The sun began to slowly set behind a beautiful mountain vista that overlooked a normally crystal clear lake. Due to the angle of the sun though it was a brilliant orange as the last ray's of the day reflected off the surface.
The sky slowly turned from fresh blue to a warm purple as the sun and sky mixed the palate of colors into a beautiful swirl that very few mammals had the chance to enjoy.
The lake itself was nestled just off the beaten path. It wasn't exactly in the middle of nowhere but only mammals of the parks department knew about this small lake so it remained a bit of a hidden gem in the forest even though it was just half an hour from civilization.
Because of its hidden nature, the lake was a perfect example of what a quiet nature dusk was like.
The wind blew gently across the water as the trees swayed in the breeze.
In the distance, a flock of birds flew lazily across the sky in search of a place to nest.
A pawful of insects could be heard giving off the occasional chirp as they tried to attract a mate.
The occasional splash from a fish that was attempting to see how high above the surface it could get.
Yes, this truly a peaceful place to just sit back and-
"AHHHH OH MY GOSH, THAT'S AWESOME!"
Judy was nearly tackled into the warm pebbles that covered the shore of the somewhat quiet lake. Her eyes widened as she tried to maintain some balance but eventually so lost control and was pushed against the smooth stones that littered the beach.
Trisha wrapped her friend up in a warm hug and squeezed tight as she closed her eyes.
"I can't believe it, Judy!" Trisha exclaimed excitedly. "When did this happen?!"
"Thanks, Trish..." Judy managed to get out as felt the air squeezed out of her. She of course still managed to return the hug and held her friend close, enjoying how warm Trisha's fur felt thanks to the setting sun.
"I had the interview today actually," Judy explained as Trisha finally let her go.
The two does had the beach all to themselves as they say on a large green blanket. Of course in Trisha's excitement, she had managed to tackle Judy off the blanket. The two does got settled once more as Judy went into detail about the day's events.
"Flo and I had a long talk about my future with the parks department. Since we lost the Thorofare tower in the fire I am on the displacement list. He said he would be happy to find me another tower but it would be easier for me to finally cave in and take the supervisor position."
"Well it's about time, half the parks service fully expect you to be in Flo's spot when he retires."
"Uh yeah," Trisha said as she reached over and fished a fresh bottle of beer from a small bucket next to her. When she looked back at Judy she noticed a somewhat dazed look on the bunny's face. "Judy you were made to run the parks. Everyone is rooting for you. Becoming a supervisor is a good step."
"Yeah…" Judy muttered as she looked down at her feet and wiggled her toes slowly.
"From the sound of that tone there was going to be a 'But' in there" Trisha pointed out as she looked at her friend.
Judy remained silent as she lost herself in thought.
Trisha scooted closer to Judy and put a brown paw atop Judy's gray one. This was enough to bring Judy back to reality.
"What's up Judy?" Trisha asked sweetly. They had been friends for a while now and one of the things Trisha prided herself on was being able to read Judy and what she was feeling.
"During my interview, I found out something..."
Trisha's ears perked up and her nose wiggled slightly.
Judy took in a deep breath before continuing.
"Nick won't be able to return as a Firewatcher…"
Trisha let out a surprised gasp as she processed the news.
"What? Why?! He was an amazing Firewatcher. Plus that sweet little doe he helped rescue was all over the news and oh my gosh she was so cute with her carrot plushie. That right there should be enough to-"
Trisha trailed off as she noticed a tear roll down Judy's cheek.
"Hey hey hey..." Trisha cooed as she scooted closer to her gray bunny and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
"I told Flo all that…I did... but he told me they just don't have a spot for him in the Firewatcher program. We lost a lot of towers and a bunch of senior members of the service have been displaced. They get priority and Nick was just a temp..." Judy explained. Trisha began to understand. This was not Flo's fault. Far from it. She knew the tiger very well and knew this must have been a gut-wrenching decision for him to make. "Trisha…I can't lose him..."
"What did you tell Flo when he said all that?" Trisha asked, knowing just pretty well and knowing the doe would probably have a few choice words about the decision.
