Vulpes: Part 2 of 2 (Leonard #6)

PLOT: In the finale of our 2 part epic, Fenton lands in prison (and gets a run for his money.) Tension starts between Chris and Ashley- causing the teen human to do something he never dreamed of…

VULPES: PART 2 of 2 (Leonard #6)

Equus21

(Co-Written by Andrew St. George)

CHAPTER 1

Nighttime thunder showers approached, the rain was the sort of rain that the moment you stepped out, you would be drenched in water. A few lightning streaks lit the sky, causing a sort of horror movie effect. Along with the thudding rain and sounds of booming thunder, a group of cops  busted through quite a large door. The warehouse smelt musty, the floor smooth and hard, a boring grey color. Flashlights went in every direction as officers had taken over the area.

The area the German Shepherd cops were in was far from empty, sure it was a large space-but scattered about were large wooden crates, all of which would be opened at some point. The ceiling lights hung by wires, some of the bulbs flickered and made an ominous humming sound. The dogs were male and female, all dressed in blue cop uniforms wearing utility belts, pistols drawn and all senses, especially sight and sound at an all time high.

Fenton, the fox who ran this place was in prison, but who knew what sort of strange folks could lurk where someone like him used to operate from? The warehouse consisted of about 15 separate rooms, all with large metal doors leading into smaller rooms, a bit bigger than closets. Dogs banged and kicked in every door. Yelling for any potential hostages or anyone at all who may have a weapon-but the place seemed completely empty.

Through the now broken entrance door, soaked in rainwater and ears slightly perked came the toned black lab, Leonard Keaton. Dressed in a grey dress shirt, red tie and a dark blue jacket with bold yellow lettering on the back that read FBI, faded black jeans and black motorcycle boots. He held a flashlight along with his pistol-leading the team of cops and hearing the helicopter running in the air close by. Leo double checked a few of the rooms within the warehouse, the building had not been completely turned over just yet.

Leonard liked the scour areas on his own, it helped him to think. Rain still pounded on the metal roof of the warehouse, as thunder rumbled, sometimes the hanging lights would flicker a bit. The canine raised his gun and made his way to the large crates which covered a lot of the main warehouse, sniffing them, they seemed locked and he smelt nothing suspicious about any of them thus far. He breathed slowly, his hearing got to the point of where the sound of a pin drop would make him turn. This was a slow process to get the senses this responsive, much like Daredevil in the popular comics.

He heard a sound-he pretty much felt in his gut this was not his imagination. The sounds of soft sobbing. His heart sank-what had Fenton done to this hidden individual? He made his way through the crates, it was a tight squeeze but he managed to get behind them. Dust covered parts of his clothing, the smell of old wood was quite prominent. As the lab made his way through the large wooden crates, the only source of light was the lab’s flashlight bouncing around.

The sobbing got a bit louder, it was almost ghostly. He put his ear up against a crate-someone was inside. Leonard yelled to the officers in his gruff British voice. “OVER HERE! Right now! Someone is in a crate!”

All the cops came rushing over, Leo fired a bullet into the large lock which kept the crate closed-he opened the large box, guns were out and ready to fire. A furry was crawled in a fetal position to one corner of the tiny space inside, he wore grey jeans and a white t-shirt.

He is about 30 years of age, a cheetah. With tears streaming down his face, the lab spoke to him softly. “I’m a detective, we have the area surrounded by police. You’ll be okay.” The slender yellow and black stripped cat peaked his head out of the box, his arms and neck covered in what looked like very red freckles. His face pale, his breathing heavy, a panicked look in his black eye. He spoke with a bit of a crack in his voice, tears streamed down his face as he lunged at the lab to give him an extremely tight hug. “P-please tell me my son is okay! PLEASE!” Leo placed one paw on his shoulder, spoke again in a soft manner and looked the terrified cheetah in the eye. “Is he here in this building?” He nodded and perhaps was a bit too close to Leonard for comfort. “PLEASE! Find him!” Leo nodded and was able to get the large cat’s wallet and had German Shepherds search every single crate.

The lab led Idris the cheetah out of the warehouse and out to where other cops were standing, most of which were quite large. Rhinos and bulls, they all were sort of ‘gentle giant’ types as far as the detective could tell. They swiftly led him to a cruiser so he wouldn’t get drenched, he did not speak to the officer in the driver’s seat-he only stared out the window praying his son was alive. He must have fallen asleep-because soon everything faded to black. It was not a conscious decision, but he had felt nothing but fear and stress, and to finally be somewhere safe-gave his body the mental calmness to actually sleep.

