Hey yo guys, finally posting this. I also went back and did some heavy editing on chapter 1, so you might want to have a look there as well.
FYI there are three 'steps' planned for this, step2 being the longest, so I've decided to split it up into two parts.
Thanks for all the kind comments I hope you continue to enjoy!
Step Two: Finding the Mystery Supporter
The Candy Store, a violently bright little place full of winding stairs, haphazard shelves and giant jars filled to bursting, was insanely full, but Cane didn't mind. Who wouldn't want their store filled to the brim with happy people? For once in so long it finally seemed like everything was right with his shop and his life. Whistling a random tune, the owner of the shop leaned over the warm bodies handed out candy to those who couldn't reach or get near enough to the sweets.
The popular candies emptied quite fast, but he was able to fill them again fairly quickly, he had made a lot of candy the night before. As the day wore on the crowds fluctuated, but he managed to somehow keep it all under control, weaving in and out of the people, lollipops and gumdrops in hand, ushering out the kids he felt had grabbed their fair share.
It was almost halfway through the day during a relative lull when he noticed a figure cloaked in black standing outside his door, but when he looked back the next moment to invite him in the figure was gone. Shrugging it off, the Candyman, in his vibrant blue and white clothes of the day, rushed off to the storage room to get more candy.
Unsurprisingly Cane had found himself forced to close the shop down briefly after his 'free candy for all' stunt. He was out of a lot of supplies and down most of his reserve candy. Which had worked out just as well since while he needed time to restocked the town could finish what they had hoarded. Not to mention all the parents he had raging at him for their children's stomach aches. It also meant he could catch up on lost sleep when he wasn't busy catching up on lost candies.
Now that he wasn't haunted by the Boogieman he could all the sleep the Sandman could give and do what he loved the most, bringing sweetness and smiles to little boys and girls. It was wonderful!
He was so happy just to be able to consider the Boogieman a chapter of his life that was finally closed. It was now a cookie jar that was emptied once and for all, no matter how bitter the cookies had been. It was just such an overwhelming relief to know that he would never have to worry about the Boogieman again, no matter that he still felt a little embarrassed about having taken so long to banish him. But it was done so he wasn't going to think about that anymore.
There was only one loose end to the whole fiasco that still bothered him at all. The notes. Who had written them, and why? Just as importantly he wanted to know how they knew that he was getting visits. Edna would have flat out told him to his face, and none of his customers would have known. He supposed he couldn't rule out his neighbours, he was a loud screamer, but he really didn't think it was them. They mostly were ambivalent towards him for his tendency to give their kids free candy.
Which meant that there was nothing to explain the notes. He just couldn't see who would have left them, or even why they felt the need to help him. Not to say that he didn't appreciate it, because he definitely did, he just wished he knew.
Despite all of his curiosity, what Cane really wanted the most was to thank them, whoever they were.
To be honest, Cane wasn't sure if it would work, there were so many ways for the plan to go wrong, but outside the shop where Edna had said she'd found the last note he left one of his own, complete with a red wrapped chocolate heart accompaniment and the words Thank you scrawled on it in his best print.
It was gone in the morning.
Boo winced at the taste. It was like an explosion of sweetness in mouth, it almost hurt.
He hadn't expected to find the note which he assumed had been addressed to him. Sure he had maybe changed his route coming home so that he would pass by the candy shop, but he hadn't expected any sort of actual contact with the man inside, he was banished after all, only the occasional glimpse.
Boo looked over the half eaten chocolate in his hand, examining it closely. If this was what the Candyman ate then his chocolate must have seemed very, very bitter. Boo had thought his chocolate was a little too sugary when he made it, but had reasoned the Candyman liked sugary, being the Candyman and all. In comparison, however, the chocolate he just finished popping into his mouth was ridiculously sweet.
He hoped the Candyman had still liked the chocolates. He had worked really hard to make them. It was the first time he had ever baked before and the ingredients had been very hard to get. He had assumed the Candyman probably wouldn't want anything with blood, spirits or flesh in it and that was most of what was sold in the Deadlands. It had been even harder to make the chocolate without his Father noticing, he had been forced to get up in the middle of the day when he knew his Dad would be sleeping and even then there was no guarantee the furniture wouldn't tell him, or that the ghost hadn't seen.
