Hey all, DLW here with a new chapter. Thank you to all my readers, follows, fav's and reviews and for your feedback it makes writing all the more fun. And time for a little action in the story, more to come and more at the bottom. Disclaimer: Zootopia and its characters are copyright Disney. (I own none of the characters in the story aside from the O/C's.).
Review response for the FF account:
car213: That she does. And it gets more... interesting in the next volume XD
Combat Engineer: I'll admit... I never watched the move, just those scenes.
Gamer4COD: I know right? Part of it is from a joke that I found about a preacher and a cab driver.
Guest: Snow's a lot of things. And the shovel is a multitool. It's a: grave digger, mammal silence, can opener, snow plow, blunt object, shield, and many many more! Shovel Knight would be proud.
The Dystopian Society
Chapter Five: Endeavor
"I stand before you and ask. 'When facing our mountain, what is the most important thing to remember?'"
[February 5, 'Tundra Town' 9:03 AM]
Judy looked out the frosted window and sighed, it had already been a long day and she had a lot on her mind. So many minuscule details about her journey had bothered her, but she was thankful that she was still in one piece. It wasn't just how she ended up seated next to a fox instead of Jack, but also lingering questions of Jack's teammate in the Nocturnal District, and who this moose was.
She clasped her paw on her temple, feeling a dull pain before wincing and continuing to peer out at the drifting snow. That one little detail about Tundra Town had always been amazing to her: their uncanny ability to produce endless amounts of snowflakes, but still keep the roads clear. It was just about the only thing that kept her calm during the ride; the endless drifting of ice dazzling in the midmorning sunlight with promises of a beautiful day. Something about that vision kept her mind at ease, and the slow rocking of the vehicle was comforting, to say the least.
They had left Kozlov's palace - which upon exiting the parking deck and getting onto the streets, she recognized as Morosov's Palace on the edge of Icy Lake (something for her to report later) - and were now headed close to the weather wall. It was still a bit away from her home in Downtown Zootopia, but at least they were going somewhere now.
The doe's ears twitched at few times she had caught Jack's voice as he was either calling up towards the vixen that Judy loathed, or speaking to the moose set next to him. More so often, she heard Snow almost yelling back something threatening, and twice she promised to stop the car and assault the buck with a weapon and then take him to the hospital. Judy would have made some threat of arrest, but she felt as though Jack could handle whatever may come his way. However, during one of those threats, she was interrupted by a phone call that - despite her being an officer and honestly wanting to tear the vixen apart from a list of offenses today and adding in distracted driving on top of it - she seemed really invested in. So much so that when she hung up she gripped the steering wheel tighter and drove a little faster.
One thing that surprised Judy about the whole ordeal was the lack of ZPD presence in Tundra Town. She didn't patrol the area much, but how they weren't just there to arrest the speeding fox and rescue Judy was beyond her. But still, even further than that was the lack of something; much of the frustration and anger that she felt earlier had gone, and her mind searched for an answer. It wasn't until they rounded a corner and Snow said that they were close to their stop that Judy realized what she was missing: the red fox that stood by her during the whole ordeal.
Her head craned around the seat to take a peek at the todd idly staring out the window. While his visage was more upbeat than before, he still lacked that self-assured smug smile that she had seen the day before. And though his collar remained green, she was thankful that he helped her out of the mess she got into.
She found it odd that in the short time since his parole, that he wasn't the same fox she thought he was. By right, she should've been dead at Honey's house; she should've been torn apart, but he saved her from the rampaging badger. And not only that, when he had a chance to escape, he chose not to dump her down a grinder...
He small form deflated a little at that thought. Still, even above that, Nick did something that she had never heard of a fox doing, let alone many predators. She stilled herself as she remembered him on the verge of tears, crying out that it would be his last day not but a few hours ago. She was told that foxes were evil, that they were 'red because they were made by the devil'.
And most of all, she was told that they never, ever cried.
Her eyes held his form for a moment longer, taking in the vibrant red of his fur from the warm light cascading in through the window. 'Why is he different?' she wondered. He wasn't like any fox, any predator, any collar wearer that he had ever known. For Nick had given her the weapon back and told the truth when she was adamant about him being a liar and potential murderer.