CHAPTER 2

 

Idris sat in Leonard’s office, he sipped a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Thoughts swirled through his head, usually he was so calm and collected-but not tonight. The rain had stopped a bit, but it still drizzled. The sun peaked through the grey clouds, trying to welcome the grey morning.

The sounds the bobcat picked up on were faint sounds of phones ringing, distant chatter and a few horns of cars down below the police station. He leaned over to inspect a photo on the detective’s desk-a framed photo of Leonard and a happy teenage human. He smirked a bit, the kid’s smile was super contagious. Leonard shut the door to his office gently, holding an iphone and a Note Taking app opened. This dog was in really good shape, Idris had not noticed before. The lab rolled up the sleeves to his shirt as he spoke. “Idris, your son is in intensive care at the local hospital. As you probably heard, strange medication was found in his bloodstream. It will be a bit before he recovers fully.”  Leo paused and said exactly what he had been thinking  ever since he found his son, the lab looked to his feet. “I’m so sorry I did not find your son sooner.”

His thin yellow tail flicked as he took a sip of his beverage, his tone still shaky and covered in a nervous and saddened edge. Idris sighed deeply, the cat’s ears pinned flat to his head. “N-no detective….you…saved my life and his. Leonard, you a-are a hero.” Leo was certainly glad that this guy appreciated his efforts, mostly everyone did-but to hear that his actions made huge positive change straight from the individual who was rescued, really did put this in perspective. “Perhaps.” He then looks at his phone, but then immediately looks back at the fox. “Can you tell me perhaps how you ended up at the warehouse? Do you perhaps know the name Fenton?” Idris thought for a moment, he really did take his time. Time seemed to move so slow. “Y-yeah. My cub, Adam and I were heading home from the movie theater. Our area is pretty safe usually, but we were both knocked out. By some big dogs, I didn’t see there faces.”

Leonard’s ears perked as he typed in parts of this information onto his phone. Idris continued after he was done typing. Usually cheetahs were quite hyper, but to see one so solemn was rare. Leonard felt more and more dispirited as the story went on.

“We were locked in those crates for days-sometimes I heard crying from my son and him yelling ‘Stop!’ or ‘I want to see my dad!’. I cried everyday I was in there. I was taken out of my box a few times, but I could never escape. Two giant canines would always grab me and I was put under some drug. I was poked..a-and prodded, sometimes by four injections at once. My vision was blurry-I knew I was on some long table and I heard the eerily sweet tone of what I assumed to be a fox-I saw his bushy tail a few times.” Idris began to cry a tad bit as he finished his coffee. “What scared me the most was what he did to my son-because I had no idea what sort of evil was being put on him. I didn’t even know if he was conscious. When he was silent-I would get no sleep. I just thought he was dead and it was almost relief when I’d hear his soft sobbing.” Leonard placed his paw on Idris’ shoulder, his tone soft and consoling-he felt the cat’s pain. “Hey…your son made it, and so did you. I’m no psychologist, but please don’t…let this ruin your entire life. Adam is young and so are you-you have a lot to live for. You won’t ever truly forget those long days under the clutches of a psychopath-but your mind will adjust as long as you’re open and honest. Give yourself time.”

Idris quickly hugged Leo, something about having a dog to talk to seemed calming. Idris calmed down a bit-he asked about the photo on Leo’s desk-it was sort of rare to see a furry and human in a framed photo together. Leonard spoke with a bit of proudness in his tone, but not to much since Idris was going through a lot. “He’s my son-I adopted Chris a year or so ago.” The cheetah smiled and nodded. “Wow man, that’s amazing. Looks like a sweet guy.” As he adjusted his tie, Leonard was very glad the furry didn’t seem to be prejudice against him having a human son-he’d think those sort of stupid negative thoughts would go away from the furry and human community, but it didn’t. “He is, he does get nervous often due to his sad past-but he really is the best kid I know.” Idris stood up slowly. “Well, detective I thank you for speaking with me, and I wish you and your son the best. Being a father is truly special, keep your son close.” Idris and Adam did make a full recovery-with much mental scarring. Neither of them would be 100% the same again. Leo gave Idris his card in case he or his son wanted to talk-something he did for everyone he rescued.

 CHAPTER 3

The toned black lab wore an all black suit and loose red tie as he exited his police cruiser, showing his badge to everyone in sight. This was the A/H (Anthro / Human) Prison.

