AN: My second Toy Story fanfict! Sorry this one is such a bummer. It's an Human AU. Even with it being said, I hope you still like it. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Toy Story. Pixar does.
"Mommy, when is Daddy coming home?"
Jessie sighed as she smoothed the quilt that covered her four-year-old son, his overly large blue eyes and his mop of red-tinted hair the only things showing over the red and blue covering. Every night, ever since her husband had left, it had been the exact same question from him, a question that always got the exact same answer in return.
"Daddy will be home when he gets home love. Now go to sleep, and maybe he'll be here in the morning when you wake up."
Placing a final kiss upon his head for the night, she flicked off the light in her child's room, the harsh electrical lighting giving way to the softer illumination provided by the half moon that shone through the partially open window. Glancing outside, she smiled as she caught sight of her brother Woody riding around the perimeter of their ranch, his horse Bullseye easily outdistancing the light summer's breeze that flitted through the crops, sending them rippling into a silver ballet of a thousand dancers for their enjoyment. Out in the pasture, she could just barely see the flock of sheep her sister-in-law Bo kept, eagerly guarded from the terrors of the night by Slink, their old sheepdog that they had raised since he was a pup. But tonight he would have an easy job, for the wind brought with it a sense of peace and security, a promise that all would be fine come the morrow.
Closing his door, leaving her son to watch the world through his little square of nightly freedom until he was overcome by sleep, Jessie softly made her way across the hall to the second room she had to check in on before she herself could retire for the night, a room bathed in soft pinks and cheery yellows that enfolded the two white cribs that stood in the middle, protecting their precious bundles from harm.
Pausing in the doorway to examine the scene before her, she couldn't help the wave of sadness that washed over her at the sight of her daughters, fast asleep for the night. Before he had left, her husband had been so excited at the prospect of having a daughter, almost more excited then he had been when he had first found out he was going to be a father in the first place with their son. When he had found out that she was pregnant with twins, he had almost passed out from shock, though he had quickly gotten a hold of himself long enough to pull her and their son into a spinning hug that had left the three of them in a pile on the floor, laughing and just glad to be alive. It had been him who had designed the nursery, just like he had decorated their son's four years before, choosing to use traditional pinks and yellows rather then their pre-agreed upon neutral greens and whites, though she really couldn't complain. He had done a wonderful job, just like he did with everything, and seeing their daughters surrounded by his handiwork, living within the room he had made special just for them, was beyond perfect.
Too bad he had been forced to leave before he could see it for himself.
Blinking back the tears that had suddenly formed in her eyes, Jessie quietly closed the door behind her, her mind finally at peace with her body in the fact that her children were fine and safely within reach, that there was nothing near by that could possibly hurt any of them. Shaking her head, she made her way into the kitchen where a warm cup of tea still waited for her, temporarily abandoned as the story her son had requested came to an end and it became clear that it was way past his bedtime. Of course, she had known that the story was long, that she probably should have saved it for another time when it wouldn't have taken them so late into the night, but how could she refuse her son a story about his absent father?
Gathering the dishes she had left drying on the rack, Jessie slowly began cleaning up the already immaculate kitchen, a habit she had gotten into when he was away. When he was home with her and the kids, their nights would often be spent cuddling before the fireplace, laughing and talking over the events of their day long after the children had been put to bed, risking the early morning grumpiness that came from an overwhelming lack of sleep just to be with each other for as long as they could in the waking realm. But with him gone, the bed that the two of them shared was suddenly too large and too cold, an unwelcoming place for her to be alone, thus her habit to push sleep to the back of her mind in preference of the just as lonely but more bearable conscious world. It didn't help that sleep often brought nightmares that could only be banished by the sight and feel of him with her, a luxury she didn't have.
Placing the last of the dishes into the cupboard, Jessie was just wetting one of the dishrags to wipe down the counters one last time when the sound of someone lightly knocking upon the front door interrupted her. Frowning, she quickly dried her hands as she wondered who it could be, this late at night without any warming at all. Shrugging, she grabbed the robe she had left hanging over one of the kitchen chairs to slip over her pajamas before making her way towards the door, figuring that it would be Woody or Bo with some sort of question or need. It wasn't unheard of for one of them to run into some sort of trouble that they needed help with, and with Bo five months into her first pregnancy, the troubles her older brother and his wife ran into, from insecurities about the baby to mood swings over the moon and back again, just increased.
