Fantastic Foxes of Zootopia: Season 1. Episode 1.


Acting out



"I felt like I could see everything that had happened, and everything that was going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me, and I realised that we were all part of it, and all trapped by it."

(From V for Vendetta)



I'd like to welcome you to my maddest undertaking yet. Fantastic Foxes of Zootopia! This is going to be a tv series inspired piece of work, with multiple (and I mean lots of) fics per season. On FanFic, they'll all be together, whereas on A03 they'll all be apart (so subscribe to the FFOZ series).

Each part stands by its own, but they all contribute to this grand story. There'll also be a one-shot collection for all non-canon work (and bonus stuff) that I plan to put out soon. Two prequel fics, ''Different'' and 'Baby it's cold outside' have already been released, with the first essential reading. It's where the crossover between Fantastic Mr Fox is first made.

But we won't be stopping there! Not only will I be bringing in some favourite fanon characters in series 1, I'll be doing a crossover with Aggretsuko and a different Disney property in season 1 ALONE! That's not to mention a certain few crossovers that'll come into their own later, but are ticking quietly on in the background. I wonder if you'll be able to find them? Season 2 will really turn the crossover meter up to 11, and you can bet that some crazy stuff then follows in Season 3!

If this gets done, it'll be the ultimate king of the crossovers. I hope you'll all enjoy it, and I welcome you onto this Wilde ride!





Chapter 1



Dr Amy Lupuleli's therapy office was opened late that night. The binturong tended to take extra-long shifts, packing her work load into a few days, before relaxing on those days that were left. It also helped her see certain mammals who liked to stay up late, or who had weekday jobs which they needed to fit their therapy around.

One in particular was a red fox who she'd recently become very accustomed too. Nick Wilde: Police Officer, sarcastic deflector, and a mammal who could ooze confidence yet used to choke up whenever he had to give truly personal information or feelings to people. He could keep it cool and run a complex operation, sweet-talking all the right mammals and playing with the highest stakes, but it would all fall apart if he had to truthfully tell stories about his shady past. He was brave, and could spin the worst insults into funny jokes, but his attempts to reveal his true feelings towards certain co-workers would devolve into an obfuscated mess of self-depreciation and corny lines. Especially when those true feelings were about one co-worker above all else. His partner, and the mammal he had deep unconfessed feelings for, one Judy Hopps.

Because, if there were two big causes of psychological strife in his life, one of them was that bunny.

The other was a certain fox called Nicholas Piberius Wilde.


"I need to talk to you about something," he said seriously, looking over at her as he entered. That was new, and unexpected, and she watched the fox carry on talking as he settled himself down. "-About something that I realised earlier today. Something that's wrong with me, and I think… -I know, I need to work on."

"I'm open," she said, giving a reassuring smile. She had no idea what he'd be saying, but she needed to be prepared for all bases. These kinds of shifts in behaviour could bring up all kinds of psychological curveballs.

"It involved an undercover mission I was on earlier today," he continued. "Involving some very nasty mammals who almost got away with it." There was a pause, and a smile then grew across his muzzle. "It might be a bit bleak and dark, but trust me, no good guys were harmed and I think you'll love the ending."

Amy nodded. "I think I can handle it."

"Well…." The fox began, beginning his story….



Earlier that day…





A perfectly normal day in the self-appointed jewel in the crown of mammalian civilization. Where everything was normal. Everything humdrum. Where mammals of multiple species just got on with their ordinary lives. The rising sun peeked above the skyscrapers and cast its glow to the streets below. The mammal tide of the night shift was returning home, but already the undercurrent of the morning shift had turned the flow. Doors opened, busses were packed and mammals big and small, young and old, were on their way to where they needed to be.

On that morning a red furred pair exited a taxi in the side streets of Savannah Central, the larger one knocking at a wooden door. He was dressed smart, his trousers finely pressed and his shirt clear, and a well-done tie swung in the breeze. He tapped his maroon foot on the floor, just waiting, as a commotion came from inside.

He wasn't sure why, maybe it was just a premonition, but he felt the need to hold the free paw of his little companion just a bit tighter. He knew everything would be fine, yet… -No, it was all a silly thought.

With a clatter the door was opened, and a homely looking brown bear greeted them. "Hello Mr Oshiro!" she said, a paw out.