The blue sky and tweeting birds outside was complete trickery-the large brick building Leonard was about to enter was where psychopaths, rapists, sociopaths and any sort of violent gangs were kept. Two doors lead into the hell hole, Leo swiped his FBI badge on a complex looked scanner to gain entry. Hallways on both sides were crammed with cells, some humans and furries in the same room, some alone humans, some alone furries-all varying on how violent they were towards fellow inmates.

You would see a lot of species here, ranging from bears, tigers, panthers, pigs, lizards-every species was spread out, and no two furries or humans really looked alike. As Leo walked with his ears perked and his tail down, some of the inmates made rude comments-some even made fun of the fact he had a human son-the cop paid no mind to any of them. They weren’t worth getting angry at, these were insane and violent individuals who wanted to get a rise out of authority. They all seemed to begin yelling, one after another. Whether it was just profanity being churned out to annoy the guards and Leonard himself, or if it was direct threats that actually were cohesive sentences.

Along the many loud and obnoxious halls Leo walked down, security guards stood as well-most of the muscular wolves trying to hold back the inmates who tried to directly grab the detective.

The only thing the sort of made Leo angry was the white rabbit at the very end of the last hall. His ears tattered, his orange jumpsuit stained with blood and his teeth sharpened decided to spit a ball of saliva and phlegm right at the lab’s feet, which disgustingly hit the top of his shoe. He then rocked back and forth violently and laughed-the black lab stared at him and decided to give off a low growl, to which the rabbit simply stated in a high voice “Nice doggy! Come inside and I’ll PAT YOU real good!”

The room Fenton was kept in was quiet for a change, a large white room with a bolted door and fluorescent ceiling lights. His area looked more like hospital room than a cell-minus the sink and all the equipment. Fenton looked thin, actually more so than usual probably because he refused to eat for the guards at certain times. His short sleeve orange jumpsuit clean, spotless even, he did try hard to keep his boring clothing at least presentable. The table he sat in front of was smooth and made out of a hard plastic. His paws bounded by a large chain with a lock, same with his ankles. The fox’s tone, calm with a hint of happiness. The giant door shut behind the black lab with a slam, a security guard stood outside, his back directly up against the door. Leo sat across from the fox, his bushy tail wagging. Fenton smirked and rests his paws on top of the table. Just hearing his voice made the canine annoyed and slightly disturbed. “Detective Leonard Keaton, let me first say-sorry about the blown up home. Your son okay after that? I know he’s prone to anxiety.”

The canine leaned back and straightened his suit jacket a bit, deep down, he was a tad bit nervous to be around this guy. “Fenton, I’ve been hearing about your work. I’m curious, what’s with the hypodermic needles and injecting medicine into your victims?” The fox drummed his nails against the table-Leo’s ears were perked. “You’re a special detective, so I’ll tell you the whole truth. I know about you-so you should know about me.”

Leonard was going to pipe in and say ‘you know nothing about me!’ but decided to hold off, for that would cause a distraction and Leo needed information, Fenton sighed. “Doctor’s always scared me, when I was a kit. I’d have the biggest temper tantrums ever. Biting my nurses, slashing my doc with my beautiful claws. It was fun. It wasn’t until I got my first injection that I strangely became fascinated with my doctors. Injecting a virus, into my bloodstream? Sounds like science fiction if you really think about it-but no. Anyway, I wanted more shots. I began trying to replicate this feeling by putting needles into my arms at night while my parents slept-but somehow it wasn’t the same.”

The lab had been audio recording all of this, he had all he could do not to shudder at Fenton’s never blinking eyes and soft voice. Evilness seemed to fill the room like a thick smoke which could not be seen, but truly stabbed Leonard’s soul. “I then went to a local hospital when I was 15-stole my dad’s car. Got some meds off of a nurse’s tray and I ended up injecting some teacher I disliked when they weren’t looking-they asphyxiated a few hours after. Rest is history detective. My injections are now carefully planned out, you probably found them in my warehouse. So neat-so clean-so deadly.”

The lab nodded.“One more thing, why did you stalk me for so long?”  The fox yawned a bit. “You were one of the first anthros to adopt a human, and I find that neat. Also, your line of work was cool. I mean, I knew we’d meet up after the various acts I had committed-but you’re not like any other furry.” Leo shrugs and looks at Fenton in the eye.

