A Very Special Rabbit

Disclaimer: I do not own Winnie the Pooh and make no money off this story.

Note: Loosely based on the episode "How Much is that Rabbit in the Window?" Possible spoilers.

Tigger was enjoying a leisurely stroll through town with Christopher Robin when the boy's mother stopped in front of front of an antique shop to chat with a friend. The tiger quietly bounced next to his favorite human boy as they waited for the women to finish talking.

A movement at the corner of his eye caught Tigger's attention and he turned to find out what it was. There, in the antique store window, sat a golden-furred rabbit with a sign around her slender neck. Two large human hands adjusted the pillow she sat on and caressed her head gently, as one might stroke a beloved pet.

Rabbit had just finished grooming himself that morning when the shopkeeper had lifted him from his familiar display stand, only to plop him down gently on a fluffy pillow in front of the main window.

'You are a very special rabbit, my dear. I even made you a sign.'

The bunny nearly purred in gratitude as the sign was placed around his neck. The man walked away after petting his head gently.

{What a nice man he is. He reminds me of Cassie's husband. He had gentle hands too, for a man. It will be so nice to see the sky again. To see the birds gliding on the breeze, the cars passing by, the striped creature staring at me...}

Tigger felt his breath catch in his throat as the enchanting creature noticed him. Blue eyes blinked curiously at the tiger outside the window. Everything about the bunny was adorable. The way her ears perked when she caught sight of him, the blue shimmer of her eyes, and especially her slightly too-large feet. Perfection.

'Look, Christopher Robin! Look!' Tigger pulled his human friend's hand, drawing his attention to the window.

'What's wrong, Tigger? Oh, what a pretty rabbit,' the boy commented, giving the hare a little wave. The bunny smiled and waved back, obviously pleased with the attention.

'Yeah, and she's beautiful too,' Tigger added, bouncing up and down on his tail for a better look.

{What a silly looking creature. I wonder if he's a cat. He certainly looks like a feline from one of Cassie's animal books. I hope he's not as mean as her mother's cat. Ms. Prissypants didn't like me at all}

Rabbit perked up at the sight of the human boy holding the strange creature's paw. He seemed nice enough. Too bad he couldn't hear a word the pair were saying.

'Mom, look at the pretty rabbit,' Christopher Robin tugged on his mother's dress and pointed to the shop window.

'Yes, it's very nice, dear, but you have too many toys at home as it is. Come along now, Christopher Robin,' the woman replied, gesturing for the boy to follow her.

'Come on, Tigger. Say goodbye to the bunny,' Christopher Robin sighed, then followed his mother down the sidewalk.

Tigger glanced sadly over his shoulder at the rabbit in the window. She was still there, watching him with a gentle smile. Tail drooping, the tiger let himself be pulled away.

(Later that week)

'Mom, something is wrong with Tigger,' Christopher Robin announced, watching his mother wash dishes in the kitchen.

'Your toy tiger? What's the problem, dear?'

'He's been moping around all week since we saw that rabbit girl in the window. I think he's sick,' the boy told her.

'Oh, really? It sounds more like he's caught the love bug to me,' his mother giggled, smiling at the thought.

'Is it dangerous? Will he be alright? Poor Tigger,' Christopher Robin wished he knew how to help his friend recover from being bitten by the love bug.

'You know, Christopher Robin, your birthday is coming up soon. How about we make a deal that will leave your tiger very happy,' his mother suggested as she washed the last plate.

'Really? Thanks mom!' the boy threw his arms around his mother's legs and hugged her tight. He had such a wonderful mother. She always knew exactly what to do.

(The weekend has arrived)

'Excuse me, I've come for the rabbit that was in the window last weekend,' Christopher Robin stepped closer to the shopkeeper and made sure to give the man his nicest smile.

'Ah, you mean this rabbit?' the man led the boy and his mother to a display stand in the middle of the store.

'Yes, she's the one,' Christopher Robin agreed.

'How much for her?' his mother asked, allowing the shopkeeper to lead her to the main desk to discuss the price.

'She's a very unique rabbit...'

Christopher stepped closer to the display stand, looking up at the yellow rabbit curiously. 'Hello. My name is Christopher Robin.'

'It's a pleasure to meet you, Christopher Robin. My name is Rabbit,' the bunny answered in a deeper voice than the boy expected.

'I've come to take you home with me. If it's alright with you, that is,' Christopher Robin commented politely.

