A/N: If Zootopia were R-rated, I imagine it'd be something like this, all-out animal warfare.
Chapter 1: "I'm sorry for the skunk-butt rug"
11:37pm, Tundra Town….
There were usually two types of cold: the normal kind that came from mother nature due to a particularly frosty day… and then there was the unnatural kind, the kind that stemmed from an outside source, like, for instance, the chill that came with feeling a gelatinous splatter sink into your fur.
Judy Hopps shivered in the misty room, reaching up to caress that splotch of brain-numbing cold. What she scrapped off, what she saw on her paw, was blood. She was more or less paint-balled with it.
"Definitely going to need a bath after this one…."
She stood atop a white mountain, which wasn't really a mountain so much as a pile of polar bears, but with her height, it certainly felt like a mountain. In reality, it was a motionless mountain of about four bears, a mountain dripping and suffused in the same blood freezing itself to Judy's cheeks.
Like it was little more than a throne, Judy leaned back, her legs dangling over the slack-faced polar bear directly beneath her. "Figuring out how many bullets one of you bears can take, I'll be honest when I say that that wasn't really on my to-do list when I signed up for the ZPD, Nick."
Even if the mist was thick, and ripe with the metallic stench of blood, there was no missing the red fur of her trusted partner.
Nor that snarky, animalistic grin, which displayed his glinting canines.
"Hey, it's the little things you learn, right? Although I myself rather love the unexpected," he chuckled. "Like this, for instance. I never once expected that one day I'd be the one to put an end to this little rat…."
The 'little rat' in question was none other than Mr. Big, the long-running shrew crime boss of Tundra Town, once a terrifying visage of cruelty reduced now to a bruised rodent in half a ripped tuxedo.
And stuck hanging from the wall by a throwing dart, expertly flung by Nick who Judy was astonished to learn possessed quite the eagle's eye with his aiming.
"You think… just because you come in here, deep-six my bears, that I'll roll over and give in?" Breathless and wheezing in pain, the once-glorious Mr. Big still clung to his ill-gotten importance, staring over the barrel of Nick's gun and into that fox's face. "Well, Nicholas… I refuse."
That was probably meant to offset the tension in the air with some sort of defiance, to shift things back in Mr. Big's favor, but the smirk on Nicholas Wilde's face only grew wider.
"It's a shame you feel that way, Mr. B. It don't…." The most euphoric sensation overtook Nick in that moment and he started to chuckle, his firing arm remaining ever taut. "Ahhh, crud… sorry… it's just the satisfaction, you know? How the cards can turn so quick, you go from being on the floor like an insect to actually grabbing a seat at the table! But, I digress, like I was saying, it don't matter much, but it is a shame. Almost nostalgic in a way, remembering how not so long ago you were threatening to ice Carrots and me… almost a year ago…."
Mr. Big's snorted, actually retched, then spat a flurried mix of spit and blood right into Nick's face. In a blink, Judy had a paw on her weapon but Nick merely extended a staying hand in her direction. "Getting sentimental now, Nicholas? Yearning for the good old days, my boy?" A hoarse laugh squeaked up out of Mr. Big. "You have no idea what you're getting yourself into, you or your little bunny girlfriend."
Disgust lined every inch of Nick's face as he wiped his eyes clear. "Okay, first off, that was just… unnecessary." He then carelessly flicked the spittle right back at Mr. Big. "You can have that back. And secondly, it's the job of my little bunny girlfriend to know exactly what it is we're getting ourselves into. Don't get mad just because we figured things out, it's a little too late for that."
"And no one likes a sore loser, Mr. Big," Judy chimed in, squirming on her throne of polar bears. They were starting to really chaff her rear—all that rigor mortis and cold, not to mention the wetness of blood—so when Judy decided to hop down, she glanced about Mr. Big's once-illustrious office. Just a few minutes prior to the massive shoot-out that left over nine polar bears dead and Mr. Big strung up on the wall like he was, she remembered it being exactly the same as when they had last visited.
