Case File – The Savage Dark
Reporting Agent: Code Name – Jack “Savage”
Current Whereabouts: Unknown
Agent Status: Unknown (Active)
“Rational. Generally, the mammals that I deal with are rational - the agents that I work with: those that feed me information, the ones that pull the strings, and those that I am sent to stop. It gives them all a certain level of predictability that I have come to expect with my work. Agents may sometimes be hotheaded, but you can talk sense into them. Informants are looking for one of two things: money or a favor. The powers-that-be don’t always explain the reasons for what they do, but we all know why they do it in the end. And, yes, even my targets are rational to a degree. I can figure them out, understand their methods, follow a pattern that they themselves are not always aware they follow. This is how I do my job. Mammals by and large are very predictable if you take the time to learn to read their patterns.
“That being said, I will admit that I made a mistake where Officer Hopps was concerned. She is a professional, but she is not average. The very fact that her relationship with Wilde began and continued was proof of that. If I had known then what I know now, I would not have been surprised at all to find myself facing off with her. She is as protective of Officer Wilde as he is of her, even more so in certain situations. Why is this part important? I’ll get to that later in the report…”
Staring down the length of a gun was hardly common. Unlike the stories and spy movies that ranged from nearly accurate to completely absurd, even those in his line of work did not find facing the disquieting abyss of a rifled barrel a friendly or comfortable sensation. Jack wasn’t calm and cool and unafraid. He was tense. Every nerve connected to every fiber of muscle was trying to fire in instinct’s natural response to move away from the possibly lethal threat. Measuring his breaths, one method to focus on keeping his outward calm, he lifted his gaze to the other bunny. As he made his way over to the chair indicated, it was hard enough to keep his nose from twitching and he raised his paws to let her see that he had no intention of making a move for his own weapon. This was how it always worked. Anyone who said that having a gun shoved in their muzzle didn’t frighten them had never seen what a gun could do or was a liar. Or was insane. The point, which he had learned in his first day in the field, was to adapt to the situation and use the rush of adrenaline and glucose to fuel a more intelligent response than a possibly fatal error.
Settling into what otherwise might have been a comfortable chair, he placed his paws on the armrests to keep them visible as he sat facing the three of them. The fact that this was not a planned event, at least not between the two of them, was obvious from the shock on Wilde’s face and the way his ears were pinned back as he watched his mate - calling them partners now was a moot point, he had decided given the scent of sex in the room lingered strongly enough that he thought it would take more than one pass with scent neutralizer to make the room livable by anyone else once these two left. The third recruit was just as surprised as Wilde, but he hid it better. Obviously wanting to throw his support behind his fellow officer, the wolf’s eyes rested on him and only him - watching for any sign of resistance or hostility. This was why he had wanted Wolford along to begin with: to have someone who would identify with the pair of them and be ‘on their side’ enough to keep them from doing things exactly like this.
And how well is that working out so far, Jack?
“All right,” he said without moving more than his eyes between the three, “you have my attention. What exactly do you want to talk about on equal ground, Officer Hopps?”
“Choice,” she replied, her voice unwavering as the level of the weapon when she stepped around the bed. “Nick, darling, disarm him, would you?”
Having seen them work in the field a few times was not a clear picture of how in sync they really were. Stunned as the fox might have been a second before, his face sobered up and he didn’t hesitate to move to do what she asked. More than that, the fox didn’t for a second block her view and stayed outside of her target box as he quickly slipped large, but agile, paws into his jacket to slip the sidearm from its holster. Green eyes settled on blue for a moment as he slipped the gun, which was too small for him to use effectively, into his pocket and the long muzzle dipped down to consider him. “Shall I find out what else he’s carrying?”
“I think that will be enough, Nick. Wolford, I need a chair facing him.”
“She’s so hot when she gets like this,” Wilde smirked, striding over to stand beside her as Wolford moved quickly and without question to place a fox-sized chair in front of him. Just out of reach of his feet and paws, Jack noticed.
