CHAPTER 1: PROLOGUE
Dawn Bellwether stood over the pit in the Museum of Natural History smiling with an evil gleam in her eyes. To her side stood her ram henchmammal while the two crooked ram police officers were nowhere to be seen. They stood staring down upon the wounded bunny backing into a corner away from the savage fox that was once the bunnies friend.
"Fear always works! And I'll dart every predator in Zootopia to keep it that way." Bellwether had a smirk on her muzzle as the words came out of her mouth like blood from a wound.
Judy Hopps had her back up against the wall of the pit, trying to keep her distance from the fox that she called her friend. The fox that she had gone through life threatening situations with, the fox who had stood up to the Chief of Police for her, the fox who forgave her after she had hurt him and betrayed his trust, the fox who refused to leave her side just a few moments ago, the fox who had come to mean so much to her. But right now he was not of his own mind after Bellwether shot him with the Nighthowler serum turning him savage.
Judy listened to Bellwether divulge her sinister plot. She heard the fox, her fox, snarl and show his fangs as he poked his head through the long bladed grass, slowly stalking towards her and her heart ached with sorrow for her friend.
"Oh Nick. No." she said, seeing her friend like this, knowing this is not what he wanted to be.
Dawn Bellwether laughed at the scene that was taking place before her. She gritted her teeth in anger and joy at seeing the first Rabbit Officer about to meet her death and spoke her final words to the rabbit.
"Bye, Bye Bunny."
The fox lunged forward enclosing his jaws around the bunny's neck, listening as the bunny let out blood curdling scream.
A satisfying smirk crossed Bellwethers face as she watched the savage fox wrap it’s jaws around the bunnies throat.
"Blaahh. Blood! Blood! Bloood! And Death." Bellwether stood stunned, the words were not what the sinister sheep had been expecting to hear coming from the Judy Hopps' mouth.
Nick watched, smirking at the bunny's antics, and gave a small chuckle before speaking, "Alright you know what you’re milking it, besides I think we got it. We got it! We got it up there, thank you yakety yak! You laid it out beautifully."
Bellwether stood there stunned a look of utter shock and confusion on her muzzle as the sheep spluttered, "What?!" and immediately stared at the dart gun in her hoof, completely confused as to why the serum hadn't work.
Before she can even ask the question, Nick answers it for her. "Ya, oh are you looking for the serum?", he reached into his shirt pocket pulling out a little blue pellet and with a smug face stated "Well it's right here." followed by Judy saying, "What you got in the weapon there are blueberries from my family's farm." Nick kiss' his fingers and with that same smug smirk says. "They are delicious, you should try some!"
Bellwether growled in frustration, "I framed Lionheart! I can frame you too. It's my word against yours!" she stated while slamming the loading mechanism back into the gun, then began adjusting her glasses while giving big innocent looking eyes that quickly turn into a dark menacing glare.
"Ooh. Actually." judy hit the rewind button and the tape recording zipped as it rewound.
"and I'll dart every predator in Zootopia to keep it that way." the sound of Dawns voice coming through the Carrot shaped recording device makes the Sheep's blood run cold.
"It's your word against yours." Judy stated with a smirk that could rival that of the fox’s she was leaning on.
Bellwether’s jaw dropped, causing Judy's smirk to grow, "It's called a hustle sweetheart, Boom!"
When Judy uttered those words she couldn't help the growing feeling in her, a feeling of pride, a pride of how far she and Nick had come and all they had accomplished together despite their rocky start. They had learned from each other to the point where they worked together seamlessly like they had been doing it all their lives.
Bellwether with a frightened look in her eyes started slowly backing away from the pit were the two banes of her existence stood leaning on each other's sides, smug grins firmly in place, only for her to turn around into a huge male Rhino wearing a kevlar vest. She panicked, throwing the gun in the air and tried to run the other way only to see Chief Bogo and several other Officers right behind her as well. Seeing nowhere to go she hung her head in defeat and began sobbing.
Chief Bogo having heard the last half of the conversation, stared down at the tiny ewe, his massive arms crossed and snorted. "McHorn! Pennington! Take Former Mayor Bellwether and her accomplice back to the station."
The large rhino slapped his cuffs on the frightened ram and led him towards the cruisers, followed by the female Elephant, Officer Pennington who followed with Bellwether.
With those two dealt with, Chief Bogo moved over towards the ledge of the exhibit were his former Officer stood leaning on the same fox that had helped her before.
