Chapter 12 – A Day in the Life: Officer Hopps

Monday morning saw Judy heading into work feeling a little better than when she’d left on Friday. She’d called her parents when she’d arrived home, opened her presents with her littermates and thanked them profusely for their kindness. When she’d tried to go to sleep she hadn’t been able to fall asleep as easily as she had with Nick, especially as she was back in her own bed. By the time 2 am rolled around she’d had enough of tossing and turning. Grabbing her phone she’d made the short journey from her bed to Nick’s, depositing her phone on his nightstand before she’d slipped under the covers. Nick’s scent had enveloped her, soothed her, and she’d fallen asleep quickly.

On time for work, Judy entered the atrium of the ZPD at 8:30 am, a spring in her step and the slight jingle of her bracelet audible. Remembering the uniform policy she tucked it under the sleeve of her shirt. She didn’t want to take it off, but she knew all jewellery except wedding bands weren’t really allowed. The atrium was empty, Clawhauser missing from his desk. Frowning, she looked around. With no one in sight, she started her journey towards the bullpen.

Though the door was made for much larger mammals, its light weight meant that Judy was able to push it open with ease. The moment the door was pushed fully back the room exploded in noise. “Happy birthday!”

Judy shrieked, having been caught off guard. There, in the middle of the bullpen, stood her colleagues. The room had been decorated with streamers and balloons, a massive birthday banner hanging from the ceiling, and Clawhauser had a party hat on. Blinking, Judy looked at her colleagues. They’d remembered her birthday? Ears drooping Judy tried to not to cry.

“You guys remembered.” Judy was surprised by their kindness.

“As if we’d forget our favourite bunny’s birthday!” Clawhauser admonished, bounding over to put a little party hat on Judy’s head. “Bogo said we could have a mini party for you before work today. We’ve got cake and presents.”

“But, I’ve never seen you do this for anyone else.” It had been Pennington’s birthday on Judy’s first day, and even though Bogo had wished her a happy birthday they hadn’t thrown a party for her.

“You’re younger, your birthdays count.” Francine shrugged. She was counting her birthdays backwards now, but the young bunny had plenty of years ahead of her.

Unable to stop a few tears from escaping, Judy pulled Clawhauser into a hug “Thanks, Ben.”

Giving the adorable bunny a hug in return, Clawhauser’s nose was suddenly assaulted. “Oh woah, you really smell like Nick!”

“He came home for the weekend.” Judy blushed, letting go of Clawhauser. She wrung her paws, offering the cheetah a smile.

“What a coincidence…” Wolford piped up, sparing a glance to Bogo, who pretended not to hear.

“Oh I know, your new Furbook photo is too adorable!” Clawhauser grinned. Judy’s phone had been going crazy all evening, and well into the early hours of the morning, with notifications. Her siblings had been commenting on it, a lot of them liking it, and Judy had a feeling the next time Nick opened his Furbook he’d have hundreds of friend requests. The thought had made her snigger. Her parents and littermates had mentioned it during their call, with Bonnie declaring it a beautiful photo and wanting a copy for the family albums, but Judy’s brother Julian hadn’t looked too happy.

“Alright alright, let Hopps cut the cake so we can eat ourselves into a sugar coma before I dish out work for the day and make you all miserable.” Bogo interrupted. He was enjoying the camaraderie, but they still had work to do.

Clawhauser lit the candles on her cake and Judy blew them out, making a wish. He’d tried to get everyone to sing to Judy but the other officers had met the cheetah’s request with stony silence. They didn’t sing. Judy didn’t hold it against them. Besides, Marian and Nick had sung happy birthday to her on Saturday night, and she couldn’t ask for more. Candles blown out, Clawhauser dished out cake to all the officers. Mingling while they ate, Judy received well wishes from all of her colleagues, feeling an immeasurable amount of love for them all. A small pile of presents sat at her desk and Judy was touched that they’d bought her gifts. She quickly realised that she’d need a hand getting them all home.

With their cake finished and dishes cleared away, Bogo cleared his throat. “Take your seat officers, we’ve got a busy day ahead of us.”

McHorn and Wolford had swapped seats a few weeks back, the timber wolf now taking the seat beside Judy while the rhino took Wolford’s old seat at the back of the room. “I’ll give you a hand getting them home later.” Wolford offered, gesturing towards the pile of presents on Judy’s desk. He tried to hide his smile at how stunned Judy had looked when she’d entered the room to find a surprise mini party. Contrary to popular belief, most mammals in Chief Bogo’s team were fond of the small rabbit. She’d cracked a difficult case with little help, came in every morning filled with enthusiasm, and reminded them all that what they were doing mattered.

“Thanks, Wolford.” They’d formed a strong bond over their weeks together as temporary partners. Judy had been a little nervous to be partnered with the experienced wolf cop, but he’d been nothing but kind and encouraging towards her.

“Connor.” Wolford corrected her gently.

“Huh?” Judy knew it wasn’t very eloquent of her, but she had no idea what Wolford was talking about.

“I realise we’ve been working together for weeks now and haven’t told you my first name. It’s Connor.” While it was sweet that Judy continued to refer to him by his surname, his official officer name, he figured they were close enough now that she should know his first name.

“Well then thank you, Connor.” Judy hadn’t expected Wolford to tell her his first name, but she was pleasantly surprised.