Upon seeing him shift in his seat, she hastily sat back properly. 'Maybe... maybe Jack did tell him something at the theme park?' she questioned. It was a small hope that she may be right, as she couldn't just accept that a fox... a fox of all mammals would help her.
They were supposed to be ruthless violent killers of her kind, the natural enemy of bunnies with insatiable appetites for them. The fox... no... Nick was supposed to be like-
She felt the beginnings of a tear roll down her cheek, and without any warning, her torn ear flickered itself. Taking her paw to clasp down on it as a phantom agony took over, she breathed deeply. This action, something that she had gotten used to out of sheer memory, was not without reason. She had to suppress the old memory, she couldn't afford to look weak in front of their kind, not again.
Snow's voice echoed throughout the vehicle as it came to a stop in a nearly empty parking lot. Judy managed to peek out the window and see that it was, in fact, a small clinic likely the one that Jack said they needed to go to when he had wanted them to be checked out. It was a good idea or so she thought, to have them receive medical attention before she returned to the precinct, her head was already hurting enough.
"Alright, everyone out, except for Jack," the vixen commanded, putting the car in park while reaching out for her weapon carefully placed next to her, "he gets to tell me why I'm gonna need a new radiator, three tires, two headlights, and an alternator".
The buck began to unstrap himself from the seatbelt hastily as Judy looked on. It was unlike any moment she had seen him on TV or any sort of media - his usually stoic and easy going manner driven by the need to help the city citizens - his motions now were frantic and reminded her of one trying to escape punishment.
With the *click* of his buckle, Jack hopped down to the floor and proceeded to scatter out of the vehicle. He narrowly avoided the moose who tried to shut him in the car. Questioning the antics, Judy quickly turned to see Snow leap across her. She reactively held her paws in front of her fearing an attack again. When that wasn't what happened, and instead the vixen leapt out of the door - shovel clasped in her paws and shouting at the escaping bunny - Judy began to question whether she should help or run.
"Don't worry about those two idiots," came a voice from just behind her, one she recognized as the moose, "they've been good friends for forever, but 'ol Jack never learns to keep his paws off her cars." He sauntered over, assisting Judy out of the car and down to the sidewalk before closing the door for both Nick and her. "Just got word that the one he drove us here in was almost a total loss and she's gonna have to fix it."
Judy paused for a moment and looked at the vixen giving chase to the buck in the parking lot. "Snow's a mechanic?" She was on his tail almost eerily calmly as they ran at blinding speeds across snowbanks and icy sidewalks. "Wait. You're his partner?"
It would make sense to some degree that the moose would be Jack's partner in the FERAL organization, but the size difference between the two would be a challenge. Though it's not like she didn't have any challenges as such, she had been partnered with Francine quite a few times.
'Snow I swear I'll pay my tab!' Jack's voice broke through the background as he scurried along the sidewalk.
"No, just his teammate," grunted the moose, shutting the door and locking it before heading to the clinic. "Name's Grim, Anderson Grim," he greeted flatly and pointed his hoof at the comedic scene before him. "and Snow's more than a mechanic, she does a lot here and there. She's also the only mammal alive that would even try to put up with Jack's vehicle record off the books. He's the only one on our team that shouldn't be driving."
'You'll be paying in teeth this time!' the vixen shouted back.
As Judy watched the stranger shake his head and sigh, her mind began to fill in the blanks. When she had spoken to Jack before, he said that 'she was gonna kill him' and that 'it just needed paint'. From the two times, she could figure that 'she' was Snow, and that what happened was that he destroyed the vehicle. It answered a few questions for her, and now she could put a face and name to one of the voices on the radio. 'But who was the other voice and why did they sound familiar?' she wondered.
"Anyways, let's get you both to your-" The moose paused, taking a moment to roll up his sleeve and check his wristwatch. "9:15 appointments."
'Had it really been that early?' she questioned as the hulking figure opened the door and ushered them in. And judging by the fact that Nick's kill collar hadn't gone off in the car, it really was.