“You obviously don’t like hugs and you’re not super bouncy-you are…truly…an enigma of your own species. Born a lab, but never had the heart of one. Most dogs would look at you and laugh at your attempt to be some stern figure who thinks he’s better than everyone else. Bet you could raise your son better if you actually showed him some love and affection, hm?” Leonard narrowed his eyes and rubbed the back of his neck, he turned his phone off to stop the audio recording and left. Fenton sat, a smirk plastered on his face. The fox knew he had annoyed Leonard-he began humming as he looked to the floor. Turns out, the black lab wasn’t as careful as he thought-as they spoke, he had dropped a blue pen….Fenton chuckled, picked the pen up and spoke softly to himself. “Thanks Leonard-you stupid cop.”

 

CHAPTER 4

Christopher Keaton sat in his new room alone. The human had not been acting the same, and who could blame him? His entire house went up in flames and he had no idea why. Plus, he was with some fox he didn’t know-apparently her and his dad had met and now are great friends. Chris didn’t really warm up to her apart from the night they first met, and to be honest neither did she. All he thought of was his dear dad coming home so he could vent. Ashley sat, reading a book. She had just finished disciplining Chris. Leonard walked into Chris’ room, his suit jacket off, he shut the door and rolled his sleeves up, his dress shirt untucked, Leo looked nice in slacks and a tie his son would admit. Chris sat on his bed and looked at his dad. “Ashley is n-not being fair…”

The dog sits on the edge of his son’s bed. He thought his dad might say something angry, but he didn’t. Instead, he spoke in an honest and soft tone. “How so?” Chris looked into his dad’s brown eyes, his dad being a dog made it so much easier for him to just open up. Sure, he loved his human friends at school and at various stores he visited often, but something about a dog’s face read certainty and love. “W-well, um… she said to stop watching my ipad. It was annoying her, c-cause I was rewinding my favorite part of a movie over and over. I didn’t even do anything wrong.” The black lab nodded. “Well, I will talk with her. She probably just doesn’t understand your….um…” Chris piped in politely. “Habits?” The dog nods and pats his son on the shoulder. “You did nothing wrong, we just need to give her time to adjust. Like I did when I first adopted you. I know you’re kind and you have patience. Let’s give this another shot. We’ll have something to eat together.”

Early in the evening, Leonard dressed in black sweatpants and a grey tank top with white sneakers and went for jog. He needed to clear his head a bit. Between seeing Fenton and Chris being in a bit of a pickle, it was best for the lab to have a bit of space.

The breeze was cool, the sun was just beginning to set, the sky was a pinkish color. The sidewalk smooth, he ran uphill-his legs did hurt a tiny bit, but he was too deep in thought to care. His muscles pulsed, he was a bit proud of his six pack, but never gloated about it.

Would Chris be okay with Ashley? Would I have to see Fenton again? Would Chris really go back to his hyper self after all this crap? As the black lab made it up the cement hill and back down, no answers really came to him. Sometimes only questions popped up and no answers, but during his evening walks and jogs-things didn’t seem as jumbled. He was at least able to categorize his thoughts and fears better. As he became tired and started to pant, he headed back home.

Even in the shower, as the warm water seeped into his black fur and shampoo covered his upper body, tad bits of depression started mentally popping up. This had not happened in a while, but at least it wasn’t a flooding of sadness-it was more subtle. He stood in the shower with his head pressed against the tiled wall of the bathroom for a bit and closed his eyes, steam filled the room. The time is 10:00PM.

Once he got on his red bathrobe, he went to see Chris who was sitting on the couch, watching television. As his dad sat down, Chris put his arm lovingly around the lab’s shoulders. “Hi dad. You o-okay?” Leo leaned back before speaking. “Hey Chris. I’m just overwhelmed with thoughts, my job, you…Ashley. Lots of stress.” The teen nodded and placed his head on his dad’s shoulder. “It’s okay dad, I w-wasn’t happy today either.”

Just hearing from someone ‘it’s okay’ helped a bit. For now, things were ‘okay’. No one was being shot or stalked. Ashley hopefully would come around and be a bit more considerate. Leonard stared at the television, nothing really interesting was on but some ferret in a suit giving a weather report, his son liked mundane television. Sort of kept him calm and sleepy for when he could not actually sleep.

Before the detective knew it, Chris was asleep, cuddled up to his dad. Leo also fell asleep for the rest of the night.

