Aggretopia. Chapter 2:
AN: Good news everyone. In celebration of the introductions being completed, I’ve posted a new chapter to the one-shots and drabbles collection. ‘Whack Battle’ involves a bunch of the gang going to play the eponymous sport from Fantastic Mr Fox.
Many kudos to Bluelighthouse, who helped make that fic (which may have a crossover with some of his work) possible.
In addition, the chapter includes a cast list for the characters introduced so far, just in case anyone is getting a bit lost with everything. Any, while you can check out that chapter, there’s this one too!
Finding a little area to walk around, Retsuko began doing some light stretches in place. Nimbling around here and there, trying to lean on her more socially acceptable, albeit not quite as cathartic as death metal karaoke, yoga.
Her heart leapt as she saw what looked like a secluded alley nearby though, on approach, she saw a few shop workers in there.
Nowhere private for her, then
In that case, she’d just catch up on some fresh air, and return to work. Just another long…
“Huh?” She muttered, pausing as she turned to see the source of the voice. It was a relaxed looking red fox, dressed in a loose fitting green jacket, the front unzipped to show his belly fur, along with a blue pair of shorts. With a white band on the top of his head, he looked like the relaxed kind of mammal she’d expect to see at her yoga lessons… Or lesson, given that he’d leave after finding out just what kind of instructor she had.
“Sorry to bother you…”
“-No worries, Mr…”
“Tsunekichi,” he said, Retsuko smiling at the nice name. “Though you can call me Redd.”
“Hi then, Redd,” she greeted, before pausing. Looking around. “Are you looking for directions, or…?’”
“I’m actually here to try and help out poor, stressed out, mammals,” he replied with a smile. He opened up his coat, revealing little bags of relaxing scents, tea bags, and a few other things. “You seemed to be a bit sore in the pads, no?”
“I…” she began, only to shake her head. “Thank you very much for the offer. But I don’t think there's much you can do to help.” She looked down and sighed. “All those old herbs and stuff were for when mammals didn’t have to deal with boring desk jobs or shitty bosses.”
There was a light chuckle from him. “I don’t just deal in herbs and medicines. I think you’ll find I’m a Tod of all ages. Now, are you able to listen to music while working?”
She let out a little laugh. “Not likely, no. My boss says women can’t multitask.”
“Hmmmm,” the fox mused. “I always thought it was the other way around. Well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, stop fooling me!”
Retsuko laughed hard, before looking on in curiosity as he brought a little vacuum wrapped packet out. Inside were two components. One was like a USB stick, short and stubby. The other was a little earbud, with no cord. “What is that?”
“Secret wireless radio,” he said. “Plug the drive in, set up a link to your favourite station, sneak the speaker in your ear and then work on. Time will pass twice as fast!”
She gasped at it, looking on in awe. If this were true… If she could…
She sighed. No… It would probably be far too expensive, and…
“Only twenty bucks…”
Before he could even react, a bill was in his paw and the box in hers. “Thank you!” She cheered, hopping and skipping away. She held her new gift to herself. A gift paid off with Ookami’s tip no less! She still had some trepidation, with her luck the gizmo might not work for a start, maybe being a complete dud. But as she plugged it in and set it up, tuning to her favourite heavy metal station, she smiled with glee.
It actually worked!
Soon, the afternoon began flying by, no one else the wiser.
Bar a certain fennec.
She looked at her friend and nodded, before carrying on. While the music wasn’t to her taste, and wasn’t worth the risk in her opinion, she’d be lying if she said she was unhappy about it.
After all, Retsuko may have been taking all the risks, but thanks to her large ears she could reap the reward.
A quick check on her emails, and the red panda had to double check the time.
It really was that late!
“Two more hours, no problem,” she said, as she opened her message from Director Ton. Short, simple and thankfully painless. She just had to double check some figures for a priority client.
Easy-peasy. It all was. She opened the file up and began sifting through, thinking as she went. This was far more enjoyable, and it wasn’t harming anyone. In fact, it was likely making her more productive! It was a breeze sifting through the papers.
The music let her focus and just made her day better. Yet, normally, it wouldn’t be allowed, which was sad in a way.
In fact, why should it be that way? A feeling of determination pushed through her as she worked.
She deserved better. Her friends deserved better. It wasn’t even big stuff like wages, it was just little niceties that made everything run nicer. Better. Haida, Fenneko, and herself all deserved that!
