(AN/ Ok this is it. The Final Take a Stand update, please stay until the end for a special message. So without further ado, for the final time, let's get cracking with this chapter...)
Epilogue- Room for every star in the sky
Olivia Dawson was a nurse's worst nightmare, during her four day stay at Savannah Central General Hospital's orthopaedic ward she had given every nurse working in the department a major headache. She played heavy metal music at ridiculous volumes, ignored instructions about resting and literally dismantled her vitals monitoring machine and started playing with its circuits because she was bored. So as soon Olivia had her second surgery, a total shoulder replacement, following the plating of her right radial and ulna bones in her right arm the nurses put up little resistance when the mouse announced she was self-discharging herself. She just needed a hand to get dressed since her right arm was going to be in a sling for at least six weeks.
She had called her personal assistant Pua to organise a zuber to the Dawson tech building but had also contacted the members of Team Ceartais, including Kion, and messaged them that needed to attend a mandatory meeting at the bunker. By the time she had descended her special rodent sized elevator directly into the bunker's observation deck everyone was sat around the table, paying more attention to the kits that Alice and Luna had brought along. The first thing Olivia noticed was Hannah and Robyn and their body language, the two were known for sitting very close to one another and not being shy about public displays of affection but today there was a forced distance between them. Kion seemed expressionless, trying his best to hide his emotions, Olivia figured he was keeping things civil for the sake of the babies. Clara had noticed the tension in the group and was trying to brighten the mood by singing softly to baby Stuart who was nestled in her paw, Kodi just seemed anxious his eyes constantly looking between his team mates like he expected an argument to erupt any moment. Luna and Alice seemed to be acting the most normal, each of them were holding two kits each and doting on them but the smiles they shared and the gazes of love between the two suggested that their relationship was on the mend.
"I know I said the meeting was mandatory but I didn't expect you all to come." Olivia announced her arrival, skipping the hellos.
"Well, I wanted to see how well you were healing AND scorn you for checking yourself out of the hospital early." Luna said, sounding protective and judgemental in the same breath before cooing at Sayame and John in her arms "Your auntie Olivia is a silly mouse isn't she?"
"Seriously though, you ok Liv?" Robyn asked, noticing how thick the still healing scar was on the engineer's right cheek.
"Meh, I'm doped up on that much pain killers I can barely feel the pain, but I couldn't stand being cooped up in that hospital room anymore, but don't worry I'm going to be staying with my Daddies for a couple of weeks." Olivia assured, munching on a chocolate bar as per usual.
"At least there was no lasting damage, just make sure you focus on your recovery." Kion advised, still seeming stoic. Getting up and offering his paw as a platform Olivia before walking her over to the table.
"Oh I will be, I intend to do sweet F.A for a while...but anyway I didn't just call you here just to give you an update on my health. We need to sort out a few things but the first thing is disciplinary action for what happened at Deadpool's office." Olivia sighed, stepping off the lion's paw "Kion has already resigned from the team, Alice is on maternity leave so..."
"That leaves me and Kodi." Hannah said, sounding ashamed.
Olivia tried her best to keep her focus and not to rush over and comfort the striped hybrid, she pushed her emotions down and continued "I spoke with Kodi last night regarding this issue and we came to an agreement but Hannah, I'm sorry but I need to put you on six week suspension."
Hannah's ears went flat against her skull and she hugged her tail for comfort before meekly replying "I understand."
Robyn leaned over and took hold of Hannah's paw then said "Just think about it as adoption leave, this way you can spend more time with Aaron while he gets used to his new home."
Hannah felt her heart lift a little upon hearing the words and feeling the touch of her wife's hand "Thanks, Princess."
"I really don't want to ask but what's Kodi's punishment?" Clara cautiously asked, still holding Stuart.
Olivia tried to steel herself but her attempt failed, her eyes became watery as she answered "His punishment is that he's going to be having all the headaches, guilt, fear and stress of leading this team."
Everyone was silent for a moment, everyone looking to Kodi for a reaction but he was looking square at Olivia with a sympathetic gaze, Robyn was the first to break the silence "Uh, what?"
"I'm retiring from the hero life, just like Kion." Olivia confirmed, her vision becoming blurry from the tears "I spoke to Kodi last night about for about four hours but he's agreed to become team leader."
"Whoa, hold up, why are you quitting?" Kion asked, his tough façade crumbling and his expressions becoming saddened.
"I decided this back at the Manhattan Safehouse, I knew after we saved the mammals that I would be handing over control of the team, I intended it to be Luna but well...the whole Andi thing happened." Olivia explained.
"Olivia I had no idea, I'm so sorry." Luna sincerely apologised, her heart becoming heavy as she saw her best friend begin to cry.
"But what about Spitfire? You're our only heavy hitter since Roar's stepped down." Hannah fretted.
"I've programmed Bella to take the mantle of Spitfire, she's already an important member of the team and I trust her to keep Spitfire's legacy alive." Olivia answered.
"It will be my honour, Olivia." Bella responded over the speakers.
"So, that's it? You're just quitting?" Robyn reacted, struggling to imagine the team without the rambunctious Scottish mouse.
"I'll fund the team, provide you with tech and provide mission support from time to time but yes I'm never going in a mech again." Olivia made clear "And if you ever need me, I'm just an elevator ride away."
"Why Olivia?" Luna asked, trying to understand her oldest friend's choice.
"I just can't do it anymore. For years I was addicted to that mech but now I just look at it and think how much it has taken from me; a normal teenage life, more injuries than I can count, too many close calls with death." Olivia listed, pointing to her arm in the sling before adding with a small sob "And my relationship with Blake. I need to have a normal life."
"I get that but damn I never thought you'd retire." Kion let out a heavy sigh.
