Hey there dear readers! Here is the next chapter of The Shift, ready for your reading pleasure! Please enjoy, and feel free to leave me a review!

The Shift (Chapter 5)

by

Elite Shade

Lily was sitting on her couch, her spotted tail gently swishing, as she sipped at her mug of tea. She was currently reading a thrilling and engaging mystery novel by one Agatha Friskie, the black and white photo on the back depicting an elderly beagle woman. Lily then marked her place in the story and set the book down. She stretched out a bit to yawn, and smiled when she saw the vase of white lilies that Renato had given her yesterday. Checking the time on her phone, she saw that she had an hour left to get ready. She stood up, stretched a little more, and made her way to the bathroom to shower.

After she had finished, she looked in her still slightly sparse wardrobe for something nice to wear, settling on a crisp white sundress. She checked her reflection in the mirror, wondering about a little blush for her cheeks. Since her transformation, Lily had yet to master the art of applying make-up to a face covered in fur.

As it was, she had been sporting an au natural look, Renato insisting that she looked beautiful as she was. She couldn't help the girlish giggle at the thought of how flustered he had been after he had said that. That had been yesterday, after he had brought her the lilies, shortly before he had looked rather nervous. After a few moments of what was mainly the jaguar stammering and fidgeting in his seat, he managed to ask her out to a movie. She smiled as she fondly remembered the way his face lit up after she had said yes.

Looking at her phone, she realized that she only had a few more minutes before Renato arrived. She quickly grabbed her purse and double checked to make sure that she wasn't forgetting anything and made her way back into the living room. She downed the rest of her now cooled tea, depositing the mug into the sink. She had just slipped on the white sandals that matched the dress perfectly when she heard a knock at her door. She looked through the pep hole to see Renato's face, looking nervous. She opened the door and greeted him.

"Hello Renato." Lily said as she noted the deep blue sports blazer, light grey dress shirt and jeans he was wearing.

"Lily...uh...h-hi!" He said, clearly nervous. The cheetah smiled at him warmly.

"So, any ideas about what film we're to see tonight?" Lily asked as she gently took his offered arm and the two began making their way down the stairs.

"Uh...w-well...ahem!" Renato cleared his throat and took a deep breath. "I had a couple of ideas. What movies do you usually prefer?"

"Well personally, I like a good horror." Lily replied simply as they made their way to the parking lot, heading to Renato's car.

"Really?" Renato asked, genuinely surprised. Lily suddenly felt a pit form in her stomach, worried that she may have just made herself seem odd.

"I love scary movies!" Renato's declaration bringing a sigh of relief to Lily.

"As do I! I think that it's fun to be scared and creeped out every now and again... if it's a good one. Although, I have seen my fair share of lousy ones that were just hilarious to watch!" She smiled when she heard a chuckle come from Renato.

"Then I think you would like a certain classic from the 80's called Homicidal Mimes From Deep Space." He said as he hit a button on his keychain and unlocked the doors, holding Lily's open for her as she got in.

"That sounds absolutely perfect for a laugh!" Lily said, already giggling at the silly premise.

"I'll see about finding a copy sometime...perhaps we could watch it together?" Renato asked as he started the engine.

"I'd like that." Lily said after buckling her seatbelt. Renato smiled as he did the same and the pulled out of the parking lot.

"Okay, scary movies...well, we have two options for tonight. Nocturnal Cries or Twitch."

Meanwhile...

"And how was she at Daycare today?" Emmett asked his wife over the phone as he waited for the bus at a stop near the DMV, having went in at 9 AM to get his license renewed and finishing up at around 9 PM.

"They said that she was just a little angel. They said that she did start crying when she lost Gracie, but the second that they found her stuffed toy, she was right back to her usual self." She said with a chuckle.

"And are the kids asleep now?"

"Yep, although Sarah kept trying to stay up for you to get home and read her a bedtime story."

"Awww, I'll have to make it up to her tomorrow night then, maybe with two stories."

"That's pretty much what I had to promise after I tucked her in."

Emmett smiled as the bus pulled up.

"My bus is here honey, so I'll be home shortly."

"Alright, see you in a little bit."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

Back at the Hopps residence...

"Nervous sweetie?" Judy asked Eli as he stared off into space once again while sitting at his desk. He had gone up earlier to do his homework assignment due on Monday, followed by packing his suitcase for their trip to visit the rest of his new adopted family at Bunnyburrow. Unfortunately he had been taking a while, and Judy had gone up to check on him only to see that her kit was zoning out in between scribbling on a piece of paper.

