It was already late that night at the park by the time Skye ran down the paved path, lit only by the park lights. The white vixen was panting heavily as she ran; she didn't know how long she had been running for, only that this was a part of the city she wasn't too familiar with. It didn't make any difference to her, though; if anything, she was actually glad about her lack of knowledge of this area, as…they don't know it either and it gave…them a harder time finding her. In the end, all she cared about was getting as far away as she could from…them.

Eventually, though, Skye started to feel the burn in her lungs and her legs, and finally stopped at a nearby bench to catch her breath. As soon as she sat down, however, she immediately broke down and started sobbing, her exhaustion giving way to every pent-up emotion she felt: denial, anger, pain, betrayal…

But above all else, the vixen kept thinking one question:

'Why?' Skye desperately thought to herself as she tucked her knees up to her chest. 'Why would…'

She never finished that thought, as another sob wracked through her body. Skye didn't know how long she sat there on that bench, but eventually she heard a voice.

"Ma'am, is everything alright?"

The vixen looked to her left, and saw a mammal dressed in a blue uniform, with a bronze badge pinned on their button down, shining in the park light. 'A police officer,' Skye quickly realized. She tearfully shook her head no, and the larger mammal slowly made their way over to the bench. As they stood next to it, the officer carefully but kindly asked, "Do you need any help?"

Skye shook her head again. "N-No! I just…" she trailed off before continuing, "…I just w-want to be left a-alone."

"I don't think that's a good idea, miss," the officer said. "It's late out, and you look like you could use some company." The little fox stayed silent, sniffling occasionally as the officer asked, "What happened?"

Skye took a shuddering breath, trying to collect herself. "I just found out that everything I thought I knew was a lie."

"What do you mean?"

"It's a long story," Skye tried to deflect. She then felt the bench shift in weight, and she looked over to see the officer sitting down next to her, giving the vixen a gentle look.

"I got time," the larger mammal said.

Skye stared at the mammal for a few seconds before sniffing and wiping her eyes. After a beat of silence, Skye spoke:

"I guess it really started yesterday…"


THE DAY BEFORE…


*CRUNCH*

Nick chewed on the chip, his face contorting with each bite. "Y'know, you're not gonna believe me," he panted, "but I think this one is the worst one yet."

Skye had lost herself to the giggles at this point, but still managed to say, "You sure? I think you need to try another one." Her brother groaned as he shook his head. This brought more giggles from the vixen, as she knew that Nick couldn't handle spice very well.

The two foxes were alone in their apartment after school that Friday, with their mom coming home in about two hours. On the way home, Nick had noticed Skye was in a rather sour mood, though what caused it, he wasn't sure. Whatever it was, it really seemed to get to her, so after making a quick stop at a convenience store, the two of them were now sitting in the living room, eating ghost pepper chips.

Or rather, NICK was eating ghost pepper chips in an attempt to cheer his sister up, which, on one paw, was working flawlessly if her laughter was enough proof, but on the other paw, it was pure misery for him.

Nick groaned again. "Starting to REALLY regret this idea."

"Hey, I wasn't the one who wanted to try these," Skye reminded him.

"Yeah, but you said you'd try them with me; I haven't seen you eat one yet!"

"That's because I'm not an idiot."

"You promised! You PINKY SWORE!"

Skye couldn't help but keep laughing at her brother. Eventually, though, she reached into the bag of chips and brought a rather large one out. "Fi-ne," she conceded, "I'll try one, OK? You happy?" Nick nodded his head vigorously as Skye shoved the entire chip into her mouth. After a few seconds of chewing, she shrugged.

"Dude, I don't know what you're complaining about, these aren't that baAAD OH MY DOG!"

"No, please, FINISH that sentence! What were you saying?!" Nick demanded.

"Oh my DOG, I feel it in the back of my throat!" Skye exclaimed, tearing up from the spice. "You had EIGHT of these?! How did you eat eight of these?!"