He couldn't be sure what his rather terrifying Father's response would be to him baking chocolate for someone who he had just been banished from, or even worse the ones he had made before he had been banished, but he didn't want to know. It was never stated how against the rules it was to give someone who had banished him chocolate and encouraging notes, but he knew it was very against them to do it to someone he hadn't been banished from. Boo felt his face begin to freeze; he hoped he wasn't being too ridiculous. He just couldn't help himself.
Quietly he flattened out the paper looking at the loopy letters in bright blue ink on the pink paper. It was kind of tacky, but sweet at the same time. Very Candyman.
He slipped the paper under his black pillow, filled with soft spider legs. As he closed his eyes to sleep for the day the Boogieman felt himself blushing even harder. He hoped this was alright.
He would have done it anyways, but it was better if it was alright.
"Are you absolutely sure this is alright, my Terribleness?" The nameless ghost sniffed disapprovingly and adjusted his intangible cravat as he floated by the desk, clearly less than enamoured with the idea. It was not that he wanted Boo punished, per se, but it was very important that Boo remember that the rules were in place for a reason. They couldn't be ignored for every man with a pair of fuchsia eyelashes and glossy lips.
Oogie waved his massive black hand threateningly. "Of course it is. I'd wondered about it, but now that I know...he's already been banished. Not much for it now. And I suppose it's alright to bend the rules every now and then; as long as he doesn't make a habit of this it will be fine." Oogie grinned maliciously, venom dripping from his voice. "You know, I was getting a little worried. Two hundred years and not a single man, woman or corpse. I want a larger family, you know. For that alone I can let it slide just this once."
"Yes. Well…" The ghost, an acting butler for the Boogies, clicked his ethereal tongue in displeasure. Not that he didn't want Boo to experience the joys of love, although the ghost could hardly say he'd had good experiences with love himself, it was just that Boo's silly little infatuation with the Candyman wasn't going to end well and he knew it, no matter what Oogie had convinced himself. The ghost had come to care for Boo quite a lot over the past 200 years, he wasn't entirely keen on seeing the boy getting his heart broken, or worse. "The Candyman of all creatures is…" He floundered for the words before his Master interrupted him.
"An excellent choice if I do say so myself." The ghost frowned deeper at the words, surely Oogie wasn't going to encourage this behaviour to such a degree! "Boo could have done much worse. A mortal, for instance, would have been a disaster. Never ends in anything but heartbreak. They can be so cruel. I will admit, I do want grandchildren, but I suppose he can make them from the shadows like I did with him."
The ghost bristled at the words, a transparency rippling briefly through his form. "Surely, you aren't suggesting…!"
"Well, if my son prefers men I have to accept that. He's certainly hidden it well though." The ghost agreed with that much to an extent. He wanted Boo to be happy, true, but he also wanted that to preferably be with a nice female ghoul and some children. But Boo's sexuality was hardly the real problem. That was something that they could learn to live with, the Candyman was a different story. But a horrible look, one that had felled better men than him, silenced the ghost's protests before he could even make them and Oogie continued, "I'm very happy with his choice in men. I'm sure the Candyman will let him down gently. Sweet as sugar, I've heard."
The butler felt relief run through him as he took in the words. So Oogie wasn't entertaining the notion of Boo actually being with the Candyman. There was surely time to make Boo see the light, after he had been let down. Gently of course. Then maybe he would see the appeal of a good old creature of the night instead of that candy tart. "I suppose you are right." After all he was certain the Candyman wouldn't appreciate the terrible wonder of a Boogieman. "However, I must say that the Candyman, in my opinion, is quite undeserving of our Boo."
"Perhaps, perhaps not." Oogie smiled at him and the butler felt a terror that nothing else could induce in him since his untimely death over a thousand years ago. "But let's leave Boo to his own deviancies, shall we?"
"As you wish, sir."
Cane breathed out loudly onto his bedroom window, watching as fog blossomed from where he had exhaled. A thin finger traced a swirl into the foggy glass absently as Cane looked into the eyes of his own face, reflected onto the glass. It looked would be another late night, but he should be used to them now. It would be worth it if he managed to catch the mystery note person in the act. He just had to know who they were.