The arctic fox came out of the shower wearing a white t-shirt and purple jeans and found the lab and human fast asleep on the living room couch, both using each other as pillows. Ashley knew that Leo had some major unpacking to do since they had just moved in with her a few days before, and so suddenly. She decided to walk over to one of the many boxes piled up next to the front door, something in her told her to look in one of them. After all, she barely knew anything about Leonard or his son-she liked him a LOT, and liked his son a little less now that she began to see what his personality was like. She knelt down and carefully opened the first cardboard box that caught her interest in the first place. Everything within the box was a bit old, old photos of a younger and more optimistic Leonard, the lab’s high school photos and family photos. His parents both black labs, both very healthy looking. As she moved some of the items ever so carefully, she came across a folder.

Leo tossed in his sleep, let out a tiny bark and fell back into calm dream land. Ashley sighed nervously, but now she couldn’t quit. She had to know what was in this folder. As she opened it, a photograph fell out. Someone she had never seen before. The setting of the photo, a beautiful beach, sitting in the middle of the tropical backdrop, a very beautiful yellow lab. She wore a colorful sundress and held a strawberry daiquiri in one paw. Her smile, radiant and adorable, a classic ‘yellow lab smile.’ with a bit of her pink, floppy tongue showing and her brown eyes looking straight at the camera. She flipped the photo over and to her surprise, in red ink and nice handwriting, a letter read:

Leonard, I dug this pic from our beach trip in ‘97. Thought you would want it. -Love, Sandy

Sandy…why has Leonard never mentioned her before? She tried to think deeply if he had during one of their conversations, but it really seemed like this was a piece of Keaton’s life kept hidden-until now.

CHAPTER 5

Two wolves, one young and slender and one older and fatter, walked into the white room. Fenton sat with hidden glee in the same spot he had been sitting. At the table, the two muscular guards gestured him to stand up. “Okay Fenton, you’re granted one hour out of your cell for a walk. We’ll remove your restraints.”

As the slightly overweight wolf approaches the slender fox, he felt an extremely sharp pain in his neck, a mix of an intense sting and pressure and felt warm blood dripping out of his neck. The fox had bitten into his throat, still holding on, Fenton jerked his head back and took a good amount of flesh and fur out of the neck-blood shot out like a geyser as he collapsed backwards, falling directly onto the second guard. Using the blue pen, he picked the lock quickly to his handcuffs and ankles.

The blood flew out in waves, covering the white floor in red fluid, the wolf tried to hold his neck-but his breathing lessoned and everything became dark as he choked slowly, bloody bubbles popped from his mouth and nose. The young security guard looked up at Fenton in extreme horror-this was his first day on the job and he had seen his mentor get his throat torn out by a psycho. The guard screamed, Fenton knelt down and covered his mouth with his bloody paw, the young anthro looked at him with pure, wide eyed terror, his throat closed-he wished he was sleeping and this was some horrible nightmare. “Shhhhhh…..it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” With intense strength, the fox lifted the guard out from under the weight of the now dead and bloody furry. The guard begins to cry uncontrollably. “Remove your clothes…please.”

Not a single alarm had gone off, Fenton walked out of the cell, he wore a security uniform which was just a blue cop uniform with a utility belt, he whistled as he locked the cell he was in. Inmates tended to there own business and most of the guards were either asleep or not paying attention, Fenton went to the bathroom scrub off the blood from his paws and face. He fixed himself up in the mirror-feeling pretty cool in a cop’s clothing. The blue button up shirt with the golden badge on one side, the classic cap they always wore fit nicely between the fox’s ears. The utility belt, coming complete with handcuffs, a gun and a radio with black slacks and new dress shoes. He whistled a happy tune yet again as he made his way out of the prison and into the parking lot. Fenton was in heaven.

The weather was beautiful-the afternoon breezy, the sun shining down-things looked up for our psychotic fox. After he had managed to find a cop car he could sneak into-he found the keys not very well hidden inside the car visor. He smiled as the vehicle roared to a start and he left the prison. Feeling proud of himself, he turned on the radio-blasting music, The Who to be exact from the speakers. He threw on some black sunglasses to complete his look. He rolled down the windows and drove a bit over the speed limit, feeling a rush of euphoria as he turned on the sirens. This was it…this was the fun of being a rule breaking killer-Fenton bobbed his head up and down to beat of the music as he turned to a more deserted area in Boston. As the car continued its trek down a dirt road-the fox began to think of how to find Leonard again.

Maybe Chris would trust him and he could take his son for a joy ride? Trees of all shapes and sizes surrounded him. This supposedly was a quick way to get to where Leonard lived, the GPS said so anyway.