Now turning to face the clinic, Judy got a much better look at what she had gotten herself into. Above the entrance that sat between two massive columns for merely aesthetic purposes, was a large sign that read "Northern Hills Family Practice". The bulk of the building was encased in red brick all around the base, not very different from the place that Nick had, but didn't look run down at all. She couldn't tell whether it was from the constant snow or just overall upkeep that the place looked as pristine as (if not more than) precinct one just from the atrium.
The frosted windows shone with warmth behind them even in the midst of the cold morning. A sign reading 'All Welcome' was a complete contrast from many of the clinics - Nick's included - that had a 'predator only' or 'prey only' sticker on them. So at least here, they'd both be treated.
The chill outside dissipated when the door was opened - unlike Kozlov's ice palace, which she had never been more thankful for being away from - it felt homey due to how warm it was, and even the set chandeliers gave a warming light from them. The linoleum floor didn't feel quite as cold as one would think, and soft piano music played in the background.
Judy stared in awe at some of the artwork adorning the walls, much like a kit at the history museum. None of them looked familiar to her, and they were all of different mammals; predator and prey, large and small, old and young. It wasn't until she got to the second set of doors into the inner hallway and actual registration desk that she realized the pictures were alternating.
By the time they had gotten fully into the building, found her eyes drifting from the scenery and back to Nick again. He hadn't said so much of a word, but his smile was slightly back. There was even a point where he had glanced ahead towards her and grinned.
When she went to look away, she almost froze upon the realization that the fox... Nick, was walking behind her.
She had always - even in the precinct - stayed behind predators in case they made any sudden moves, but here and now, this was different. Why did she keep moving? How did she let him get there, and why didn't she feel uncomfortable?
Judy shook her head and let loose a tired sigh. The only thing she was feeling was a slight headache.
"How ya holdin' up, Carrots?"
"Like I got hit by a truck, but I'm fine, Nick."
Judy raised a brow at how quickly she even answered; like it was some second nature thing and she felt almost obligated to do so. And for it to be him? His voice? Nick being a fox? Maybe she had a worse headache than she realized.
There was a deep chuckling from behind them both, and her ears instinctively turned. "Then it's a good thing that Jack wasn't driving."
The moose - both heavy in his steps and voice - took a few paces to get ahead of them, and Judy couldn't tell if he was being serious or not; she figured he probably was, though.
After reaching the double door to the registration desk, the trio entered the main lobby of the facility. Their footsteps were muffled due to lush beige carpeting and padded furnishings in the room.
Ambient lighting came from all directions, and it was surprisingly warm despite the climate outside. The doe quickly found herself removing her coat and taking in a breath of heated air - something she had quite missed having while in the frozen town - despite it being almost on the verge of nauseatingly sanitized.
A few televisions were scattered about, each on a different channel that catered to some fascination of a media outlet. While Judy only really watched the news and a few other channels, the variety was good, but not something that she cared for at the moment. She felt as though it may have been a waste as there weren't any mammals seated in the plush seats.
"We're here for the 9:15."
Judy turned her wandering eyes from the lobby to the sole desk seated in the center of the room. While sturdy, windowless, and with a marble countertop, the only attendee was a snow leopard idly sipping from a mug and typing away at a desk. She seemed relatively bored, but smiled brightly and nodded as she waved at them.
"Alright, Doctor Fina will be with you in just a moment." The moose nodded and casually strode over to the seating area to find a chair in his size.
Judy waited for a moment before Nick followed suit. She couldnhand't remembered the last time she had gone to the doctor's office or sought any medical attention, but she was sure that paperwork was required. When the leopard simply smiled at her, she took the hint and padded her way over to them.
Nick had managed to find a couch and hopped up without a second thought. It was the closest one to his size and upon taking an armrest, he comfortably sighed. Judy was about to do the same when the door to the side creaked open.
"Nick! It is you!"
Not having the moment to get in the seat, Judy saw (and absolutely heard) a stranger came rushing towards the todd at full speed. It took them less than a second to fully close the distance and practically lift him out of the seat into a hug.
Nick squirmed in the mammal's embrace. He was caught somewhere between laughing and catching his breath. "Fi- put me dow-"
Judy watched the event unfold, and could swear that she had seen this mammal before. They were clearly a gazelle, with unusually pale white fur that blended perfectly into their lab coat. She was tall and lanky, even for her species. The black skirt she wore had a logo on it that she recognized as one of the ones that were at Kozlov's Palace; a mountainous kind of pattern in white that contrasted with the rest of the material. With her badge in place and swaying from her coat pocket, she caught sight of a small weapon, likely a tranq gun.
