Storyline of Kevin and Kell
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Kevin and Kell is more storyline oriented than many traditional comic strips. Bill Holbrook indicates that this is possible because of the availability of online archives for the strip, which allows readers to browse and understand the (complex) storylines. Despite this, many comic strips are simply stand-alone with no effect on the overall plot.
Events before the beginning of the series
As is the case with some other webcomics, Kevin and Kell features events that are that take place before the main timeline and are only revealed in flashbacks. These events, which precede the strip, are listed here for background on more recent events in the series, and because they are chronologically first.
The story begins millions of years in the future when humans have made Earth uninhabitable, and have departed for a distant planet. The birds, the only surviving vertebrates, use the humans' intelligence rays to increase their intelligence, and travel back in time to 10 million BC, to stop humans from emerging, giving intelligence to other species in the process. However, the animals still retain their more savage instincts, so the birds attempt to introduce a Domestication gene to counteract this, but this plan fails. As society established itself, birds took on seemingly low ranking positions in society as teachers, secretaries, and the like, but controlled the world behind the scenes, eventually devising their plan for a computer-run society. Their altering the timeline led to two timelines; one with humans and one without.
In the earliest known event involving the main cast, Elanor, in her 20s chases Pop Kindle, but collides with Franklin in the process, and they eventually marry and have two children, Kell and Ralph.Elanor,not content with being a stay-at-home mom,becomes a "freedom fighter" in 1968,and causes the sheep rioting at the Chicago convention(one of the few dated events in the strip). Similarly, Pop Kindle marries Dorothy, having six litters with her (Kevin is a single birth, and Danielle was the twenty-ninth child, born about 10 to 15 years after Kevin), but Dorothy eventually divorces Pop Kindle and gained income as an informant on his illegal activities. While married to Pop Kindle, Dorothy wishes to enhance her family's prestige by arranging for Kevin to marry Fran Caudal. A rattlesnake attacks them and hits its head on a swingset. Dorothy and Fran's mother run out, and see Kevin playing with the unconscious snake. They believe that Kevin killed the snake, and the Caudals withdraw from the arrangement. Another snake, however, revives the snake and eventually becomes a doctor — this character is Doctor Caduceus. Twenty-five years before the beginning of the strip, a ten-year-old Kell chases Aby, who is the same age, up a tree until Elanor takes her away. Aby remembers the event and Kell's name, but is apparently not at all bitter about it.
Kell enters a relationship with a fox named Randy Foxglove, who, some time during their relationship, has an affair with a fox named Gladys Burrows that results in her having a child, Vin Vulpen. At the age of 20, Kevin marries Angelique, much to his mother's chagrin. Around this time, the baby human Princess of England is in an accident at sea near England and is thrown through a portal, turning into a hedgehog in the process. She is sent to an orphanage along with the future Chertsey Ealing, who was somehow separated from her parents at this time. Kevin adopts the baby and names her Lindesfarne; she is an English Hedgehog, but becomes reclassified as an American Porcupine, because Angelique cannot catch insects. A few years later, Kell marries Randy and gives birth to Rudy at 20. Around this time, George Fennec and Martha Redfox, two foxes from noble families, are married in order to protect against inbreeding. Martha then gives birth to Fiona while George is out of town; by the time George calls the hospital and reaches Martha to give her breathing advice, she has already given birth.
When Rudy is 1 1/2, he meets Bruno in a sandbox. The two and Fiona are all in daycare together. Though he and Bruno become lifelong friends, he fights often with Fiona, and doesn't remember her when they meet again as teens. Bruno also is shown to have a security blanket made out of wool,hinting at his future relationship with Corrie. Around this time, Ralph, at 16, breaks the fundamental predator rule of not talking with prey (to prevent the predator from befriending the prey), and meets and falls in love with Wanda Woolstone, a sheep. She becomes pregnant and dies in childbirth. The baby, Corrie is put up for adoption, and adopted by two mole scientists for use in a cloning experiment. DNA is extracted from her, and she escapes into The Wild, meeting Bruno, who is on his first hunt. He also makes the mistake of talking to her rather than killing and eating her, and carries her around on his back for years, falling in love with her.
Four years before the start of the comic, Randy goes on a hunt to prove himself to Kell's parents, but a moose steps on him, breaking his neck and killing him. According to the unofficial FAQ, after this, Kell convinces Rudy to take the surname "Dewclaw." Three years later, when Lindesfarne is 15, Kevin gets home from work and discovers Angelique cheating on him with "User 458" (his father, who may have been trying to break up their marriage), as she had supposedly done throughout his marriage. She then divorces him and collects alimony and child support from him, despite initiating the divorce and Kevin having custody of Lindesfarne. Lindesfarne does not know why Angelique divorced Kevin, but blames Angelique and resents her doing so. Almost immediately afterwards, Kevin meets Kell in an online chat room. They meet for dinner, discovering each other's true species, but their feelings for each other take precedence over their instincts as predator and prey. The two enter a relationship, and soon marry, despite the fact that such relationships are frowned upon. Rudy is quite unhappy that a rabbit has become the "alpha male" of his family and does not send the marriage documents, preventing Kevin and Kell from being legally married. As a result of Kevin's marrying Kell, his family disowns him, and Kevin and Lindesfarne take the surname Dewclaw. Kell's father writes her out of his will in order to force her to divorce Kevin, and Elanor also initially disapproves of Kevin. The new Dewclaw family moves in next to the Ursals who, having thrown out their daughter and son-in-law for vegetarianism, see a chance for redemption for their intolerance. Kell becomes pregnant again, this time with Coney. The first strip takes place in 1995, a year after Kevin and Kell's marriage and late in Kell's pregnancy.
Initial strips establish the couple of Kevin and Kell and develop the characters: Kevin, who works as system administrator at the Herbivore Forum; Kell, employed at Herd Thinners, Inc., Rudy and his friend Bruno (who always wears a sheepskin on his back), and Lindesfarne, who is introduced as a porcupine.
The strip begins on the first anniversary of Kevin and Kell's wedding, where it is made clear that neither Kevin nor Kell's families, nor much of society approved of their marriage. Rudy attempts to challenge Kevin for "alpha male status" and is upset that an herbivore has become his stepfather and the head of the family. Coney, the carnivorous bunny, is born. Ralph Dewclaw appears often, with futile attempts to assault/kill/eat Kevin and break up his sister's marriage. Kevin virtually invites his family to a Thanksgiving dinner (but later learns that only his father attended and was impersonating the other members).
Kell's original boss, L.D., drowns in his own drool and dies when Kell first brings Coney to the Herd Thinners office. R.L. later appears as her new boss.
Rudy meets and falls in love with Fiona, initially believing his love to be a curse brought on by the full moon. This relationship is forced to a long-distance connection as Fiona's family is forced to move back to their original habitat. Later in the year, Fiona returns, only for the two to find that the two cannot talk outside of their computers; their accidental overloading of the Internet forces the two to see literally eye-to-eye.
Elsewhere, Kevin hires Candace Canid the border collie as an assistant sysop, an acquaintance that lasts for the rest of the strip. Lindesfarne, searching for her birth parents, discovers she might be British royalty, but gives up the search completely in disgust. Rudy saves Lindesfarne from a cougar attack, and in return she helps him pass his final exam. Kell is diagnosed with spontaneous domestication. Catherine Aura the turkey buzzard is introduced as Rudy's teacher and becomes friends with Kell. Kell discovers that the sheepskin Rudy's friend Bruno carries around on his back is secretly his girlfriend Corrie, and promises to keep the secret.
Rudy briefly gets into trouble with Fiona when he becomes involved in an online relationship; unknown to both, the other user was Corrie (who, likewise, does not know that she was talking with Rudy). Bruno attempts to convince Corrie to join society; she cunningly goes along with the plan and hacks into the computer systems to make it seem as though she was rejected. Kevin almost fails his scampering test and nearly loses his rabbit license. Lindesfarne meets and falls in love with Fenton Fuscus. Dolly the Sheep is revealed to be a clone of Corrie.
Rudy, experiencing serious problems with his hunting skills, is at risk of failing school; while Fiona pretends to be lost in the woods as an incentive for Rudy to improve, she is abducted by a UFO. She returns with an ear tag that seemingly endows her with the power to repair broken computers and other machines. The tag eventually falls off; Fiona's powers are later seen to be still existent, but the loss of the tag gives Fiona an excuse to pretend her powers are gone and avoid attention. Lindesfarne and Fenton begin to experience problems with conflicting schedules (his nocturnal, hers diurnal) and begin an electronic relationship until their schedules coincide again. Rudy assists with the delivery of Catherine Aura's chick, Nigel; she becomes a single mother in the process and is later fired from her teaching position until Rudy and Lindesfarne create, and then kill off, a fictional husband, causing the school to reinstate her.
