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When the Stars Align (A Zootopia Story)

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Chapter Eight - Not Quick Enough


As November transitioned into December and the last of the leaves came down, Judy found a schedule developing in her daily life. Every morning, at nine on the dot, she walked into the Zootopia Municipal Hospital with a pick-me-up latte and a scarf to fight winter's crescendoing strength. Ollie was always the first to greet her with his unending enthusiasm. Even after dozens of interactions with the otter, he still acted like a hyperactive fan meeting his idol for the first time. He checked her into the elevator with his key card, and one decent later, she's in Fulgens' territory.

With the coming of winter, most of Zootopia had welcomed the holiday vibes with open arms. The Square in Savanna Central had erected a four-story Christmas tree, bending under the weight of tons upon tons of garland and ornaments. Reefs appeared on shop front doors, and lights were strewn over the tops of the streets downtown. A canine street violinist played holiday melodies in downtown, where in places her music could not reach, speakers in the shops compensated with festive music. The whole city, it seemed, had adopted the winter spirit overnight. Even such a place as Savage Containment was no exception. To Fulgens' begrudging consent, a small tree had been put in the main lobby, along with a Menorah, not yet lit. A few employees wore Santa hats at their desks. To top it all off, someone had the audacity to put a reef above Fulgen's office.

Though there were places which the holidays could not touch, such as the Feral Floor. Just after the morning injections, Nick, or the savage that looked much like him, was treated to a bath. Honey thought the whole ritual was rather cute, and voiced that opinion rather often, to Judy's embarrassment.

"I would say get a room, but it appears you've already found a cozy cell that'll do!" she would call from outside the cell. "Just make sure to finish scrubbing before he eats you!"

The savage attacks did not stop at three, much to Judy's prediction. As per result, Savage Containment got all the busier, despite its brief holiday makeover.

The latest incidents—there had been two of them—were very similar to the three which came before, so much so that patterns began to take shape. Any establishment in the city that endorsed, or even tolerated predator-prey relations were possible targets. Seeing as Zootopia was, overall, a very tolerant city, pinpointing the next attacks wasn't going to be easy.

The first incident was at "The Mammalian," a widely-accepting nightclub in the downtown party-strip that attracted predators and prey from everywhere. On one of its busiest nights, a particularly peeved (not to mention tipsy) lioness demanded to see a manager about her nausea, blaming it on one of the many appetizers she had ordered that night. Not long after, she was down on all fours, which—to the onlooking mammals in and around the dance floor—appeared to be an eccentric, yet seductive dance move. She even received some applause, that is, before she had pounced. Everyone was screaming over the sound of blaring dance music, and it took a while for the entirety of the club to realize that something was terribly wrong, not that something new had fired up on the dance floor.

She had pounced on a lemur, who was critically wounded and so drunk that he didn't need any sedatives when the response team arrived.

Myra gained a new friend. It was the largest predator to go savage since a polar bear had been darted the previous summer, during Bellwether's term.

Only a matter of days after—the city still coping with the prospect of a new wave of savage outbreaks—when the fifth attack occurred, which was most likely a result of the prior attack.

A public statement was given about the unknown nature of the attacks, and it was on every news channel. In hours, every mammal with cable TV knew exactly how unsafe their city was. This caused many reactions, some similar to those which happened during Bellwether's short but catastrophic time as mayor. A number of small mammals, especially prey, evacuated the city with hopes that it would blow over in a matter of weeks. Politicians and pop-stars alike were stating their sides on the matter, and the ZPD was scrambling to control the many riots and protests that broke out in Savanna Square. It was at one such protest—ironically one of an emerging movement named "Pred-Prey-Peace"—where a weasel found that he was feeling queasy, but these were desperate times for Zootopia, and going home sick wasn't going to put an end to this savage nonsense. So he stayed and rallied as best he could until the pain in his stomach—seemingly now in his blood, pounding in his head like rhythmic thunder—was too much to handle. Pred-Prey-Peace's attempts at harmony were shattered in an instant when the crazed weasel went berserk in the middle of the crowd. It took the officers on the scene several minutes to catch the scampering savage. One officer had to snatch it off a goat who was being mauled. The officer received severe bites on his hands, "Nasty little bugger, almost gnawed off my fucking thumb!" and Honey was begrudgingly given a fifth patient to sedate twice-daily.

After the number of savages rose to five, Judy felt that bathing only Nick would be unfair, despite however many times Honey reminded her that "the savages don't give a shit about their hygiene!" She washed Nick first, then Gideon, who had thinner and darker fur than Nick. After the two foxes, there was Myra. Despite how similar a fox and a coyote may appear, to the touch, Judy was discovering that they were quite different. Myra's fur wasn't anywhere as soft as Nick's. Instead, it seemed to have a mind of its own, and it fought back when Judy tried to scrub it one way. The lioness was massive when compared to her, so she had to climb the savage like a breathing hilltop just to reach the uncleaned spots. The weasel, however, was far easier and even made cute mewing noises once in a while when she was lathering its fur.

With each new attack, Judy had an entirely new research project to complete at her apartment. She'd get a picture of the savage and dig up all the background information she could—there didn't appear to be any similarities between victims other than all of them being predators. To add onto this, she investigated everything that breathed on the crime scenes, from local shop-owners to passing pedestrians. This was difficult, seeing as she couldn't officially request any investigations, seeing as she was off duty, though most locals were nice enough to give them their part of the story. She requested a copy of all the food being sold in the area, noted down the most unusual circumstances, and haunted her local library for their printer. What had began as a corkboard was now growing off the borders and onto her wallpaper, where it did not stop but continued to spread like a weed of articles and red string.

Despite the hours of researching and entire pots of coffee that she downed in a matter of hours, the similarities between the savages were close to none. The food, she kept thinking to herself, like a mantra to keep her going. It must be the food. That's the only thing that makes sense. But it was hard to track down a stranger's previous meals, and harder to find any similarities in them. Especially when she couldn't flash her badge, nor ask for any of her fellow officers to help without Bogo getting word. A salad here, a soup there, a couple sandwiches in-between. Among all the food, from salads to synthetic meat, there was no connection that she could find.

And hell, did it leave her exhausted.

Every breathing moment she was either in Savage Containment, trying to help Honey by bathing the new savages, or she was back at her apartment, scavenging the history of suspected restaurants as far back as the times of Prohibition. Her caffeine intake was unholy, she needed a bath more than the savages did, and the few hours of sleep she managed to get were riddled with nagging thoughts of the case. If Bogo could see how she was using her sabbatical, dear god, even the residents in northernmost Tundratown would feel his thunder.