The gazelle giggled and swung the todd around. A sharp Furrench accent was clear in her tone. "Nope. I'm not letting my little student out of my sight for a while."
Before Nick was almost on the verge of yelling - she could tell from the sheer force that the gazelle was stronger than she looked - Judy spoke for him. "Excuse me, ma'am, but we're really pressed for time and-"
"Oh I know," the doe interrupted, waving a hoof and setting Nick back down, "I almost lost my little piece of work student," She took a moment to look at the fox shaking his head from dizziness, "and now he comes back in need of assistance. This isn't how I taught you, Nick."
At the mention of his name, Nick raised a digit, but the gazelle ignored him and strolled over to Judy. "Hello there, you must be Judy Hopps, yes?" Judy nodded, taking her larger hoof in her paw to shake. It was then that she locked eyes fully on the stranger and saw that her eyes were strikingly ruby red. 'Albino?' Judy thought. "Well, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm doctor Fina Merci and-"
The room grew quiet for a moment when the moose spoke, he didn't even bother turning to face them while watching the morning news. Judy felt her paw being squeezed slightly in the gazelle's hooves for a moment before she released her and stood up. "And if it isn't Anderson 'takes his sweet time' Grimjoy."
He shrugged. "Sorry, I thought you were goin' deaf last I heard."
The gazelle's ears flickered. "Next time you need a sling, it's gonna be for your jaw."
"Jack may need a sling in a second," He tilted his head towards the door, "I think Snow's mad enough this time."
The gazelle sighed and walked towards the door. "I fix mammals, not idiots."
With the moose's grunt of annoyance, their conversation was over. "You two come with me," said the gazelle doe impatiently.
Judy was the first one through the door to back rooms with Nick close behind. Whitewashed hallways smelling of lemon scented cleaner filled their eyes and noses. The doctor strode down the hallways with a restrained grace, but kept them within their sights all the same. When they approached exam rooms, she directed them on which one to go to: exam 1 for Judy, and exam 5 for Nick. Both at opposite ends of the hallway, and with clear instructions to wait and sit still until she got there.
Upon entering, Judy was intrigued. It was almost like the exam rooms at Wilde Times - albeit without being raided and abandoned - with sterile lighting, a plush exam table and medical equipment packed from floor to ceiling. She figured that the height was due to the sizes of mammals that lived there, but it wasn't too nauseating to see an almost cavernous ceiling.
When she hopped up onto the table, feeling the crinkle of the material and soft padding underneath her, she almost wanted a moment to fall asleep. 'Can't do that now.' she schooled herself as she remembered during her academy training that falling asleep during a concussion was a terrible thing to do, so she busied herself with case facts instead.
'Okay, so we were in the underground, got the list,' Judy actually almost squealed when she remembered that little detail that made their pain worthwhile, 'then we got kidnapped and were rescued from Kozlov's Palace-'
It was when she came to this point that it dawned on her that, through it all, they actually lived. It was a realization early in her career, and in her life, that one day things may go bad for her, and that the worst possible scenario almost happened. Yet, here she sat (alive) and waiting to be seen by the doctor.
"How did we survive that?" she muttered.
It was a few minutes before the doctor came to her room, failing to knock and just welcomed herself in with a tablet clutched in her hooves. "So, Officer Hopps, how are you feeling?"
Judy wanted to correct her and say 'Lieutenant' but the words failed on her lips. "Just a slight heada-"
Before she knew it, the doctor stopped typing and took out a small flashlight from her pocket, she knew the drill.
Having bright light shined in her eyes was a bit painful if she were to be honest. Not only that, but having her blood pressure taken (average for a bunny), asked questions about medical history that she could barely remember, all the routine stuff.
After a few minutes of the preliminary exam, the doctor asked her, "So, have you had a CT before?"
The question caught her off-guard "I... When I was younger, I did. I think?" Judy actually couldn't remember what she had done years ago, it all blurred into other procedures she had.