Fiona meets and falls for musclebound Vin Vulpen, briefly abandoning Rudy. While Fiona realizes that Vin is using steroids, it is too late — Rudy goes to the Wild and joins an anti-civilization cult. Rudy leaves the group with the help of Kevin, and Rudy and Fiona make up. Kevin, now homeschooling Coney, begins to feel more predatory in nature and develops a relationship on Wolf MUCK with a random online wolf who, in reality, is Kell (who is searching for someone with predatory instincts); neither knows the other's identity at this time. Rudy joins the hunting team with Fiona in the mixed doubles slot, having learned effective techniques in his time in The Wild. Kell begins to experience problems with domestication. Fiona Fennec's parents appear; it is revealed that Fiona's father George is a Fennec fox, with particularly long ears, and was in an arranged marriage with Martha, a red fox. The two are quite snobbish about their ancestries, and only allow Fiona to continue to date Rudy if Caliban Academy's team wins the city hunting championship. Rudy wins with Lindesfarne's help, much to the Fennecs' chagrin. Kevin has a brief run-in with a loanshark, from whom he must take a loan when the bank refuses to give him one. The loanshark was devoured by Coney when Kell was toilet-training her.
When Rudy borrows Bruno's laptop to replace his computer, he and Fiona suspect that he is in an interspecies relationship (although Fiona incorrectly suspects that he is in one with Lindesfarne). Kell, however, misleads Rudy by claiming that she accessed the website. Lindesfarne reveals that Kell's boss R.L. and Rudy also suffer from domestication. Rudy panics, but a placebo from Lindesfarne seems to cure him for a while. Fiona, facing some bad publicity from a piece of Rudy's art that was stolen, undergoes a second major makeover (to her original appearance). Kevin, attempting to fix the Y2K bug, temporarily throws the entire family into a time warp to prehistory. Fiona secretly uses her still-existent powers to fix the Y2K bug and therefore the computer; it is much later revealed that the Great Bird Conspiracy engineered the time warp to make Rudy believe he was responsible for domestication after he tamed a goat.
Fenton meets Tammy the moth, and, missing Lindesfarne's company due to aforementioned schedule conflicts, becomes somewhat close with her. Lindesfarne therefore decides to switch from a diurnal to a nocturnal schedule, bolstered by the fact that she discovers her true identity as a hedgehog; she changes her registered species, becoming nocturnal. She becomes friends with Tammy, and the two fake Tammy's death in a scheme to toy with Fenton. Lindesfarne is initially angry with Fenton, but forgives him, especially since he has no reason to cheat on her anymore now that they can see each other all the time.
Fiona starts an apprenticeship as a stalkerazzi, with Catherine Aura's cousin Gino, and her first case involves Lindesfarne's suspected royal English lineage. Lindesfarne runs some DNA tests, confirms she was indeed royalty, then engages in a scheme to identify Chertsey Ealing, a homeless hedgehog in England, as the missing princess, so that she can remain at home and be able to conduct scientific research. A run-in with the insurance company re-reveals Rudy's domestication. Rudy, who anonymously faxes over the information proving his and Kell's domestication, has accepted that he has not been cured of domestication. Miss Aura reveals (to the audience and Nigel, not the main cast) the nature of the Great Bird Conspiracy. Corrie is adopted by Candace, but quickly tires of the rigid structure of a border collie's life; Dolly arrives and, used to a rigid lifestyle at a laboratory, takes Corrie's place. Vin Vulpen tries to get Rudy and Fiona and friends in trouble with a hate group, until they turn the group on Vin. Vin later attempts to cause Rudy's death by exposing him to pheromones during a hunt where the hunting team is only guided by scent, thus causing Rudy to be accidentally eaten. Rudy manages to avoid his team-mates and catch the elk that is his target, and he finds out that they accidentally ate someone Rudy suspects is Vin. Kell's father dies, and Ralph plans to sell all the family heirlooms, so Kevin gets a temp job as Santa to buy them back. Angelique makes an appearance (with her 20 adopted skunk children); her second husband left her with those children, so Lindesfarne transfers all his money to Angelique's account. Lindesfarne experiments with role-playing as a human, a creature of her own imagination.
While seeking the missing Vin Vulpen, Fenton disappears. The Great Bird Conspiracy abducts him, and reveals that Vin had disappeared because he had stumbled upon the GBC, much like Fenton had. In order to prevent Fenton from telling anyone, and in order to utilize his skills, the GBC claims that he died while running into a tree, and gives him a job at Microtalon (the equivalent of Microsoft). Fiona realizes her powers of technological repair were sent to her to fix the Year 2000 problem;also her appearance is changed yet again,when her hair switches from braids to pigtails. Rudy becomes lonely as she tours the world to put her power to use. Lindesfarne and Tammy meet Ray Flambeau, the firefly. The birds reveal (again, to the audience only) the time machine that sent the Dewclaws into prehistory in 1998. Corrie obtained a wolfskin (after another failed attack by Ralph), and used it to teach Bruno a lesson about appearances. Kevin found a semi-intelligent daisy, named it Daisy, and kept it as a pet. Dolly, experiencing rapid aging, runs off briefly, is accidentally zapped by the time machine and becomes an infant; Corrie returns Dolly to the Canids, calling her "Mary". Ray is accidentally zapped with an intelligence beam (the same beam that gave Daisy its intelligence), and was moved to work at Microtalon. He then realizes that the GBC's ultimate plan is to create computer code to run society. Kell's mom, who lost her inheritance day-trading, moves into the attic.
Fiona, intending to fix as many machines as possible before the start of the Year 2000, goes to Microtalon and invites the Dewclaws to come as well. Ray admits to Vin that he truly loved Lindesfarne, not Tammy, and gets the intelligence ray. After a few strips implying that he will use it to lower Fenton's intelligence (thus ensuring that he will be in a relationship with Lindesfarne), he uses it on himself to revert to his low intelligence in order to keep from coming between Lindesfarne and Fenton. Catherine Aura erases Fenton and Vin's memories (Ray presumably forgot what he was doing when he used the intelligence ray on himself), preventing the rest of the cast from learning about the GBC's plans. Fiona then realizes that her powers are gone, but Kevin and Kell fix the code, imbuing it with their tolerant personalities.
The changes are made at the last moment, and the code works. The GBC disbands, and Catherine and Nigel Aura travel back to ancient Greece. Fiona and her parents officially moves into their mansion. Fenton decides not to return to school, as despite not remembering his work at Microtalon, he feels confident enough to go into the real world. He gets a job at Flea-Bay, adding an insectivore perspective to the company. Fenton proposes, but Lindesfarne does not feel ready for marriage, the two being only in their late teens.
Shortly afterwards, the house begins losing its leaves and falling apart due to a lack of sunlight caused by Fiona's mansion overshadowing it. The Dewclaws are nearly forced to move, but the neighbors use mirrors to shine light on the house. Lindesfarne goes with Kell to Herd Thinners on "Take your daughter to work day"; while she is told to remain in Kell's office for her protection, she helps eliminate a termite infestation that almost causes the building to collapse.
Hackers strike Flea-Bay and erase the records. Angelique meets R.L., who was apparently mistakenly assigned a status as an insectivore. He plans to eat her, but when he hears of her selfishness and lack of ethics, he marries her, as he also possesses such qualities. Kevin has a run-in with the rabbit council under accusations of treason to rabbitkind, but reveals that it was not him but Angelique who was leaking secrets after Fenton uses his sonar to find out that Angelique married RL. Angelique's Rabbit License is subsequently revoked; she is demoted to a Long-Eared Rodent (i.e., rat) and gets cosmetic surgery to this end. Angelique attempts to buy out Kevin's business to gather personal information to sell to telemarketers, but Fiona buys it out as well, shortly before Angelique's evil scheme can come to fruition. Rudy has a run-in with Vin Vulpen, who challenges him to a duel. However, the part of Rudy's father that lives on in his memory gives him a stick, and Rudy uses it to expose Vin Vulpen's domestication.