The plan was simple enough; he had laid out the note, perfectly positioned on the ledge of the display window so that he would be able to see whoever it was from his bedroom window. He was also very interested in if the person would answer the question he had written down.
Who are you?
Wrapped in his blanket, which was a thick, warm, mess of colours, Cane kept his vigil. He would discover the truth, then thank the person face to face, and then that would be that. He could go back to his happy life as the Candyman.
Cane cursed himself loudly, glad there were no children around at such an early hour. How could he have fallen asleep? And just how late did the mystery supporter come around?
Racing down the winding stairway that led to the shot he didn't even bother taking off his bright pink pyjamas. Almost tripping over himself the lanky man ran out of the shop and turned to the display window to see his pink note on the windowsill had been replaced with a small white one. That meant it really was the one who had left him the notes!
"Yes!" The word escaped him.
Quickly he snatched up the note, delicate fingers fumbling with the paper and his eyes greedily scanning the neat, familiar print.
No one of importance.
Cane's face fell as he read the words over, once, twice, three times. No one of importance? Maybe they thought that, but he definitely didn't agree. Without that small print he never would have been able to banish the Boogieman! That was so important to him, a person who had always considered himself too cowardly to do something like that. How this mystery person could think otherwise he wasn't sure.
The Candyman carefully folded the note up and walked back into his shop. As he picked up his discarded blanket from where he had thrown it down on the stairs he considered that at least he knew what to write on the next note.
You're important to me
"Oh, my, god." Edna grinned at him, her face full of delighted shock. "You have a crush, don't you?"
Cane sputtered at the thought. "I-I what?" It was the last thing he had thought Edna would bust out, even if it sort of made sense. It was just that he had never really talked to Edna about his love life, no matter how dull it usually was, since she thankfully didn't seem to want anything to do with it. The girl was still sickeningly in love with St. Patrick and had a tendency to concentrate every particle of her that had to do with love on the disgruntled, green haired man. That really suited Cane just fine. It also suited Patrick, who had an unsurprisingly violent jealous streak which had almost ended in Cane becoming a broken piece of candy, just fine too.
"No way, you do have a crush!" The bunny squealed, hopping up and down in that way she tended to do when she got excited. "That's so cute! Getting chocolates and notes, don't think I haven't noticed you keep fiddling with that one you're holding!" Edna laughed heartily as Cane shoved the paper into his pocket and then poked his shoulder fondly. "Who is she?"
Trust that Edna was the only one in the Other World to not know he was gay.
Admittedly it seemed like the widespread nature of that knowledge was as much about him sort of fitting into a certain stereotype as it was about him being completely indiscreet. It wasn't as though Cane wore obnoxious amounts of pink, or put on makeup and used rainbow nail polish because he was gay. In fact he was quite sure that it all had much more to do with his affinity for brightly coloured candy than anything else. But people tended to see it all and assume that he liked men, which just happened to be correct.
That said, it didn't help that in the past men had occasionally 'stayed the night' and that he had never had a girlfriend. The reality was that he had never actually tried to hide it at all. He had never corrected or confirmed people when they gossiped about it, never blinked twice if they mentioned it, but he had also never said it publicly himself.
Well, Edna didn't need to know just yet, not until Cane was in a halfway decent relationship anyway. It didn't really affect anything, not in his mind, and he hadn't actually come out to anyone but his flings, everyone else was just assuming. Besides, there were more complicated things than Cane's general like of a man at the moment.
"To be honest, I don't know who they are." It wasn't a lie, for all that Cane liked to imagine the mystery note giver was a handsome man, it could very well have been a girl. "I've only received a couple of notes and three chocolates."
"You counted how many chocolates she gave you? That's adorable." Edna grinned and he didn't have it in him to point out that counting to three wasn't really a feat, she was so excited. He just as hyped too if he was being honest. "A secret admirer!"
"Yeah, yeah. Come on..." Cane decided it was high time to shoo her out as his cheeks darkened; he needed to open the shop up for the day, anyways.
