Chapter 57: On A Whim
Jewel was in Zootopia looking for her quarry. The system already failed multiple times to keep their power in check, thus she wanted to step in. She dyed her fur blue to help with infiltration purposes. A frilly pink dress for seduction if it came to that. It certainly wouldn't do well to broadcast she was Jewel, mate of Nick Wilde.
A pup interrupted her thoughts. "Miss, I can't find my teacher."
After a few minutes of futile searching for his teacher, she asked, "Where do you live?"
Unwilling to expose herself to the ZPD, she decided to take the pup to Tundratown herself since she was in disguise. The pup cuddled her upon hearing a loud noise. "It's just a train." Soon enough, they were in Tundratown.
She dropped the pup off to his family, but she also saw her target in plain view. It was certainly ironic to return the pup to his home while wanting to abduct the father. There would certainly be a better opportunity for her to strike so she let them be.
A few blocks down the street. "Excuse me, Miss, can I see your residential permit?" A voice called behind her. All rabbits needed permits to live in Zootopia ever since the revelation of their customs.
She displayed her fake ID which identified her as Aquamarine, complete with a fake but real address.
"You are under arrest," the wolf said.
"Fake ID, attempted kitnapping, assaulting a minor"
"Excuse me? I don't think I follow."
The wolf deadpanned. "I live there. Your scent was all over that pup. You are under arrest."
She wasn't in the mood to deal with frivolous charges, so she ran. Mr. Big's estate was close by where she could seek shelter. Unfortunately, the police tackled her to the ground. The wolf whispered sinisterly in her ear. "I hear they execute guilty bunnies."
"Okay, so you caught me. Can't we talk about this over a few drinks? You certainly left your scent on my head." She tried to seduce the wolf. Her goal was to root out corruption within Zootopia. "I know the job can be lonely."
"Smart bunny," the wolf replied. "That'll be fine." He glared at his nervous partner. "Come have some fun. She's a bunny, they'll never believe her anyway."
Soon enough, she drank with the police officers at a bar. She, of course, knew the risks, but she felt like entrapping them. Nick shouldn't mind if she didn't take things too far. A few drinks to loosen their tongues in hopes of hearing interesting tales.
Her plans were initially to kitnap a prosecutor on a whim after watching Fawn Gulliver, but she didn't want to overlook police misconduct when the opportunity presented itself. The wolf did some harmless marking by rubbing their face against hers while his partner watched.
"Why don't we enter a private room? I'm sure you have impressive things to show me."
"Lead the way."
When they just entered the room, his partner said, "Alright, we're booking her before this gets too far, Ferrus."
"Can't we talk about this?" Jewel pleaded. "We're already in the room."
"How's she different from the other ten rabbits we caught? Rabbits don't talk. We can turn her in after we had some quality time."
"Oh, they'll do anything to avoid the death sentence, just like you."
It seemed like a good idea back then to impose death sentences for any egregious crimes, but it had this side effect which she recently discovered.
"That explains a few things." Jewel was inwardly glad that the other wolf stopped their activities.
Not what she intended to find, as the recent episode of Fawn Gulliver enlightened her of several flaws of the Zootopian justice system. Nick had to know about this development, but she was disappointed that her plans went awry.
Thankfully, the police took her down to the station to book her for her crimes. Of course, if she was a regular rabbit, a death sentence would loom over her. Nick vowed to execute anyone caught breaking the rules within Zootopia himself as one of the terms to let rabbits live abroad once more.
After the regular proceedings, they offered her a phone call. She didn't call anyone as she counted on a corrupt police officer to set her free. It would be easy to give them the slip once they opened the door to her cell.
They ended up transferring her to the nearby prison where she received a tiny cell among a crowd of mammals. It contrasted sharply with her stay in a maximum-security prison before where she had to feign savagery just for a chance of staying alive. The days weren't hazardous just extremely boring.
It had been a week since her incarceration without any chances to escape. The guards on duty weren't corrupt which threw a wrench in her plans. She received basic food which contrasted sharply with her lavish lifestyle.
Judy visited her. "Aquamarine, is there something you want to say? They tell me how noisy you normally are."
It was true that she made countless attempts to solicit police officers in hopes they'd free her. None of which were successful. Even with her disguise, Judy would recognize her as Jewel if she spoke thus she remained silent.