The maned wolf standing in front of her smiled, giving a little bow, before he returned the favour. "Greetings Mrs Kuma," he said, the bear noticing that, like usual, he barely moved his muzzle as he spoke. Well, it did wiggle around up and down, but his mouth didn't seem to open up or close at all. She often wondered if he was a ventriloquist in his spare time, though he maintained that he simply worked for an accounting firm. "Though please, call me Ōokami."

She chuckled. "Sure…" And then, she turned down to the little figure that had been silent throughout the whole event. "Hello little Sagīshi," she greeted, remembering to draw out the first 'I' as if it were an 'ee'.

The young pup looked up at her and smiled, pulling a quick paw up to wave. His fur was a coloured in a mix of dusty brownish-red and greyish-white, slowly maturing into his father's more vibrant hues but still carrying the lingering puppish brown tone that it would have been for most of his first few years. Likewise, he still had a larger head, and arms and legs that were much stumpier, than those his species were generally known for, though he was certainly as lithe and bushy tailed as his dad. Dressed in a green shirt, a pair of grey denim overalls and with a backpack on his back, his other paw held a salmon shaped chew toy tight against him. With his first paw, he slowly put his thumb across his palm and held it all up to his ear, before pulling it out in a long arc, extending his thumb as he did so.

"That's hello, isn't it?" the bear asked, the young pup nodding back.

There was a chuckle from his father, who put his paw down onto his son's head and ruffled up the fur a little. "It is," he said wistfully. "Isn't it, you clever little boy?"

Sagīshi nodded, before shuffling up closer to Ōokami, stretching up on his tip toes so that he could rub the side of his head up against his father, just above the larger canine's hip. A tail came around him, and he panted slightly from the happiness. Mrs Kuma couldn't help but squeal a bit, shifting around here and there on her feet. It came to an end though as the pup tried to giggle.

He couldn't, not that he knew.

The joyous squeaks came out more like hacked coughs, and Ōokami stopped the petting with a sigh. "Enjoy your morning with Mrs Kuma," he said, kneeling down to his son's level. "Behave. Be polite. Keep yourself clean and tidy." He paused, before leaning in and giving the bridge of his boy's muzzle a few parting grooms with his tongue. "Have lots of fun. I love you."

Sagīshi held his father tight in a hug, his head digging in just over the maned wolf's hip, with Ookami hugging back, before the younger canine let go and moved one of his paws down, over his heart. All but his two outermost fingers and his thumb went down, and he moved his palm in and out.

Ōokami couldn't help but sniff and repeat the action, before parting with one last kiss on his cheek. He got into his taxi and off he went, his son happily waving at him as he vanished into the distance.

"Well, little one," Mrs Kuma announced, smiling as she did so. One of the corners of the grin pulled up just a little, before she carried on. "It's just you here today, but I think we're going to have a real lot of fun." She chuckled as she said it before taking the boys' paw, almost, but not quite, too low for her to reach, and leading him inside. He entered, toy in tow, and the door closed behind her hard. There was a clicking of a hard lock, a slam of a bolt, and a final, solid, rattling of a chain being locked shut.

The inside of the property was vast to the little pup, though it felt a bit cramped for the bear. Being a larger species, that tended to happen quite often. Still, it was good enough. The front of the building was a big open plan kitchen and lounge, the latter stocked up with some daycare facilities. There was a large changing table with a built-in cleaning sink; a chest full of toys; a big bookcase with a mix of books for all ages; a special set of sleeping cribs, arranged like a pull out filing cabinet so multiple mammals could sleep there; and a few massive playpens, with fabric mesh sides. For all intents and purposes, it looked like a well-stocked nursery, one where Sagīshi could play and enjoy the day.

He was set down, on Mrs Kuma's knee, and she began bouncing him happily up and down as she took his bag and began unpacking it. She spoke in a motherly tone, treated the items being taken out with care and seemed to be perfectly happy with the young pup she was in charge of. In fact, the sweetness to her voice almost felt just a little overbearing, some of her cooing was just a bit more on the nose than usual, and as he was bounced up and down, Sagīshi began to feel just a little uncomfortable. He began wiggling slightly and, as she finished unpacking his bag, he slipped off, landing on all fours.

