Just a Dream

Disclaimer: All toys belong to Andy.
Summary: "It was awful… somehow this strawberry scented bear – that sounded just exactly like Ned Beatty – had managed to get us trapped in the incinerator."
Paring(s): Bo/Woody, Mentions of Jessie/Buzz
Note: After taking my dad to TS3 for Father's Day (and crying the entire movie), plot bunnies galore chased around the garden of my mind. This one was kind enough to stay still long enough for me to get it down on paper. Woody, Buzz, Bo, and Jessie (and the rest of the toy box) are human. For background, I imagine Woody and Jessie to be siblings, she runs the family ranch and he is the local Sheriff. Woody married his college sweetheart Bo (a large animal vet with a specialty in sheep), and they have two children; Andrew and Molly. Jessie is currently involved in a relationship with Buzz, an astronaut.

The air was thick, hot and full of soot, smoke scorched his throat and seared his eyes, sweat beaded across his forehead and slid down to drip off the point of his nose, his chin, down his cheeks mixing with his tears and making on indistinguishable from the other. He was going to die - they were all going to die. And not some peaceful death after a long life, a sudden fiery death by dump. The Trash Incinerator was hell itself. All he could do was reach out and take their hands, reflect on the full life he had had - the loves, the losses. A final prayer, a final memory... A bright white light.

Woodrow Pride sat bolt upright in bed, he was sweating, he was shaking, crying as well, though he'd never admit it. His heart was beating faster than the William Tell Overture at 78rpm, breath came in quick, shallow gasps. He looked around, shaking the last haunting images of the night terror from his mind and reaffirming to himself that he was in his own bedroom - not the dump. He was human, not a toy. That had been a dream, this was real. Next to him his wife had been roused from her own slumber by his shaking, she rolled over slowly, the little spoon cold now without her mate. Groggily she opened her eyes, the sky blue foggy with sleep.

"Woody," She said softly, sweetly, "Woody, sweetheart, what is the matter?" He rested his elbows on his thighs and held his forehead in his hands drawing in a full, deep breath, calming the erratic beating of his heart.

"Nothing Bo, Just a dream." He said in a casual manner that fooled no one, least of all his wife of eighteen years. She sat up and placed a small hand on his broad back. She drew small circles across his tense muscles and with only minor coaxing she was able to draw him into her arms, the hand that rubbed his back moving up to run her slim fingers through his night tossled brown hair.

"Woodrow Thomas Pride," She said firmly, "Don't you lie to me, I know you." She felt his chest expand as he took another deep breath, his arms wrapping around her, holding her close, his face burying in her neck for a moment. She kissed the top of his head. Whatever had woken him had troubled him greatly.

"Oh Bo," He said against her neck, "It was awful. I was a toy, a Sheriff Woody doll, like I had when I was a kid, the one Andy has now. In fact, I was Andy's; his name was on my boot and everything. I was a toy with all of Andy's other toys - they were all alive, they all had personalities. Jess and Buzz were toys as well, we were all Andy's toys and we all had managed to be thrown away. We were in the dump. And some how this strawberry scented bear - that sounded just exactly like Ned Beatty - had managed to get us trapped in the incinerator. There was no way out, we were sliding down shredded bits of trash to the flames. Oh Bo, it was hell, just exactly like hell, there was nothing I could do, no way out, no escape. I was going to die - we were all going to die. And as I slipped down the trash heap, I knew I was going to die, and I was going to die never having gotten a chance to say good bye to you. I don't know where you were, you were this beautiful porcelain Shepardess, I do know that, but you were gone, and I was going to die having not said good bye to Andy and never having told you how much I love you." She felt a tear slide from his cheek to her shoulder. "I was going to die, Jess was going to die - Buzz as well, and they had just reached an understanding, they were just about to be happy, and we were going to die. Bo, it was so real. I could feel myself melting."

Jess was Woody's younger sister, she had been seeing an astronaut named Conrad Liteyr (whom everyone called Buzz) for some time now. It was interesting that Woody would care whether or not Buzz lived or died for the pair's relationship was best described as Love/Hate. Woody was extremely protective of his younger sister, no one was good enough for his Jess, a grown woman only six years his junior. Woody didn't care how old she was, she would always be his baby sister, as precious and delicate to him as a china doll, no one was good enough for her, especially not Buzz. Woody was a cowboy at heart and Buzz being a spaceman did not sit well with him, even when it was none of his damn business who his sister dated, and even he would admit (when pressed) that the man treated Jess like she was gold. Bo found Buzz's affection for her sister - in - law to be so plain it was almost painful, and at least in dreams they were a true family.

"Woody," Bo said softly, "We're okay, you're okay – the toys are safe in the chest and you're safe here with me." She kissed his forehead.

"I know, I know – it just… shook me. I love you. I love you so very much." Bo smiled and brushed his hair back from his face.

"I know. I love you too. Love you lots. You wanna go check on the kids?" Woody gave her one of his crooked smiles, it melted her heart when she met him twenty years ago and it melted her now.

"Yeah," he said hoarsely, he kissed her softly and they slipped from their bed. Bo wrapped her arm around Woody's waist, he draped his arm around her shoulders and they padded down the hall silently on bare feet, the chill of the hardwood and the family pictures on the wall reminding Woody that he was human. He lived in reality, not Disney. The adrenaline from his nightmare drained as he walked through his home.

Andy's door stood wide open onto the hall, the faint orange glow of his alarm clock telling them that it was 3:00am. Andrew Pride was Woody and Bo's first born and more than lived up to the family name – he was his parent's pride. They watched him sleep, navy blue bed clothes rising and falling with his breath as he cocooned himself, top of his light brown hair not even visible above the blankets.

There was something so reassuring about watching one's child sleep peacefully. When Andy was a new born he slept in a Moses basket beside Woody and Bo's bed. They reasoned it would be convenient to keep him close while he learned that nights were for sleeping, but that was only their justification. In the night, during the few moments when he slept, Woody or Bo would lean over the side of the bed and rest their hand on Andy's little chest – to make sure he was still breathing, to know he was alright. Only after that comfort could they sleep, such was the case now.

The parents moved down the hall to Molly's room, where her brother made himself as small as possible Molly seemed determined to take up as much room as she could, even her mother's blonde hair was stretching out across the purple sheets. Molly was Woody's little girl, a perfect tintype of her mother – so sweet and innocent looking, hiding a devious streak a mile wide on the inside. But oh those big blue eyes – he'd never been able to stay upset with her mother either.

Bo looked up at him, eyes shining in the nightlight.

"Satisfied all is as it should be?" she asked quietly. He nodded, the toys were in the toy box, he was human, and no one was at the dump.

"Feeling better?" He yawned and nodded again, once wired on emotions he was now utterly drained. Bo took his hand and led him back to bed.