3 years

36 months

156 weeks

1,095 fucking days

26,298 hours

1,577,880 minutes

94,672,800 seconds

What difference does it make? Any measurement between now and then… it was all the same. 3 years of anguish, fear, anger, sadness, and resentment. All I could do was count the days, count the hours, count the seconds... I reckoned them up to the exact moment...

8:39:14 PM

8:39:15 PM

8:39:16 PM

The moment she left…

8:39:17 PM

8:39:18 PM

And it was gone just like that. How many times would I reflect on what I witnessed that day? How many times was I going to stare at the framed photo of the best moment of my life? The day we got married. From that day, everything was perfect.

Until that moment…

A terrible moment that will haunt me the rest of my days.

The day…

The day she died in my arms…

-

Earlier that day, the city gathered on the anniversary of the passing of Judy Hopps. Rain and grey clouds dominated the city from before dawn and stretching well past dusk. The evening was dark and the air stone-cold. Few mammals were still outside, and those that were had simply been on their way inside. Nick sat at his desk, eyes set on the framed photo and a note he got two days ago from out of nowhere.

It's been 3 years, Nick. How have you been?

Nick stared at it again. He held the note in his hand, and a bottle of Wolfburn scotch in the other. He looked at the bottle, and grimaced his muzzle as he took the last sip out of it. That last gulp, all its smoky bitterness, gone. 'Fuck…' he muttered under his breath, setting the bottle back down on the table almost as far as he could reach. Staring at the note made him realize something: It was him. It was always him. Everything that ever caused him pain was from that fucking raccoon! Being kidnapped, tortured, experimented on... He amputated Nick's old hands and replaced them with steel ones. His ears, biologically upgraded, as well as his hind paws. All his bones were now metal. And the emotional pain from all this... Judy's pain as she tried to care for him, his suffering from how much it hurt her, it was all because of him. From the day they met him, he brought nothing but trouble and misery. What he did to him. The kidnapping, the killer claws, and the enhanced biology. With this came unbearable itching. Scars. Sore muscles. And a stiffness all over his body that never ceased. What they did for him never amounted to the misery they had caused him.

And what they had done to her. The stress from caring for him, the fear that they might attack again, the thought that they might try what they had tried once before, make her like him. It was her greatest fear to have her own metal appendages, let alone a full skeletal structure. It was almost too much for her to bear. She tried to hide it as best she could, but Nick knew she just wanted things back to the way they were, perhaps more than he did. Since the incident 3 years ago, the raccoon has remained completely off the radar, away from the very mammal that wants his heart ripped out and in his own paw as it still beat, before crushing it, using the raccoon's own doing.

Why did it have to be us?

Something inside Nick snapped. He swiped his arm across the desk out of rage, throwing much the stuff on the floor, though the bottle remained on the desk, toppled over. He got up from the chair he sat on, picked it up, and slammed it on the desk before throwing it, leaving a dent in the wall. He screamed as he grabbed the folder organizer and threw it on the ground as well. Furiously roaring, he grabbed and threw every object he laid eyes on, leaving damage on the walls. He stomped over to the punching bag near the kitchen and drove fist after fist into it before dragging his claws down through it, scattering its innards all over the floor in a cloud of sand. He leapt up and ripped the rope the held the bag, imagining that it was the bastard's neck! He immediately picked up the bag and heaved it over his shoulder, throwing it across the room and leaving a trail of sand, with sand cloud emerging as it hit the wall. He now paced around the kitchen, trying in a failed attempt to restrain from breaking everything. He threw open the door to the microwave that hung over the oven, stretching the hinges and fracturing the cabinet. In his anger, the fox hammered his hand into the top hinge and ripped off the whole door and threw it at the wall. He clutched his skull tightly, not caring if he drew blood. It didn't matter, nothing mattered…

"WHY?!" he shouted with fury to the empty room. "Why did it have to be me?! Why did it have to be HER?! AAAGH!" He roared again as he thrusted his fist straight through the freezer door, driving a plume of frosty air out, and ripped it off, throwing it far out the window. He took a couple steps towards the window, and then stumbled. He moved over and gripped the end of the sink, completely crushing it and dropping splinters from the wood counter, trying to drain his emotions into physical effort. He felt a pain in his spine and tingling on the skin above. 'Not again.' he thought to himself. Grunting and staggering, he stepped over to the cabinet filled with medicine, took out a syringe filled with a neon-blue liquid, and injected it into his thigh. He crushed it into small plastic shards seconds after finishing the injection. With the pain still ravaging his body, he knelt down hard and struck his claws through the dirty tile in the kitchen. He clutched his paws, breaking the tile chips into smaller pieces. He looked up to the ceiling, wishing he saw stars, clouds, the moon, anything besides the dull, brown wood. He closed his eyes, and after a few seconds and some deep breaths through the nose, the pain ceased. He released his hands from the tile, making his way back over to the desk. He picked up a metal stool and slammed it down in front of his desk. He sat in it, clutching his head from the anger. The anger towards the raccoon.

The pain of his loss.

The despair of her absence.

The darkness around him.

The void in his heart.