“Huh,” she murmured. She took out both parts of her secret radio and stashed them away, letting herself focus. Just a dumb mistake that…
“This is real,” she gasped.
Retsuko turned to Fenneko and gestured her over. The little vixen did a quick scan.
Then redid it.
“So, you see it too.”
“Yes,” she said, before standing up and calling out. “Haida?”
Meanwhile, Retsuko turned to Anai. “Here, look over this.”
“I’ve got my own work to do,” he grumbled, before rolling his eyes after a few seconds. He then leant over, scrolled through the document in seconds, then returned back to his place of work. “That’s something alright,” he said, as a familiar hyena arrived.
“Fenneko. I don’t want to hear about another calamity I’ve caused,” Haida muttered, as he walked himself over.
“I think there’s a calamity here, for sure,” she said, gesturing to the screen.
He looked at it for a few seconds, before letting out a little guffaw. “Heh… He’s boned.”
“With that level of tax evasion, and the ZRCS getting involved, your understatements are probably too big to be funny anymore,” the fennec noted.
“Yeah,” Retusko said, looking on at the incriminating figures with morbid curiosity. She paused though, in thought. “Why would some idiot send us clearly un-doctored accounts?”
“Maybe whoever sent it was sleep deprived and sent the data before it got doctored,” the hyena suggested. “Or… They just missed it.”
“Makes sense,” Retsuko said. “I mean Ton missed it.”
Haida laughed. “That's because he probably didn’t check it in the first place,” he said, before pausing. “Shall I go get him?”
“Probably,” she said with a sigh, as she watched Haida walked forwards. She had the mental image of a cute wolf pup about to jump into a car crusher, but shook it from her mind and looked through the data again. The flaws were obvious, and whoever they belong to would…
“No way,” she said.
“What?” Fenneko asked.
“Doesn’t that name ring a bell?”
She looked in closer. “I’m not sure.”
“Think the nighthowler case! The original one! What do you remember?”
“I…” she began, before pausing. “I do remember now. Quite embarrassed I forgot, to be honest.”
“I almost did too,” Retsuko said, her mind flicking back to that talk with Ookami about Nick Wilde earlier. What would he think about this news?
Her musings were broken off though as Haida and Ton returned. “Mistake!” He scolded. “I don’t make mistakes.”
“I’m just saying,” the hyena slowly and calmly explained, “that there’s some interesting things you may have missed in the figures you sent Retsuko.”
“Pah,” he scolded. “I don’t make mistakes…” He then turned to Retsuko. “I didn’t even send you anything!”
“Be quiet and go back to work,” he huffed. “And maybe stop your stupid delusions while you’re at it.” He then turned and marched away, leaving the three just standing there, gawking.
“Is it me,” Haida began. “Or is he getting worse today?”
“The lack of a ‘womanly’ before the delusions actually suggests a small improvement,” Fenneko countered, Retsuko nodding in agreement.
“That actually went better than expected.”
“Yeah,” Haida replied with a chuckle. He paused though as his eyes returned to Retsuko’s figures. “I guess we’ll just ignore those then. Lucky guy…”
Fenneko nodded, but the red panda besides her was paused in thought. Thinking. Remembering. Ookami’s experience with the ZPD, and making the world a better place. Wanting to make a difference. Deserving better. Doing something that she, herself, truly wanted to do, not listening to and doing the instructions of anyone else. Just her, following her own path.
“No,” she said out loud, suddenly piquing the others attention. Haida turned to face her.
“Just because Ton wants to ignore it doesn’t mean we have to,” she said, picking out her own usb stick. Quickly plugging it in, she made a copy of the incriminating document before stashing it away. Her face was determined, and a little smile grew across her muzzle. She wasn’t just some lowly worker any more, she was going to be a good guy. A hero! She closed her eyes, drifting off into a little headspace.
LOWLY WORKER BRINGS IN CRIMINAL…
Exiting it, she turned to Fenneko. “Where’s the nearest tax lawyer or firm?” She asked.
Fenneko paused for a second, before bringing her phone out. A few taps later, and she turned to Retsuko. “Got one.”
“Number?” She asked, her heart pounding with excitement. She noted it down then made her way to the storeroom where she made a call..
Returning back, she looked at her friends, trembling as she did so. “Us four have an appointment after work!”
“I need to go home and do some cooking,” Anai pointed out, looking over. “And not only is this not on the job contract, but I don’t think you need my help either.” He then turned back to his work, and carried on typing. “Good luck though.”