"Hmm." Fina grunted noncommittally.
With the gazelle typing in her history, Judy finally found a moment to ask something that she had on her mind. "How do you know Nick?"
Fina continued to type. "He was my student," she replied hastily, her accent a little faster, "Nick was the first predator that I taught under the Mammal Inclusion Initiative. Top of his class for the time he was there."
This swirled in Judy's head. Again, Nick proved he wasn't a liar, he was indeed a medical practitioner. And to be top of his class?
The typing sound died soon after, and Fina turned to her with a smile. "So," How's your family?"
"I, uh." Judy's nose twitched a little, she couldn't remember the last time she had actually taken the time to chat with them. When she had first come to the city, she called them every day. But now, over the years, they'd be lucky to get a call from her on Holidays. "Haven't spoken to them in a while."
The doctor's smile dropped. She looked almost... upset at the response. She placed a hoof under her chin, deep in thought. "Hmm... then I should call them and tell them you died."
"W-what?" Judy's jaw hung on hinges from the reply. How could any doctor say that? Why would any doctor say that?
Fina's smile returned and she opened one of the cabinets set on the wall. She rummaged through it for a moment before she found a small blue gown and passed it to the shocked bunny. "Now, put this on and wait here for a moment." Without further instruction, the gazelle left through the door and kept the bunny in her stupor.
Judy sat still for a moment with the small gown in her paws. While she was frustrated with the doctor's comment, she couldn't help but think what that would do to her family. With a sigh, she began to disrobe and put the gown on. "I really need to call them."
The rest of her appointment went smoothly. Luckily, the clinic that Jack took them to had on-site equipment to get the work done. The CT didn't take long - the results were clear enough for her to not have to be hospitalized - and she was given some medication for her headaches; Nick too.
Once they were out and back to the vehicle, she was told that she'd need to return home by Jack's order. And while she was thankful that the buck was in one piece - though carried around like a rag doll by the vixen - she was angered that he had given Snow her address.
The vixen even mocked her on the way to the apartment by saying that she'd 'show up in case she got hungry one day'. Judy could only hope it was a joke.
Much of their drive was uneventful save for a single moment when they were crossing the climate wall and onto the freeway of Zootopia's Downtown that every head in the car turned to the massive tower situated in the city's center.
The APEX Law and Medical, as it was known; the establishment that built and manufactured TAME collars and many other products for police and medical use. The twisting helical towers that made itself known to all in the city, the cornerstone that kept the peace.
When they neared Judy's building it was close to 10:15 and traffic was starting to build.
"Snow, this is it. Holly Reef Apartments." Jack called ahead to them. Judy could tell he was upset by the tone of his voice... and the several threats to his life he got when he tried to get to the front seat.
Once the car parked and idled, the vixen looked back at him with narrowed eyes. "You have ten minutes. Don't make me get out of this car and get you."
Judy unbuckled herself and got out without the help of Grim this time. And while she didn't mind the added assistance for such a large vehicle, she wanted to stretch her legs, and there was the open window to consider. She was a bunny after all.
When she had gotten down to the sidewalk, she saw Jack doing the same thing. Judy never did figure out exactly how old the buck was, but he was still as agile as she was.
Once he landed, he adjusted his tie and straightened out his suit. "Alright Hopps, lead the way."
Judy nodded and went about her way. She stopped at the door when she realized that she was missing the most important thing... her key. Mentally scolding herself, she stood there and rubbed her eyes. 'How could I forget that...'
The doe withdrew her paws to see Jack casually opening the door with a key of his own. She stared in wonder at how he had one unless- "Jack?"
He walked in without looking back. "Apartment 722, right?"
She followed him up to the seventh floor of the building built for smaller mammals and they approached her door. Throughout the whole time, Judy kept staring in wonder. And when they finally stood before her apartment, she asked him, "Do...you live here?" She had never seen the buck anywhere near here and knew of only a few other bunnies in the building. So unless he was in disguise, then how he obtained the key was beyond her.
Jack looked at the door with an expression she couldn't read. It was serious, without any form of warmth or light that she had seen before. "No," he whispered back, taking the key in his paw and inserting it into the lock, "when you didn't show up or call, I had one made."
