choosing to return but if I didn't feel free to PM and I can further explain what I didn't mention. And don't worry I enjoyed reading your review.
Shubhangi: Thank you! I went back and back to make sure it followed the timeline I made.
Tsukimine12: I'm glad I made you less angry with Bonnie. She's a kid it happens. It was a hard decision and I made another draft where he stays but, this is where it went.
Inmtch: My goal when writing this story was to make Bonnie a character. Give her personality, flaws, strong qualities. etc. I'm happy I made you emotional it means I passed what I felt when writing this. She is just a kid and kid have many flaws, but they grow up. The whole "What would Woody do?" is something that just popped up when I was writing this. They reunited!
Lucky-Loyal Girl: It was also something that really bothered me thus why this came to be. Thank you for reading my thought and yes I wanted Bonnie to have some emotional support because I know how much a difference a friend can make.
Ileidy: Reunion! Thank you, Bonnie deserved to have more personality.
Alai: Thank you! Maybe next chapter.
Knock Out1998: Bonnie doesn't really need Woody. It's like training wheels. They help you gain confidence in yourself and when the time comes it's time to take them off. The difference though is that Woody isn't going to get put away… hope that made sense…
WPN95, All Things Animated: THANK YOU!