“Nick,” she said in a warning tone, though the twinkle in her eyes as she easily hopped into the chair made it clear to Jack that she was far from put off by the sentiment. That twinkle died when she focused on him again, the paw holding the gun moving to rest against her thigh. Still aimed exactly where it needed to be, but at the same time allowing her to lean back and give at least the illusion of relaxation. “I’m going to tell you a story, Jack. One that you may be familiar with. The story of the fox who saved Zootopia.”
“Judy…” Wilde began, his tone half-annoyed and half-resigned as he sat on the edge of the bed parallel to her.
“Shut up, Nick,” she said and, even though it had no heat behind it, the fox held up his paws in surrender.
“All right. Tell me the story.”
He really saw no reason not to listen, in part because it clarified the reason he had a gun leveled at his chest. This sudden change in behavior clearly had to do with Wilde directly. His choice not to arm him with a lethal weapon had been tactical, realistic, and easily made. That being said, he was curious to know why that single choice among so many had triggered this little coup.
“I’m sure by this point that you’ve read all the stories, watched the news reports, and probably even seen the actual case files if I’m right,” she began, and continued once he gave her a simple nod of confirmation. “’Heroic ZPD officer stops plot against city’s predators.’ They did manage to mention Nick a few times in those articles and reports. For the sake of PR, after I all but gave Bellwether exactly what she wanted with a stupid and thoughtless speech, I was given most of the credit no matter how hard I tried to change the story to something closer to the truth. A more accurate tagline would have read ‘ZPD Officer Judy Hopps manages to stop plot thanks to the heroic actions of her friend and partner, Nicholas Wilde.’”
“That is a bit long for a tagline,” the fox slipped in, smirking at the glare she sent his way. Jack had known before even introducing himself to the two of them that the fox’s sarcasm and jokes were often a defense mechanism. A way to deal with things that he found too uncomfortable to take seriously. The twinge of amusement at the quip also reminded him that the fox was very good at it.
“You see, Jack,” she continued, pretending that the interruption hadn’t happened at all. “When I first met Nick, he was mean. He talked down to me, belittled me, was openly hostile and even cruel at times. He tried to shrink my self-esteem and walked all over me. I was forced to blackmail him to get him to help me at all. And even then, that frustrating fox hindered my investigation intentionally with clever little annoyances that wasted most of the day in a case where time was already short. I hated him almost as much as I needed his help.”
Now he was interested on more than one level. He had read the case files in every detail once he had acquired them and had watched them in their daily lives since this case had started. Not once had the idea that she might have disliked Wilde at any point in their relationship crossed his mind. When she talked about him in news reports, she had nothing but good things to say. And it made sense that she would keep such an opposing start to their partnership a secret. But it still fascinated him.
“I realized, through trial and error and confession, that the fox I met on the street wasn’t Nick at all. In his own words, he was showing everyone what they already expected to see. What he had been taught they would see no matter what he did to try to change their minds. It can be jarring for mammals to realize that they are capable of being specist, even when they normally aren’t,” she said, her eyes resting on his. He could see the determination in them, a desire for him to understand. “Those little social cues that seem perfectly normal, that we were raised with, that we are bombarded with from every direction. We can tell ourselves that we’re not like that, and out in the open we might not be. Little country bunny, moving to Zootopia to be a cop. Ready and willing to work with and around predators every day, showing the world that bunnies are capable of more than what we’ve been told we are.
“And as progressive as I wanted to believe I was, the first thing I did was exactly what I was trying to prove I wouldn’t do. I thought I was being put down and stepped on, but I was the one who did it first. I walked around with Fox Repellant on my belt, I followed him thinking he was up to no good without a single shred of evidence, I was patronizing…” She managed not to look at Wilde when he let out a little cough of laughter. “…insulting and, when he returned the favor in kind, it only got worse. I felt justified in being hostile towards him, forcing him to help me, taking him into situations that no officer should ever take a civilian into. Because he was just a sly, annoying fox.
