They were in love, and they knew it.
The oddest of odd couple, the love between the human male and the cartoon bunny boy seemed to go on and on forever. As Bumper introduced Erik to his friends in the underground horny cartoon animal community, Bumper feel even deeper in love with him with every new animal that met Erik, because every single time, Erik said something hilarious, adorable, and utterly unique, and soon the two were fast friends.
Friends, of course, with benefits. LOTS of benefits. In fact, when word got around their ltitle community of a couple hundred naughty cartoon animals about Bumper’s delightful new boyfriend, it seemed like every single one of them wanted to benefit Erik and Bumper, and their social/sexual calendar (in Bumper’s community, they tended to be the same thing) was quite full of fun people to meet and things to do, and vice versa.
Erik, for his part, was convinced there was no way life could get better than this. He had the love of a bunny that, under the crusty exterior, was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul Erik had ever known. Capable and conscientous, Bumper was the perfect antidote to Erik’s lack of practical skills, and in return, Erik added a rich and vivid dimension to Bumper’s orderly and organized life, and the pure and glorious love Erik felt for the grumpy old bunny made Bumper feel both alive and worthy.
Both of them felt incredibly lucky to have found each other.
And they both were right.
Their love, to them, felt as easy and enjoyable as a good massage or a fine meal. Nothing ever seemed like worth when they were together.
Not even all the work it took to care for the refugees.
It had been a fat Mafioso from another fiction that had brought the news that the other fictions were cut off from one another and some of them had started to break down.
The rumour was that it had started in one fiction where the Primary had disappeared and thus the very stuff of that fiction began to fall apart. From there, it had spread by unknown means through the Now and into other fictions.
Erik and Bumper shared a look that said “That’s our fault, isn’t it? Uh oh. ”
The fat Mafioso had barely escaped into the Now before his native fiction collapsed in on itself like a pop-up book. He was very worried about his fiction’s Primary, who was a mob boss who called herself “Silky Sally”.
The fat Mafioso could not begin to imagine what would happen to a Primary if their fiction collapsed. The only thing he could think of was that she must have ended up in the long-theorized “outer zone” where all Primaries were assumed to have originated.
When the fat Mafioso had fled into the Now, he had done so blindly, with no destination in mind. But some instinct within him had caused him to seek the area of maximum stability, and that turned out to be the close vicinity of Erik.
Erik, being a Primary, held the local zone together with his thoughts and perceptions, and was therefore immune to the catastropy… and ignorant of it.
His piece said, the fat Mafioso, for lack of a better to do, got shot with a Tommy gun and bled contently over in a corner.
Bumper and Erik were alone.
Bumper pushed Eric’s hands away from his apprently irresistable fluffy bunny butt and said “I can’t do this. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you. If I had an ounce of decency I would go hide myself away in the deepest, darkest corner I could find so that nobody would ever have to be exposed to my wretched presence again. ”
“Would I be with you in your corner? ” said Erik.
“No, the entire point of what I am saying is that…. ” Bumper started to say, but then sighed and looked into Erik’s soft and trusting eyes. “Yes. Yes you would be. I can’t imagine going anywhere without taking you with me. You’re mine now, and I won’t ever let you go. And that’s the problem. ”
“I don’t understand. ” said Erik.
“Don’t you SEE? Haven’t you figured it OUT? ” sobbed Bumper. “This is ALL MY FAULT. I’m the one who stole you from your own fiction and started this whole thing going. I was the one responsible for you, and I let you and everyone down, and now I just can’t stand myself at all!”
Erik hugged Bumper gently and stroked his head. “Shh. It will be all right, by sweet rabbit, everything is going to be okay. I;m here, I love you, and we are going to make it through this thing together. OK? Now hold on tight to me and tell me why you think it was all your fault. As I recall, you didn’t abduct me from my Commander Erik life. I left because deep down I was bored and discontent. How can that be your fault?”
‘BECAUSE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING YOU BACK. ” Bumper shrieked in anguish,. “That’s how it’s supposed to work. The Now guide introduces the Primary to another fiction, they take a quick look around, and then it is back to the Primary’s home fiction before there’s even a hint of destabilization. ”
“Then why didn’t you…”
“Because I couldn’t let you go! ” said Bumper. “The thought of you going back to your fiction and my going back to mine and resuming our lives without one another put me in a blind panic and so I let myuself be completely sidetracked and distracted, and ignored the voice oin my head that kept insisting that I bring you back before something truly terrible happened. And now it HAS happened, and it’s too late to stop it now, and it’s all because a dumb old bunny had a boner for a boy and couldn’t control himself enough to do his very important job. ”
“And now, here’s this fat Mafioso showing up to tell me my worst nightmares have come true and I am going to Hell for what I have done. ” Bumper said miserably.
“My poor, poor bunny. ” said Erik, and hugged Bumper close, resting his chin atop the bunny boy’s head. At first, Bumper resisted, insisting he did not deserve it.