"That was clumsy, wasn't it?" his caretaker asked, pouting at him. She booped his nose with her claw before giving a tap on his rear. The pup flinched at it and got up again, before pointing towards the TV. Holding his paw, the other carrying his chew toy, she took him onwards and set him down, pressing play as she went to pack away his things. A spare change of clothes which was good, not that they would be necessary. Some chewy snacks, the kind lots of predator kits and pups enjoyed. A furbrush. She smiled. Those always came in useful. A whiteboard, with a marker pen which she handed over to him before taking the bag and hanging it up. There was one last item in there, a bottle of flea-repellent. Ōokami had warned her that the special pre-school he went to had been having a lot of issues with fleas, and that if she saw him beginning to scratch then she should use it just in case. "School for the deaf," she pondered out loud. "Of course, you can hear me fine. It's your voice that's broken… -You can't say a word, can you you poor thing?"

Sagīshi looked back and nodded a little, before trying to hack out a few more words. Nothing came from it.

"What were you trying to say there?" she asked, as he got out his whiteboard and began drawing. She walked over. "Want to tell me something?"

There was a pause, and the pup turned his whiteboard around to reveal a picture of a very fat bear, complete with great big stink marks, and a helpful annotation that quite clearly described her as 'poopy'.

She frowned and immediately marched forwards. With a yelp, the pup was hoisted up and taken over to one of the sleeping cribs. It was pulled out, he was dumped down onto the stiff plastic sheet, and it was slid back into position. He was locked up, a white plastic mesh separating him from the frowning bear outside. "That was very rude," she said, shaking her head. "I think you need a bit of time out to think over what you did."

The maned wolf pup looked out, his paws on the crib's side and his eyes and mouth trembling, close to tears. On all fours, he wandered back into the pup bed and, grabbing a blanket with one paw and holding his chew toy salmon with the other, he wrapped himself up. His trembling lips broke, and he cried out, sobbing, his vocal chords tangling up to make a sound that wasn't even a child's cry, yet seemed even more miserable for the failed attempt. He carried on till he fell silent, lying there peacefully.

Out of sight, Mrs Kuma was smiling as she was joined by another figure, Mr Kuma. They talked together for a little, before she left. Mr Kuma remained though, and he walked up to Sagīshi and, after taking a nervous glance behind him, looked in, the pup looking back.

The big male bear smiled eagerly, before waving at him as he left. "See you soon, little one. You and I are gonna have a lot of fun."



Sagīshi didn't like time out, that was for certain. He'd quietened down just a little and listened in to whatever was being said, ear pressed against the mesh and following the conversation studiously. Holding his salmon tight, nursing its mouth into his face, he heard somebody head back towards him, before seeing Mrs Kuma arrive. She looked in, seeing a pup with eyes that glistened with tears, and smiled. "Looking cute, aren't you? I think you've learnt your lesson now."

Whatever smile she had was cut off as a sharp knocking hit the door. She flinched, before she quickly opened up the crib and pulled her charge out, depositing him into one of the playpens. Television on, she left for the front door, Sagīshi standing up and looking through the mesh at her. Waiting. There was an odd look of both confusion and hope in his eyes.

"Hello there?"

"Hello," a male voice came in from outside. "I heard you did… -photography, in here."

"Uhhh," she said, suddenly confused, pausing for time. "I'm afraid we're a daycare…"

He chuckled. "I'm pretty sure you do both."


"Don't worry, I'm one of you," he replied. "One of you."

"I don't…"

"-Oh, you do," he interrupted. His voice went down to a whisper and he spoke up to her. "I know what it's like to feel that pull, wherever you go and whatever you do. How it gnaws at you, and how you have to control every look. Because every look they give to you might be that look that says, 'I know what you are'. 'You're a monster'. 'Death is too good for you.' And you want to scream at them, 'I didn't ask for this!' And I know how just how liberating it is to give in, to scratch that damn itch! It's not like they'll remember it, after all."

"I should turn you away," the bear said bluntly, her anger rising. "That… That sounds sick, that sounds disgusting! How dare you!"

"-You should. Buuuuut….. you won't."



"Apologies for the front," she said, as she stepped in to let the newcomer enter, little Sagīshi's eyes widening as he spotted a red fox standing in front of him. His fur was slick and shimmered slightly, as if oily, while he dressed in a black ostrich-leather jacket, a grubby white top and a pair of blue jeans. The pup and the fox were about the same size, something that quickly drew the newcomer's attention. He looked over, his head cocking slightly, and the pup reflexively flinched away.

