A/N: The final chapter.
Chapter 4: Knowledge
Judy watched with unease as Nick smiled after she told him she felt afraid of him. "Nick, you're scaring me. Why are you smiling?"
"It means one of my plans finally worked," Nick elaborated. "if you close your eyes, I wonder what you will see."
She closed her eyes. She saw vague images of Nick brutally attacking her. "A nightmare, but that couldn't be you."
"We're holding up the line. Let's go to our room so you can tell me all about it."
They entered their room without much hassle from the other passengers of the cruise. Nick stroked her head as they cuddled on the bed. She told him all her concerns. "You wouldn't do anything like that to me, would you?" Judy knew Nick wouldn't do that, but she wanted reassurance.
"Of course not," Nick said. "I don't hold your thoughts against you. I'm happy you told me this."
"But I can't explain it, I don't even know how this fear happened."
"Don't apologize." Nick stroked her head. He stared into her eyes. "Everything's going to be okay. Why don't we enjoy the cruise?"
They ran into a white vixen and a striped hare upon leaving their suite.
"Hello," the hare said.
"Fancy meeting the two famous ZPD officers here," the vixen said. "My name is Skye, and this oversized bunny here is Jack Savage."
"We're going sunbathing," Nick said as he led Judy towards the top of the deck.
"We'll join you," Jack said.
They walked together towards the top of the deck until Jack suddenly stopped moving. He remained motionless as still as a statue. It took them a while to notice his sudden absence.
"What's wrong with Jack?" Judy asked.
"Careless," Nick grunted.
"Does he have any conditions?" Judy asked. She decided to ignore Nick's comment. She waved her paws in front of his eyes for no effect. She pinched him in several places and he didn't even whimper.
"Not that I know of," Skye said.
"Looks like we're going to keep an eye on him until he snaps out of it. What we can't do is leave him like this." Nick sighed. "Let's carry him to the sunbathing spot.
They gazed at the sky while waiting for Jack to snap out of his state.
"The weather is beautiful," Jack said, shocking everyone.
"Don't you have something you'd like to say?" Skye said. Judy could hear the disapproval in her voice.
"Not really." It was unnatural how fast the sky started raining. There wasn't even a warning as rain fell from the sky suddenly obscuring the sun above. "I'm going back to my room," Jack said.
Nick and Judy went back to their room as the unnatural weather took hold.
"Well, this is perfect," Judy said.
"We can always have fun in this room." Nick turned on the television to surf the channels.
"When did you become the optimist?"
"Maybe after I've met you?"
The spent time lying together on the bed until the speakers spoke, "This is your captain speaking, Jack Savage has been reported missing on the ship. He looks like a striped hare or oversized rabbit. Any help in locating him would be appreciated."
"Judy, can you try to remember the next few words I say even if you don't agree?" Nick asked.
"Anything," she replied.
Nick sighed. "Here goes nothing." He used his claws to attack her. "Just remember that I love you."
She tried to struggle, but it was all in vain. Nick had her in his grasp. "Why?" she said.
"I'm not sure if this is any easier," he said. "This is goodbye. Try to remember even if you disagree." She felt him ripping her heart out of her chest.
She found herself sitting at the table with a blueberry pie in front of her. Nick sat beside her, and Gideon was there as well.
"Nick, we need to talk," Judy said.
"Well, talk then. That's all we've been doing for the past hour now?" He glanced at his watch.
"Alone," she said.
Gideon said, "I can leave if you want. I don't want to intrude."
"Let's go," he said. Nick walked with Judy until they arrived in their room. "What do you want to tell me?"
"Have you touched my heart recently?" Judy asked.
A bright smile appeared on Nick's face. "I certainly hope so."
Judy used her claws to poke his back mirroring where he touched her before. "Did you do something like this before?"
He nodded. "I cannot say."
"Because I've tried in the past. Leave it at that. I want to treasure the time we have."
"Please leave, I need some time to think," she said. Nick walked out of the room. She tried to organize her thoughts and feelings. She was certain Nick had killed her before but also proclaimed he loved her. It didn't make sense. She wasn't sure if the first nightmare she had about him leaving her to die was real, but she felt it would be true. She didn't sense deception from Nick based on how he acted and how well she knew him. She wanted to know what was going on here, but how?
She opened the door after hearing a knock. Jack Savage was on the other side. "I've taken care of Nick for you. You don't need to worry about him anymore," he said.
"Taken care of?" she asked. "I don't believe you, he just left."
"You want proof? Fine, he's not on the ship anymore," Jack said. She searched everywhere with him following behind her only to find nothing. Not even a corpse. "Don't forget to call him too."
She called Nick desperately hoping he would answer. She called again and again when no one responded. "How? How did you do this?"
"You know what he did to you, now we can be together. He's no longer in the way," he replied.
They walked back to her room while she glared daggers at him every step of the way. "Look, even if I were to thank you for your service, which I won't, I have no romantic feelings for you what-so-ever. I barely know who you are and you rudely crashed into me when Nick and I just boarded the ship." She didn't know how she felt about Nick's demise since she knew he had harmed her.
"What will it take for me and you to be happy together?"
"But I saved you from Nick and everything."
"I still don't know how I feel about that. He killed me before, he hurt me before yes, but that wasn't now and he seemed to have his reasons. Please just leave me alone." Judy sat on the bed as she gazed at the ceiling. Nick was gone, she wasn't sure what would happen now. She drifted off into sleep.
She opened her eyes to see Nick beside her. They were walking on a bridge with Jack and Skye.
"How do you feel about me?" Nick asked.
"I don't know, how did this happen?" she asked.
"Jack, why don't you tell her everything? She might even help you, just like me."