Fiona's parents divorce because of mutual infidelity, and the mansion is (literally) split in half in the process. After a mole blows an incident with Coney out of proportion, the Dewclaws go into counseling in order to keep her. Despite believing that it will be an easy session, they learn that Lindesfarne feels neglected as a nocturnal species and that Kevin is unhappy about not being asked if Elanor could move in. After nearly killing the chameleon psychiatrist (who changes color to reflect the mood) with many conflicting emotions, they resolve their differences. In late June, the strip switches to color and adds large Sunday strips; often for strips that would not be possible under a normal layout, such as a map of the Dewclaws' tree, a 19-panel illustration of how the Dewclaws react to a ringing cell phone, or longer strips.
Lindesfarne has a stint with NASA, (she is hired to plug holes with her quills, despite her inventing an alloy that could do the same thing) which Rudy almost messes up by stowing away aboard the shuttle. Rudy barely avoids being exposed as domesticated on TV because he was temporarily cured of domestication by the moonlight he was exposed to in space. As a result, he starts messing around with his previous online romance with Corrie. Bruno, standing in for a tired Corrie, sets up a meeting with Rudy, not knowing who he is, and Corrie wears the wolfskin and what will eventually become her typical outfit as a disguise. Rudy realizes that he does not want to cheat on Fiona as his domestication kicks in, and he and Fiona become friends with Corrie, who has adopted the name "Dale Corrie." Unfortunately for her, Fiona, well-meaning, but not knowing who "Dale" is, registers Dale as a wolf cub, much to Corrie's dismay, when she sees that Dale is not on the Species Registry. Corrie is initially distressed, but Kell promises to get her a job at Herd Thinners after she finishes school, and Bruno tells her that with her registered as a wolf cub, they can marry one day (without the social disapproval that the Dewclaws face). Kevin's businesses change in this period. The Herbivore Forum shuts down on September 28, 2000. He also realizes that Mating Call is not very profitable, and while he briefly considers selling data, he realizes that it is what Angelique would have done. While experiencing problems with connection, he is inspired to establish an Internet Service Provider that has better service.
Kevin runs for election for recreation administrator against Sheldon Dome, in order to allow Coney into the predator Youth League. He loses due to Sheldon's last minute accusation that Kell ate his campaign manager (and, as is later revealed, wife), but due to Lindesfarne's investigations, the wife and cross-species child are discovered, and Coney is allowed into the league. Vin falls in love with Dale, who initially refuses his advances. However, when Vin steals Lindesfarne's domestication research, Dale goes on a date with him in order to help Lindesfarne to replace her stolen research with fake data, and claims to be a "were-sheep" to scare him off forever. Rudy, in the process, forgives Lindesfarne for halting her research.
R.L. disappears on a mission to recruit grizzlies from the Wild; when Kevin, Rudy and Kell find his partly-eaten briefcase, he is presumed dead. Angelique takes over Herd Thinners. firing much of the management and only hiring domesticated predators. She fires Ralph after Vin discovers that he was pocketing the money that Herd Thinners saved from Kevin's discount. Angelique also plans on taking over the world, but R.L. returns and convinces her to focus on making money. Ralph begins to work for Kevin, and a strip shows both him and Kell chafing at working for their worst enemies, yet realizing that they have no choice. He soon becomes extremely fat, but loses his bitterness towards Kevin in the process. Kell, fulfilling her previous promise to Corrie, gets her Ralph's job as webmaven. Kell gets a promotion, but finds mere management "empty", and eventually gets to work as a corporate recruiter instead. Off in the woods, she meets three vegetarian grizzlies in a twist on the Goldilocks fable; these three bears turn out to be long-lost relatives of Kell's good friends and neighbors, the Ursals. It is revealed that the Ursals disowned their vegetarian daughter and son-in-law, but regretted their actions and became good friends with the Dewclaws as a way to make amends for their intolerance. Kell reunites the family by having Harcourt send an e-mail to his grandparents. Rudy starts a webcomic about Lindesfarne's "human" invention, named "Rondo and Viola"; the title characters are human versions of himself and Fiona who enjoy despoiling the environment to stop Lord Vulpenator. Ray and Tammy marry. A giant spider attacks the wedding, but Lindesfarne, who is attending as a bridesmaid (her "cocoon" prevents the guests from knowing that she is an insectivore) impales and eats the spider.
Ralph has a complete change of heart, accepting Kevin as family. Kevin also values Ralph, and after Ralph gets a major contract at ISP Con while standing in for Fenton, Kevin promotes him to Vice President (however, some dialogue indicates Ralph may have been angling for a promotion). Rudy and Fiona accidentally set up a relationship between Ralph and Martha, but accept this as a good thing. Rudy's comic about humans was found to be causing instinct loss among its readers by Ms. Aura and later, Candace, so Ms. Aura becomes his hunting coach and, under pressure from school and sports, Rudy quits writing the comic. Lindesfarne discovers that she is allergic to Kell, and stays with Angelique, until she learns that Angelique had Vin prepare a compound to make her allergic. She then returns home, but not before making Angelique allergic to Gweneth.
Bruno, still wearing a sheepskin on his back, is captured by the mole scientists who had cloned Dolly and were searching for her; before escaping, he learns that Corrie is secretly half-wolf and Ralph's daughter (Rudy and Fiona had previously suspected the relationship, based on the scent of her wolfskin disguise). Corrie introduces herself to Ralph, and Ralph introduces Corrie to Martha (still as "Dale", with the wolfskin). Martha immediately experiences second thoughts about her relationship with Ralph. Fiona and Rudy attempt to get them back together at a costume party (to get Martha out of her persona), but the two initially do not talk. Martha, however, talks with Corrie (initially not recognizing her), who charms her and persuades her to apologize and resume her relatoinship with Ralph. Rudy is thought to be 12 because Kell lied about his age in the past, and is banned from the hunting team, but clears himself; this is either a reference to Danny Almonte, or a possible resolution to Rudy being claimed as 12 in the early years of the strip. Kell attempts to convince Kevin to contact his family. He calls his parents' house and gets a restraining order. Kell feels guilty and, dressed up as a rabbit, has a brief trip into the Rabbit Warren. During the trip, she learns that another family has moved into Kevin's old home (which may be why the family hung up on Kevin so quickly). She runs into trouble when she is almost exposed as a predator, and is rescued with the aid of Kevin's career criminal dad, "Pop" Kindle, who poses as her husband with the help of fake IDs that Kevin made. Ralph, while playing Santa for Hare-Link, gets an e-mail from Gweneth asking for Angelique and R.L. to spend more time with her. Lindesfarne accesses Angelique's laptop with the applications of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and convinces her to come home.
Kevin's father, known as "Pop Kindle" is hired as a security consultant for Herd Thinners to deal with vanishing herds. Martha proposes to Ralph, and asks Fiona, who owns Hare-Link, to fire Kevin and promote Ralph. Fiona, knowing that Hare-Link will collapse if she fires Kevin, and that she may anger Martha, Ralph and Corrie if she does not, sells the business to her father, who buys it using the equity in his half of the mansion. Rudy starts a new comic about a sheep with a wolfish personality. Dale is finally revealed as Corrie when she eats a cougar that attacks Fiona, and her disguise is knocked off. Fiona's fennec genes finally express themselves when her ears experience a growth spurt; she almost decides to have them shortened, but learns of a Fennec Pride group, and begins taking pride in her ancestry. After a falling-out with the group, she leaves it, but keeps the ears. Her decision disappoints her father, as he was also prepared to shorten his ears, and could only do so if Fiona paid for it (which she is now unwilling to do). Vin loses his tail in an accident; in the search for a compatible tail donor Lindesfarne discovers Rudy is Vin's half-brother. Rudy is upset upon learning that his father, whom he had respected, had been unfaithful, and that he must donate part of his tail to Vin. However, he does so altering the latter's personality and causing him to become similar to Rudy. As a result of Vin inheriting Rudy's carelessness, he accidentally destroys Angelique's rabbit ears in a lab accident, and is fired from Herd Thinners. Fiona donates her pigtails for use in tail extensions for the two to restore them to their former appearance (resulting in Vin mysteriously regaining his previous personality), changing her own hairstyle significantly; she wears her hair shorter for some time, but by mid-2004, it has grown significantly.