With a sharp nod, Wolford turned his attention back to Bogo, who was shuffling five files. “Okay mammals. Assignments for the day.” Bogo slid on his glasses, glancing down to his clipboard. “We have reports of a series of noise disturbances in Outback Island, so McHorn, Rhinowitz, Delgato you’re going to check them out.” The three officers stood, collecting a file from Bogo before they left the bullpen.

“Grizzoli, Pennington, Fangmeyer. We have reports of a group of bats stealing from fruit stalls in the Nocturnal district. Go check it out.” Bogo handed over a file to Francine as the three officers also left. “Higgins, Snarlof, Johnson, you’re on patrol in Tundratown. Trunkaby, Andersen, Swinton, you’re on patrol in the Marshlands.” Bogo rattled off, the six officers gearing up and exiting the bullpen with their files in paw. “Hopps, Wolford. We have reports of a spate of burglaries at a row of stores in Downtown Savannah Central. I want you to keep an eye on the stores, take note of any suspicious mammals.” Bogo assigned his final two officers their work for the day. As Judy and Wolford stood, he spoke again. “Oh and Hopps, a word before you leave?”

Curious as to what the Chief wanted to talk to her about, Judy nodded, sparing a glance to Wolford. “I’ll meet you at the car.” The timber wolf picked up Judy’s armful of presents, along with their file, taking them with him as he left to prep their vehicle for the day. He’d leave her presents in the trunk so that if they drove past her home they could drop them off.

Once Wolford had left the room, Judy turned to look at the Chief. “Is something the matter Chief?”

Bogo took a moment to observe the rabbit cop. She looked a lot better today, more colour to her, the bags under her eyes a little less. “Just want to make sure you’re feeling better. You were off your game last week, Hopps. It wasn’t like you.” He’d been extremely concerned when she’d been late for work, and though he hadn’t wanted to chew her out for it, it was ZPD policy to reprimand officers for being late.

“I know, and I’m sorry again Sir. I’m feeling better today though.” Judy apologised. She’d hated being late, but with her lack of sleep and her mind on other matters, it had been unavoidable. Thankfully her weekend with Nick had helped.

Shuffling his papers, Bogo nodded. “Mhm. Glad to see a weekend with Wilde sorted you out.”

Judy couldn’t stop her smile. “Thanks for giving me the weekend off Chief, for asking Major Friedkin to give Nick time off too.”

Bogo blinked. “Damn. She figured it out. Deny it, you old fool.” He tipped his head down to glance at the rabbit, looking over the rim of his glasses. “I gave you the weekend off because you were overworked, Hopps. Friedkin giving Wilde the weekend off was none of my doing. Now, get going. Dismissed.”

Judy wasn’t fooled. The Chief and Major Friedkin had conspired, she was sure of it, but she didn’t pull the cape buffalo up on it. Offering her boss a quick smile she left the bullpen, heading down to the garage to meet up with Wolford and start their assignment.

Two hours. For two hours Judy and Wolford had been parked just outside of a row of shops in Downtown Savannah Central, keeping their car a safe distance so they wouldn’t be spotted by any potential criminals. They’d been watching mammals come and go, looking for any suspicious activity. So far it had been pretty quiet. Though the ZPD’s cars were relatively comfortable, and the one they were riding it had been modified so Judy could drive it safely, the rabbit still felt cramped. Stretching, she held back her yawn. Paws resting on the wheel, she exhaled, watching the mammals around them going about their day.

Wolford had spent many a day on the force doing just this, watching mammals, looking for anything suspicious. It was second nature to him now. Sure this job was a step down from his usual undercover work but when Bogo had informed them all that Judy needed a temporary partner, Wolford had been happy to volunteer. She was a newbie; she needed someone to show her the ropes. Besides, Wolford respected Judy for her accomplishments not only at the academy but in the missing mammal’s case too. From the corner of his eye he caught her stretching, and while that in itself wasn’t noteworthy, the flash of silver that appeared from under her sleeve was. Focusing in on the item Wolford couldn’t hide how his eyes widened. There was only one place in the city that made such bracelets, and they only meant one thing. “Well damn. I never took Wilde as the sort to follow old traditions, or be that committed.”

“Hey Wolford,” Judy had used the silence between them to think some more on her actions of the past week. She’d been reminded of what she’d done to Catstro thanks to Chef Bogo’s need to check up on her. Nick had said that it wasn’t her fault, that Catstro’s blood was on Mr. Big’s paws, but then Nick would say that. He wouldn’t want Judy to blame herself, he wouldn’t want her to think it was her fault. While it was admirable, and she wanted to believe Nick with all of her heart, she needed an outsider’s perspective. “Have you ever done something with good intentions and its lead to someone getting hurt?”

Regaining his composure from the unexpected sight of Judy’s bracelet, Wolford turned his head to look at the rabbit sat in the driver’s seat. “Bit heavy for a Monday morning isn’t it, Judy?”

Biting her lip, Judy kept her eyes forward, focused on the shops. “You’re right, sorry.”

Wolford sighed softly, feeling bad for shutting down the conversation. Judy obviously wanted to talk to him about something important. Reaching forward he flicked off the microphone on the dash cam. “I’ll take the heat from Bogo, don’t worry.” He reassured her, leaning back into his seat. “This about last week?”