"Hopps are you alright, what's your status!?"
The red fox next to her responded before she could utter a word. "No! She's just leaning on me and Hopping on one foot after being attacked by delusional sheep for the shear fun of it! How do you think she's doing Chief Buffalo Bu-" before Nick could finish, Judy slapped a paw over his muzzle silencing him. He turned toward her and she shot him a firm glare. Turning back to the Chief, Judy could see a deep scowl on his face as if he was trying to make the scorch the fox with his glare.
"I hurt my leg on a tusk display while trying to get away from Bellwether and her rams."
Bogo's ear flicked at that, "Paramedics are on route as we speak. They should be here soon."
Again Nick spoke before Judy could respond, "That's great, but there's only one problem with that."
His sarcastic tone caused Bogo to snort in annoyance. "And what would that be Fox?" Bogo stated in a low agitated voice, the fox's attitude grinding on his nerves.
"Oh nothing much, just the fact that we're stuck in this pit with no way out." He stated as if it wasn’t an obvious fact. Nick watched, a smug smirk in place as Chief Bogo looked like he was about to explode, until finally the buffalo sighed in defeat knowing that the fox was right. They wouldn't be able to help them until they got them out of that pit.
Turning towards his officers Bogo bellowed "Somebody find a ladder so we can get them out of that pit!" then watched as Officer Simmers, the male brown bear and Officer Higgins, the male Hippo, set off to find a ladder. He turns back to the fox and rabbit in the pit.
"We'll have you out as soon as possible." then, staring at Hopps wounded leg, asked "Hopps, how bad is that leg?"
"It hurts, sir but not too badly. Nick slowed down the bleeding by tying a bandage."
Bogo nodded, "Good, sit tight. We'll have you out as soon as possible."
"Not much else we can do." Nick stated smugly and with that Bogo stormed off, muttering to himself about infuriating fox's and reckless rabbits.
*20 Mins later*
"This is Ridiculous! How long does it take to get a Karma damned ladder!?" Nick was pacing back and forth growing more and more frustrated by second, "We need to get you out of hear soon!" he snapped, turning to check on her leg.
Judy was sitting on one of the fake rocks watching Nick pace back and forth and couldn't help thinking how she found it cute and endearing that he was getting so worked up over her. That thought caused her to blush, but thankfully Nick didn't noticed because he would certainly have ended up teasing her about it; instead though, he was to preoccupied with her wound.
"Well, it looks like my kerchief has stopped the bleeding for now but we really need to get you to see a Doctor." he said, glancing worriedly at her leg.
She was quite surprised that Nick seemed fairly knowledgeable at tending injuries."Where did you learn first aid?" She asked, amethyst eyes staring curiously at him and the question caused Nick to give a sad chuckle.
"Remember, I wanted to be a Junior Ranger Scout, read the whole handbook and everything. Even though I never became a scout a lot of the things I learned from it helped me when I was living on the streets." Judy gave him a sad look, not able to imagine what he must have gone through and what it must have felt like to be so betrayed by mammals he’d thought were his friends. She then remembered the look of betrayal on his face during the press conference three months ago.
"I'm so sorry Nick."
he took her paw and gave it a gentle squeeze, "Don't be Fluff, it's not your fault."
"But I did the same thing those scouts did to yo-"
He didn’t let her finish, placing a single clawed finger over her lips, the action causing her to blush even more. "No. What happened between us was an accident, what they did was intentional, and unlike them you fixed your mistake."
Looking at her Nick noticed that her ears, despite the fact she was blushing, looked paler, the color drained out of them slightly. "Dammit! Where is Buffalo Butt with that ladder!? You'd think they'd put more effort into rescuing one of their injured officers!"
Judy looked away and quietly replied, "Nick, I'm not an Officer anymore."
He turned to look at her, her sad look causing him to frown and his hackles to rise slightly, "Did Buffalo Butt fire you?!" Nick questioned, growing greatly annoyed at the thought of her being fired by the Cape Buffalo Police Chief.
"No Nick...I quit, after what I did to you and the other predators, and then Bogo and Bellwether wanting to make me the poster mammal for the ZPD, I...I just couldn't. I left just like you said, with my tail between my legs. I went home to Bunny Burrow."
Nick sighed and pulled her into a hug, "Don't worry Carrots, We'll get you your job back, you basically just saved the city... again. They'll be begging you to come back."