"Is there a reason you don't want to talk?"
Judy put her paw on her chin. "Fake but realistic ID even though we control who lives abroad. You're not a normal rabbit. I can figure that much out. There are fates worse than death, and one of those will be yours. Speak for your own sake if no one else." She yanked a strand of fur off Jewel. "With this, I can find out who you are anyway."
"Fine, you win," Jewel said.
It was just as she feared, Judy recognized her voice. "You are in so much trouble. Do you realize how worried we all were?"
"I don't suppose you can get me out of here?"
Jewel followed Judy until the warden stopped them.
"Griswald, how nice to see you."
"What do you think you're doing?" the bear asked.
"I'm taking her home where she belongs."
"Oh no, you're not. The most I'm granting you is a transfer to Precinct One."
Jewel couldn't complain about the turn of events lest she ended up in even more trouble. Judy was already going above and beyond for her sake. They arrived at Precinct One with their ZPD escorts. Chief Bogo led them into his office immediately.
"Hopps, what have you done now?" Chief Bogo towards over her.
"Shouldn't you be calling me Wilde now?"
"I don't care, besides, calling you both Wilde would be confusing."
"I'm taking Jewel home to Bunnyburrow."
"Is that with his approval?"
"I shouldn't need it."
"Well that easily fixed, isn't it?" Chief Bogo left his office before returning several minutes later. "Wilde will be here to deal with the situation himself. Meanwhile, Jewel will go into a cell and you, Hopps, will ensure she stays there."
Jewel couldn't believe that Nick didn't set her free. She sat in a cell with Judy on the other side.
"I can't believe this," Jewel screeched.
"What's he planning? Hmm. You know even if I freed you, you would still be in so much trouble. I hope you're thinking of an explanation."
"You're not worried that I don't have one?"
"Because I trust you."
They sat in silence while they waited for Nick to arrive. It was a few hours before they heard something.
"You bought your kits here, Wilde?" Bogo yelled. "Are you out of your mind?"
Jewel felt a sense of dread as they heard the commotion, but at least Nick was here. Nick's appearance confirmed her suspicions. He not only arrived but brought her littermates as well as their kits.
"You will explain your entire plan if you want to be free," Nick said.
"And if I refuse?"
"Jewel, Nick, please think about what you're both saying," Judy pleaded.
"A coin flip to see which legal system should apply: Heads for Bunnyburrow, tails for Zootopia."
"You would go that far?" Jewel couldn't believe Nick threatened her with death even though she was his mate.
"I'm trusting you to make the right decision. Actions have consequences and I'm already bending the rules just for you. You know what happens to bunnies. The charges are serious, and there better be a good explanation for every single one of them."
"Mommy, what's going on?" Umbra said.
"Everything's going to be alright," Jewel consoled her kit. She was otherwise tempted to see how long it took for Nick to back down.
"Don't forget your decision doesn't only impact you, but us as well." Nick reminded her. "Can you say goodbye to all the kits?"
"You're not giving me a choice, are you?"
"But I am which puts you above everyone else who did the same."
"Do I start now?"
"Of course not, we still have our secrets."
Nick made arrangements with Chief Bogo to have Jewel temporarily freed.
"Temporarily?" Jewel said.
"Of course, even though I rule Bunnyburrow, Zootopia isn't in my jurisdiction, and you're still in trouble regardless of your explanations. The only question is how much."
"Let's start with how you didn't call for an entire week. Judy had to find you on accident. That's not even counting everything else you did. You were not unable, you just didn't want to."
"I can't wait to hear this one," Janna whispered in her ear.
They entered a car where Nick drove them to a hotel. Everyone sat on a spacious bed including their kits. It wasn't extravagant, but it has enough space to make them comfortable as a family.
"Begin," Nick said.
"In front of the kits? They're too young."
"Should we do the coin flip then? Keep this up and you'll explain to them what this means too."
"They're too young to understand or deal with such matters," Jewel argued. It was one thing to explain her actions, another to do it from of their kits. "Mine's only five."
"And you went away for a week without telling her anything. The model example of a parent might I add? You're not getting out of this."
"At least give them the option to leave."
It was just her luck that everyone wanted to stay.
