The woods had it's moments of calm now and again. This calm, this sense of self or certainty was something infrequent in Fighter's current home and it's inhabitants. He wouldn't deny he had thoughts of the state of his home being permanent. He wouldn't dwell on something so minor, he needed to keep himself happy and what better way to do that then pay a certain someone as visit. It was the sole reason he would make the trek over the railings of his exhibit; past the closed coffee cafe, Various vendors in the zoo and walk up a grassy knoll to find his favorite spot in the forest: A small little flat rock surrounded by trees, he rested on a rock and relaxed to the sounds of the forest.

He took in the sounds around him in the dense forest; The tweets of the birds, the wind blowing around him and...a snapping sound—He tensed up for a moment—Waiting on the rock as he saw a barrel falling from the trees above him. He rolled off the rock quickly as it landed on the rock with a loud crash before rolling away. He looked around cautiously, his ears perked as he heard something:

Snap, Snap!

Two more. He thought.

Fighter rested his elbows on his chest while keeping his fist up toward his chin. He saw a log tied on a rope headed toward him at head level, he peered behind him to see another lower around chest level. It had a branch jutting out from the log. The plan of action was simple: Dodge them both, he need to time it just right to avoid both of them without serious harm. He crouched forward having his legs spread evenly apart as he saw the first log approach, He wanted to make his body a target harder to hit.

It came closer and closer. Closer and closer, until- Whoosh!

He felt the breeze from the log as he weaved his head to the side avoiding the log by mere inches. The next one was approaching from behind. He felt tense for a moment as he anticipated the object's movement. Whoosh!

Fighter weaved and twirled his body, like a top spinning in around in a circle. He avoided the log entirely but the branch barely skimmed his shoulder, he felt the branch snap. He ran forward, deep into the forest as he another sound: Snap!

He saw a trash can rolling toward him and ran forward to the trash can, he hunched forward with his fist just bellow his chin. And just as they were about to crash into each other he landed an uppercut on the can making it rise up a few feet above his head-Bang! And then he sent it back down with a swift overhead punch back the ground. He smiled proudly. Getting better.

He heard clapping from a tree beside him.

Good performance kiddo!" A loud voice said. A grey mouse and a brown raccoon were there watching him. The raccoon was the one clapping an amused look.

"It's good to see you both." Fighter smiled.

"Your aren't too shabby either, pal." Mike smirked as he twirled his whiskers. "Looks like the zoo life ain't making you soft."

"Believe me, it's anything but. Have seen the food there? Gah, it's scary in its self." He rubbed his stomach and stuck out his tongue in disgust.

"Hey, I'll have you know the food is prime!" Jimmy smiled happily as licked his lips in delight at the thought of the food left there for him to 'borrow' from the silver tins.

The bear rose an eyebrow quizzically as if to ask: Where have you been eating?

Mike rolled his eyes. "Not everyone pulls hotdogs out of trash cans, Jim." Jimmy stuck out his tongue in response and spoke.

"Your loss. Next time, I won't share." They both shook their heads in dismissively, he had no shame.

"Next time, we're going test your punching speed." Mike said "Don't start slacking bud." Fighter nodded silently and yawned as he leaned back on the tree. He spoke softly as he addressed mike, "Hey, what are you doing now that your...free?" He asked with a melancholy tone.

Mike didn't seem to notice because he responded happily. "Good, starting up a new business," he exclaimed proudly his voice had more bass it's tone as if he was proud.

"Really?" Fighter responded,

"Hell yeah! We're looting the malls." This was not what he had in mind…Fighter looked at him silently, he had a small sly grin but he also had a disapproving look causing the mouse to grin from ear-to-ear. "What?" he asked innocently.

"Old habits, huh?"

Mike narrowed his brow at his friend in response, "Hey! At least I'm doing it for me this time...and Jimmy. We need a little comfort in the woods." He shrugged his shoulders.

"Speaking of, do you have a pillow?" Mike waved his hand at him up and down dismissively, "Pshh, no problem, Jim-jam. Give 'em a pillow." Jimmy went into a bush and tossed out a pillow to him, he caught it and rose up to leave.

Jimmy frowned he looked a bit disappointed, "Leaving already?"

Mike chimed in,"He doesn't have stay here. He's got his own stuff to deal with. I hear the goons you live with are kooks?"

Fighter strained a smile. They weren't perfect, but they did have there own quirks, some more charming and others—He had to monitor himself for his own safety. "A bit too crazy for my liking..." He still liked the company though. They both nodded and walked further into the forest.

Mike shouted out to Fighter, "Don't be a stranger kid, I'm not gonna let up on your training bud!" Fighter nodded as he walked back the to discount zoo. The mouse sighed as he watched him leave. He has to grow on his own... He doesn't need me there holding him back. He thought as folded his arms.

