By: Seiferre Quintesce / 2o1o
WARNING(S): Some material not suited for children.
COMMENTS?: Yes, please. R&R to your heart's desire. I'll love you for it.
CONTESTS: First person to spot the Star Trek reference gets a cameo in my upcoming Toy Story series!
DEDICATIONS: To all you wonderful reviewers, of course.
DISCLAIMER: 'Toy Story' is © Pixar and Disney. I do not own it, or the characters, and only claim any non-canon characters as my own. This piece of fiction was created for entertainment purposes only, bearing no intent for profit or gain.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I… Do not ship Buzz/Jessie. I'm sorry, but I can't. I think they're adorable characters, and some moments of theirs were nice, but, they don't sweep me into fangirlism as most other canon couples do. xD Plus, this was a cute idea in my head. I wanted to see it played out before I set myself to retell Toy Story, like I told a friend of mine I'd do. As always, if you'd like a personal reply to your review (i.e., an answer to a question or something), you can feel free to send me a message.
TODAY'S FOOTNOTES INCLUDE: Just a little note.
Buzz had always been a toy on a mission.
He didn't have time to sit and talk with Jessie, or play cards with the boys – besides, he knew Hamm was cheating somehow – Stars, he barely had enough time to polish his helmet. Life for the space-oriented toy was nowhere near dull, but neither was it very relaxing. Woody's anxiety over the lack of playtime that one Andrew Davis was bestowing upon them was shared by all, fueled by the desire to be held by a child that they knew they were losing to time, and the oft-asked question: Who would be next?
The Troikas were the war's first casualty. One by one, the eggs had been lost, stepped on, or dropped and cracked beyond repair. It was to Woody's despair that he had found the smallest – the one the family wrapped in four other layers of hard, unyielding plastic – cowering under nine-year-old Molly's bed. It was now tucked safely in the smallest Tupperware box the toys could find, under the Sheriff's near-constant protection. They didn't want to lose another one of their family members, no matter how indirect.
Snake had been buried by the next door neighbor's dog, too deep in the ground to free himself, and its robot friend had been taken by Andy's less-than-reputable cousin, Frankie. Buzz wouldn't be the first to tell anyone that they all wished Robot was still there with them, but he was (Probably) in a better place. Despite the fact that Frankie was not nearly as enamored with his toys as Andy had been, he was still just a child – no older than seven or eight. Robot, Woody had said, one bitter winter night when the two of them were enjoying the warmth of Andy's nightlight, had gotten lucky.
Once, he'd even worried for his best friend's safety.
"Don't you think you should get rid of that old doll, Andy?"
"But just look at it." Buzz could remember watching as Molly plucked the Sheriff out of the wagon-shaped toybox, his body already tense and alert. "He's almost popping at the seams. Looks like Woody's about ready to retire. Want me to give him to Frankie for you?"
"No! How can you even say that?" Andy had insisted, slamming down his laptop cover so hard that it rattled his desk. He never saw Buzz breathe a sigh of utmost relief, or Jessie glance at him through her fingers, curled up in a fetal position. "That was Dad's favorite toy. That was my favorite toy, Molly. How would you feel if we got rid of that old Bo Peep lamp we put in your room?"
"…I guess you're right." The girl had sighed then, and dropped Woody unceremoniously into the embrace of his comrades. "But you know, I really need to ask Mom about that… I'm, like, way too cool for fairytales and Mother Goose rhymes now, don't you think?"
"Yeah, sure." Andy plugged an earbud into his right ear and began scrolling through his iPod, looking for his favorite song. "Speaking of remodeling, you think she'll let me get that wall-mounted TV I've been telling you guys about?"
"Psh, no way."