The joyful mood was broken abruptly when an extremely LOUD pop sound emitted from one of the tires of the police car, the fox tried to control the vehicle-but it spun so far out of control that it smacked right into a tree. The horn honked continuously, the windshield cracked in half and the engine barely worked. Fenton for the first time in probably his adult life, was furious. He shouted a few times. “WHAT THE HELL?!”

The engine to the cop car smoked and a deep burning smell flew into the fox’s nostrils. From out of the corner of his eye, he saw the biggest canine he had ever seen. This massive beast stood at exactly 6 feet tall, his body ripped.

This guy’s arms looked like they could bench the entire vehicle, let alone the fox inside it. His shoulders broad, his legs built of solid muscle. The pitbull’s fur, light brown, his ears were the only thing not ginormous, they were floppy, tender little ears. Part of his chest, white, his teeth definitely sharpened beyond their normal bite. He wore black ripped jeans, brown cowboy boots and a black tank top-his rock solid muscles easily could be seen under the fabric. He stood over the hurt psycho with a death stare-Fenton attempted to reach for his gun with speed, but as soon as he did-the pitbull let out an ear piercing bark as he lifted a hidden weapon-a large, metal billy club all black, custom made.

The pain made Fenton yelp loudly, certainly his wrist was broken-tears welled up in his eyes due to the intense whack. The dog then grabs the fox by the throat, lifting him out of the driver’s side of the beat up car, he brought his giant snout to his face. Fenton attempted to kick the pit bull in the legs and lower body, but it was no match for his tough body which had already gone through so much. As Fenton got a good look at this guy’s face, he noticed a nice scar going across his throat, he also had an artificial left eye. “Name is Parker-and you’ve been hurting the innocent for far too long, Fenton.” His voice was so deep, it practically rumbled into your brain. Fenton tried to gasp-but the grip was too much to handle….

THE NEXT DAY

The grey husky looked at the mangled carcass which lied on the dirt road, the slender officer wore a long sleeved police uniform, he rolled his sleeves up and looked to his partner who wore a grey suit coat, a pinstriped blue and white dress shirt, black tie, jeans and black dress shoes and smirked. Cop cars circled the area, the weather is cloudy with specs of rain falling. “Well Detective-someone hated Fenton more than we did!” Leo snapped on some rubber gloves and began searching the body a bit, after he got up from kneeling-he looked to John Hulbert, then back at the body. The black lab spoke into his phone. “Fenton’s body is in a curved position, obviously whoever did this had high amount of strength-the fox’s face is…well…barely noticeable due to the blunt trauma of whatever was used to smash his skull.”

Fenton’s body was put into a body bag, but no other evidence was found-no fur, no weapon. Just a smashed car and a beaten fox. On the ride to the station, John spoke up-his usual tone peaking in, a happy and confident one.

More rain began to fall as Leo turned on the windshield wipers. “Nice jacket, Leo.” The lab cleared his throat. “Thanks.” “How are things after your house…uh…blew up?” The lab thought for a moment. “Not horrible, but not great. Chris is really having trouble adjusting to Ashley. I need to have a talk with her when I get back. She’s been a bit too stern with him.” The husky sighed. “Poor Chris, can never catch a break sometimes…”

Christopher rocked back and forth on the couch and smiling, one of his many habits. He was happy until the artic fox spoke firmly. “Chris! Please stop, okay? Can you just sit and watch a movie?” The teenager’s heart sank, his throat got a bit tight.

He slowly stood up and frowned as he went to his room. The human lied in his bed, lying on his stomach-listening to the various sounds of cars driving. He looked out his bedroom window, the night sky covered, no star seemed to stand. The teenager began to think…when dad gets stressed, he takes a walk! Still wearing his pajamas, Chris took a deep breath and quicker than he thought, snuck out the front door without being noticed by the fox, who blasted music from her headphones. Chris didn’t feel fear, he was just careful where he stepped.

He walked down a long sidewalk, on the side closest to him-a field with a chain linked fence. To the further side, a cracked road with various cars driving down the road. Some rowdy teen furries out drinking and driving, others older humans getting home from work. The teen even saw some other individuals walking the sidewalks, a brown grizzly bear who could easily crush Chris with a rusty sounding tone spoke to him as soon as he was within ear reach. He wore a grey sweatshirt and baggy sweatpants. He held a medicine bottle, a cigarette hang from his mouth. “Human! Want some pills? You seem moody! I’ll give you a BIG discount, papa bear needs cash!” Chris shook his head quickly and walked much faster, the bear shrugged and attempted to get someone else with his narcotics. The nervous teen looked at his feet and saw a few empty beer bottles scatter on the sidewalk, he continued walking. Not letting his instincts take over, part of him wanted to go back-another part of him thought that it was good to get out and be independent. The night warm, he focused on more of the weather and less at his surroundings now. He walked for twenty minutes straight.