George Fennec, working for Hare-Link, lands a major contract with Carrot Computers while dressed up as a rabbit, but falls in love with a certain Zerda Zenith, who thinks he is a rabbit; he does not reveal himself because she saw him on TV, and would think of him as a "self-centered schmoe" if she knew who he really was. An e-mail relationship ensues. Kevin holds "Rabbit School" to teach George how to act like a rabbit; George's main weakness was not acting fearful enough. However, Kevin reveals that he has always been an outcast and anomaly due to his lack of fear, and fearlessness was the reason for his difficulty on scampering tests. It was also a possible reason why he married Angelique; he did not fear those with evil intentions, and mistakenly trusted her. Tammy's son Angstrom hatches from his egg, and has the ability to give off intense light. Angelique and R.L. have a run-in with the law for supposedly inflating kill counts, but it is revealed that they were framed by Vin, who sought revenge for his firing. Shortly after being discovered, Vin is abducted and infected by a collection of mild bacteria, viruses, and fungi; Rudy saves him by using mouthwash to destroy the germs, and helps Vin escape into the Wild by falsely reporting his death. Coney gets lost while the family is looking at trees and has a variety of misadventures. Her diaper begins to smell during this time period, and some bank robbers use her to thwart a bank's security system. They run into Kevin's father, and accidentally injure him by dropping a chunk of the ceiling on him, but Coney thwarts the robbery, and Kell, who picks up Coney's diaper scent on winds created by Santa's sleigh passing by, takes her father-in-law to the hospital. The police decide not to charge Pop Kindle in gratitude for what Coney did.
The Bermuda Triangle
In June of this year, shortly after Vin and Rudy are revealed to be half-brothers, Ralph and Martha are married and honeymoon in Bermuda. Their ship starts to sink, and upon being thrown overboard, they encounter a dimensional portal within the Bermuda Triangle that leads to the human world (i.e. our universe), which was being used by a random (human) garbage scow for garbage disposal purposes. This portal is later explained to change the fundamental genetic code of any organism sent through it to suit the laws of nature on the other side; as such, it turns Ralph and Martha into humans themselves. The two sneak back to their dimension by hiding in some lead-lined barrels. Ralph considers living in a place where he believes he would fit in, but is thrown through the portal when a loose rope catches around his leg. They return, but Martha, whose sealed lead-lined barrel prevented the portal from changing her back, remains human. Jokes ensue, including a parody of Beauty and the Beast's song of the same name. Martha even plans on developing The Wild until she realizes her family is suffering instinct loss as a result, upon which she heads out to sea to return to the human world. She returns once again as a fox after her family pursues and rescues her, and only her immediate family (Ralph, Fiona, Corrie) knows of the situation at first.
Pop Kindle has a run-in with the mob — more accurately, the Bovine Herd, to which he owes money because he lost the bet that Kell would eat Kevin. The Herd supposedly wishes to recruit Kevin, but actually plans on using him, and Pop Kindle after he gets caught wearing a wire, as meat. The Herd is busted by the cops after Kevin defeats the members sent after him and traps the rest, but the boss, a cow in disguise, escapes. Bruno is revealed as a "closet herbivore"; he gets into a big fight with Rudy in the playground where they first met. Afterwards, they reconcile and Bruno gets herbivore teeth; Rudy knocked out all his canine teeth. Lindesfarne encounters an intelligent tree; Fenton saves it from the lumber company and makes it into a home. Tree experiences an issue with warped intelligence, which is repaired by pruning. The Dewclaws appear on Trading Habitats and find the skeleton of Kell's previous boyfriend in their neighbor's wall; a mystery ensues involving identity theft that results in Chet, who is actually alive, being exposed as the identity thief. A parent group attempts to remove Bruno from the hunting team by using a technicality; the hunting team must share in the kill, something Bruno, now a ruminant, cannot do. However, Bruno, Corrie and Rudy successfully trick the school board into thinking that Bruno can eat meat.
Rudy encounters trouble with a pack of coyotes who hate Bruno's diet. Bruno meets Rachel Einhorn the rhino, who helps save him from another attack by a larger number of coyotes. A sneaky plan deals with the coyote menace in a more or less permanent manner, with Lindesfarne disguising as a reindeer to scare them away from Bruno and Rachel, Corrie luring them to a Rabbit warren entrance, and Rachel sealing them inside. Corrie gets jealous of Rachel, but then Rachel, who is a lesbian, reveals that, due to poor eyesight, she had thought Bruno was a girl. He adds a set of horns to his favorite sheepskin, which Corrie had given him for his bithday, to rectify the problem.
Shortly after the Trading Habitats episode, The Rabbit's Revenge terrorist movement strikes Herd Thinners, Inc., resulting in Sid's death. Kevin and Kell investigate down in the Rabbit Warren, meeting Danielle Kindle, Kevin's twenty-ninth sibling. Danielle has information on the terrorists, who are exposed and rounded up after Kevin uploads the information to Hare-Link, and Rudy and Lindesfarne disseminate it. Kell catches Pop Kindle, who denies killing Sid, and suggests that Angelique might have done it to frame him as a member of Rabbit's Revenge; "Rabbit's Revenge" was in her handwriting. However, both Pop Kindle and Angelique tried to frame each other. Danielle was apparently partially responsible for the murder; she had joined Rabbit's Revenge and was going to kill the victim to be initiated, but when she was too nervous go through it, he slipped on some of her sweat, and accidentally shot himself with her stake gun. Pop Kindle takes the fall for the murder, is convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Danielle moves in to the Dewclaws' basement, working as an accountant for Hare-Link. She discovers embezzlement, which Lindesfarne first traces to Fenton, but Kell realizes that Tree is responsible, because all the money was saved. Danielle accompanies George to a meeting with Zerda masquerading as his teenage daughter; shortly after Zerda dumps George for a fennec fox (and after his own attempt to expose himself as one falls flat), he develops a static-electric romantic "spark" with Danielle. When this proves hazardous to electronic equipment, they avoid each other, but it is revealed that George has feelings for Danielle.
Rabbit's Revenge elements come back for Danielle, demanding that she turn over Coney in order to breed carnivorous rabbits to drive other species to extinction. She escapes their attempt to throw her to a group of lions and subsequently embarks on a mission with George and Kevin to destroy their records by means of their electrostatic spark. George triggers a trap that fires a stake at him, and Danielle pushes him out of the way; the stake hits and mortally wounds her. She dies heroically in George's arms as her massive final "spark" destroys the computers.
Meanwhile, in our universe, a human IRS agent named Danielle Kendall is investigating a garbage scow which was previously involved in the Bermuda Triangle portal dumping business. The crane operators decide to play around and throw her into the portal as a demonstration, but the portal, no longer blocked, transports her into the animal world. She is transformed into the exact image of Danielle Kindle; she ends up on the Dewclaws' doorstep after escaping from the birds. It is in their home that she comes to terms with the occurrences, and decides to stay in that world, with the family believing that she is really Danielle and she unwilling to tell them otherwise. Although she initially meets much resentment from George, who doubts she is Danielle when they do not "spark," they later develop a similar romantic spark and she removes his doubts. Danielle engages in un-rabbitlike activities due to her human upbringing, such as consumption of meat, and fails her scampering test due to an un-rabbitlike lack of fear. As she is weeping and does not know what to do, George suggests she become "a Fennec" and proposes. Danielle accepts, and their wedding is scheduled for February.
Danielle engages in wedding preparation. Rudy begins to suspect Danielle has a secret, finding a quarter with George Washington's human face on it. Lindesfarne investigates, has a vivid dream, and when she learns that she is genetically identical to Chertsey Ealing (royal British hedgehog; see 1998) and that there is a parallel world with humans after hearing Ralph and Martha's story, she realizes she is from that dimension. She believes that she, like Martha, is causing instinct loss, and flees for Tammy and Ray's lighthouse to take a boat to the portal, but Fenton, (whose unfortunately phrased answer to her somewhat vague question of how she impacts those close to her had convinced her to leave), persuades her to stay.
On their way home, the comic begins a crossover with General Protection Fault. GPF' characters Nick and Ki, experimenting in virtual reality, find themselves in the animal world. The two stay briefly and talk with Lindesfarne and Fenton about the nature of human beings. During this time, Lindesfarne suspects that Danielle might be human when she overhears a conversation between Ki and Danielle, and recalls Rudy saying that she is. When they leave, Danielle attempts to go along, fails, and immediately regrets even trying, given her engagement to George. Lindesfarne and Fenton speak with Danielle regarding her humanity, and Ms. Aura finds out as well. Due to a massive imbalance between the universes (the result of Nick and Ki arriving, resulting in four individuals from the human world), the most massive worldwide instinct loss in history is occurring, with dire consequences. Danielle and Lindesfarne realize this, so Danielle moves her (imminent) wedding to a cruise ship where she plans to head through the portal to the human world. Ms. Aura and Nigel appear and leave in her stead after briefly appearing intent on expelling Lindesfarne and Danielle. In doing so, they leave the cast, and other birds, with the responsibility of being the "caretakers" of the portal. George and Danielle are married, and things return to relative normalcy; Kevin and Kell accept Lindesfarne and Danielle's human origins. Gino moves into his cousin Catherine's vacant tree; while he helps Kevin by delivering eggs, what effect he will have on the storyline has yet to be determined.
