FFoZ S1E5 Spanners and stripes.

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AN: Just a note about the cast list I published. After being corrected, I've changed Tsunoda's species to a dwarf gazelle/ dik-dik. Just to let you know.

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Sitting down on a trunk on the stage of a theatre in Zootopia, Jack Savage was idly flicking through the latest draft of his script. Working hard didn't come to him often, but when it was his passion on the line, he was an entirely different rabbit. Planning, testing, thinking out how it would go, he'd mashed together a unique take on the western drama, set to send any and all audiences abuzz. It was all great! All…

He paused, and flicked through the script, adding an extra little one-liner to a character…

Now it was perfect! Again!

Or maybe, if he…

On the other paw…

Or should he?

Ah! That did it.

A few more changes, and it was perfect again.

Then again…

No, it was perfect! Everything was perfect!

Or, at least, it should have been.

He was happy enough with how it was so far but, after much 'feedback' from his theatre's owner, he'd naturally been 'encouraged' to 'improve' it in a few ways. The tehuantepec jackrabbit's giant ears flicked a bit in irritation at the whole concept. "Still… could be worse," he noted, scratching just above his tail as he did so. This might turn out to be a rather boring day, unless…

He stood up, his expressions chiselling as he began projecting a cold and austere tone. Little improv sessions could always get him going, and here he was now, improvising a devil's advocate in an argument against himself. "It has been worse, has it not?"

Turning to sit back down, he laid himself back. Slouching, relaxed, yet with a coiled tension in one of his paws. He poised it so that, in a flash, it could haul out a revolver and succinctly execute the first dozen mammals in the room. His ears askew, chaotic, and he let his buck teeth bite over his lip. "Señor," he began. The Latino accent was a ham and he knew it. He owned it, given that he could speak his native tongue quite well. That wasn't the point though. This was a cliché filled overacted persona now. "Do you think I do not know?"

He stood up again, and in a flash he was the gloomy giver of bad news once more. "I certainly presumed so…"

Back down he went, the desperado once more. His paw came out, both lazy and fast, pulling up into a stern palm that cut off the speaker. The hare's mouth opened in a long and turning yawn, which he rounded off, staring into his 'opponent'. Tired eyes, with an underlying predatory savageness, glared forwards, targeting their prey. "Amigo… Not one week ago, when entertaining two fine heroes of the city, disaster struck! The stage, pushed into action by the most irritating mammal in the world, laid waste to both itself and the surrounding equipment. Catastrophe! Ruin! The lord was cruel, was he not?"

Up once more. The grave mask on. Glancing over to the side, he coughed a little. "Yes, well…"

Whatever he was saying was cut off as a load set of bangs came from below. Jack paused his act, before looking over to a square on the stage, a square that was sinking down into the ground. A feat it hadn't been able to do in a long while. "Well I never…" he continued, not breaking character for one moment.

He quickly sat back down, transitioning once more. "Ahhh!" he said warmly, lying back even more. "The Señorita! She comes at last, to a hero's return." He couldn't help but hide a grin. He loved it when something out of the blue was thrown into an improv session.

Starting with two sandy furred ears, a swift fox vixen in a pair of overalls rose up with the stage. Adjusting her safety goggles, picking up her tool case as she did so, Skye Autumn emerged. Standing up, Jack smiled a little, shrugging as he did so. "Good job," he said, his voice his own, no longer that of a character. "You've been working hard." There was a pause as he tried to think of something to say. Some kind of complement that would be perfectly tailored to a mechanic, a field he knew absolutely nothing about. In a flash he decided to play it safe with a bit of humour. "I could tell from the banging."

"Thanks," Skye said, nodding, before flashing him a little smile. She then turned and immediately head off towards a set of equipment just off the stage. Sitting down, she brought her tools out and immediately began working.

Jack sat there, looking at her blankly. He'd expected a little more playback. At least something to help break the dull wait. After all, what else was the purpose of an audience, even one as small as a single mammal? Then again… she had seemed to enjoy his acting before. He flicked through a script a few times before finding a new page to start off from.

His eyes hardened, his voice became gruff, and he was now the betrayed inspector of the frontier town. Still limping from the rubbing of the shackles he'd worn, working on a chain gang for five years, repaying a debt to society that he never owed. Now he was back though, ready to even out the balance. "Fenrir," he spoke, his tone hard as he glowered in front of him. Imagining the fellow actor in costume. "Maybe you don't understand what's going on here... Maybe you'd like me to tell you?"

