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Victoria Wilde-Hopps

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Judy noticed something was off with Nick as soon as he got back from the market.

While Nick’s patented ‘never let them see them get to you’ was good for his years on the street and now his time on the beat with her as an officer, it worked less well if she even hinted at the slighted sniffle. Given that she had been feeling “off” for some weeks now, he’d been ongoingly fretful over her vague condition. But this was something else.

“Nick? Is there something?” Judy asked lightly. “I saw you giving me some extra sniffs.” Nick’s constant sniff checks had taken some time to get used to, but anymore, had become a reassuring gesture, if not a sometimes source of friendly jests.

Nick grimmaced and shifted around, clearly uncomfortable. Then sighed and settled and asked very carefully, “Are you pregnant?”

“uhm, no?” Was not very reassuring, and Judy scrambled to explain. “I’m not ‘pregnant’ but I’m suspecting I might have some kind of girl problem. My family history is pretty good, but there have been thing, so...” She wasn’t going to elaborate on the range of gynocological issues that rabbits in general and her wide range of kin had experianced, mostly to not cause her Fox to have yet more to worry a bout. Though, to give him credit, he had never seemed to have any problems hearing about the detailed complications of lady bits.

“you know I got that check up a couple weeks back and they couldn’t find anything wrong.” Then Judy cocked her head, “And where did pregnancy come up?”

“Well, you know I’ve been keeping my nose on you all along.” Nick said a bit self-consciously. “And there was an obviously pregnant Doe at the market. I didn’t even sniff her, just walked by, and picked it up. And, yeah, you’ve been like that for a good while.”

Judy sighed. “Okay, I’m going to go in again and make sure I get a thorough examination.” What she didn’t mention that her previous appointment was cut short, little more than a brief discussion and then a blood draw before she had to leave due to a ZPD alert. Then, she only caught an abbreviated call with her results, pretty much not catching anything beyond “You’re doing fine”.

So, “Nichole Savage” was again at the private clinic for a check up. Judy was using her undercover persona to avoid unnecessary attention as the Hero Savior of Zootopia, which was still a sometimes thing.

“So, Nichole, getting ready for some routine prenatal check ups?” The kindly old Capabera asked, having done a quick look at Judy’s chart.

“Well, that’s the thing. I can’t be pregnant.” And before the Doctor could react, Judy continued. “No, it isn’t like I’m in denial or anything like that. I simply have not had any sex within my class.”

The Doctor puzzled. “But you have had sex….?”

“Yes, with my, uh, partner. But he’s a Canid.”

 

“Oh.” Then, “Oh, yes.” The large rodent waggled his jaw in consideration. “I’m not going to ask too much about that. Its your life and all. But your previous lab work was entirely consistent with you being well along. As is the beginning of that baby bump you have there.”

Judy had been aware of her weight gain, but until that moment had not fully appreciated that she did have a bit of a belly now.

“But how is it only now that you’re telling me this? As I said, your previous diagnosis was weeks ago.”

“Yeah, about that. I got the voicemail about that, but only got as far as I’m okay before I got called away and didn’t follow up.” Judy could kick herself for that, as she wasn’t THAT busy. ‘But, still how could it be a pregnancy?”

“All too good a question. As a viable cross is just plain impossible, we’ll have to consider other things.”

Judy grimaced, “Yes, I’ve got too many kin to not be aware of all the possibilities.”

The Doctor tried to keep a neutral face, as he also knew of the myriad things that could bring on at least some of what might be going on.

After a basic external palpitation which seemed to be perfectly consistent with a pregnancy in progress, “Rather than a more intrusive exam, lets do an ultrasound, see if there is anything to see, sort out if its a cyst or other complication in the area first.”

After a bit of preparation, the Doctor was ready to begin the scan, sliding the sensor wand over Judy’s transmission goo covered belly. “A’right. Everything seems to be working and - .” He abruptly stops. Then ever so slowly slides the unit down, then across, and then made adjustments to the controls and then did another series of passes without saying a word.

“Doctor, what is it?” Judy thought she was prepared for anything, but the doctor’s reaction was beginning to unnerve her.