He liked to pretend that he had more dignity than to fiddle with the note in his pocket all day, but he didn't.
He could see his breath as he huddled on the side of his shop, lurking in the space between his shop and the small cafe beside it. At least Cane knew there was definitely no way he would fall asleep standing out in the November chill, which meant that with any luck he'd finally get a glimpse of the mystery note giver.
He really hoped the person didn't spot him first. Whoever they were they seemed quite shy and his purple cloak was awfully bright. In his defence he didn't own many, if any, dark pieces of clothing. Maybe a pair or two of socks, but not much more. He would have to buy some, if just so he could be a little stealthier in the future.
But how could he have predicted his sudden need for stealth? He was a Candyman, not a spy!
Cane stopped breathing as he peeked around the corner and saw an odd movement in the darkness, from where a corner of a nearby clothing store was cast in shadow. The someone stepped out, also wearing a cloak, although this one looked black under the streetlights. But that was odd, where that corner was there was only one way to get there and that was the way the person had come out of, so unless they had been waiting there Cane didn't really see how they could have come from there. And the way they had emerged...it was as if a shadow had broken off from the dark and was walking towards the windowsill of his candy shop slowly.
Slowly, on his tip toes and wishing he had taken more care to try and learn subtlety, Cane approached the figure who was taking out a piece of paper. They seemed so shy, never talking directly to him, but maybe if he just could make them face him they could have a real conversation.
When he was so close he had to hold his breath to keep from alerting the other, his heart pounding, and stationed himself right behind the mysterious figure, who was unsurprisingly a fair bit taller than him, he reached out to grab a thin arm.
"Aah!" The person's shriek was loud and shocked, but short. The noise somehow still chilled Cane to the bone, sending a violent shiver up his spine, but he didn't let go.
The figure whipped around to look at him, the hood of the cloak falling back just enough to reveal a face. It was certainly not what Cane had expected in any way and both the amiable smile that he had plastered onto his face and the friendly half apologetic introduction he had been about to say vanished.
The man in front of him stilled in shock and the feeling was certainly mutual. His skin was an impossibly smooth charcoal grey and his cheeks were blushing black. At first Cane had thought it the poor lighting and he was mistaken but then he had realized that, no, the skin really was a dark grey.
Pure white lips worked soundlessly and long, straight, pitch black hair fell around a face that, despite being unusual, had a very haunting sort of attractiveness to it. He looked like he was young but definitely an adult, in his mid to late twenties, although as he was clearly no mortal there could be no guessing his age. He wasn't overly beautiful, and though something about his face stood out as belonging to a man he didn't look overly masculine. His body was also certainly that of a young, slightly skinny, man. All said he was attractive in an odd way. The man's crimson eyes were large and wide…
Cane gasped, the sound loud to his own ears. "The…B-Boogieman?"
The figure in front of him didn't inspire terror. It was a young, if unusual looking, man who had helped him out. Mysteriously, yes, but he had helped him none the less. And the eyes didn't hold the same malice. They were almost pretty.
But Cane had also stared at them for months on end without break. He would know them anywhere, malicious or not, and those were the Boogieman's eyes, there could be no doubt on the matter. Everyone knew that the Boogieman could change shapes so he could be what you feared most, there was no reason he couldn't travel around in this shape. It would probably even be more convenient if he didn't travel around as the manifestation of horror. And it did explain how the first note had gotten into his room without his knowledge, something that had nagged Cane from the get go.
But there was no way the Boogieman was allowed to leave encouraging notes for the people he scared. It would be like Cane deciding to not making candies, or making bad candies on purpose. Definitely against the rules.
The Candyman tightened his grip just a little. "You are, aren't you?" He paled as he stared into those too familiar eyes, too shocked to truly be afraid. "The Boogieman."
The man jumped and his face got darker, his cheeks going nearly pitch black. The Boogieman (?) struggled to free himself from Cane's grip, tugging his arm desperately and looking absolutely mortified. Even with the dark cloth between him and the other's skin, Cane's hand was freezing.
"Wait, I don't…" Cane stopped, realizing he had no idea what to say, he had hardly been prepared for something like this after all, but he had to say something. "I'm not mad!"