“When that changed, when we started to work together instead of just tolerating each other, it was easy to think that whatever prejudice there had been was gone,” she continued, and he realized that the gun was no longer actually pointed at him - though it remained in her lap and in her paw. She was still focused on him, still watching him, but her mind was divided between now and back then. He allowed her to continue. “But I proved that wrong quickly enough. I told the entire city that predators were dangerous. I all but handed Bellwether the keys. And worse for me, because I can still remember the look on his face, I showed Nick that I was still afraid of the big bad fox.”
It didn’t take a mind reader or empath to realize that the moment she spoke of still haunted her. Her lips curved into a slight frown, her ears drooped until they rested flat against her shoulders, and her eyes became distant and regretful. He already believed that he understood the point of what she was saying, though he didn’t agree with it fully. The situation was different. Wilde was seconds away from going savage when the right trigger was applied and that changed the reasoning.
“Reason and logic tells me that I might have been able to solve the case without Nick,” she said after a moment of silence. “But without Nick, I never would have made it back to the ZPD with the evidence. I would have been captured by the rams on the subway car. If I avoided that, I would have been killed when the car slammed into another oncoming train. If I had avoided that, I would have lost the evidence when the train crashed at the end of the track. If I had avoided that, I would have been captured when I hurt my leg running from Bellwether. If I had avoided that, I never would have been able to trick her into confessing on tape. There are too many ‘if I had’ in the story, and if I had my way, everyone would know it. It’s not just the fact that he was necessary in all of it. It’s the fact that he chose to do it. After I hurt him, after I almost caused this city to tear itself apart with my own specist fears, he chose to forgive me and help me. He chose to be more than what the mammals in this city expect from a fox. He chose to enter the academy and become the first fox on the ZPD.
“Choice, Jack,” she emphasized the word by raising the gun from her lap, the lines of her muzzle taking on a hard edge that looked strange on such a soft and lovely bunny. “And just like the mammals who made him the cynical bastard he was when I met him, you are making choices without considering that he is a mammal and not just a fox. The same fox who is, with every breath he takes now, proving that you can be more than your biology. Because biologically, he should have gone full savage by now. You’ve said that every other mammal exposed to this toxin has gone fully savage, right? Do you have any explanation as to why Nick hasn’t?”
“No,” he admitted, and groaned inwardly when he realized that he was going to have to concede this point to her in the end. “Other than his relationship with you, there is no other obvious reason for it.”
“I’ll tell you why,” she snapped, leaning forward in her chair with her ears perked high and a stony look on her face. “Because he’s Nicholas Wilde. He’s not just some random fox. He’s MY fox. I didn’t ask him to be my partner in the ZPD out of pity or because I wanted to show how non-specist I was. I did it because it only took me 36 hours to realize how amazing he really is. So amazing that I was in love with him before I even realized it was happening, and so amazing that even some wackos drugging him hasn’t been able to change him enough that I wouldn’t trust my life to him. He’s not your test subject. He’s not your burden. And if we’re going to work together, he certainly is not going to be treated as if he’s less than the rest of us because you’re too afraid of him to offer him the same protection that you freely offer the rest of us.”
She had him doubting himself, if only superficially. If only because there was some validity to what she was saying, about leaving Wilde vulnerable while expecting him to put himself into the same possible and likely danger as the rest of them. He was getting sentimental about the two of them, he knew. He wasn’t really sure what to make of it, mainly because it had never happened before. He understood both of them on some level, as the first bunny in his position within the agency, but it was more than just common ground. They were both different, both unique even when separated from each other. But when they were taken as a package? They both also happened to be very good at their jobs in the ZPD, and they had effectively protected the peaceful status quo in Zootopia. At the same time, they had stirred it up just enough to make mammals realize that there was a deeply seeded and silent problem in the city.
