How Hedgies Have Fun in Suburbia

Disclaimer: I do not own Over the Hedge in any way; DreamWorks owns the movie, and the comic strip characters are the property of Michael Fry and T Lewis. Only the original characters belong to me.

Chapter 1: Taking Advantage of Human Negligence

Note: The following chapter is based off the Over the Hedge comic strip dated July 14, 2013.

RJ is paddle boarding on a body of water. The "board" he is standing on, however, is Verne as the turtle is floating on his back.

Verne: "This makes me nervous."

RJ: "Relax."

Verne: "We're out here in the open, in broad daylight, on the weekend. We're bound to get caught."

RJ: "Nobody's paying attention."

It turns out that RJ and Verne are in a pool with the other animals clustered somewhere in the backyard of a house.

RJ: "Like I told the family this morning: The key to exploiting suburbia is to understand that humans don't appreciate what they have. Look at this pool…"

RJ gestures at the water where the younger children are playing Marco Polo with the bat family. RJ also points to the side where the adult animals are sitting in beach chairs or on towels catching some rays with sunglasses on.

RJ: "Look at the grill…"

RJ points to the grill where Rogan and Ozzie are busy cooking hotdogs for lunch. Rogan has on a chef hat, whereas Ozzie is wearing a chef apron that has a red arrow pointing at the head and a slogan saying "This is what an AWESOME Bar-B-Q chef looks like."

RJ: "Look at the soccer net…"

RJ points to the grassy area of the backyard where the teenage porcupine triplets are busy playing soccer; boys against girls.

RJ: "Look at the hose-powered, inflatable water slide…"

RJ gestures at a Slip 'N Slide that Hammy is having a blast with.

Verne: "So it's our obligation to appreciate it?"

RJ: "Yes." (Opens his arms in a philosophical and encompassing way) "Otherwise, all this goes to waste."

Verne: "Ah…So we're recreational recyclers."

RJ (smiles and nods yes): "Exactly…"

Beyond the fence of the next yard, two human boys and a girl, all of whom are dressed in swimsuits, frolic happily in a sprinkler nozzle.

Having overheard the humans playing, RJ concludes, "It's not like they're using it."

Just as the words leave RJ's mouth, Rebecca does a cartwheel-flip off the diving board…and lands right next to Verne. The splash causes a hydro shockwave that makes RJ lose balance and fall into the water, causing everyone to laugh. As RJ surfaces, he does so slowly, like a stalking alligator; his eyes fixated on his little sister.

Rebecca: "Oh! I'm sooo sorry, RJ."

RJ picks up her sarcasm, as well as the playful look in her eye, and a fake innocence-smile.

RJ: (imitating Rebecca's own sarcasm): "Oh, you are sooo" (In playful rage) "dead, Becca!"

RJ swims with all his speed toward Rebecca who splashes him in the face while giggling. When it becomes clear that it won't stop him, Rebecca turns around and swims to a nearby side ladder. Just as she gets a foot on one of the rungs, her tail is grabbed.

RJ (Rhetorically): "Where do you think you're going? Don't start something you can't finish!"

RJ laughs as he pulls Rebecca back in the water. In the short time it happens, Rebecca instinctively goes "Ohhhh!" in a tone of genuine fun.

When the siblings surface, they resume splashing each other.

Rebecca: "You won't win, RJ. You better give up now!"

RJ: "Oh yeah? You and who's army?"

Rebecca: "This army!"

Rebecca uses her thumb and index finger to whistle loud. When she's finished, a series of splashes occur as the six porcupines and Hammy get in the pool. The bat teens and younger kids swim to Rebecca and get behind her.

RJ (raises an eyebrow): "Not bad…I'm impressed at how fast you became a ring leader. But two can play at that game!"

RJ whistles the same way Rebecca did and all the adult animals jump in the water and get behind him.

For the next few minutes, the whole family partakes in an epic splash fight and head-dunking battle. But a few minutes is all it takes before RJ remarks, "This isn't getting anywhere. All of us are evenly matched."

Rebecca: "Then let's settle this the old fashion way…"

Bucky, Quillo, and Spike in unison (chanting): "Chick-en fight! Chick-en fight! CHICK-EN FIGHT!"

The family moves to the shallows. Rick lets RJ get on top of his shoulders while Luby lets Rebecca do the same. When their paws make contact it becomes a wild test of strength for the raccoons on top and a test of balance for the two below.

As a result of the his opponents' push, Rick almost loses his footing, but is able to recover. When he does, Rebecca asks, "You two good?"

RJ: "Of course. Oh, and a little piece of advice: You should have finished me when you had the chance!"

The next push nearly causes Luby to fall, but she maintains balance when Rebecca—having more experience with balancing due to all the gymnastics she does—tells the older lady raccoon to step left, then back, then forward as she renews her attack.

This time, RJ nearly falls off. As Rick struggles to prevent this, Rebecca has Luby rush in and gives a final push. RJ and Rick finally fall over, causing everyone to cheer.

When RJ looks up at his sister, she replies "Thanks for the tip."

RJ: "Me and my big mouth…" (To the group) "Who's next?"