"I don't know, but my body hates me right now," Nick moaned out, his nose running. He then grabbed a pillow and proceeded to scream into it for about ten seconds. Even though she only had the one chip, Skye was panting up a storm from it. She was already up and pacing around the couch trying to deal with the heat. After a few minutes of trying to cope with the heat, the two kits heard:

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

Skye groaned. Great, they were being too loud. "Thanks, Slick, now we've got to apologize to our neighbors."

"Hey, you weren't being quiet, either!" he retorted.

"Yeah, but I wasn't the one screaming!" The vixen sighed. "I'll answer it; just try to keep quiet, OK?"

"No promises," he moaned out.

Skye rolled her eyes as she walked over to the door, still sniffling. She opened it, apology ready.

"Hey, I'm really sorry about the noise, see my brother…"

Skye trailed off and her eyes widened when she saw who was out in the hallway.

"What's up, Skye?" a familiar, gray colored bunny greeted.

Skye stood there in silence as she took in the scene in front of her: Judy, her cousin Jack, and her father were standing right in front of her. After a few seconds, Jack asked, "Hey, you good?"

Jack's voice snapped her out of it, and a massive grin grew on Skye's face as she embraced both bunnies in a massive hug. "Jack! Judy!"

Judy giggled as she returned the hug. "Hey, girl, how've you been?"

"Much better, now that you guys are here!" Skye answered as she separated from the bunnies. "What're you guys doing here?"

Mr. Hopps smiled as he responded, "Well, we needed some parts for the vehicles at the farm, but we could only find them in the city. Since we're here for a whole weekend, and after talking with your mother on the phone, we decided to catch up with you lot."

Skye looked at the bunnies, all excited. "You guys are here for the whole weekend?" At Mr. Hopps's nod, the fox fist pumped. "Yes! This weekend is already looking up!"

Jack opened his mouth to say something, only for a muffled scream to come from the living room. Skye flinched slightly and all three bunnies jumped. After it died down, Judy looked at the vixen, eyes wide in shock.

"What was that?!"

"Do you guys want to come in?" Skye instead asked, stepping aside to let them inside the apartment. After a beat, the three bunnies entered, still a little wary. Skye closed the door and led them down the hall to the living room. As they entered, Skye noticed her brother lying down on the couch face up, panting heavily. Nick looked towards the entrance, and a huge grin broke out once he saw who it was.

"Carrots! Stripes!" the todd greeted. "I'd give you guys a hug, but my body's in way too much pain right now to cooperate."

Jack looked at the fox, concerned. "Are you OK?"

Nick shook his head. "No."

"What happened?" Judy asked, also concerned for the vulpine.

Skye glanced at the bag of chips, and it dawned on her. "Did you just eat ANOTHER one?" Nick just laid there for a few seconds before nodding his head in confirmation. Skye threw up her paws in exasperation. "WHY?"

"Because I'm a glutton for punishment," Nick weakly told her.

Jack reached out and picked up the bag. "You guys were eating ghost pepper chips?"

"Oooh, let me try one!" Judy said, reaching into the bag and grabbing a chip. Nick and Skye's eyes widened.

"Wait, Judy, I don't think that's-"

*CRUNCH*

The room fell silent, as Nick and Skye stared in horror as Judy ate the chip. After a few seconds, the doe nodded her head.

"These are pretty good; they've got a nice kick to 'em."

The feeling of horror was soon replaced by bewilderment. Skye glanced at her brother, who was struggling to put words together, and turned back to the doe.

"Wha- How did you- what? How?"

"Because she's a freak of nature, that's how," Jack answered. "Seriously, this girl will bite into jalapeños like they're apples." Mr. Hopps nodded his head in agreement. Before Skye could say anything else, Nick grabbed the bag from Jack and shoved it into Judy's paws.

"Here! Take them! Get those away from me!"

Judy giggled as she reached in and grabbed another chip.