Judy's ears fell.
Jack's paw hovered over the doorknob for a moment, and with his free paw, he motioned for her to back up before he reached into his vest.
Taking a clue and now feeling a creeping sensation crawl up her spine, she took a step back. What happened in the second that followed made her tense.
Jack opened the door, roughly shoving it in with his shoulder and leapt into the room without warning. There was barely any sound save for the door creaking on its hinges.
Judy rushed to the threshold to peer inside. She couldn't fathom what kind of danger would merit such behavior, but apparently, Jack did.
The buck stood in the center of the room - hardened gaze sweeping from one side of the flat to the other - never once making a sound; Judy, despite her sharpened hearing, couldn't even pick up on the controlled, minuscule steps he took as he shifted to gain a better vantage.
In the dark of her apartment - tense as it was from the possible threat - all she could truly see was the cold outline of his drawn gun in one paw, and the faintest glimmer of the knife he clutched in the other. What struck her the most was the poise that he took in his stance: focus forward and ears somehow breathing in the silence as he was in tuned to every hidden noise.
After a moment - one where her heart stilled and her voice and thoughts died to become one with the ever encroaching abyss - Jack finally let his arms slowly fall to his side. She could tell he was still guarded, but it was clearly visible that things were different; something in the way he looked at her - amber eyes sharpened towards the doorway that shone with a hidden level of danger that Judy could only associate with his name; Savage.
It was only when he didn't say a word or move, that she figured the coast was clear. Taking one step through the threshold of the door - which felt like a leap over a chasm - she entered her home.
"Judy, I'm gonna level with you here. What happened in the last few hours... it's not good."
His voice, though calm and seemingly patient amidst the sea of rage she knew was behind it, shook her to her core. From one of her previous conversations with the buck, she knew that he had a side of him that the world never saw, but now that she was here to see it...
"You really have Nick to thank for stopping a literal war," He began, his voice low and intense.
The way his eyes never left her was unsettling, to say the least. And if that wasn't enough, what left his mouth next, made her tremble. "The fact that you're still alive and standing is what's wrong," he paused, taking a moment to turn his head to gaze out of the window. The eerie glow of grey and blue defined his features even more so than she could have tried to describe. "Someone knew about you and Nick, specifically his kill collar," said Jack, barely tilting his head to catch her out of the corner of his eye. "and now... now you're both being targeted.
"I got word that the ZPD in Tundra Town found your cruiser in the river this morning so I came here. Someone had you kidnapped and put in that borscht room to wait until the timer on Nick's collar went off," he paused to look at her, "You would have died from the collateral damage then and there, and the fire that would result from that collar would have alerted the ZFD to Koslov's Palace. It'd be all downhill from there.
"Dimitri would be framed and executed for killing a member of the ZPD. Fimbulventer would be disbanded and whatever members weren't arrested would flood into the other parts of the city. Rumors of these attacks would rise and cause citywide panic. Someone's after you Judy, and it's hard to tell who that would be.
"By the time we went to get you, my colleague was attacked in the Nocturnal District. We had to evac him immediately after you left. Another colleague of mine nearly died during the rescue, and I've no doubt that it was a diversion just to get you."
Judy stood still, taking it all in. They were setup to start with, and now some mammal was trying to get rid of them. They were on the right track to the right one, but someone knew it all. Someone who wanted her dead.
"What are you missing?"
The doe looked around her apartment for a moment before it clicked with her. "My phone, my wallet, and my gear," she hesitated before sighing, "and the cruiser." She could only imagine the report she'd have to processes in the morning.
Jack looked around and began to walk over to the side of her bed. "This just got a little too dangerous for you and him to be alone. I'll have to be with you for the remainder of the investigation." He put his weapons away and pulled out a small rectangular object; tossing it to her, he looked at her square in the eye. "We've also provided you with an encrypted phone that directly contacts any of us. Do not use it to contact anyone else."
Clutching the phone, Judy took a good look over it. It was exactly like her old C-phone, but had a different finish on it, and bore a small blue strip on its side.
As she admired the thing, she noticed Jack staring at her dresser; the sole picture - almost enshrined upon it - stared back at him. He carefully took in his paws.