He sat back in his chair, looking at the scan monitor, touching controls for a moment, still silent. Then pawed Judy a towel. “Wipe yourself off a bit, but you’ll need to to properly wash it all off later to get all the “minty freshness” out.” He then collected himself. He reached over to turn the monitor around for Judy to see what it showed, but first. “It is a her.” And he turned the monitor around to show a fetus, small but fully formed. Like any mammal at that stage, it had little to indicate species, though Judy noticed that the head lacked the beginnings of dentition of a rabbit. And it, or rather she, as he pointed out, had a tail of some length.

“What is she?”

The Doctor noticed that the Doe had said “she”, rather than “it”. “I don’t know, but let me show you something.” He went to a computer display and quickly brought up a pair of images. “These are typical Canid and Lago babies at about the same age as I suspect yours is.”

Nichole recognized a lot of the Lago’s details, as she had seen any number of scans of her various kin. The Canid was a bit less familiar. “What species is she?”
“I took a guess, and she’s a Fox, Vulpes Vulpes.” He gave her an apologetic look. “I took a guess. My nose is a little bit better than your mask all.”

Nichole cringed and nodded a little bit.

He watched the range of emotions playing across her face. “You can see yours doesn’t really match any of the details of either one. However, despite her mystery species, she looks to be perfectly healthy and coming along just fine.”

Judy pulled on her ears in conflicting emotion. To actually be pregnant was not what she was prepared for. Doubly so that it did not seem to be some fantasy Funny or Box. “How is this possible?”

“I honestly don’t know. But I recommend you go to the Honeywell Center and they can help you sort this out.”

“Yes, I’m aware of them. A co-worker was helped with some genetic complications with her cub.”

“Yes, they are THE place for genetic – ah – complications. Let me set up a referral for you and you can set an appointment time with them.”

After doing some on-line paperwork, the Doctor escorted Nichole out the door and on to a rather complicated new life. Then he made a ‘phone call. “Hello, Dr. Marcos here, Dr. Jansen? I have just referred a patient to the Center. An impossibly extreme cross, but it looks viable, x-weeks along, well formed female, no major sign of speciation yet as might be expected.” Then after some discussion from the other end, “Yes, I agree. Upmost confidentiality with this one. I’ve already encrypted my file and she’ll be bring the only plain text version when she comes in.”

Judy left the clinic in a bit of a daze. Pregnant? With a mystery baby of some sort. Not a horrible mutant, at least not yet. She’d seen any number of ultrasounds of various babies, and other than the unfamiliar details, she seems remarkably ordinary. And she was in Judy, and presumably, a product of her and Nick. And what would Nick say? He was all about little ones whenever he found himself dealing with them, be they Judy’s avalance of younger kin or some lost cub in the city. But possibly fatherhood?

Nick had been waiting in a little green space a block away, even with aliases, the fox and bunny combo would have given them away at the clinic. And there he was, rather predatorially eyeing some pigeons across the way.

“Really?” Judy said in mock disapproval. “After the tongue-lashing you gave that Caracal Kit for snagging that bird just the other day.”

“So, what did the Doc say?” Any other time it would have been a deflection, but Nick was clearly anxious for any news.

“Well, its not a tumor.”

Nick took a moment to process that. “So, you’re saying….?” He clearly wanted to jump for joy or something, but held back noting Judy’s own restraint.

“We’re – well – something.”

“Something?” Nick cocked his head in the very typical canid fashion of concentration.

“Well, she looks healthy and coming along just fine?” But the odd end note made Nick cock his head in the other direction.

“So, you are pregnant? And…?”

“The Doctor doesn’t know what I’m pregnant with.”

That brought him up short, and he sat down awkwardly as he tried to figure out what had just been said.

Judy continued. “She’s us, just you and me. But not, I don’t know, not an obvious combination, I guess.” She handed him her file, which included a print out of the scan.

After looking at it for a long, silent moment, “You said she? Huh. A little mystery girl. Could this be some bizarre hoax, or did you get a secret surrogacy slipped in, or something?” Though said jokingly, there was a little frantic edge to him. He then lunged in to hug his Bunny. “Whatever’s going on, I’ll always be here for you, Judith Lavern!” Though said with determination, Judy could tell there was also a touch of fear in there.