It had been around that time that he'd begun collecting things – mementos and effects that he would remember the Golden Years by. Buzz was never sure whether his love of antiquity was part of his programming or not. It certainly didn't seem that way for 'Buzz Lightyear of Star Command', his famous animated counterpart, but then again, TV and reality were never really the same. The possessions he kept to himself were more than a stamp collection; more than the differently shaped and colored rocks that Andy kept in a drawer on his desk. They weren't just things, they were memoirs. Milestones. They each told a story of their own. Bo Peep's staff, for example, hung delicately on a thumbtack that he'd attached to the wall as a tribute to his once-friend and the heartbreak that her departure had forced Woody to go through.
The Space Ranger shook his head and resumed his duties; taking a trip down Memory Lane never helped any of them now. The losses far outweighed the gains at this point.
"What?" responded two nasal voices. Buzz hid a smirk.
"Jessie and Bullseye."
"We're right here, Partner."
Speaking of 'Partners…'
No response. Buzz looked up from his pacing, Doodle Pad still held firmly within his grasp. "Woody?"
"He ain't here." Growled Slinky, whose behind had taken up Woody's usual spot as if it was saving it for him. "Don't see him around, neither."
Lightyear frowned and set down the pad, intent on searching for his comrade. Roll calls were a daily occurrence, now. He and Woody had agreed on that several years ago, when the first Troikas had disappeared. They hadn't wanted to take chances with losing anyone else, and that included their resident voice of reason, Sheriff Woody.
He pushed back the pang of worry that rushed through him. Woody was older, more sensible, and more experienced than anyone – if not all of them combined. He was also Andy's favorite toy; no harm could come to him here. Andy's room was, by all intents and purposes, the Sheriff's sanctuary.
This, however, did not stop his best friend from rushing around the vicinity. He searched the drawers, the closet (Donning his helmet, as the closet was more of a cesspool than a storage room. But what did he expect? Andy was a fourteen-year-old boy), the bookcase, and even took the time to climb up to the shelves, though he knew that his friend would not be there. Even after all these years, he was still bitter about them.
Where is that cowboy? He kicked aside one of Mrs. Potato Head's accessories in frustration, glancing around the room. It seemed as though most of the other toys had taken it upon themselves to also look for their leader. With a sigh, the toy scratched his chin. There was really one place he hadn't looked, unless the pullstring toy was downstairs, and he knew that even if he wanted to avoid them all, Woody would not take that chance.
Buzz climbed under the bed.
There was more debris here than any other place in Andy's room, true to the stereotypes of a normal adolescent human. Whenever Andy needed to "clean" something, he shoved it under the bed. Among said junk was a broken skateboard, some CDs, DVDs, textbooks and snapshots that the boy had taken with his digital camera. The toys liked to think of this space as "storage", where they would often steal the media to use when their owner wasn't at home (It was why Andy, inexplicably, could not find his Star Wars boxed set).
Unbeknownst to the teen, however, there was another collection hidden among the mess. Buzz used the far corner of the wall to house his own personal shrine, the memorabilia he'd accumulated over the years never gathering dust. He took good care of them all, going as far as to visit the place once every week, just to make sure nothing was going wrong with it. He'd often used it as a place to think, provided that he didn't want anyone looking for him. Evidently, someone else thought the same way.
Buzz's plastic boots clacked softly against the hardwood floor as he approached his target, who stared at the wall in what seemed like revered silence.
"I, er… Didn't know you knew about this."
"Buzz." A quiet acknowledgment. Lightyear, having known Woody for as long as he could remember, picked up his subliminal message. We've been best friends since our boy was six. You think I don't know this much about you?
"How long did this take?"
"Oh, a few years." Buzz watched Woody's eyes linger on Bo's staff and cleared his throat softly. "We've run the roll call."
"…Is everyone present and accounted for?"
"All except one manic-depressive cowboy."
"And one neurotic space nut?" The Sheriff's head turned to raise a painted brow at him, and he couldn't help but smile at it. "Is there something you need, Buzz? I'll get out of here if you want me to."