"I begged him to reconsider. But apparently, they have already tried to find something for Nick. Flo said that he is a hero and that they wanted to try and bring him on…but they can't..."
Trisha remained silent as she rubbed her paw into Judy's fur and cooed, trying to comfort the doe.
"I told him I would have to think about the job. If Nick can't work here…if he returns to the city…I…" Judy didn't know what to do.
She loved Nick dearly and was so happy to have to fox in her life. The problem was she had spent a great deal of her life in the woods and had a career in the forest service. She also had many friends in the forests and the thought of leaving them behind was a bit too much. If push came to shove though she knew she would pick Nick…he would pick her after all.
"Does he have to be a Firewatcher?" Trisha asked softly. "I mean I know they must have looked at other jobs for him..."
"There isn't any..." Judy grumbled as she got control of her emotions.
Trisha remained silent and looked out across the water. Her ears twitched slightly and she smirked as she felt a plan begin to form.
The brown doe suddenly let go of Judy and crawled over to her backpack. Judy looked over and watched her friend as the does tail flicked from side to side.
Trisha began to mumble to herself as she produced her cell phone from her bag. She then took her seat next to Judy and began to scroll through her contacts. Judy the whole while stared at her friend and began to wonder what the mischievous bunny was up to.
She then found the number she was looking for and stuck her tongue out as she hit the call icon. She turned the phone's speaker on and held the small device close to her and Judy.
On the third ring, a tired voice finally answered.
"Mmm…hello?" Came a female's voice, from the sound of it she had been sleeping.
"Hey sleepyhead," Trisha said playfully.
"Oh gosh…Trisha, what trouble did you create for me now?" The voice asked before letting out a yawn.
"Well about that..." Trisha said with a giggle before winking at Judy.
There was a groan from the other end of the call, "Trisha…."
"Just kitting boss," Trisha said as she held the phone close. "I did want to run something by you though."
"I'm guessing it can't wait because with those giant ears of yours you must hear how tired I am."
"You like my big ears though," Trisha teased.
"All the better to hear you with..." the voice shot back, quoting a famous kits tale.
"Seriously though," Trisha began which was amusing to Judy because the thought of Trish being serious didn't quite compute. "You know how the old dog is retiring?"
"He has a name you know…"
"Yes but reminding him constantly that he is old is a lot more fun," Trisha chuckled. "Anyways. I know we have been short pawed, to begin with, and with him leaving we will be even more so..."
"Well all the applicants we have been getting are falling short. I mean the last one asked if he had to be outside…"
"I have someone who will be perfect," Trisha said proudly as she nudged Judy.
The gray doe sat and listened, her mood brightening as she listened to Trisha's plan slowly unfold.
"Yeah. He is the Firewatcher that helped with the June fire and saved that little doe during the evac with Delta," Trisha said proudly.
"I remember," the voice said softly as it let out another yawn.
"I Know Delta would vouch for him, same with me, and I am willing to bet the others would too."
"Could always use some more canine eye candy," The voice teased.
"First off," Trisha began with a laugh. "Keep your paws off Delta. Second, the Fox is spoken for as well. By a certain bunny, Firewatcher turned supervisor."
"Yeah paws off!" Judy joined in.
There was a burst of laughter from the cellphone speaker.
"Hi Judy," the voice said sweetly. "Didn't know this was a conference call with one of my favorite buns, otherwise I would have made it a video call. We have all been missing you here in the main region."
"Hi snowball," Judy chuckled as she read the caller ID Trisha had made for the contact.
"Is that my new contact name?" the voice asked with a laugh. "Trisha I swear if I wasn't your boss I would-"
"Run away with me and start a new life?" Trisha cut the voice off.
There was a slight pause before they got an answer. "We could move to the tropics and open a bar."
"I would make an amazing bartender!" Trisha exclaimed.
"Yes you would," Both Judy and the voice answered.
"Tell ya what," The voice said as it let out a grunt as the mammal in the other end of the call stretched. "Let's set up an interview soon. I wanna meet this fox muzzle to muzzle. With your recommendations and the reports from the June fire, he sounds like the kind of mammal we can use. I just need to make sure he isn't a total ass."
"Oh…about that," Trisha grumbled before receiving a playful shove from Judy. "I do have a condition though..."