Nick groaned as he sat back down. "So, what brings you guys here?" he asked as he raised his paw to wipe his eye.

Skye's eyes got big. "Wait, Nick, your paw-"

Too late. Within seconds, Nick was on his feet, running to the bathroom like his tail was on fire to flush out the spice and pepper from his eye. Silence fell upon the group, before the three kits lost themselves to giggling as Mr. Hopps stood there, more than a little concerned. Skye turned to face the three bunnies and held out her arms.

"Welcome to the city."


A few minutes later, Nick returned from the bathroom, having scrubbed his paws clean of the powder, though his eye was still a little red. Mr. Hopps then went into the kitchen to call some stores for the parts he needed as the four kits sat down in the living room to catch up. Judy looked at Nick, concerned.

"How's your eye, Slick?"

Nick shrugged as he rubbed it. "Honestly, I think the only thing that's more hurt is my pride." Skye snorted at the statement as the todd shook his head and looked at the bunnies sitting across from them. "It's really great seeing you guys again," he told them, beaming.

Skye nodded. "We really missed you guys."

Jack raised an eyebrow. "You say that as if we don't talk every day."

"Yeah, well," Skye shrugged, "it's a little different talking over the phone and text versus…" She trailed off as everyone took in the statement.

Three months. It was hard for Skye to believe that she, Nick, and their mother met Jack, Judy, and their family three months ago, but that was the case. The vixen remembered when they first met them at the local fair in Bunnyburrow, only for them to be forced by a storm to stay at the bunnies' house until it finished the next day. While they were there, Nick, Judy, Jack, and Skye had grown really close, opening up about their issues and struggles that night, and by the time the foxes had to leave the next day, all four kits exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch.

Though the less said about the impromptu cuddling and falling asleep in the game room, the better.

Three months was also how long it had been since all four of them had seen each other face to face. Sure, the four texted each other every day, including the occasional phone call, but nothing compared to them being in the same room together.

Judy nodded. "Yeah, it has been a while, hasn't it?" The three other kits nodded their heads, and after getting a good look at Skye, the doe chuckled. "Skye, did you get taller?"

The vixen smiled. "Yeah, I'm almost the same height as Nick."

"And that's a scary thought," Nick joked.

"What, that I might be taller than you one day?"

"Yes! You're my baby sister; I'm supposed to be the tall one."

"'Baby sister?' We're twins! We're literally the same age!"

"Ri-ght, su-re," Nick drew out, winking at her. "Whatever helps you sleep at night."

As this was going on, Jack and Judy looked at them, clearly amused by what they were seeing. Skye stuck her tongue out at her brother and turned back to the bunnies. "So, what's new on your end?"

Judy shrugged. "Not much. Been reading through those books you guys had sent me for my birthday; they're really helpful!"

Skye smiled, only for it to fall slightly. "How are the other kits at school treating you?"

Judy paused for a beat, before letting out a sigh. "Well, the good news is that after that first week following the play, they've let up a little. Guess it finally clicked with some of them that nothing's going to stop me from trying."

"Have you told your parents about them?" Nick asked.

"Oh, yeah, I told them ages ago," Judy answered, as she looked into the kitchen at her father, who was still on the phone. "They've been talking with the school about the other kits, but there's only so much they can do."

Skye sighed. "You shouldn't have to deal with that, though."

"Eh. I'm handling it," Judy dismissed. She looked back at the foxes. "So, what about you guys?"

Nick spoke up. "Well, I took a page out of Skye's playbook and actually started talking with my teachers and friends about Dad."

Judy's ears dropped behind her head. "Oh. Is it helping any?" she asked the todd carefully. She and Jack knew that out of the two of them, Nick took the death of their father harder than Skye did, and the vixen couldn't even sleep for almost a week without nightmares after he died, so that was really saying something.

Nick shrugged. "It's helping a little. After a while, though, you kinda want them to stop saying, 'I'm sorry' and, 'I'm sorry for your loss.' You hear that enough times and it starts to lose its meaning, y'know?"