Touched by Wolford’s unexpected kindness, Judy hummed in confirmation.

“You want to talk about it? I might not be as good a listener as Wilde probably is, but we’re partners for the time being. You got a problem then I’ve got your back.” The ZPD were a family, and those under Bogo’s command were a tight-knit group. If Judy needed to talk about something, get something off her chest, then Wolford would help her out. He’d done a little digging, after his first two weeks as Judy’s temporary partner, curious as to her future partner. He’d heard of the Wilde family, every pred had, they were the first family to open a tailor’s catering to predators and the first pred to sail to the Old World had been Edward Wilde. It was part of their history lessons when they were kits, stuck in school and dreaming of what life would be like once they were adults. He’s uncovered a few bits of information about the fox, but nothing that caused him any concern.

“I appreciate that Connor, thank you.” Judy gestured towards the dashcam. “Nick came home for the weekend and we talked about it.”

Wolford didn’t bother hiding his smirk, making a show of inhaling. “Yeah, I can tell he came home.” He teased, eyes flicking to her bracelet briefly before he looked out of the windscreen again.

Judy blushed. She’d have to see if Nick’s Musk Mask would work on her. “I must really smell like him. You’re the second mammal today to point it out.”

Wolford shrugged, eyes forward as he smiled. His nose was one of the strongest on the force, well trained for sniffing out criminals and narcotics. “Foxes have a distinct smell, it’s easy to recognise. You probably don’t smell it because you’re used to it. Anyway, who got hurt?”

Judy didn’t want to give too much away, but at the same time, she wanted to talk to someone on the outside of the situation, get their perspective. “Not someone I know, not someone I even care about. Dare I say they even deserved a little pain? It still bothers me, though, that their pain is my fault.”

“You were doing something with good intentions right?” Wolford double-checked, catching Judy’s nod. “You know, I believe in the theory of consequentialism. It states that of all the things a mammal might do at any given moment, the morally right action is the one with the best overall consequences. In other words, if the ends justify the means. If the consequences are for the greater good, then any method of achieving it is acceptable, even if others might see it as morally questionable. I’ve spent the last several weeks with you, trapped in this damn car for hours on end, chasing perps through the streets, watching you eat lettuce for lunch, and I still can’t believe you eat so much of that crap, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about you, it’s that you would never take pleasure from another mammal’s pain. Everything you do is for the greater good. We all carry this sense of duty through our lives, live with a sense of morals, of wrongs and rights. We think the world is black and white. It isn’t until we’re forced into a morally questionable situation, made to make a decision that challenges that view, that we realise the world isn’t so clear-cut, that amongst the black and white are varying shades of grey. Sometimes we have to step into that grey zone. It might be uncomfortable, unfamiliar, but if you know what you’re doing is for the greater good then it’s worth it.” Wolford paused, gathering his thoughts. He and Judy had engaged in many conversations during their time as partners, but he’d never spoken so openly and for such a long period of time before.

“You’re one of the rare ones, one of the mammals who genuinely wants to make the world a better place. A lot of us on the force never had that belief when we joined – we joined because we had bills to pay, mouths to feed, and knew we’d always have a job. We might all act like your enthusiasm annoys us at times, but it’s a reminder to us all that actually, we’re doing some good with our lives, even when we’re treated like shit – when perps call us names, or spit at us, or pull weapons on us. Whatever happened I wouldn’t worry about it. Your hearts in the right place and that makes you a good cop and a good mammal.” Wolford concluded. He kept his eyes front and centre the entire time he spoke, a little uncomfortable with how forthcoming he’d been with his feelings. She’d worried him last week, her behaviour highly unusual. She’d never been late before, and he’d caught her almost falling asleep a few times. He’d initially put it down to a fight with Wilde, but if the bracelet around her wrist was any indication then everything was perfectly fine between them. He was curious now as to what she’d done that had resulted in another mammal getting hurt.

Judy mulled over Wolford’s words. His theory made sense, but it didn’t seem solid. “Some mammals might be concerned with the greater good theory, though. Look at Bellwether. She thought she was helping prey mammals, doing it all for the greater good, and many innocent mammals were hurt in the process.”

“Your key word there was innocent. Was the person who ended up hurt by your actions innocent?” Wolford asked, paw opening to face the sky

Catstro certainly wasn’t innocent. “No, but that doesn’t justify hurting them.”

“Maybe not, but perhaps karma was long overdue. I can’t see you hurting someone for the fun of it, Judy. The way I see it they were hurt because they’d done something wrong. I mean, take that alpaca for example,” Wolford nodded to the street, to a mammal heading towards the bakery.

Judy followed Wolford’s gaze, snorting. “That’s a llama…”

Wolford sighed, shrugging his shoulders. They both looked the same to him. “Alright, take that llama for example. If he were to go into the bank brandishing a gun and demanding all the cash from the register, threatening and scaring the pregnant ocelot behind the counter, and we went in there to stop him and he ended up hurt, say his gun went off and he shot his thigh, or he broke his arm as he tried to flee from us, would that be our fault?”

“No.” Judy’s response was instant.

“Why is that?” Wolford had a purpose for his line of questioning, but Judy had to figure it out herself.

“Because he put himself in that situation.” Judy kept her gaze on the llama, following him as he entered the bakery.