"Hang on just a moment…" he muttered, beginning to walk forwards.

"Hold up!" the bear interrupted, stopping him. "We're very careful here," she warned, stretching up and wide. Given how she dwarfed the fox already, and how he didn't care, he remained unphased. "No, no… -I just want to… -look at him. As you do."

She paused and smiled. "Sagīshi?"

He remained wrapped up in on himself, even hiding his head with his tail.

"Sagīshi!" she scolded, bringing the furbrush about a just swinging it about a bit, threateningly.

The pup slowly unfurled himself and looked up at the new fox, holding his chew toy tight…

He looked back, looking at the pup's green eyes for a second or two before smiling just a bit. He gave a long wink, before turning back to the bear. "I'm just looking for a few mementos. The juicy kind."

"I…" she began, before pausing.

"-What about some fresh and juicy ones…"

She sighed, before shaking her head. "It's too risky," she said sternly.

His smug grin faded. "Oh, come on!"

"Listen," she stated. "If you want to keep some secrets, there are ways of keeping them. "Especially from certain mammals who want to expose our ones!"

"And I'm not trustworthy?" he asked, a hint of desperation in his voice. He raised both palms up to his side as he did so and gave a shrug, along with a happy-go-lucky smile.

"You know what it's like for mammals like us," she said, handing him over a card. "We can… -verify you, soon."

He looked down, tapping a foot on the floor. "How soon?"

"This weekend."

He glanced over at the pup, whose back was turned to him. "I need it today," he stressed. "Preferably now."

She sighed, before frowning. "It can wait," she stressed. "Tonight."

"-I can't do tonight."

"Then the weekend it is," she stated, before leaning down with a paw. She began to push him out, and he managed to glance at the pup one last time before his was out of the door.

The bolts and locks and chains went back on. Curtains were closed. A highchair came out, and the bear spared a look at the pup, who was just standing up and staring at her. He sat back down as her husband walked by her, carrying a can of white wallpaper paste. "For the love den," he chuckled, placing down on a stack of books by the highchair.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kuma picked Sagīshi up, putting him into the highchair. "You don't want to get all this over you?" she chuckled, patting the tin.

Like it would be with any child, it wasn't long before he was covered in it, the white sticky substance coating him. Mrs Kuma and Mr Kuma looked at each other and giggled, before holding his paw and taking him into the back.

Into a store room.

Into a place where they had a good variety of props and other items, along with some good quality camera stands and recording devices. They were careful mammals to be sure, they had to be. A child might be able to explain that he was abused, or injured, but not so much if he was put into an illusion, showing something he or she didn't understand.

They made him sit down, as they discussed what they might do. By all means, they could just do stuff that wouldn't injure him. But, then again, he was young. He was mute. The risks were lower, and they could do some more enticing things with him. They wouldn't be at risk if they dropped the illusion for him, would they?

As they talked, Sagīshi slowly backed into the corner, as if he could tell that something bad was up. As if he could tell something terrible was about to happen to him. He whined a little, tail between his legs as he shrunk down, ears folding against his head. Holding his little chew toy tight, he began nibbling it, then biting in, then nibbling it again. He kept on doing it, holding the thing tight as the bears turned to him. Looking down at him, their grins growing, he beginning to undress as she got out the furbrush, talking about how he was a really naughty pup for making such a mess. "Someone is going over my knee," she began. She hit the brush hard into her palm and began walking forwards, scoffing as the pup held his silly little toy as if it would save him. It wouldn't. He was their play thing now and nothing…


They both flinched, before a look of terror grew on their faces as a female voice hollered out. "ZPD! Open up!"

The female bear turned to her husband, who was already tidying things up. "Don't bother!" she hissed. "Get out, hide the room, get something on and make yourself look like you're giving him a clean!"

"What if he says anything!" he urged.

"He's mute! What's he going to say?"

They both froze as a new voice, that of a certain famous fox cop, spoke out. "How about Goo-goo Ga-ga, child rutters?"