After letting himself calm a bit, he reached over and picked up the small organizer and placed it back on his desk. Opening the second drawer, he had a very detailed picture of the raccoon. It was taken when he was in custody for the second time. He pulled it out and laid it on the desk next to the note. It did nothing more than strengthen the ties between the words on the piece of paper and the raccoon's face. He could just imagine the satisfied grin on the criminal's muzzle, knowing he got what he wanted…

Nick grabbed the bottle again, intending to go drop it in the garbage or leave it on the counter to fetch another, but something stopped him. He knew it wouldn't help. The alcohol never did. Not anymore. In another burst of fury, he turned and threw it with a grunt at the gun safe he kept tucked away in the corner. The glass bottle completely shattered on impact.

'The gun safe…'

He looked back over at the safe. Why stop there? He already took Judy, why not take me too? He got up from the stool and walked over to it, trying to rotate the knob so it would open. He knew the code, but his emotions made it impossible to focus. With a snarl, he cut the dial clean off and clawed out the mechanism, sending it all to the floor in a bunch of small pieces. He proceeded to slide his sharp index finger through gap between the safe door and the shell to cut the bolt, and when he opened the safe, there it was. The revolver. With one bullet next to it.

One will do.

Without thinking, he loaded the bullet into the chamber and held it tightly in his hand, rotating the chamber so that the bullet would be in the barrel. He was ready to be free from the misery, but was still hesitant.

"You happy now, you son of a bitch?" he whispered to himself as he forced the gun under his chin, finger on the trigger. Tears rolled down his eyes as he imagined this being entirely against what Judy would say. She'd tell him he had to fight. He had more to live for. She wouldn't want the raccoon to win.

He didn't care. The misery would never stop; it was the only way.

"I'm sorry…" He shut his eyes, finger clenching, mind ready to be free.

The pressure on the trigger grew stronger…

Almost there…

-

A sound filled the room; a ringing sound. Nick jumped in fear and looked over, and the phone on the floor was ringing, almost as if on cue. Did he pull the trigger? Pulling the gun away from his face, shock overtook him. He grazed his paw over where he pressed the end of the barrel onto his chin. There was no hole, no blood. His hands were shaking from fear. 'What the hell am I doing?' He walked over to the phone with the gun still in his hand. He picked up the phone and the base and put it back on the desk. He sat on the stool again as he answered.

"H-hello?" he asked.

"Nick?" a gruff voice on the other side answered.

"Finnick?" It was his old buddy. He hadn't called in a while, and he was beginning to think he just abandoned him. He felt relief from hearing a familiar voice again.

"Yeah, we haven't talked in a while. How have you been?" His voice was filled with concern.

Nick looked at the gun that was in his hand, knowing that he almost used it. "Alright, I guess." he lied.

"Even after… oh" Finnick just realized what he was about to say. "Sorry."

"It's okay." Nick replied coldly.

"Anyways, maybe you and I can get together and talk again. Just like old times."

"Sure. When and where?" Nick didn't even know what he was saying anymore. His mind was all a blur after what he almost did.

"30 minutes sound good? Same bar?"

"Works for me."

"Alright, see ya then."

"Bye, Finnick."

"Adios. And… take care of yourself."

"Fine."

The line went dead, and Nick immediately placed the phone back and looked at the firearm in his hand yet again. To think that if Finnick hadn't called, he'd be on the floor, unable to pick himself up. In a pool of his own blood…

He put the gun on the far end of the table, trying to space it from his mind. Now, he felt lost and confused. 'What do I do?' A water bottle had been spilt on his desk and covered the note. He pulled the note out, flicked the water off, and looked at it again. He noticed some black characters on the spot where the water was spilt. Numbers. This discovery sparked an interest, something he hadn't felt in a long time. He spread it in the water some more, and he got a full phone number out of it. This was what the raccoon was waiting for.

Nick picked up the phone and quickly dialed in the number. He waited for a few minutes as the dial tone invaded his ears. Every second that passed, he was clutching the phone ever tighter. Finally, it spoke with the same voice he held dread and hatred for. It hurt to hear it again, and the sarcastic tone made him ever so furious.

"Ah, so you finally figured it out, did ya?" the raccoon said. Nick nearly crushed the phone into pieces, but vented his anger verbally.

"You're the fucking devil!" he snarled, nearly crushing the phone in his paw. "The hell do you want?"

"I want to finish what I started. I think 30 minutes is reasonable, don't you?"

"Where?" the vulpine asked, despite knowing what the reply would be.

"The place you lost her."

After the line went dead, Nick slammed the phone back on the base. All his sadness was now turned to anger and fury. 'Why did it have to be me?!' He took notice of the raccoon's picture, and knew exactly what he wanted to do with that monster. He extended his left index claw, and sliced forearm from the wrist to his elbow, revealing a long streak of red blood. He then glided his finger over it to collect the blood, enough to cover his finger and drip some more, and slammed the single claw into the picture and through the desk. A large, bloodshot hole was now in the raccoon's chest. The faint feeling of satisfaction Nick got from this small action made it tempting to repeat, but he needed to finish what the raccoon started.

He walked back over to the gun safe and placed the revolver back picked out his .45 Mag and some ammo for it. He also took rounds for the auto rifle he had in the safe as well. He took the holster and the rifle, complete with the sling, and proceeded to the door.

He stopped at the picture of Judy he kept next to the desk. The smile on her face, the bright, amethyst eyes… he looked back at the pistol in his hand.

She needed justice. Vengeance. Revenge.

Even if it cost him his life...

Nick left the house, in the cold, bitter wind, to finish it once and for all.