Kell recognizes and overcomes a prejudice against cats; she throws out some recruiters for a feline university, but learns of Rhonda teaching Coney how to pounce. When her car breaks down outside a cats-only bar, she becomes friends with a feline auto mechanic named Aby Eyeshine. Aby had helped Kell, disguised as a cat, deal with a troublemaker and had fixed her car for no charge, using Kell's fake tail to replace the fan belt. Elanor becomes involved in an online relationship with Pop Kindle. Legislation is proposed to ban carnivore-herbivore marriages, and during the resulting discussions a legal anomaly regarding Kevin and Kell's marriage is discovered; Rudy had failed to send the paperwork out of bitterness that the "alpha male" of the family was a rabbit. The two are finally legally wed when rushing to a courthouse in the belief that they will be prevented from marrying; their rush to do so prompts the herbivore-dominated senate to unanimously defeat the bill, when they had been set to pass it. Rudy is diagnosed with dystraxia, similar to a storyline in one of the author's other comic strips, Safe Havens, which occurred in early 2000. Between his natural talents for using his other senses and help from his friends, Rudy manages to still hunt quite well.
After Kell is inexplicably fired from Herd Thinners, ironically on the recommendation of a cat contractor, Kevin secretly decides to reprise his role as a wrestler named The Iron Rabbit for quick cash. His first adversary is revealed after the match to be R.L. himself, who purchases the new identity from Kevin. Kell decides to become assistant coach for the Caliban Academy hunting team, which upsets Rudy, who is in the process of a "lone wolf" phase. She volunteers herself to work for Aby as office manager, and likes the friendlier atmosphere in the shop. Meanwhile, Herd Thinners experiences drawbacks with rabies vaccination cutbacks, leading the company to seek out Kell. Kell, bitter about being fired for no good reason and distrustful of R.L., refuses to be re-hired and instead refers them to the Caliban High School hunting team for use as interns; the experience makes Rudy feel bettter about himself. The city of Domain begins solicitizing bids for city-wide Wi-Fi access. Despite the major competition, Hare-Link enters the contest, confident in their ability to provide a better wireless service than their competitors, and knowing that someone else winning the contract would put them out of business.
Kevin and Hare-Link manage to secure a bid to provide the suburb with Wi-Fi access. The plan to provide Wi-Fi access falls through however, as lobbying from telecommunications companies coerced the mayor to cancel the project; the contract with Hare-Link included a sort of insurance clause, so no harm was done to the company. Kell attempts to fix Aby up on a date with Sam Pardus, coach of the school hunting team; unbeknownst to her, the coach is Aby's brother. It is also unknown to all but the Eyeshine family that the coach is also domesticated, and not really a leopard; he also changed his last name. During a celebration naming Pardus the coach of the year, the students inadvertently wash the leopard-print paint from him with Gatorade, reveaing his true appearance as a calico. Amid angry words from the spectators in the benches, the students and Coach Kell stand together in his defense, themselves being unconventional, and Rudy disperses a mob by taking advantage of their ignorance about domestication. In the end, the headmaster of the school allows Coach Pardus to keep his job.
Kevin becomes the new Easter Bunny. Easter egg hunting turns out to be a recruiting ploy cooked up by Herd Thinners Inc. Coney says her first word("Salt") and begins learning to walk shortly thereafter. When Lindesfarne posts it on her blog, the Rabbit Council attempts to set up an arranged marriage for her; Kevin is still turning down requests. Lindesfarne graduates from high school and decides to have Rhonda as a roommate at Beige University. Before receiving her diploma, Lindesfarne encounters Angelique, who relinquishes all claims of custody of Lindesfarne as a gift. Rudy takes up driving lessons and is interested in the navy. Kell learns that her mother once failed to catch Pop Kindle, and that she discovered his identity a long time ago.
Kell talks with Aby about the differences in communication between canines and felines, and the two begin to learn the intricacies of each other's language. Kevin is informed by the Rabbit Warren that Kell's and Aby's relationship may be a threat to the Warren and to prey species everywhere. The Warren starts a fake insurance company to compete with Herd Thinners and nearly drive them out of business (by insuring prey species exclusively and "bleeding them dry"). Kell comes up with a plan to avoid preying on the staff of the insurance company, thereby forcing them to give pensions to their workers and go out of business, in exchange for R.L. making Aby the official contractor for Herd Thinners auto maintenance. Kell resigns as Aby's auto manager, partly because R.L. is rehiring her, and partly because Aby now needs a professional accountant, and is rehired as a staff predator.
Lindesfarne and Fenton enroll in college (Lindesfarne is doing a triple major). The ISP needs some new modems, but there is no more room — Fenton's "Smart Tree" is suggested, but Kevin is hesitant, presumably because to him, Tree is "prey," until he spends some time with Tree during a power outage that traps him inside.
The Ursals move to Florida, abandoning their home across the street from the Dewclaws. Aby tries to buy it, but is blocked by the feline Homeowners' Board because they do not want a canine and a feline living in adjacent houses. Kell pleads Aby's case on her behalf by speaking in feline to them and succeeds. A rumor is spread about Rudy — that he is a picky eater. Things become unbearable, until Lindesfarne discovers that it was one of Rudy's fleas who was the web-bully. A flea dip fixes that problem.
Kevin searches for his mother in the Wild, as he wishes that she could see Coney's growth. He finds her, and while she is initially reluctant to visit a half-predator grandchild, she makes plans to visit the Dewclaws at Christmas, so that Coney will know her grandmother's scent (Coney, being part wolf, will not hunt fellow pack members). Kevin's mother visits them on Christmas Eve and learns that Coney is an omnivore, rather than a carnivore or (as her newly-found grandmother would prefer it) an herbivore. The relations between the two improve slightly, however, when Kevin's mother helps Kell's mother when she slips and breaks her hip. Dorothy, however, had some self-serving ulterior motives for doing so; she imitates the howls of a pack of predators to make Elanor think that she is in danger of being eaten in order to teach her empathy for prey species.
Dorothy begins to help Elanor rehabilitate, and relationships seem to improve between the two. However, Dorothy continues her futile attempts at making Coney a vegetarian, such as carving a face into a head of lettuce, but such attempts fail, as Coney uses a carrot as bait in a box trap. Dorothy begins to annoy Kell, although apparently she also did so with Angelique ("The little annoyances you used on my first wife won't work on Kell", Kevin tells her).
Rudy and the others at Caliban Academy are entered into a "high stakes test" in which the predators must hunt and kill their fellow students until 10% of the school is eliminated. However, the prey species hide well, and only the school board members who proposed this test are devoured. Kevin decides to run for school board, and is currently in the process of doing so; the election is in the fall. The election currently centers around the issue of high stakes testing; Kevin opposes such tests, but his opponent, who is receiving funding from "the testing industry" most likely does not. Rudy attempts to study tracking to deal with his tracking disability until, at Dorothy's suggestion, he simply runs around, and catches as much prey as he did while attempting to track his quarry, while enjoying it more.
Back at Beige University, Professor Antlerhead recruits Lindesfarne to be a research assistant, but she discovers that he has been falsifying his results. Unwilling to be seen as a whistleblower, and unable to ignore the professor's fraud, Lindesfarne honestly completes the experiment and continues to work for the professor on stem cells. Her blog also chronicles other events, such as Rhonda breaking up with Edgar, and becoming close friends with her.
Dorothy torments Elanor psychologically in order to help her rehabilitate; partly because she does so, Elanor eventually fully recovers. The outward reactions the two have to each other belie their true feelings; Dorothy wishes to help Elanor despite seeming malicious, and the outwardly resentful Elanor inadvertently reveals her inner gratitude when her tail is in the "thank you" position.
Danielle becomes pregnant. George, who was emotionally detached when Fiona was born, is thunderstruck upon learning that Danielle is pregnant and passes out when he realizes that rabbits have litters (it is later revealed that Danielle has a single child). Still, he is determined to have the kind of relationship with his son that he never had with Fiona because of his frequently being away and Fiona usually staying with her mother. Danielle attempts to tell Dorothy that she is the human counterpart of the dead Danielle Kindle, but while Dorothy seems understanding, Danielle is certain that she does not believe it, and has given up on convincing her otherwise.