The dark figure made a noise that was likely of embarrassment before Cane found that he wasn't, in fact, holding anyone's arm. The Boogieman had vanished. The Candyman looked at his still cold hand in shock as he heard the thudding steps of someone running.
When he looked up the only things of the street were him and the blank white piece of paper that had fallen to the ground sometime during their brief struggle.
Cane frowned intently at the lollipops, as though they could somehow give him the answers.
It hadn't exactly been the busiest day, he was just getting the occasional customer, but that was fine. He appreciated the absence of people this time, it left him more time to think, and he had a lot of things to consider after what happened the night before.
The more he thought about it the more he was convinced that had indeed been the Boogieman. Those eyes were too familiar and the way he had reacted certainly lent itself to the theory. And if that was the Boogieman then Cane had a lot of things to reconsider and just as many things to correct himself about.
The Boogieman had been nothing like Cane had expected, the least of all in his appearance. He had looked nice enough, unusual, but a lot nicer than Cane had anticipated. Admittedly Cane had expected something more akin to a skeleton crawling with maggots than a relatively regular looking man but the whole idea just didn't scream Boogieman to him.
But appearance really meant nothing if that was the Boogieman, because what that really meant was that the Boogieman who he had hated with a passion and feared every night, was actually also the person who had left him encouraging notes and made bitter and slightly lumpy chocolate. The person he actually felt a lot of affection and gratitude for. The one who had, paradoxally, saved him from the Boogieman.
Cane glared harder at the swirling colours of his candy, trying to make sense of his jumbled feelings and once more failing to do so.
If everything was what he thought then that meant he didn't hate the Boogieman at all.
He kind of, perhaps, liked him.
Or did he like him at all?
Could he really let go nearly half a year of huddling in a corner of his room in all consuming terror that easy? Wasn't he still really bitter at the Boogieman for the unnecessary levels of terror?
But he also had to keep in mind that the Boogieman's job was his job, he didn't have much of a choice in it. He had to terrorize children every night, which might not actually be his favourite thing to do, even if Cane had assumed it would be when he was getting terrorized himself. It had certainly seemed like he enjoyed it, but if that was true then why had the Boogieman helped him?
The real question, Cane knew, was whether these revelations and some notes were enough for him to go to the point of actually liking the Boogieman, even if he could forgive him a little?
The Candyman sighed and ran a hand through his short hair, dyed back to it's original bubblegum colour, as he glanced around the empty shop, the bright colours comforting him. He had always liked bright colours; they were simple. They were what they were and they made sense.
Dark things were complicated, it was harder to tell what colour they were, or if they were a mixture of colours. When you put dark colours next to each other they blended. With bright colours there were no shades of grey.
Cane's wandering thoughts broke as something flashed out of the corner of his eye. He snapped his head up to see in the window of his shop a figure standing in a black cloak. He couldn't see much, the hood was too far down, but the person's skin was awfully dark and the lips stood out, a stark white colour...
As quickly as he could, and thankful he didn't have any customers at the time, the Candyman vaulted over the counter, hitting the floor with a loud slamming noise, palms and legs still stinging from the landing, and ran for the door. But by the time he opened it and darted outside, the figure was gone.
The nameless ghost, often simply referred to as 'that ghost' or 'the butler' for lack of a better name, found that he was somewhat less than thrilled with the current situation of the Boogie family. Namely in reference to Oogie's young son, who was barely even two centuries old and clearly didn't know what was best for him.
Boo was, yes, doing just fine in his duties and completing his work every night but that was hardly the point. A proper butler went above and beyond his assigned duties to ensure the happiness of his employers, and poor boy was depressed on his watch! Completely unacceptable.
The ghost knew exactly why it was, too. He had told Oogie that this would end in nothing but trouble, this sort of love always did; he would know these things, he had been killed by his own wife. Poisoned, stabbed, rolled into a carpet, burned then thrown into the sea, and she had seemed just as 'sweet' as that silly Candyman!
But would Oogie listen? No, of course not!
He would rather see his son moping around the mansion every night before work. Of course the acting butler for the Boogies liked to keep a watchful eye on Boo, going above and beyond and all that. He knew Boo didn't like the idea and would protest it if he knew but it was for his own good. When the boy turned a thousand or moved out they could have a conversation about it.
