Song: "When She Loved Me"
Original Movie: Toy Story 2
Author's Note: This is a sad one shot about the death of Tiana's father. You have been warned.
"You'd be surprised how well that little girl cooked. One night everyone out in the projects came out cause-"
"Cause your little girl done cooked some gumbo. How many times you got to tell that story, James? We in the middle of a war here." Rogers grumbled.
"Ain't a crime to love your family," Private Smith pointed out. "James is proud of his girl. What's wrong with that?"
"What's wrong with that is…it's quiet."
Smith opened his mouth to say something, but James shushed him this time. "Feels like something's sucking the sound right outta here. It's too quiet, that's for sure," James whispered. The three men all cautiously peered out into the woods, trying to figure out the cause of their unease. That was when the air raids started.
"Move!" James shouted, running as fast as he could. He could hear the other men behind him, all of them running as quickly as they could to regroup with the base. As James entered the middle of the camp ground another explosion went off just a few feet away.
"We gotta move, soldiers!" Shouted the general. "Everyone pack up and out – grab only the necessities, don't waste no time on anything else."
James ran for his tent and stumbled out, clutching his bag close to him, his fist wrapped tightly around a picture.
"James, you risking your life for a picture of that girl of yours?" Rogers demanded. "I'm sure you'd rather have the real thing and that won't happen if you get too sentimental –" Before the older man could finish berating James for his decision, another explosion hit sending a piece of shrapnel right at Rogers' leg. He screamed in pain. James put his picture in his bag and slung his own bag and Rogers' over his shoulder before grabbing the injured man.
"Leave me here. You know just as well as I do that I'm a dead man now."
"Maybe. Maybe you could last a bit longer. They say only the good die young and that mean folks live forever, so I reckon you've got time left," James teased. Rogers sighed.
"James, if only the good die young, you are in a heap of trouble."
James ran as fast as he could while carrying the other man, running even faster than he thought possible when he heard a bomb go off, diving behind bushes to avoid flying debris after the bombs were triggered. He was exhausted.
The bombs never seemed to stop. He found a clearing in the middle of the woods after what felt like hours of running and set up a crude shelter, leaning sticks together and hoping they would hold on just a prayer. "What brought you out here, James?" Rogers finally asked, shivering. "You don't seem like the kind of man wants to fight."
"I ain't. I don't like it. All this war time…miserable business. But I had to fight. To do something. For my wife and daughter."
"Why ain't you scared?"
"Of course I'm scared. But this is just like when I'm home with my girl and it's thundering and storming like mad and the hurricanes are threatening to tear my house to pieces. Baby girl, she'd always get so scared. I couldn't let her know I was, too. I'd hold her and tell her stories about what we're going to do and we'd plan out our menu for our restaurant. Tiana's Place. It's gonna be the best restaurant in the south, if not the world. Tiana's got so much to give the world."
"You didn't stay to protect your daughter?"
"She's getting older now. Doesn't really need to be protected so much. We don't get as much time together as we used to."
"James…we're not going to make it out."
"So why you so calm?"
"I had a wife who loved me and a daughter who was everything I ever wished for. My only regret is that the only way I get to see my daughter again before all this is over," James slid the photo out of his pack, "is in an old photograph."
James and Rogers were bombed several more times during the night. Rogers would end up surviving the war, losing his leg to infection, but James was caught in the heart by a piece of shrapnel that night. He died instantly. Rogers himself returned the photo to Tiana and Eudora.