"I want to try a new exercise, Nick," she sat back leisurely with her legs crossed, tapping her bottom lip with her pen. "I want you to describe how you're feeling using only colors."
Nick was casually draped out on the love seat adjacent to her. His head was propped up on the armrest and his arms rested on his stomach. He'd been staring at the ceiling for the entirety of his recent therapy sessions showing very little interest, and this one was no different.
"Oh I know this one," he mustered up his phoniest enthusiasm. "Things an eighth-grade girl would say?" Without even looking at her he let an arrogant grin spread across his face.
"Mmm... that's funny." She returned his sarcastic zeal and mocked him with a grin of her own. "How'd you sleep last night Nick?"
His grin faded for a moment, and then it was gone completely.
"If you won't be honest with me I can't help you," she said.
Nick spent a moment trying to come to terms with the fact that he'd just been out-smugged by his new therapist. She didn't say anything, out of his peripheral vision he could see her patiently watching him, and taking notes.
He pulled a blue lollipop out of his pocket and unwrapped it, "yellow."
He continued to watch her out of the corner of his eye as he tumbled it around between his teeth. She was having trouble understanding why he chose that color, it was written all over her face.
After she'd taken a paragraph or two of notes she made her confusion known.
"I'm um... I'm having a little trouble understanding your color choice Nick." It sounded like she was trying to play it off with smart psychiatry terminology. "Typically," -she paused to go over her notes- "You would associate yellow with erratic or manic behaviors."
He finally turned his gaze towards her for a moment.
"Why do they make school buses yellow, Becky?" He asked in all seriousness.
She was seemingly baffled by his question.
"Well," she reflected on the question for a moment. "That would be because they're easier to see at dusk," she replied.
With a slight slurp, Nick took out his lollipop and twirled it between his index finger and his thumb. He watched the reflection from the ceiling fan on its glassy surface and contemplated his future. "And because... no one can ignore the color yellow," he was almost unaware that he was speaking out loud.
"And what does yellow represent, Nick?" She'd folded her hands together in her lap, her legs crossed. To Nick, it looked like she was trying really hard to look regal or at least professional. "What is it that you can't ignore?"
"Tch-" with a dull scoff he placed his lollipop back in his mouth and folded his other arm back behind his head again. He didn't reply, instead, he went back to staring at the rotating shadows cast by the ceiling fan.
"Alright," she looked somewhat annoyed. "Let's apply that exercise to the girl."
"Judy." He passively interrupted.
"Right," her pen made a bitter snap. "Judy... what color would best describe how you feel about her?" He heard a sour tone in her voice, and he could tell that he was getting on her nerves.
He said, "...red."
"Red?" She looked intrigued. "So, you're angry with her? ... Because she's unavailable?"
"No," he sighed. "Like moonlight."
Her face scrunched in repulsed disbelief. She set her pen down on the folder in her lap with forced tranquility, and slowly brought her hands to her temples. "Nick..." she groaned, "Please take this seriously... all of your responses are-"
"-crazy?" He cut her short.
"You aren't crazy Nick," she continued to rub her temples. "I've told you... Dr. Zimmerman told you... you need to get that idea out of your head."
After she'd finished massaging her head she picked her pen back up with revitalized determination. "Moonlight isn't red Nick, we all know that."
"It is, actually." Nick exhaled as he swished his tail around the carpet beneath him. "Mom told me when I was little... she was a painter."
It was quiet, and she watched him without interruption.
"Technically it's neutral... but our eyes play tricks on us in dim lighting. It's just the white light of the sun reflecting off of the gray surface of the moon. There's nothing in that transaction that would make blue light."
As he began to reflect on the past, a genuine smile crept in. It was subtle, but not restrained and it made him seem like a completely different mammal. "Y'know," -he snickered a little and removed his lollipop again-, "She said something like: scientists said that it's actually a little bit red Nicky... someday you'll win an argument thanks to me..."
When he paused and exhaled a few times it seemed labored like he was out of breath and each time he did his smile creased his cheeks a little harder. "Save it for your..." he trailed off.
"Future wife?" She nudged.
His breathing wound down, and with every exhale she could watch the opposite effect on his mood. His smile came back down little by little, his eyes drooped. The only part of his expression that came up were the tips of his eyebrows which helped tell the story of his pain.