Her only respite was Nick. Or better put, what was left of him.

When she sat with him, which she often did after scrubbing him down, she would run her fingers through his red fur until it was grooved. It seemed that, in those moments when she sat with him, she could remember their every interaction back to his hustle at Jumbeaux's. The nostalgia was sharp, but just see him was a temporary relief. Just to see him was enough to keep her fighting through those days.

Then, there came an abrupt discrepancy to this schedule of savagery and sleep deprivation. It came one brisk Saturday morning in early December, as Judy was being checked into the Feral Floor by the ever-stoic security guard, Potts the Hippopotamus.

"Is that a new crossword?" It was a pathetic attempt at conversation, really, but she saw the hippo daily when clocking in and out. It would be rude not to try and be nice.

Potts's eyes never left the booklet. "Astute observation, detective."

Judy forced a chuckle and put her paws on her hips. "You know, I was always more of a word-search kinda gal."

"Is that so?" Potts muttered. His voice dragged like his tongue had to heave a crushing weight with every word. He grunted, shifted forward in his chair, pressed a button, and the door in front of Judy unlocked.

Nice talking to you too, Potts.

She was on her way when, "Wait. Bunny."

Judy's ears rose, and she turned. "Hmm?"

"I should probably warn ya, another rabbit came through here not long ago lookin' for you."

It was the longest sentence she had ever heard him say. She was honored.

"Really? Who was it?"

"Didn't catch his name, but he was wearin' an officer's uniform."

This was news. As far as Judy knew, she was the only rabbit on the ZPD. Whoever it was, they would have to be of good status for Fulgens to approve of yet another visitor. "What'd he look like?"

Potts snorted. "Do I look like I've got photographic memory?" Judy wasn't sure if that could be discerned from outward appearance alone, but he answered for her. "No. He's right in there, hasn't gone anywhere. Go see em' yourself."

Judy looked through the door, and in the dim light of the corridor beyond she could make out a silhouette with two tall ears and a limber form. He was squatting before on the cells, peering inside.

"Thanks for the head's up, Potts," she called, her eyes fixed on the mysterious new visitor.

"Mm," Potts grunted, having returned to his crossword. The door locked behind her with a heavy clank.

The first thing she noticed was his voice. He was talking to someone. She looked around the corridor, though didn't see anyone, further piquing her interest. So she crept closer, listening in.

"Can't be that bad," the silhouette said. His voice was soft and held undertones of gleaming charm. "Don't have to take public transport, or worry about rent, or do anything for that matter. Just sit here and—"

"You talk to the savages?" Judy inquired, crossing her arms with a small smile.

The silhouette's ears perked at this. "Oh, well, I suppose I do. When you're down here all alone, who else is there to talk to?"

"Fair enough." Judy failed to mention that she often had one-sided conversations with the savages as well.

She went to ask his name, but he spoke first. "And you're Judy Hopps, then?"

"Who's asking?"

He stepped forward and the faint overhead light illuminated his features. His fur was a dusty color, maybe cream, though hard to discern in the lighting. His eyes were a yellow-brown, his ears taller than hers, and, for some reason, his chin stood out to her. It was more defined than most rabbits, much in the same way that his entire form was more defined, more trim. In fact, he wasn't a rabbit at all, but a hare. That would explain the height advantage he had on her—not much more than a few inches, but too tall for any rabbit. Nearly as tall as Nick.

"It's Harvey Jamison." He extended his paw to her with a pleasant smile. "And while I'm no fan of handshakes, I'm told it's the proper thing to do in social greetings."

"Jamison…" Judy played with the name in her mind. "Sounds familiar. You even look familiar. Do I—"

"You just might." His smile was sheepish, like he expected this. It was obvious he was hiding something, but it seemed he wanted her to figure it out.

There was something familiar about his golden eyes. The way they were just bright enough to stand out against his fur, which was similar in color. That compiled with his being a hare—it clicked.

"Harvey Jamison!" Judy cried, now hopping up and down. "Sweet cheese and crackers, I remember you!"

He snickered. "Yes, yes, only hare in BBHS's class of 09'. You were a Sophomore when I was a Freshman."

"You were on the basketball team!"

"Point guard."

"And drama! I was in drama with you!"

"Zoosies*, right? You were Sarah Jacobs."

"And you were Crutchy!"

"That I was." He grinned, and his teeth glimmered in the low light. "How on earth can you remember?"

"How can I not? Oh, wow. Jamison. Jamison. Look at you, you're an officer!" She gestured to his uniform, a pristine navy much like her own. "How'd that happen, huh?"

"Same as you, I suppose." He squatted back down, catching eyes with the savage he had been conversing with—the weasel. "I always wanted to be a detective, ever since I was first hopping. You know, Sherlock Holmes and the likes of them. Majored in criminal justice one year late of you. The Mammal Inclusion Initiative brought me all the way up here, landed a spot in Precinct Twelve, the docks at Sahara Square. Still working on that detective thing, though. Maybe someday."

Judy rubbed her forehead. "Wow, that's just…insane, right?"

"What? Small world?"

"Well, that, and you're the only mammal I've seen in the city that I've known before."

He grinned and looked up. "You should have seen my reaction when I learned you were the one out solving that whole Bellwether scandal. You became my idol. Weird, I know, but true. Everything I wanted to achieve, you had achieved it." He scoffed, still smiling. "Hats off to you, Officer Hopps."

"Please, enough about me. How'd you get down here? This place is tight."

"Oh, I'm aware. Got a briefing of all the rules from the doctor, I think his name was Fergus?"

"Fulgens."

"Ah, yes. He's quite the staid individual, to put it kindly." Harvey rubbed the back of his head.

Judy chuckled. "I can second that."

"Anyway, I'm only here on Bogo's instruction. He said I'd find you here." Harvey glanced around the dim corridor. "Apparently you're a frequent visitor."

"Bogo?" Judy cocked her head.

"Yeah, I've got quite a lot of filling in to do. Just recently, Bogo requested to talk to me in private."


A matter of days before, in Precinct One


A knock at the door.

The buffalo looked up from his desktop. Through the door's translucent window, he could make out the outline of the hare he was expecting. "Come in."

The hare did just that, glancing around the office as he entered. All of it was massive in his eyes. He even had to jump to reach the door handle.

"Do sit down," Bogo asked, motioning to the chair set in front of his desk.

"Yessir," Harvey said. He had to leap to reach the seat.

"You must be Lieutenant Harvey L. Jamison?"

"Indeed, sir."