But it wasn’t long before Bumper melted into the embrace, and the two lovers spent a long silence in each other’s arms.
“Now. ” said Erik. “let’s take a look at the real situation, shall we? ”
“Okay…. ” said Bumper.
“Realistically speaking, you cannot be the first agent to fall in love with their client. ” said Erik. “You also can’t be the first to keep their client out past their due date, so to speak. Right? So it can’t be that all it takes is one mistake like yours to wreck the entire system or it never would have lasted week.You follow? ”
“I think so…. ” said Bumper, half-believing.
“So it clearly wasn’t something you did that caused the current problems. It must be something that goes far deeper. ” said Erik. “Someone or some thing is attacking the very foundations of the system, and the system is starting to crumble. ”
Bumper nodded. It really wasn’t my fault, he thought to himself. He felt relieved, but also a tiny bit disappointed. At least when he thought it was all his fault, he knew who to blame. Now he was at the mercy of forces beyond his control.
“Now according to the fat Mafioso.. how are you doing over there, by the way? ”
“Fine!” said the fat Mafioso cheerfully. He’s gotten bored of dying and was now stone-facedly counting a huge pile of cash.
“Glad to hear it. According to him, I’m a source of stability in the system. ” said Erik. “And that means more and more Fictionals are going to be drawn to me as things get worse. They will be frightened, disoriented, and many of them will have just lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. And you know what that adds up to?”
“A refugee crisis. ” said Bumper.
“Exactly!” said Erik. “And that means we have to get ready. We need to get every Fiction in this region together and train them to deal with the refugees. We’ll need places for the them to eat and sleep and poop and whatever. ”
“Mmm. ” said Bumper. “Whatever. ”
“And we will need someone to organize and coordinate all these efforts. ” said Erik. “Someone who is a born administrator to make sure everything runs smoothly. A person of great competence who can bear a great deal of responsibility on his fuzzy little shoulders without crumbling under the pressure. ”
“Fuzzy little… you mean me? You want me to run things? ” said Bumper.
“Who better? ” said Erik. “And I know you can do it. After all, if you can keep me organized, a massive refugee effort should be no problem! ”
Bumper grinned despite himself. “You have a point. ”
“See?” said Erik. “So what do you say? Shall we get to work?”
“Yes. ” said Bumper. “After. ”
“After what? ” said Eric.
Bumper replied by slipping both furry hand-paws into Eric’s pants and giving his lover’s penis and testicles a firm, loving caress.
“Oh, THAT! ” said Erik with a giggle.
After that, they were far too busy to talk.
And that’s how it went. With Bumper providing the organization and Erik providing the inspiration, by the time the trickle of refugees had turned into a flood, their organization could handle the influx without a problem.
They even had a program to help teach refugees to be aid workers so that the more refugees they received, the more workers their were to help them make the transition.
They were a motley group. Ninjas, bankers. hentai creatures. hardboiled detectives, cartoon animals, pirates, mothers with enormous broods of kids, fairyland creatures, dixieland loan sharks, and just about everything else you can imagine (and some you’d rather not) thronged around the center post that was Erik and his stabilizing influence, and before long, a carnival atmosphere spread through the camp, and it all started to feel like one big crazy family reunion/picnic/circus/convention/madhouse.
The disasters unfolding outside their patch of dirt were forgotten and everybody thanks the System that they were safe and stable and warm and amongst good people.
Bumper even managed to set aside an area where he and his friends (and the curious from other fictions) could get frisky with one another, and pretty soon, the Casa del Orgy (as some wag had named it) was the most popular part of whole madcap affair, and drew in Fictionals for its air of unbridled release and innocent joy as much as it did for its sexual opportunities.
When in doubt, fuck. That was their motto. And it was one they adhered to with great passion and dedication.
Elsewhere, there were aid workers helping the traumatized and the fragile cope with what they had experienced and what they had seen.
Some of what they had been through was beyond any sane person’s nightmares. Some of them needed medical treatment. Some of them needed immediate psychological intervention to keep them from harming themselves and others. And some of them needed to be isolated from the rest because the trauma had so shattered their psyches that they were barely even sentient any more.
But there was one thing they all needed : to tell their story to someone who truly listened and who truly cared, and thus release the pain of the experiences by sharing their burdens with someone else.
Erik spent most of his time in this area. There was a lot he could do to help. Mostly, he talked with the Fictionals who felt like they were coming apart just like their fictions had, and got them to describe everything they could think of about themselves while he listened with his eyes closed, and did his best to image what was being described as vividly as possible.
That reinforced the reality of the Fictional in question, and did much to ease their mind.
And that’s how it went. Joy and sorrow, love and grief, connection and seperation, and all the other flavours of life’s experiences were happening side by side.
it should have beehn chaos.
It should have been bedlam.
It should have been a NIGHTMARE.
But somehow, they all got by anyhow.