"Not only what you did, but what you planned to do. There's a reason why you dyed your fur blue and wore a pink frilly outfit." Nick held a coin in his paw to make a threat.
Jewel began her tale starting with the Fawn Gulliver episode she watched. The episode taught her how the system already failed, and no one did anything about it. She had a target in mind, she wasn't sure if her target was guilty thus she involved no one else. On her journey, she discovered why there weren't crimes involving rabbits as well as receiving several false charges she received.
"Let me get this straight, there are tons of guilty mammals, and you wanted to go after someone with a spotless record?" Nick asked.
"The odds are in my favor."
"We need to do something," Janna said.
"Now, do you see why I don't want to talk in front of the kits?"
"Can I write about you for class?" Sylvie asked. "That sounds so cool."
"Nick, how am I supposed to answer them?'
"Wait, so my mother's a spy?" Umbra asked.
"Does my mother do anything cool?" Andrew pouted.
"Father's not going to kill her, is he?" Kale asked.
"You taught her the rules already?" Jewel glared at Janna.
"She's eight," Janna replied.
Nick gave off a terrifying grin. "Only if you want to. Why don't you four decide? Should she live?"
"You're letting kits decide my fate?" Jewel said. "That's highly irresponsible!"
"Mommy, I don't want you to die!" Umbra wailed.
It took some time before Umbra let go.
They left the room while leaving the kits behind. Jewel doubted that the kits even understood what's at stake here. "Please tell me that's not your entire plan."
"Oh, you're going to see this through. They just decide what happens to you when all this is over."
"What if they don't spare me? Jewel asked.
"Then we certainly failed as parents. Do you trust them so little?" Nick changed the topic. "Alright, you three, who's going to stay behind to make sure our kits don't run away?"
They left Janna behind to watch over their kits for the rest of the day.
"Now we have another matter to discuss. How you tried to seduce police officers, and one of them marked you."
"Hey, that wasn't consensual. He pushed me to the ground."
"The second time was very much consensual."
"Are you jealous?"
"I'll share you with the entire world, it could be quite profitable. The next words out of your mouth better be an apology."
She sighed. "I'm sorry."
Nick led them to a very different hotel room.
"Wait, you're rewarding me?" Jewel asked. There were enough toys in this room that reminded her of their wild nights together.
"We're still family, and you're still mine."
"Now?" Jill blushed.
"You still can't resist her, can you?" Judy chastised. "Even after all she's done."
"She's going away for a couple weeks at least," Nick said.
"Say what?" Jewel yelled.
"You wanted to fix the system's flaws which is fine, but you abducted someone who's yet to be proven guilty. Even if he's guilty, I want you to experience everything yourself. He might make another mistake to help our case."
"Can't we just fix the system?"
"Maybe, if you went to me first. Do I need to remind you how much leeway and chances I give you?"
She shook her head.
"As usual, these nights are under your direction."
Jewel felt so conflicted during this outing, but she made the night as enjoyable as possible for everyone. Nick loved her but was still willing to put her through the normal legal process. Nevertheless, by the end of the night, her fur was thoroughly scent marked. The four of them slept in a pile after a wild night.
They returned to the kits and Janna after tidying themselves up.
"All of you had fun, I see," Janna said after a few sniffs. "Anyway, let's see what our kits decided."
The hybrids were already awake when they arrived. She wasn't sure what to expect from a jury made up of three eight-year-olds and one five-year-old. There was no way they could grasp the concepts.
Umbra sniffed. "Even though mommy has done some very bad things, I don't want to lose her."
Jewel felt guilty when she heard her kit say that.
"Isn't there some option between all that?" Kale asked.
"Oh, there will be. Jewel, why don't you tell them what's next?" Nick said.
"Because of him, I'm going back to jail, since he wants me to. There, I said it." Jewel was unhappy even though it was her own fault for pulling such a grand scheme.
"For how long, daddy?" Umbra asked.
"Four weeks at most," Nick replied. "Everything's going to be okay." He played with her bunny ears while her tail grazed his fur.
Nick led everyone back to Precinct One.
"You brought her back here, with your family in tow?" Chief Bogo glared. "What are you playing at?"
"Zootopia has laws, does it not? Enforce them."
"With a bunny so thoroughly scent-marked that everyone knows belongs to you."