Kevin once again takes on the role of the Easter Bunny, despite reservations from the Rabbit Council over his School Board campaign. However, when Gino delivers the eggs, Kevin is too ill to move. Kell, dressed in a rabbit suit and the traditional outfit, stands in for him. Not only does she avoid any suspicion that Kevin had shirked his duties, but she also earns acclaim for her work because of her hiding eggs near where canines mark scents. Kell convinces Aby, who considers herself married to her work, to have a formal marriage ceremony, and she does so; this may be the end of her trying to find a boyfriend.
Elanor completes her rehabilitation, and Dorothy moves in with George and Danielle in time for Lindesfarne to move back home for the summer. Elanor and Dorothy's relationship improves, and they start spending more time with each other, partly because the now-speaking Coney wants to see Dorothy. Kevin learns that he was arranged to marry Fran Caudal in infancy, but her family had withdrawn from the marriage when they found out that Kevin was fearless. Fran also discovers that Kevin Dewclaw was the person she had been arranged to marry after learning that his last name was previously Kindle, but they both initially plan to keep silent about the issue.
Lindesfarne returns from college, along with Rhonda and Fenton. Edgar wishes to re-start his relationship with Rhonda, but Rhonda refuses to have anything to do with him because he refuses to hunt. Edgar takes some lessons from Rudy, and while he fails to learn how to hunt (he slams into a tree while pouncing at a roast chicken), Rhonda appreciates his efforts and their relationship resumes.
Danielle continues in her pregnancy, and the baby, due in November, continues to grow. However, whether it is primarily a rabbit or a Fennec fox is unknown — Danielle refuses to get ultrasounds after Dorothy and Elanor speculate on its true species based on inconsequential bits of evidence.
Dorothy is asked to be the conditioning coach for the hunting team. While she is initially reluctant to accept, she eventually agrees after learning that the team does not hunt rabbits. She also reveals her reasons for helping Rudy overcome his dystraxia; she, too, has the disorder. When a moose charges Coach Pardus during a hunting competition and breaks his leg, Dorothy fills in for him as the coach on the bench. She uses a strategy that Rudy proposes that involves him serving as a distraction for the prey while the others make the kill. His strategy works and he becomes co-captain alongside Fiona. His teammates treat him and Fiona as their parents, attempting to manipulate them into acting in their favor, until he begins treating them as child stereotypes.
Lindesfarne moves back into the Beige University dormitories and meets Bob Shrike, Fenton's roommate. She is initially concerned because Bob Shrike's species sometimes eats small mammals, and Fenton has no natural advantages over him, but is willing to give him a chance, possibly because her adoptive father, despite being in a similar situation, trusts Kell and Rudy.
In a debate in the School Board race, a moderator asks about the rattlesnake incident. Fran Caudal claims to have killed the rattlesnake to curry favor with voters; Kevin does not tell his side of the story for fear of being ostracized in the rabbit community. The plan temporarily gives Fran a tremendous advantage, but Dr. Caduceus reveals that he witnessed the actual event when he was younger. After this revelation, Kevin and Fran are tied in the polls.
On Election Night, Danielle goes into labor, but is unable to reach the hospital by car with Kevin, Kell and Elanor because of traffic. While she and Kevin initially plan to use the rabbit warren entrance in Fran Caudal's backyard to travel to the hospital, the baby comes sooner than expected, and Danielle gives birth with Fran's help, but not before George, determined to not miss his son's birth, arrives. At the same time, Kevin hears from the media that he won the election, although he is initially distracted by Danielle giving birth. Danielle's son, named Francis after his midwife, is not classified as either a fox or a rabbit; Elanor and Dorothy are unable to resolve their bet over what he is, and Danielle is concerned that this may impact his health care when he is older.
The Species Registry decides that unless Danielle will classify Francis, they will do so for her. Various mammal species assemble outside her house in order to convince the registry to mark Francis as a member of their species. Danielle and George still refuse to classify Francis, and the Species Registry gives him a blank classification, unwilling to offend the species that do not get the classification.
On Kevin's first day as a school board member, a windshield falls off a truck, killing the headmaster. Kevin nominates Fran Caudal to replace him - despite the fact that she supports high-stakes tests, he realizes that he will need to form a consensus on the board, since he is the only one of five members who opposes high-stakes tests. To this end, when Danielle discovers a way for the school to save millions, he allows a fellow member to take credit in exchange for voting with him, despite some doubt as to whether or not he will keep his promise.
After Kell goes to pick up Aby's dessert while bearing a mouse's scent, a large dog pursues and "trees" her and Aby. Kell then learns that she did the same to Aby when they were both ten. Kell and Aby successfully return home, and Kell promises to never tree any feline again.
Fran Caudal takes up the position of headmaster of Caliban Academy. Although Lindesfarne hopes that Rudy does not get sent to her office (and he makes a New Year's Resolution to avoid detention), he gets in trouble when a hornless caricature of his English teacher (a steer) he drew in class quickly spreads around the Internet, and is sentenced to draw a dignified portrait of his teacher.
After a series of short arcs—including Kevin failing to notice Kell's winter coat didn't grow in because of an unusually late onset of winter, Fenton taking considerably more risks while flying with Lindesfarne, and ongoing efforts to determine Francis' species—Kevin's duties as the Easter Bunny are once more interrupted when the roof caves in over the Hare-Link server room underground. Forced to fix it, Kevin ends up dressing Rudy up like a rabbit and sends him off to distribute the eggs. While he is out and about, somebody snaps a picture of him. It's just fuzzy enough that they cannot make out that he is really a wolf, and his likeness as a rabbit becomes a new iconic figure for the Easter Bunny. The Rabbit Council decides to permanently give Rudy the gig, in exchange for a college scholarship.
While learning more about felines, Aby shows Kell Ninth Life, an online virtual world (analogous to Second Life) where all the avatars are feline. She ultimate joins; Kevin joins later, remembering how his first marriage ended because of "online secrets".
Worried about Fenton's increasing risk-taking, Lindesfarne decides to con Fenton into thinking it's 2010 and they're already married. However, Fenton turns the trick back onto her, convincing her it's time to finally take their relationship the rest of the way. Lindesfarne finally accepts his standing marriage proposal, realizing she actually conned herself.
The first evidence of Francis' species begins to appear as he starts tugging Danielle's ears and, eventually, climbing things. This tends to push his possible species to something of primate origin.
Happiness over Lindesfarne and Fenton's engagement does not last long. Angelique informs Kevin that, under rabbit traditions, she had Lindesfarne betrothed to the child of another rabbit couple. Kevin and Lindesfarne go to the family to break the contract, only to find they are eagerly awaiting her arrival. Everyone except Quinn, their adopted porcupine son, who is as disinterested in marrying Lindesfarne as vice versa. Tired of the hero worship his parents have placed on Lindesfarne, he is more interested in a girl he's dating on Ninth Life. That girl, as it turns out, is Rhonda. As a last-ditch effort to break the betrothal contract, Quinn and Rhonda get married. Although they only have to be married long enough to break the contract, they quickly hit it off, making an annulment unnecessary. While meeting Quinn's parents to try to break the contract, they are attacked by Rhonda's ex-boyfriend, Edgar. Rhonda knocks Edgar out, winning Quinn's parents over and clearing the way for Lindesfarne to marry Fenton.
Now needing a new roommate, Lindesfarne agrees to be Rachel's roommate, as she has graduated from Caliban and is now attending Beige University. Meanwhile, Edgar, still determined to win back Rhonda, finally figures out he cannot depend on her for a meal ticket if he wants her back. He joins the hunting team. However, ashamed at the prospect of being a male lion learning how to hunt, he cuts his mane off, and wears a wig while in class. As expected, Edgar is hapless at hunting. Perturbed by the inept apparent lioness, Leona Mangle (daughter of one of Kell's colleagues at Herd Thinners, Frank) joins the hunting team. As it turns out, she has a crush on Edgar. When she finds out he's actually the "other lioness", she is actually very pleased, since her father is a single male lion who hunts as well. The two begin dating, and hunting together.
With Aby's Auto Repair growing, Aby is too busy with the business side of her work to actually do what she loves, which is repairing cars. Kell has an idea: hire Eleanor and Dorothy to manage her business. This means finding somebody to babysit Coney and Francis. They find the perfect person to do it: George. Growing depressed with his lack of things to do as CEO of Hare-Link, he finds new meaning babysitting Coney and his son. Although Eleanor and Dorothy still have their disagreements, Dorothy at least enjoys her new job. But she is starting to get jealous of the aparrent growing online relationship between Eleanor and Bentley. The detail at which he is sharing his life with her is making her jealous.