"Chief Bogo," he extended a hoof down to the hare, "and enough with the 'sir' nonsense. I'm not your superior."

"Sure thing." Harvey smiled, shaking the chief's hoof. It engulfed his arm up to the elbow.

"Now, to business," Bogo said, revealing a file on his desk with the hare's name on it. "So you graduated from ZU Savanna Central, attended the academy, decent marks, Precinct Twelve, where you've been for…"

"About four months," Harvey replied. "Quick thing, chief. I've been wondering, could this meeting have anything to do with Officer Judy Hopps?"

Bogo's eyes met Harvey's for the first time, a hint of intrigue breaking through his austere demeanor. "It would, in fact. You know this how, lieutenant?"

"Just an educated guess," Harvey shrugged. "She's been all over the news lately, she works at this precinct, and we even attended High School together back in Bunnyburrow. Our parents knew each other through the whole farming business. We simply share a lot in common. Just an assumption."

"You assumed correctly," Bogo muttered. "Are you up to date on the current events surrounding Miss Hopps?"

"I am. It's tragic, what happened in Bunnyburrow. She must be undergoing plenty of emotions."

"Correct, yet again. I've allowed Hopps a sabbatical until Wilde, her partner, is rehabilitated. She and Wilde are real close, so his savagery made quite the impact on her." He paused for a moment. He flipped the file closed and leaned forward on his desk. "I know Hopps. She's not gonna rest while there's an unknown party at large, making predators go savage again. I've tried to tell her she needs her rest, but I get word she still checks in on her partner daily." Bogo sighed, rapping his paws on his desk. "She's an ambitious little thing. I couldn't stop her if I tried. So that's why I need you."

Harvey raised a brow. "You, couldn't stop her. So you call for me, a hare?"

Another sigh. "That is correct, yes."

"Could you elaborate, chief?"

"Brute size and strength only amount for so much. I can't talk to Hopps the way a hare, such as yourself, could. Seeing as you already know each other, I don't assume it would be too difficult for the two of you to get along."

"And you're asking me to…what?"

"As of right now, Hopps needs a partner. Wilde and Hopps are inseparable, so with Wilde down, for the time being, she needs someone she can rely on. Someone to keep her in check, and to make sure she gets her rest and recovery. In short, she needs someone to work with that she can talk to."

"Chief, pardon me, but I'm sure Hopps could take care of herself just fine."

Bogo crossed his arms and chuckled under his breath. "You would think that, but she has a tendency to work herself thin. She's excellent at maintaining everyone else, that's for damn sure, but not so much when it comes to herself. In times like these, if someone's not taking her out to eat, she's not gonna eat. That make sense?"

"I guess it does. I'm being transferred, then?" Harvey asked.

"Yes, I've already discussed it with your superior, Hornsmith. You'll be an officer at the precinct as of next week."

"What about my apartment."

"We can get you another. There's plenty of places available around the square."

"Places I could afford? With an officer's salary?"

"We'll cover it for you, Jamison. I should also mention that you will be a member of what we are calling the Savage Task Force, the group we've assigned to respond to and investigate the developing savage attacks. This way, Hopps will have someone who she can better relate to on the task force, thus making this difficult period for her more manageable. Sound reasonable?"

Harvey nodded. "I'm game."

"Splendid. Now, one last thing I should tell you. You know the Municipal Hospital not far from here?"

"I believe I know the place. What about it?"

"This conversation stays between us, clear?"

"Of course."

"Underneath the hospital is an organization known as Savage Containment. It is where the current savages are being held and researched. I've been informed Hopps goes down there daily, at nine in the morning, to bathe the savages. That's where you can find her."


Present Day


Judy flattened her ears back with her paws and groaned. "Are you kidding me? This was Bogo's idea?"

Harvey held up his paws. "Just following orders. I'm sure you can understand."

"I know, I know, I'm not blaming you. But really, the chief?" She turned to him. "Do I look like I can take care of myself?"

Harvey nodded with added enthusiasm, partly in genuine agreement, mostly in fear of poking the bunny. "Just look at you. You moved up here all on your own, tackled your job at the ZPD, and solved the whole savage crisis. If anybody can take care of herself—"

"It's me," she finished. "But it seems that I'm the only person to believe that."

"What does that make me, then? Chopped liver?"

Judy looked up to see a smile she could still recall from high school. Though she didn't know Harvey personally way back when, he had always been distanced from the majority of the student body. The kind of student who sits in the back corner of the class, or waits until everybody's out of the locker room to shower. His smile, all lopsided and insecure, it suited his demeanor with striking accuracy. She couldn't help but return it with her own gleaming grin. "Thanks, Harv. That's nice of you. Can I call you Harv?"

He shrugged. "Sure you can. If anything, it's better than Jamie. Or Harvey-Davidson."

Judy snorted. "Harvey-Davidson?"

"Yes, yes, I had many an alias back in grade school. Besides, my dad owned a Harley and would give me a ride to school once in a while, which didn't help."

"Hemp-y Jamison," Judy snickered.

Harvey groaned with added drama, pressing the back of his paw to his forehead. "It was only once, at that stupid Halloween party, and nobody lets me live it down" he chuckled, rubbing his forehead like reliving it all gave him a headache.

"That's because you went totally berserk and started dancing on tabletops," Judy laughed, recalling the memory. It had been a shock to everyone at that party when the quietest kid in school suddenly gained so much bravado.

"Besides, if I were a stoner, how could I land a job at the ZPD?"

Judy shrugged. "Just ask Delgato."

"Who now?"

"Oh, never mind. Just an officer at the precinct you probably won't run into." Her eyes lit up, ears perking in delight. "Oh, oh! Homo-Harvey!"

Harvey stopped rubbing his head. "Sorry, what?"

"Homo-Harvey! You don't remember?"

"Er…no. No, I don't."

"Dude, everyone thought you were gay!"

The hare turned pink in an instant, rising from the crouch to his feet. "Really? They did?"

"What rock were you living under?" Judy scoffed, though she quickly corrected her tone. "Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, of course."

He turned a brighter shade of pink, somehow. "Well, of course. And I'm not gay."

The universe truly had a charming sense of humor. It was at that very moment that Honey came strolling in with the cart of syringes. She stopped, both officers turned, and all was silent between the three of them. It appeared that even the savages were watching on with interest.

The badger smirked and focused her eyes on Harvey. "Not gay, huh?"

"Er, no."

"That's not the question I should be asking. Who the hell are you and how'd you get down here?"

"Well, I was sent here by the Chief of Police at precinct one. He cleared it with Doctor Fergus."