Some hours later Officers Hopps and Wilde come into the lobby area of the Honeywell Genetic Counseling Center and up to the reception desk.

“How can I help you today?” The Ardwolf receptionist asked, eyeing the notorious pair.

“We’re here to see Dr. Jansen about an appointment made with a Nichole Savage.” Officer Wilde announced.

“Oh? I hope it isn’t anything untoward?”

“Oh, no, nothing of the sort. But we are authorized to speak to Dr. Jansen in her behalf. Not so much a police thing as personal.” Wilde explained.

“And we have her consent forms.” Officer Hopps reminded.

After a moment’s examination, the receptionist called Dr. Jansen who agreed to see them promptly.

Dr. Jansen was a Coati and was not a little puzzled to see the two officers. “Is there something I can help you with? I was told it had something to do with a Ms. Savage?”

Judy held up her paw, “Nichole Savage is an under cover identity that I also use to stay low profile in public. And obviously I wouldn’t want it to get out, over and above normal medical confidentiality.”

“I understand perfectly.” Then reaching for the file she had held out, “And now lets see what’s going on.”

(montage of increasingly intrusive tests on both Nick and Judy)

It would be the next week before Nick and Judy were back to hear what had been found.

Along with Dr. Jansen was several other doctors and a couple legal types. As nervous as Nick and Judy were, it seemed the collected body were also feeling a bit awkward.

“Per the various tests, the baby is, after a fashion, the union of the two of you, so congratulations.” Dr. Jansen had been interviewing and heading up the various procedures that both Nick and Judy had been subject to, and had now a friendly rapport with them. “But, how it happened, is still pretty much a wild guess at this point.”

The Wolf of the group waved his paws as he tried to explain. “You two mentioned that you were both feeling a bit ill at the time you – uhm.”

Judy cringed a bit at that. Yes, they were feeling under the weather and some comfort grooming went a bit further.

Seeing her reaction, “Sorry. But the best wild guess is that ovum fertilization coincided with a viral fragment infection which, I don’t know, beneficially interfered with the normal genetic assembly process. Which is impossible.”

Then one of the other doctors, a Rabbit added. “Then, because the alignment of genetic structures are so far off between vulpes and lopes, there seems to have been an edit and assemble process that somehow pulled together those genetic elements common to both types. A common denominator if you will. Which is also impossible.”

Another Doctor then continued. “On one paw, one might expect a missing link or throwback to some ancestral form, which both didn’t happen and would have been impossible anyway.”

And the tag team explanation continued. “But, instead, Ms. Hopps, your daughter is a sort of kind of generic small mammals, again, a sort of common denominator, sort of kind of, which is also impossible.” Finishing with a shrug.

Dr. Jansen jumped back in. “The good news is that, at least so far, your miraculous pregnancy is coming along, dare I say it, impossibly well, and there is no reason for it to not continue if you so choose.”

Nick and Judy exchanged looks. As so totally unexpected as this was, that it was happening at all was an opportunity that they could not but take the chance with. “Well, you all ready know my answer to that, Dr. Jansen. We’re prepared to carry this all through.”

At that, all eyes turned to the legal beasts who had been quietly lurking in the background. “Yes.” It was the Arctic Fox, very precise, and, yes, icy. “While the Institute was created in large part to facilitate inter couples with the best that medical science can provide, it cannot work miracles, and for all practical purposes, that is what happened here. As these and others have noted, this is an impossibly irreproducable chain of events. I believe Dr. Chandra has already run both simulations and preliminary in vitro experiments and he is convinced of that conclusion as well.”

There were some looks exchanged. Dr. Chandra was a sore subject, as he had no qualms about pushing ethical practices to the edge. He was likely using surplussed eggs and donor sperm in an entirely legal fashion, but… There were reasons he was not on staff and worked off site.

The legal Fox continued. “Given the desperate desires of those in the population, merely being “impossible” would not deter many from demanding our services to attempt something similar, or, worse, have their desires exploited by others in a hopeless effort.”

“Suggesting we keep this all very secret?”

“Exactly. No publishing.”

“Less of a sacrifice than you might think.” One of the other doctors groused. “Who is going to believe any of this?”

