Just Another Night in the Band

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

Chapter 45 (v.1) - Chapter 45

Submitted: April 05, 2017

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Submitted: April 05, 2017

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"Didn't that sign only say thirty million last time we were here?" Dad asked. I climbed on the rail and looked out, seeing a big yellow sign with bunny ears and a lot of numbers. Tony was staring at it, too, like he'd done to me after I'd told Mom who'd kicked over her flower pot.

"I'm surprised it's not even higher," he said. "All bunnies do is grow plants and screw."

"Tony!" Mom looked at him. He rolled his eyes.

"It's true!"

He turned away and crossed his arms, turning up his walkman until we could all hear it. He got like that whenever we went on long trips, Mom called it 'stir-crazy'. She shook her head and smiled at Dad, who was holding Finn. He was sleeping, like he'd been most of the train ride. I sat on the bar and looked up at Mom.

"Why do Grandma and Grandpa live in Bunnyburrow?" I asked it every time we came, but no one ever gave me a real answer. I was almost ten, and they still treated me like a baby. She and Dad looked at each other, that look that said they were thinking up some kind of lie.

"They just enjoy the quiet out here, son," Dad said. I could tell he didn't believe it much more than I did.

"It's quiet at our house, too," I crossed my arms like Tony always did. "And we live a lot closer to the city than they do!"

They just looked at each other again, Dad walking to the other side of the observation deck when Finn started waking up. Mom watched them for a while before looking at me, but I didn't give her a chance to talk this time.

"You know what, just forget it," I jumped off the rail and sat on the floor. "I'll just ask Grandpa when we get there. At least he never lies to me."

It had taken a few more years to figure out they'd all been lying, and that I would've been way better off if I'd just let them keep doing it. But instead I'd kept going after them: listening in on conversations when I was supposed to be asleep or outside, sneaking into my dad's and grandpa's offices to try and find whatever they were trying to hide for myself. And when I finally did, I knew I'd never be able to look any of them in the eye again. Not without demanding why they'd done all that, and why they'd made it even worse by keeping it a secret.

It got so bad I ended up doing shitty in school, and I got in so many fights I'd had to get my collar put on early, or I would've been expelled and locked in juvie. I'd flunked out of eighth grade and broken about every bone in my body at least once when my parents finally decided they couldn't deal with it anymore, so they shipped me off to Meadowbrook. But my breakdown had only been one of the reasons, the other was they'd finally figured out what Tony had been doing, but I'd never been able to figure out what they'd ended up doing with him. All I did know was, by the time I got out when I was eighteen, he'd already been in the slammer three or four times, and his latest stint had seen him beat some guy almost to death.

I still had no idea what had caused his wires to cross, but at least now he was somewhere he couldn't hurt anyone but himself. Thank god for small mercies, I guess.

Mercy…

I shut off the water and pressed my forehead against the wall. Mercy had been savage for almost two days, and it was all my fault. I couldn't just let the cops handle this like I should have, I had to care about my fans as much as I did and put all our tails on the line to find out why this was happening to them.

Starting to wish I really was cold and selfish as the press loves saying, I shoved the thought away almost before I'd finished thinking it. Even if I hadn't tricked Carrots into letting me in on this thing, Mercy still would've been targeted. After all, Trevor had been hit before we'd even known why this was happening.

You've come too far to back out, I slipped out of the shower and grabbed my towel, taking my time drying off. Only thing to do now is finish it.

"And I won't even need some drug to do it."

I shuddered. I could still feel Paul's blank stare on me, the completely flat way he'd talked freaking me out more than if he'd just screamed at me. I didn't know if he'd been in shock or what, but just wanting to never see him like that again would've been enough to keep me going on this. The fact there were over twenty families waiting for a cure was just extra incentive.

I tossed the towel on the counter and pulled on my sweats, wincing as I stuffed my tail through the hole in the back. One of the bigger animals at the wedding had "accidentally" stomped on it just before Carrots and I had left for the hospital. She and Fru-Fru hadn't found any sign of the waiter who'd brought Mercy that drink, or even the mammal who'd bought it for her in the first place. It didn't take a genius to figure out whoever it'd been was involved with the monster behind all this, or that they were still far from done. Four more preds had gone savage since I'd last checked, two of them just high-schoolers, and again they'd all listened to my band.