"Fulgens," Judy and Honey said in unison.

"Yeah. Him. I'm here to see Judy."

"You're here to see Judy?" Honey repeated, raising an eyebrow. "You sure? 'Cause I just passed Rem in the hallway and he's hella hot."

Harvey buried his head in his hands. "I'm sorry, whoever you are, but I'm not—"

"It's Honey, sweetheart."

"Honey, then. I'm not…" he laughed anxiously to himself, "I'm not gay."

"M'kay," Honey said, singsong, as she walked past him, "but lemme tell you, sweetheart, it's dark in that there closet. Out here," she made circled with her paws, "it's a lot nicer. Fresher air, if you're asking me."

Judy did a double take. "Hold on. Honey?"

"I didn't tell you?"

"Well…no."

"C'mon, you're an officer, you're supposed to be good at picking up clues," Honey said, flashing a devilish grin. "You didn't catch me sneaking glances at your ass? You've got serious curves, sweetheart."

Now it was Judy's turn to be pink. "Wha…!"

Honey pushed her cart to Nick's cell and entered the code, cackling the whole time. "Hey, no shame, bunny-boy. You got me? Nothing worth hiding."

"I'm a hare, actually," Harvey said, seeming flustered.

"Pfft, same difference," Honey waved a paw at him. The sedative mist was released into Nick's cell. "Just groom the fur on your head, gain a little confidence, and you'll be a buck-magnet, mark my words."

"Oh my god," Harvey groaned, taking a step back.

Now that the savage was sedated, Honey unlocked and entered the cell. "Oh, and officer!" she called, reappearing in the doorway. She smirked, winked, clicked her tongue, and slipped through the door.

Despite the million thoughts whirring through the air at that moment, all of them loud and turbulent, Harvey and Judy were both too dumbstruck to do anything more than stand there in their communal embarrassment. They made eye contact, then quickly glanced away.

Harvey cleared his throat. "Did I, by chance, just envision all of that or—"

"No, I saw it too."

More silence.

"You know," Judy said, "I don't care if you're gay."

Harvey sighed. "I know."

"And I'm sorry they called you those things in high school. I swear, I didn't contribute."

He chuckled. "Who cares. It wouldn't be high school without the grade-a assholes."

Honey exited the cell. "Alright, officer ears—or maybe I should be more specific—Officer Hopps, you've got five minutes. Here's the bucket." She lugged a five-gallon bucket of soapy water off the cart, then disposed of the syringe she held in a red container labeled "Biohazard."

"Bucket?" Harvey inquired.

"Oh, yeah, I'm in charge of bathing the savages," Judy said.

Honey scoffed. "You say that like you didn't ask my permission to wash them."

Harvey's eyes bulge. "You'd do that willingly?"

"Same as I said," Honey called, pushing her cart on to the next cell.

"I know, I'm weird." Judy shrugged as she walked. "But I care about these guys. They're still mammals, just like us."

"That's not weird, it's just…a little freaky, right? Being so close?"

"Well, they are sedated." Judy picked up the bucket with a grunt and turned back to Harvey. "Here, wanna see?"

"Oh, well…"

"C'mon, you already talk to them. They know you!" She sneered.

Harvey shook his head, grinning. "Fine. Here, you need help with that bucket?"

"Nah, I've got it."

From one cell down, Honey called, "Hey Hopps, you should let the new guy scrub down Wilde!"

Harvey slapped his forehead so loud Potts looked up from his crossword.

"Leave him alone, Honey!" Judy called back.

The badger's snarky laughter echoed down the corridor. "Hey, just trying to help out!"


Not more than half an hour later, she was sitting in the response team's break room with Honey, between them a Caesar Salad and a Bugburga Original. Harvey had left not long after Judy had finished washing the savages, saying he must "go acclimate into the precinct-one environment," or in other words, settle into his new desk. Above the two—on a mounted TV that had no sound, only subtitles—a canine ZNN reporter was at the scene of a Pred-Prey-Peace retaliation rally in the Tundratown Main Square. There was a hellish blizzard blowing the reporter off balance time and time again. In the background, the protesters somehow managed to keep their signs in the air, though most had been coated with ice, making the actual message unclear.

On a more pressing note, only ten minutes ago the entirety of the response team had shuffled out in an instant. Melody was out the door before she could answer Judy's questions as to what the hell was going on, but asking was unnecessary. Both she and Honey knew exactly what had happened. They were just waiting for it to surface on the news.

"At this rate," Honey said in between bites, "you're gonna need a lot more soap."

Judy was picking at her salad. It was dry and impossibly average, but the only thing she had eaten since lunch the day before. "My schedule isn't exactly tight, as of late."

Honey hummed disapprovingly. "Even so, you can't possibly wash an entire facility of savages as quick as I can vaccinate them."

"Is that a bet?" Judy grinned.

"No, it's a warning. Washing Wilde is one thing, but the more of 'em you wash, the more likely it is that something goes wrong. There's a reason I'm in and out in twenty seconds. Maybe one of them wakes up a little too early."

Judy shrugged. She speared a spinach leaf. "Occupational hazard."

"Uh," Honey chuckled, then with sudden deadpan, "no. No one's paying you. You aren't required to be here. You could be sleeping. Just think about that."

"Somebody has to bathe them."

Honey just snorted.

"Yes, they do," Judy insisted. "They're still mammals. It's the least they deserve."

"Don't choke on your generosity, officer ears."

Judy rolled her eyes.

"Oh yeah," Honey scooted forward in her chair, leaning towards Judy and smacking loudly, "about that hare. What's the scoop?"

"Don't get me started," Judy groaned.

"Oh, you two got beef?"

"No, no, not with Harvey. He's fine. It's my chief," she murmured, then violently shoveled a forkful of salad into her mouth.

"Spill, sweetie."

Judy swallowed and cleared her throat, preparing her throat for a rant. "He assigned Harvey to be my partner until Nick gets better."

"So? That's not so bad."

"But that's only from face value. He doesn't think I can take care of myself." She emphasized each syllable with a stab of her fork into the salad. "In his eyes, I'm too grief-stricken to do…well…anything! He implicitly pinned Harvey to me as my babysitter."

Honey shrugged one shoulder. "Maybe he's got a point."

"Wait, what now?'

"Officer, let's cut the shit, m'kay? Let's cut the shit." Honey set down her burger and met the rabbit's eyes. "To me, it looks like your chief really cares about you. It's kinda his job, right? To look after his officers? So why is that such a bad thing?"

Judy laughed, but her voice was pained. "Because I'm doing just fine. I don't need some guy to swoop down and fix all my problems."