A chorus of "Me's" ring out, and after De'Ausha bests Roger in a chicken fight, Hammy and Spike are about to go next.

Verne: "Hold up you two, there's something that has to be said. I'm not trying to ruin anyone's fun—I'm all in favor of the family chicken fighting all afternoon. But let's not forget that the commotion may draw the attention of humans nearby."

RJ: "Rest easy, Verne. Humans have plenty of other recreational activities to keep themselves occupied and pass the time. They wouldn't notice us if a sea mine went off in the pool."

As it turns out, human kids are all indoors playing video games, and chatting in person or on social networks. At the same time, the human parents are watching TV in rooms their kids weren't using, again proving how humans really don't appreciate all they have on a warm, beautiful spring day.

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After all the teens and younger animals have fought someone, Rachel decides it's time for a new game.

Rachel: "Who wants to play Gator?"

Everyone except the adults (While raising their paws): "I do! I do!"

Velma: "All of you have fun, now. Me and your parents are gonna get tans while we watch you."

Teens and young kids in unison: "Kay."

Hammy: "I wanna be gator first!"

Everyone agrees, and Hammy gets into the middle of the pool and the others get to one side. The squirrel plans to tag Plushie since, being a turtle, he will be slow.

Once the players look ready Hammy, yells, "Gator!"

The others hesitate to move. But always being a boy with a knack for daringness and adventure that his late mother had passed onto him, Plushie swims out first. Hammy wastes no time closing in on the young turtle, but suddenly, Plushie puts on an extra boost of speed and outswims Hammy and makes it to the other side in the blink of an eye…literally.

Hammy: "Wha? But I—How did he?"

As Hammy puts a finger on his chin to make sense of what just happened, the others swim. Everyone makes it half way before Hammy snaps out of his trance and remembers his job: to tag someone. His speed in the water is slightly slower than his running speed, but gets him within tagging distance in no time.

Hammy: "Gotcha, Emily! You're the next gator!"

Emily: "Well, those're the rules."

Unknown to Hammy, Emily was swimming slower than normal so that she could be tagged. Now that she's gator, Step 1 of her plan is complete. All that's left is Step 2…but it's not in her paws to do that...

Hammy (after making it to the side where the other players are): "How did you swim so fast, Plushie?"

Rachel: "Yeah…No offense, but I thought turtles were, like, slow."

Plushie (Grinning): "On land, yes." (Patting his shell at the "chest-level") "But I'm a fast turtle in the water."

Emily: "Are all you ready?"

Everyone else: "Ready!"

Emily: "Gator!"

Bucky: "Everyone go at once, she can't tag us all!"

Hammy: "Those who fall will be avenged!"

The others obey and swim hard…unaware that Bucky just set up Step 2. Naturally, the players are too focused on making it to the other side to pay attention to Bucky who dives under water. Emily does the same and when the two porcupines meet, they kiss.

Having confessed their love for one another ever since moving to the Elysian Fields Estates, both had been looking for any opportunity to take their relationship to the next level...Starting by having more affectionate contact, rather than just coming off as a boy and his friend who is a girl. But it had been hard with the eyes of family watching all the time, which made this underwater kiss all the more satisfying, even if they could only afford no more than three seconds.

After surfacing, Bucky claims Emily tagged him and the game resumes. But as they continue playing, Bucky and Emily notice Plushie looking at them funny…

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The rest of the day passes in a blur, and it's sundown before they know it…And not a single human has noticed the animals playing in their backyard.

Verne: "You really were right about humans being oblivious, RJ."

RJ (smirking): "I usually am, and yet you're always so surprised."

Verne (smiles and nudges RJ with his elbow): "Knock it off, ya smart-alec."

RJ: "Smart. And don't you forget it."

Verne (Thinking): "Raccoons…" (To the family) "Now listen up everybody, it's time to leave. Let's put up the floats and towels so that everything will be as it was whenever the humans do bother to check on their pool."

Everyone complies, but then RJ notices something odd about Heather. She has that "certain" look in her eyes. RJ smiles.

RJ: "How about all of you go on ahead and have dinner set up? We only used a few towels and two floats. Heather and I can handle the clean-up."

Heather: "Yeah. And dad, Rogan, and Sarah? You three can spend some time with your grandkids until we get back."

The older animals agree and proceed into the hedge with everyone else. Before heading in, Bucky makes sure RJ and Heather's backs are turned. When he's sure, he grabs Plushie by the shell and turns the turtle so that he's facing Bucky and Emily.

Bucky: "Hold up, dude. What's with the eyeing you've been giving me and Emily, huh?"

Emily: "C'mon. Fess up."

Plushie: "I saw the lip action you two did back there after I made it to the other side of the pool during your" (points at Emily) "round of being Gator."

Bucky and Emily look at each other nervously.

Plushie (smiling): "But my lips are sealed."

Emily: "Thanks. You're a really good kid…And friend."

Bucky: "But if you tell anyone, especially my brothers and her sisters," (points at Emily) "I'll declare prank war on you till your wedding day."

All three smile and go through the hedge.

Leaving RJ and Heather alone.