“Exactly. He was an idiot and he got himself hurt because of it. He’d try to blame it on me or you…actually more like me, but a judge would throw it out because he was a fool and put himself in a bad situation. We are the sum total of our choices, Judy.” Wolford concluded.

They were silent for a moment, Judy thinking over Wolford’s words. He had a point. Put yourself in danger and if danger came knocking you couldn’t act like it surprised you. It was the risk you’d willingly taken. “What happened anyway?” Wolford broke the silence.

Instinctively Judy’s paw went to her bracelet, touching the silver charms as she kept her gaze on the street. “Someone I care for deeply was being threatened. The person threatening them ended up hurt by a third party. I’d told this third party that the mammal I cared about was being threatened.” She omitted that they’d actually ended up dead, avoided mentioning anything mob related too. It wasn’t right for her to lie to her colleague, but she couldn’t risk him telling anyone, couldn’t risk losing her job.

“If that third party hurt them then it was their choice. Any and all blame lies at their paws. They could’ve decided not to act on the information you gave them, but they did. The weight of that is theirs to bear.” It made sense to Wolford. If Judy hadn’t been the one dishing out the hurt, then it wasn’t her fault.

“I swayed the decision by telling them,” Judy argued.

“No, you didn’t. You gave them a choice. They made it. Every mammal has free will, and if the third party decided to hurt another mammal then that was his or her choice. Did you coerce the third party into hurting them? Bribe them?” Wolford still wasn’t getting through to her.

“No! Gosh no! I told them I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. But I couldn’t stop myself from feeling a little pleased when the mammal was hurt.” Judy whispered, finally voicing her feeling. Catstro had tormented Nick, threatened him and Marian. A dark, deep part of Judy had wanted Catstro to feel something akin to what he’d put Nick through, get a taste of his own medicine. When Mr. Big had backed Catstro into a corner, Judy had taken immense pleasure in his panic. She took no pleasure from his death, but she’d enjoyed the caracal being put in his place beforehand.

“Because they wronged Wilde.” Wolford hid his smile.

“I didn’t say anything about Nick.” Judy shot back quickly, turning to look at her partner with wide eyes.

Sniggering, Wolford shook his head fondly at her response. “You didn’t have to. When mentioning the mammal you care deeply about you touched your bracelet.” He nodded in the direction of Judy’s wrist.

Judy’s gaze moved to the silver bracelet around her wrist. She couldn’t stop her wide smile as she touched it. She hadn’t taken it off since Nick had fastened it around her wrist. “It was a birthday present. How did you know it was from him?”

“Like I said, I’ve spent several weeks with you now and I know you don’t wear jewellery, so the fact you’re wearing that bracelet suggests it’s important to you, that it was from someone important. Wilde’s the only one you hold in such a high regard.” Wolford glanced again to the bracelet around her wrist, noting the charms. “It’s an interesting present.”

“Interesting?” The word struck Judy as an odd choice.

“Mhm. They’re tokens of affection, usually gifted by male canines to females they’re fond of. The two charms symbolise how you met. It’s an old tradition, goes back centuries. Few canines follow it these days. Wilde’s family are pretty old school though, so it doesn’t surprise me.” Wolford mused.

“Tokens of affection? A tradition? Old school?” Judy was left with more questions than answers.

“Yeah, it’s an old tradition that all canines know about. If Wilde didn’t tell you what the bracelet means though, well then it’s not my place to do so. Wilde’s family are also well known in pred circles, his grandfather was the first pred to go to the Old World, opened the first pred tailors, and his family was very vocal in their support of the pred-rights movement too. We’re all taught about it as kits at school.”

Wolford was a goldmine of information. “None of this was mentioned in the book…”

“The book?” Wolford lifted an eyebrow. What the hell was Judy reading?

“Oh, I figured since I’m going to be working with Nick, and seeing as how we live together, I needed to do some research on foxes. I borrowed a book from his mom. It never mentioned this bracelet.” Judy explained, eyes lifting from her bracelet to look at the timber wolf. She’d have to do some Zoogling on Nick’s family, too.

“You borrowed a book from his mom?” Wolford shook his head at the fact Wilde had already introduced her to his mother. “The bracelets are a tradition that’s all but died out, passed on through word of mouth when we’re kits. Only one place in the city still makes them now.”

“What place?” If Judy could find out where the bracelets were made she could do some digging, try and figure out why her bracelet was ‘interesting.’

“Yeah, I ain’t telling you.” Wolford turned his attention back to the street.

“I’ll howl.” Judy threatened. She was partly joking, knowing she wouldn’t really follow through with it, but at the same time, she hoped the threat might make him talk. Wolford had been pretty embarrassed the last time Judy had forced him to howl.

“Go ahead. It’s a canine secret; I’m not going to say anything no matter what you do. Besides, it’s down to Wilde to tell you what it means.” Wolford didn’t really want to keep secrets from Judy, but it wasn’t his place to tell her anything about the bracelet. “Back to the point, though. My wife is a strong believer that in order for harmony to exist in the world there needs to be balance. When mammals talk about yin and yang, they assume one is good and one is bad. That’s not true. Think of two concepts that are opposite to each other, like day and night. The night is good because we can rest, while day is good because we can live. They’re not bad, just different. This is true with lots of things. Bad is an imbalance of these two things. If there were too much day, everyone would get tired. If there were too much night, everyone would sleep too much and nothing would ever get done. They complement each other. Good and bad are two faces of the same coin. A mammal that steals bread to feed his family is doing good for the family, but bad for the mammal whose bread is stolen. If there were only good in the world, you’d never know to value and treasure it. Light is no light when the eyes have never seen the darkness. The bad makes you realise the importance, value, and need for good.”