Honey rolled her eyes.

"What?" Judy scoffed.

"Look. Judy." The mention of her name caught the officer, formerly known as 'officer ears,' off guard. "Half the time you come down here—no I take that back—pretty much every time you show up in the mornings, you look like shit. You've got bags under your eyes, your voice is strained, you drift off, sometimes even when you're in the cell with your partner. These are things that, believe it or not, coffee cannot fix. And now look at you. You're absolutely pulverizing that salad. What did it do, murder your whole family? To add on that, I never see you eat. Hell, this is the first time, and it's a pathetic salad from that there vending machine." The badger paused, letting her point permeate the moment. Judy didn't respond, but her eyes had fallen to her feet. "So yeah, I said it. Maybe your chief is right. Maybe, just maybe, you need somebody to be there to catch you once in a while. No, not some guy to swoop down and make all the pain go away, but maybe some guy—whose definitely gay and adorably weird—to help you along." She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. "That's all I'll say about that."

Judy put her fork down in the salad, or what was left of it. Honey's eyes burned into her skull, but she still did not look. These were what Bonnie Hopps had liked to call "Down to Earth Talks." The first she remembered was when she had scaled a massive tree as a kit to retrieve a kite that had been stolen away on a windy day.

"You could have died, Judy. If you had slipped you could have died. You can't keep doing these things," Bonnie had told a nine-year-old Judy at the massive Hopps dinner table, just the two of them.

"I'm sorry," Judy responded, both to her mother then and to Honey now.

Honey sighed, arms still crossed. Her gaze softened, though, and it was almost motherly. "Hopps, I hate to say it, but you're a good mammal. You're nice, even to others who deserve to have their teeth knocked in with your fist. But you've gotta extend that niceness to yourself." Honey's eyes never left Judy's. She did not smile. "You damn well deserve it. Be nice to yourself. Take days off just for you. Oh, and eat your damn food without killing it first. Did you catch that with those antennae of yours?"

A laugh escaped Judy, and she nodded, feeling a little better.

The badger did not let up so easily. "I wanna hear you say it."

"Say what?"

"That you'll take care of Judy Hopps for me."

Judy stared for a moment, then chuckled. "Okay. I'll take care of Judy Hopps."

"Not good enough. Repeat after me. I will eat well, sleep well, and take care of myself. Because I deserve it, dammit."

Judy was fighting a smile. "I will eat well, sleep well, and take care of myself. Because I deserve it, dammit."

"Say it again."

"C'mon, Honey. I feel like I'm in self-betterment therapy."

"Good. Say it again. I will eat well—"

"Sleep well, and take care of myself." Feeling stupid, she rubbed her temple. Lucky, savage containment was out for the moment. She wouldn't want Melody to see her like this, or she might join in. "Because I deserve it, dammit."

Honey stood up, and she was grinning now, her arms still crossed. "Louder."

"Honey," Judy sighed. "Fulgens might—"

"Don't give a fuck about what Fulgens thinks. Give a fuck about what you think. I'm not gonna leave you alone until you say it louder."

Judy laughed to herself. She felt absurd, stupid, but warm inside. Warmer than she had. With an increase in confidence, she shouted. "I will eat well! Sleep well! And take care of myself!" She was giggling now, for some reason. And she couldn't control it. "Because I deserve it, dammit!"

"Louder!" Honey cried.

By now, Judy had adopted an attitude of Oh, screw it. She didn't argue, because, for the first time in weeks, she felt alive. Living. It was just her and Honey in the room, and that gave her the last bit of strength she needed. In an instant, she was out of the chair and on top of the table. She kicked the salad aside like it had murdered her whole family. With a dangerous lack of shame, Judy yelled, "I will eat well! Sleep well! And take care of myself! Because I…"

Honey stared at Judy expectantly. "Don't just stop, officer. Because…?"

But Judy wasn't paying attention to Honey anymore, in fact, she had completely forgotten that she was standing atop a table. She was staring at the TV. Frozen rigid. Reading the subtitles.

"—receiving urgent news from the Acacia Street Mall in Savanna Central. This just in, three mammals have been killed and two others hospitalized by a savage cougar. This is the first savage attack that has resulted in casualties since those which followed former Madam Mayor Bellwether's mayoral term. The ZPD has now arrived at the scene, though I'm afraid, not quick enough to prevent this catastrophe. The savage in question has been subdued and is now being—"

There was a gripping silence. The kind that's more physical than it is audible. It slipped down Judy's ear canals and throat and to the pit of her stomach, where it pooled, dark and heavy, making her want to dry heave.

Down the hall, the savages were snarling and barking. They had been stirred by Judy's shouting, but in the moment, in Judy's head, it was as if they were cheering. Applauding wildly. Three mammals had died. One new savage. No leads. No suspects. No answers.

No noise. The barking faded into nothingness. Everything faded along with it.

"…three mammals have been killed…"

"…not quick enough to prevent this catastrophe."

"…not quick enough…"

"…not quick enough…"

And like a dam holding back all the oceans in the world, it breached in an instant and filled her head with horror.

I could have been there.

I could have been quick enough.

I 'm quick.

I could have made it.

Oh god, I could have made it.

Oh god.

I was talking to Harvey.

Eating lunch.

Eating a salad.

They died.

I was eating a salad.

I could have made it.

Acacia Street Mall.

That 's not far from here.

That 's not far from the precinct.

I would be on duty.

I would have made it.

Oh god, I would have made it.

Honey turned the TV off, having caught on to what Judy had seen. She tossed the remote onto the table and fell into her chair. "Fuck," she breathed. She started to say more, but it fell short.

"If I was on duty, I would have been there." Judy was still looking at the blank TV. She could still read the subtitles. "Not quick enough." She knew it would haunt her. Keep her up at night. Maybe for the rest of her life. She joined the ZPD to save lives, and right when she's off duty, she misses her chance.

"Stop it," Honey snapped. "Don't do that."

"I'm a rabbit," Judy said slowly. "Rabbits are faster than most animals."

"Stop that. That's bullshit. You hear me?"

Judy didn't say anything.

"Get down from there," Honey mumbled.

Judy flinched but didn't move.

Honey growled, much like a savage would, and leaned forward, easily plucking Judy off the tabletop and setting her down in a chair next to her own. "Look at me." Honey snapped her fingers in front of Judy's eyes. Snapped hard. "Look. Not your fault. Do they have cheetahs at your precinct?" She didn't wait for an answer. "Yes, they do. Cheetahs run seventy miles an hour, and they still didn't make it in time. And I promise you, no one was running. They were in their cars, hauling ass over there, and they didn't make it in time. Do you get it? Those mammals died, and it was no one's fault. No one's fault. Especially not yours."