The families have an issue over where to hold Thanksgiving dinner, since there are several possible venues: Kevin's house, Fiona's mansion, George's house, Tree... Aby comes up with a compromise: hold it at her place, the Ursin's old cave. This is her way of expressing that the Dewclaw family is her family as well.
Domain finally agrees to turn on Hare-Link's Wi-Fi service, but only in the two city blocks surrounding City Hall.
Around Christmas, Kevin's clothes are eaten by moths while he is out of town for a meeting. Mistaken for a wild animal, he is run off into The Wild. He finally finds clothes from a scarecrow, but by that time he's wandered so far that he's in the middle of nowhere. He is ultimately found by a television bounty hunter hired by R.L. to find him, but beats him up, using his camera crew to track his way back to Domain. He then has to clean up the mess caused by the moths, who used his identity to buy a gigantic shipment of light bulbs.
2008 begins with a strike by the hunters of Herd Thinners. After several negotiators ended up eating each other, Kell and R.L. finally meet to negotiate directly. Kell finally convinces R.L. to agree to their demands, saying the Internet will increase consumption of Herd Thinners product and, thus, his profits.
During Valentine's Day, Fiona spends some time camoflauged to show Rudy that he's been taking her for granted. She ultimately springs her trap when she dresses up like Bruno to hear him say how he really feels.
Later on that year, Fenton's parents come to Beige University. As it turns out, Fenton's mother, Desdemona, has been pushing ahead with plans already, and already has most of the wedding planned. Lindesfarne gets her to slow down with her pushiness to get her and Fenton down the aisle.
Kell rescues a kitten who got stuck in the Dewclaw home tree. Afterward, Kevin continues to try to bring down all-or-nothing testing as part of the School Board. He finally succeeds...only for it to be replaced with a battery of multiple standardized tests. As part of the rabbit tradition of Seed Day, Dorothy tries to get Coney to plant seeds, but she only tries to use it as bait for prey, confounding her continued plans to turn her herbivore.
The ghost of Kell's ex-husband, Randy, starts to linger around the house, so Kell hires a ghost whisperer to get him to move on. He finally heads to the light after apologizing for cheating on Kell early in their marriage.
Somehow Douglas's identity as D.B. Cooper gets to the FBI. They come and arrest him, but not before he e-mails the manuscript for his biography to Dorothy. To make matters worse, he ends up being Bentley's cellmate in prison. Since most of his charges were dropped due to statute of limitations, Douglas doesn't plan on being in prison long, due to "good behavior". Bentley decides to give it a try himself.
R.L. makes an offer to purchase Aby's Auto Repair, but is snubbed. He retaliates by buying up the land around her with the intent of opening competing shops. It turns out he is also developing a rival to Aby's alternative fuel technology. An alternate is reached where R.L. gets a cut of Aby's technology if he signs the land over to her, allowing her to expand Aby's Auto Repair.
An issue develops when Coney's preschool determines she is becoming more selective in her hunting, and has become protective of some of her herbivore classmates. The family determines that this is the result of her protecting Francis. This further confounds Dorothy, who is aggravated by the young rabbit not being a herbivore. It takes a near attack from a bear, who is swiftly killed and eaten by Coney, to finally end her attempts to convert Coney into a herbivore.
Surprisingly, the Rabbit Council asks Kevin to take a permanent seat on their board, but only if he brings Coney to their meetings. He is, however, irritated by their insistence to meet in shadow, and their continued cowardice as a society. As it turns out, the Council wants Kevin to expose Herd Thinners secrets he may have learned from Kell, which he will not tell.
The family is visited by Kell's cousin, Sheila. The two switch places before she arrives, so they could see how each other live up close. During the exchange they deal with some lingering issues between each other.
At one of the visits of the Rabbit Council, Kevin finds out why they do their business in the dark: they're engaged in bribery. When they refuse to allow him to resign, revealing they really want his daughter's protection, he starts to eat, effectively filibustering the council. He continues to eat for four days straight, helped by other rabbits during the harvest. When he collapses from exhaustion, a snake appears from an air vent and tries to eat him. Coney grabs him, kills him, and eats him slowly, continuing the filibuster. When Kevin awakens, the rabbits finally agree to come clean, though it will prove a long process.
Rudy finally gets to take his driving test. His first attempt, laid out by a bitter arctic tern who has been stuck in his job instead of migrating, ends in failure. But after following a strategy suggested by Kevin—to use his instinct to chase cars—he passes on the second attempt.
During the Christmas holiday, the Fuscus family came to the Dewclaw house while Lindesfarne was on winter break and sang carols for her. She appreciated it, even though she couldn't hear them. (Rudy could, unfortunately.) At a holiday party, Dorothy got Eleanor drunk on her famous carrot nog. Later on in the holiday season, Dorothy told a Christmas story to Coney that was similar to A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Kevin as a child tried to get a tree for a Madrigal play. After the puny tree was rejected, he tried to replant it. It was revealed that the replanted tree ultimately became Tree, the sentient conifer that Lindesfarne and Fenton now live in.
Right at the turn of the new year, Fiona finds out that her investments tanked with the rest of the economy. She is now completely broke. Although the house is paid for, to cover other expenses she turns the mansion into a boarding house. In order to maximize space, Fiona and Corrie must share a room. Strict rules are set so they can carry a diverse clientelle. In addition to the changes in business, Fiona also loses her scholarships, since they were only after her fortune for booster fees.
Eventually, Sheila returns and boards up at the Fennec Mansion, having been laid off from her job. She is soon followed by gangsters. Apparently she borrowed money from an unusual bank, and still owes more money even though she's paid it off nearly four-fold. In order to stop the following, Kell disguises Sheila as a feline, while taking her outfit to lure in another hitman. As it turns out, the mob boss is a mosquito, who disguises himself as a dead mosquito on a windshield. The boss threatens to blackmail R.L. in addition, before a moment off-guard leads him to be eaten by a frog, ending the threat to Sheila. Shiela ultimately finds a job as a pest exterminator.
The Rabbit Council tries to work their way through the struggling economy. However, Kevin comes up with an idea. They can sell the dirt from their burrowing to beavers who work in construction.
During the summer, Kevin and Kell decide they can take vacations by themselves now that Lindesfarne is grown up, Rudy can take care of himself and the grandmothers can watch Coney. They decide to return to the site of their honeymoon, which is now Goldilocks Resorts. It was bought by a mouse under foreclosure. After several days, the laptop battery dies and Kevin goes to get it charged. He then disappears. Kell goes in search of him, and finds the original bear owners of the resort. As it turns out, Goldilocks, who was their financial advisor, conned the Bears out of the resort by convincing them to take an adjustable-rate loan for an expansion, then buying it in foreclosure when the rate ballooned. Kell sheds her fur all over the resort to scare away all the other guests, and pressure Goldilocks into handing the resort back to the Bears.
When it comes time for the Easter Bunny again, Rudy comes up with the idea of recruiting Fiona to join her in distributing easter eggs, and splitting his scholarship with her.
Many experience economic difficulty in Domain. Fenton has to resort to putting a spout on Tree to milk her sap. Aby, however, is experiencing no trouble with her auto repair shop, and is proceeding with her expansion. Kell tries again to hook her up with another male, this time Frank, but she's more interested in the issues she can detect in his van. Kell is convinced her heart was broken at some point, but nobody seems to know for sure, not even her brother, Sam.
Aby finally succeeds in her experiments with alternative energy. She has designed a car drivetrain that is powered by static electricity collected by rubbing the passengers' fur. (Not the driver...it makes them fall asleep at the wheel.) But when she goes to get it patented, it's already been stolen...by her ex-fiance, Manxwell Hammer. Back in 1999, when she was still working in Silicon Valley, she caught him with another female. She dumped him, quit, cashed out her stock, and moved to Domain to open her auto repair shop. As it turns out, her passwords were old and easy, making it a piece of cake for Manxwell to steal her research. Lindesfarne uses her hacking expertise to sabotage Manxwell's attempt to use the stolen data, while R.L. and Herd Thinners help Aby win the patent.
R.L. also reveals the reason he wanted Aby's experiment: the fur being rubbed doesn't have to be attached to a living animal. It will give Herd Thinners in-roads into the pelt market as well.
Douglas and Bentley succeed in their quest for early parole, and are released from prison. Douglas is glad to be back with Dorothy, but Bentley discovers that Eleanor would prefer to remain "just friends" with him. Martha agrees to board Bentley on the condition that he does not steal from anybody.