'That sounds lovely. I've been stuck in a box since my human friend passed on. Well, up until a few weeks ago when I was delivered to this lovely little antique shop,' Rabbit explained as he gazed down at the human boy.

'I'm sorry, but she is far too delicate and valuable to be a mere child's toy,' the shopkeeper suddenly stated in a polite, but firm tone.

'He doesn't sound happy,' Christopher Robin said aloud.

'Mr. Tom is actually a very nice man. A pity he doesn't have the gift, like you. I've been trying to tell him that I'm a male rabbit and I'm certainly not too delicate to play with children. In fact, when Cassie was young, we'd spend hours gardening. Sigh. I miss those days,' Rabbit's ears sagged as he remembered his first human friend.

'But, if I don't take you home with me, then Tigger will be sad forever,' the boy whispered, wiping a tear from his eye.

'Oh my, that doesn't sound very nice at all. Who is this Tigger fellow?' the bunny wanted to know.

Before the boy could explain, they were interrupted by the adults. Christopher's mother was visibly annoyed as she informed her son that they would be unable to purchase the bunny doll. The boy sighed heavily and cast a sad look over his shoulder at the rabbit even as his mother pulled him out of the shop.

'Wait a minute! I forgot something,' the boy rushed back into the shop, leaving his mother waiting on the sidewalk.

'Mr. Tom... Rabbit wants you to know that he's not a girl, he's a boy. And he likes gardening too,' Christopher Robin announced boldly, stepping up to the elderly shopkeeper's desk.

'And how do you know all that, young man?' the shopkeeper asked patiently.

'He told me so,' the boy insisted.

'Lad, this rabbit is a hand-sewn, extremely valuable, antique. She is worth thousands of dollars. I simply cannot part with her, especially as you intend for her to be nothing more than a play toy,' the man stated, shaking his head at the boy.

'I do not want to be an antique doll, stuck on a pedestal for people to gawk at. I want to be free to play in the sun with other toys. Alan Milne may have been a famous doll-maker, but he didn't sew me just so that I could sit on a shelf all my life. I was a gift for his only daughter, Cassandra. Oh, what am I to do now?' Rabbit burrowed his head in his paws as he waited for the shopkeeper to decide his fate.

Christopher Robin listened curiously to the bunny's story, then relayed it to the shopkeeper. If only he could make the man understand how sad Rabbit was to be so special to adults that he couldn't even play with a child.

The shopkeeper listened in silence, regarding the young boy in front of his desk. He was far too young to be playing a mean prank on an old man like him. But the boy knew, without being told, that the bunny's toy-maker was Alan Milne and that he'd made the doll especially for his beloved daughter. Perhaps, just perhaps, the boy might have the gift his grandmother had once told him about.

'The doll told you all this?' the shopkeeper finally asked, moving from behind his desk to the stand in front of the bunny's display stand.

'His name is Rabbit. And I really, really need to take him home with me. I promise to take very good care of him,' Christopher Robin pleaded.

'I have one last question to ask. Last night, I received a phone call as I was closing up shop. I want you to ask the doll... Rabbit, what the conversation was about,' the man announced, stroking the bunny's long ears gently.

'Oh my. That was a very sad conversation, I have to say. His niece tripped down a flight of stairs and sprained her foot. Poor girl. He's closing up early tonight so that he can fly out to see her. She lives in Canada, which is a long way away,' Rabbit stated.

Christopher Robin nodded to the bunny and echoed his words to the shopkeeper. Then something very unexpected happened. The old man picked up the rabbit from his special seat and placed him into the boy's startled hands.

'My boy, you have a very special gift. Not many people can speak the language of dolls. Consider Rabbit a gift from me to you. I know he'll be well loved,' the shopkeeper smiled, his eyes shining with un-shed tears.

'I'm sorry about your niece, Mr. Tom. I hope she gets better soon. And thank you, thank you very much,' Christopher Robin smiled, hugging Rabbit close to his heart.

'You are very welcome. Come and visit me anytime, young man. Now, I have to get going. I have a young lady who is expecting me,' Tom Sander walked the boy to the door and said a few words to the child's mother to ensure she understood that the doll was a gift. To say she was surprised would have been an understatement. Still, the woman finally walked away with her young son trailing behind her, his arms tightly embracing the little bunny doll.

Shaking his head in bemusement, the shopkeeper set about closing up his shop so that he could go visit his beloved niece.


Note: I needed a previous owner for Rabbit, so I created Cassie to fill the roll. Alan Milne, if you haven't noticed, is A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh. Part 2 is coming soon.