"Not true," Judy growled at the floor. Her fists were balls. Her right foot was hammering on the floor.

"Bullshit! Judy, listen to yourself!"

The rabbit's eyes connected with Honey's. They were savage themselves. "Someone did this to that cougar. He didn't just kill three mammals on a whim. Someone made go savage. Someone made him kill them. Someone." Judy seethed for a moment, her breath constricted. "I will find that someone. They're out there, breathing the same air as us. The same air those three innocents were breathing just an hour ago. That's not fair."

"You have to calm down. You're shaking."

Judy stood up and pulled her scarf tighter around her neck. "I can't calm down until I do something about this." She made for the door.

Honey swore under her breath and stood in her way. "C'mon, you're being unreasonable. You're not some super-bunny."

Judy closed her eyes. "Honey, thank you for trying to help me, but I have things I have to do." She tried to brush past the badger in a fruitless attempt, considering Honey was near twice her size.

"Hold up. Stop." Honey put both paws on Judy's shoulders, looking the rabbit dead in her lavender eyes. "Even with this newfound determination, what do you expect to achieve?"

"Please, let go of me."

"No, you haven't finished your lunch yet, and that shredded salad isn't gonna do the trick." Honey fished her wallet from her pocket, grabbing Judy's wrist and dragging her to the vending machine. "Now," she said, revealing a pawful of ones, "what do you want. My treat, m'kay?"

"I'm not hungry."

"You know that's not true."

Judy pulled her wrist free from Honey's grip, glaring at her feet. "I don't have time for this."

"You don't have time to eat?"

"Not. Hungry," she seethed.

Honey sighed, turning to the vending machine. "What did we say about taking care of yourself?" She fed in two dolors, buying a protein bar and a veggie drink. "Eat well, sleep well, and take care of yourself. Because you deserve it…" she trailed off.

Judy was gone.

"…Dammit."


She was in her apartment until the streetlights came on outside, only leaving to access the printer in the local library once every few hours. In that time, the weed of red string and full documents typed in the smallest readable font spread to engulf almost an entire wall of her apartment.

There were six "branches" on the wall where the information as most dense, each of which covered a different savage predator. There was an image of each savage, along with a short report Judy had typed up herself, summarizing all the info she had gathered in her hours of web-surfing.

Nick and Gideon's branches nearly merged into one, with the savagery having occurred at the same location on the same night. Myra's was the first to occur in Zootopia, at Samson's, a joint serving predators and prey in a friendly atmosphere. Next was the lioness, Rana Leodora—at an all-accepting nightclub. Then Ivan Mustellan, the weasel who had sent a Pred-Prey-Peace rally into cohos. Finally, Theodore (Theo) Catamount, the cougar who had gone savage that morning.

He had been an employee at Suitopia, an outlet store at the Acacia Street Mall that provides formal wear for mammals of all sizes, from rodents to rhinos, felines to canines. Predators to prey. A fellow employee at Suitopia and acquaintance of Theodore said that he had been on break an hour before he sent savage. Not long after returning to his work, he vomited behind the cash register. He then excused himself to the food court to get something to drink, to ease his nausea. It was there, at approximately 9:35 AM, that he was reported crawling on all fours and snarling. There was a mass exodus from the food court, though due to all the mammals attempting to flee at once, there was a clog at the exits. By the time the court was evacuated, three were dead. One had been a member of mall security, failing to cover for the ZPD, who showed up only minutes later.

The similarities were obvious. Every savage had been present at a location that accommodated or even publicly supported both predator and prey customers. By targeting these locations, the bonds between predators and prey—already weak and recovering from the Bellwether scandal—were stretched thinner. They would snap if nothing was done about it, and such a fact left Judy feeling obligated, as an officer of the Zootopia Police Department, to protect her city.

But much like Honey had told her before, no matter how much she wanted to save the city, wanting and actually doing something were polar differences. She also didn't regard Honey's advice from earlier, the mantra that she had Judy repeat about eating, sleeping, and self-care. Judy hadn't eaten, and though her stomach continued to growl she disregarded it, almost to the point that she didn't notice the nagging hunger. There was a sandwich shop neighboring her apartment building, though every time her mind drifted to such thoughts she would remind herself of how long the line would be if she went. She couldn't bring herself to waste time, waiting for her Italian sub, while mammals were dying at the claws of savages. So she kept at it, growing more exhausted with every hour she put behind her.

Research. Summarize. Consider new facts. Print. Library and back. Pin up.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Her exhaustion reached a point that the words on her document weren't words anymore, rather small groupings of pixels that were as foreign as ancient glyphs to her bloodshot eyes. Despite the occasional optimistic comment to herself about persevering in the face of fatigue, she couldn't fight the way her eyes wouldn't focus anymore, or how her eyelids had become back-breakingly heavy. Even the Nick in her head was too exhausted to encourage her, and that was saying something.

She hit the wall at hour nine, around seven thirty in the afternoon. And literally, she hit the wall. The corkboard was frustrating her. It was making faces at her that she didn't like. So she punched it. It bruised her knuckles and alerted Pronk next door.

"What's the fuss, rabbit? Facts not lining up?" his voice came through the wall.

Judy swore under her breath. "Don't you have something to do other than listen in on me? Where's Bucky?"

"He's at his fitness course!" he called.

"And you aren't with him?"

"Look, rabbit, I don't feel exactly comfortable letting you in on my personal life," Bucky said, though Judy had heard around three carbonated cans hiss open in the past few hours, so she drew her own conclusion as to why he stayed home.

"Oh, my bad," Judy mumbled under her breath, "didn't mean to intrude or anything."

"I heard that!"

She offered no apologies. Her aching knuckles were more pressing.

It was about time she allowed herself to close her laptop. It was her work-issued one, and no doubt there would eventually be a report given from one of the managers in computer resources to the head of the IT department, who would have a secretary shoot Bogo an email that one of the officers under him had spent nine hours researching private police material. He would know exactly who it was, and wouldn't be too happy to know how she had been spending her sabbatical.

But that was the future. This—sitting on the floor, her back to the wall, above her a mess of research with no ultimate conclusion—was the present. For a long while, she only sat. It felt good not to think.

After ten minutes of that, Judy's phone buzzed, and she was alert in an instant. Shifting her weight, she dug her phone from her pocket.

Mom: Heya, darling. Haven 't heard a peep from you in a few days. How are things?