"I thought you'd say yes," he said, a sadistic upturn in one of the corners of his mouth. "Always did so when you needed someone to solve the crimes, to find the fiend, to point your gun or your noose!" Cutting off, he let himself go down to a vicious whisper. "I always helped you, 'friend'."

The dark façade went and, stumbling forwards, Jack collapsed to his knees. Though he was no canine, he hauled his head up high, his neck stretching and painful as he exposed his throat. "I… I… -I had no choice!" he gasped, his voice breaking. His lips trembled, and he sniffed as if tears were coming from his eyes, before barking out a broken, shattered, defeated mea-culpa. "I had no choice! I would never…!"

He tore his head to the side and, kicking out with one leg, sent himself tumbling along the floor. All paws came out though and, jumping back onto his feet, he transitioned back. He looked on hard, giving out the slap he'd just received, before almost growling. "No choice! No choice in receiving that bribe, I say. No choice in slipping in that evidence, that false witness! No choice in throwing away your partner! Your ally! Your…" He choked, his lips trembling. "Your… -Your friend!" He sent a flurry of boxing punches forwards, before coming out of it and standing tall. Panting a few times, he let a wide grin grow on his face as he looked over to Skye.

… Who had her head buried in the same work she was doing when he started his little recital. Jack just looked at her a few seconds before rolling his eyes. 'Tough crowd, he told himself, before pulling out a chair and sitting on it. His ears drooped down over his eyes and he settled down. Maybe he could go a bit of rest, or…

BANG-BANG-BANG…

Or maybe not. Skye was leaning through a wall panel, busy knocking something or other back into place. Ferreting around, she began lifting something big inside. Something heavy. Jack, looking on, sighed. He didn't want to, but if she asked for help he'd be expected to…

"Almost there!" she called out. There was a pause, then a groan as she began lifting something, before a slip and a sudden 'Eeeepppp…!'

"Uh…" he began.

"I'm good. I can do this," she replied, before straining again. There was a little groan, then the sound of the component being slotted back into place.

"Well done," he called.

"Thanks," she replied.

Smiling, he watched as she pulled herself out of that area and fixed the panel in front back up. He kept it up as she walked towards him and then right past him. It might have even grown a little as she went to work on a new little technical hitch.

Jack paused in thought, an odd bit of curiosity flicking through him. But before he could speak, the shriek of an electric drill rose up, the hare waiting patiently for it to quieten down. When it did, he opened his mouth and…

BANG BANG BANG

-Was cut off by the sound of Skye, busily working away with a hammer. He waited once more, rolling his eyes as he did so. Finally it stopped, and…

Zzzzzzzziiiiippppppppp….

Out came the duct tape, quickly cut with a bite of her jaw, the vixen then busily wrapping something up. Sealing up her work once more, she walked right past him once again.

"Say, Skye?" he asked.

She paused a little, her tail giving a little swish and flick. "Even the best of us use duct tape," she retorted, looking back at him. "Don't judge."

And off she went again.

He paused, his mouth grimacing to the side. His eyes narrowed a little, and his nose began twitching. "What...?" he asked, suddenly feeling rather confused. "Was I judging?"

She rolled her eyes. "Probably."

He paused a little. "How much?"

"Enough."

"For what?"

"For me to have to tell you not to," she said, paws flicking in the air before she grabbed a ladder from offstage and began pulling it back on.

Jack blanked out, before just forgetting the whole thing. It was easier that way. He watched as Skye carried on walking across the stage, ladder in tow. She was laser focussed on the task at paw, getting through it and enjoying it as she did so.

"May I ask, what goes on in that head of yours?"

This time she did turn to face him, smirking as she did so. "Enough to get the job done Jack," she said coyly.

The hare shrugged. "'Strong silent' type?"

"Ehhh…" she shrugged. "Pretty much."

He stood up, smiling as she watched her work. Watched her… -well, just work really. It gave him something to watch, and this was coming from a mammal who'd once watched paint dry instead of going out and putting more money on the electricity meter. Still, some chatter might be a bit entertaining. He pondered; how much would it take to distract her? Relax that laser-focused mind of hers. It probably wasn't that much and, after all, words were free regardless.

