Just Another Night in the Band

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Fandom Fanatics

Chapter 24 (v.1) - Chapter 24

Submitted: February 26, 2017

Reads: 62

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Submitted: February 26, 2017

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Getting out of All Saints had been a nightmare. The press had swarmed us the second we'd stepped outside, shoving past Ed and Rocco like they hadn't even been there. Not that I'd blamed them for being out of it; my whole security team had been up about two days straight, split between looking for Brandon and helping us hunt down leads.

The reporters had blasted out questions so fast we wouldn't have had time to answer if we'd actually tried to. Mercy had been too busy hiding her face from the cameras, Paul keeping an arm around her as he'd pushed through the crowd. But for every one that'd moved, three more had sprung out of nowhere to take their place.

Most of them had focused on Carrots, asking about the investigation and what the cops planned to do about all the preds going savage. I'd expected her to crack, to just start spitting stuff out to make them split. But she'd kept her cool, saying the same thing whenever she got a word in edgewise.

"Mayor Lionheart and Assistant Mayor Bellweather will be holding a press conference in two weeks at Precinct One, I'm afraid I won't have any answers until then."

Then we'd finally gotten past them, mostly thanks to Paul and me yelling at them to beat it, and it had been hilarious to see them run. I'd told Ed and Rocco to take some time off and get some sleep, they'd earned it. It hadn't taken them long to split.

Now all four of us were back at my place, basically just lazing around in my living room. We'd known finding the missing mammals wouldn't be the end of it, but we had no idea where to even start on finding who was behind it.

"A lot of prey listen to your band," Carrots was lying on the arm of the couch, her ears flopping over the side. "But none of them have been targeted, at least not yet, so maybe the guy behind it is prey, too."

I grunted as I walked past her, tossing a beer to Paul and pushing Carrots onto the cushion.

"Oof!" she glared up at me. "Not funny, Nick!"

I chuckled, sitting next to her.

"I thought it was."

She rolled her eyes, pushing herself upright. I still couldn't believe how quickly she moved, it was pretty mesmerizing. I stopped, shaking the thought away.

"But back to the prey thing, that wouldn't exactly narrow it down," I popped the cap with a claw and took a drag. "If anything, that'd tear the net wide open."

She cringed, reaching for the bottle she'd swiped from my fridge, my last blueberry soda.

"Yeah, I guess it would," she messed with the straw she'd stuck in it. Seriously, who did that? "But whatever species or class they are, they wouldn't have been able to pull this off without some kind of network behind them, it's just too big."

"So, you're thinking they're some kind of criminal?" Mercy was on the floor next to Paul, curled up against him with her head on his shoulder. I had to admit, it was kinda weird to see. Carrots nodded.

"Or they're at least affiliated with the criminal world in some way," she played with the straw again. "I could probably ask one of our undercover agents, but some of them are in pretty deep, and there's no way to know what might actually be helpful in this case."

I was starting to see where this was going, and I had an idea, but I wasn't sure Carrots would like it. I glanced around, my eyes landing on the mirror across the room. All I got was a bright red fox with green eyes staring back at me.

"Nick?"

I jumped. Damn it, I'd spaced out again.

"Sorry," I rubbed my eyes. "Dealing with the press must've taken more out of me than I thought."

"You and me both," Mercy looked at Carrots. "You seemed to handle it pretty well, though, Judy. You sure you've never dealt with that before?"

Carrots shrugged.

"I actually have, a couple times," her ears went a shade darker. "The first time was when I graduated from the academy, and everyone wanted to know how it felt to be the first rabbit officer and valedictorian of my class."

Paul looked at her.

"But how did you get into the academy in the first place? Don't they have certain height and weight requirements?"

She nodded.

"Yes, but the top brass decided it was time to start recruiting smaller mammals, saying some jobs just couldn't be done by a rhino, elephant or wolf. There was actually a ferret in my class, too, but he had to drop out to take care of his family," she smiled. "He said he'd try again next year, though, or whenever the next chance came up."

"But if you were top of your class, why didn't you end up at Precinct One?"

She shrugged.

"I was supposed to, but like I told Nick, I asked to be transferred to my hometown, Bunnyburrow. I wanted to get some field experience before becoming a big city cop."

Paul nodded.

"Makes sense."

Mercy perked up.

"So, does that mean you'll be staying here when this case is over?"

Carrots smiled.

"As soon as the paperwork goes through, yes."

I'd hardly ever seen Mercy so happy. Squealing, she jumped up and hugged the bunny, who laughed before hugging her back.

"Oh, that's so great!" she put Carrots down. "It'll be so much fun having another girl in the gang again!"

Carrots looked at her, then me.

"Again?"

"Our other backup vocalist left a while back," she started. "She and Nick were almost-"

I cleared my throat, slashing a paw across my neck. My glare must've been pretty cold, because she shut right up.

"She was just too much of a diva," Paul cut in. He got up, putting an arm around Mercy's shoulders. "It got to the point where none of us could stand looking at her because of all the shit she pulled. She finally got the message one day and split, hasn't come around since."

"And thank god for it," Mercy snatched his beer and gulped down what was left. "I was about ready to kick her tail out myself!"

We laughed, Carrots just looking lost. She yawned.

"Well, I'm gonna turn in, I still have a lot of sleep to catch up on," she pushed her half-empty soda toward me. "And thanks for letting me stay here, Nick, even if it was kind of against your will."

I couldn't stop myself from smiling, covering her paw with mine.

"That was true at first, but now I wouldn't have it any other way."

She blushed again, slipped to the floor and took off. Paul turned to me when she was finally gone, he and Mercy wearing some of the biggest-ass grins I'd ever seen.

"You know her apartment was all clear last week, right? But you haven't asked her to leave yet."

I sat back, taking another drag.

"I know, I can't explain it," I swirled the bottle a bit. "But it just feels so…right, having her around here."

"It does," Mercy looked toward the hall, then back to me. "So…are you going to tell her how much she really means to you?"

I shook my head.

"I haven't been able to think clearly since this whole thing started, I want to make sure it's actually real and not just my clouded head."

Paul nodded.

"I can understand that," he scratched his ear. It was silent for a while before he glanced at the clock. "Whoa, I should get going, I promised Mom I'd stay with her tonight since my dad's out of town."

Mercy huffed.

"I still can't believe he went on that trip, with everything going on with Trevor and the city!"

He shrugged.

"He didn't really have a choice, Mercy, the trip was already put on hold when Trevor went missing. His boss said that, since Trevor's in an actual hospital now, my dad shouldn't waste his time just worrying," he hugged her. "He and Mom haven't been getting along too well lately, anyway, so he says the trip will give them both some space and time to think."

She didn't look too convinced, but nodded.

"I hope they're able to make up, I've always hated seeing them fight."

He chuckled.

"You and me both."

"And me," I piped up. "I'm still here, you know."

"Sorry, Nick," she flashed a smile. "You just kind of fade into the background sometimes."

I rolled my eyes.

"At least I'm not a walking snowdrift."

All that got me was a pillow to the face. I laughed, holding my paws up.

"Hey, I'm just telling the truth!"

She groaned, then nailed me with the pillow again.

"Better a snowdrift than a tomato, Slick," she dropped the pillow in my lap, dragging Paul out with her. "At I least I've never been mistaken for a traffic cone!"

Paul stopped, staring back at me. He wasn't trying too hard not to laugh.

"Wait, traffic cone?"

Mercy chuckled, rubbing her paws together.

"Have I got a story for you, honey…"


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