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Water Under the Bridge

Chapter Text

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            The massive pursuit car sat behind a tree on the side of the road, lying in wait. Its great engine idled, humming like a sleeping lion. Inside, two figures watched the road intently. One, a small grey rabbit, tapped her fingers on the wheel of her mighty steed, her face drawn into an almost wistful expression.

            “Last day on the beat.” She broke the silence, looking over at her partner. “Gonna miss it, Nick?”

            “Nah,” the officer opposite her replied, he was a slender red fox with a dour, focused mien, his eyes hidden and intent behind a pair of reflective aviators. “I’d say our business here is just about finished. One more day and we’re on our way, Carrots.”

            The rabbit smiled. “One more mission.”

            “Our white whale, Judy.” Nick smirked, notching his aviators down his snout to wink at her. “Our Moby Dick.”

            A red sports car raced past at just under the speed limit, Nick grinned. “Speak of the devil! Speeding the limit, as usual. Officer Hopps, fire up the roof.”

            Judy snapped on the lights and sirens, pulling out of their enclave and into traffic. The pursuit car thundered over the open pavement, easily gaining on the car as the lights flashed and sirens pealed. The sports car acknowledged its authority and pulled off to the side in an aloof, orderly fashion; Nick wrung his hands together. “Avast, Starbuck! Man the harpoons!”

            “To the last I grapple with thee!” Judy laughed and waved her fist dramatically. “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!”

            Nick leveled his sunglasses, his face stone once more. “He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon him.”

            Judy simply blinked in surprise as Nick smirked; on his face was that practiced smug expression. “Not a huge Melville crowd in Bunnyburrow?”

            “I never actually finished Moby Dick,” Judy admitted, bashfully.

            “Well, it’s not an easy read,” Nick said, waving her off. “Also, Whale War stories probably don't strike the same chord in the heartland as they do out here.”

            “He’s waiting, Officer Wilde,” Judy reminded, pointing at the car. “Hop to it.”

            Nick inhaled deeply. “You smell something, Rabbit?”

            Judy sniffed sharply and nodded. “Fear.”

            Nick opened the door with deliberate flair and marched over to the parked car, his face a mask of impassive determination. The window rolled down and out leaned an infamously poker-faced wolf: ‘Stony’ Steven Staziak.

            “Good afternoon, Officer Wilde,” Stony said as he reached out, his license and registration in hand. “What appears to be the problem?”

            Nick’s face did not slip as he took the notation, his pen a blur. “Do you know how fast you were going back there?”

            Stony paused and answered flintily. “65.”

            “63,” Nick corrected.

            “Isn’t the speed limit 65?”

            “Yep,” Nick answered, pausing for a moment before asking. “Do you know why I pulled you over just meow?”

            Stony blinked, the first chip in his mirthless armor. “Excuse me?”

            “I said: do you know why I pulled you over…” Nick repeated. “…just meow.”

            “Did you just say ‘meow’?” Stony asked, the corners of his mouth curling upwards, an unprecedented feat.

            “Why the Sam Hill would I say ‘meow’?” Nick said, his voice convincingly stern, he looked at himself in the side-mirror. “Do I look like a cat to you? Do all us non-wolves look alike to you or something?!”

            “No! No, I just…misheard, I guess.” Stony rubbed his arm nervously, his defense smashed.

            “Alright, we got that all clear up meow?” Nick said, only just holding back his own laughter as he went in for the kill. “Meow, I gonna ask you again: do you know why I pulled you over?”

            Stony clapped his hand over his mouth as a series of chuckles escaped him, Nick could have called it off there, but he wanted total victory. “Meow, what is so goddamned funny?! You’ll stop laughing right meow yiff you don’t want a ticket!”

            Stony Steven doubled over and loosed a hearty laugh, slapping the dashboard hard. Nick smirked and clicked the receiver on his radio. “My time, Officer Hopps?”

            “1:12!” she cheered over the radio static. “A new record!”

            “Beat Stony and in record time, too. A good cap to a career.” Nick let the act drop and joined in laughing alongside his long-time quarry. “It took a while, but I finally figured you out, Stony. Or should I call you Chuckles?”

            “You can call me a little sad to see you go, Officer, you and Officer Hopps,” Chuckles said between giggles, waving to Judy, who waved back. “Last day on patrol, right?”

            “You know it.” Nick nodded. “Maybe we’ll see you around.”

            “I hope not,” Chuckles shook his head. “Detectives. Man, that’s a rough trade, Officer. If you ever see me on the job, I hope it’s to arrest my awful neighbors!”

            “Well, you keep speeding the limit, Chuckles. Our replacements might not be so keen on making you laugh.”

            Nick turned around and headed back to the cruiser when Chuckles called out to him. “So, why did you pull me over?”

            Nick casually kicked the rear end of the sports car, just above the bumper, causing the trunk to pop open with a snap. “Improperly secured trunk. We’ll let you off with a warning this time.”

 


 

            Judy smiled as she watched Nick hop back into the patrol car. “Have fun?”

            “Oodles,” Nick said pithily.

            “Tomorrow’s the big day,” she said as she pulled away from the shoulder of the road. “Today, the sun sets on patrol officers Hopps and Wilde, but tomorrow it’ll rise on two new detectives!”

            “About time you got a promotion,” Nick reached over and punched her shoulder playfully. “Shoot, the whole thing is basically a formality. You’ve solved how many cases as a patroller? Four? Five?”

            “Me? Zero.” Judy turned to look at him, her smile warm and loving. “But us? We’ve solved six.”

            Nick chuckled and shook his head. “I always forget the Nighthowlers Case.”

            “To six and many more, partner.” She offered her fist.

            Nick reached out and bumped hers with his. “Partners for life.”