But that watchful eye meant that of late he had gotten watch as the boy wilted slowly. Boo didn't deserve such treatment. It was simply cruel of Candyman to do this to such a fine young spectre! So much for letting the boy down gently!
He never had liked that man! What kind of a supernatural profession was owning a candy shop? How was it spectacular that he made candy?Any mortal could surely do that just as well as he. Absolutely a joke of an immortal. And only the lowest form of a trembling coward could take 118 years to banish the Boogieman, it was simply pathetic.
The ghost lurked, comfortable in his invisibility, in the corner of the young Master's black coated room, watching over his employer dutifully. The young Boogieman was carefully smoothing out three pink pieces of paper with a sigh, his face even more melancholy than usual.
Why, he thought as he looked at Boo's expression, if only Oogie hadn't expressly forbade him getting involved the ghost would have shown that candy creep a piece of his mind!
The Candyman sighed heavily at the slip of paper in his hands. He had known the moment he had come outside to look at the windowsill and seen the pink colour that once again his note had been ignored. He had been leaving them out for a week straight and there had still been no response.
He allowed the lifting part of his white marble countertop to slam back down as he stepped behind it, moving to toss the paper into the trash. Of course he should have guessed, why would the Boogieman even want to keep in contact with him? And really, he wasn't even sure if he wanted to keep in contact with the Boogieman in the first place. The Boogieman had probably only been answering his notes it out of courtesy or pity for this pathetic man who couldn't even banish him on his own.
Cane should really just stop thinking about it, push the Boogieman out of his mind, let it go and go back to what he did best, bringing sweetness and smiles to the world.
But he couldn't stop thinking about it and that was the whole problem.
He was bitter at the Boogieman, he was grateful to him, he wanted to yell at him, he thought he looked kind of attractive in a ghoulish manner, because he had never liked anyone with grey skin and white lips before, he thought he was stupid for thinking the Boogieman was attractive in any manner because it was the Boogieman.
He really of wanted to just talk to him, get it out of his system and get back to normal.
But it looked like the Boogieman was a little less receptive to the idea of having a talk, which left Cane all on his own and frustrated, even though he should have been ecstatic. Wasn't this what he wanted? A Boogieman free life?
He sighed and dropped onto his chair before slumping over and putting his head in his hands. He wasn't exactly fond of being conflicted, unless clashing colours counted.
His thoughts were broken as the door to his store opened with a chime. He hadn't locked it, but he already knew who was there. Only one person who would waltz into his shop any day of the week, completely disregarding the polite 'Sorry We're Closed', and she had a key anyways.
Cane didn't bother looking up as Edna bounded over to him, dropping her basket onto the counter with a dull thud. "Why good morning there, Candy-Cane." A glance up from his hands showed that she was leaning down onto the counter to be on eye level with him, smiling sweetly.
He smiled faintly back at her, letting his arms drop down to rest on the cool marble of the counter "Hi Edna. How are you doing?"
"Well I am about as happy as a rabbit in a carrot field. Patrick brought me a bouquet of four leaf clovers yesterday. They were delicious." Only Edna could eat a bouquet that she was given and still manage to have her boyfriend utterly smitten with her. "But you seem a little down."
"He just brought them out of the blue, no anniversary or anything?" She nodded firmly and he felt relieved and a little happy for his friend. He'd rather talk about Patrick, even though the man had never been the nicest to him, than try to explain his situation to Edna. And at the least Patrick was very nice to Edna, so it wasn't so bad to hear about it. "That was really nice of him."
"It was." She sighed contently before her face sobered up and she looked back at Cane. "But you're changing the subject. Come on, what's got your gobstopper?"
He smiled a little wider at her and pushed on the counter, sitting up straight as she stood up. "It's nothing, don't worry about it." He really didn't really feel like explaining the whole thing, when it was all done he would tell her about it. He just needed to figure this out first. Which would be a lot easier if the Boogieman would just answer his notes.
It was hard to believe his life had come to this, waiting on notes from the Boogieman.