"It sucks that I join the team just as two members leave but you both need to do what right for you. But out of curiosity, why pick my bubby?" Clara queried.
"It was Alice who suggested Kodi lead the team, after Luna nominated him as second in command." Olivia spoke to Luna before looking at Kodi "We all joined Ceartais for different reasons, me and Luna were brought in by Marian and Robin, wanting us to be a better version of the MM gang. Kion joined to save his sister, Alice joined for redemption and for love but Kodi, Hannah and Robyn were something special. You three were trying to do the right thing from the get go, when I found you that night being cornered by The Razors you weren't there for vengeance or an outlet for rage, you were trying to get stolen medicine back to mammals who needed it."
"That night feels like a lifetime ago." Hannah remembered.
"I'll never forget the feeling of that machete in my chest." Robyn shuddered.
"Robyn, Hannah, I see you as little sisters and I love you. But you've made some bad calls over the years, sometimes your impulses get the best of you. Clara never would've been kidnapped by The Doombots if you didn't abandon your post." Olivia continued, still teary eyed "That's why I didn't pick you."
"Fair enough." Robyn accepted, seeing the logic but also she didn't want to be leader.
"Yeah, that makes sense." Hannah concurred but still felt the guilt and shame of letting the team down.
"Kodi loves this team, just like the rest of us but he's the moral compass out of all of us, he always considers the consequences of his actions and has put himself on the line to save both us and the citizens of Zootopia time and time again. So as my last action as team leader I want to call a vote; should Kodi Jones become the new leader of Team Ceartais? My vote is an aye by the way."
"Aye." Alice nodded, gently rocking the dozing kits in her arms.
"Aye." Luna responded, a little tearful.
"You'll be great Kodi, aye." Hannah voted.
"I don't want you to go Liv but if it's what you really want this, aye." Robyn reluctantly replied.
"Aye." Clara smiled at her boyfriend then quickly went back to doting on Stuart.
"Aye." Bella spoke up over the speakers.
Kion was silent and looked uncomfortable prompting Olivia to ask "And your vote, Kion?"
"The votes already passed and I'm not on the team anymore." Kion tried to appear defensive but it wasn't working, he was obviously upset.
"That doesn't matter, I want to know if you back me as leader." Kodi said in a reserved manner.
"...Aye." Kion said before getting up and hugging his friend "Good luck."
"Thanks big guy, it means a lot." Kodi replied, hugging Kion back.
"The ayes have it, Kodi is now team leader." Olivia sniffed, wiping away her tears with her left hand "Bella, give Kodi the top tier access to all protocols and instate him with all the powers of team leader."
"Already done Olivia, Mage is now the team captain, congratulations Kodi." Bella answered.
Kodi stood up and looked at his friends and spoke from his heart "I know the last mission was the toughest we've ever faced, all our lives we're change because of, for better or for worse. But we can't let what happen in the other world stop us from being friends, yeah things won't magically go back to the way they were but the ties that bind us are too strong to be broken by our mistakes. I hope with me being leader I can help us patch things up. But not today, it's Christmas Week, so let's enjoy the holidays and sort this out once we're sick of candy canes and egg nog."
"...I think...I think that's the best idea. Me and Hannah need to work through some stuff plus we officially adopt Aaron this afternoon, we want to focus on giving our little hero the perfect Christmas." Robyn accepted that a lot of Kodi's words were true, she also accepted that the trust between her and Hannah would be no quick fix.
"Me, Jasiri and Mufasa will be spending the holidays with my folks like always but I...I want to mend what's broken between us." Kion finally caved.
"Let's get the traditional Christmas trip to Bunnyburrow over with then we can start making things right." Alice spoke with hope.
Luna passed the kits she was holding to Robyn before going over to Olivia and offering her hand, the mouse stepped on her paw and she rose her up to her muzzle and asked "Are you sure this is what you want?"
"I'm sure, Luna. But this isn't the end of our friendship, I'll always be there for my best friend." Olivia promised, hugging and nuzzling Luna's cheek. Everyone then got up and took turns hugging Olivia, with Luna, Kion and Hannah being in tears as they realised their team leader for the last six years was no longer going to be there to guide them, only to be a friend.
Another half hour passed and the mammals began to disperse for their various commitments but before Olivia could head back up the elevator and order a zuber to her Dads' home she was whisked away by the sneaky paw of Mage who wanted to make sure the mouse would keep her word.
"This isn't fair, Kodi." Olivia seethed, her back to the wolf as she was stood on the pavement of a street in the Meadowlands's Pink Tail area looking up at an apartment building.
"You're right it's not fair but I'm just making sure you don't chicken out." Kodi smarmed, the wolf was stood just outside the border fence of the rodent neighbourhood, if a mammal his size stepped into there it would cause chaos.
"I literally just got out of hospital, made one of the toughest choices of my life, I haven't had a shower and I was crying my eyes out ten minutes ago and now you want me to do this." Olivia griped, her eyes locked on the apartment building's main door "You're a dick, you know that?"
"I think you mean 'A great friend'." Kodi replied cheekily.
"Come on, it's Christmas time, the season of goodwill and you want to put me through emotional turmoil?" Olivia whined, finally looking back up at Kodi who was casually leaning on the railing of the border fence.
"No I want you to face your problems, this is the thing you've been wanting to do forever. Now go up to that door, press the buzzer and go speak to Blake." Kodi instructed.
"I...I..." Olivia struggled, making a few cautious steps towards the building.
"Olivia?" A familiar voice asked that made Olivia tense up.