….

Back at the zoo a blue bear, Lech pulled himself up from the railing and landed on the other side of the exhibit.

"Rain-forest cafe here I come, booze, women and music. Let the good times roll!" He shouted excitedly as he saw Fighter walking towards him with a pillow in hand. He squinted for a moment not believing what he was seeing at first but quickly dismissed it.

"Sup. Newbie." He raised his hand, nonchalantly as he placed his hands behind his back.

"Well…" He looked above him, Lech caught this and stopped him immediately.

"If you say 'the sky' this conversation ends here." he narrowed his brow as he pointed his fingers down at the ground.

He responded quickly, "Apparently it's your attitude, what's up with you?" He narrowed his brow.

"Gonna go to my favourite bar," He sighed looking away from him intentionally, "You can come if you want."

Fighter gave a closed smile. "An actual bar? Man this place has everything."

Lech smiled perversely thinking about what other attractions should be added for his amusement. "Not everything…" If Fighter didn't know any better he swore he'd see drool from his mouth.

"I can guess what's on your mind." He lived with a dirty-rat, not much different than a perverted bear.

Lech responded. "Tch, I don't care what you think, you in or out? I've got money and a short amount of time on my hands." He walked past him with his hands behind his head.

Fighter thought for a moment. Could go for a nap, I did just go through some exercises today….

He then stopped that train of thought. Maybe he could relax in a different way today. That reminded him...It had been a month since he's been here, what happened to Tali and Clyde? He didn't even try to search for them… I'm all that cold hearted?

...

N-no I… Just forgot is all. He nodded in response.

"Oh, on one condition though… I bring two guest, deal?" He moved his arm out for a handshake.

Lech looked at him dubiously, "You have friends you can bring along? This I gotta see." He smiled smugly.

Fighter grinned sourly, "You dick." He punched him playfully in the arm and walked toward the exhibits to pick up his posse.

The bar itself had a friendly atmosphere, Lech told them that they had a jukebox at the bar that played the best songs, but there were downsides to the place. Amongst the animals they noticed a golden furred monkey conversing with a smaller one, it didn't look happy. His posse tried to egg him on to flirt with the Monkey. He sighed and spoke: "Fine. Hey baby: Wanna sit on the golden throne?" his tone was adenoidal, nasally.

The small monkey server had a light tan. It's hair was darker and was in a short wedge—cut that feathered off her forehead, topped with a red bow on it's head. She gave a scowl and slapped the sap across the face while the other monkeys howled at the golden one. He growled annoyed at his friends.

Lech then scowled when he looked at Fighter still holding the pillow. "Dude, why the heck do you still have that!"

He shrugged and replied. "Never know when you need a pillow man? It's versatile." Unfortunately the golden monkey across the room, still sore from his recent rejection saw them and commented.

"Hey look at that! The blue one brought friends." He then pointed to the black furred one, "Hey dumb ass, if your looking for Z's you came to the wrong place!" his posse laughed. The bear noticed he was smallest of the group around the same size as the server and he replied.

"I brought this pillow for you, your dad said it was bed time." The golden simian's crew laughed harder much to his annoyance, he flipped them the bird.

Lech scoffed. "Hmph, nice to see the jerk put in his place." He looked around to see all the bar tables full. He was about to comment when Clyde and Tali walked forward to one of the tables that had a passed out patron. Clyde patted the monkey with his paw as he groggily rose his head and looked down at him.

The jackal spoke first "Hey, parties over."

The monkey smiled and patted him on the head, he twitched then took a calming breath. We're in a new environment, no need to piss off the locals. Then Tali stepped in.

"Alright it's clear your tanked, if you can't get up I'll help-"

She was interrupted by the drunk, "Shut yer mouth ya hic* Ya dumb b-" He didn't even get finish the words as she picked him up with her tail. Clyde looked at the monkey with a coy smile.

Lech glanced over atthe mongoose roughing up the patron.

"Are they gonna-"

Fwoosh!

Lech was interrupted by a brown blur flying past them and crashing through the door. They both stared each other and shrugged. This also caught the attention of the Tanned monkey server as she watched them both walked to the now empty table and sat. She quickly went to them.

"Alright drinks?" She asked her voice was heavier but it was and average sounding voice.

"Scotch," Lech said. She wrote it down and looked at the others,

"A dry Martini" Clyde said as he looked out the window,

"White Russian." Tali exclaimed,

"Honey Mead." Fighter heard scoffs from Clyde and Lech as he raised his eyebrow as the monkey left.

"What's wrong with Mead?" He asked annoyed at the two.

"Bleech." Lech stuck out his tongue as cleaned out his ear with his finger. He looked at the monkeys still shouting like maniacs. He noticed something different about the layout of the room, something was missing.