“Yeap. I just hope that if anything leaks, that it will be regarded as a fraud or hoax. Tzarivich is right. If the idea of a viral agent assisting an incompatible inter couple ever got out, it’d become a nightmare in an instant.”

“Oh glob! Remember that crackpot, Tabitha? Wasn’t it? We’re still getting the occasional inquiry about that still.”

“And what about Ms. Hopps and her Daughter?”

“We’ve drafted a scenario in which she is kept in practical isolation, under the cover of a special assignment with the ZPD. Then, later she can “adopt” the child as a foundling. Depending on its final form, it can be documented as a hybrid or defective of a known spieces or mix.”

There were some grumbles, less due to the idea than his blunt delivery. Especially the last part. Kits got abandoned for simply being mixed, or out of fear of debilitating or lethal birth defects that parents were unable or unwilling to face. While various social services as well as the institute were available to help deal with all these issues, Fear, shame, or ignorance lead to any number of abandoned or worse cases.

Getting the time away from the precinct was surprisingly (not surprisingly) easy, as both Bogo and the shift watch commander were more than happy to have Hopps and Wilde out of the office for a good while. That things were relatively quite around the city made it easier as well. The cover story was that they were testing a remote work procedure, as given the last couple of pandemic scares, was a very reasonable thing to do. There was also the oblique consideration that forcing Wilde to be stuck at a desk for an extended period just might give him enough practice to FINALLY get his paperwork done correctly.

For their cover at the Institute, ‘Nichole’ was being held in an isolation ward with an unspecified high risk pregnancy while ‘Tod’ was a temp hire for some sensitive clerical work and had to kept in a secured office.

Initially, Judy was happy to beaver away at the stream of paperwork that came through, while Nick was only grudgingly struggling with the load. Fortunately, they needed to stay in touch with their fellow officers to clarify details on incident reports and the like, and Nick found he had a flair for drawing out additional details and even providing insights and even new angles in the various investigations.

Judy, on the other paw was increasingly frustrated. She wanted to be out on the beat, not just documenting the minutia of what others had been doing. And she was, in more candid moments with Nick and/or her support team, increasingly anxious about her pregnancy. Not so much the unique situation and any unforeseen hazards, which she was continuously being briefed on in case of any unusual symptoms, but the typical first time mother worries and complaints. She hadn’t paid enough attention back home with all the little things that went on with expectant motherhood and was increasingly doubting herself over such.

That they were kept apart most of the time to keep up appearances was an added strain. While Judy claimed to be a most independent Bunny, she missed her familial fluffles more than she would ever admit, and had grown to depend on her big red bed warmer for her proximal comfort. Her little fox stuffy and Nick’s dirty laundry were a poor substitute.

For Nick’s part, he was more overtly anxious for Judy, to the point where special staff had to keep an eye on him to make sure he was both eating regularly and taking a course of mild sedatives, as he was beginning to lose fur due to stress. He also began to exercise, including a lot of running, to work things off.

During one of the few clandestine meetings, they got to compare notes. “You look awful.” “You look worse.” “Still not sleeping enough?” “Never enough.” “You haven’t been eating enough. You’ll be worthless when we get back home, all skin and bones and scraggly coat.”

Nick was going to retort that Judy was beginning to look like her rather round Mother, but refrained. She had put on a pound or two, but she also looked haggard. Red eyes and dark tear-stained fur, her coat looked frizzy and brittle, and her ears dead limp. For safety sake, Judy was being handled as immuno-compromised, so any contact was with gloves and masks. Nick could give Judy some limited grooming with brushes, but it wasn’t the same thing.
“Well, it won’t be much longer, at least that’s the best guess.”

“Yeah. I just hope they keep their promise and let us take her home. After all this, turning her into a lab specimen would be too much.”

The big day was a bit underwelming, as delivery was quick and painless as was the way with Rabbits. Little Victoria was also a bit underwhelming, not so different than many mammal newborns. A little bean of a body, oversize head without distinctive muzzle shape yet, little round ears, and all covered with soft dark fur.