Once the fence ended to an opening, Chris cocked his head and saw a playground. It was a bit run down, but he decided to go in. Plus, who would be here this late? The ground made of dirt, he looked up the various slides and monkey bars. He decided to gently sit upon a swing set, he thought about his father actually. He thought about how thankful he was to have such a great dad, he thought of how loving furries were in general and how glad he was to be among them.

Headlights pierced the night and lit the playground up, the human got off the swing. The vehicle was a large white van, the shadow of a furry exited the driver’s side. He was the biggest pitbull he had ever laid eyes on. The ginormous dog walked casually, he didn’t seem threatening, he lit a cigarette and placed his paws by his sides, his boots smashing the tiny stones that laid by his feet. He wore the same outfit as before when he met up with Fenton. The canine sniffed the air and walked towards Chris. He held is smoke in one paw and calmly spoke, but even his calm tone was so deep that it made Chris’ hair stand up. “Hey kid! You okay?” Chris backed away, a lump formed in his throat-this was a bad mistake. He now regretted ever taking a walk on his own, this dog could smoosh him and his dad like ants. Of course, Chris looked like a little kid once the pitbull was in front of him. “S-sir…I’m okay…I-I need to go home now..” He was on the verge of crying, this could be it for the human. The tall dog puffed his cigarette. “I’m not gonna hurt you-I promise. Are you hurt?” Chris spoke, looking up at the dog. “N-no.”

“Well, you can tell me if someone does fuck with you-okay? Hate seeing people hurt-especially humans. Name is Parker.” He extends his paw out. The teen shook it gently. “You need a ride home?” Chris thought long and hard. Should he go into this guy’s van? What were the chances he was as ‘cool’ as he seemed? Did he really like humans, or was he just some pervert? The teen then thought-why be so untrustworthy? What if this was a genuinely nice guy? “Y-yes…it seems…kinda dangerous around here, I-I suppose.” The pitbull nodded and stamped his cigarette out. The human had butterflies in his stomach as he hopped into the unknown van. It wasn’t to late to turn back he guessed. He sort of couldn’t believe he just accepted a ride in the middle of the night from some stranger. The seats were rather old, the grey leather which covered them torn up a bit.

It seemed like Parker got all the back seats removed, the area behind the two front seats was huge. The van had a strong smoky odor. Chris watched every movement the big dog made, from sitting down, to the tiny grunt he made as he put his seatbelt on, to turning the old ignition and feeling the rumble of the old van come to life, watching him as he turned his head to back up and head on the small highway. Oh gosh…no turning back now. Van is in motion. “I-I live down the street, to that side…” Chris pointed with his hand ‘left’ since he often forgot which was which, Parker nodded. “What were you doing out there?” Chris cleared his throat.“Thinking…a-about stuff. M-my dad mostly.” The van rattled a bit as they hit a speed bump, the pitbull chuckled. “Oh yeah? You like your old man?” Chris smirked, still looking at the pitbull, not really relaxing. “Love him, he adopted me. His n-name is Leonard, he’s a detective.” Parker nodded, he thought shit…maybe I made a mistake

Ashley backed away as the black lab scolded her, his tone cold as ice-his voice sounded like it could break into a yell at any moment. “Ashley, I truly can’t believe you. I trusted you with my son, even after you spoke so rudely to him…” The white fox was getting angrier by the moment, this guy was yelling at her in her own apartment, her voice was similar to his. “Leonard, I let you stay in my house-that should be enough. To be honest, your kid is not my problem.” Did she have a point? In Leonard’s mind, no. He crossed his arms and glared at her. “Well, you should have told me that before I left you with him-I would’ve taken him to work.” He let out an angry sigh. “You gonna hit me Leonard?!” She raised her voice, making the lab startle. “Of course not, I’m just pissed.” The white fox grabbed her purse. “Fine, sit and sulk about YOUR kid and ME watching him. Fuck you Leonard. Thanks for all this stress, and you’re welcome for being so frigging helpful when your house went to shit!” She slammed her front door as Leo sat at the kitchen table. Silence filled the room for five minutes, her heard the fox completely walk away-then silence again.