"A farewell gift. She'll need a public defender too, I'm not getting her out of this mess."
Chief Bogo grunted. "Are you sure you won't regret this, Wilde?"
Her littermates certainly encouraged Bogo to take her away. She learned her trial was in three weeks.
They transported her to a jail near Precinct One. It wasn't as if Jewel had much choice to but to adapt to life in jail. She tried calling family at the first opportunity, but Nick gave her explicit instructions not to call again.
It was infuriating that they treated her as no more than a common prisoner despite her background, and thanks to Nick's decision, she was going to be here for several weeks. All she had was a tiny cell to herself when her status commanded so much more. If Nick willed it, she was above the law.
They sent her to court the next day. She learned that they were charging her for Fake ID, assaulting a minor, kitnapping, and solicitation. The penalty was life imprisonment if found guilty which was better than execution she supposed under Bunnyburrow laws. Of course, since she had no access to an attorney, Zootopia appointed one for her.
It took a week before she even caught a glimpse of her public attorney who visited her in jail.
A raccoon shook her paw. "I'm your public defender."
"A raccoon? My public defender is a raccoon?" she cried. Her knowledge of the system wasn't perfect, but she wasn't clueless.
"Miss, please calm down, we don't have much time. I'm trying the best that I can."
"Nick leaves me in this jail, and I get a raccoon to represent me?"
"I get that from my clients a lot, anyway, is there anything you can say in your defense?"
She took a few minutes to think, but unfortunately, she ran out of time.
"Sorry, I'll see you next week. That's all the time I have right now. I need to go to the Canal's district to meet another client."
"You've got to be joking."
"Taking in public transport times, I have about twelve minutes to talk to a client per week. Some of my colleagues only get seven minutes per case. Bye."
"I don't even know your name."
"We don't have time for that." The raccoon rushed away.
She wanted to scream after that encounter. The system was a joke, it had to be for twelve minutes per week certainly wasn't enough time to discuss a case. There was also no way she could request a new public defender in a timely manner. Her public defender not having enough time wasn't one of the valid complaints neither was being the wrong species.
Her hopes dimmed the next week when she met her public defender yet again.
"Have you thought about your charges, Ruby?"
"You can't even get my name straight."
"We don't have time to waste."
"Fine, I'm guilty of using a fake ID, but they lied about the kitnapping and assaulting a minor. The other charge was because they coerced me. I was scared for my life."
"Now, how do we prove that?"
"Isn't that your job?"
"I'm sure I'll find something on the internet."
"You're looking for evidence on the internet?" She seethed with rage.
"Oh, I went three minutes overtime. See you before trial." The raccoon sped off towards another client.
Her only consolation was that it was a game that Nick was playing. She didn't know his goals precisely, but it should align with hers which gave her hope. If the system was to decide her fate, she had none. The system was worse than she imagined beyond prosecutors not giving away exculpatory evidence. At least, there was only one more week of boredom.
She met with the prosecutor the day before trial. Her certainly not useful public defender tagged along.
"How would you like to enter a plea agreement?" Marius said.
There he was, the wolf she decided to spare, sitting face to face to her. "Don't you know who I am?" she asked.
"I know that you're a bunny, and that should be enough. You belong back in a cage."
"Do you know my name at least?"
"Jewel Hopps, does it make a difference?"
"Just checking, but no, I won't be spending years in prison."
"It's a shame that he isn't executing you."
"Ignorance is indeed bliss."
She and her public defender walked away.
"My schedules all screwed up," the raccoon said. "I thought you'd take the guilty plea, but you didn't even hear him out"
"Why would I?"
"Ninety percent of them do, and I don't think you have a convincing case being a bunny and all. I need to tell my clients that I need to shift their appointments."
"Don't you realize that I'm royalty?"
"Why are you using this system then?"
"That's what I'd like to know. I still don't know your name."
"My name's Rush."
"Is that why you never have time?"
"They thought I could work fast, and I'm off to another client."
Her trial went as well as she predicted. While the accusations were false, she had no way to prove that. The jury's predisposition against bunnies certainly didn't help. Although she saw Nick as well as her littermates in the audience, they've thus far remained silent.
