… Fair warning. If you don't want to be made very very sad, turn back now! … I feel dirty having written this... and may never be able to watch fox and the hound again without thinking of this... In fact, don't read this at all. I forbid you from reading the story. Just go away and find something else to read... please...

Copper wandered along the stream, searching for Todd. He spotted a tuft of orange fur rising from the shallow water, to reveal the fox in question. Broken. He stumbled a few feet before falling again, the murky water splashing over his face as his weary and tired eyes wandered to Copper's. Offering a small pained smile, Copper at a loss for what to say, or do, or even think. Seeing his very best friend, wounded and cold, laying face down in a lowly puddle. The click of a rifle being cocked pulled both of them from seeing each other, both of their heads snapping to the sound to see Amos, brandishing the muzzle of his rifle like a blade at Todd. The fox recoiled in fear, his mouth becoming agape. Copper stood still, unsure of what to do. He did what he knew, in his heart, he needed to, and wandered into the shallow stream with Todd, standing over him and looking, pleading into the deranged farmers eyes. Amos froze in a mixture of emotions, slightly lowering the rifle to look into Coppers sad eyes. "... Come on, Copper... Get out of the way..." He commanded out of breathe, training the weapon back on the terrified and defenseless fox laying under his childhood friend. Copper let out a whimper, a pleading whine for his friends life. The farmers eyes softened in disbelief, his grip trembling, before becoming much more angry then before. "... COPPER! Get away!... Away I said!" Copper remained still, protecting Todd. He knew, inside, what could happen, but was not willing to see Todd be taken in an act of misplaced vengeance. Of meaningless anger. Todd looked up, dazed but on the verge of tears at his friend. In so little a time, when he was needed most. He once again became the best friend he had longed for, resurfaced in this dire time. They were children again, if only for a short while, under the most horrible of circumstances and gravest of potential misfortune.

Amos' face became stricken with anger, as he suddenly let out a yell, running at the pair and slamming the butt of his rifle into Copper's side, sending him several feet away and into the water with a violent splash, as he began mercilessly pounding the rifle into Todd, over and over, Todd crying out in pain through the water and blood seeping into his throat and fur, too weak and pained to even attempt escape.

"Copper! Help! Don't let him hurt me!" Todd pleaded through tears, Copper rising and snarling at his former master, who kept up the vicious beating, for a final time smashing the rifle against Todd's skull, with a resounding crack like a rock being smashed by a hammer into tiny shards. Copper leapt at Amos, sinking his teeth into his arm in an effort to save Todd.

"No Copper! No! Back! Don't-" A single shot rang through the air, echoing through the forest, and leaving only silence in its wake. Copper looked into his master's eyes, before falling over, a thick pool of blood forming on his underbelly. Amos stared, grief stricken and in disbelief at what he had done.

"C... C-copper? Copper boy?" He mumbled, tears forming in his eyes. He slowly picked himself up, whimpering, and began wandering away from the scene he had created.

Copper's eyes flashed open, coughing up spats of blood and clenching in pain. Through the pain, he looked towards Todd's body, floating in the water. He solemnly crawled to him, laying his head next to Todd's. Todd's tear stained eyes fought to stay open, looking over at Copper and offering a fake sad smile. Slowly, mercifully, both of their bodies fell limp, and their eyes closed shut, for the final time. Their last thoughts mirroring each other, in a shared memory from their youth.

Copper... Your my very best friend.

And your mine, too, Todd.

And we'll always be friends, forever, won't we?

Yeah, forever.