Olivia turned to her left to see Blake holding some grocery bags, the broad chested rat looked neatly groomed and was wearing a black t shirt with dark denim jeans, his facial expression was a concoction of surprise, worry and a little bit of hurt. Olivia wanted to reply politely but that fact that she had been caught off guard caused her to say "Oh shit...I mean, Blake hi."
Blake walked hastily over and set down his shopping bags all while saying "Oh my god, what happened to you, were you in an accident?" Blake was fussing over Olivia, observing her strapped up arm and the huge scabbed over cut on her face that would surely leave a scar but it felt too odd to touch her.
"Actually it was a crazy dude with a zombie army that caused it." Kodi answered coyly before adding "Ok, I'm going to bounce, Clara's been invited to my folks' place for dinner. Nice to see ya' again, Blake." he then sauntered off much to the annoyance of Olivia.
"Bye Kodi..." Blake replied awkwardly then quickly turned back to Olivia and queried "Zombie army?"
"Yeah." Olivia sighed her reply.
"Has this got anything to do with the purple sky and that aircraft crash in Sahara square a few days back?" Blake followed up, sounding slightly freaked out.
"Yeah, it's been a crazy." Olivia answered, shying away slightly.
"So, what's the damage?" Blake asked concerned, nodding at Olivia's sling.
"I had to have my ulna and radius plated and my entire shoulder had to be replaced." Olivia informed, the dulled pain from her injury was preferable to the awkwardness of this conversation "So I've got at least six months of physio to get through before I've got full use of my arm again."
"Olivia, I'm so sorry." Blake said honestly before reaching out and touching her chin lightly, turning the right side of her face so he could see the injury, Olivia daren't make eye contact while he gazed at her face. She expected another sympathetic comment but instead heard Blake chuckled "We match." while taking his paw back and pointing at his deep scar that covered most of his cheek and neck.
"I guess we do." Olivia gave a glum smile before regaining her courage "Listen Blake, I need to tell you a few things, there's some stuff I've been holding on to and it's eating me up inside."
"Right," Blake responded, his mood shifting yet again, this time to sullen "do you want to come inside and talk about it?"
"No, no. I just need to say this and I'll leave you in peace." Olivia stood firm, taking a breather before branching to "I was a terrible girlfriend to you."
"Olivia-" Blake started to try and comfort his ex.
"Please, Blake." Olivia halted then continued "At the start of our relationship I lied to you a lot then after what happened with Rattigan I thought we would be happy, but I kept on making things unhappy for us. I'd ditch you to do missions that the team they could've easily handled without me, you'd try and cheer me up after a rough day and I'd push you away, whenever I got stressed with hero work or a new mech I'd take it out on you. I forgot your birthday, twice. I forgot our anniversary three times and on one Valentine's day I stood you up at that Chinese restaurant because I was chasing that idiot TNTiger. No wonder you asked me to limit my time as Spitfire."
"That was unfair of me." Blake had to point out "I've always respected what you've done for this city, you being a hero was important to you and you've saved so many people. I guess I was just selfish, I wanted you but Zootopia needed you."
"It's not selfish to want a healthy relationship." Olivia countered "Besides, you're probably better off without me, I bet you've got yourself someone who'll treat you right."
"There's no one." Blake admitted "I tried going on a few dates since we broke up but they never went anywhere, my mind was still on you. It still is, kind of."
"Same here, I've been with no one since you." Olivia confided "But I've burnt my bridge with you and in the end it wasn't even worth the heartache."
"What do you mean?" Blake asked, finally noticing Olivia's puffy eyes, indicating that she had been crying.
"I'm not Spitfire anymore, I just handed the mech to someone else." Olivia answered, in pain from both her shoulder and her emotions "I just couldn't do it anymore, this last two weeks put a lot of things in perspective, that suit took so much from me. I had to hand it off before it took my life to."
"Wait, so that's it? You quit?" Blake asked with a gawp, stunned by the words.
"I'll fund the team and build them tech but yeah I quit." Olivia clarified before giving a sad laugh "We broke up because I couldn't leave the suit behind, I put us through emotional hell and a year later I quit anyway, ain't life a bitch?"
Blake was silent, trying to come to terms with what he had just been told. Olivia didn't know if the rat was mad or sad either way she wanted to exit the conversation before any more feelings could be hurt "Well, that's all I wanted to say; I'm sorry for being the world's worst girlfriend. And, uh sorry for ruining your day, you went to get some groceries and get awkwardness and angst as a shitty bonus. But hey maybe this will give you closure now and you can find a nice girl." Olivia babbled out of nerves, edging more and more away, keeping an eye out for a taxi on the street but there was none to be seen.
"Wait." Blake said quietly "...I don't want this."
"Don't want what?" Olivia asked back.
"I don't want this to be the last time we talk, for the last year I've been miserable without you and then you abruptly say the bridges are completely burnt between us, do you really feel that way?" Blake asked, frustrated.
"I messed up our relationship, there's nothing than change that." Olivia answered, turning away from Blake.
"Do you still love me?" Blake asked, his voice strained by his conflicting emotions. "Yes or no?"
Olivia couldn't bear to show Blake her now tearful face but she couldn't deny her feelings either "Yes, I still love you."
"And I love you, even after a year of not seeing you." Blake concurred, walking over and gently turning Olivia around so he could look her in the face "I'm not saying things will be fixed for us instantly if we get back together but I want to be with you Olivia, so whatever we have to do to make it work, I'm willing to do it. We'll take it slow, we'll actually talk to each other about how we feel, I want us to be us again."
Olivia's head was in maelstrom, she felt fear, joy, nerves and a little bit of a buzz from all the pain killers she was on but none of that stopped her saying "I want that too."