Judy mind was still trying to process all of the information Wolford had given her regarding the bracelet and Nick’s family, but she managed to roughly follow along with Wolford’s speech. “So what your saying is, even though what happened was bad, it was ultimately good too?” Judy thought she understood the point Wolford was trying to make.

“It could be construed that way, yes. The mammal threatening Wilde was hurt, which is bad, but now that mammal will think twice about threatening Wilde again, the good. The world relies on a balance of both.” Wolford surmised.

Judy didn’t bother correcting Wolford, telling him that Catstro really wouldn’t be able to hurt Nick again unless he came back from the dead. Eyes front and centre, watching the street, Judy smiled. “Who knew you were so deep? Thanks, Connor.” Judy genuinely appreciated the timber wolf’s insight. Getting the perspective of an outsider was helping her process her actions and the consequences better.

Wolford shrugged. “I have my moments. I’m not just a pretty face, or at least that’s what my wife tells me.” He sighed, glancing out of the side window of their car. His wife was an interesting mammal, her beliefs so different to his, but they complimented one another beautifully.

Judy’s gaze caught a shifty looking coyote walking down the street. He was slouched down, paws in his pockets, ears flat, and tail flicking side to side in agitation. “Speaking of moments, possible 10-66 at our two o’clock”

Wolford moved his gaze forward, catching the coyote at their two o’clock. Slowly leaning forward he flicked the microphone on the dash cam back on. Eyes on the canine, Judy and Wolford watched as he entered the jewellers next to the bakery. Unplugging her seatbelt, Judy grabbed the car keys. She had a gut feeling…

Moments later the coyote came sprinting out of the shop, a bag under his arm. Following closely behind him the store owner came running outside, screaming for someone to stop him.

“Damn it. Could do without a 211 today.” Wolford cursed, undoing his seatbelt quickly. The timber wolf and rabbit abandoned the car, Judy remembering to hit the lock button as they ran after the coyote.

Judy was quicker off the mark, having been prepared for the coyote to flee, and her small height enabled her to weave amongst the heavy crowds of Central Plaza. “ZPD! Stop!” Judy yelled, figuring it would have little effect other than alerting the mammals around her that she was chasing a perp.

“Hopps, I’m looping around!” Judy heard Wolford yell. Wolford was statistically faster than the coyote, so he should be able to outrun him.

“Dispatch, we have a code 211 in Central Plaza – coyote fleeing a crime scene on foot, Hopps and Wolford in pursuit.” She called through to Clawhauser, paw on her radio as she continued to follow the coyote. Judy’s hind paws pounded the pavement, heart rate picking up as the thrill of the chase kicked in. Central Plaza was busy, it always was as it approached lunchtime, and Judy knew the coyote was hoping to use that to his advantage, to slip through the crowds and lose her, possibly even get her trampled on by larger mammals. She was smarter, though, lighter on her feet than most mammals. Judy’s lungs burned as she sped up, pushing herself to get that little bit closer to the perp, to not lose sight of him. Crossing the plaza, Judy could see a family of squirrels. They were right in her path of pursuit. They wouldn’t be out of the way in time. Paws pounding the pavement as she closed in on the family Judy pushed herself up on the balls of her hind paws, the run up having given her more than enough momentum to spring over the family of squirrels. Their screams rang in her ears as she landed on the pavement the other side of them, regaining her stride with ease. “Sorry!” she yelled back over her shoulder, sparing a moment to feel bad for the scared family before her attention returned to the coyote.

Weaving past an elephant Judy spotted the coyote taking a sharp left turn down a street. “ZPD! I said stop!” She yelled again, skidding as she changed direction, following the coyote. The unexpected turn hadn’t given Judy time to scope out the street, so as she took the sharp left she planted into the side of a tipped over dumpster, the contents spilt all over the street. With a frustrated shout, Judy scrambled over it, hind paws slipping as she tried to find some traction on the smooth metal sides of the dumpster. Finally over the obstacle, she spotted the coyote up ahead. The distance between them was greater now, but with few other mammals on the street, it was easy to spot the coyote. Judy knew she wasn’t as fast; that she wouldn’t make up the distance now. She hoped Wolford would appear soon.

Her prayers were answered when the coyote came to a screeching halt. Looking past him Judy caught sight of Wolford, blocking the other end of the street. “ZPD. Drop the bag and raise your paws.” The timber wolf demanded, lifting his tranq gun and aiming it at the coyote. With the coyote focused on Wolford, Judy took the opportunity to slink closer; keeping her steps light in a hope the perp wouldn’t hear her as she pulled her tranq gun from its holster. The range on it wasn’t great; she needed to be closer before she could fire it.

Wolford watched as the coyote snarled, his view of Judy blocked by the perp’s body. He could smell she was on the street though, the undeniable scent of Wilde that seemed to permanently cling to her now was hard to miss. “Drop the bag and paws in the air, now.” He demanded again, sensing the coyote’s rising aggression and the tension in his body.