Together they turned to face him, wide eyed, before both immediately received a tranquiliser dart between their eyes. They didn't seem to notice though, instead staring bemused at the mammal who'd just spoken, none other than their little maned wolf pup. Wearing a very fox-like grin, he pulled back his chew toy and blew the mouth as if it were a smoking gun. "In-built recorder, radio, tranq gun, and the lips are lined with tabasco to help me cry," Sagīshi said, in the fox cop's voice, pulling up a finger in a lecturing gesture as he did so. "When I was a kit, I didn't have anything this fun!" The bears continued gawking, albeit more due to the tranquilisers at that moment. They stumbled slightly, collapsing backwards, just as the sound of the front door being broken in rang out. There was stomping and shouts and, as they faded out of consciousness, they heard some megafauna mammals reading them their rights and placing them in cuffs. They were past the point where they could be afraid. That could come later.

The last thing Mrs Kuma remembered was a grey blur racing past her. Oddly enough, it seemed like a bunny in a police officer's uniform. She raced past them, and the other officers, and jumped straight into Sagīshi's waiting paws.

"I was worried there, Nick."

He'd felt the same way, and his instincts told him not to say it. But he'd been working on them and, after a steadying breath he spoke out. "I was a little too."

She let go and just looked at him. He'd been dyed here and there to make him look more like a three year old maned wolf pup instead of a grown fox, his fur had been specially sculpted too, and both he and the civilian helper they were using had covered themselves with each other's scent to help the illusion when dealing with these bears. But it was most certainly Nicholas Wilde standing there. She couldn't help but smile at him.

He couldn't help but smile back.





Looking over, Nick saw the grin on Dr Amy's muzzle. "I take it you enjoyed that?" he asked.

"The ending gave a certain satisfaction," the therapist agreed, before turning back to her pad. "Though, that does beg a certain question. What's the matter with you now?"

There was a slight clearing of his throat, before the fox carried on his story. "It's something I realised on the way back to the precinct…"





It wasn't long before the ZPD were moving in and out of the raided day care. Two hulking Rhino's entered and, together, they carried out the bear and her husband. Both had little pinpricks between their eyes, the tranquiliser darts that had caused them long since removed. They'd been replaced with pawcuffs around the perpetrator's wrists, even if they weren't going anywhere soon. Into the back of a police car they went, the officers looking on with disgust, before they were driven off for booking.

Officer Judy Hopps of the ZPD looked at the car as it vanished around a corner, before looking away. Down. She breathed in and out, before hopping up into the back of her own car. The red furred mammal who'd been dropped off there in the morning was just sitting there, moping. He was the perfect picture of a miserable little maned wolf pup. Staring at the floor, the most pitiable look imaginable on his face. "It's okay," she comforted.

He flinched away slightly, huffing.

"You're safe now."

"-They couldn't even get me a coffee?"

Her ears went up, and she looked at the pouting figure. "Hang on…" she began, stuttering slightly. She was cut off though by a finger on her mouth.

"TWO sicko's in the pen, and they can't even get me a large Snarlbucks coffee with caramel and vanilla, with whipped cream and a cherry on top?"

A little smile grew across Judy's face as she looked at the mammal across from her. Sure, he looked like a maned wolf pup. His fur had been trimmed in a way that made his face look younger, with fur highlights helping. Clothing did a big part too. But, under all that, it was most definitely a fox looking back at her. Her favourite fox in the world. "Nick, if you want a good coffee, I'll get you a good coffee!"

He smiled. "You always know how to please me," he said, crossing her arms.

"Yeah," she replied. "Though you might want a shower first."

"Oh totally," Nick agreed, looking down at his clothing. White wallpaper past covered him, the bears using it as a rather convincing substitute for something else. Were it not such a disgusting thing, he might have even been impressed.

He shivered at the thought of the very notion, before a flash of guilt hit him for his previous admiration. He couldn't help but look at Judy, smiling warmly, ever that ray of sunshine. What on earth would she think if she knew that he'd thought that about the perps?

He glanced away, not wanting to think about that either. Fumbling with his paws, he knew that, were he to explain it, she'd probably get it. She probably wouldn't see anything wrong about it. He'd been working hard with his therapist on being able to open up about his real feelings and secrets, but here was a simple opinion and he…


His ears went down hard. Great, she'd picked up on his internal turmoil. This whole thing had been a blessing and a curse, getting her involved in his opening up.

"If you want to tell me something Nick, it's okay."

He bit his lip slightly and glanced down at her, before pushing through. "I was just thinking, about those bears… -they were very clever, impressive even -though-totally-gross-as-well!"