Arthur didn't know what to expect upon seeing Robyn and Hannah's home but he hadn't anticipated it being so welcoming and homely, the small Sherwood suburban home looked like he hadn't changed since it was built in the 1950s. The majority of the furniture and appliances looked retro but well maintained, the only thing that looked out of place was the young occupants. Arthur thought it best not to talk about the Wilde-Savage's décor while he sat at the kitchen table supping the fresh cup of tea that Robyn has just poured.
"So is this really your son's first day here?" The blue furred wolf asked.
"He's had sleep overs before but yeah this is Aaron's first day as an official Wilde-Savage." Robyn smiled, hearing the happy voices of Hannah and Aaron upstairs as they unpacked his stuff.
"I really shouldn't be imposing on such an important day." Arthur replied, feeling a tad guilty.
"Don't be stupid, it was us who invited you." Robyn corrected.
"Why did you invite me?" Arthur had to ask.
Robyn got up from the kitchen table and went to a cupboard and pulled out an item wrapped in blue cloth then placed it in front of Arthur "Take a look." she invited.
Arthur unwrapped the cloth to find a shoulder pauldron very similar to the one Riri had made for him in the other dimension, it had the Knight family crest on it but it had the addition of the Star of Ceartais behind it.
"We want you on the team, Knight, you've got a gift and we wouldn't have been able to save Zootopia without you." Robyn smiled "You'll need training and I mean a lot of training to get you mission ready but we think you're up to it."
Arthur looked at the pauldron and his shoulders slumped, he looked up at Robyn with a reserved expression "I want to Robyn, but I can't. Not yet. There's some stuff I need to take care of back in England, I've left things unanswered for far too long."
Robyn let out a hearty sigh then said "Hannah thought as much, she said you'd go home."
"I'll come back and when I do I'll consider your offer, but right now I need to figure out my powers." Arthur explained, handing the pauldron back to Robyn "I have a flight to Heathrow this evening."
"Well the offer will always be open." Robyn assured, wrapping up the armour piece back in it's cloth.
"I do have a favour though." Arthur brought up.
"Sure, watcha' need?" Robyn asked, putting the pauldron back in the cupboard.
Arthur's fur shimmered a brighter blue for a second and without warning Excalibur appeared, laying flat across the kitchen table "I need you to take this and put it in your bunker."
Robyn looked at Arthur with confusion "Won't you need it? I mean I thought you were trying to find the source of your power, that sword has something to do with it."
"I'm sure it does but I don't want it anywhere near me when I go home, I know it's hard to grasp but please do this for me." Arthur requested.
"Ok, whatever, I doubt you'd get through airport security anyway." Robyn jested as the sound of footsteps came down the stairs.
Aaron and Hannah walked into the room with the little koala's eyes focusing immediately on the magic sword "Wow! So cool!" he beamed, rushing over to touch it.
Robyn scooped up her son before he could get anywhere near it and playfully warned "Oh no you don't, I don't want you chopping your paws off before we head to Bunnyburrow in a couple of days."
"But Mom, it's magic." Aaron moaned.
"Listen to your Mom, how will you be able to hold your little cousins if you have no paws?" Hannah backed up Robyn but Arthur noticed something in the striped hybrid's paws, something that called to him.
"Is that what I think it is?" Arthur asked, pointing to the book in Hannah's paws.
Hannah sensed Arthur's movements and confirmed "The Book of Seren, I believe this belongs to you."
Hannah passed Arthur the book causing both him and Excalibur to shimmer blue for a moment, he ran his paw over the old tome before smiling at Aaron "Thanks for looking after this and I'm sorry for shouting at you last time."
"No worries, just listen to the book when it talks to you." Aaron answered cryptically leaving all the adults in the room puzzled.
Things were going well at the Jones mansion, so well in fact that it made Kodi nervous that he would make some faux pas to ruin the pleasant meeting of Clara and his family. The Jones' were a family who went all out for Christmas, the entire mansion was decked out with decorations, there were even Santa Claus figurines in the bathrooms. The main Christmas party would begin on the 24th with the majority of Gazelle's family from Columbia flying in for the celebrations while Wade's family only had a short drive from the neighbouring districts of Zootopia. But for tonight it was a mini Christmas party seeing as Clara had to fly back to New York early the next morning to spend the first night of Hanukkah with her family but that didn't stop Gazelle insisting that everyone wear ugly holiday sweaters during the warm Californian afternoon.
Kodi grabbed himself a beer from the huge dining room's bar and looked on with unwarranted worry as he saw his parents happily chatting with his girlfriend at the table, having finished their meal and now enjoying some mulled wine. "Will you stop acting like such a wet blanket?" Sasha mumbled to him, grabbing herself some of the mulled wine from the pot.
"What do you think they're talking about?" Kodi asked back, the wolf was wearing a gaudy Christmas sweater with a Snow Wolf on it with the words 'I'm sexy and I snow it'.
"I dunno', probably comparing notes on how you're a terrible mammal with zero morals." The Antelope teased her older brother, she had her usual camera strapped around her neck that covered up her light up Christmas tree sweater.
"Thanks." Kodi reacted dryly, supping his beer.
"Will you relax? Mom and Dad love Clara, I love Clara and got a feeling my player of a big brother loves her too." Sasha cooed, playfully poking Kodi in the gut.
"...I do actually." Kodi confirmed with a smile.
Sasha nearly choked on the wine she was drinking and whispered "Did you just say the L word?"
"Yeah I did, I love her." Kodi answered, catching Clara's eye as she looked over, she just smiled before returning her attention to Wade who was telling a story.
"Kodi." Sasha gushed, genuinely happy to hear the words "But you've only been dating for what? A few days?"
"A lot of stuff and lot more time passed during the last mission. To put it bluntly you saw me only six days ago back at your college but I haven't seen you in over a year. I'm actually 22 now not 21." Kodi informed.