"But it is helping, right?" Jack clarified. Nick nodded. "Well, that's good. In other news, I'm starting to play for more mammals now."

Skye smiled. "Nice! You getting any larger crowds?"

"Well," Jack shrugged, trying to be modest, "yesterday, it went from ten mammals up to twelve, so, you know…"

Nick laughed. "Starting to make it big, huh? Now you just need to start charging entry fees," he joked.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Once I start playing at places other than under the tree at the park, maybe."

This brought a small chuckle from the kits. Nick then had a mischievous smirk on his face. "So, is Jamie still sitting up front at every single one?" Skye knew that Nick said the wrong name to get a response from Jack, and he did not disappoint on that end.

"Josie," the buck immediately corrected. He then quickly added, "And no, not at every one."

Nick and Judy snickered, though Skye kept quiet. About a week after the four of them met, Jack revealed that he met bunny doe named Josie, who had just moved to Bunnyburrow with her family. Just from reading the texts he had sent to the group, it was clear that Jack and Josie were becoming really close friends. And though Skye knew that she was being unfair (she hasn't even met this girl, for Dog's sake), she couldn't help but feel a little insecure about Jack's friendship with her.

"Y'know, one of these days, we've got to meet this mysterious Josie," Nick said, bringing Skye out of her thoughts.

"Well, it doesn't help that you guys don't live in Bunnyburrow," Jack reasoned.

"Jack, I haven't met her yet, and I live there," Judy revealed. "I haven't even seen a picture of her; at this point, I'm half convinced she's not even real."

Jack turned to his cousin, surprised. "Wait, really? Hold on a sec…" He pulled out his phone, and after a few seconds, showed the three other kits a picture. It was of him and a brown doe, most likely Josie, sitting beneath a tree, Jack holding his guitar. Both were smiling at the camera, clearly enjoying each other's company. Skye felt her breath catch as she looked at the picture of Josie.

'Karma, they look cute together.'

"You two seem to be pretty close," Judy said, smirking.

Jack blushed, shrugging as he said, "Well, outside of you guys, she's one of my best friends. And she was new to the town, and I was one of the first mammals she met, so-"

Jack was interrupted by Nick singing, "Jack and Josie, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-"

"What are you, five?" Jack grumbled, his ears turning red in embarrassment. "We're just friends, really. There's nothing going on between us."

'Yet,' Skye thought ruefully.

Nick chuckled at the buck's expense. "In all seriousness, how's she doing? You said she had just moved three months ago."

Jack smiled as he put his phone away. "She's doing well; her family has finally settled into their new house. Oh! And it turns out that she plays violin, so she's been bringing it to the park to play whenever we hang out."

Skye tried to shove down the feeling of jealousy building inside her. 'She plays an instrument, too?!' The vixen banished that thought as soon as it entered, though. She reminded herself that she was being selfish, and that Jack was allowed to have friends outside of her and her brother.

Other female friends.

Who also happen to be bunnies.

Who also happen to be cute and probably sweet and nice and…

"Skye, you still with us?"

Skye was snapped out of her thoughts. "Huh?"

Nick, Jack, and Judy were all staring at her. "You were just staring into space; you good?" Jack asked.

'Shit.' Skye thought quickly, saying the first thing that came to mind:

"Yeah, I'm fine; just thinking about Nick eating these chips." Smirking, the vixen held up the chip bag, now empty courtesy of Judy. "Seriously, Jude, how did you eat this entire bag? ONE chip was enough to make me pant."

The doe shrugged. "I just like spicy things." Judy paused before adding, "This does bring up a good question, though: Why were you guys eating these if you couldn't handle them?"

"Skye was in a bad mood after school today, so I was trying to cheer her up by suffering through these," Nick answered. That seemed to confuse the doe even more, but she didn't question the logic any further.

"Did it work?" Jack asked.

