Hello readers! I recently saw the film Zootopia and thought quite highly of it. So, I thought to myself, why not attempt a written "sequel"? Call it unorthodox, sure, but I'm looking forward to this. Reviews, favorites and follows are all much appreciated. With that, please enjoy.
41 days later- Judy POV
Lunch break, oh how I appreciate you.
I gaze out the window of my police cruiser, eating my mid-day meal hurriedly, while trying my best to relax at the same time. After a while of being in the force, I start to consider these moments "relaxing". Ever since the "Nighthowler case", things have been fairly uninteresting. A few hit and runs here and there, and a driver with a non-working taillight on some days. But nothing extraordinary.
That's not to say that nothing has changed, though. Nick and I, we're closer than ever. I have no second thoughts upon putting all of my trust in him, and I've actually learned to work with him. No, I can't believe it either. Sometimes I take a few moments to think back to how Nick was when I first met him that day at the ice cream shop. He was kind, polite, and genuine, at least to my former self. Well, Nick was a bit more complicated than that. Sure, he was guilty of felony tax evasion, but thinking about it now, I'm glad I let that one go. You could say he was shifty and mysterious, however, those were just labels placed on him by ignorant souls who don't even bother to see past the surface, and the stereotypes.
I glance down at the fox sleeping beside me and smile to myself a bit. Honestly, I can't imagine being assigned to a different partner. Me and Nick, we've always had each other's backs. I'm generally annoyed by the saying "two peas in a pod", but I guess this situation is an exception.
I swiftly finish my sandwich and toss it in the trashcan in the backseat of our slightly unorganized cruiser. I laugh to myself, reciting the memory in my head where I told Nick that we would keep this car organize if it's the "last thing I do". I scan the car, noting a few unfinished carrots lying around, a dozen or so crumbled up papers and more than a few pens and pencils scattered around the floor.
So much for that.
I press the home button on my phone to see the time.
Lunch break ends in seven minutes.
I poke Nick, attempting to wake him up in the least-startling way possible. Today just isn't my lucky day I guess.
"It wasn't me, I swear!" Nick gasps suddenly, waking with a start.
With wide eyes, he glances around the car until he finally regains his senses, only to see me laughing to myself, holding my paw over my mouth to contain my amusement.
"Yeah, that's real funny cottontail. One of these days you're gonna give me a heart attack", he says with a slight smirk, sitting up in his chair a bit straighter.
"So how was your nap?" I ask, still slightly amused.
"Oh it was simply riveting", he says in a noticeably sarcastic tone, "I suppose it could have been better if I dreamed of popsicles or something".
I take my keys out of my pocket and plug them into the ignition, starting the engine.
"Trust me Fox, you've had your fair share of popsicles."
He looks at me in a slightly more serious manner; well, at least as serious as Nick Wilde can be.
"No calls came in while I was out?" he asks me.
"Nothing that big. Bogo told us to meet us in his office when we get back."
Nick nods a bit and takes a sip from his water bottle as I step on the gas.
"Seven minutes until arrival" my car's GPS says in a monotonic voice, already knowing where we are headed.
I can't say I don't like this new chapter in my life; even though the past forty days have been pretty dull, it's still quite amazing that I've managed to get this far, and I'm proud of myself for it. I've fulfilled my lifelong dream even with the odds against me.
I glance over at Nick for a moment while I drive, breathing in a bit slower, a bit deeper than usual.
Well, I have plenty of other dreams too.
I remember the day it all began. I was living in a never ending pattern of dullness and insecurity. But Judy, she changed everything. Sometimes, the labels that society cast upon me cross my mind, but it hardly has an effect anymore. I'm more than my old self, and I don't miss it a bit. Well, except for being able to go back to change the things I said to Judy the day I met her.
Stop it Nick, you know that Judy forgot about that. Look where you are now.
It's tough for two people to be closer than Judy and I are now, let's just say that.
But anyways, being a police officer was not exactly a lifelong dream of mine. I figured that a fox would never be trusted in such an influential position in society, so I never even tried. The memories of discrimination and prejudice from my youth still haunt me in some ways. But I can't help but note that most of my former feelings are gone; the feeling that I had to cover up my true self and put on a mask. That I had to be sketchy and fake based on the sole fact that I'm a fox.
But then I remember how Judy helped me through it.
I turn my head just enough to catch her in my gaze, watching her drive with her ear buds in, looking blissfully at the road ahead, and start to feel those cursed feelings again.
Oh, I forgot to mention that. Of all the worst things that could ever happen, it had to be this. Dumb feelings that I know deep down could result in me losing her one day, but also the hope that coexists; the hope that somehow, in some world, this could all work out harmoniously.
I unlock my phone, noticing the text from Bogo that Judy mentioned.
Meeting in my office after lunch break. Nothing major, just a small talk.