"You know that's not going to work," Jack retorted.
"With what?" Judy asked. "Didn't you kill Nick before?"
"I give up."
Skye picked up Jack Savage. She tossed him off the bridge and on to the rocks. "I always wanted to try that."
"What are you crazy?" Judy immediately bound Skye for her crazy act.
"Uh, Judy, we need to save Jack," Nick said, he sounded afraid more than concerned.
Judy and Nick ran off from the bridge trying to find a way down. It took several minutes before they found a path that led down to the ocean below. "Where is he?" she asked. She saw a cellphone on the rocks where Jack was, but he was missing.
"I'd like to think we have all the time in the world now, I can't be sure, but we need that cellphone," Nick said.
"What about Jack Savage?"
"I need to check that cellphone to see if it matters. Trust me."
She jumped towards a rock between the water. "Don't fall in," he said.
"Relax, Nick, I'm fine." It wasn't that it was difficult to leap between the rocks to her destination. It was just potentially lethal if she missed a step. She retrieved the phone and returned to the beach.
She passed Nick the phone. He opened the phone scanning its contents. "Those numbers, we're free," he said in shock.
"These," he showed her the two numbers on the phone. "Call them if you want to save Jack Savage, throw away the phone if you don't. I can be more honest with you now. He was the reason I harmed you at all. If you do call them, you might not like what you will find. I feel like it should be your choice."
"You harmed me?" she said.
"I'm no longer afraid to speak out. I was the one who ripped out your heart. He was the reason why, but now Jack is gone and won't be back."
"Gone? Skye tossed him off a bridge. He must have been washed away."
"You don't understand this world, but I do. I assure you, that's not what happened just what you see. Call those numbers if you want the truth to set you free. Our existence is a lie and you're living in it, and I'll gladly keep you company."
"What will happen to me if I call these numbers?" she said. Nick was incredibly cryptic which wasn't helping.
"You'll learn the truth, but you should be able to save Jack Savage in the process, and I'll support you no matter what you choose. Jack might die if you delay too long."
"What can be so horrible?" she called a number. "Hello?"
"This is Judy Hopps, how can I help you?" the phone replied.
"Wait, but I'm Judy Hopps."
"Is this a prank?"
"Nick said I called this number, I might save Jack Savage."
"Who is Jack Savage?"
"Carrots passed me the phone. What's this about saving Jack Savage?" Nick replied.
Judy replied, "It's something that Nick said calling this number would do. I don't even know how. He's right beside me."
"Oh really, I don't suppose he can speak on the phone too?" Judy passed the phone to Nick.
Nick divulged the location to the other Nick on the phone. He told his other half what he needed to do.
Nick hung up. "So, how are you feeling?"
"How can they be us?" Judy said.
"I can tell you when you're ready, but we have all the time in the world."
"Do you think it's a prank?" Nick asked. They received a very strange phone call just now.
"That bridge isn't too far from here, it doesn't hurt to check, does it?" Judy asked.
"I suppose not."
They took a brief detour from their intended destination. The ZBI were there walling off the bridge because their commander wanted alone time. Nick and Judy got past the blockage without any problems. They found Jack Savage pacing back and forth.
Jack saw them. He tried to leap off the bridge, but Nick tranquilized him instead, leaving him at the edge.
"So, they were right," Judy said, "but how?"
They informed the ZBI that Jack was contemplating suicide. They sent him off to a mental institution.
"You tried to commit suicide," Skye said. "Why? I cared for you, your team supported you."
"Can you come back later? I'm writing," Jack said. "I know why I did what I did, but it's s not something I can put into words easily. There's no way I can commit suicide now. All they allow me to do is write, but even then, they watch me constantly. Please, come back in a week."
"Fine," Skye grunted.
Jack scrawled out on parchments provided to him. every experiment he did in his virtual world. He wanted Judy Hopps, but it seemed like she already had Nick. He was too afraid to date her so he ran simulations. He wanted her to be happy when they inevitably got together.
As time wore on, Nick and Judy got closer and closer. He had access to technologies that allowed him to reprogram the mind. He simulated those technologies, but even in his simulation, her true happiness eluded him.
He had faith in those results, but they weren't good enough even if he covered up all his tracks, so he began the simulation anew. Iteration after iteration Judy Hopps wasn't truly happy with him. Not even if he rewrote her mind. It was evident in the way she smiled. It wasn't genuine.
She could be happy if he made her hate Nick in the process of his experiment, but he wanted them to preserve the friendship that they had. That was unacceptable to him, so he tried again. There was never an iteration or plan he could enact where Judy ended up with him and remained friends with Nick.
The computer never gave him the results he wanted, so he never tried to impact reality. He wrote every experiment he tried, every result he obtained as best as he could from his memory. He compiled these seven-hundred pages knowing that Skye would hate him if she even cared to read.
He glanced at the newspaper the asylum granted him. He didn't realize Nick and Judy got so close. He never even knew they planned a wedding. It was just like he feared, just like his simulations, WildeHopps was inevitable.
A/N: I was heavily inspired by Doki Doki Literature Club when I first started this story before deciding to write other stories instead. I thought I should finish this story instead of leaving it unfinished since the original plans weren't too long.
Nick is the mastermind that knows everything that happens, every single play through Jack ever did, Nick remembers. Judy's memory is mostly reset upon every single iteration, but some cracks and pieces fall through due to Jack's inefficient programming.
Jack attempts to simulate a happy ending involving him and Judy, and he wants her to be truly happy, but not have Nick directly angry with her if she's alive. He never found a solution (probably for the better of all.)
I've never read any story using a similar premise (despite how badly I might have written this story.)