Retsuko looked at him, then at the others, nervously laughing. “Us three have an appointment after work!”
Haida looked at Fenneko, and Fenneko looked at Haida. They shrugged at each other. Neither held the sudden hot-blooded passion that their co-worker did (though still some more than the office grad sitting next to them), but both had nothing better to do. They’d go along with this, regardless of their low enthusiasm.
A low enthusiasm that slowly began to rise as they arrived at an independent financial crimes investigative service. The actuary they met, a Jaguar who noted that he knew about this target from a certain friend called Judy Hopps, set them down. “I’ll be honest, I’m amazed they made this kind of screwup. Over a million dollars, undeclared! And after so long to do it in!”
The three nodded, Haida chuckling. “Lack of sleep most likely. Sent the wrong form…”
The jaguar smiled darkly. “Too late to take it back now though! In any case, I’ve had certain high up mammals wanting me to catch our unsuspecting friend red pawed. You’ve done it! Now, once they get their guys in, they’ll be able to dig up all the other, completely hidden, criminal activities that we all know is there!”
“Oh my,” Haida gasped, before a smile grew on his muzzle. He gave a sudden fist bump before turning to Retsuko, who he high fived. “You just took down a criminal!”
She met his high five, before shaking with glee on the spot. “I know!” She said out loud. “I’m a hero!” She was. She really was. She’d done a bit extra, and helped the good guys! She’d caught a criminal. She wasn’t just an office drone. She wasn’t just following the advice and ideas of others. She’d wanted to make the world a better place, and she’d just done it! “I’m a real hero!”
“I must say you are,” Fenneko noted. “Only a bit of investigation is needed to show how much of a reputation there is about our guy.”
Haida snorted. “I’m surprised you didn’t know already.”
They were all then cut off by the Jaguar, who brought some forms out. “The Criminal Activity Disclosure Act will keep you anonymous and completely protected legally speaking. Moreover, the ‘tax tattler’ reward comes into play.”
“Reward?” Retsuko asked, her ears perking up. She hadn’t even considered a reward. She just thought she’d grab onto the high of doing this thing.
“Yes,” the jaguar noted. “Fifty percent of the unpaid tax settlement. We’ll take a portion as we’re handling this though, as the forms state, it’s only a small part. You get the majority which, split between the three of you, is about thirty thousand bucks each.”
Three sets of faces gawked at them. Haida began descending into a laughing fit. Not simply ordinary laughs, but full on hyenid cackles.
Fenneko blinked. “Oh my…”
Retsuko just stood there awestruck. Amazed. That was about what she earned in a year… Thirty thousand… Thirty thousand! It wasn’t life changing, but holy crap! Holy…. She shook and quivered, before leaping up in the air. “Yes!!! Yesssss!!!!!! Yeeeesssssss!!!!!!!”
She turned to her other few workmates and hugged them tight. They hugged back. “I must say,” Fenneko said. “You were right when you said we could be heroes. It’s surprisingly profitable.”
“Yeah!” Haida added. “Go team heroes. Let’s celebrate!”
Celebrate they did. They signed the documents, before heading off to a nearby bar and restaurant. Food and drink was purchased freely, spirits were high, and the friends were talking. Boasting. Singing.
Haida, drunk on success and alcohol, had broken out the karaoke machine. Fenneko nudged her red panda friend as he set it up. “Warning. I’ve been counting his alcohol intake. We’re in uncharted waters.”
Retsuko ignored her and listened on, her ears rising as a certain punky tune rung out, the hyena adding his own twist to the lyrics. “COGS IN THE MACHINE… THE FASCIST REGIME… THEY MAKE YOU PUNCH NUMBERS… DART YOU WITH HOWLERS!!!!!”
Retsuko looked on, chuckling happily at his enthusiastic antics. “I guess he’s into punk rock then,” she said, almost wistfully.
“Yeah” Fenneko slurred. “Nice match for your death metal.”
In its alcohol soaked state, it took more than a few seconds for the red panda’s brain to make the connection, and register the horror that came with it. “What!? How do you…?
They were cut off as an air guitar soloing Haida stumbled backwards into one of the speakers. Feet slipping from beneath him, he landed on his tail, letting out a cute whimper of pain.
Retsuko giggled, while Fenneko gave it her usual. “HA-HA-HA-HA-HA…”
“Not funny,” he whined, walking over and sitting down onto a stool, only to slip off and land on his tail again. It got the same reaction from Fenneko, but a different one from Retsuko.