"Condition? Oh, this is gonna be good." The voice from the speaker said playfully.
Trisha looked over at Judy and smiled sweetly. "He is super important to someone who is super important to me. So I wanna make sure he is trained right. If he joins the rangers I want to be the one to train him."
Judy felt her eyes begin to water as she leaned over and pressed her forehead to Trisha's as a sign of affection. Trisha leaned against Judy and closed her eyes. The bond the two shared was an odd one, all things Trisha related were, but Judy was happy to have a doe like Trisha in her life. Especially since Trisha was willing to stick her neck out for Nick like this.
Though Trisha had been apprehensive of Nick at first she had seen how the fox made Judy happy and quickly warmed up to him. Of course, this didn't stop her from finding unique and fun ways of driving the fox crazy.
"Sounds like he will be well trained then," the voice replied. "I don't see that being a problem Trisha. I have to run it by the big boss but I am sure he will be on board as well."
"Which means yes," Trisha chuckled as she and Judy finally parted and smiled at smiled at one another.
"I didn't say that…" The voice shot back.
"But I did…so it's decided. He will be my apprentice," Trisha said as she suddenly stood up and struck a pose. "And together we shall rule the forest with an iron paw!"
There was a few moments silence before the voice on the phone finally spoke up, "She is striking a pose right now isn't she?"
"Yup," Judy said and nodded.
"Alright well, I am going to return to the dream I was currently having where Trisha wasn't acting like a total nut..."
"Wait hold up!" Trisha said excitedly. "You dream about me?"
"Bye snowball!" Both Trisha and Judy said excitedly before Trisha put a brown paw on the phone's screen and ended the call.
"So now that I have solved Nick's employment problem," Trisha began as she took a seat next to Judy once more.
Judy didn't let the bunny finish as she leaned over and wrapped her arms around the ranger. She nuzzled her face into the side of Trisha's head and let out a sigh of relief.
The two sat like that for a moment or two before Judy broke the silence, "Thanks, Trisha."
"Anything for you cutie," Trisha said as she patted Judy's arm. "One thing though…"
"Think we can get him into a set of short shorts?"
Judy snorted into Trisha's fur and the two shared a laugh.
Little did Nick know but the two bunnies had hatched a plan. Sure his Firewatch had come to an end. That didn't mean his adventure in the forests were over. Far from it actually. With Judy by his side and Trisha looking out for him Nick was about to have a very interesting time as a Ranger.
"Oh, its time!" Trisha exclaimed as she wiggled slightly in her spot.
As the sunset on the horizon, the final rays managed to hit what some would call a sweet spot. In the distance, a waterfall cascaded over the side of a mountain. The sun, however, changed the color of the water. During the day the liquid would be a frothy white and blue as gravity carried downwards. Now though it glowed a bright orange as if it were fire that fell down the side of the mountain.
"You know the Rangers have certain traditions right?" Trisha asked softly as she rested her head on Judy's shoulder.
"The falls for example," Trisha said as she nodded towards the magnificent sight before them. "We have them climb the mountain…if you think this view is nice you should see the parks from up there..."
"You think I could join in on this hike up the Horsetail falls?"
"Sure, but we don't call it that."
"What's it called?" Judy asked curiously.
Hey there Firewatchers.
Ok first off...I know I know I said this story was completed.
"Then why am I receiving an update about this chapter and where is my WildeHopps Blue?!"
A very good question you amazing and patient fan you! Well, I wanted to announce that Zootopia: Firewatch now has a sequel! After receiving tons of messages asking for a sequel (which I already had planned) I am happy to start on the next story.
www. fanfiction s/12787341/1/ Zootopia-Firefalls
As for the WildeHopps stuff...ok there will be tons of that I promise. I just wanted to show where the idea of Nick becoming a ranger came from! That's right it was all Trisha! Gotta love that bundle of energy.
If you are looking to continue the adventure then please go check out Zootopia: Firefalls! I wanted to write this fun little teaser for all of you since you all are the reason this story was such a hit.
Thank you all again for the support of this story. I can only hope to write a new story worthy of such amazing people.
Cya at the falls!