In a blink and you’ll miss it move the coyote’s ear flicked around and he turned, taking a massive lunge with his paw extended, claws exposed as he took a swipe at Judy, having heard her approach. Pivoting on one of her hind paws Judy threw herself sideways, barely making it out of the coyote’s reach. It was only her fast reflexes that saved her from being mauled. Before she had time to fire her tranq gun the coyote hit the floor face-first, sprawled across the street. His paw came to land millimetres from Judy. She took a deep breath, heart racing at the shock of how quickly it had all happened.

“Hopps! You good?” Wolford checked in with the rabbit, his own heart beating frantically. If the coyote had of even caught her with one of his claw he would’ve torn her in two.

Shaking, Judy took a deep breath. “I’m good. I’m good.” She reassured the timber wolf, taking several quick steps back, keeping her tranq gun aimed at the coyote sprawled on the street. Wolford left the bag of stolen goods, keeping his eyes and gun trained on the coyote, ready to let off another dart if he stirred. Moving around to stand opposite Judy, the unconscious coyote between them, he lifted his gaze for a second to make sure Judy really wasn’t hurt. Satisfied there wasn’t a scratch on her, relief flooded through him as he picked up the sound of sirens approaching.

Judy and Wolford sat together on a metal bench, eyes forward, watching the unconscious coyote that had been unceremoniously dumped into a holding cell. Wolford had hit him with a high dose of tranquillizer, and it was taking some time to wear off. “You don’t need to be here when he wakes if you don’t want to be, Judy.” Wolford offered. He’d seen the terror on Judy’s face as the coyote had lunged for her, smelt her fear afterwards when they’d driven back to the precinct together.

“It’s okay, I need to be here, Connor. This is my job and I can’t run away the first time a perp turns on me.” Judy had known that joining the force wouldn’t be a walk in the park, that some mammals wouldn’t want to be caught and would put up a fight.

“It was close, Judy.” Wolford’s heart had been in his throat and time had seemed to slow down as the coyote had turned to attack Judy, having obviously worked out that she was the most vulnerable of the pair.

“You stopped him in time though. Thank you.” Wolford’s fast reaction time had saved Judy from the coyote making another lunge for her. She was quick, her small height and weight giving her that advantage, but she wasn’t so stupid as to think she would’ve walked away unscathed had the coyote lunged at her again.

“Yeah well, they’d probably partner me with Rhinowitz if something happened to you, and we both know his surliness is irritating.” Wolford tried to play it cool. It was his job, as her partner, to protect her. He didn’t need thanking for it, though he appreciated the sentiment. “That, and Wilde would chew me out if you were hurt.”

Judy inhaled sharply. She’d told Nick she’d stay safe while he was away. “We’re not going to tell him, right…?”

Wolford snorted. “What? Tell Wilde you were nearly mauled by a coyote? I don’t have a death wish, thanks.”

Judy reached for her bracelet, paw playing with the charms. “He’d freak out if he heard about this, demand to come home.”

“Then we won’t tell him. We’ll have to write it in the official report, but he won’t see that.” Wolford shrugged. Wilde had to know that Judy would always be in danger so long as she was a cop. It wasn’t exactly an easy, safe job.

The sound of snuffling dragged Wolford and Judy from their conversation, and both mammals turned towards the sound. The coyote was starting to wake up, trying desperately to stand. The sedative in the tranquillizer would make him groggy for a while, but it’d wear off fully in a few hours. “Hey sleepy.” Wolford couldn’t help but tease the perp, rising from his seat on the bench to stride towards the cell, keeping a safe distance away. Though there were bars across the front of the cell, Wolford wouldn’t put it past the coyote to lunge at him.

Judy stood, moving to stand on Wolford’s right side, paw going for the tranq gun resting on her right hip, just in case. With a groan, the coyote turned to face them, and he bared his teeth in a show of aggression. “Looks like I missed. I’ll try harder next time.” The coyote’s gaze had landed on Judy, lips curled up into a snarl.

“You’re not going to get a next time, Sir. You were caught stealing $10,000 worth of jewellery from Beaverooks & Co. Jewellers, so you’re formally under arrest for felony theft.”

“And resisting arrest. I hate cardio.” Wolford sighed. “Oh and don’t forget attacking an officer, so let’s add felony assault too.”

Judy lifted her right paw to her muzzle, looking up at Wolford before she moved her gaze to the coyote. “Gosh, that’s got to be what? 10 years jail time?”

The coyote lunged for the bars, snarling at Judy and Wolford. “You going to punish a guy who was just trying to make ends meet, predo?” He snapped at Judy, the hard glint in his eyes full of loathing.

Judy frowned. She’d heard the term before, used as a slur against prey mammals who had a thing for preds, but it had never been used against her before.

“Don’t act all surprised. You wanna walk around wearing that thing then you better be prepared for mammals to call you what you are.” The coyote shot a glare at the bracelet now visible around Judy’s wrist. “How disgusting. What, not enough cute little rabbits for you to date, so you gotta chase after a pred now?”

“That’s enough,” Wolford demanded, paw going for his tranq gun.