Sasha knew this sounded ridiculous but she believed him "Ok you need to explain everything about your last mission to me later." she said walking back over to the dining table with Kodi following.
As the Jones siblings arrived back at the table Wade was finishing his story "...So Kodi and Hannah try and run a yard sale outside the mansion to raise money for their class field trip. And what does Kodi decide to sell? One of Gazelle's grammys."
"No." Clara gasped with a grin, nearly spilling wine on her blue Hannukah sweater with a Menorah knitted into the design and the words 'Let's get lit.'
"Yeah it took me weeks to find that award and buy it back." Gazelle chuckled "My mijo felt so guilty about it."
"I was nine." Kodi clarified with a moan.
"And even though you're older now, you're still our dorky pup." Wade grinned, enjoying embarrassing his eldest child but then he sniffed the air and realised "Crap, I've burnt the brownies." setting down his wine and rushing to the kitchen.
"I'll get the fire extinguisher, again." Gazelle sighed, following her husband.
"And I'm going to photograph another one of Dad's baking disasters." Sasha grinned, trotting out of the room.
Kodi sat down beside Clara and asked "So are you over being starstruck by my Mom yet?"
"It's like 80% I'm cool, the other 20% of me is just fangirling." Clara answered before adding "Your parents are so nice and Sasha is such a sweetheart but you Mr Jones are the pick of the bunch." Clara then nuzzled into Kodi's neck.
"I'm going to miss you over the holidays." Kodi said, savouring the feel of Clara's muzzle stroking his.
"I'll miss you too, but I'll be back in just over a week. Besides you've got all your family flying in, you'll have a great time and I'll have an awesome time back in Brooklyn with my family." Clara assured "Anyway at least I can brag that I have a sweet, caring and roguishly handsome boyfriend waiting for me back home in Zootopia."
"Well let's see what dates Hannukah falls on next year and I'll join you and you can come here for Christmas." Kodi hoped aloud.
Clara pulled back and smiled at Kodi "Look at you wanting to meeting the rest of the Blooms, where has that player gone?"
"Long gone." Kodi replied before looking a little trepidatious and saying "Actually on the whole meeting your family thing, I kinda' had an idea, but it's cool if you think it's too soon."
"Go on." Clara prompted, curious.
"What if you stay with your folks for a few more days, until new years? I've heard new year's eve in New York is something special and y' know maybe I could make a portal and join you for the celebrations and well, meet your family." Kodi suggested, hoping that he didn't sound pushy or imposing.
Clara's heart fluttered but she didn't show she was swooning from the suggestion, she played it cool and aimed a very small energy blast at the decorations above them and a sprig of mistletoe landed on Kodi's head. Clara leaned in and whispered "I'd love that." before kissing Kodi softly.
Ms Marvel was looking at herself in the bathroom mirror of the mobile bunker, trying to psyche herself up for what she was about to do. It had been three weeks since she and the other Champions arrived back in their home dimension. After a telling off from her parents for disappearing, a few fake stories plus doctored photos involving a Stark Internship to make a convincing cover story (Thanks to Riri) Kamala Khan set to work. She checked up on Nightcrawler, who was now resting and recovering at the Xavier Academy but the inhuman did note that Kurt and Storm were holding hands throughout her visit, giving Ms Marvel hope that the two had finally realised what a good match they were. Ms Marvel also made a visit to the Sanctum Sanctorum where Doctor Strange and Snowguard were busy preparing magical defences for Doom's cell while Riri and Moon Girl worked on the engineering side of things. Ms Marvel then had to use Thor to get a hold of Groot, who was busy stopping illegal logging in the amazon, so he could call the remainder of The Guardians of The Galaxy to earth to reveal Rocket's decision. The revelation about Rocket staying Zootopia caused a range of emotions both Groot and Mantis cried, Gamora was more worried for her friend's wellbeing, Star Lord seemed frustrated by the bounty hunter's action but seemed to calm down when it was revealed that Rocket had left his entire bounty hunting fortune to be distributed equally among the Guardians but Drax just smiled contently upon hearing about Rocket's choice to stay with Lylla in Zootopia. But the entire 'Missing Mammals' mission had made Ms Marvel realise something, The Champions were too few, while they were busy helping Team Ceartais they had put their other responsibilities on the back burner. She had proposed potential new members to her team mates and over the last few days they discussed who were the best fits for the team before sending out the invites. Now it was time to meet them.
Ms Marvel stepped out of the bathroom and wandered down the hall to see Spiderman and Viv (With a fully repaired body) waiting for her by the cargo bay doors of the aircraft "They here?" Ms Marvel asked with a little anxiety.
"They're waiting outside, all ready to meet their new leader." Spiderman answered.
"How many showed up?" Ms Marvel followed up.
"All eight potential recruits accepted the invitation." Viv answered.
"Oh my gosh, I didn't think all of them would come." Ms Marvel stressed.
"Come on Big M, this was your idea." Spiderman encouraged.
"Me, Miles and the other Champions will be there to help you train and guide them." Viv comforted.
"Ugh, to heck with it. Open the door, I can't stall all day with my nerves." Ms Marvel rallied herself.
Spiderman pressed the button and the cargo doors began to lower down revealing the sunny day in Manhattan's central park, Ms Marvel saw the other Champions talking to the potential recruits but as soon as they caught a glimpse of the Jersey City heroine everyone stopped chatting and almost stood to attention. Ms Marvel didn't realise how much respect she commanded but her noble deeds had made the most famous of the Champions and was a role model for heroes both young and old.