"So… What are you up to now?" he asked, smiling as he saw her ears perked up a bit. If your business was about speaking all those little tells, you knew how to read them too, and he'd just engaged with her. He just had to carry on the suave, faux-disinterested act, and he should have her spilling out. "-And, I gotta say… I am curious as to how you got into such an unexpected career choice? Mechanic, well… -I must say that, for a mammal of such class as myself, it looks like a step down for a mammal of such class as yourself."

Setting her ladder up, she marched back past him, head held high, to gather her toolbox. "Then mammals like you are just jealous," she said with a smirk as she walked past him.

"And why would that be?"

With a swish of her tail, she pulled up her toolbox and was off again. "Well, you think that everything sucks too bad or your paws have gotta be clean and it means you never do anything interesting."

"And mechanics' work is interesting?"

She seemed to ignore him at first, setting up her ladder and climbing it, toolbox in her mouth. But, as she reached the top, she let it down, picked up a screwdriver and paused, looking down at him. If anything, she looked sorry for him. "If you can't see that, I can't help but pity you."

He snorted. "Pity, huh?" he mused, before shaking his head. "But I can sort of see it. Well, I think I can…"

"-I mean, so much going on. So many different things interacting, even at a smaller scale," the swift fox vixen continued. Her voice perked up and, as she grabbed her box and slid down the ladder, she only got louder. "It's like an art and a science but more! Doing all sorts with a lathe…" There was a brief pause as her feet hit the ground but, as she shifted her ladder along, she both spoke up and made her way up it again. "-like trimming down components so precisely that they don't fit if they're just a little too warm. -Or in cases like this, working out how piece after piece works for the whole."

"Hmmm… Like a surgeon operating?" he enquired, picking a select metaphor for the occasion.

"Well, if you switch lubricating oil for blood. Beating and moving, all in balance, and I'm the one who gets to design it, build it, put it right when it goes wrong or work out why it's gone wrong." Bringing out an electric drill, she turned to face him, a slightly mischievous look on her muzzle. "It's just a great thing to do."

"Very well," he said warmly, "You may consider my question answered."

"Mmmmmm-Hmmmmm…" she mused, going off to work on another section. Jack thought about carrying on, asking her something or other, but shrug it off. He was sitting in a nice place, and if he got bored then he might just get motivated enough to do those dreaded edits.

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He groaned, pulling the script out, a frown back on his face as he turned a few pages and shook his head. No… -No…. -He couldn't cut down any more of this! He wasn't going to tame it! Why should he have to bow to corporate? Just as he was asking the question, he heard the theatre entranceway open and, walking out, was corporate himself. Being a good actor, Jack managed to, just about, put on a perfectly normal smile as Buster Moon approached, carrying a copy of his script. He was smiling too.

Bad sign…

"Hiya Jack, how are you today!"

"Fine," he muttered

"Ah, wonderful!" the koala chirped, opening the page out. "-And, after I made a few little edits for you, you'll be happy to know your script's more than fine!"

Bar his face, Jack wasn't acting right then. He shook a little at that statement and looked nervously at the copy of what was once his work. Ears drooped down against his head as, quite obliviously, Moon began rattling off his changes.

"Well, we have a whole less violence for a start! I've stripped it down into a nice two-act structure - didn't need that last act anyway. I thought that we could do with something much more wholesome so… -congratulations here Jack, you've now got an award-winning musical on your paws!"

"Well," he deadpanned, holding back his desire to tear the new script up straight there and then. "I don't remember doing a musical." He then pushed the new script back into the koala's paws. "I'm not promising anything, but I think it'd be better if I made the changes, don't you think?"

"Oh, Jack," he said sadly. "You really do push yourself too much." The hare silently agreed with that, but listened on as his boss resumed. "But you do tend to slip up here and there…"

The jackrabbit bristled, standing up straight, his nose twitching a few times. Out came a paw and a finger, along with a lecture. "I don't slip up," he said proudly. "I know exactly what I'm doing…"

"Okay, okay...," Moon said, before quietening down. "It's just that it's all…. -wrong, if you know what I mean." He paused, looking at his new script, and smiled before handing it back and taking the old one from Jack. "Don't you worry, Jackie! We'll make this one, and I promise you it'll be the masterpiece that will make us famous! Trust me Jack, with this new script, you're gonna blow the roof off this place!"