Back when they needed his help scaring information out of that weasel, Duke Weaselton….
Like Nick said, that time did seem so long ago, almost like a distant memory. Looking back, never had Judy thought that one day, after enlisting his aide and even attending his daughters wedding, that she would have to take Mr. Big down.
Given that he was a well-known crime lord, logically, this was always the scripted outcome, his bust, but for some odd reason, she just never really saw it playing out. Ever. Every animal who possessed a working pair of ears knew of Mr. Big, and they also knew he was neigh untouchable and never left traces that could be linked back to him, hence his limo service, which put him at odds in the public view.
"How could someone who runs a service like that possibly be up to no good?" the populous would shout.
"Mr. Big gave my husband a job when no one else would!" yelled an irate wife.
"He helped fund my start-up company in Savanna Central!"
"The guy's been misidentified because of his company!"
"He's a saint! He provides any animal a means for gain!"
It created a morally ambiguous problem for the ZPD. Clearly, in a majority of the public's eye, Mr. Big was little more than a somewhat harsh businessman giving them excellent service. That sort of leeway tended to blind the masses to what was really going on.
Sort of like Assistant Mayor Bellwether. So frail and helpful in the light, but conniving and unhinged in the shadows.
Well, when Chief Bogo was left with his paws tied up in the fiasco of trying to bring down the diminutive crime lord, the newly reinstated mayor of Zootopia, Leodore Lionheart, would have none of his police officers left twiddling their paws.
"If there is crime in my city, it will, unequivocally, be sniffed out and stamped out! I sincerely hope that I am not returning to find my beloved Zootopia actually gearing up to defend the unlawful actions of an individual who may or may not be guilty merely because they happen to provide public service and job opportunities. If so, then I am severely disappointed, but I will not allow any further acts of criminal activity to lay claim to our metropolis, not now, not ever."
That was Mayor Lionheart's official public announcement on his third day back in office, taking over for Chief Bogo who had reluctantly assumed duty as acting mayor until a ruling was had and shifts were made.
The general consensus behind Lionheart's reinstatement was simple: while he, the predator, had fueled and abetted in illegal activities "for the greater good", the prey, Dawn Bellwether, had formed an entire animus to overthrow and eventually eliminate the entire predatory line altogether.
Add to it, prior to his wrongdoing, Lionheart had performed his mayoral duties with peerless punctuality, and adding even more, he was already a beloved and charismatic figurehead, so the big debate for his return was really only spectacle for news stations across the major districts.
Assuming his role with that standard Lionheart flair, he wasted no time in setting his citizens straight on who held the authority and what was to be expected. Regardless of stature or wealth or notoriety, no one, not even himself, was above the law.
"No one… is above the law." Nick snorted, his absolute adoration for this moment shining through in droves. "Honestly, Bigster, if you hadn't gotten sloppy with your drop-offs, this might have gone a helluva lot differently."
The drop-offs Nick was so delightfully referring to tied into Mr. Big's back-channeling to the other major districts. Everything from government documentation to illegal substances to animals themselves—he funneled them out of and into Zootopia via Tundra Town.
For who knows how long this cycle continued, or for how long it would have continued, if Finnick hadn't tipped Nick off after catching sight of two of Mr. Big's limo's exchanging a bound walrus between them. For that, considering Finnick ceased all contact between him and Nick since the latter joined the ZPD, Finnick earned himself a one-month grace period for his hustling, which had apparently seen a boost in revenue with Nick gone.
"Praise to Finnick, that adorable little furball. Now, our gracious police chief Boogaloo ordered us to bring you in alive, or dead, if you put up any resistance. Soooo, I think all of this"—Nick waved his free hand around at the macabre scene—"counts as not only putting up a resistance, but a strong resistance at that. Wouldn't you say, Bigster?"