Rush received a gigantic case file on the day of her trial which there was no time to read. She certainly knew of that aspect from watching television. The prosecutor's impassioned arguments appealed to emotion while at best her defense was that the other party was lying.
She wasn't surprised when the jury reached a guilty verdict in a trial she had no hope of winning despite the facts. Although, Nick stepped in to save her at the last moment when Chief Bogo was about to escort her to a prison.
"Should I be surprised?" Chief Bogo asked.
"I'm taking Jewel home with me on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and the arresting police officers committing perjury. There was also the case that the city didn't give adequate resources to the public defender to do his job."
"I don't suppose this is the end of it?"
"Just the beginning."
"I don't suppose that means all is well?" Jewel asked.
"Oh no, you're still in trouble. It just won't be by the Zootopian system, but that's a family dispute."
Janna gave a gigantic file to Bogo. "This contains the list of demands and suggestions. We've also prepared advertisements that we're going to run if things don't change."
"Wait, you brought our kits too?" She looked in the car.
"They missed you, Jewel," Jill said.
"You not going to stop being a pain, are you, Wilde?" Bogo asked.
"Someone needs to keep Zootopia in check." Nick waved.
Jewel entered the car where her family awaited. Nick drove them towards Bunnyburrow.
"What did you learn, Jewel?"
"The system's a lot worse than I thought it was. Mammals can lie, and others wouldn't know the difference. Why did you make me go through all that anyway?"
"For more proof even though Janna's dug up incriminating evidence."
They arrived at the palace which Jewel missed terribly since she spent an entire month in jail. "It feels so good to be home." Jewel dived into their bed.
"You're still in trouble. I'm revoking your authority over your division," Nick said.
"You misused resources, you got captured, and your training process has a ten percent survival rate. If you wish to lead again, pass the basic training."
"But… that's going to kill me."
"How lucky that you're also in charge of designing the course. I don't care that countless rabbits are willing to go through the process just for a chance, we can do better."
"What if I don't want to?"
"Then I take over or assign someone else to in my stead. Make your choice now."
"Fine, I'll go through training."
"We want to watch, so make videos," Judy said.
"Wait, I get to see my mom learn how to become a spy?" Umbra exclaimed.
"Unfortunately," Jewel muttered. The previous training process was brutal which certainly explained the ten percent survival rate. Now, if she wanted to lead this division again, she needed to design a new process, and pass it herself. "Nick, can't you reconsider?"
"Just be glad that I'm not outright banning your vices," Nick replied.
"Cheer up, Jewel, you're helping make the world a better place," Judy said.
"Better, place," she echoed.
"The kits also want to try your cooking." Jill winked. "So, you're in charge of that for a week."
"Does this day get any worse?" Jewel grumbled. Cooking for the family was certainly a punishment.
Nick started her in the eyes. "You don't want to go back to Zootopia, do you?"
"Step all over me, why don't you?"
They certainly took that as an invitation to pile on top of her.
"That's not what I meant!"
Jewel spent the next week atoning for her sins while Nick continued with her original plans to change Zootopia. He spared rabbits who committed crimes from the death penalty for a day if they came forward, with threats towards their kin if they didn't. Rabbits who previously committed crimes were no longer afraid to speak out as the terms weren't unequal anymore. This revealed a few innocent rabbits that made alternative deals because they were afraid of the law.
Janna's daring plan altered Zootopia's system. The justice system suffered from a shortage of mammals while Bunnyburrow had an excess of rabbits. She sentenced anyone that committed previously overlooked offenses. Under her watch, maliciously taking years of someone's life away certainly deserved more than a week in jail.
Jewel placed her protected paw in an open flame. "I promise –" Screams escaped from her mouth as the pain took hold.
"Tsk," Charlotte chastised. "How many times have you failed that? You're very lucky that Nick prohibited you from receiving permanent damage. Don't let me stop you." She munched on several pieces of popcorn. "One day, I'm going to succeed in convincing him to let you try as other recruits would, meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy the show. Your lunch will be a few beetles on the floor if you manage to find them."
A/N: This is a bonus chapter of sorts after about fifteen drafts of various size.
Inspirations for the chapter: John Oliver- Last Week Tonight- Prosecutors, Public Defenders, The Death Penalty.
Adam Ruins Everything - Adam Ruins Justice.
This story might get more one-shots.