The hare just held the new script with a slight revulsion and looked on longingly as his work was taken away. Sure, he had an electronic version, but…. He scanned through the new version, looking at all the previously high moments, before he began to tremble with fury. As soon as the theatre doors closed behind Moon, Jack gave a long pained scream, threw the new script on the floor, jumped on top of it a few times, then began kicking it like a soccer ball. Finally, with one last kick, he broke apart Moon's slab of goat food and sent the pages flurrying around him in a snowstorm of ruined visions and executive butchery.

"Rutting piece of good for nothing idiotic smug grinned…." He hissed, trailing off as he ran out of energy.

Dropping himself down on the edge of the stage, he let his legs hang there, swaying.

Bored…

Bored…

Depressed...

Bored…

There really wasn't much point to anything.

He might as well sit here and stew. He could see that going on for a few hours, then maybe a few more. Despite the horror he'd just witnessed, or maybe because of it, that last brief spike of energy had vanished.

His musings were broken off though as a creak rang out from besides him. Looking over, he saw a trapdoor that he never even knew existed lift up, Skye emerging. She looked at him in an odd way, which he suddenly remembered was her 'pity' look.

"Stupid meddler?" she asked, gesturing over to where Moon had gone.

He snorted. "Yeaahhhh."

She kept her eyes focussed on it, a little growl escaping from her muzzle. "Sounded like a meddler," she muttered before, much to Jack's surprise, sitting down by him. "Tell me everything."

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That he did. He went through all the changes, rattling off where and when all the good bits had been sanded down. To make it 'lighter', or 'smoother', or 'happier'. "It's like he wants to make everything into baby porridge," he muttered. "Tasteless mush for the lowest common denominator! Even worse, it'll be my name that gets top billing!" He looked down and sighed at it all.

"We need to do something about it."

He looked up at Skye. "How would I do that? Anyway, isn't Moon just too friendly to do something too?"

She paused, thinking, before shaking her head. "He's a meddler," she said, her eyes narrowing. "Doesn't matter if it's my passion or yours that they try and mess with, we gotta stick it to 'em!"

"Right," Jack said. Maybe it was time to do that. He stood up and looked around, trying to see or think if there was anything he could do.

Anything…

Anything at all?

Gunge or foam or something, that's what those kids' game shows used, wasn't it? He didn't even have the faintest idea where to start though.

"-I think I have a plan," she said.

Jack paused. Thinking about it, it probably wouldn't be worth the effort, whatever it was.

"And it involves us doing a bit of acting to trick him."

-Then again, that actually did sound very interesting and highly satisfying! "Okay Skye, hit me," he said, his voice excited and curious.

"Well," she explained. "You know that auction of knick-knacks out front?" she said. "How about you agree to buy one of the cheap items. Then I come in posing as a new buyer, and say it's some kind of ultra-valuable antique and that I just need to go out and get my money. He'll ask for it back, and you agree to do a refund, as long as he promises to stop meddling. I never come back! You get your script! The meddler gets meddled!"

"Yeah!" Jack agreed. He was totally hooked on this plan! He paused to think it through a bit. "We could dress you up as a rich heiress or something," he began, his mind beginning to swim with ideas. Visions of her character. Both of them working out their little skit. He smiled, paws on his hips, as he spoke out. "Give me your best shot, Skye."

She nodded, cleared her throat, and then spoke out in the most ridiculously fake 'old money' accents he'd ever heard. "Hellllllooooo! I'm Lady Auuutuuummmmnnn. Might I please buyyyyy this wonnnderful little thingy?"

He laughed, clapping, shaking his head as he did so. "Brilliant. Hilarious! Though this time, show me what you'll give Moon."

Skye looked on, confused. "That was itl."

Jack chuckled. "Seriously though. Give me your real-world aristocrat."

Skye continued in a lowreed down tone, only for a new priblem to arise. "Can… I… buy… this… thing… please… lowly… peasant?"

He blinked a few times, a hint of worry edging into his mind. "Maayyybbbeeee try without the accent? Or the contempt? Or a whole bunch of those other things you added…"

"How will I know I'm this rich lady though?" she asked, confused.

"Just close your eyes and act confident."

She did so, nodding, and…"-CanIhavethatplease…"

"-Normal, not sped up, voice, please?"

"Okay… Can I uhhhh…. May I…. could I please buy that please?"