Ms Marvel was doing her upmost to maintain an aura of confidence as she looked to each of the recruits, both familiar and some unknown to her, the easiest to spot was Moon Girl, the eleven year old genius was kitted out in her home made costume and was sat atop the head of the massive Devil Dinosaur, who was taking a nap on the grass. There was a tall and slim black teen, wearing colours reminiscent of Captain America and holding a modified shield, which seemed fitting seeing as Patriot was the protégé of the late Steve Rogers. Next to Patriot was another black teen that was even taller with broad shoulders and bulging muscles wearing a modern yellow and black combat suit, Ms Marvel saw the yellow and realised now why Victor Alvarez had chosen the title of Power Man, the colours were a tribute to legendary hero who was held that name. There was very excited looking brunette girl dressed in a pink bodysuit with a white trench coat stood beside Wasp that Ms Marvel knew all too well, she had fought this girl on multiple occasions, her codename was Bombshell and she used to be a D list villain, usually using her explosive powers to rob convenience stores and smash up ATMs but recently with the help of Spiderman the mutant had been on the straight and narrow and as part of her parole program she could do good work with The Champions. There were two students from the Xavier academy who were huddled together, one was a short girl with a few scars over her smiling face, she was wearing a yellow hoodie with the red 'X' emblem on it with her looking so happy it was hard for Ms Marvel to figure how Honey Badger was related to the grumpy and gruff Wolverine. The other X academy student was an afghan girl in her late teens, she was wearing a black niqab and around her waist was a utility belt with 'X' emblem serving as the buckle, the heroine Dust had been with the X Men for a couple of years so it made Ms Marvel wonder why she wanted to jump ship to another team. Sat on a thick tree branch above the heroes was a girl wearing a suit of red and gold armour with a matching helmet with bug antennae attached, Locust's look matched her insect codename. And finally there was the recruit who had been begging to join The Champions for over six months, a Indian boy who looked barely in his teens but his age was the most notable thing, it was green hair that seemed to glow, Ms Marvel was curious to see how Pinpoint would benefit the team.
Ms Marvel realised she had been silent for over ten seconds but remained composed as she opened the conversation "Thanks for coming, I know some of you have travelled a long way but I'm happy that you're all considering joining our team. But before we start gauging your skills I need to give you a warning. If you want to just beat up bad guys this is the wrong team for you, if you think a mission is too small for someone of your power then you're on the wrong team. The Champions are independent team free of government control but that doesn't mean we act like outlaws, our team's main objective is humanitarian not crime fighting, we specialise in rescue missions and when there isn't a hostage situation or natural disaster happening we help with community projects worldwide, from building schools to helping out in soup kitchens. So if you want fame or to fight big bads, then apply for The Avengers or the future foundation but The Champions always puts the lives of innocents first. If anyone wants to walk away now, know that you will not be judged."
When no one budged, Ms Marvel just smiled "Good, now let's see what you're made of."
Across the city, in the middle of the Hudson river was the floating prison known as The Raft. In the darkest depths of the artificial island there was a red haired man looking through a two way mirror at a monster in its cage. The monster was Victor Von Doom, now free of the night howler toxin but also ripped from his armour and had been branded with a mark that severed his connection to the magical forces of the multiverse. He was sat at the table in his old fashioned barred cell, dressed in white prisoner jumpsuit reading a book. There was six machine gun turrets on him at all times, there were charms and magic glyphs etched into the adamantium cell bars to prevent anyone teleporting in on any magic being performed in a hundred foot radius. The red haired man chuckled darkly "How the mighty have fallen, he was always an arrogant prick."
"Sir, we really shouldn't be here, the prisoner you asked to see is down the hall." The pompous sounding warden reminded the well dressed red haired man.
The man who looked to be in his fifties was in a tailor made suit and holding a large shock proof briefcase just turned to Warden and replied with a creepy smile "Lead the way, warden."
The Warden, flanked by two heavily armed guards led the red haired man to a row of cells which were designated for prisoners who were classed as A-level criminals "Prisoner Z1EG is in the cell at the end of the corridor." The warden instructed.
The red haired man just nodded at the warden before making his way down the corridor of cells, all of which had single occupants and were made of extremely thick bulletproof glass. The man glanced at the other prisoners on the way and recognised a mask-less Task Master and a slumbering Kraven but they didn't concern him. He already had eyes on his target, she was on the floor of her cell doing push ups with her remaining arm, her white hair was greasy and tangled and when she heard footsteps approaching her golden eyes shot up to see who was coming but she saw just another suit she carried on with her push ups. "So are you a shrink, a lawyer or the guy sent to kill me?" Ronin panted, continuing her exercises.
"None of the above, Mrs Kirabito." The Red haired man answered, looking at the assassin with critical gaze.
"If you're a priest, rabbi or imam, forget it, I'm not the religious type." Ronin grunted, standing up and grabbing a towel to wipe away the sweat from her brow.
"I just saw your old employer down the hall, old Victor is looking rather pathetic these days." The Man brought up.
Ronin froze up a little before hissing "Merde, the rumours are true then, he is on the raft." the swordswoman subconsciously stroking her stump, wondering how long it would be before Doom got to her.
"Out of curiosity, how many of your fellow inmates have already tried to kill you?" The man asked.
"Four, all of them are dead now. I just got of solitary this morning, but you already knew that." Ronin answered, trying to figure out who the suit was and what was his angle.
"I did and I'm glad you've still got your fighting spirit despite the loss of both your arm and your wife." The Man responded, not intimidated by Alice's glare upon the mention of her wife.
"And why are you so concerned about my fighting spirit?" Ronin simmered.
The man replied by opening the briefcase he was holding and presenting the contents to Ronin, inside was a weaponized prosthetic arm.