"Don't you have a sympathetic bone in your body?" He bled.
She clicked her pen mercilessly and started furiously jotting down notes. To the sound of her rhythmic scratching, he sunk back into his seat. She punctuated the period at the end of her sentence with a hard tap. "I want to separate you from that girl Nick."
He was slow to respond, still languishing in his afterthoughts of his mother. Slowly he turned his head towards her still wearing the same pained visage. "...What?"
"To be more accurate," she dropped her pen in her binder and folded it up. "I've already had a talk with your supervisor and we both decided it would be best to separate you for the time being."
His gaze headed south and his head went left to its original position. It was too much for him to process right now, but he knew he had to snap out of it, and fast.
"Please understand that I'm only suggesting this because it's in your best interest." She explained.
"Wait, wait, wait-" Nick recovered from his momentary lapse of senses to realize what was happening. "I really need Judy right now... I really don't think that's a good idea."
She gave him a serious glare, "I can't make you do anything Nick." She stood up and collected a few items from her desk. "But your problems are not going to get better if you continue to see her... keep that in mind." With her binder folded under her arm, she ushered Nick towards the door.
"Wait a second!" he barked and repelled her advances towards the door. "You can't just make this kind of decision on your own. I think you, at the very least, owe me some kind of explanation for why you want this."
Foregoing her hasty eviction of Nick, she crossed her arms and knuckled down to offer him a dose of cold reality. "You really want to know, Nick?"
He couldn't stop himself from a quick gulp in the face of such a serious expression. He had second thoughts for a second, wondering if he actually did want to know...
"The longer you stay in close contact with her, the worse it will get Nick," she looked deep into his eyes. "You'll need more and more medication to keep your symptoms in check..." she averted her gaze with a pained expression. "You aren't my first mate loss case Nick... there may even come a time where you won't be able to up the dose anymore, or it could stop working all together..."
She sighed and rubbed her arm, and after she'd gathered her composure once more she proceeded in ushering him out.
"So," he braced against the doorframe to stop her from pushing him out. "Just so we're clear, this is my decision... right?"
"Yes Nick," she twisted her wrist to check the time on her expensive looking watch. "But I strongly advise that you take my advice and make the right decision... now if you don't mind I have another client coming in."
... and a gentle click later.
Nick's thoughts were a freeway pile-up of "what if's?" and "how could I possibly's?"
- ZTD bus; 98 route towards Savanna Central -
'Dr. Rebecca Lynn-Hult.' his thoughts were momentarily sidetracked. The roar of fussing children, clanking and banging metal, and chastising adults went unnoticed.
They shared a great deal in common.
Same species, though, her fur was a bit darker. She was thirty-eight to his thirty-six in age. He didn't know much of her personality, given the short six weeks he'd been seeing her on the recommendation of Judy's physician.
He almost asked himself why he was even thinking about her knowing his situation with Judy, but he already knew the answer to that and it was just that... he knew his situation with Judy now, and he would love to forget.
The look she'd given him had rattled him to the bones. 'I'm not her first mate loss case...' he thought. She looked like, well, like something very bad had happened to her last mate loss case.
As the bus hissed out its brakes and sank closer to the sidewalk below, Nick held onto the railing. His pining took another turn. It seemed his casual curiosity in his new therapist couldn't keep his thoughts from Judy forever.
"So," he mumbled out loud as he stepped off the bus. "It's like... I'm Icarus, and she's the sun."
A young beaver couple watched him with concerned interest and tried to warn him as he veered towards the bus-stop bench. "Or is she the wings?" he muttered.
A hollow metal thud rang out as he jammed his foot right into the bench "Sssss... ow- ow- ow- you mother!-" doubled over clenching his foot, he hissed and howled.
"Are you alright mister?" The female beaver had come up on his left and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"You uh... you gotta' watch where you're headed, dude." Her partner chuckled to himself and hung back. "The obstacle is the path I guess," he sighed with a shrug to accompany it.
He gave them a bitter thumbs up, making sure to turn his scowl away so they couldn't see it. After watching them round the nearest street corner he stood up carefully. He pat his foot on the sidewalk a few times in an attempt to "walk off" the pain and then he was on his way.
Almost immediately he was pulled back into his head...