All in all, it was hard not to like them.
“Fine,” he said at last, releasing a slow sigh without moving more than his head as he turned his gaze to Wilde. “I will have a gun brought from the armory and have it waiting for you when we reach the labs. You are, of course, free to refuse any testing that they may suggest before the possible cure is administered. Granting that you are willing to try the cure at all. As your partner has reminded me, it is your choice.”
“I am more than willing to try this ‘possible cure’ if there is any chance it will stop me from going any crazier than I already must be,” Nick replied from his perch on the edge of the bed. He had leaned forward, his elbows rested on his knees as he watched and listened to the story Judy had replayed. “And, I suppose it depends on what the tests actually are. Also, I don’t want a gun.”
“I’m sorry, did you say you don’t want one?”
“You’re right about one thing,” the fox said, his voice calm as he gave an easy little shrug that made irritation flare inside of the rabbit. “I am dangerous. These are not mood swings. I have almost no control over myself when I’m like that, and if it weren’t for Carrots I don’t even think I would have that little bit that I do. So I don’t think handing me a loaded gun would be in anyone’s best interest.”
He was certain that when he turned his gaze on Hopps he would find an expression of exasperation or even anger on her face. Wilde’s refusal of a weapon had made all of this, from the drawing of the gun to the speech she had given, a bit pointless after all. Instead, he saw her easily slide the weapon into its shoulder holster as she met his eyes. If anything, the smug sparkle in purple eyes told him that she was satisfied with the outcome of the exchange.
“Are you going to arrest me now, Jack?” she asked, proving that she could be as much of a smart-ass as Wilde when she batted her eyes at him prettily.
“No,” he said with a slow sigh, drawing himself to his feet as she did until they stood facing each other. The general tension was gone, though there remained a charge of it between them. He had crossed some line with her, and she wasn’t going to let him step over that line again if she could help it. He understood that. “You’ve proven your point.”
“No, I told you a story,” she corrected him, crossing her arms over her chest as she cocked her hips slightly in a deceptively easy stance. “He proved my point. Insufferable as he can be, he makes good choices.”
“Ohhh, can I get that carved on my tombstone?” Nick said, drawing both pairs of eyes to him. “’Here lies Nicholas Wilde. Insufferable as he could be, he made good choices.’ I want you quoted on that, too.”
“Smarty fox,” she said, and Jack watched her smirk climb when she turned from him to close the distance between herself and Wilde. “Wouldn’t you rather have something like ‘First fox to join the ZPD’ or ‘First fox to marry a bunny’ instead?”
Jack tuned them out when she stepped between the fox’s legs and wrapped her arms around his neck. He lost track of what was said after that because the question added another segment to the many things he was already processing. He had been played, or hustled as the two of them tended to call it. The hustle, in this case, had been a way to prove to him that he could and should trust Wilde more than he had been. And because Wilde had not decided to take a gun just to spite him, even after he himself had been slighted, her trust did seem warranted. He was thoughtful, intelligent, and self-aware. Things that he might have noticed on his own, had it not been for…
“You doing all right there, boss?”
Drawn from his thoughts by the deeper tone of the wolf’s voice, Jack turned his gaze up to the larger gray-furred mammal. In what Jack noticed was becoming a pattern for him, Wolford seemed to be in a particularly good mood suddenly: ears high, grin splitting his broad muzzle so wide that the canines could clearly be seen, tail swishing behind him with enough force to cause his body to vibrate. It didn’t seem like a stretch to believe that this lift in his spirits was due to the noncommittal and possibly accidental reveal of the engagement of his fellow officers.
“Am I the boss?” he wondered aloud as he turned his attention back the couple.