A long, still silence passed by before he spoke. "You miss him... don't you?"
It took Judy about a minute before she could reply, "Yeah. I do."
The buck gently set the picture down and strode out towards the door. He placed the key in her paw and stood to face the entryway. "Take the rest of today, and tomorrow off to recuperate, and that's an order. We can't have you at half function. I'll send someone to watch after you, and we'll handle your report for you."
Silently, Judy stood there searching for words to say, for answers... but none came.
So by the time she even found the strength to reply, Jack had left. Left her home with nothing but herself.
Later that evening, Judy had managed to get some semblance of her daily life back. While she didn't think much of vacations or anything, it was nice to have some time to herself to reflect. So after her nightly routine of getting dinner (she had enough leftover lettuce and other ingredients for a decent salad) and a shower, she turned on the news to finish her night as ambiance to her journal writing.
[-PD continues their investigation into the disappearances of mammals around the city-]
She had missed a day's worth of entry, what with the kidnapping and all, but was here to fill it all in now.
'-it was around the tail end of our conversation when we were locked in the freezer that it happened.' She tapped her pen against her cheek as she jumbled words to write. 'I had never heard of a fox crying before, and it seemed so surreal. All I could hear was that voice telling me not to trust them... but I...' Judy didn't know what to think about everything, it happened so fast. 'He told me he wasn't a monster, just before all of this... and I-'
It had been something that she never thought she'd ever even attempt to think of; the strangest series of occurrences in her life, and all over the course of two days.
Judy idly tapped the pen against the paper as if by sheer force of will the words would stream out of the pen and onto the stationery without full use of her wrist. That'll never happen, she chuckled to herself.
While it was wistful thinking, Jack's words still stung worse than what she felt when chained to Nick. Her mind went blank as she versed it over and over again.
[In other news, assistant mayor Dusk Bellwether will be speaking at the charity event held by-]
That was the only word she could mutter, the only thing she could whisper. It was the sole thing that she had believed in her entire life: the one thing that had been disproven in 48 hours by this fox's side. The thing that-
Her vision began to blur, and she absentmindedly trailed her paw up to her ear. The chunk of the extremity that had been bitten off was a constant reminder, a memory of days gone by; it was the same memory that resurfaced when Snow had her teeth against her neck, the same one that, somehow, constantly gave her night-terrors.
She tore her eyes away from the paper long enough to see the little picture resting on the nightstand. Now sniffling, she dropped the pen and walked over to it in reverent hesitation. Upon reaching it, she nearly fell to her knees when her paw smoothed over its surface.
'You miss him... don't you?'
She'd remember Jack's voice calling to her as he did the same thing, for she too stared at the bunnies in the picture. One more so than any other.
'Yeah, I do.'
She looked longingly at the two, so close together: a little bunny - merrily smiling and unharmed by the evils in the world - seated happily on the shoulders of her older sibling. The larger grey bunny bearing striking amber eyes much like Jack's own, eyes that she would never see again.
Judy clutched the picture in one paw, now on the verge of trembling. The bunnies in the picture blurred save for two: the young Judith Laverne Hopps, and the other-
Judy didn't know how long she held the picture, or when she fell asleep with tears staining her pillow and the tv still on, but one thing lingered on her mind; the same words she kept repeating in her head over and over again, words that failed to write themselves in her memories. 'I hope, he's not a monster.'
[-anniversary of the creation of the Predation Clause and shortly before the death of her great-grandfather Isac Bellwether. Mayor Belinda Swin-]
* End Volume 1: The Dystopian Society *
"I stood atop the mountain and shouted, 'Never forget who made you who you are!'"
Hello there, you've reached the end notes! So concludes volume 1 of Predation, with volume 2 starting soon, but I'll have some in between chapters before that.
'Missing You' will be updated soon. along with 'A Spring in your Step'
Lastly... 'Bits and Pieces' is up and will be updated this week.
And I hope you get a chance to read this and the other stories at your leisure. All can be found here as well:
If you liked this story and have time please post a review, and if you would like to keep up with the story please fav or follow. Questions, comments, concerns, feel free to message me about anything. If you'd like updates, please check the profile page and or message me.
Till Next Time