I can't help but feel a bit of uneasiness. Small talk? What can he mean by that?
After a few more moments in thought, I notice that the car has stopped, and Judy takes out her ear buds.
"I'm not really likin' the text from Bogo" I say to her as she opens her car door.
"Well, I don't know if I've ever gotten a text from Bogo that I really like", she replies.
I roll my eyes at her smart-elect response and exit the car, closing my door behind me.
"You know what I mean Carrots. It just doesn't sound normal. And you know what they say, Foxes are very intuitive."
Judy looks at me as she gathers a stack of papers to bring with her into the police station, a smirk, barely noticeable across her lips.
"Just like bunnies are suppose to be very emotional, right? I thought we were done with all the stereotyping and stuff."
I chuckle to myself as a walk aside her into the back entrance of the police station.
"You'd think by now you'd know when I'm joking. Or am I just too sly for you?" I ask, narrowing my eyes at her in a playful manner.
"Oh yeah, you're just too smart for me, Wilde."
I don't even have time to reply before I slam into something as hard as a diamond, at least it feels that way. I stumble backward grabbing my throbbing snout, and notice Judy, once again, laughing harder than ever.
I guess a bit of pain isn't too much of a price to see her laugh.
I finally recover from laughing at Nick's mishap, and I lay my papers on Clawhauser's desk.
"How's it going 'Hauser?" I ask in an upbeat tone as usual.
He looks up from his phone and smiles his usual beaming grin.
"Oh, hi J! How was lunch?" he asks in a bright, loud voice.
"It was nice. Did you not go out to get anything?" I ask.
He looks upwards, recalling his experience from earlier today.
"Well, no. My toaster caught on fire and I had to use my lunch break time to run home to you know, see what happened."
"Wow…well, was your house okay?" I ask curiously.
"Yeah, my house was fine, but my toaster was pretty darn toasted."
I giggle a bit, and try to act serious about the matter as I can.
"Well, I wish you luck on finding a new toaster!" I say as I turn to head up to Bogo's office with Nick.
"Thanks Hopps! Good luck with your relationship!" he replies gleefully.
I squint my eyes in confusion and slowly turn back around to face him.
"Wait, what?" I ask.
He puts his hands over his heart and smiles at me knowingly.
"You know what I'm talking about, LOL."
His recent obsession of internet acronyms in real conversations never fails to surface in every talk I have with him.
He points at Nick, who is standing at the drink machine, watching one of the beverages bubbling for some reason, and then creates a heart with his fingers.
I roll my eyes.
"Me and Nick?! No, we're jus-"
"It's alright Juds, I'm just messin with ya."
I settle down a bit and attempt to recapture a bit of composure.
"Well anyways, I have a meeting with Bogo, so I'll see you around" I say with a deep breath.
"See ya around Hopps!"
I fast-walk over to Nick at the drink machine, with a look of confusion as he continues laughing to himself while he pours something in a cup of soda.
He turns around, still chuckling to himself.
"Look at this!"
He holds out the cup, and I see the soda bubbling, accompanied by a strange cracking sound. I glance back up at him, with a bewildered expression.
"What did you do to it?" I ask, sounding a bit unsure.
"I put that candy…you know, the candy that crackles and pops in it! Now whenever someone gets soda, it won't just sizzle, but now it will really pop!" he exclaims, still laughing like an idiot, and I can't help but laugh a little myself, and I smile warmly at him again.
"I wish we could drink crackly soda all day while we make cheesy jokes, but we have a meeting, remember?" I say.
"Oh, that's right, must've slipped my mind. Maybe I had one too many sodas."
I laugh again as we walk up the stairs to Bogo's office, talking blissfully. However, upon entering Bogo's office, a new, darker ambiance becomes painfully apparent.
"Officer Hopps, Officer Wilde" Bogo acknowledges us as we sit in two chairs across from him, as he sits on the other side of his desk, his face contorted in a fearful expression.
"I'm afraid this won't just a small meeting" he speaks grimly.
"I knew it!" I say loudly.
Bogo stares at me in an irritated manner, and I sit back down with a nervous grin, as Judy tries not to giggle at the spontaneous moment.
"Anyways. I don't know if you two are prepared to hear this".
I feel my stomach sink down further into my chest, and my heart starts beating a bit faster. I continue looking at Bogo in utter confusion, asking a question that doesn't even need to be spoken.
"But I have to tell you anyway. You are my two most prestigious officers, and you are the face of the ZPD, so you both need to be informed….so here it goes. The Nighthowler case…"
"Yes?" Judy asks impatiently, as I continue scanning the possibilities of what Bogo might be about to tell us. Bogo interrupts my thoughts with something I never thought I would hear.
"Eleven are dead at the Zootopia Central Hospital, all from savage animal attacks."
I come to the realization of what Bogo is about to say.