Various doctors were clamoring to take a look or get a sample, kept in check by the dedicated team that had seen Judy through the last months of her pregnancy and would be on paw for the post natal settling.
Nick missed it, stuck under a mass of paperwork across the campus and that the delivery was so quick and simple there was simply no time to get there.

When he finally did arrive, he was all weepy joy at the sight. Judy with little Victoria resting on her breast.

“She’s all fuzzy”

“I’ll bet like her Father.” Fox newborns were a similar smokey dark rather than the bright reds of maturity.

“Wonder what she’ll look like as she grows?”

“we’ll have to wait and see, Dad.”

-------------

“Victoria, are you ready to go?”

“Yeah, but don’ wanna.”

Nick huffed. “Young lady, first day of school is a tragic right of passage for all civilized mammals.”

“Don’ wanna be civiliieezed!”

“How else will you establish proper socialization skills if you don’t interact with your peers?”

“Don’ wan’ Peeeers! They all stinky butts.”

“Only if you go around sniffing their butts.”

“I don’!”

“Okay then. No stinky butts and promise you won’t bite anyone.”

“Dad! No! I never bite!”

“Remember that. Even if they pull your tail.”

Victoria growled in a most impressive fashion, which made up for her rather meek appearance. Big eyes and prominate mobile ears on a sort of kind of weaselish head, countershaded in brown and cream like their Least Weasel neighbors. Their Kit, William, Victoria’s best friend, was a tiny fraction of her size, though with their coloring, joked that she was her giant cousin. She didn’t have the snaky body of a weasel though. Maybe a bit more like a Martin, but not really that either. Nick liked to think she was built a bit more like a Fox, but that was only because she wasn’t build much like a rabbit. But even then, not so much. She did have a long tail, but not his plush brush that she still loved to cuddle into. Maybe or not the furry rope of a Cat’s, but not the heavy taper of an Otter’s either.

“Pulling tails?” Judy came in to indicate the car was ready. While Victoria would eventually take the school bus in, for the first day, she was getting driven in to make sure she was properly registered and such. “I hope you two are not plotting some class room mayhem?”

While Nick made a dramatic gesture of shocked dismay at the accusation, Victoria huffed. “Mom! Dad said I bite! I never bite!”

“No, you don’t, because you are a very polite young lady.” And Judy gave Nick a rather hard “you’re not helping” look.

“I was only reminding her not to bite anyone, even tail-pullers.” Nick defended. While Victoria very much didn’t like tail pulling, she always did refrain from biting, though did have an impressive hiss and growl to mark her displeasure.

They got in the car and on their way with minimal issue, though as they pulled up to the school, Victoria began to whine just a little bit.

“What’s up?” Nick looked back at Victoria in her “crash survival module” that he dubbed the Kit’s car seat.

“Jus’ a little scared. Don’ know anyone.” He was relieved to see she didn’t look really frightened, her ears were up and all, but she held her mouth just so that signaled worry.

“As will everyone else there, so you’ll have that in common.” Though Nick hoped that at least a couple of the kits from her earlier day care might be there to help.

They got into the registration office along with a crush of other parents and their offspring. There were some whimpers in the crowd, to which Victoria quietly announce to Judy, “I’m bein’ brave, Mom.”

“Yes you are.” She wanted to add, not like your Dad, as she could see that he was clearly not keen on letting his Daughter go just yet. She reached over to give him an encouraging paw grip.

They eventually got to the head of the line and presented their paperwork. “Victoria Wilde-Hopps, class C mixed omnivore.” The old Bobcat peered over heavy glasses at the trio. “Still the heroes, taking on this – child.” “Never let them see they get to you” was very much strained in that moment, but Nick and Judy was able to get through it and said their goodbyes before Victoria was led off with a pack of others of her general size.

“I think she looked okay, don’t you?”

“Better than okay. That was a nose twitch of excitement, not fear.”

-------------

“Mother.” The word and tone that meant something important was about to be broached.

Judy looked over to her Daughter. “What’s up, Victoria?”

“Uhmmm. Female things.”

Judy knew that Victoria’s school and already touched on some of the basic biology of sex, but given the range of species and their varied level of sexual maturity, nothing too specific so far, so she was half-expecting The Talk. But she had not really though through what she was going to tell her genetically impossible child.