She opened her eyes, thinking she'd done well, only to pause as she saw Jack in front of her. He buried his face in his hands, with his ears drooping down over his hands, just to double it up. "Skye," he said. "You are a great mechanic. But all your mechanic skills probably stole everything from your acting skills, so…"

"Oh…" she replied, looking down. "So, I'm an acting dud then?"

"Probably the biggest one I've ever seen. Which is saying something."

"Right then," she said. "Give me enough time, I could probably study and practice, but we don't have that. So, new method of doing this… new method of doing this…"

"We don't need to," he interrupted, walking forwards. It was true, and after the brief elation of having a way of getting his old script back on stage, he was beginning to think it all wasn't worth the effort anymore. He could just sit and fester.

"Right," she sighed, looking at him. "Sorry."

"Eh. No worries," he replied. His ears drooped though. He didn't like the idea of having to put up with the tarnishing of another one of his works. But still, it wasn't as if a replacement mammal was going to just walk into the theatre for them to use, was it?

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"Jack?"

"-Huh," he asked, turning back to face her.

"You were just staring off at the doors for a bit," she said.

"Maybe waiting for a deus-ex-machina or something," he shrugged, as he followed her back to the trapdoor she came up on. "You know, I never even knew this trap door existed."

"Honestly, I was surprised myself," she said, agreeing. "Still needs a lot of fine tuning though."

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"Uhhh…" Jack began, confused, before groaning. Damn mammals with their expectant, guilt inducing, silences. "Urgghhh, right then. I'll try and lend you a paw."

She looked at him curiously. "I didn't ask, did I?" she said, before smiling. "Anyway, thanks, but I can handle this all on my own. No help needed."

Jack blinked. "Okay then. Sure. You do your job then."

"Yup," she replied, "and you do yours."

"Yeah, even if…"

-BANG!

Both were shaken as the doors to the theatre opened. Looking over, their jaws dropped, as the most bizarrely dressed fox they'd even seen entered the room. Dressed in a medieval green shirt, with a tan tunic above it, he had a blue tricorn hat complete with a giant yellow feather. His whiskers, and for that matter all the fur on his upper muzzle, grew out thick, long and white, almost like the kind of facial hair that goats and walruses had. He even had an eyepatch, and a sword to boot. "Greetings!" he boasted. "It is I, the honourable knight Sir Didymus. I have come here as part of my grand tour of Zootopia to peruse the fine antiquities you have on the market . Do tell me my dear mammal, who is the proprietor of this fine establishment?"

"Oh my…" Skye gasped.

Jack nodded. "What you said."

The vixen then blinked a few times, before her eyes widened. "Jack. The plan!"

"The wha?" he asked, before his eyes widened. "Oh right, the plan!" he said, smiling as he turned to face the new fox. "You missed your cue by about a page, Mr Deus Ex Machina, but welcome!"

"Yes," Skye said. "My friend and I just need to talk for a bit, and we'll be right back." She then picked up a remote, pressed it, and after an initial shudder the pair sunk back down into the stage, a curious Sir Didymus watching on. He listened in as their voices trailed into nothing.

"Oh…. I'm really your friend, Skye?"

"Anyone who suffers under meddlers is always my…."

He couldn't hear anything after that, and so he waited, looking around at everything, until they popped back up out of the stage.

"Sir Didymus," Jack greeted, acting the charmer as he stepped down and bowed in front of him. "A pleasure to meet you."

"Hi! -uhhh, Mister Sir," Skye added. "We'd be, like, super duper happy to help you right now."

"Very much so," Jack carried on, putting himself between Skye and the new fox. "Though, in the matter of helping poor artists being harassed by overbearing management, I'd have to ask if you were willing to help us on a little matter. At no expense to yourself, of course."

"A bit of mischief and devilry?" he asked, leaning forwards. "I'll have you know that I'm an honourable fox. But, part of that honour is helping out poorer mammals like yourselves." He smiled. "As long as it's not too bad, then count me in."

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A short while later, out in the lobby, Buster Moon was showing sir Didymus what exactly was for sale. Jack followed, pausing as he spotted one of the knick-knacks. "You know, Buster," he began, paws together, his index fingers pressing against each other and being tapped against his lip. "I've actually been thinking. Could I buy this one here for ten bucks? Straight. No auction?"

Moon walked over, looking at the cardboard promotional advert and nodding. "You know, on this one, why not?"