"This savageness…it was never cured. Just delayed. That's why the patients had so much trouble recovering; because they couldn't. This Nighthowler case…it has nothing to do with the flower like we thought originally. It is something in the brain. Something is altering the brains of animals. And it hasn't stopped since the day Bellwether was arrested. That's just what I was required to tell everyone. This situation was never contained, only temporarily halted. I'm sorry to tell you this, but we have to eliminate them all…"
I can't believe what I'm hearing.
"We have recovered the carcass of one of the infected mammals, an otter, and studied the brain. We don't know what is causing this, but we have to make an effort to stop-"
"I'm not doing that!" Judy bursts out, "I can't just…kill them!"
Bogo shakes his head sadly, but retains his seriousness.
"We don't have any other choice, Hopps. We can't risk anymore harm to the city. This is your duty."
I speak for Judy.
"Yes, but only in self defense! That's the only time I would ever kill someone! This…this is crazy!"
"Wilde, you have to understand the situation. We don't know how many people are infected. This could end up being much more than we think. But we have to try to contain it until we figure it out" he speaks coolly.
"W-well", Judy stutters, "Can't you just inject them with the temporary cure again until you figure this all out?"
I watch Chief Bogo shake his head once more, solemnly.
"I'm afraid not. This disease has worked on their brains for far too long for any antidote to have an effect. They are more than savage now. I wish you could understand. But until then, you will do as I say. We will be launching a search in the morning, and I expect to see both of you here."
I glance over at Judy's distraught face, my eyes wide in apprehensiveness.
"Now, both of you are dismissed. Please return to your duties."
When I wished for my job to be eventful again, this is not what I meant. I knew that being an officer can be difficult, but this was not something I imagined doing. Sure, I knew I would eventually injure or kill another animal in self defense while on the job, but hunting down animals to kill is different. Yes, they are savage, or "something more", as Bogo said, but how am I supposed to do this? How am I, a cute little bunny, supposed to look down the sights of my gun into the eyes of a living creature, and pull the trigger to end it forever?
I glance over at Nick as we saunter down the stairs from Bogo's office, a bit more quiet than usual.
"Nick…I don't know what to do."
He grabs my arm, stopping me, and looks into my eyes with a solemn expression.
"I know this is hard, Carrots. I never imagined any of this would happen either. But you can trust me on this: I'll be there with you the whole time."
"Easy for you to say. You don't let anything get to you anymore, remember?" I reply.
He glances down at the floor with an unsettled look.
"Well, someone walking up and refusing to sell me ice cream because I'm a fox, sure. That doesn't really get to me. But this is a bit more complicated, don't ya think?"
I nod and he opens his arms, offering me a hug as he usually does when I'm upset. I gladly accept the offer, and try my best to think positively while I hide in his warm embrace.
At least I have you.
He releases me, and I stare back up at him.
"So, we didn't crack the case after all?" I say in realization, "I'm no hero. We only helped to create a temporary antidote."
Nick puts his paw on my arm in a comforting way.
"Don't look at it that way" he says calmly.
"What other way is there to look at it?" I ask genuinely, gazing off the stairs an out the window.
"Well for one, you met a street hustler named Nick. Nick was quite the fella, wasn't he?"
He smiles at me warmly again, and continues.
"Well, he was lost in life, let's just say. Nick didn't feel like he was anything more than a shifty, untrustworthy. But then suddenly, there came some dumb bunny. She fulfilled her dreams as a police officer, and made Nick feel even worse about his life."
"Is this supposed to be helping me?" I interrupt.
"Shh! I'm not done. Anyways, Carrots helped Nick understand that he was more than just another fox. He was more than what people labeled him. She helped him understand that he was more."
I can't help but feel some amount of joy in my heart.
"So don't even think about saying you're not a hero, because you're definitely mine."
I stare into his eyes again, and smile the biggest smile imaginable.
"I hope that wasn't too cheesy" he says jokingly, and I giggle.
"It's fine Nick. I don't mind cheesy as long as it cheers me up and you seem to be pretty good at that."
We stare into each other's eyes for a few more seconds, until Nick interrupts the moment.
"But anyways, better get back to our job. You know, while we can still enjoy it" he says with a slight smirk, as he continues walking down the stairs.
"Yeah" I say, a bit stunned by the way he talked. He's beginning to open up to me. Nick Wilde, the mysterious, sly fox who would rather jump off the tallest skyscraper in Zootopia than let most people know about what he feels deep down is really beginning to show his true self to me.
However, the feeling of fear is still on my mind. I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. I glance down at my watch.
Thirteen hours until I have to report for duty tomorrow.
I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and then continue walking down the stairs, thinking about what Nick said.
You know, while we can still enjoy it.
I think about earlier in the day, being bored with sheer uneventfulness, and one saying immediately comes to my mind.
As I follow Nick to the police cruiser, I whisper the words aloud to myself.
Be careful what you wish for.