"Huh?" Eli said, surprised to suddenly see Judy standing there, looking a little worried. "Oh...uh...I guess..." He mumbled while looking down.

"Eli, I promise that you have nothing to be worried about. Your grandma and grandpa are both super excited to meet their newest grandkit! Not to mention how thrilled all of your aunts and uncles are going to be to finally meet you as well! And of course, we can't go forgetting your cousins." Judy said with a reassuring smile.

"I guess...I'm just scared that maybe after they meet me they'll realize that maybe they don't want me to be the newest addition to the Hopps family." Eli said, his ears drooping. Judy looked at the pre-teen grey rabbit kit with sympathy in her eyes.

"That's not going to happen." Judy said gently, yet resolutely.

"How...can you be so sure? I might be considered a freak to them."

"Eli, you are not a freak, you are MY kit. And I know this because they are MY family. And guess what bud, they're yours now too." Judy said with a twinkle in her eye.

"...But..." Eli looked up and then looked away again. Judy knelt down to eye level with him, as she had been prone to do since his transformation to a rabbit, and gently tilted his head back up under his chin with her paw.

"But what?"

"What if...someone there thinks that you made a mistake...adopting me?"

Being passed from one foster home to another has definitely left him with some serious emotional scars. Judy thought to herself as she felt a pit of sorrow for Eli form in her stomach.

"Sweetie? Are you afraid that I'm going to abandon you?" Judy asked, hoping that she wasn't sounding accusatory. Eli looked guilty as he turned his head and wordlessly nodded.

"Sweetie, you're MY kit now. And there is absolutely nothing and no one who will ever be able to change that." Eli looked back to her, his eyes tearing up a little.

"I love you mom." His voice was but a whisper, not that that prevented the older rabbit from hearing him just fine. Judy smiled and felt tears prickle at the back of her eyes as well.

"I love you too Eli." She said as she pulled him into a tight hug.

Outside the Hopps residence...

An armadillo dressed in a dark hoodie and jeans was watching Judy's house with a pair of binoculars, growing more and more frustrated at his inability to peer through the closed curtains at the occupants inside. As usual, Edwin whipped out his trusty tape recorder and hit the record button.

"As has become my unfortunately accepted norm, I find that I am unable to properly observe the very first human specimen. The creature appears to be assimilating into the role of an adolescent rabbit flawlessly, having its adoptive mother figure caring for it along with a surrogate father figure that annoyingly hangs around and seems to be eager to spend time with both of them, which has forced me who knows how many possible breakthroughs in my observations with his comings and goings! Three times already that fox, Officer Nicholas Wilde of the ZPD, has almost stumbled upon me." Edwin grumbled as he opened his thermos and poured himself another cup of coffee which he drank before continuing.

"As luck would have it though, this little mockery of a family unit is going to be taking a trip tomorrow out to a town called Bunnyburrow, for some reason or another, for the entire weekend. My research has concluded that the town shall be rural enough with multiple locations to conceal myself. This, combined with my ability to take out a loan from my brother Charlie, who really needs to conceal his credit card information better, has allowed for me to obtain the funds sufficient to purchase a very special gun from Mr. Weaselton. Not only the gun, but the special ammunition as well. After I hit the creature calling itself Eli with a dose of the Nighthowler serum, I shall record his savage behavior and post it online, for all the world to see and be horrified by. Then the public opinion shall sway in my favor, allowing for me to have it detained for a proper examination and dissection." Edwin's paws were practically shaking in excitement. He started to giggle madly to himself from his hiding place in the bushes, before he settled down and resumed his watch, smirking.

In the Nocturnal District...

"I have to say Sophia," Baily said while looking up at the large white moon in the sky from where he was sitting at an outdoor cafe, before looking back at the smiling face of the lioness, "you were right about this place's eclairs."

"I know, right?" Sophia said, her tail swishing a little back and forth as she regarded the wolf seated across from her.

"This place has got a really good atmosphere here."

"I know. I love coming here. But I prefer to have some company with me instead of coming here alone."

"What about your friends? I'm assuming someone like you has got loads of them!"

"I have a few yes, but none of them are really nocturnal mammals." Sophia answered before a thought struck her. "What d'you mean by someone like me?"