“Interspecies, the biggest load of shit I’ve ever heard of. Sharp teeth and claws turn you on little bunny? Get you all excited?” The coyote inhaled, his disgust deepening. “And a fox at that? Wow, you really do have a pred kink. Your parents must be so proud. Their little girl is banging a fox. I wonder what kind of nasty things you get up to. Didn’t they use to hunt and eat your kind? Guess he’s doing a different kind of eating these days.”

Wolford drew his tranq gun, firing off another dart, right into the coyote’s soft belly. “I said, enough.” He repeated, jaw clenching as the coyote’s eyes rolled back into his head and with a thud he fell sideways, unconscious again.

Judy blinked, still surprised. How could a mammal say such cruel things? How could he jump to conclusions without knowing anything about her situation? “Hopps, you alright?” Wolford checked.

“Yeah I…Connor, does wearing this really make me a predo?” The thought had never crossed Judy’s mind before.

Wolford sighed, paw rising to rub at his muzzle. “You smell like Wilde. Like I said, foxes have a very distinct smell. The bracelet doesn’t help.”

“I’m not attracted to predators.” Judy stated. It was true, she’d never been attracted to predators before, it was just Nick.

“But you’re attracted to Wilde, and he’s a pred.” Wolford pointed out. He knew Judy didn’t have a pred kink, she hadn’t shown any interest in any other predators.

“Yeah but it’s only Nick and…wait,” Judy’s eyes widened as she realised what she’d just revealed.

“None of us here are idiots, Judy. We all know you have the hots for Wilde. It’s fine. None of us are bothered. If you’re happy that’s all that matters. But you’ve got to understand that for every mammal who approves there will be a mammal who won’t, and that won’t be the last time you’ll probably hear such slurs.”

“I just don’t understand how he can think it’s disgusting. We can’t control who we like.” Judy glanced back to the unconscious coyote on the holding cell floor. She was a little concerned too that her fellow officers knew about her feelings for Nick. She wasn’t ashamed, but at the same time, she hadn’t told Nick how she felt, and the thought of others knowing before him didn’t sit right.

“A lot of mammals like him lash out because they’re afraid or jealous. Honestly, Judy, I wouldn’t let it bother you. Just, maybe keep your bracelet hidden a little more? I know you shouldn’t have to but it’s for your own safety. At work feel free to show it, we’ve all got your back, but when you’re alone please be careful. I’ve seen your academy report, the video of you taking down the rhino, I know you’re strong and capable but these idiots roam the streets in packs.” Wolford was genuinely concerned for her safety. While the bracelet would stop other canines bothering her, even though Wilde wasn’t at her side, to others it would be like a red rag to a bull. “Is that speciest?…”

Judy nodded, mind racing. Wolford was like a brick wall and she was tired of smacking her head against him, not getting any straight answers about her bracelet. “Come on, we should fill in the paperwork for this.” Wolford started to lead the way out of the holding area.

It took Judy and Wolford the rest of their shift to finish all the paperwork in relation to their day’s arrest. Once the final document had been filled in, Judy stretched. “Alright, Hopps looks like we’re done for the day. I’ll drop you home, your presents are still in the trunk of our cruiser but I’ll transfer them to my car.” Wolford stood, stretching upwards. Judy had abandoned her usual small desk to take the vacant medium-sized one next to Wolford. She didn’t think the timber wolf would be comfortable working at the smaller desk next to hers. When Nick finally started work it would be his desk, and the two of them would share a cubicle.

Tidying away her things, Judy followed Wolford down to the locker room where they grabbed their respective belongings before making their way to the employee parking garage. The timber wolf promised to be back shortly, throwing Judy the keys to his sedan so she could settle in the passenger seat. Unlocking the vehicle, she hopped in, sinking into the large leather seat, unable to see over the dashboard. Judy couldn’t help but laugh. Sometimes her height was an advantage, sometimes it wasn’t, and sometimes she knew she just had to laugh about it. The back passenger door opened, Judy tuned in enough to her surroundings not to be spooked, and Wolford placed all of her presents on the back seats. Shutting the door he circled the car, sliding into the driver’s seat. “Your keys.” Judy offered them out to him. With a grin Wolford took them, starting up the engine. He’d dropped her home a few times after their shifts, on days where he wasn’t comfortable with letting her walk or take the metro. Some days he had a gut feeling that he should drive her home. He liked to trust his gut. It hadn’t failed him before.

The trip home passed by in peaceful silence as both mammals decompressed from the day, arranging their thoughts. Wolford pulled his car up to the kerb before he helped Judy carry her presents inside. When Wolford left, Judy was faced with the pile of presents from her colleagues. Quickly she changed out of her police blues, hanging them up in her wardrobe before she grabbed a notepad and pen so that she could a record of the gifts she’d received and send personalised thank you cards. Wrapping herself up in her blanket from Marian, she opened her gifts.

While clearing away the wrapping paper from the many thoughtful presents her colleagues had gifted her, Judy’s bracelet jingled, making her pause. “Wolford mentioned being taught about Nick’s family at school…” She tossed the paper into the recycle bin, moving back to the couch to grab her phone. Unlocking it, she brought up Zoogle.

‘Wilde family, Zootopia’ she typed into the search bar, hitting enter. Thousands of results appeared and Judy’s eyes widened. How hadn’t she known about his family? Selecting the first website, a Zoopedia page on Edward Wilde, Judy began to read.