Jack handed over his money, paws were shaken, and, saying he'd pick it up when leaving for the day, he walked off. Totally returning to the theatre room and not hiding behind the corner with Skye, both of them listening in.

Buster smiled as he went, before pausing as Sir Didymus walked over. "I'm amazed that one wasn't taken sooner," he said.

"Hmmmm," the Koala noted. "It's probably the least valuable one I've got," he said. "It's just a nineties sitcom poster."

"For a very famous sitcom."

Buster paused. "I didn't know much about 'Horsing Around," he said, looking at it. "Maybe I should though. It sounds nice. 'Three little orphans, one, two, three…' Hopefully everything related to that turned out nice, warm and hopeful."

Sir Didymus paused, before shaking his head. "Anyway, this is actually an incredibly rare poster made by a very talented, but sadly deceased, artist. In fact, its contemporary just auctioned off for one-hundred grand."

Buster's jaw practically hit the floor

"-Regardless," Didymus said, "I have bigger fish to fry." He walked over, before recoiling a bit at a pair off odd yellow statues. "I say… Most unusual mutant bananas there."

"Oh, don't call them that. I think they're the sweetest things…"

The fox shook his head and carried on, pausing as he stood in front of the fake sarcophagus. "This, though, comes from an even rarer artist and is even more expensive. It should be studied in a museum, not languishing here!"

"Yes…" Buster said nervously. "Well, the auction closes soon, and…"

"How about it closes now, good sir?"

"Well, I just can't do that, you see," he said, as Didymus wrote down some figures on a cheque and handed it to the Koala.

"It's yours!" he cheered.

"Thank you good sir," Didymus said. "And I'll be back after confirming with my accountant to pick up that poster from that jackrabbit as well. A good day to you, good sir!"

"Likewise," Buster said, waving him off. He looked at the cheque and chuckled. "That's… That's… That's…"

He paused, as he heard someone walking out behind him, and turned to see Jack. The hare was looking at his new purchase, before frowning a bit. "Hmmmm," he went, scratching some of the paint just a bit too hard.

"Ah, Jack!" Moon said, quickly walking over. "About that. Do you mind if I have it back? I'll give you more back in return. Promise."

The striped bunny looked at him and smirked, before reaching down and pulling out a copy of his old script. "How about we negotiate, huh?"

.

.

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Buster Moon was going to let Jack do his play.

With his original, unchanged script, no less!

"Ah…" he said, settling back into his deckchair on the stage. "Today's a good day." He looked at the signed declaration he'd gotten from the koala, before stuffing it into his pocket.

"You know," Skye called, peeking out from over the top of the stage set. "I'd frame that."

"I'm good," he replied, sitting back as he watched her.

"It'll get all crumpled if you don't treat it right."

The jackrabbit rolled his eyes. "It'll still work."

Skye opened her mouth to speak, only to shake it off. She supposed he was right and, in any case, she still had her work to do. In particular, reattaching a certain kitchen sink. Grabbing it, holding it up, she strained as she lifted up, before letting out a sudden 'Eeeep…' as it almost slipped. "I'm good!" she called, before pushing it the last of the way up and into position, fixing it there. Her arms burned a bit, and she let out a few pants to cool herself off, but it was good.

On she worked, smiling a bit as she did so. "Still," she pondered out loud. "Nice to finally get a meddler. Stick it to the mam!"

"Yup," Jack cheered, as he picked up his old script and gleefully flicked through it. "Thanks to our convenient travelling fox as well. Now, Mr Script, it's back to basics with you! As much gratuitous violence, betrayal, and downright mammal-on-mammal jerkiness as I want! Or maybe something completely different? Hmmm…."

Skye chuckled. "If anything, I thought the meddlers in your industry would be wanting more of that."

Jack sighed. "They would, but guess who got the one exec on earth who doesn't?"

Skye, grabbing and sliding down a ladder, laughed all the way. "Youuuuuu…"

"Yup," he replied. "Though that's the way it is, isn't it?"

"That's why I'm self-employed," she called back, leaning down and taking out a panel. She had a lot of tweaks to do with her screwdrivers.

"Touché," the jackrabbit noted. "But still, I now get this theatre and free reign for the next few plays!"

"Nice."

"No creative meddling!"

"Like it."