The bunny paused slightly, Nick gulping with worry. "I mean… I was a bit impressed by how they'd planned it too," she noted. "Our enemies keep on getting smarter, don't they?"

The fox felt a wave of relief wash over him, managing a smile. "Yeah. Whatever will they think of next?"

"Nothing we can't outsmart," Judy smirked, giving him a light pat on the arm. She broke it off though as her phone buzzed.

"That our civy?" Nick asked, referring to the maned wolf who helped the ZPD with the operation. From what he knew, he was an accountant who often found himself short of cash. He helped the ZPD in return for small reward payments.

"No," Judy replied. "Just a credit card advert. He might be stuck in a meeting or something."

"Probably," Nick replied… "Probably…" He looked away, closing his eyes. His mind slowly drifted back to a very unexpected part of the mission. The odd fox who'd come in to the nursery, trying to purchase pictures. Nick shivered from the recollection. It wasn't just the creep coming in, nor the chance that his undercover operation would be discovered, or had been discovered but kept a secret by the newcomer…

Something about how he'd acted, how he'd spoken, had rubbed him in all the wrong ways… Mentally, at least.

The fox cop couldn't help but listen in to what that paedofox had been saying. For some reason that he couldn't quite put his finger on, it creeped him out especially, unnerving him down to his bones. How he structured his words. How he was so happy-go-lucky, sarcastic and deflecting in his put downs, and convincing in his begging while…

And then it hit him.

The fox was so like himself back when he was a hustler. He had all his old traits and mannerisms, boiled down and concentrated. He was like Nick, before he'd chosen to turn over a new leaf, but purified and distilled and evil, all plain and evident to see. Turning away and rubbing his eyes, a shiver went down his spine and he felt a hollow pit form in his stomach. Was that what he'd been like? Well, not the child rutting part obviously, but was that what others saw him as?

Was that what he was like to others? To Judy?

It was all wrong.

A taint, a miasma on him.

It was something that he suddenly realised he needed to move far away from. Run from… Salting the earth behind him and making sure he'd completely embrace his new life, changing everything about him on his path forwards. The alternative was letting him share that taint. He looked at Judy sadly. She didn't deserve such a malaise, did she? Not in a friend… A partner… A…

No, he told himself. She did care for him. She…




His mind flicked this way and that in mental turmoil, worse than ever, before finally closing his eyes and taking a deep and calming breath. It helped to steady himself down a bit.

"You good Nick?"

He looked over and saw her paw on his. That may have had something to do with it.

"Bit mixed up, muddled up," he confessed. "But okay for now."

"Okay for now…."



Back in the present



Dr Amy Lupuleli looked over at her patient. His paws up, they covered his face, slowly sliding down it as he groaned. "I'm guessing you're not okay?"

"Astute observations like that are how I know you're such a good doc, doc."

She paused, a little grin growing on her muzzle. "Thanks for proving my point there, Mr Wilde," she said, taking the time to make a few more notes. "Though I wouldn't think into it all that much. You said you wanted to change everything about yourself, after seeing your own traits a very bad mammal. But him doing that doesn't make it bad in you. We all act and talk in different ways. You grew up communicating and acting that way, you lived it for years. There's nothing wrong with it, it's who you are."

She paused as she saw him bristle slightly.

This wouldn't be as easy as giving him a little bit of reassurance, that was for sure…

"Not the right thing to say?" she asked.

"No…" he began, before pausing. There was a sigh, and she watched as he brought his paws up and rubbed them down his face again. "Doc. I… That whole kind of thing was me as a hustler, you know? A nasty fox who didn't let people get close."

She nodded her head.

"And I want to move past that. Past all of that, who I was and how I acted. That other fox showed me what kind of mammal I used to look like, didn't he? Maybe not quite where I could have slipped down to, but not that far below. I don't want to be that kind of fox! I became a cop and aimed to start a new phase in life, leaving the old behind, and… -I've been thinking about it." There was a pause as he took in a deep breath and let it out, readying himself. "I feel that the things I want to leave behind includes how I behave to others. How I talk and treat others. A new me has to include how I speak and interact with everyone else, doesn't it? It must include how I do those deflective jokes? I need to drag my entire personality into a new lane, and I've been trying to start to do it today. The thing is, and I know it's early, but I just keep on slipping up."