“Anything in particular?”

“Well, I know about the basics, well, the very basic basics, but there wasn’t really anything about cycles or signs or any of the real stuff.”

“oh. Are you feeling anything?”

“No. But I don’t really know what I would be feeling, or -” blushing “Smelling.”

Victoria did have a good nose, Not as sensitive as her Father’s Vulpine sniffer, but clearly more acute than Judy’s Bunny snoot.

“Well, everyone can be so different, not just by species, but individually too. But, because you are a mix, it will have be whenever you get to that point.” Judy gave Victoria a comically exaggerated sniff. “So, you’re really not doing anything yet, are you?”

“No!” And Victoria gave her mother a playful little slap. “Its just a few of the girls in class have been on chill pills lately, including the Fossa twins, and I couldn’t help but wonder.”

Victoria’s ambiguous appearance had everyone guess as to who she might have something in common with. Fossas were just the latest guess. Fortunately, with the wide range of species already in the classes, her unique appearance was not as obvious as one might expect, which avoided undue attention.

“But – I’m still wondering as to what I really am.” And before Judy could reassure, “And I know you and Dad love me and all that, and that you have really good reasons why you won’t talk about where I come from, I still worry about how this will affect me as I grow up more.”

“Yeah, and wish we knew more about you too for your sake.”

Victoria could sense her Mother’s frustration, but was beginning to wonder if it was over what she might know but couldn’t tell rather than what she didn’t know. But was that real, or just her teenage drama coming out again? As a little kit, she imagined herself a long lost princess or chosen one, and a little bit of that notion still lingered at times.

She fingered the medical alert bracelet she always wore, which warned that she could only be treated with a certain range of multiple species compatible drugs and treatments. Judy noticed that too. She pulled her Daughter close and gave her a brief atavistic nibble-groom.

“Mom! I ought to be too old for that kind of thing.” Though she made no effort to disengage.

“Well as soon as your Grandmother stops giving me one every time I see her, then we’ll talk.”

Her Mother and the greater warren back in the ‘burrow was something Judy didn’t have to worry about. The family was delighted that Judy had become a mother, even if it was the mystery foundling. That she was cute in her own way, as well as the warren having welcomed a few other non-rabbity members over the years didn’t hurt.

“You’re not getting any boy thoughts, are you?”

“No, just friend friends. Which is just fine with me, given how some of them get so goofy when, ya know.”

Judy gave a knowing eye roll. “Count your blessings that you’re not a Bunny, least you are presumed to be ready and willing all the time.”

“Eww!” Victoria made a face. “That’s really really a thing? There’s bad jokes about that at school, but I though it was them just being disgusting.”

“Oh, yeah. Back in the ‘Burrow, sex ed included a lot about responsible social conduct, which helped keep down ‘accidents’.

“Did you ever have to deal with that?”

“Not really. As you know, I was all about being a cop from early on and wasn’t into typical girl things, or the various social scenes. Did a lot of sports, but never on the formal teams, and was just one of the guys.” Judy made a little face of her own. “That’s were ‘Jude the Dude’ came from. I really hated it at the time. But don’t tell you Gran’dad. He always thought it was just cute. But it did help avoid unnecessary interest for a good long time.”

“Did you ever want to?”

“Well, to be honest, half the time I was simply oblivious, too focused on my grand career goals, which included being a bit of a moralizing prude at times. Then seeing the drama my siblings were going through with their relationships, I thought I was dodging any number of bullets. But, I have to admit there were times when I did feel a bit lonely. Unfortunately, half of that was a touch of alienation with the family, going against the grain and all.”

Victoria made a wary look, “Uhum. Is that still a bit of a thing?”

“Oh? Was there something?” Judy tensed at that. She was less worried about her relationship with the Warren than any possible issue her daughter might face.

“Just a little side eye and ear cock at times.”
“Nothing about you or your Father?”

“Well, you how some are still a little twitchy about Dad, but nothing else for him. I’ve never noticed anything other than the guessing game about me.”

----------

Mid way though math class and one of the school counselors warily entered the class and went up to whisper something to Mr. Hughes. He grunted a little something and then rumbled, “Wilde-Hopps, Alvareze.” and made a head bob to indicate that they should follow the counselor.