She giggled, "We saved the city Nick, I'm not letting you get out of sharing the credit this time."
Chuckling, Nick was about to make a response about emotionally attached bunnies when he noticed a pipe that traveled all the way up to the top of the exhibit’s wall. He hadn't noticed it before since he’d been to concerned for Judy and the pipe was painted to match the background. Smiling to himself he pulled away from Judy and looked her in the eye.
"Carrots, you ready to get out of here?"
Recognising the mischievous glint in Nick's eye she smiled and gave her answer, "You bet I am Slick, what did you have in mind?"
He smiled, having heard the response he was hoping for and pointed towards the pipe on the wall, "See that pipe?"
"Yea..." came her slightly hesitant reply.
"Well I'm going to climb out with you on my back,"
Judy looked at him, then to the pipe, then back to him, "Nick, are you sure about this?"
He looked into her amethyst eyes, "Judy, do you trust me?"
Staring right back into his emerald eyes she gave him the answer he was hoping for and the answer she knew to be true, "Yes Nick, I trust you with my life."
Nick was taken aback, but it made him smile, a real smile, not a smirk and not one of his fake smiles, a real genuine smile, "Ok." turning around and squatting low, he signaled Judy to climb onto his back and gave a chuckle, stating joking, "Hop on Hopps."
Judy groaned, "That was bad even for you." before climbing onto his back, wincing slightly as she wrapped her legs around his waist while her arms wrapped loosely around his neck.
As Nick began climbing Judy couldn't help but admire the relative ease he was having at climbing the pipe, despite being weighed down by an injured bunny. Remembering seeing Nick on the roof with the Jumbo pop and not seeing any way for him to have made it to the roof other than climbing, she realised that he must have climbed to the roof on his own while carrying a jumbo pop at least the same size as him and probably weighing the same, if not more than him too.
'He is definitely the most fit fox I know.' she thought to herself.
'And how many foxes do you know?' her brain added.
'Touche, but still... I mean look at his arms and how strong they must be for him to pull us up! And I can feel his back muscles against my chest and his tight strong stomach muscles against my legs.’ She blushed, the thoughts stirring up feelings she’d started having months ago and only realized what they were when he had forgiven her under the bridge.
Nick's grip slipped slightly at the sweet scent he detected in the air. Quickly recovering, he curses to himself.
'What in Karma was that? Is that heavenly smell coming from....Judy? No. Bad fox! Don't think about it, she's your friend and you just made up with her! Can't blow it now, give it time.' he whined slightly to himself thinking about how hard it's going to be to ignore her if she kept that up.
Finally reaching the top, Nick, with one last heave, managed to pull them both over and onto the museum floor. Lifting himself up into a squat he supported Judy as she slid off his back.
"You alright Fluff?" His tone worried.
She smiled, the warm feeling returning at the Worried look he was showing her. "Don't worry Slick, I'm fine."
Nick gave her a once over and satisfied that she was okay, wrapped an arm around her as they walk towards Chief Bogo's position, and unnoticed by either Nick or Judy, the fox's tail wraps around her legs.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T FIND A LADDER!?"
By this point Bogo was livid. His officers had searched the entire museum and had not found a single ladder or even a stepping stool.
Officer Higgins had been the one to give Bogo the unfortunate news, "Sorry sir, Simmers and I have checked everywhere but the only ladders are attached to the platforms they are using for the renovations."
"Well then find rope or something! Anything that we can use to get them out of there!"
Officer Osborn Simmers cut Higgins off before he could reply, "Sir, look." he said gesturing towards the pit.
The Hippo and Buffalo turned to see what the Brown Bear is pointing towards, and it would be safe to say all three mammals were surprised by what they saw.
Bogo found that he had been nearly speechless when, upon turning around he saw the same bunny and fox duo moving towards him from the edge of the pit.
"Hopps!? How in the name of my great aunt Pearl did you get out of their!?"
However once again Nick spoke before Judy could answer the Chief, saying casually, "A little good old Foxy know how." the smugness oozing from Nick's muzzle.
By this point Bogo had had enough of the irritating Vulpine, "Now listen here fox!" He began only for Nick to cut him off.