"Are you having nightmares again?" Cane looked away from her large pink eyes, filled with concern. She couldn't have been more wrong, in fact it could even be thought of as the opposite situation, considering the cause of his 'nightmares'. "Because I'm serious, you can get something for that. Or even talk to the Sandman, he takes complaints from immortals you know, especially if it's affecting their work."
"It's not that," He shook his head and tried his hand at an appropriately Candyman-like smile. "Don't worry about it, I'll be fine."
He should have known that wouldn't be enough to deter her, especially with that determined look on her face. After a moment of silence while they stared at each other realization dawned on her face and Cane braced himself. "Oh, it's the secret admirer, isn't it?" Cane sucked in a breath and looked away. "They stopped giving you notes."
Well, he might as well tell her that much. "Yeah."
"I thought I hadn't seen any around for a while. Oh Cane, Cane, Candy-Cane, my dear." She leaned over the counter and placed a delicate hand on his arm. "You can't let yourself get depressed over some notes." He could feel the flush rising up his face and burning his ears as she drew back. "Your secret admirer is a fool. She doesn't know what she's missing out on and you don't need her. There's plenty of carrots in the field."
The Candyman laughed nervously and ran a hand through his pink hair. As much as he appreciated the pep talk, and he thought it was really nice of Edna to give it to him, the situation was kind of...completely different than she thought it was. Which, admittedly, was his fault. "Thanks but I already told you, don't mind me. I'll get over it."
"I know you will." She was smiling again, taking a bouncing step back. "But Candy, Candy-Cane, she's not the only one at fault here. You want to know what the real problem is?" Not really. Or maybe he did but he didn't want to hear it right now from Edna who didn't know the truth which was because he hadn't really worked up the courage to tell her, and wasn't he supposed to be over this courage stuff? But she didn't wait for his answer, just pointed a delicate finger at him. "You. You're sitting around here waiting around for notes. You need to take the initiative, get out there, find a girl! Don't mope because they won't come to you, you go to them!"
Cane stared at Edna, pretty sure he would need to pick his jaw up off the floor because he'd just had an epiphany.
To be brutally honest, Edna wasn't always the most intuitive woman alive. It wasn't because she was stupid, she was very smart, but she was also very naive and very trusting. And while it worked fine for the children she worked with and it cute and endearing and she had Patrick to pound the sugar out of anyone who would seek to take advantage of that, she tended not to give the best advice because of it. Not that he minded, he still loved Edna and thought she was great, but he wasn't going to take her words of wisdom to heart if they consisted of "If you really put your heart into the other ones I'm sure St. Valentine won't notice the missing candies! Go take a nap!"
But this advice, she didn't realize it perhaps, but it was absolutely perfect. She was spot on. He needed to work things out with the Boogieman and if the Boogieman wouldn't come to him then he would go to the Boogieman. "You're right!" She smiled wider and nodded at him and he grinned right back, snapping his fingers. "I should get what I want, not wait around!"
"Exactly!" She pointed at him, nodding firmly along with his words.
"Alright." He said the word, turning it around in his mind and examining the idea further. The more he thought about it the more he liked it. He could go and march over to the Deadlands and...and demand an explanation from the Boogieman about everything! Yeah! He was sure the notes weren't allowed so he was probably justified in doing it. And then he would at last have a final word on how he felt and he wouldn't have to think about the Boogieman ever again! He was pretty sure he'd already lost enough nights sleep thanks to him."Yeah, take initiative and go to what I want!"
"Now you're getting it!" Edna giggled a little and plucked the picnic basket she had set down up off the table. "So what are you going to do about it?"
Cane smiled brilliantly and looked her square in the eyes. "I'm going to close up shop tonight and go to the Deadlands to sort this whole thing out."
Her picnic basket clattered to the ground and her face fell into a mask of horror. "You're going to what?"
"It's no sweat, they're not that far." He'd need to find a map though, most places didn't sell maps of the Deadlands, it could be a problem. In fact he wasn't sure if any places did, he'd have to have a look around. "I know where I'm going and it's not like I'm a mortal."