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As soon as the three last animals head through the hedge, RJ and Heather immediately stop folding the towel they were working on and hug tightly while kissing on the lips for 30 seconds. When they break away, they maintain their proximity and look deeply into each other's eyes.

Heather: "It's been ages since we've had some private night time. I've really missed it."

RJ: "Yeah, I can tell."

They hug and nuzzle each other for a few moments before breaking away. When they do, they give each other a little more space, but stay close enough to where Heather has her paws touching RJ's chest, while RJ is holding his soul mate at the hips. RJ becomes lost in admiring his mate's soft, warm fur for 10 seconds, Heather's next remark being the only thing that brings him back to reality.

Heather: "My, my. Your heart is beating so fast…"

RJ: "Heh, well I am a male…And a beautiful opossum female will do that to a guy."

The two kiss again and after finishing, Heather takes RJ over to a float in the pool.

Heather: "C'mon, let's get in."

RJ: "Not yet."

Heather: 'Why?"

RJ takes Heather's paw tenderly and kisses it before replying, "Trust me."

In a few seconds, the pool's automatic lights come on, bathing the pool area and the house's outer wall with a beautiful, glowing aqua blue light.

Heather gasps in awe while RJ takes her paw and says, "Now we can get in."

The two lay down on their backs and kick off from the edge so that the float slowly drifts into the pool, guided by the wind. RJ's left paw holds Heather's right one; the opposite paws laying gingerly in the water; both stare up into the sky to gaze at the stars.

Heather: "How many do you think there are?"

RJ: "A lot…...Y'know, when I was a drifter, on every night of my birthday, I would look up into the sky and see it as my birthday cake. A big, black, chocolate cake with a million candles. No matter how tired I was, I would always stay up long enough to see the candle I would make a wish on: a shooting star."

Heather: "What did you wish for?"

RJ takes a deep breath and lets it out before responding.

RJ: "Happiness…...But my wishes never came true back then." (While slowly turning and laying down on his left side) "Until I met this family…And you."

RJ waits for Heather to turn and lay down on her right side, facing at him.

RJ: "I love you, Heather."

Heather: "And I love you, RJ."

The two scoot closer and kiss while stroking their mate's fur. They constantly break away so that their lips make smacking sounds, letting the taste of their kisses be taken in little by little. They do so for a full minute, lightly going "Mmm" after every smack. After finishing RJ smiles at Heather.

RJ: "Did I ever tell you how much I love how soft your fur is?"

Heather: "Only every day since we admitted we loved each other…Have I told you how much I enjoy your fuzzy fur?"

RJ: "About every—"

Voice: "CANONBALL!"

The two mates become soaked in water moments later. The opossum and raccoon are frozen in place, too shocked to even yell from surprise. Still not saying a word, the two look at who surfaces from the water.

Hammy: "Heh-heh-heh! Gotcha!"

Heather (tense voice that increases volume with every word): "Hammy, have you ever heard of a little thing called 'privacy'!?"

Voice: "Have you two ever heard of a little something called 'honesty'?"

RJ and Heather look to the spot where the voice originated and see Rogan, Sarah (the one who had spoken), Ozzie, and Verne looking at them with mischievous smiles on their faces.

Hammy: "I did what ya told me to! Can I get it now? Can I, can I?! Please, oh pretty please?!"

Verne: "Yes, Hammy."

The turtle nods at Ozzie and Sarah who pull out what looks like a pizza box in all red.

Verne: "One chocolate chip cookie cake with your name on it, right here."

Hammy: "Yaaayyy!"

Hammy zooms out of the water, grabs the cookie cake, and runs back into the hedge.

RJ: "You had him—?"

Rogan: "That's enough, RJ."

Ozzie: "I hope you two learn from this lesson."

Sarah: "Don't tell us you're going to clean things up and have us distract your kids because you think you need to trick us into having time to yourselves."

Verne: "If you want some alone time, just ask."

RJ (rhetorically): "Why does every awkward life lesson have to follow the 'You never asked' cliché?" (Sighs) "I'm sorry."

Heather: "Me too."

Rogan: "You're both forgiven. But you still have to put up the towels and pool floats."

Heather: "Fair enough. We'll get right on it for real this time."

RJ: "Just tell me one thing: how'd you figure out what we were doing?"

Sarah: "Mother knows best…"

She winks before walking away, causing RJ and Heather to look at each other with big, dopey smiles.

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Off to a good start so far. Well, in my opinion at least. Let me know if you agree with me in a review if you feel like it.

Blu100-Jewel100, I hope I satisfied your request for putting in some RJxHeather in my continuation of the Soul Mates Trilogy. To the Guest who posted the "certain" review to Soul Mates Part 1 that let me know how inspiring my writing has been in your life, expect to see a little more romance between the porcupine teens. And to the Red Omega, you're request for De'Ausha having a love interest will be fulfilled.

Good writers listen to their reviewers/critics and use it to better their stories. And I read my reviews.

To all readers: don't get too used to the romance, however. The main focus of this anthology will be humor and fun! And if I don't update before Spring Break ends, it could be a while since I'll be taking summer classes for grad school.

If you don't hear from me soon, I'll be around reading others' stories!