"No, you listen Chief, if it wasn't for me she'd still be stuck down in that p-" They were both cut off when Judy suddenly shouted, "ENOUGH!" Both males were caught off guard by this. Judy was tired of listening to these two argue and she was going to put a stop to it. Looking up at Nick she commanded, "Nick stop trying to annoy the Chief! He's not at fault!" Her glare left no room for argument, and then turning towards Chief Bogo she spoke, "And Chief his name is Nick Wilde NOT fox!" Both the fox and the buffalo were taken aback by the small rabbit that they had both come to respect so much, and not wanting to raise her ire anymore they both complied.
Bogo huffed, "Alright Hopps....Wilde." he spoke that last bit hesitantly, "How exactly did you get out of the pit?" Nick was about to respond only for Judy to cut him off with another glare and he decided not to push his luck anymore than he already had, "I climbed us out using one of the pipes attached to the walls." He stated simply.
Bogo frowned slightly at that, "That was reckless! You both could've been hurt!"
Nick was about to respond only for Judy to speak first, "Sir, Nick is the only reason we are not still down in that pit and I trust Nick with my life. If he believed we could make it, then we could." She defended him, both males once again taken aback by the bunny’s words.
Huffing, Bogo conceded, "Very Well. Now Hopps, I need a report on what happened."
The red fox spoke first, "First she needs medical attention. Then she can give you your report."
Even annoyed by Wilde's words, one look at the rabbit caused Bogo to sigh in defeat knowing the annoying vulpine was right, "Alright, but I'll need you to tell me everything before you leave." he conceded moving aside and allowing them to move towards the waiting medical team.
Making there way towards the waiting deer buck and zebra mare medical team, Nick noticed Judy wincing as she hopped along at his side. Without a moment's hesitation he bent down, scooping her up and carrying her bridal style, the sudden action causing her to squeak in surprise, "NICK!? What are you doing!?"
"Carrying you. What does it look like I'm doing." Came his easy reply.
She blushed at the intimate position, squeaking, "Well it's embarrassing."
"Don't care, I'm not letting you hop around with an injured leg if I can help it." he said as he passed a tigress Officer who was holding the doors open for them, giving them both a friendly amused smile, Nick smiled back up at the striped officer, "Thanks Stripes, these bunnies can be quite the pawful." The tigress Officer, her nameplate read Fangmeyer, shook her head in amusement and teased, "Let me know when the wedding is."
Judy gaped at that and spluttered out a reply, "We're not....We're Just.....Ugghhh!" Groaning in defeat and embarrassment she covered her face with her ears until they arrive at their destination.
Nick placed her gently onto the back of the ambulance allowing the Paramedics to look her over, he stepped back, ignoring the glare coming from the deer buck and instead focused on the zebra mare and Judy.
"Good afternoon Officer Hopps, you can call me Zira, let’s have a look at this leg so we can see about getting you all patched up."came the Mare’s friendly greeting, a slight accent in her voice. Not bothering to correct the Zebra on the fact that she was no longer an officer, Judy instead focused on her fox.
As Zira checked and cleaned her wound she noticed that the bunny’s gaze was locked on the fox tod who had brought her over The fox who had been focused on the bunny’s wound noticed the bunny’s gaze and gave her a reassuring smile.
Smiling herself at the obvious connection between the two the EMT continued her work on the rabbit's leg. Her partner Calvin was about to discard the blood soaked Kerchief that had been used as a bandage when the bunny suddenly and almost urgently spoke.
"Wait! Can I have that please?" The Buck stared at her confused as to why she would want it, but he relented and gave in to her wish, returning the kerchief. Judy folded the cloth and stuffed It in her pocket, planning on cleaning it and returning it to Nick with her thanks.
Finishing checking her wound and cleaned it, ZIra bandaged it up before finally speaking, "Well good news is it doesn't look to bad and the bandage you had on prevented too much blood loss, however the bad news is you'll still need to go to the hospital to have a full check up in case I missed anything, plus you're also going to need stitches."
"Ok,” Judy replied, “but first Nick and I need to speak to Chief Bogo."
Zira gave a smile and nodded, "That'll be just fine, I'll let him know you want to talk to him." and with that, she stood up and walked towards the museum.
Not even a minute had passed by before Zira returned with Bogo following closely behind.
"How are you doing Officer?"
"I'm fine sir, but I'm not an Officer anymore. I quit remember?" Judy stated, sadness coloring her voice.
"Actually Officer, you were undercover and were sent back to Bunny Burrow to follow a lead, remember?" Before she could reply Bogo reached into is breast pocket pulling out her badge which looked comically small in his huge hoof, "Next time don't forget your badge Officer." the tiniest of smiles forming on his muzzle.