"Oh, well I mean someone as nice, and caring, and pretty, and energetic as you." Baily answered, suddenly blushing underneath his fur. Sophia was a little taken aback, but broke out into a fit of giggles for a few moments while Baily sat there feeling his cheeks burn.

"So, would you like to go out on an official date?" Sophia asked as her giggle fit subsided.

"Wait, what?!" Baily asked, his eyes going wide.

"Oh I think that you heard me just fine wolfy. So, how about it?" Sophia said projecting an outward appearance of confidence, while inwardly feeling suddenly nervous about Baily's answer.

"I...uh...I wasn't expecting that Sophia..."

"Oh...uh...I see, well, I'm sorry for putting you on the spot like that-"

"YES!" Baily said, drawing some attention. His ears laid flat on his head as his tail tried to tuck itself between his legs from where he was sitting. "I mean, yes, I would really like to go out on a...date with you."

Sophia's muzzle broke out into a wide grin.

Back at the Spitz residence...

Russell was laying in his bed, just staring up at the ceiling. Once again he couldn't sleep, still thinking about the craziness that had happened since he had come home from school that day.

Is any of this real? he wondered for the umpteenth time. Just then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw the white door to his room silently swing open. He felt a small chill of fear creep down his spine, until he saw in the dim twilight the familiar form of a certain little fox kit toddle in. Russell sat up and turned on his bedside lamp.

"Hey buddy." Russell had certainly warmed up to the little fox since he had arrived, as well as the other foster kids for that matter, although Ethan had definitely made his liking of the teen husky abundantly clear. From the worried look on the little kit's face as he stood there in his light blue footie pajamas and hugging his yellow stuffed rabbit, looking up at Russell pleadingly.

Another nightmare. Russell said with a reassuring smile.

"Okay buddy, okay." Russell said while reaching down to gently pick the kit up and setting him down on his bed. The second Russell let go, Ethan giggled and started wriggling under the covers, snuggling up next to him. Russell smiled and patted Ethan's back before turning out the light and laying back down. He soon heard soft little snores coming from the little kit, and soon started to feel lulled to sleep as well.

Please be real... Russell thought as he too drifted off to sleep.

Later at the ZPD Precinct...

Benjamin Clawhauser yawned and stretched as he made his way out the front doors towards the parking lot after a long shift. He had been excited to learn that the scientists monitoring some electrical equipment declared that another power surge happened three blocks away, unfortunately with no one finding any trace of another new human having appeared yet. He was reaching for his keys when he sniffed, stopping when he smelled something unusual.

"Is that gasoline?" He wondered, suddenly worried that the tank in his car had sprung a leak. He searched for the source of the smell, and was mildly relieved after confirming that it wasn't coming from his car, but continuing searching for the source. Despite his size and usual cheery demeanor, the chubby cheetah took his job very seriously. The smell led him away from the parking lot and towards a door to a warehouse. That's when he started to hear a muffled voice calling for help. After three tries to kick the door in, he finally realized that it was unlocked.

The light of the moon in the doorway shone upon a figure bound to a chair on its side, wriggling in the center of the room. Clawhauser quickly confirmed that the smell of gasoline was coming from the figure, who appeared to be drenched in it. The moment that the figure turned his head, duct tape covering its mouth, their eyes went wide.

O...M...G! It's really one of them! A human! Benjamin was briefly excited, until he took in the sight of the mammal before him. In addition to being bound to the chair and silenced, the figures face was very clearly bloodied and bruised. Then Benjamin noticed that the human, whom he guessed was male, was wearing a uniform similar to his own. A badge was twinkling in the moonlight. Immediately, Benjamin had his radio whipped out and was reporting his find, before entering. The very first thing he did was, as gently as possible, remove the tape from the human's mouth.

"Who...what are you?" The voice, scratchy and clearly male, asked, with a note of fear.

"Uh...W-well, I'm Officer Benjamin Clawhauser of the Zootopia Police Department. Everything's going to be okay. What's your name."

Deep blue eyes stared at Benjamin in disbelief. "I'm Sergeant Walter Cruz of the Los Angeles Police Department."

"Uh...w-well, uh...Sergeant...Welcome to Zootopia." Benjamin said, smiling as sirens approached the warehouse.

And there you have it folks! I hope that you enjoyed the new installment! Please feel free to leave a review!