Opening the door, Jessie paused as she caught sight of her visitors, a young man and woman who were defiantly not Woody or Bo. The man was huge, at least eight feet tall, with bright orange skin and features that would look more on place on a bear rather then the man before her. The woman was slight, her own skin tinted a pale blue that seemed to almost shine under the radiance of the moon, her purplish hair pulled away from her face. Who ever they were, they weren't human.
But it was not the sight of the two creatures before her that struck fear into Jessie's heart, freezing her flesh and immobilizing her limbs. No, she had met many creatures over the years she had dated and been married to her husband, with very few of them looking as humanoid as the two before her. There were even a few she had become friends with, people she trusted almost as much as her brother and husband. No, what terrorized her was the uniforms they wore, the traditional white, green, and purple she knew by heart replaced by blacks and grays, the oak box he held in his hands, and the expressions on their faces.
The moon was the mistress of the night, and so it was her prerogative it hide and reveal the secrets that haunted her domain as she wished. But tonight she was feeling cruel, for there was no mistaking the tear marks that tattooed their faces, nor was there any way to misread the name that was inscribed upon the box the man held, the box that Jessie knew, is she open up, would contain nothing but a pile of ashes and a cold golden ring that matched the one she wore on her left hand perfectly.
Jessie was silent as the two of them spoke, telling her how he had died after a one-on-one battle with Zurg himself, managing to kill the self proclaimed emperor before expiring from his wounds a few hours later, the best medical care in the entire Star Command still not enough to save his life. They told her how they had cremated the body for transportation, since they had been a couple of galaxies away when everything had happened. They told her how, in his last few minutes of life, he had been conscious enough to request that he be returned to her, returned to the ranch on the world he loved, where his family waited for him. They told her about how he was a hero, the greatest one the universe had ever known. How a statue of his likeness was even now being built upon every planet that had been part of the war. How he would always be remembered as the man who saved the stars.
They told her how his last word alive had been her name.
After what felt like hours, there was only thing Jessie was able to say before the two of them left to return to their base of operations, leaving her with a wooden box that contained the ashen remains of her heart.
"He never got to meet his daughters."
Retreating back into her house, she softly closed the door, her body trembling slightly as she clutched the container as close to her as she could, she finally let the tears that had been building up fall, a sob tearing its way from her throat as she fought against the urge to scream, to scream and curse and release all of her anger and pain out into the world. Sliding to the floor, her body curled around the box, the casket, that contained her husband's remains as her heart and world shattered to pieces around her.
She hated him. She hated him more then anything or anyone she had ever hated before. How could he, after his promise to be careful, to come home to the four of them, to her, how could he do this? How could he die? How could he be gone?
"Mommy, why are you crying? Is everything okay? Is everything okay with Daddy?"
Jerking up, Jessie stared at her son, his face close as he knelt before her, his face bewildered as he tried to wipe away some on the tears that streamed down her face. Pulling him close, Jessie buried her face into the top of his head, her tears soaking into his hair as she tried to calm herself, at least enough to get Bo or Woody over to the house to watch him and the girls until she had figured out what to do. But holding him, the son who would never get to see his father again, her tears renewed themselves as she remembered question that her child had asked her just a while before hand, a question that he had asked every night, a question she now had an answer too.
"Mommy, I saw some people fly off from my window into space. Is Daddy coming home? When will he be back?"
"He's already back, baby. But Daddy's not coming home."
AN: I don't know why I didn't name the kids. I guess this way they could be anyone. Also, just in case you were wondering, Buzz is the husband. Anyway, a little bit of history: back before the military use to send people to tell the spouses that their spouse was dead, they use to just take off the wedding ring, cremate the body, then send them to the family. No card, no warning, just a wooden box with your spouses' ashes. I couldn't do that to Jessie, so that's why there are people there, but that's also why the box is there. I hope you liked the story! :) Thank you all for reading all the way through. Any and all reviews and suggestions will be welcomed!