Clyde continued. "You have to order something that sounds cool, even Tali got something cooler sounding than you."

Fighter tilted his inquisitively, "You guys are trying too hard, it's just a drink." Clyde stuck his nose up snootily, as Fighter continued. "Besides mead has character, it's aged like a fine wine and comes in different types. What's your drink say about you, valley girl?"

Clyde blushed for a moment looked down in shame, while the three of them laughed as the waitress brought their drinks. Just then music starting playing from a jukebox behind the bartender's table. Lech knew the song and smiled as he sung along:

I hold on so nervously

To me and my drink

I wish it was cooling me

But so far has not been good

It's been shitty

And I feel awkward as I should

This club has got to be

The most pretentious thing

Since I thought you and me

Well, I am imagining

A dark lit place

Or your place or my place

Lech noticed his parties hesitation to sing with him, he decided to rile them up. "Come on, you pansies, sing with me!"

Clyde shook his head dismissively, while Tali rolled her eyes and responded, "I have heard enough singing from Fighter." She smiled knowingly.

Fighter whistled innocently while looking away from her. That didn't stop Lech from goading him, he smiled cockily at his companion. "Come on, sing with me. Don't be a downer, We're having a good time."

Clyde chuckled as he retorted, "Your having one, I'm just waiting for our drinks," he smiled wolfishly. 'Or to make an ass of yourself either is promising."

The song was coming to a close. He looked at Fighter while dubiously raising his brow at him and at the same time Tali stared at him in a cold manner, but she had a smile on her face as she responded. "Since I've heard you both sing, I know you both howl like dogs."

Fighter smirked knowingly, He could tell she was lying, she wanted to hear him sing. "Then we'll howl louder than the dense monkeys over there." Lech pumped his fist in excitement. They both started singing as loud as possible while snapping their fingers to the beat:

I'm not paralyzed

But, I seem to be struck by you

I want to make you move

Because you're standing still

If your body matches

What your eyes can do

You'll probably move right through

Me on my way to you

You'll probably move right through

Me on my way to you

You'll probably move right through

Me on my way to you!

As the song finished they both looked at each other and laughed wholeheartedly. Clyde chuckled at the two, "Sometimes it's better to suck with friends I guess." He sounded unsure.

"That's generally how it goes. Most men wish they could accomplish that on their own. I'm sure you know that feeling being a dog on all..." The duo stopped for a moment as they heard her. Then laughed even harder. Clyde narrowed his brow at her and gave a bitter smile, "I'm surrounded by assholes, I need another drink…"

….

Some time passed it was around mid evening as the group had a couple of drinks and a few of them went through some noticeable changes. Clyde was grinning and burping as he had his head on the table next to Lech. While Tali… got a little too grabby for Fighter's liking. She was holding his waist with her tail, and leaning on the poor sap. Surprisingly Lech and Fighter held their liquor well.

Fighter placed the pillow behind the mongoose's head, she sighed contently. "Ahh! Hic*" He pointed to the pillow and stared at Lech. He rolled his eyes in response, Lucky. He thought. "I only have money for the both us, wanna ditch the dead weights?"Lech whispered.

Fighter was about to decline when Clyde pulled out a small wallet, "Hic* No worries. I can spot ya! It's on the drunkard!"

They both looked at him oddly as if he were referring to himself, then Fighter realized...The monkey before. "You pit-pocketed him, didn't you?" He smiled goofily showing his teeth, pity revenge at it's finest.

"That's why I like you kid, smart on the uptake." He placed his head on table. They grabbed the wallet and approached the bar counter.

The bartender was a baboon the only distinguishing quality he had was the yellow fur he had on the ends of his face and a red nose. His natural fur colour was a light peru tan. "Here to pay the bill?" he asked. His tone was calm, but sounded distant as he cleaned a glass.

"About that that, sir...?" Fighter asked his name.

"Bart." He replied.

"Bart, dumb question but why do you need money?" Lech rolled his eyes. Bart however answered, coolly.

"The humans would question what happened to the alcohol that we use, so why not give them money accordingly? We don't use to much anyway." He smiled albeit strained, "That answer your 'stupid question'? He nodded in response as he payed him.

The small monkey in a red bow held a couple of drinks over her head. Lech saw this and tapped fighter on the Shoulder, "I'll help the little twerp. Those guys are assholes, be right back." He grabbed the tray and walked with her despite her looking annoyed, but not entirely upset about him holding for her, Bart commented, "Chivalry isn't dead, heheheh," He chuckled.

He noticed Fighter look a bit distant, he knew that look from many of the animals that drift in there. He whistled for his attention.

"Hey, friend your not looking to good. Problems at home or something else?"