Even though one eye was nearly swollen shut and the other barely visible anyway, there was no missing the deep-seated loathing blaring from Mr. Big's eyes. If he could have swung himself free, Judy felt felt sure the crime boss would have made gouging out Nick's throat his last act in life.
"Enjoy standing on the shoulders of the small while you can, my dear Nicholas, enjoy every single second of it." There was something deeply menacing about the way Mr. Big began to smirk. "You claim to understand the situation, you claim you've done your homework, but in reality, you haven't the slightest clue of my importance here, of what I do for Zootopia."
Now Judy stepped forward, clearly affronted at the pseudo-implication of ignorance. "Excuse me, Mr Big, but I'll have you know that when I come for something, I come having examined every angle," she began, placing a hand on her tilted hips while pointing a stern finger, "so for you to even imply that I may have missed something is rather rude."
Glancing down at his vertically-challenged partner, Nick couldn't help but bite into his bottom lip with a sardonic grin. "Carrots, you just don't know what you do to me when you get all stern like that… the finger pointing, your twitching nose, just…."
Judy hushed him with a wave of her paw, rolling her eyes. "Quiet, you silly fox, it's too cold, I'm too tired, and I'm not done yet." Her voice snapped back to its scolding tone as she returned focus to Mr. Big. "So enlighten me, because I'm sincerely curious, what could I possibly have missed?"
Her response was relayed in Mr. Big's usual wheeze of lethargy. "Rabbits… so good at math, multiplication especially, but you… unable to figure out this simple calculation."
While a brilliant shade of embarrassed red invaded Judy's cheeks, Nick let out a soft "Oh", like he had discovered something previously hidden, and pulled his gun back. "That's right, hold on…" He flipped a button on the side with his thumb and the ammo clip fell out, which he swiftly replaced with another one, cocked it, and resumed pointing it at Mr. Big. "I was about three seconds from pulling the trigger when I suddenly remembered I'd prepared a special round just for this situation. It's a hollow point that I carved your face into."
"Then I'm sure it looks more like an elephant than me," Mr. Big replied. "You were never one for artistry, Nicholas…." Those beady, bloodshot eyes rolled over to Judy, now tapping her foot in wait for a serious answer. "I would suggest setting up a meeting with ex-assistant mayor Dawn Bellwether, little bunny."
Those words had all the affect of a brick to the face for the way Judy stumbled back, aghast. "W-with… but she's… what could she possibly know about you, about this?"
"Yeah, I sincerely doubt she's knows the 411 considering she's been in jail all this time," Nick snarled.
"And since when has jail ever kept anyone determined enough from getting information? Or… leaking it for that matter."
Not even Nick could hide the shock from his face, his eyes widening in tune with Judy's and they glanced at each other.
"What… what're you trying to say?" Judy pushed, her brow furrowed. "You… she hasn't been giving you intel, has she? Or… or is it the other way around? Have you been helping her? But then… why? She can't—"
He cut her off with the most indifferent huff. "Give the sheep some visitation, and you will know. Now, go on, officers, do what you came here to do. You have your culprit, you have your information—do it."
Still looking somewhat befuddled, Judy bumped Nick with her hip. "You heard the shrew."
Nick nodded, letting the surprise from earlier bleed out of his tense shoulders, and he grinned. "Well, it's been a pleasure, Bigster, but hey, when you see gram-mama, tell her I'm sorry for the skunk butt rug. Nothing personal."
"Nicholas," the shrew began with a tired chuckle, "you truly are a heartless bas—"
The piercing bang that brought about a wave of silence, that prematurely ended Mr. Big's statement, wasn't the sound of Nick's gun going off; it was the office side-door being thrown open and crashing off the wall.
"Well, I'll be…." Still just as zeroed in on his target as before, Nick didn't so much as flinch at the noise, even if out the corner of his eye he could make out the hulking figure of one of the larger polar bears. "Carrots, really? I'm disappointed, I thought you said you got all the leftovers."