That is until a giant van parked in front of the house-the dog ran to the front door as his son stepped out of the passenger side. Leo wrapped his arms around Chris, to be honest he was too relieved to scold him. Around the opposite side, came Parker. Leo then looked to the large pitbull. “Where the hell was my son?” Parker spoke honestly. “By the playground, this area gets busy with crooks this late-I didn’t want him getting hurt.” Leo extended his arm, they shook paws. “I’m grateful he bumped into a helpful guy-Leonard Keaton.” Parker smiled. “You’ve gotta good kid, Mr. Keaton. Be seeing you.” The van shook a bit as it drove off.

Leonard’s tone was very much a ‘stern father’ tone. He had Chris sit at the kitchen table. “Christopher, why…why did you leave this place? I’m very…shocked..and frankly disappointed.” His son spoke with a sad honesty. “Dad, I was stressed. I w-was sad, I didn’t f-feel okay with Ashley. S-so I took a walk, like you do.” The lab took a deep breath. “Chris, if you’re going to take a walk-let me go with you. Actually, no-I am going with you. That’s a rule, and secondly…and most dangerously, you took a ride from a stranger. Luckily, he seemed fine-but you could have gotten hurt, or worse. What if he was dangerous?”

“Dad, he seemed nice. A-and it was dangerous out, Parker said so.” Leonard felt a bit of frustration, but held it together. “Chris, you are not allowed to take rides from anyone unless I tell you-not if someone says they’ll ‘bring you home’ or that ‘they know me’. I will tell you which cars to go into. If you don’t hear it from me and if it’s not public transportation, YOU are obligated to come to me or John. Got it?” Chris nodded and felt a bit teary eyed, Leo hadn’t scolded him a long while, the human sniffled a tad bit. “You’re sleeping down here tonight, I’ll sleep on the recliner.” Chris spoke through little bits of crying, Leo raising his voice a bit truly startled him. “Y-yes dad…I understand.”

Lastly, the black lab held his son’s hand, not in a firm way, but in a gentle and calming way-his son expected more hurt and anger even so though, Chris cried more within the next few moments. “Chris…I love you very much.” The teen nodded. “I-I know dad, it’s your job to keep me safe. You’re a detective.” Leonard nodded and pet his son’s shoulder gently. “Let’s both calm down, get ready for bed and we’ll watch TV or something.” Ashley never came back to Leonard, not that night or any day after that.

The two would need to find yet another apartment to go to, for all the crap the detective went through these past couple days, he felt content. His son slept on the couch as Leo sat at the kitchen table, not yet dressed to go to bed. He sipped a glass of red wine, glancing at Chris who was wrapped in blankets and snoring gently.

Parker entered his apartment, a rundown place, with a large closet filled with guns and other weapons. The living room floor, stained, he has no TV, a ratty couch-at least he has a clean dining room table. The fridge did work well, he had a stockpile of whisky, rum and vodka.

Stored in a few crisper draws, steak, chicken, ham and a few veggies. To one corner beyond his kitchen table, he had a nice looking table with his laptop-only to get directions to places and maybe download a movie, Parker was not one to have an email address or social media-he only texted and called people he gave his number too personally. He turned on his phone to listen to some light music as he did his nightly routine.  He stripped his clothes off, took a hot shower and crawled into bed. As he lied in bed, staring at the dark ceiling, he thought of how awesome it was a furry adopted a human. The two seemed so kind. Indeed, he spoke the truth-if Chris did ever need him, he’d be there.

However, thoughts of Leonard being a cop ruined everything. Secrets would come out, and he’d be hauled to prison most likely. If he were lucky, Chris would keep in contact-he hadn’t met someone as kind as this teen. Most of the ones he ran into were rude and took drugs, but not this one as far as he could tell.

The brown dog also thought Chris would need a lot of protection, heck so many people could take advantage of him. He made a mental note to remember who Chris was, he wanted to keep a good repertoire with him and his dad-maybe less so with his dad. Before he went to bed, he went to his bedside and picked up the only framed photograph of his son-an adorable pitbull puppy, who really was a tiny version of his dad. “Wish you were here buddy…wish you were here.” Suddenly, his phone vibrated, he got up and opened the drawer which was close by to his bed. The text read, from Chris Keaton: Goodnight, Mr. Parker *smiley face* Parker let out a smirk and sent: Goodnight, stay safe kid. Maybe Chris would be the answer to his lonely life….

END  

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