The two girls looked at each other in some confusion but complied. Victoria and Tina Alvereze were besties and shared a look of concern. Was it something about Victoria’s parents, and having Tina as emotional support? Tina knew the counselor and asked. “Mrs. Thomas, what is this about?”

“I don’t exactly know.” And both Tina and Victoria could scent her unfocused concern. “I was just told to get you both and take you to administration.”

The pair tried not to worry too much as they silently hurried to the administration offices. There they saw the principal and some suited official types waiting for them. After ushering them into a conference room and taking their seats, the principal addressed the pair. “You know that personal information should be kept secure.” Nodding to Victoria, “Especially with anyone associated with any high profile or public figure.” He then glanced over to Tina. “However, in this case, I hope its nothing beyond simple curiosity.” And he then turned to one of the suits.

“Yes. Ms. Wilde-Hopps, have you consented to a DNA examination by another party anytime recently?”

Victoria puzzeled over that for a second, then burst out. “Tina! Did you test me?!”

Tina shrank back in dismay. “I’m so sorry, but I just had to know.”

Victoria was too shocked to react. Part of her wanted to rage, scream, DO anything, but as she collected herself, she found herself more hurt and disappointed.

“I just wanted to figure out what you were.” Tina pleaded.

“What’s to figure out? I’m me. And I thought you were my friend, not one of those who just want to get close to the Daughter of the famous Fox and Bunny. So, what, there’s a betting pool or something and you wanted the big score?”

“No! Nothing like that. I just -”

“Just dig into the one thing I asked you to never do so? I told you when we first started hanging together that I didn’t know and didn’t want to know and to just leave it.” Victoria began to pace and flail her forelimbs around in frustration, bottling up the rage that she knew was pointless in the moment.

“So, there was never any ulterior motive for the test, just your personal curiosity, Ms. Alvereze?” One of the suits rather tactlessly interjected.

“Glob no!” Tina sobbed. Then pleading to Victoria, “I just -” And in seeing the hurt and anger in her erstwhile best friend, she curled into a ball of whimpering despair.

The adults in the room looked at each other, a bit uncomfortable in the midst of the emotional girls. One of the suits gestured to the other and the Principal. “I think we’re done here. Just a youthful indiscretion rather than any kind of security breech.”

Victoria noticed that and did her best not to visibly react to it while her mind raced. The suit said “security breech”, not privacy violation. Was it something related to her famous family, or something else? More on that later, but she still had the immediate problem. “Can I go home? I’m – I’m useless for classes right now.” Shooting a hateful glance at Tina.

“Of course.” The Principal nodded. “Do you want me to call your folks?”

“Oh Glob no! That’s the one thing they don’t need right now. Really busy with cases, you know.”
She knew the school staff had been well trained over the years in dealing with potential unwanted attention that being the daughter of high profile personalities might bring to the faculty and students.

“You’re free to go.” One of the suits grunted. “Ms. Alvereze will need to get some paperwork done, but we don’t expect anything further, unless you want to press charges?”

“Oh Cheeze no!” Victoria waved Tina away. “I’m just done!”

 

Victoria was surprised to see her parents arriving home as she was, and a bit dismayed at their expressions. They must have been told about things.

“You all right Kiddo?” Nick was clearly anxious, though was trying to dial it back.

“Yeah. Just disappointed.” Victoria sighed. “Tina did a DNA test on me and got busted for it.” That neither one of her parents reacted pretty much cinched it that they already knew.

“I’m so sorry to hear that.” Judy knew Tina pretty well and her disappointment was obvious. “Was she just curious?”

“Yeah, I guess. But it was the one thing, the ONE THING I asked her to never snoop on!”

Nick stifled some variation of a “curiosity killed the cat” quip, Tina being a Margay, and instead offered, “As you well know, teen acting before thinking IS a thing.” Giving his Daughter a knowing look.

Victoria made a grudging growl at that.

After a period of comforting and reassurance, with emotions then largely settled, Victoria suddenly cocked her head in recollection. “So, who were the suits this time?”

Nick and Judy exchanged looks.