Ronin looked at the arm and smelled a way out of the raft, she looked the man in the eyes and replied "A lovely gift but who is it from?"
The man then smiled "My name's Norman Osbourne and I have a little team where you can work off your sentence."
Away from the grimness of The Raft there was another nearby facility for holding criminals, but these were not prisoners they were patients. In Bellevue mental health hospital there was room that had been brightened up by old photographs in frames, posters and even flowers. There were two ginger women sat a table with a chessboard between them while armed guards were stood outside the room like sentinels. "It's your move." Lu prompted, leaning back in her chair, she was dressed in pink pyjamas and wore a patient wristband as well as a power inhibitor collar.
"Ugh, why did I suggest I play chess with you? You always beat me at it when we were younger." Robbie groused, the mechanic moving her knight in a move she wasn't sure would work.
"Because you've always been super competitive." Lu smiled at her baby sister, before moving one of her bishops "And checkmate."
Robbie looked at the board and realised she was defeated before sighing "It's been a decade and you still rule at this."
"Well I've been practising with my psychologists, Dr. Thrash says I'm a lot more open when I'm playing chess or practising my violin." Lu replied, setting the pieces back to their staring positions.
"Dr. Thrash?" Robbie scoffed "That's got be a nickname...anyway how's therapy going?"
"It's going ok," Lu answered with a tired voice, playing with her freshly braided hair (courtesy of Robbie) "but 'She' showed up during one of my sessions the other day."
"Are you ok? Did she do anything?" Robbie asked, gently taking hold of Lu's hands.
"No, I didn't give her the chance, I got back control within half a minute, Dr. Thrash wanted to continue but I said it was best to sedate me before she hurt anyone." Lu admitted.
"It'll be a long road, but we'll get control of this whole thing one day." Robbie comforted.
"The trial's going to be hell, I can just picture 'Her' acting up while I'm being cross examined." Lu worried "I don't get why they just don't hand me a life sentence now and get it over with."
"Luna, you weren't in control, if we can prove that you could be released into my custody." Robbie willed.
Lu shook her head "Too risky, I just want to keep everyone safe. Honestly, I'm just fine having you visit twice a week."
"Well I've been given passes for Hannah and Aaron to visit next week in the family room, so that's something to look forward to." Robbie gave a small smile.
"I can't believe you're married and have a kid, I can't wait to meet my nephew." Lu said, she had been excited to meet the little boy ever since seeing a photo of him on Robbie's phone.
"But I did get a few more visitor passes, for today actually." Robbie said out of the blue.
Lu looked at the door with alarm and asked in a quiet voice "What do you mean more passes?"
"I didn't want to overwhelm you if you were having a bad day, so that's why I suggested we play chess to see how well you were feeling." Robbie explained "They're waiting right outside."
"Who is it?" Lu asked, eyes locked on the door.
"You know who it is. Is it ok if they come in?" Robbie asked, still holding Lu's hand.
Lu gripped Robbie's hand for comfort and mental strength then just nodded.
Robbie in turn looked to the two way mirror near the door and said "Come on, it's ok."
The sound of the door unlocking made the hairs on Lu's arms stand on end, the first person she saw was the armoured SHIELD guard but then he stepped aside and in the doorway there were fice very familiar faces that Luna had longed to see but now she was seeing them she had no words to say, she stood up from the small table and looked at her family. Nick and his three sons; Ryan, Ronan and Reggie all towered over the petit Judy, who's grey hair was cut really short, her amethyst eyes moist with tears, she looked like she was about to say something but instead she darted over and hugged her step daughter tightly, bawling her eyes out.
It's only when she felt the comforting embrace that Lu wept "Mom." and hugged her back.
Nick then joined the hug whispering through his tears "We missed you baby girl." then kissing his eldest child on the cheek.
The quadruplets then completed the hug, all of them saying messages of love and support for their big sister. The future was uncertain for Lu, but she didn't care, as long as she was locked up so was Andi and she knew that her family would always be there for her.
This was the 22nd time that the Wildes and Savages had journeyed to Bunnyburrow for Christmas. This was the second of two annual trips, the first being during the summer's Carrot Days festival but this year was extra special because there were six new family members arriving on the train from Zootopia. Newborn kits were a common sight on the Hopps homestead, every month a member or two of the huge family would increase the clan size with a new litter but it was the first instance in the family of a lesbian couple using a sperm donor to have a litter and an another queer couple adopting a koala into the family, adoptions were pretty common in the Hopps family to but it had always been bunnies.
Aaron was embracing being part of such a massive family, all the other kids wanted to play with him, the adults fawned over him and the farm was such a fun place to play. But the sun had just set on Christmas eve and it was an excuse to send the hundreds of kids off to bed early to avoid being skipped by Santa but before Aaron was tucked into bed his great grandma Bonnie insisted on a photo. Aaron was sat in front of the Christmas tree in the living room with Alice and Luna's tiny kits all swaddled in his arms "Aww, now that's a sweet picture." Bonnie cooed, showing Robyn and Luna the photo on the digital camera's screen.
"The babies have their awesome big cousin looking after them." Luna gushed, knowing she would have this photo as her desktop wallpaper.
"Ok little hero, time for bed." Hannah said, crouching down and taking Heather and Victoria out of Aaron's arms.
"But Mom, it's only seven o'clock." Aaron pouted.
"And it's Christmas eve, we don't know when Santa will drop by but if there any kids awake well he'll just fly right over the farm." Robyn added, feeding Aaron the same words that Judy had told her when she was five.
"It's true, Aaron. I stayed up with my brothers and sisters one Christmas eve and in the morning we hadn't a single present." Stu harmlessly lied, taking hold of his namesake baby Stuart from Aaron's arms.