It was Bonnie Hopps' obligation to check in on her daughter at least once every three days, despite Judy having proven she could adapt to the city life just fine. Now, with Nick under medical care, Bonnie's routine checks became more frequent. Judy had been dismissing the texts and voicemails as of late, always coming up with a new excuse for what she was busy with. Normally, she wasn't lying. Tonight, though she still insisted to herself that there was more information to dig out, she couldn't bring herself to press another key on that keyboard, else her sanity may vacate to find a more stable mammal.

Besides, mothers have a queer sense—almost supernatural—of knowing when things just aren't right with their children. It appeared that Bonnie had been honing in on this sense and had picked up a distress signal.

Judy: Don 't worry, I'm doing fine.

The response was near instantaneous.

M: Fine is a cover word.

M: You 're worked up, aren't you?

J: Alright, you got me.

M: What 's bugging you?

J: I 've been working on this case for hours and I'm getting nowhere. I haven't come to any new conclusions. At all.

J: Other than the fact that I hate not having a printer.

J: That 's what's bugging me.

M: I thought you were on break?

J: I 'm off-duty, but that doesn't mean I don't have things to do.

M: :(

M: Sorry, hun. You should give yourself a break once in a while.

J: Currently on it.

M: Maybe get a wink of sleep. It 's late.

M: Is it later or earlier than Bunnyburrow in the city?

J: Zootopia 's in the same time zone as BB.

M: Well it 's late nevertheless.

J: I 've still got work to do.

M: Maybe if you go to bed early tonight and get your rest, you can wake up tomorrow and be ready to finish your work.

J: Maybe so.

M: Honey, please take care of yourself. You seem worked up lately.

J: How so? I haven 't really talked to you since I visited last month.

M: That 's exactly my point.

M: You aren 't talking to me.

M: Or your father, whose dying to see you sometime. You should give him a call once in a while.

J: I 'm sorry.

J: I 'll do that.

M: No need to be sorry. I know you 're busy. Just please, don't let your work consume you.

M: Also, how 's Nick doing?

Judy stared at the text for a while before responding. It warmed her a little, the fact that her mother cared for her partner enough to check in. There was a large portion of her family that would rather forget that the fox existed.

J: Just as savage as ever.

J: I visit him every morning.

M: That 's a sweet thing to do.

M: About when will he recover?

J: The doctors expect it to be another month at least.

M: Then maybe we can have him over for New Years?

J: I 'm not sure he'll be better that soon.

M: Well, whenever he 's back on his feet, remind him we'd love to have him back at the burrows.

Though that may be the case for her mother, Judy had heard of some pretty violent backlash to the incidents in Bunnyburrow. Despite the progressive Mayor Buttercup, the public hadn't reacted well to the two savage foxes in their town square. She remembered hearing reports of a few local predators being beaten on the streets by gangs of locals, and shops refusing service to predators that they didn't know personally. It had gained decent media coverage, showing that the unrest between predators and prey was extending far beyond Zootopia alone.

J: I 'm sure he'd like to visit again. The kits took to him quickly.

M: Some of your siblings still talk about him. Especially Cotton. She wants to paint something for him and send it through the mail.

J: That 's adorable.

J: Tell her I can get it to him if she decides to.

M: Sure thing.

M: I 'll get out of your fur, only so long as you go to bed now and save the work for the morning.

M: You 're off duty. You can afford it.

M: And the morning offerers a fresh mind.

Sleep had already tempted her many times that night. Working right next to her bed didn't help either. This was the breaking point, though, and she convinced herself that she had done enough today. The wall above her spoke for itself.

J: Okay, I will.

M: Pinky promise?

J: If that were possible over the phone.

M: :P

M: Alright, then. Goodnight, darling. Get sleep for me.

J: Will do. Goodnight.

She had almost closed out of her messages when it caught her eye, and immediately she wished that it hadn't. Emotionally, she has been treading on thin ice for quite a while, and something like this might be a little too much weight.

Ultimately, she was unable to stop herself.

She opened a new contact and scrolled through the messages.

Nick (Blueberries)

Fri, Nov 26, 9:56 PM

N: whyd you have to grow up in the middle of nowhere

N: I looked up bunnyburrow on zoogle to get a grasp of where im going

N: and I only got carrot fields

J: You can still return your ticket, you know.

N: please tell me there are actual buildings there

N: and not just holes in the ground

J: There 's a little bit of both, actually.

N: you grew up in a house right?

N: not just some hole in the ground

N: carrots

N: ?

N: paging dr cottontail

J: Sorry, had to prep dinner.

N: carrot stew perhaps?

J: Lasagna.

J: You 're a whole bag of laughs tonight.

N: I do try ;)

N: anyway my question

N: please tell me you grew up in a house

N: and not a hole

J: Yes, actually. Contrary to the trend of most leporine families, my mother wanted a house. A country-style home with a big wrap-around porch had been her dream since she was a teen.

J: Also she 's claustrophobic, so holes don't go over well with her.

N: a claustrophobic rabbit

N: isnt that an oxymoron?

J: Shuddap.

N: didnt think natural selection would even tolerate claustrophobic rabbits

N: if it were ancient times and I saw a rabbit too scared to burrow up for the winter

N: dinnertime ;)

J: You 're not funny.

J: And didn 't foxes hibernate in the winter?

N: im funny when the other person can enjoy morbid humor

N: and no, foxes dont hibernate

N: all the better to hunt down claustrophobic rabbits

J: If you get too annoying, I can and will blackmail you. :P

N: ooooooo blackmail

N: I 've trained you well young one

J: I could leak your little secret.

N: which one

J: You know which.

N: I really dont

J: I 'll give you a hint. It involves the sensitivity of your tail.

N: carrots you wouldnt dare

J: Don 't test me, Wilde.

N: if you tell anyone id have no choice but to kill you ;)

J: What if I let Bogo in on your little secret?

N: not even funny

J: What if he revealed that you were ticklish in the middle of bullpen?

J: How do you think the others would react?

J ;)

N: dont speak of such horrors

N: also I know what you sleep with 100 stuffed bunnies every night

N: and you know all their names by memory

N: we even?

J: Even.

J: Alright, I need some sleep. I 'll see you tomorrow, slick.

N: but its only ten

N: the night is young

N: oh right you rabbits arent nocturnal

J: Goodnight, Nick.

N: alright alright

N: night carrots, sleep tight

Sat Nov 26, 8:33 PM

J: Get over here, the parade is about to start.

N: here?

N: very specific

J: Lamppost.