I've heard of crazy fans before, I grabbed the towel again and walked out, tilting my ears back as I rubbed them dry. But this is just freaking insane!

I stopped at the kitchen door, hearing Carrots on the other side. She'd been Muzzletiming her parents for over an hour now.

"I wish I could say this was just a social visit," she sounded like she'd tried saying it ten times already. "But I'm following a lead for a case, so I will be working most of the time I'm there."

I slipped into the kitchen, sticking to the edge when I saw her sitting on the back of the couch, staring at her phone. It didn't surprise me that she didn't mention me, it was clear she didn't have the patience for any of the questions it would've brought up.

"How long are you going to stay?" her mom asked. "You know, the Harvest Fair's coming up, and I know a nice buck who'd love to go with-" 

"Mom," Carrots cut her off. "I've told you a hundred times I don't have any interest in the bucks you and everyone keep trying to set me up with, especially after what happened last time."

There was a long, awkward pause, then her mom gasped.

"Sweet cheese and crackers, is it really that late? I still have to wash the dishes from dinner and put together lunches for tomorrow," she talked like she didn't believe it any more than we did. "We'll see you in a couple days, sweetheart, good night!"

She hung up. Carrots groaned and slumped forward, her ears falling over her face.

"I love them and all, but they can be so overbearing!" she pulled herself up and turned to look at me. "Did you know they actually tried to make me take a fox taser and repellent when I came here? I took the repellent just to calm them down, then as soon as the train started rolling I chucked it."

She threw her legs over the back and jumped down, tapping at her phone before shoving it in her pocket.

"And then just tonight they told me they work with the fox who bullied me when I was a kid," she walked toward me. "Gideon's a baker now, apparently one of the best in the Tri-Burrows."

She stopped in front of me and let her head drop to my stomach. She didn't even seem to notice she was still rambling.

"I mean, it's not like I care, that whole thing ended fifteen years ago, and we sort of made up just before I left. I mean, he said he was sorry and everything, but I really didn't care about it by then and I just-"

She finally shut up when I threw my towel at her, hitting her square in the face.

"I'm just gonna say you talk way too freaking much sometimes," I looked down at her, then smirked. "And don't try giving me that 'pissed-off' look, you know I can't take it seriously."

She growled a bit and moved to slug me, gasping when I caught her fist. I chuckled, leaning closer to her.

"And you know you'd never beat me in a fight unless I let you," I caught her other paw when she tried again. I kissed her nose, which had started to twitch. "But I will say you look pretty hot when you're gearing up for a fight."

She stopped cold, her ears dropping behind her head, but not before I saw how dark they suddenly were. I laughed again, pulling her closer and trapping her in my arms. She grabbed my fur and buried her face in my chest; it was the first time I noticed how much she was shaking.

"You that nervous about heading home?" I asked. She shook her head.

"It's not that," she swallowed. "I-It's just…I don't even know…"

She looked up at me, and there was something in her eyes I just couldn't place. Whatever it was, it flashed out when she blinked.

"They used to have some pretty strong ideas about foxes," she went on. "Them working with Gideon is one thing, but I have no idea how they'll react when they found out I'm…"

She'd been dragging herself up as she talked, and I bent down the rest of the way to meet her. She whined a bit when I pulled away, and as adorable as it was, I wasn't about to fall for it.

"Sounds like we'll have some stuff to talk about when we get there," I hooked my paws under her and swept her up. "But no matter what comes up, remember the case is our first priority. We have to at least find a cure before more preds are drugged."

She nodded, tracing a claw along my snout.

"I know that, Nick, really I do, it's just," that emotion I couldn't quite get was back, and this time it didn't go away. She sighed. "I just don't want them to treat you badly, it scares me enough I don't even want to risk it, so I think it'd be best if I went alone."

I shook my head.

"No can do, Carrots, I'm not letting you do this by yourself," I took a breath. It was way past time I told her. "And after your close call with the sniper, Bogo kinda ordered me to be your bodyguard, and I've been doing a crappy job of that so far. I'm not about to let you leave the city without me."

I brought her down and kissed her, cutting off her protests before they even started.

"And I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you, especially after everything else that's happened," I smirked up at her. "So as much as I hate to say it, you're stuck with me, sweetheart."

She giggled, then hugged me.

"And I wouldn't have it any other way."


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