“They didn’t identify themselves, so were not ZPD or ZBI.” At various times the famous couple had attracted worrisome attention, so their Daughter had more than a few experiences with various agencies. “And if it was “Uncle” Jack, why would his friends be interested?”

The two adults clearly didn’t have an answer to any of that, though did exchange volumes of gestures and expressions, finally settling on a chorus of “I don’t knows”.

Judy did offer an explanation, “I can only guess the inquiry flagged some other security something regarding us. You said they kept asking Tina if she was only looking for herself?”

Nick interjected, “Wonder if they thought someone else might try to get at whatever Tina might find.”

“But isn’t all that a bit extreme for a bit of private information?” Victoria made a face. “I mean, unless I really am a lost princess or chosen one?” That had been a little joke between them for the longest time, though there was a period where it was more overtly upsetting for the young adoptee to not know her origin. However, this time, she saw a little hitch in her parent’s demeanor.
“There IS something? Isn’t there?”

Nick and Judy again exchanged a flurry of expressions between them. Then, after a long nervous pause, Judy spoke. “Your birth is a major medical secret. Because- “ and She turned to Nick then back to her, “You really are our Daughter.”

“You have got to do better than that.” Victoria was incredulous. “Besides, that isn’t how it is suppose to work. Cartoon inter species usually go Daughter matches Mother and Son matches Father. Unless, its on the late night adult content channels, then its some horrible mixed monster.”

Nick and Judy ever so briefly glanced at each other over that, with Judy giving a little apologetic shrug.

“Well, you are very much a mix, though not an obvious Box or Funny.”

Victoria paused for a moment then rolled her eyes at the Dad Joke. “Still don’t buy it. I know reproduction and enough genetics to know that it would be impossible.”

“And that was a very popular word at the Honeywell Center during your Mother’s pregnancy.” Nick observed. “If you want to get snoopy, you’ll notice a period of detatched duty for the two of us around the time of your birth.”

“And that I didn’t need hormone supplements to nurse you once we got you home.”

“Gran’mom insisted you were just a natural mother.” While the elder Hopps never belabored her daughter’s decision to never have her own kits, she had always admired how thoroughly devoted Judy had been to her mystery foundling.

After some silent consideration, “So, who knows?”

“Just a few doctors and staff. The joke at the time was it was the perfect secret, since no one would believe it if someone leaked.”

“Yeah, I can imagine. But what about the MIBs?”

“They might be “Uncle” Jack’s friends, but I suspect they don’t know the whole story, just that you get some extra level of personal security for reasons.”

That brought on another long silent pause. There had been some incidents that had entangled the Wilde-Hopps and the mysterious “Uncle” Jack and his associates and the less said, or even thought about, was prudent.

“So, Daughter mine, what do you think?” Nick had a hopeful, yet wary, head and ear cock.

“This is so much.” Victoria shook her head. “I mean, you know we had those episodes...” And she trailed off in recalling the doubts and conflicts she had in the past. “That I ever doubted you, ya know.”

“Well, most of that was just teen brain.” Nick offered. “And some level of extra angst with the Big Question about your origin.”

“And we had to the keep the secret, less for your sake than what kind of impact it would have on the rest of society.” Judy explained then cringed just a bit about how that might have sounded.

Seeing her Mother’s distress, “I get it, Mom. I’ve seen the news, and even the school had a section on inter couples and how much the Honeywell Center can and can’t do.” She looked at her paws. “If I am literally an impossible and irreproducable fluke, I can see all kinds of false hope for so many others.”

She then made a little scowl, “And I can also see some regarding me as somehow un-natural and make something of it.”

There was a little visual exchange between Nick and Judy over that. An added detail that they had tried not to dwell on. Even being an inter couple had attracted unwanted attention early on, and all these years later, was still a thing for some.

Finally, “Okay. I’m a big girl now and I can handle the truth.” Making a little joke over the old movie line. “And keeping the secret is as much for me as it is for the greater good of society. All part of the great burdens that we Wilde-Hopps carry to make the world a better place.” And gave her Mother such a look.

After a brief shared chuckle, “I hope your not so big that you’re not going to give your Mom a cuddle?” Nick offered.

“As long as she doesn’t groom me too much.” Now a running joke between them.