Skye smiled. "I was laughing so hard, I was crying."

"Then you were crying from the ONE chip you had," Nick added. Skye glared at him.

"So, what happened?" Skye turned to Jack, who clarified, "What happened today at school that put you in a bad mood?"

Skye sat there silently, trying to find a way to answer. Honestly, just thinking about it was enough to get her angry again. "It was something really stupid."

"Can we ask what it was?"

"I don't really want to talk about it," Skye said, in a tone saying that it was a touchy topic. Before anyone could say anything else, the four kits heard the front door open, and heard a greeting.

"Hello? You guys home?"

"Hi, Mom!" Skye called out, thankful for the interruption. "We're in the living room!"

They heard footsteps coming down the hall, and eventually, Vivian appeared. Her eyes widened and a smile grew when she saw Jack and Judy.

"Jack! Judy! It's been a while!"

"Hi, Mrs. Wilde!" Judy greeted and Jack waved.

Vivian looked at the two of them before going, "Well, don't just sit there; come here!" Jack and Judy got up and gave the elder vixen a big hug, happy to see her too. Vivian then went over to the couch and hugged Skye, but when she went to hug Nick, she noticed his eye.

"Nick, what happened to your-"

"It's a long story," Nick interrupted. Vivian looked confused but shrugged it off and gave him a hug instead. She then turned back to the bunnies.

"So, how was the drive from Bunnyburrow?" Vivian asked.

"Long," Jack answered, groaning. "I don't know why Uncle Stu insisted on driving when we could've taken the train."

Judy scoffed. "Oh, come on, the drive wasn't THAT bad."

"It was over two hours!"

"So? We've had worse," Judy retorted. Jack was about to speak again when a voice came from the kitchen.

"Yeah, that drive wasn't any longer than when we went to see that Beagles tribute band last year." Everyone turned around to Mr. Hopps standing in the doorway, putting his phone away. "Besides, it was cheaper to drive out here than take the train." He smiled and walked over to Vivian. "Vivian! How have you been?"

"I've been good! How're things on the farm?"

The older bunny shrugged. "About the same since you guys visited." Stu then looked at Jack and Judy. "OK, so, I just called about ten different parts stores; about half of them have the parts we need, so I'll be checking them out tomorrow. I also talked with Vivian earlier; while I'm gone, you guys will be here. You two be on your best behavior, OK?"

"Yes, Dad."

"OK, Uncle Stu."

Stu nodded as he looked at his watch. "It's getting late; we should probably head on over to our hotel-"

"Yes, AFTER you guys stay for dinner," Vivian interjected. The three bunnies looked surprised while Nick and Skye each had an excited look on their faces.

"Are you sure?" Stu asked. "We don't want to impose-"

"You're not imposing if we're asking," Vivian said, smiling. Stu looked at the bunny kits and both of them nodded their heads eagerly. He turned back to Vivian, also smiling.

"Well, if you insist…"

"Yes!" Skye cheered, which prompted a chuckle from everyone. Vivian then sent the kits to set the table while she and Stu started dinner. As she was turning away, however, she noticed the empty chip bag on the coffee table.

"Why is there an empty bag of-"

"So, what's the plan for dinner tonight?" Nick quickly interrupted, grabbing the silverware. Skye couldn't help but laugh.


Dinner was served two hours later that night, and unlike the time Skye and her family ate at the Hopps household, dinner was rather lively. As they ate, each mammal told everyone how their day went (though Skye didn't elaborate on hers too much), all the while Jack and Judy described the places that they saw on the drive down from Bunnyburrow. Skye smiled, happy that she got to see her dear friends again.

After dinner, the four kits went to Nick's room (as it had slightly more space than Skye's), and for the next hour, they just talked and hung out together. Jack and Judy tried to subtly pry more information from Skye about her day, but the vixen always found a way to avoid talking about it. After a while, the two bunnies gave up and talked about something else. Eventually, they had to leave, as Stu needed an early start the next day.

