A/N: Sorry for the unannounced hiatus guys. I usually write anime stories, and while I was updating works for the Inu-Yasha archive, I discovered I don't do well jumping between fandoms. The shift between anthropomorphic animals and feudal Japan was a bit too jarring (go figure =P). My muse has returned to Zootopia though, so expect new weekly chapters again. Thanks for being patient!
Chapter Twenty-Nine – Mr. Big
Nick and Judy were escorted – none too gently – to a lavishly-decorated room and made to stand before a tall desk. Kevin and Raymond hovered behind them, gripping their shoulders.
"N-Nick?" Judy stammered as a side door opened and another polar bear appeared.
He could hear the fear in her voice and closed his eyes, trying to wrestle down the swell of self-loathing choking its way up his throat. This was his fault – his actions and choices had put them here. "Don't worry," he wanted to nudge her with his snout, but was held in place by a meaty paw. "I won't let anything happen to you."
Violet eyes, wide and frightened, met his. "You don't really want to work on stolen cars, do you?"
Nick jolted. She wasn't afraid of Mr. Big. He stared at her low shoulders and matching ears in dawning realization; she was scared of him.
His mouth didn't work for a moment, opening and closing in shock and shame. "Judy…," he finally managed, overwhelmed by shortcomings he never voiced. "I'm not like—."
The polar bear who had entered stopped by the desk, clasping something in his paws. Giving them a look of bored disdain, he opened them upon its smooth face, setting a small chair down and spinning it around.
A shrew with bushy brows sat in its plush, diminutive depths, steepling his fingers.
"Nicky," the shrew's voice was raspy and thick, despite his ridicule-inducing stature. "I'm very disappointed in you."
Nick shook his head, trying to gather his frayed thoughts and focus on more than the look in Judy's eyes. "Mr. Big," his usual cavalier tone cracked. "I think there's been some kind of misunderstanding."
The tiny mammal held up a hand, and the paws on Nick's shoulders dug down, piercing through his red fur into muscle.
"Misunderstanding?" Mr. Big snapped, sitting up in his chair. "You charge my boys for a limo refit, and then have some girl hanging around the garage?" A brow lifted enough to size up Judy. "Is she a cop or something? She looks like a cop. You workin' with the ZPD now?" The shrew aimed his bared eye at the bunny. "Forgotten your roots?"
"No, no," Nick rushed. "Of course not."
The gray form beside him stirred, and Judy cleared her throat on his behalf. "His roots?" She asked incredulously, ignoring the growl Raymond gave her.
Mr. Big's second brow joined the first. "Was I talking to you Darlin'?"
She huffed loudly. "Darlin'?"
Nick palmed his face.