They were at least being polite this time, just chatter and laughter that he continued to ignore for the moment. Wilde looked at her with undisguised affection as he casually touched her with large paws that were more than used to handling a smaller mammal without the concern of hurting her. The relaxed set of his ears and hers, the general ease of their body language when they were this close to each other. This was a more familiar and relaxed state for them, one that he had seen before the toxin had started to change the fox. The night together and their apparent engagement - and perhaps the little chat at gunpoint - seemed to have eased a good deal of their tension. Or her tension, which by default seemed to ease Wilde’s tension. The fact that he was watching something unique was not lost on him either.
“Sure. Just maybe not so much so when she’s holding a gun?” the wolf suggested, cracking a grin when the striped rabbit cast a mildly annoyed glare in his direction.
It wasn’t that he disliked doctors, though like might have been a strong word; he wasn’t afraid of doctors. As he had climbed the ladder of years into his thirties, he had started to realize that they were a necessary part of life if one planned for that life to last. Not that he was feeling old. Being trim and carrying more lean muscle than he had even thought possible for the slender build of a fox, he was actually in the best shape of his life. He also had a highly energetic partner to ensure that he remained that way, both in bed and in the gym. She would keep him in peak condition, or she would kill him before he reached fifty, and he couldn’t find a reason to complain either way. But he could complain about sitting in the middle of a cold examination room in nothing more than his fur and boxers with a flame-red vixen poking at his bicep with a sharp needle to check his reflexes. The twitch it caused and the wince that came with the mild irritation seemed to satisfy her and she tucked the needle away to scribble on her clipboard.
“He is in excellent physical health,” she said in the pleasant if somewhat drab tone one would expect from a doctor who didn’t really care either way if their patient was in excellent health or not. “And his temperament is remarkable. You are certain that he was exposed to Night Howler toxin?”
This question was addressed to Jack, who leaned against the far wall with this paws shoved in his pockets, watching with his own brand of disinterest and a noticeably distracted look wrinkling his muzzle. Drawn back as he was addressed, he nodded affirmation. “I am absolutely certain. Aside from the episodes where he goes near savage, we have confirmed that the food in his apartment was contaminated.”
“I would like to draw some blood to be absolutely sure before I administer the antidote,” she said, her gaze wandering back to Nick and sliding down his body in a way that made him want to squirm on the paper-covered exam table. “While there shouldn’t be additional side effects if he has not been exposed, I don’t want to waste what is still a very limited supply on him until I can confirm it. Unless we can trigger this response of ‘near savage’ as it’s been described to me.”
“The blood test takes eight hours and we are already running on a tight schedule,” the rabbit replied and, as if to prove the point, he glanced at the watch on his wrist. “You’re just going to have to take my word for it, Doctor Velox.”
“Hmm.” Making a dismissive sound in her throat, the vixen flipped through the pages on her clipboard for a moment. “Causes for the change include stress, anger, protective inclination towards his partner, and sex. Well, of those it sounds like the last one would be the most pleasant.”
The words already had his muscles tensing and his ears dropping back when she turned dark amber eyes on him with a slow grin spreading over her muzzle. That tension spread like wildfire and had him leaning back in an eager attempt to avoid her when she stepped close to the exam table. One paw rested on the fur of his thigh, through which she slid her claws until they touched skin which caused an automatic reaction of heat to flush through him. But little tingle or not, his only real desire in the moment was to get the hell away from her. “Whoa, doc. I know it’s true that a todd is more attractive when he’s off the market for some reason, but this is taking it too far.”
“Don’t worry, Officer Wilde,” she all but purred, setting the clipboard down to free her other paw. A paw that she pressed to his chest until her fingers all but vanished into the thicker fur of his belly ruff, making him jump and yelp as he tried to squirm away. It was the simple fact that he didn’t want the trouble that might come from hurting her in this unfamiliar environment that prevented him from lashing out and knocking her away. But even that bit of restraint was wearing off quickly as she pursued him, even as he tried to crawl over the table to scramble away. She was like a koala stuck to a eucalyptus branch. “I’ll be gentle.”