J: Corner of Main Street and Cottontail Lane.

J: By the fountain.

N: coming

Sat, Nov 26, 10:18 PM

J: Dude, it 's been like twenty minutes.

J: How long does it take you to use the restroom?

J: Everything okay in there?

The longer she stared, the deeper her stomach sank.

Then, an idea. Not one that she particularly liked, but again, she couldn't stop herself.

Nick (Blueberries)

Today, 9:21 AM

J: I miss you a lot.

J: Why does stuff like this happen to mammals like you?

J: Or to anyone?

J: There have been five attacks now.

J: I promise I 'll find out who did this.

J: Until then, please get better soon.

J: And when I say soon, I mean SOON. Because I need somebody to buy me coffee, and I 'm practically broke right now. I'm a police officer, not a neurosurgeon, and I can't afford nice things 24/7.

J: You know, I never thought I 'd want to hear your sarcastic quips as badly as I want to right now.

J: Or to hear anything.

J: It 's too quiet without you here.

She shut off her phone. For hours she could go on like that, spamming her savage partner, and it would get her nowhere. It was a trap she couldn't fall for, especially when the one behind the present mess was at large.

"Alright, mom," she picked herself up off the floor, "I'll heed your advice if only this once." And she made for her bed.

Sleep didn't come easy. The unused red string was like an itch that she couldn't reach, but she wouldn't let herself out from under the covers. When sleep did come, the string was still there, and it was coiling around her legs. It slipped its way up her middle and around her neck, where it squeezed tight. Tighter still. She could feel the blood in her head pooling with nowhere to go, pushing at her eyes and throbbing in her ears until she thought she just might pop.

Only seconds before exploding, her phone wrung, and she was sitting up in bed as if she had never fallen asleep at all. She rubbed her neck and swung her feet over the side of the bed.

On her bedside table, her phone chimed. Next to it was her alarm clock, reading 3:02 AM. At least three hours until dawn, and thanks to the nightmare, sleep had much lost its appeal.

This wasn't to say that she wasn't tired. Fatigued to her limits, in fact.

She picked up the phone, expecting the worst. It always was the worst when receiving a call this late. Her mother, perhaps, explaining in that panicked yet maintained tone of voice that something had happened to one of the kits. Or Bogo, just having received the report of her hours of scavenging private ZPD documents while off-duty and telling her that she needn't bother in coming back in at the end of her sabbatical, just to leave her badge with Clawhauser later that morning.

Fortunately, it was an unknown number. Her brothers and sisters were safe in their beds. Her badge would remain hers come daybreak.

She went to decline, but considered the effort it would take for her to fall back asleep, and thought Why not? If they, whoever that might be, are calling this late at night, it must be important.

So she accepted the call and brought it to her ear. "'Ello?" The gravely sound of her own voice surprised her.

The audio was faint, but she could discern a conversation, just close enough to audible that she might have been able to make out a few words if the sound didn't repetitively come in and out.

Clearing her throat, she spoke again. "Hello, who is this?"

Nothing about the audio changed. She heard what might be a laugh in the conversation.

"This is a private number," she said.

Still nothing.

With a sigh, she hung up and tossed her phone back onto the night table. Sleep wouldn't return easily, this she knew.

All because somebody butt dialed me in the midst of their late night…uh… What could anyone be doing this late? Even the most seasoned of bar-hoppers had turned in for the night by now.

She knew her father's two cents would be, "Nothing good ever happens past midnight." It was something he had started telling her once she received her license as a teen when a curfew was being established.

Whatever the purpose of the call, frankly, Judy thought nothing of it. She laid back down, at least satisfied that the call offered respite from strangling red strings. When sleep returned, it was shallow, but Nick was there this time.

Just Nick. Smiling. Not talking. Not smirking.

In her thin sleep, she smiled back.


*Zoosies is Zootopia's version of Newsies, the Disney Musical. This pun is shown in depth in "The Many Adventures of St. Zoo High" by 1tT4k3sTw0, though since I'm only mentioning this briefly, I believe that I haven't stepped on anyone's tail. Though if I have, please inform me.

A/N: As with most of these chapters, I'm sorry I didn't get this one out sooner. Me making any kind of update-schedule is like trying to predict the end of the world: it will happen at some point, but nobody knows when the hell that will be, and trying to plan for a date is a waste of time. Nevertheless, I write. The updates will come.

I feel that the ball has officially gotten rolling with this story. This chapter was so much easier to write than the first few. My last chapter received some of the most positive reviews out of anything I have ever gotten, and to that, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to write me. It is ALWAYS appreciated, and the feedback keeps me going, both positive and negative. I'm just glad I've written something worth responding to.

I said this in my last chapter's AN, though I'd like to say it again just in case you missed it. Nick will be returning in this story and will play a significant role—just as he did at the start of the story—further on in the plot. I promise I haven't written him out of this. I'd never do such a thing—he is my favorite character. There will be more of him, and I can't wait to get to it. I'm sure you can't wait either, so I'll write as quickly as I can for both our sakes.

In the meantime, I hope that the story isn't slowing down too much. There's a lot of middle in this story. If you don't like the meat in the middle, you best stop reading, because I've written a lot of it already and there's plenty more to come before the conclusion. And on the topic of mid-story elements, thoughts on Harvey J? I'm loving his personality, really fun to write. Expect more from him. Also, the question of the day: is Harvey gay? More, after the break!

(If anyone has any problems with LGBT+ elements in this story, know that this story won't revolve around such elements, though will include them here and there. If you're not a fan, I'm afraid we might not get along too well, as I'm a member of the LGBT+ community myself. Again, don't feel that anyone's being gay will become a prime plot point in this story—it won't, and none of the main characters from the movie will have any changes in their sexuality—though an occasional OC might be a part of the community. Not your cup of tea? This is a diverse fandom, and I'm sure you can find a story that better suits your fancy.)

One last thing, in my previous AN I asked if it was a good idea to begin writing a story I had planned and was excited to write. As much as I love the idea (and as much as I think you readers would like it too), for the sake of this story and the one to come, I have decided to continue writing only When the Stars Align as to not overexert my already lenient work ethic. I'm afraid that another story might make writing that one and finishing this one an impossible task to do simultaneously. I do plan to reach the end of this story, though, and if (as one of my reviewers said) Zootopia 3 is out by the time it happens, I'd probably still have the desire to write more. As long as you guys are there to read, I'm here to write.

I hope all of you have had a lovely time reading, and if you enjoyed it, have any criticism, or thought I could do better, please let me know in the reviews.

Until next time, you lovely people.

- Trenton.