"What am I going to say?" he murmured. In his thoughts, he was weighing his two options with few results. On the left, he had leaving. If he was to leave he could manage his messed up head? ... It wouldn't be that simple, no matter what it would still hurt.
On the right, he had staying.
To hell with all of this medical nonsense, she's his best friend right? What would he even say to her? There would be no turning back if he left and he had her to think about. He'd be throwing her away to save himself... and he just wasn't that kind of guy.
"..." A quick look around while his brain came up for air revealed he hadn't walked home as he'd intended. "... What the hell?"
- ZPD concord; evening -
A bead of sweat rolled off his cheek as he gazed around the dimly lit, and empty concord. He wondered how he'd got here, and more importantly, what compelled him to come here. Cautiously, he took a few steps inside.
The empty thumping of his footsteps echoed off the vaulted ceiling. If anyone was here they would notice him, but he highly doubted that there was. He shoved his hands in his pockets and proceeded farther in. He even took a moment to wonder why he was going farther in even after realizing he'd come here by mistake.
Soon enough the tick of the wall clock behind the reception desk mixed with his giant reverberating footsteps, those things aside, it was peacefully quiet.
"Alright Nick... here we are," he spoke sarcastically. He was toying with his own notions that he might be legitimately crazy at this point. "Where to next buddy?"
His head whipped around to stare down the hall leading to the bullpen and Bogo's office. He'd heard something down there, something that shouldn't be a sound outside of the day shift. The only squads on duty overnight come from the nocturnal district to cover the surface while the day crew sleeps, none of them should be in headquarters for any reason.
It was time for the sneaky fox to do what he does best... sneak.
He crept towards the bullpen and ran his hand gently across the wall to maintain his balance. As he drew nearer to it, he could tell that the noise was coming from farther in. He still peeked into the bullpen, just to be safe, but there was nothing there.
He stopped outside of Bogo's office when the noise stopped for a moment. He held his breath and waited. As he bided his time he realized that if there was, in fact, a crime in process he'd be caught completely unprepared. He had none of his police equipment, not even a radio for backup.
The longer he waited for the noise to begin again the more he realized it may have been a poor choice to pursue it. And just before he'd decided to make a run for the exit and find the nearest police callbox the noise started up again...
*chink- chink- scuff-*
He reached for the knob as delicately as he could and turned it far more gingerly even than that. It made no noise. 'To be honest I feel like Flash right now.'
When it was open enough for him to peer inside, what he saw gave him an immediate mixture of annoyance and relief. It was Judy. She was huddled up on the floor doing god knows what with her hands, and scaring the living crap out of him while she was at it.
"Grrrrrr..." he heard her groan and watched her fuss with whatever was in her lap. Then she quickly peeked around to make sure no one was watching her. Somehow she completely missed Nick standing in the doorway. "... Shit!" she seethed under her breath.
He had to fight the joyous snort trying to vibrate its way up to his lips. The only thing that got him through it was his new plan for her.
Slowly, he reached for the light, then flicked it on and let out a shrill and accusing high-pitched gasp. She whipped around with a bug-eyed stare like a deer in the headlights.
"Judith! ... cursing!?" his shocked act quickly disappeared and was replaced with a highly entertained sneer. "Oh, I am SO telling on you..."
She exhaled with intense relief and slumped up against Bogo's desk.
"What the hell are you doing in here fluff?" he asked. After examining the contents of her lap he had his answer. "Ooo," he jeered. "That's Bogo's favorite cup... bad bunny." he taunted.
She glared him down for a minute with a suspiciously cocked eyebrow. When she could find nothing out of place about him she leaned back and sighed, a comforted smile on her face. "So that's it huh?... just like that?"
He didn't say anything, but he returned her smile and shrugged. She shook her head and scoffed.
"... What?" he prodded.
"Nothing," she exhaled. "Just starting to realize that it's 'hot and cold' with you sometimes Nick... I'm starting to think Katty Perry wrote that song about you."
"... Maybe." He put one hand in his pocket and examined his claws on the other.
"Oh, you're so brooding and mysterious Nick." she taunted.
"You forgot irresistibly handsome."
"Just like that" was right. He did it on purpose. His mind was made up, and he knew what he was going to do. For now, he was going to enjoy her, the way he used to. He would enjoy the way it used to be... and come what may after that.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, he will leave in eight days.