Dr Lupuleli look on curiously, her tail swishing back and forth a few times. This was all new, very new. Very worrying as well. Writing down and underlining 'wants to give up sarcasm', 'feels his old personality is tainted' and 'phobic like reaction', she opened her mouth to speak, only to be cut off.

"-I mean right back then, when you said, 'I'm guessing you're not okay'," he huffed, looking away. His ears were peeled back, and easily readable sign of shame. "I made a dumb joke when you got a bit too close to me, and it felt natural! There wasn't this sense that I was stepping over a boundary, or that there was a warning light I ignored…. I just went and did it without thinking, and I keep doing that and can't seem to stop."

The binturong paused, looking down at her pad again, a concerned frown on her muzzle. "Do you truly think that your joking and such is a bad thing?" she asked. "Something you seriously need to move past to be a better mammal?"

"It's all old Nick," the fox said, shrugging. "And I don't want to be old Nick, I want to be new Nick. I've become a cop, but I truly want to make up for my past. To be something good. To be something better."


He looked over at her and shot a finger out. "Yes. That… -though I'm already red enough, so it'd just be -emption." She rolled her eyes, managing a little chuckle. She paused though as she heard an irritated groan come from her patient. "-And… -There… -I… -Go…. -Again…" he grunted, gritting his teeth. "It... it just feels so good. So natural. Yet I can't get rid of it." He sighed, bringing his paws up to his eyes. "And who, especially her, would fall in love with someone who, deep down, was always like that." He scolded himself, in an accusing tone. "Speaking like that. Acting like that… Just a stones throw or slippery slope away from a mammal like that fox. -Have I really even moved on at all? Probably not. Not enough to deserve her."

He trailed off, and Dr Lupuleli nervously jotted down some more. "Mr Wilde," she asked. "I felt comfortable around the old you. Doesn't that reassurance make you feel comfortable with yourself?"

There was a brief snort. "If I did, I wouldn't be here, would I?"

She paused, speechless for a second. "Well, I guess that's a fair point," she said. Her patient nodded back before wincing down, presumably as he realised he'd done it again. She was about to carry on, only for the beeping of her clock to cut through the air. She silently cursed it, knowing that she had some work to do and engagements to meet that wouldn't let her carry on helping him. Still, she could try and prepare him for next time.

"I'll be wanting to revisit this new issue when we next week," she said, as her patient got up. "In the meantime, carry on with your old exercises, working on opening up a bit more." Moving to the door, she let her tail grab the handle and open it, while keeping an eye on Wilde. "In terms of this new thing, I'd like you to not go too hard on this whole new personality thing just yet."

"Uh… -doc?" he began. "I think I kind of have to."

"I don't. I'm pretty sure this is you being a bit too critical of yourself," she reassured, smiling as she stepped forwards. "You'd just been through a stressful situation and had a knock on your confidence. I'm pretty sure this is actually just a big negative thought that has latched on and is trying to pull you down. Soon enough, if you remember your exercises, it'll slip off your leg and stop dragging you into the deep."

Nick looked at her morosely. "Doc… I thought of that, but I think this is different. It feels different."

Dr Lupuleli nodded. "Well, my advice then is to keep an open mind. Don't go beating yourself up if you can't move on just yet. In fact, try and assess what other mammals think of your current personality. Finally, I think that the next session might be helped if officer Hopps is here to help out. Mind asking her?"

Nick nodded. "I will," he said, reaching out a paw to shake hers. "And thanks. See you next time."

"Next time," she agreed, letting him close the door behind him.

There was a sigh and a groan as she returned to her desk. So much progress with that fox, and now what felt like a big step back. However, she could muse about it later. She had a few records to keep in line. Some notes to do. There was still that lingering worry for her patient though, lurking in the back of her mind, and she hoped he'd realise he was being a bit too harsh on himself there. His attempts to not become a deadpan snarker were something new, something that did concern her, and something that he'd hopefully realise was a bit unneeded without too much pushing.

Her thoughts were cut off suddenly, and her face grimaced, as she saw an application to section someone. "Never a good sign," she said, as she opened it up. Lists of a few conditions, previous medical advice, as well as all sorts of crazy scrawling's were listed out. Reading a testimonial from a family member, the binturong closed her eyes and grimaced. That was going to be a nasty call for sure.


AN: And so it begins. Feel free to check out my tumblr, Deviantart or the A03 version to see the awesome cover made by Jaff96!