Aaron eyes went wide in alarm "Really?" he gasped.
"Same thing happened to me back in Sherwood." Nick piled on, getting up from his chair with a storybook in hand "Now come on, I promised you and the other kids in your room I'd read you a story before bed."
Alice took Sayame and John as Aaron got up and gave a hug and a kiss to all the adults in the room, giving an extra long hug to his Moms before being scooped up by Nick. "What room is he in again?" Nick asked as he headed out the front door.
"Bunkhouse seven, room nine." Bonnie remembered, the Hopps matriarch had memorized each and every child's bedroom for the get together.
Stu relaxed into his armchair, cradling Stuart and looked at Jack, Skye and Judy who were chilling by the fireplace "So how does it feel to be grandparents?" The early eighties buck asked.
"Bliss." Skye answered honestly.
"We've only got to worry about one grandkid, poor Nick and Judy have had six land all at once." Jack commented, supping on some bourbon.
"You make it sound like a burden, these little angels are no trouble, even if they are crying pooping machines." Judy joked.
"Alice sweetheart, I hope Luna's pulling her weight with all the feeding and diaper changing." Bonnie fussed.
"Grandma." Luna huffed.
"Luna's has been the perfect mother, Bonnie, I promise." Alice assured, cuddling up next to the vixen while gently rocking Sayame and Victoria.
Robyn was about to comment on the babies when she noticed that Hannah had passed the kits she had been holding onto Judy and had gone into the kitchen. The hybrid followed her wife when she heard the back door to the yard open and close, Robyn found Hannah sat on the back porch with a fresh beer can in her paw. "You doing ok, babe?" Robyn asked, sitting down beside her.
"It's weird, even though I can't see I know my parents and yours are looking at me with disappointment." Hannah lamented quietly before taking a glug of larger.
"It's not like that." Robyn comforted.
"Isn't it? My Mom chewed me out pretty bad on the train ride here, Dad had to intervene and get her to back off. And I can tell that Nick and Judy are still mad with me." Hannah informed.
"We knew this trip would be hard but we can't let the family tradition be interrupted by something that'll be fixed in time." Robyn said with a hopefully.
"You're still mad with me." Hannah stated.
"...Yeah." Robyn answered reluctantly but she took Hannah's spare paw and traced it over her wedding band "But I wouldn't have got this reforged if my anger was all that mattered, look my rage will die down, we'll work through our issues and I know we'll come out of this stronger. I love you."
"I love you, too." Hannah conceded, leaning in and hoping for a kiss which she got.
Robyn noticed that when she kissed Hannah she didn't feel any negative emotions, it's as if all the problems just washed away, she felt the same way when they were together with Aaron and she knew that the love in her heart would outshine the darkness of anger. The kiss ended and Hannah rested her head on Robyn's shoulder, Robyn held her striped bride close and looked up at the starry night sky with hope.
(AN/ After 3 stories, 140 chapters, over 828,000 words, over 4000 reviews, hundreds pieces of art, half a dozen spin offs and a new irl D&D group born from this series it's finally done. Thank you readers for taking your time to read my crazy take on what happened after Zootopia, including a massive genre shift and my terrible grammar and spelling skils thanks to my dyslexia. Thank you for all the support, you're all amazing and supported me and the team when we were attacked by trolls. But now I want to thank some special people...
Chelsea: You're the most brutally honest woman I know and a great friend, you gave this story Esso, one of the break out stars of this fic! You're amazing and I can't wait to read your spin off featuring everyone's favourite Lynx.
Charles: You entered the team as a fan but you rose through the ranks and by the time the 3rd story came you had created Arthur Knight and already a spin off ready. You my dude, are a brilliant friend, it'll be great to read your fic and It'll be awesome to see you again at London Comic Con
Senny and Lis: The cutest couple. Senny you gave me the first ever piece of Take a Stand fan art, which I still have it! But even better you created Aleks Rojek! And Lis with your OC Zoe, you brought much colour and humour to this fic series. Thank you and i wish you all the happiness.
Boehm: You are the moral compass of the dev team and you come up with the craziest ideas that actually make sense. You're awesome dude! Keep up with the writing!
Zieg: Creator of Alice Kirabito and an astonishing artist who I have had the privilege of watching his skills evolve from pencil sketches to full epic digital art pieces. The master of small details and always humble, Zieg the Take a Stand series would've never been as popular as it was if your art wasn't the face of the story, you brought the highs and lows of these characters to life and I will forever be in your debt. Thank you, my friend.
Oggie: You always make me laugh, you big old furry. Keep being awesome.
Ortiz: Another artist who brought their love of comics and zootopia to this story and created some of the most badass artwork the series ever had. Like Zieg, you've evolved from pencil sketches to form your own unique comic book style. Thank you dude.
Ice Cream: I'll always remember those first artworks you made of Robyn and Hannah as Ruby and Sapphire and NOW i look at your art and all i feel is amazement, your art skills have grown so much and you've brought your amazing skills to this series. Thank you.
Alana: Even though your time with the team was short, your ideas, your comics of the TAS characters and your oc Alana will always be treasured.
HelTheHatter: In my personal opinion, YOU are the greatest zootopia fanfic writer in the fandom and thank you for allowing me to use your ocs Kodi, Sasha and Wade.
Special thanks also to OceRydia, Villager, SpookyYena, SuperCanadianRobin, ReekyRiq, If-You-Want-To-Get-Out-Alive, Crystal Master, J. , FuzzyWuzzyLittleTail, Otakurec, Shadowed-Visitor and so many others. Thank you. Please review and c ya soon...
OH! And one more thing there will be a series of TAS one shots coming from me called Take A Stand Tales! Ok, bye.)