Personal life:
Edward Oliver Wilde (1931 – 1990) was born to an electrician father and a housewife mother in 1931, in the Nocturnal district of Zootopia. He attended Eventide Primary School before attending Murk High School. In 1955, at the age of 24, he married Florence Sylvia Walton (1934 – 1987) in a private ceremony in the Canal district of Zootopia. In 1957 they welcomed their first child, Robert ‘Robin’ Raymond Wilde (1957 – 1992) at Zootopia General Hospital. The couple had no other subsequent children. In 1987, Florence was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis and passed away at home shortly afterwards. Edward outlived his wife by three years before he too passed away at home in 1990, having suffered from pneumonia.  

In 1983, at the age of 26, Robert Wilde married Marian Lena Caswell (1959 – present) in a private ceremony conducted in the same church Edward and Florence were wed in. In 1985, Robert and Marian welcomed their first child, Nicholas Piberius Wilde (1985 – present). In 1992, Robert was targeted by an unidentified individual with no known motive and was attacked in the street while closing up the Wilde & Son Tailoring store he had inherited from his father. He subsequently died from his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. He is outlived by his wife and son.

Professional life:
Edward Wilde opened Zootopia’s first predator-owned tailors in 1960, trading under the name Wilde & Son Tailoring. In 1958 Edward sailed to the Old World to acquire a silent business partner, one whose only involvement was to provide capital. Edward spent a year in the Old World before he returned to Zootopia in 1959. It took another year before Wilde & Son Tailoring was ready to open their doors to the population. The store was located at 1437 Dune Street, Sahara Square, close to the Olive Street metro station.

After Edward’s death, the business was passed on to his son Robert. Robert continued to own and operate the business with great success until his own death in 1992. The business was passed on to his wife for her to hand over to their son once he reached the age of 18. Business tapered off after Robert’s passing and in 2001 debtors seized the business. Wilde & Son Tailoring ceased trading 41 years after it first opened its doors.

The Wilde family is well known amongst predator families and predator kits are often taught about Edward Wilde during their pred-history classes. While Edward Wilde was the first predator to sail to the Old World and was the first predator to own a tailoring business in the city of Zootopia, which served predominantly predator clientele, the Wilde family are also recognised as having been very vocal in their support of the pred-rights movement. Some theories suggest that Robert Wilde’s murder was in part due to his support for the movement, while others suggest he was targeted because of his species.

Newspaper articles indicate that Edward Wilde was arrested in his youth for breach of the peace and trespass. In 1948 Edward organised a mass rally in Savannah Central and many members of the protest, along with Edward, forced their way into City Hall in order to confront Zootopia’s lawmakers. Responding officers led him away from the scene in police cuffs, but all charges were later dropped.

Newspaper articles also indicate that in 1977 Robert Wilde was arrested for obstruction of the highway and breach of the peace as he partook in a Zootopia-wide protest. Predator protestors chained themselves together and blocked key transport routes in and out of the city as part of a wider attempt to force the lawmakers of Zootopia to lift their laws stopping predators from being seen as equal to the city’s prey population. Robert was led away from the scene by officers but never formally charged.

Florence Wilde and Marian Wilde do not appear to have arrest records, though photographs and witness reports place them at the protests their respective mates were arrested at.

There is currently no information available as to whether Nicholas Wilde has ever been arrested. It has been suggested that he may hold a record, given his family history. However, multiple sources confirm that he was seen helping Zootopia Police Department’s first rabbit officer, Officer Judith Hopps, solve the high-profile Night Howler case. Working with the ZPD would seem to suggest that he does not hold a record.

Judy couldn’t stop her snigger. She could clearly remember Nick’s disgruntled mug shot when she’d called up his record a few months back. Breaking and entering, petty theft, and antisocial behaviour, all of which he’d been arrested for but never formally charged with. The evidence against him for the crimes was flimsy and the judges hadn’t wanted to waste their time with them. With no formal charges the press hadn’t caught wind of it, and as Nick’s antics hadn’t been at highly public events, such as the protests his parents and grandparents had attended, no one had witnessed the crimes either.

“Sometimes I wonder what I would read if I Zoogled my own name. Actually, I probably don’t want to know.” Judy shook her head. Her focus returned to the web page, to all of the information she’d just read. She’d been aware of the basics of it, but she was still baffled as to how she’d never heard of his family before.Nick’s parents and grandparents had been very active in campaigning for better legislation for predators, and Judy found herself admiring them. They’d stood up for what they’d believed in and campaigned to make Zootopia a better place for all predators. “Maybe we are quite insular in Bunnyburrow.” She mused. Pred-history classes weren’t part of the curriculum back home, the local authority deeming it unnecessary when there were so few predators living in the district. Judy felt like she was missing out on a lot. Surely predator history was just as important as prey history? After all, it all melted together to create the history of their country.

Judy vowed to buy some predator history books and read them all. She loved Nick, and if she was going to be in a committed, long-term relationship with him then she needed to know as much about predators, and their history, as possible. But first, she needed to know as much as possible about Nick and his history. Sure she could Zoogle some more, save some questions for Nick, or even call Marian, but she had a better idea. Up and off the couch she grabbed her metro pass and keys. Grabbing her jacket she slid it on, hiding her bracelet. Leaving home, and locking the door behind her, Judy opened up the map app on her phone, typing in her destination.

“1437 Dune Street, Sahara Square.”


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