"No! No, no. Stay." Intoned the space traveler with more gusto than he had planned for. He spread his arm in an invitation and took the liberty of sitting at his friend's right hand side where, he'd always felt, he belonged. "It's not like this place gets many visitors."
"Yeah, another thing I appreciate about it." Blue eyes watched as Woody picked up what looked to be a white bottle cap and examined it closely, then sucked in a breath that he didn't need to take. "Is this… Etch's…"
"The right one, yes. I managed to recover it from the… The…"
"It's all right, Buzz. I know." The space toy listened as worn plastic met polished wood. Woody had put a hand on his shoulder and replaced Etch's dial, continuing his perusal.
He marveled at it all – Buzz wasn't the most observant of the two of them, but he was the more diligent one. Woody's fingers brushed over a pink shock of Troll hair, an "S" from Mr. Spell's failing keyboard, a strip of paint from Roly-Poly Clown, and even a piece of metal meshed together by none other than Rocky Gibralter. How had he found the time to gather all of these? And right under his nose, no less. Sneaky bastard.
The Ranger watched his best friend toss the weighty mass up and down, very nearly smirking as the cotton and fluff gave way to its eventual downward pull. He and Rocky had occasionally sparred together, but he had been built with durable plastic and had a wide, stable frame. Woody had neither.
He had hair like chocolate and a permanently expressive face. He had a deep, mellow voice and a heart of gold. He had an eagle eye and rose-frosted cheeks. He carried an enormous amount of respect and authority on his shoulders, complete with a dry sense of humor and coupled with wit and the old Western charm. Buzz looked down at his knees. Woody had everything.
A piece of white fabric, spotted with black, was dangled in the spaceman's face. It looked like it had been snagged off of a bigger piece at some point, as if the whole thing had simply decided that it was too old to hold together anymore. Lightyear frowned and huffed at it. "What?"
"A piece of Jessie's pants, Buzz?" He watched the older toy's eyebrow quirk again and rolled his eyes. "That's bold, for you."
"What would you rather I do, snip off her pullstring?"
Woody glanced at him, and Buzz met his eye; in his periphery vision, he thought he might've seen the leader smile.
"One of Bullseye's horseshoes, a plastic nail from Rex, something Slink buried… You're the one who's been hiding Mrs. Potato Head's earring, I see."
"She won't miss it."
"Mm." Woody had his doubts about that, but he let it slide in favor of a few more pressing matters. "So, Mr. Lightyear, care to explain why I'm not here on your wall?"
"What?" Startled by the question, he snapped his eyes upward to meet with the Sheriff's. He'd never minded the way Woody towered over him before…
"I know I've got all my parts." Except for his pistol. Buzz remembered that; he was the only person in the room who knew what had happened to it. "I never gave you anything - "
"Except, perhaps, a headache." Woody shot him a look.
"Is it because I pushed you out the window, Buzz?"
"Is it because I let you leave when I was kidnapped?"
"Is it because I know you secretly love babysitting the Little Green Men while the Spuds are away?"
"Woody!" Buzz chuckled despite himself, and his companion was laughing, too.
He looked at his best friend. Woody's eyes twinkled merrily with mirth, but his voice was laced with a quiet, understated patience. That same patience that he had tried – and failed – to use to explain that he'd taken Woody's "spot" on Andy's bed. That same patience he marveled, and tried to model himself after while he watched the cowboy deal with Mr. Potato Head on a daily basis. The same one he used to console Jessie, sing, and, he realized too late, to talk to Bo Peep with.
"Woody, it's… It's just a wall, it's…"
"…More than a wall, Buzz Lightyear, and you know it. It's practically made up of your closest friends. Tell the truth, Ranger."
Buzz didn't look away from him. They had always communicated like this. Blunt. Direct. The way friends were supposed to be. It was why his posture relaxed, and he turned so that he could face Woody without needing to crane his neck upwards, leaning back on his elbows and flexing his fingers in a gesture the cowboy had come to know as nervousness. "It isn't my business to deface art, Sheriff."