“I want it on record that I was provoked into murdering her, Jack,” he heard Judy say and they both turned their eyes towards the sound of her voice at the same moment. The little bunny in blue jeans and a leather jacket (an ensemble that made her look incredibly sexy and dangerous all at once) was already on the move and almost in arms reach before Jack caught her under the shoulders and held her back. A hold that didn’t prevent her from kicking out towards the vixen, a kick which missed by only an inch or two. “Get your paws off My Fox or the next thing those fingers feel will be the inside of your own throat!”
“Hopps, you cannot kill our Night Howler expert, even if she is behaving unprofessionally,” Jack warned, dragging the struggling bunny back a few paces.
“Get your paws off me, Jack! What is wrong with all of you?” she demanded, raising one foot and slamming it down in an attempt to stomp on Jack’s. An attempt which he saw coming and avoided easily as he continued to restrain her. Even knowing that it was likely a good thing that the rabbit wasn’t allowing her to feed the doctor her own paws, it still caused a quick rise of anger in Nick to see his paws on her. He slipped away from the distracted doctor and rose from the table as Judy continued her furious rant. “Is driving him savage the only thing you can think to do? Do you even know what effect it might be having?”
“Oh come now, Officer Hopps,” the vixen said smoothly and, seeming to notice that he was no longer on the table, turned her gaze to look for him. “It’s not like I intend to keep him. I just want…”
Her voice trailed off when she found him. He was already aware of the change. He had spent a good bit of the night before with Judy in this savage state of mind and the way his vision changed when it happened was becoming more noticeable. The shift in colors from bright and vibrant to muted and grayed was clearer to him. So clear that he recognized movement as a front of waves moving towards him before he ever saw the paw of the doctor. His reaction was quick. He caught her wrist before she could lay her paw on his cheek and squeezed it tightly enough to cause her to wince. When his voice came, it was a low growl of warning from one fox to another.
“Don’t touch me again.”
“Oh my, you can speak,” the vixen murmured, the seductive note of her voice replaced with a professional curiosity, a hint of excitement, and just a little fear. “I must admit, that was the part I had the hardest time believing.”
Later he would realize that even Jack didn’t see it coming. It was so fast that even though he saw the waves of the motion beforehand, he had no chance to react when Doctor Velox jammed her paw into his shoulder. The bite of pain was explained when he looked to see that she had left had a syringe protruding from his left arm with the plunger depressed. Before he could fully process what had happened or retaliate, she had deftly twisted her wrist free of his grip and danced back a few steps with a smile gracing her muzzle.
“There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” she said cheerfully, rubbing at her offended wrist while she watched him closely. “You should feel the effects fairly quickly, Officer Wilde.”
He did. From the pain of the injection site spread a mild tingle that seemed to warm his blood as it traveled through his body. A moment of panic as he wondered what exactly she had done to him caused him to reach up and pull the needle from his arm, tossing it aside as he turned a worried gaze to Judy. Both bunnies stood watching him, frozen where they had been: Judy, still restrained by the paws under her arms, looking stunned and a little shell-shocked and Jack with a curious frown on his muzzle. He noticed it, too. As quickly as it had come, the grayed vision started to fade. The irrational anger and irritation that came when the savage state of mind was triggered by anything other than Judy started to ease into a more recognizable annoyance. Like they were draining away as something changed inside of him. As he felt it, the doctor began to speak.
“I would apologize for my bedside manner, but I honestly don’t care,” she said as she moved back to the examination table to retrieve her clipboard. She started to walk around in front of him, her eyes moving over him as she jotted notes. She pulled a small light from her pocket and directed it at his eyes, making him wince as she shifted it from one eye to the next. “With all of my other patients, it was easy to tell whether or not the antidote worked. They were savage one moment, sane and lucid the next. Given your unusual symptoms after exposure to the toxin, I needed visual signs to be sure that the reaction was the same. Pupil contraction has returned to normal. The vertical pupils have reverted to their normal circular shape. How do you feel, Officer?”