In the meantime, Douglas thanks Dorothy for handling his affairs while he was gone. He had given the proceeds from the book he wrote to charity. With that, he has a new proposal: helping him get into real estate by converting his massive hoard of acorns into housing developments. He figures he could put his hoards in the burrows Dorothy dug over the years. In reality, it's just a roundabout way of proposing marriage to her. She's just trying to fool everyone else into thinking she's not being governed by her emotions. After the wedding, Bentley confesses to Kevin that he was behind outing Douglas and getting him sent to prison, so that he could size him up as a possible mate for his ex-wife.
An epidemic of cow-tipping is being caused by milk thieves. Aby and Kell go undercover to find out who's behind the piracy. They eventually catch the thieves.
Dorothy has difficulty fitting in with Douglas's side of the family. It's similar to many of the interspecies problems Kevin and Kell routinely go through. As a plan to win them over, Lindesfarne asks Tree for her pine cones so Dorothy can give them to Douglas's kin.
Surely enough, bait from traps inside rooms in the Fennec Mansion turns up missing. Immediately, they suspect Bentley, but he swears it wasn't him. Kevin's garden, however, has also been robbed, suggesting it might just be somebody else. Lindesfarne stakes the mansion out to figure out who was raiding the mansion. It turns out to be Francis, who has been crawling through the mansion at night. As it turns out, Bentley was only stealing from Kevin's garden.
In a case of mistaken identity, Rudy ends up arrested for chasing a car, which would result in him losing his Easter Bunny scholarship. Fiona finds that somebody online, a fly, has taken a photograph that would exonerate Rudy, but uses it to blackmail him instead, demanding $2,000. Kevin intervenes, and offers the fly the fertilizer on his garden instead.
During the fall, Francis starts shedding heavily, suggesting he is losing his fur. Dr. Caduceus, still not knowing what Francis is, doesn't know how to help him. He does joke that Francis might be a snake, though. At the supermarket, Danielle accidentally shakes the rest of his fur off, revealing what Francis really is...a human. Although he has no natural defenses, he does have Coney to protect him. But his existence causes a massive uproar among the population of Domain. His climbing phase has ended at least, with a large amount of inquisitiveness replacing it. Some show their support for Francis by wearing human face masks for Halloween.
Lindesfarne discovers that high school A.P. credit earned in foraging, which previously could not be used in insectivore college curriculum, is now being included, and she can now graduate the following May. However, she is not ready to submit to Desdemona's demands to set a wedding date. Rachel reminds her that she seems to be forgetting about where Fenton fits into all this. She finally sets a date for June 5, 2010, putting negotiations between Desdemona and Kell for wedding details into overdrive.
One day, Kell comes to Sheila's room at the Fennec Mansion to invite her to Thanksgiving dinner. She asks to bring a date: Frank Mangle, Kell's co-worker. At one point, Kell and Sheila trade places at Herd Thinners to gauge Frank's true feelings.
The holiday story for this year is based on A Christmas Story. It tells of a situation when Rudy was six years old, and wanted his first box trap, despite warnings that they would "cut his tail off". In the end it caught something, but it turns out it was Dorothy, who just burrowed down and away to safety with the bait before he could get her.
From the beginning of the year, Lindesfarne is stressing over both graduation and her impending wedding. The situation is so distressing, half her quills turn white. She decides to have a talk with Tree about her feelings over everything. She has two paths after marriage: either remaining at Beige University for graduate research, or returning to Domain, and Tree, and working at Hare-Link. Tree sees it quite simply, and expresses that she can accept Lindesfarne and Fenton moving away so Lindesfarne can continue her research. However, fate intervenes, as a flash flood rushes through Domain's suburbs, trapping Lindesfarne in Tree. The floodwaters end up drowning Tree's roots, loosening her soil and rendering her mute. After the flood, Kevin reveals that he added flood insurance to Tree, allowing them to use the money to move her to Beige. She resettles her roots and wakes back up, permitting both Lindesfarne and Fenton to pursue their paths without having to leave Tree behind. With the stress of possibly leaving Tree behind gone, Lindesfarne's quills return to all black.
The flood, however, causes even more problems for the family. Because the water got into Dorothy's burrows, Douglas's acorns start sprouting far earlier than they wanted them to. After trying to sell them individually, Kevin suggests they begin their housing project now to replace all the trees that were felled by the flood. It will take time, but Douglas and Dorothy will eventually have their real estate.
Fenton feels left out of the wedding preparations, and is also concerned about the two families not burning bridges after the wedding. So Lindesfarne gives him a task: set up the reception seating chart so nobody sits with each other.
Early in the spring, with a late thaw, Kell accidentally steps in a soft spot in the snow and breaks her leg. Sheila takes her place and finishes her quota for the week. However, the moment she starts, she runs into Frank, who immediately senses it's really Sheila. We find out the reason for Frank's antagonization of Kell. When they were cubs, Kell once chased Frank up a tree. However, it turns out the one doing the chasing was Sheila. Fortunately, after a long talk, an early migration permits Kell and Frank to have their quotas on time and save their jobs. This permits Kell to report her injury and begin healing.
Although Kell and Frank make amends, and Frank shows no hard feelings to Sheila, they agree they cannot be friends because it would put them at risk at Herd Thinners if they were allies.
Once Kell's cast is off, she hires Dorothy to be her physical therapist. Although some herbivores try to bribe her into deliberately slowing her rehabilitation, her conscience gets the better of her, and she rehabilitates Kell vigorously.
When Rudy goes out once more as the Easter Bunny, a rabbit kit named Wendell, who stayed up, throws an egg back at him. Wendell wants to take over the Easter Bunny's territory, even though he's only five. He doesn't believe Rudy and Fiona are the real Easter Bunny, but Fiona can hear his mother call for him from underground, and return him to his family. After that, Rudy and Fiona are promptly swiped by a bear. Wendell throws a baseball bat at the bear, knocking him out and saving Rudy and Fiona.
As the wedding gets closer, Lindesfarne's friends return to town. Tammy Tussock and her son, Angstrom, finally visit them. Lindesfarne and Fenton see for themselves that Tammy constantly hovers over Angstrom, being overprotected of her son. She hovers so much, her clothes and body have been bleached by his intense light. Tammy realizes this, and figures it's because they have no neighbors at Ray's lighthouse. Lindesfarne takes them home, where Angstrom can play with Coney and Francis.
Lindesfarne finally receives her bachelor's degree, bringing about the final countdown to her wedding. At the bachelorette party, Lindesfarne remembers she's never actually checked Fenton's DNA before, even though she's checked the DNA of virtually everyone else she knows. But she has plenty of his DNA in her quills, so she gets to work. The results are so shocking, that she asks to speak to the Fuscus family the day of the wedding, defying the superstition of bad luck. She confronts Desdemona, whom she has learned is a vampire bat. The stigma against vampire bats is tremendous, large enough to scare 3/4 of the invitees to the wedding away, leaving 40 attendees out of an original list of 165.
On the night of the wedding, Desdemona is apologetic for "ruining" the wedding, but the Dewclaws, who are used to social stigma, insist the low turnout is not her fault. One of the last to arrive is Dr. Caduceus. Right when he's about to enter the church, a branch falls, crushing the snake. Sensing his ability to feel fading, he quickly deduces he needs fluid drained from his spinal column. Fortunately, Desdemona can do that, being a vampire bat, and Dr. Caduceus will be okay.
The wedding occurs without incident, despite the low turnout. Afterward, Lindesfarne and Fenton honeymoon in Silicon Valley.
Kevin and Kell began as a strip with the characters in fixed ages and points in life. The year is typically considered the current year - for example, the stories about preparation for the y2k bug took place in 1999. When Bruno comments in 2003 that the fight between him and Rudy was inevitable after "thirteen years of intensely close friendship," Rudy asks if they will do it again in 2016. However, the passage of time is almost never explicitly mentioned; Kell cuts off one police officer before he can say when the health club incident with Chet Cheetah was. Despite this, one year into the strip, which began with Kevin and Kell's first wedding anniversary, the couple celebrates their second, and Coney celebrates her first birthday in 1995.
In 2005, however, the strip moved forward a year; one noticeable effect of this is Lindesfarne and Rhonda graduating from high school. Additionally, shortly before Danielle learns she is pregnant in 2006, when Kevin asks George how long he and Danielle have been married, George says, "Over a year." Whether the characters will continue to age is unknown.
|Kevin and Kell by Bill Holbrook|
Kevin · Kell · Lindesfarne · Rudy · Coney
Storyline · Kevin and Kell Role-Playing Game