"Just my vision," he said, sitting up proudly. He closed his eyes, standing up just a bit on his toes. "I'll do that street gang thing with my spiv character… maybe slipping in a little gay romance? Or just flat-out gay romance. I've never written one of those before… Or a murder mystery where the bad guy gets away! -But whatever it is, I'm gonna make the least Buster Moon-y plays the world has ever seen - because I can! And they will be great and no-one can stop me!"

"Sounds cool," she replied. "Anything else planned?"

Jack paused in thought, biting his bottom lip slightly as he began pacing about. "I don't know, I don't know…" he began, before his ears shot up. "Though, given my recent run-in with Nick and Judy, I could do something about the Nighthowler plot."

Skye blinked a few times, her ears going down a bit. "Bit topical," she noted.

"It could be the biggest middle finger to Dawn Bellwether ever made though."

She grinned wickedly. "I like it!"

"Now that will blow the roof off this place," he said, the cogs slowly but surely getting in gear and turning in his mind. "As much farce and dark comedy as I like! And slapstick! And fight scenes…"

"Chase scenes!"

"Yeah!" he cheered.

"What else can we do?"

"We'll have a bunny-fox duo for sure…"

Skye chuckled. "But make them spies or something."

"Secret agents," he said, with a bit of flair.

"From different agencies! So, there's a rivalry. And both agencies have crazy acronyms for names!"

His eyes narrowed playfully, and his voice went just a bit pompous. "Skye. I'd rather not have to ditch two meddlers..."

She chuckled back. "Kidding," she said. "If I were a meddler though, and you don't give me an attitude adjustment, expect me to shove a romantic subplot under your tail."

"Oh, merely a subplot?" he teased. "Amongst all my trademark dark comedy, I could put in a romantic main plot!"

"Is that really sticking it to the mam?" she asked, as she finished with her screwdrivers, packing them away.

"It is when it's between a bunny and a fox," he pointed out.

"Boy fox meets girl bunny?"

"Maybe do a gender flip!"

"Figures," she noted, as she walked around the front towards him. "Sounds kind of nice."

"Kind of nice to me too…"

"Funky!"

"Sexy…"

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An awkward silence prevailed, before Skye shrugged. "I think there's only one logical conclusion to this conversation."

Jack paused, before his eyes went wide, and he looked up to Skye and flashed her a smile. "I do believe you're right. Would you believe me if I said that all this was unplanned?"

She smirked. "Would you believe me?"

He chuckled. "I guess I do. It's not the weirdest thing that happened today."

With a grin on her muzzle, she tapped the end of his nose playfully, sending him stepping back, blinking.

"-Don't do that Skye," he pointed out, just a little bit taken aback and annoyed, though his grin returned, larger than before, afterwards. "Or I shan't plan any dates or events for us."

Skye paused a little, before shaking her head. "Right then… -I was imagining myself planning a date there, but I guess it's the boy who usually makes the first… -Anyway, I'm free after six every day next week except Tuesday, but Monday would be best." She leant forwards, giving him a pat around the shoulder. "Surprise me Jack. I'm looking forward to it!"

"I will," he said, waving as she left.

"Her planning the date was an option?" He spoke to the air, before shaking his head.

Well, it wasn't as if it would take that much effort. He walked back to his deckchair, talking as he walked. "Well," he noted. "Very unusual day… -But I'm not complaining!". He relaxed into his deckchair nice and content. His work was safe, and he could plan the surprise date they'd talked themselves into a bit later.

Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe the day after…

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AN: Back in Twenty-nineteen, I made a very famous faaaan….. fiiiicccc…..

With Jack-Savage and Skye… (Jack-Savage), -don't think you will forget iiiittt…

And I try my best, to make them the very best.

It's so hard, to make them stand above the rest…

I guess I'm just trying to make you understand,

They're their own bun and fox….

Or their own fox and bun….

(Jack-Skye!)

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With this one-shot, I actually began writing it pretty much before any of the others (bar one), as it was so important for getting Jack and Skye's personality down. I ended it about one-third to halfway through, to where Moon arrives, before doing other things. I then developed their characters more, wrote the earlier fics and then came back to this one. Taking what I had shown in Acting Out, I cut bits out, added more bits in, etc. This continued as I wrote stuff after it.

So, the ships are beginning to cast off!

Whatever might happen next?

Like, review and follow, and you'll soon find out.