Fighter looked at him and gave a half smile, "I..." He stopped, he felt worried but he just couldn't place it. "I Just...I'm unsure about life is all. None of your concern."

Bart looked him and smiled warmly. "That's life friend. Even though your unsure, it's normal. Drink and be merry. No one will judge you for it." He placed the glass down and got quiet for a moment as if he were waiting for something. "And If they do...punch em out. That's what I tell my daughter anyway." he grinned.

"That's..." He paused then replayed the words he just said in his mind. He remembered saying something similar to Clyde once. Then came to a realization. I shouldn't worry about the state off my home, why should worry about something that I can't possibly predict…

Bart continued, "Well, whatever is troubling you I'm sure your friends will help you. You seem well acquainted with each other." He placed his hand on his shoulder. Fighter nodded appreciatively, Then they heard a clattering sound. They turned their heads to see the tray tossed over on the ground, the golden monkey's friends threw the drinks at Lech's head as ducked under them. "Moron! The bourbon your serve is weak!"

The server was about to retort but Lech interrupted. "Then complain to the bartender, shit-lord." He whispered the last part. but the rest of the monkey grew impatient. The little monkey hid behind the bear preemptively. Lech noticed "Scared?"

"No". she replied. "Your my meat shield, doofus." He turned his head and looked at her.

"Little b-" Crash! The golden monkey got a chair and smashed over Lech's head, he feel on the floor hard with a thud, not unconscious but he his head was ringing. The gold monkey held a stool over his head as he stood over the bear with his foot on his chest. The small monkey ran to the counter climbing the stool.

Bart groaned "Great, another mess I need to clean," He turned to the bear. "Look buddy don't get to upset they do this-" He noticed something was off with the bear. Under any other circumstance an act like this would cause some genuine anger. A shout here, followed by two or more drunken idiots ransacking the bar. But there wasn't any noise, not even a growl from the bear beside him...Just absolute quiet. His anger was chilling to say the least.

He just stared at the monkeys laughing at Lech as he tried to get up, they kicked him repeatedly. Fighter's voice rang out clearly as he addressed Bart. "Bart, get your daughter behind the counter. Now." He ran along the inside of the bar counter and grabbed her from the stool. Fighter got up from his stool and walked to the gang of monkeys slowly. Causing one of them to comment: "Well, look who decided to-"

"Let me make this perfectly clear. Leave now." He had no expression just a dead look in his eyes. He remained quiet as he looked over the four monkeys. The gold one was not impressed. He gestured one of them to go attack him. One of them charged forward and tried to punch him. The monkey aimed for his head and then he felt two solid hits; one under his chin the second, in his belly. He barely saw him move, his fist was directly in his stomach. Fighter pushed him down and let him fall on his back. He continued walking.

The group just paused for a moment then the golden one shouted, "Get him, you idiots!" Two of the monkey charged at him as he continued his silent rampage. The only thing that could be heard from him was his breathing: calm steadying breaths. He lurched forward and dashed to one of them, sweeping his leg with his claw and while the monkey was off balance he slammed the monkey down with a hook downward—He was out cold.

The other monkey furious after seeing his friend knocked out quickly went for a heavy punch aimed down at the bear's skull, Fighter saw this. Stop it here and now.

CRACK!

He intercepted the punch by sliding under the it and hitting him directly in the jaw. He fell to the floor joining his friend. The gold one still holding on to the chair spoke again. "Alright, it's fine we just have to-" he noticed his subordinate disappear from beside him, then caught where he was going. 'Oi, What the heck?"

"Fuck this shit, I'm out!" He ran past the bear scared out his mind, the smartest animal there thus far. The bear walked toward the remaining simian and spoke. "Remove you foot from his stomach." The monkey complied as dropped the stool and ran. Fighter turned to see if Lech was unharmed, he just had a bump on his head. He sighed in relief. Lech on the hand looked bewildered, he was looking at the damage, four monkeys out cold on the floor. At least he could see them breathing.

Fighter picked him and stood him upright. "Dude, are you ok?" He looked at him, gave him a half smile. I guess that's good? He thought.

"Frate-" he stopped for a moment and spoke again. 'Lech, help me bring my friends back to their exhibit." He looked at them sleeping at the table. "They slept through that!" Lech shouted.

Fighter shrugged in response. "We've been through worse." Lech picked the mongoose up as Fighter put the jackal over his shoulder. He waved at Bart. "Sorry for the mess."

He stood behind counter waved back at the bear slowly, he didn't want to make any sudden moves. The bear walked over the monkeys with Lech. Lesson learned never mess with that bear. Bart felt sorry that he stiffed the monkeys with weaker alcohol... But he had his reason. He pulled out a flask from under the counter and started to drink. The light tan monkey gave an annoyed, tired look at her father.