“You okay big guy?”
He nodded, getting up again, as he stared into her eyes. “Yeaahhhh…”
Retsuko nodded, happy, before turning back to Fenneko, panicked once more. “About that other thing. How do you know?” She pressed. “Have you been spying on me?”
Fenneko shrugged and pointed at her ears. “These aren’t for show,” she said.
Retsuko moved to scold her but gave up halfway through. Thanks to her inebriation, she didn’t really care either way anymore. In fact… “Hey… Haida.”
“Uh-hu…” he slurred.
“I… I have a secret,” she said. “Want to hear it?”
He nodded up and down. “Okay.”
“I like death metal,” she said, giggling.
“Ha! I like punk rock,” he agreed. He paused for a few seconds, before adding a little more. “But the death metal makes you even cuter.”
Her eyes went wide and, if she could blush, her face would be extra red right now.
“-Fenneko!” She scolded, before turning back to Haida. The Hyena was mumbling.
“Why do we work where we work?” he asked. “Why don’t we move. That place with the jaguar sounded nice…”
“It did,” Retsuko said dreamily. “You know, I didn’t quit my job because I realised I need things to work for… I’m good at following instructions, having rules to follow, and I like you lot… But we can have that without a mean boss, and the boss there seems much nicer than Ton. If they were hiring, we should all move there. We deserve better, we all do!”
“All of us,” the fennec added.
“Yeah,” Retsuko said. “I don’t want to be without my friends.”
“Clingy Retsuko and drowsy existential Haida. Your next stages of drunkenness surprise me.”
“Yeah,” Haida mused. “But you will always be terrifying you.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I’d like it. Moving there… Tax investigators.”
Haida raised a paw, chuckling. “Or detectives.”
Retsuko giggled. “Not every problem is solved by becoming police officers…”
“But she’d be an amazing detective,” he said. “You haven’t seen what she can do on social media. Detective Fenneko…”
Retsuko chuckled. “Detective Fenneko…”
The fennec was paused in thought. “Maybe,” she said. “Even without the MMI, we could go private together!”
“Private investigators!” Retsuko chirped happily. That sounded fun!
“And in other bits of the world which are less dumb than here, there was never anything stopping me in the first place. Did you know that the chief inspector Interpol is another vixen? I follow her on twitter.”
Haida hummed. “I never knew that,” he said. They looked at each other, smiling. The worst of the alcohol was starting to wear off. It was late, on a work day, and Retsuko had already set her alarm for an early departure. Yet she felt good. She felt great. She felt amazing. She felt confident.
Yet she hadn’t accomplished the one big thing she’d aimed to do at the start of the day.
“-You know,” Haida said, looking up. “Moving jobs sounds like an awesome idea! Fenneko becoming a PI, and us being her helpers, that sounds awesome too! Maybe leave it for just a little bit… More time to think this over, and get over all things.” He paused, chuckling. “Don’t wanna jump into it because of this buzz and find it sucks.”
“No,” Fenneko agreed, Retsuko nodding in response. She breathed in and began. Second time lucky.
He turned to face her. “Yup?”
“About leaving things for a little time to think things through and get over old stuff?”
“...Is it me,” he slurred a little. “But do I feel a strange sense of Deja vu?”
She giggled. “Probably you,” she said. “But, I was thinking… After my third to last relationship ended, and you asked me a certain question, I said no as it was too soon…” She looked down, took a breath in, and looked up again, her stomach twisting and turning as she did so. “It’s been a little while, strange things have happened in between, but I think I’m feeling good enough to say yes.”
Haida just looked on, his jaw hanging open. He pointed to himself, and to her, almost as if trying to piece what had happened together. “You? Me? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?”
“Yeah,” she said, feeling more confident. “Try it out, see if it works.”
The big hyena looked at her for a few seconds, then smiled a great big stupid idiotic smile. “That sounds great!” he said, as he got off of his seat, stumbling slightly as he went. “Mind if I, uh… -hug you?”
Retsuko giggled. “One little hug for now.”
She soon felt him do just that, giving her back a little pat and, using his side without his snaggleteeth, nuzzling her cheek.
She chuckled. “Aaawww. Haida….”
They were broken off by the sound of a camera and, looking over, they stared at Fenneko. “In case you forget this whole thing,” she said.
The other two looked at her, then at each other, then at her again. They wanted to be mad, but...
-Eh, they chose to let it be.