After walking them to the front door and saying goodbye, Skye walked into the kitchen to see her mother washing dishes. Vivian's ears flicked at the sound of someone entering and turned towards the source. She smiled when she saw her daughter.

"Hey, sweetie!" she greeted. "Wanna give me a paw here?" Vivian gestured to the sink of dishes.

Skye smiled. "Sure, momma." The young vixen made her way to the sink and was soon scrubbing down pots with her mother in comfortable silence. Eventually, Vivian broke it.

"You were quiet at dinner tonight," she noted.

Skye shrugged, a little defensive. "Didn't really have much to say; today was kinda boring." She gave a small glance to her mother, only to see a dubious look on her face.

"Really? So, me getting a call from your teacher was the result of a 'boring' day?" Skye winced at the tone, which Vivian noticed and quickly added, "It was nothing bad; he just said that you two disagreed on something and that you stormed off afterwards. He was just concerned, that's all." Skye stayed silent, and after a while, the elder fox sighed. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but I'm here if you do, OK?"

Skye nodded. "OK." After a beat, she said, "Love you."

Vivian gave her daughter a loving look. "Love you too."

The two continued to wash dishes for another ten minutes. Eventually, Vivian looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 10:00. "It's getting pretty late; why don't you go get ready for bed? You've got a busy day tomorrow with your friends."

"Are you sure you don't need my help in here?"

"Positive."

"OK," Skye relented. "'Night, momma."

Vivian smiled. "'Night, Skye."

A few minutes later, Skye was in her room, getting ready for bed. She had just finished putting on her pajamas when she heard a quiet knock at her door.

"It's open," she said. The door opened and Nick stuck his head in.

"Hey," he greeted as he walked in.

"Hey," Skye returned. "So, what's up?"

Nick shrugged. "Just wanted to check up on you."

The vixen tilted her head in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, I wanted to see if you were feeling better after…whatever the hell happened today."

Skye sighed. "I'd be lying if I said that I was completely fine, but I am feeling a little better." Nick smiled at her response. "So, how's your eye?"

"It's MUCH better now, thanks," the todd answered. "Never eating those chips again, though. Seriously, how did Carrots eat the rest of that bag?"

Skye giggled as she sat on her bed. "I don't know. So, what are the plans for tomorrow? We got the WHOLE weekend with them." she asked, quickly wanting to switch the subject.

"I don't know for sure, but I got some ideas," Nick answered. He then smirked. "That was a nice try, by the way, trying to change topics."

"Huh?"

Nick looked at her dead in the eye as he asked, "What the hell happened at school today?"

Skye groaned, exasperated. "It was nothing-"

"Clearly it was something," Nick interrupted, "seeing as you keep trying to avoid talking about it. What happened?" Skye glared at her brother, only for him to stand his ground. Eventually, she sighed quietly.

"I got into an argument with Mr. Quinn about a missed question on the quiz last Wednesday."

Now it was Nick's turn to be confused. "Wait, that's it?" At Skye's nod, he added, "OK, so what? You've missed questions in his class before."

"Yeah, but this was one that I got right, and he marked wrong," Skye said, a little bitter.

"Oof," Nick exhaled. "That sucks."

"Yeah."

Both were silent for a beat before Nick asked, "So, what was the question?"

Skye waved her paw as she said, "It's not important; just know that I'm right, and that he's wrong."

Nick chuckled. "OK, fine. I won't pry anymore into it."

His sister gave him a small smile. "Thanks."

The todd smiled back. "Well, I'm going to call it a night," he told her. "See you tomorrow."

"'Night, Nick."

"'Night, Skye."

After Nick left the room, Skye sighed. She went over and switched the light off and climbed into bed. As she closed her eyes, she remembered the debate she had with her teacher that day. Skye shook her head, trying to shake the thoughts away.

'It doesn't matter what he says,' she thought. 'I'm right, he's wrong.'