Judy was speechless. She was an officer again but could barely believe it, "Yes Sir!" she chirped happily sitting up straight as an arrow giving a crisp salute.
The buffalo allowed a moment to pass before continuing, "Now, Officer Hopps, Report."
Over the course of the next few minutes Judy told Bogo everything that had transpired, although she omitted the bits involving them using Mr. Big to threaten Weaselton. She told him of her discovery in Bunny Burrow all the way to his arrival. Bogo frowned at the whole mess of a story and upon hearing that there had been more conspirators who were working with Bellwether, immediately orders Rhinowitz to get some officers and check out the tracks and the train wreck, before turning back to the rabbit and fox.
"Good work, I'll be needing the evidence you've collected, then you can make your way to the hospital." Judy sighed in relief and was about to give over her carrot pen when Nick stopped her, "Carrots are you sure we can trust him? How do we know he's not working for Bellwether like those other two officers?" but before Judy could reply Bogo frowned and growled in a confused but angry voice.
"What do you mean other two officers? Hopps, what is he going on about?" Judy's ears flop down behind her head. How could she have forgotten about that?
Turning back to the Chief she said, "Sir, when Bellwether confronted us, she had two rams with her, both wearing Police uniforms."
Bogo's frown deepened, "Are you positive they were officers?"
Judy nodded, "Yes sir, I remember seeing both of them my first day at the precinct, they were both rams."
Nick agreed with her statement, "She's right they were both wearing authentic ZPD uniforms with Precinct 1 patches." Nick had spent enough time on the streets avoiding trouble with the ZPD to be able to identify an authentic uniform.
This new news caused a look of immense disgust to cross Bogo's muzzle, the mere thought of not just one but two of his Officers being traitors and assisting Bellwether in attempting to murder one of their own and destroy the city, sickened him to his gut. Looking back down at the Fox and Rabbit duo before him, he states with conviction, "Both these traitors will be dealt with, I will NOT tolerate disloyalty to this city, the badge or their fellow officers."
Nick wouldn't have been able to survive on the streets for most of his life if he hadn't had the ability to read mammals and either Bogo was telling the truth or he was one hell of a liar. With that being said they both handed over the evidence. Nodding Bogo placed the serum and carrot pen into an evidence bag. Before taking his leave he turned to Hopps and spoke, "Hopps I don't want to see you at the station until your leg is fully healed. No exceptions, understood?"
Judy gave a crisp salute, "Yes sir!"
Bogo nodded before turning and marching off back to his other officers.
Zira who had been silently waiting for them to finish finally spoke up again, "Well then let’s get you to the Savannah General Officer Hopps."
Smiling at the Mares friendly tone Judy allowed her to help her into the back of the ambulance, Nick following behind before a hoof firmly shoves him back, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! We’re do you think your going fox!" The voice coming from the deer buck who had been silently glaring at him.
Nick, despite feeling annoyed by the speciesist buck, kept a calm look on his face, "With her." he stated coolly.
The buck scowled, "I don't think so FOX, you want to go to the hospital you find a different way."
Judy did not liking the way this deer was talking to her fox. She didn't like hearing mammals treat him so poorly just because of his species. She didn't want to go without Nick and she was going to make that very clear.
"Nick is going to come."
The deer buck turned to look at the bunny, "Why? He's a good for nothing fox, and he's a predator! What if he goes savage?h uh, not happening rabbit."
Judy gave the buck a glare that could freeze a polar bear to the core, "Predators aren't going savage and if he doesn't go then neither do I!"
Before the Buck could respond his partner spoke up, "Bucksley! Shut your trap! If I hear one more speciesist remark leave your muzzle I'll make it my civil duty to make sure you’re fired for Speciesism!" That caused the deer to frown, than step aside in defeat, letting Nick pass.
Nick and Judy both offer their thanks to the zebra mare.
"Don't worry about it, I hate seeing mammals judged for their species. It's not right." she replied, before giving a glare at her partner, well... soon to be former partner when she was done here. Making her way to the driver’s seat she addresses the pair without looking at them, "Alright you two love birds, we'll have you at Savannah Central General in no time."
Both rabbit and fox blushed at the comment, ears standing erect and shout out in unison, "We're not a together!"
Zira just smirked saying,