"Buddy, I'm a cowboy, not a psycho-analyst. Care to connect those dots for me?"
Buzz's big blue eyes watched him patiently, and Woody knew that he could see the cogs turning in his mind. He wasn't going to get an answer out of him until he puzzled this out for himself. Heaving a sigh, Woody leaned his head against a stack of DVDs and allowed his mind to wander.
He had never seen Buzz look quite so serious. Seriously angry, yes, he'd seen that. He'd seen severely depressed and clinically insane… He knew almost every facet that Buzz Lightyear had to offer, which was more than he'd ever bargained for, back in 1995. But none of those equated to the look that he was giving him now. Like he'd wait forever and beyond, just for Woody to understand what he was saying.
Buzz had been looking at him like that a lot, lately.
"Buzz…" Woody had always been an introvert. He was the strong, silent, stoic type that typified a leader; he didn't have a lot to say most of the time, unless something was important enough to take precedence over his thought processes. Say, someone putting his position as Andy's Favorite Toy in jeopardy.
But between the two of them, had there really ever been a need for speech? Normally, they could read each other like a book. Woody looked to him again and saw the frank sincerity on his friend's face, his comrade, his confidante – there was not a pair in existence who knew each other better than the unstoppable duo of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. So… Why in the Sam Hill hadn't they had this conversation before?
In the back of his mind, there was no doubt as to what the sentiment had to mean. The Space Ranger would never steer him in any direction but forward. Towards happiness. Towards acceptance. Towards anything that he thought would be better for the toys, and for them. It was ludicrous not to follow Buzz in the direction he prodded them; that was why he was Woody's most trusted friend and advisor.
It isn't my business to deface art, Sheriff.
His cheeks would flush if they had the ability. He had considered Little Bo Peep a work of art in the same way a man might consider the Mona Lisa one – something pretty to look at. A piece of his life before he even really knew what it was. There was no denying that Bo was special. Until Andy's sixth birthday, she had been the most vital part of his life.
"…Come here, Buzz."
He obeyed. He always obeyed; there was a certain authority in the older toy's voice that commanded his respect and his loyalty. So the action figure, needing not but to crawl to Woody's side, shuffled over.
The cowboy glanced at him fondly, the brown in his eyes brightening for a nanosecond as the corner of his mouth curved into a light smile. Buzz. No wonder he'd been so damn jealous. No wonder Jessie liked him so much. No wonder he liked him so much.
"If I wanted to, Woody, I could've just taken your hat."
"So why don't you?" He didn't mention that he probably would have had Slinky sniff it out within five seconds. He leaned closer and watched his Ranger do the same.
"I'd prefer it if the highlight of my collection remained in-tact."
So close. Too close. Plastic met wood and it felt like they were melding together as they rolled down onto the floor, neither moving to dominate the other. They'd left their fighting behind eons ago. Buzz's soft green glow illuminated the otherwise drab surroundings under their owner's bed, and Woody's quiet growls of appreciation swept him past any infinities he might have reached on his own. They worked together, always.
"Jessie - " Mumbled his relic sometime later; the most precious part of his compilation was allowing that ceaselessly irrational part of his brain to go to work.
" – is not you, Woody." And the doll felt a sharp pang on his lower lip. Buzz was reprimanding him for not realizing the obvious, but all it did was bring a lazy grin to his face. "Though she is quite beautiful, I would like to think you know me better than that."
"I'm not staying under this bed."
FOOTNOTES: Welp… That was fun. xDD I do hope you guys enjoyed this. I kept seeing some Buzz/Woody stuff out there that wasn't sitting quite well with me. I wanted them to go farther, so I made them go farther. Make sense? Reviews are, of course, welcomed. So are critiques and flames, although I'll be ignoring those. Now I'm free to work on the OTHER fic that I'm planning!