"No, wait!" He looked over and saw Edna was staring at him like he'd gone insane. He supposed he couldn't blame her, he guessed he'd be shocked if she suddenly wanted to go to the Deadlands too. "No, no, no! No, Deadlands, that's a bad idea!"
Cane shrugged as she leaned over the counter, both palms slamming down onto the marble. "You're an immortal but you can still be an immortal in tiny bite sized pieces in a werewolf's stomach. The Deadlands is a bad idea! I don't want to have to hover over you while we pray Asclepius can patch you up! Whatever it is that you have in mind can probably be found right here! Safely here."
He hadn't really expected Edna to understand. After all, it wasn't like she knew about the Boogieman, which he definitely couldn't find outside of the Deadlands. He shouldn't have even mentioned where he was going, he had been talking more to himself than her when he'd said it. "Don't worry about it Edna, I'll be fine." He wasn't scared anymore, he had that confidence in himself and he was going to take advantage of it! Or rather, he wasn't as scared anymore. Okay, so thought of what he was going to do did give him a quiver of fear at the edges, Edna didn't need to know about that. "I can take care of myself."
"No. You just proved you can't. Cane, if you try to go I'll stop you myself." He understood Edna's seriousness, but she knew as little about the Deadlands as anyone else did. It was where anyone who didn't classify as 'alive' (with a few exceptions) resided, save for the Reaper himself. All they had ever heard are rumours, and they probably exaggerated. "I'm serious. Why would you even want go there anyways? There's no reason to it!"
He sighed and scratched the back of his neck. He didn't really want to explain it to her, he wanted to go out the door right now and march over to the Deadlands. "Well, okay...maybe it's not that great an idea." He felt bad lying to Edna but she could really overreact sometimes. "Maybe I should hold off on it for tonight." If he didn't do this she would probably bodily force him into a locked room so he couldn't go. "Think it over a little longer."
"Yes! Hold off on it, think about it, think about maybe going to Candyland instead. You would like that!" Actually Candyland had kind of disturbed him. It was one thing to look at ingredients and see how you could combine them in your mind, it was another to look at personified ingredients and think about how you had combined them and then allowed children to eat them. No matter how many times they assured him they wanted nothing more than to be eaten he couldn't get over that aspect of it. But he knew that Edna was just trying to stave him off the idea of going to the Deadlands. "They said they loved it when you visited, remember? Caramel was really taken with you!"
Caramel had also expressed her rather fervent desire to be baked into a souffle. "Alright alright. It was kind of a silly idea." He waved his hand nonchalantly. He would have thought it was stupid if he were in Edna's position, but he wasn't. "Why don't you head out and I'll open up the shop then?"
His friend continued to lean over the counter, giving him a very serious look. "Cane, you have got to promise me you won't turn around the moment I leave and go off to the Deadlands, or I swear I am going to stay here all day." Her mouth went into a firm line and her eyes narrowed. Cane wanted to almost sigh at her seriousness over the matter. It wasn't that big of a deal. It wasn't like he was a mortal or anything. "No Deadlands Cane. Promise me!"
He didn't want to outright lie to her... "I'm not going to promise you I won't go." He interrupted her as she moved to open her mouth and protest. "But I will promise you I want turn around and do it the moment you leave. I'll think long and hard about it before I make a decision."
It wasn't really a lie. He would think about it all day as he worked. Which would be more than a few hours, since he worked a long day. And who knew, he might change his mind. Probably not, but he might.
"Cane..." Edna's voice had a warning quality to it, as though she didn't believe him and well hr guessed he couldn't blame her too much. He was kind of deceiving her.
"I'll be fine." He gave her his best smile, "Don't worry about me. I know I don't look like it but I'm not completely helpless."
"At least tell me why."
He turned back to look at her and shrugged. "That's a really long story and I open in," He took a look at his watch, "Five minutes." He sighed when she kept glaring at him. "Look, there's just some stuff I need to work out. I know I've been weird for a while now but there's something I've got to figure out on my own, but once I do I'll tell you everything. I promise you that."
"Just remember you've got friends who are willing to help you out." Edna crossed her arms, "And you promised you'd think hard about this whole Deadlands thing, which is still a bad idea by the way, so you'd better do that."
She was so sweet. "Thankyou, I won't forget."