Judy stared the haggard bear up and down, quickly noticing how he was missing half an ear and bled from a chunk torn from his left hindleg. "I'm going to guess this fellow is the end result of me figuring out how many bullets a polar bear can take before it goes down, and I'm only counting…." She squinted, scanning the polar bears' eviscerated front. "Four. Four holes. That's probably why he's still walking around, he's five bullets shy of a dirt nap."
Nick would have chuckled but the most godawful of screeches suddenly blew out from between the polar bears cupped paws, and it continued, rising in pitch, causing his eardrums to throb.
"Hey!" Nick called. "Snowball! You have exactly negative three seconds to put a lid on that noise before I—"
His words were all but drowned out when the polar bear revealed a shrew sitting in its palm, a very ruffled, very traumatized female shrew gripping the larger bears fingers in her tiny little clutch. "DADDY!"
"Ooooh, I see…." Digging into his ringing ear with his free hand, Nick nodded at the other shrew. "Well, this is unfortunate, yeah? That you have to see your pops catch a b—"
"FRU FRU GET—MMPH!" The gun in Mr. Big's face jumped forward, engulfing his entire snout in the barrel and rendering him unable to speak beyond frantic grunts.
Nick 'tsk, tsk'd, shaking a scolding finger. "See, that's what you're not going to do, give demands, not when I'm here."
"Daddy! Daddy, what's going on—all of our bears, they're… they're dead and—JUDY!" It was nearly heart-wrenching, watching Fru-Fru's tear-stricken face light up with some modicum of hope at the sight of Judy. "Wh-what's going on, why's Nick pointing that at my daddy? I don't understand…."
Slowly, her words died, just became nothing when Judy lifted her own weapon, a metallic-gray pistol with her name inscribed on the handle in cursive, and aimed it at the polar bear.
"Ju… Judy…?" All the scarcely gathered relief drained out of Fru-Fru like a plug being pulled, leaving her gaunt and trembling. "Wh… I—I…."
"I'm sorry, Fru-Fru." Judy's apology was hollow, nothing more than rocks against Fru-Fru's ears, and her face fell as cold realization struck home.
"You… no—you were going to be the godmother to my…."
If those words had any effect on Judy, there was no trace of it on her face, and even less in her actions when she placed a finger over the trigger. "Exactly. Were," Judy pointed out.
The polar bear holding Fru-Fru started to growl protectively, mustering whatever little energy reserve it possessed to try and seem menacing in those last moments.
That suave grin never left Nick's face as he whispered, "Close those pretty eyes, sweetheart. You don't wanna see how I decorate this room in red."
Mr. Big was absolutely thrashing now, swiping and kicking his tiny body with reckless abandon. "GNNNNGH!"
5:48am, Rainforest District
The television screen of some law-abiding citizen of Rainforest District was nothing but a field of boring static, as was unusual when the weather acted up.
Then it fizzled, a brief glimpse of something….
A bright flash brought the visage of a tigress in a business suit into crystal focus. She was holding a microphone and trying hard to listen to whatever was coming into her earpiece.
"I believe we're getting confirmation that—hold on… it's coming in… yes, yes we have it! Officials on the site are now confirming that Mr. Big, the notorious crime lord, also owner of numerous business ventures, including the Tundratown Limousine Service, has been found dead in his office! From what we're getting, it appears to have been a mass homicide from Mr. Big to the numerous polar bears under his employment!
"As we wait for more information to come in, such as a motive or possible identity of the perpetrator, can safely assume that the towering Mr. Big empire has finally come to an end—wait… wait… oh! This just in, his daughter, one Fru-Fru, is currently MIA! At the time of this report, she hasn't been spotted amongst the dead and the authorities can't give us a confirmation on her current location—"
Interest lost, the channel changed. Death was nothing new in Zootopia, and with the infamous Mr. Big now six-feet-deep, there would only be more.