It was getting late so they called a cab. Due to the layout of Zootopia’s Metro system, the easiest way for them to all get home was to be dropped off at the main station in tundra town. They could all catch a loop train from there to their place in the various districts. Up until then, though, they stayed close. Retsuko, finding herself in Haida’s lap, felt relaxed and sleepy as his paws held her close. There was more bliss, care and love in them than in entire past relationships, and it all segued into one glorious dream. She was some mammal’s boyfriend. She was living her own life by her own rules. She was a hero. They’d caught a criminal. They could leave their dumb job and go to a better company, or become detectives!
That last one would have done nothing to excite her in the morning, but now it thrilled her.
“Hey,” Fenneko said, smiling. “I asked the driver to pass by a certain spot on our way over. Look out the window.”
They both did, and their eyes widened. “There it is,” Haida gasped.
Retsuko turned to look out the window. “Sorry, but your tax dodging days are over,” she quipped.
They bid the recipient of their whistleblowing adieu, before their car pulled them away from the Tundratown Limo service.
AN: “DID YOU LIKE MY BATE AND SWITCH!
MAKING YOU THINK IT WAS NIIIIICKKKKKK….
I LIKE TEASING YOU! DEATH METAL STYLE!
Now that’s over, this was a fun double-shot to write. Again, the kind of thing I envisioned this series to be based off of. A lot less to unpack here than with Kris and Ash. It took a little while to get the three’s voice right in my head, but I think I’ve done it. Oddly enough, here, I read them in English, whereas with his dialogue in A Day in the life I imagined Haida speaking ‘Japanese’ and subtitles appearing. I’m guessing it’s because he’s far more in his element here so I can tell it’s him by his chemistry in the dialogue. In ‘A Day in the Life…’ it’s him and a stranger, so it’s harder to tell if what he’s saying is a thing he’d say. Hence, I test it by sounding it out and, being a subbed version watcher primarily, I was much more familiar with his voice in the original version (thus imaging him speaking ‘Japanese’ and with subtitles).
It’s still worth noting though that, in many cases, I still did the ‘Japanese’ test, and the dialogue and character mannerisms are still likely far closer to that in the Sub than the Dub.
As for the fic, it was very nice to give the gang a day where, instead of things starting out good and going bad, they start out bad and go good! They’re fun and light to write.
Now, Aggretsuko has reptile, avian and simian characters, whereas Zootopia is just mammals. As stated in chapter 3 of Acting out, I’m using the ‘modified fox point’ system. Pop over there if you need a refresher.
Fun fact: this fic was originally all written before Aggretsuko season 2 came out, and I was initially thinking that I’d have to branch it from the main series after Metal Christmas. Instead, the end point of season 2 lined things up even better with the things I’ve got planned for these guys in the future, which was an awesome surprise. A bit of tweaking and changing, and it was fully integrated. Hooray!
Anyway. Interesting things are a paw! Feel free to comment and subscribe going on. Remember, on A03 the fics are seperate, so subscribe to the FFoZ series or the complete release back on Zootopia Fanfiction.
As for our friends? Where will they go? Do they go things? Let’s find out…
Her alarm blaring at an ungodly morning hour, Retsuko got up. She was still slightly hungover from the night before and as tired as the wheels of a car. She’d eat breakfast on the way in. Grovel to Ton, and then get to work with Fenneko and her boyfriend…
She smiled. Her boyfriend, Haida.
That felt good to say already.
Hyena paws ran along the floor, before sliding to a halt. Looking up, Retsuko saw a panicked Haida arrive right next to her desk, panting for breath. “Retsuko!” he cried, in a tone one would use if you heard the girl you crushed on had just had a secret baby, “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS!?”
He pulled out a little plush doll. “I FOUND IT IN THE MARKET!”
Retsuko looked at it in shock. It was a plush Hyena doll that looked exactly like him, right down to his red and black shirt, black leather biker jacket and three snaggleteeth.
“SHUT UP FENNEKO!” He cried. “IT ISN’T FUNNY!”
“Let me see?” Retsuko asked, as he gave it to her. She looked over it, pausing as she saw its little label. “Uhhh… Haida…”
“-I’m having an existential crisis here!”
“It says on the label that it’s a ‘Haida the Hyena’ doll,” she said, handing it back to him so he could see, his whole body trembling in response.
“RETSUKO! IT JUST GOT WORSE!!!!!”
“Mind if I keep it Haida?”