It took him a moment to consider the question, during which he probably looked like the dumbfounded idiot that he felt like. His open mouth worked a few times as he tried to speak before he snapped it closed to consider the question and himself while she jotted down notes. The tingle remained. He almost wondered if she had tranquilized him because the calm had been so sudden and complete that he was having trouble remembering what the anger felt like. Blinking a few times, he looked around the room as if to be sure that it wasn’t an illusion.
“I feel… normal,” he said at last, as a broad grin spread of his muzzle.
“Ow! Damn it, Hopps!”
He heard Jack curse and turned to see him hopping on one foot while holding the other, injured one, in his paws. Less than a second later, he was thrown back against the table when two feet of flying bunny wrapped her arms and legs around him and crushed her mouth into his. She wasn’t gentle about it. So much so that their teeth clacked together once before her tongue searched for his. The little rumble of approval that rose in him came with the taste of her and the feeling of the plush warmth of her body against his. Mingled with the hopeful feeling that his savage episodes might not be returning, he could forget that they were not alone in the room for four whole seconds as the kiss deepened and his paws slid under her hips to lift her up. That lasted until his shirt landed over their heads followed quickly by his pants, which eventually led him to break the kiss so he could look at her in the shadows of their new cloth prison. They both grinned.
“I will throw a bucket of water next if you don’t get your paws off her ass, Officer,” came the now prim voice of the vixen. “This is my examination room, not your bedroom.”
“Good luck. It’s like trying to separate the stars from the sky,” Jack grumbled, his grumpy tone followed by tinkling laughter from the vixen.
“Why Agent Savage, that was almost romantic. They are cute, though.”
“Okay, okay, we get it,” Judy exclaimed as she yanked the shirt off so she could cast a hard glance back at the other two in the room. “You could have given me two minutes to celebrate.”
“Two minutes of that and you would have been celebrating on top of the exam table,” the other rabbit returned, smirking as she rolled her eyes.
“Now I’m glad I stepped on your foot,” she muttered, turning to peck Nick on the end of his muzzle with another grin before she hopped down. “So, not to sound pessimistic - because I really don’t feel it right now - but you did say that this antidote was experimental. Are you sure it will last? Have the other patients remained stable afterward?”
“It is honestly too soon to say,” Velox replied, scribbling a few more notes on her pad without raising her eyes to them again. “It would be vain of me to say at this point that the antidote is flawless because I simply haven’t had the time to test it fully. But so far, none of the mammals that have been exposed to the cure have reverted to a savage state of mind. In another week or two, if their bloodwork shows no side effects and none of them return to savagery, I believe we may be ready to administer it to the rest of the patients.”
From the way his partner slumped back against him, forcing him to pause the buttoning of his pants, her relief was obvious. He might have been a pessimist himself in most cases, but the change from savage to normal had never happened that suddenly. It always required time - required calm or even sleep before he would even notice that his vision was normal again and the instincts that constantly pulled at him relaxed. Relaxed enough that he soothed her this time, reaching down to slide his finger pads down the length of her ears until he felt a tiny shiver race through her. When she tilted her head back and turned violet eyes up to meet his green ones, his mouth curved into a cocky smirk.
“We could always celebrate back in the room, you know,” he suggested, winking at her as the inside of those high ears turned a slightly darker shade of pink. “Test the water. A little alone time hasn’t failed to change me yet. If we can get through three or four…”
“I am afraid that we don’t have much time for a proper celebration, either,” Jack said, making them both turn their scowls on him. “There is the matter of Stoat to discuss, and the means to infiltrate a nightclub to be found. We are still working against a ticking clock. A clock working on a timetable that remains a mystery, with a deadline that we probably don’t want it to reach. It’s time we stop running around in the dark.”
“I hate it when he makes sense,” Nick grumbled, reluctantly letting his paws fall from her ears to his zipper as he continued the process of getting dressed.