A/N - trying a new style of jumping through time a bit, all taking place at subsequent moments in the future. Warning: sap-alert, this chapter might make your teeth hurt, it's so sweet.
3 weeks Post (Jane's) Wedding
When it came to intimacy, they had started off by taking things slow. But Judy had to admit that the heated make out sessions were becoming less and less satisfying on their own.
Part of her mind reasoned that they had spent the last couple of years together as friends growing closer and gaining that trust that has to be built up within the beginning of a new relationship, and thus why she didn't feel like she was rushing into things. But the other part of her brain was also quite aware of the fact that she was a bunny, and as such, had certain biological needs.
They had gone on only a handful of dates by this point, having to plan around their busy work schedule. But because they already shared an apartment, they had the added benefit of being able to spend their evenings together anyways. Several of these evenings had divulged into rather steamy kissing sessions, but they had always unspokenly decided to stop themselves before they passed a certain point.
Judy was fairly positive Nick wasn't going to reject the idea, but that he was waiting for some kind of signal from her. And as they had sat cuddling, watching some sappy movie on tv, she decided that tonight she'd make her move.
The night had progressed as she'd expected and their cuddling began to include rather passionate kissing. Judy had taken up her new favorite spot of laying right on top of Nick's chest as he wrapped his longer arms behind her, holding her so close that she could feel the heat of his body through the layers of clothes between them. The rough pads of his paws, smoothed down her arms and back, dragging his blunt claws through her short fur and she responded with a satisfied moan.
Breaking from his enclosure, she sat up just long enough to pull her shirt up over her head in one quick motion, enjoying the way his green eyes, darted across her newly revealed front.
"You're so beautiful." He mumbled, not for the first time and she responded with a heavy kiss before reaching down to unbutton his own shirt. Once removed and tossed forgotten to the floor, they had returned back to their rhythm of explorations. Fur of red and grey being ruffled as paws roamed and caressed new areas, satisfied moans and purrs filling the room between heavy breaths.
Because of the difference in their stature Judy was straddling him high enough to almost be at his chest. Wanting to get a better advantage, she ran a paw down over his ears, watching them flick in response as she scratched at the sensitive area between them. Then glided down behind his neck, pulling him forward and urging him to sit up, which allowed her to scoot down into his lap.
Arching his back he leaned down to meet her lips and continued his loving kisses from his new vantage point. Judy –now exactly where she wanted to be– gave her hips a rock back against him in such a way that he would not be able to ignore it.
"Judy!" He gulped back a surprise at her forwardness and then grinned mischievously down at her.
"Nick, I want you." She said in a voice laced with seduction.
She watched as the passion on his face shifted into apprehension before he quickly pushed it from view. "I want you too, Judy…" He was trying not to sound desperate, but the hint of hesitation could also be heard.
"What is it?" She urged, cupping a palm over his cheek to keep him from looking away.
"I'm nervous." He confessed with an embarrassed chuckle. "I'm worried I might hurt you." And then as he realized what he had said, he clarified. "What if i crushed you, or scratched you or nicked you with a sharp tooth? Plus… I imagine I'm a bit larger than the average buck."
She could feel the heat rise in his cheeks at the last comment, and couldn't help but blush herself. "So we'll be careful and start off slow." She soothed.
Nick tilted his head to the side to smirk at her with raised brows. "You don't really seem all that interested in moving slowly."
Biting her lip she shook her head at him. "The thing is, Wilde." She made another wiggle, rocking her hips against his lap and watching the way it made his eyes pop. "You know, all those rumors you hear about bunnies and multiplying?" She raised a single brow and paused for added effect. "They're all true."
Nick let out an impressed laugh and a bright grin broke across his face. "Is that so?"
"Mmmmhmm." Judy said, slowly walking her digits up the soft creamy fur in the center of his chest. "What do you say, Fox? You want to learn first hand?"
If possible, Nick's grin widened even more. "You temptress! How can I possibly resist?"
And with that, his paws scooped beneath her rump as he lifted her off the couch to stand. The two frantically kissing as he and carried her stumbling to his bedroom.
1 month P.W. (post-wedding)
Sitting behind his desk, the great water buffalo leaned back in his chair causing it to creak and crack as he scrutinized the pair standing before him.
"And you're telling me this, why?" He asked, in his typical apathetic way.
The small rabbit glanced over to her partner and he gave her a look that clearly stated this had been her idea.
"Well sir," She started in an uncharacteristically timid way, her ears falling back behind her. "The rules state that any officers involved in an interpersonal work relationship must disclose this to their superior."
Bogo tapped the stack of papers he was holding against the desk in front of him, squaring up their edges before returning them to the open manilla folder. Looking back up at the partners standing before him, he took off his reading glasses and set them aside. "Haven't you been living together for quite some time now? I approved your change of address forms."
Officer Wilde let out a snigger while the rabbit's ears shot back up, flushed from embarrassment.
"But we hadn't been dating then, sir. We were just roommates." She clarified.
"Is that so?" He mused over this for another minute just to enjoy making the over-confident rabbit fluster a bit. "Well as long as this new change doesn't lead to any 'inappropriate conduct' in the office or hinder your work performance in anyway,..." He paused just long enough for both officers to ensure him that it wouldn't. "then I don't care."
He watched as the rabbit perked up, obviously having been worried that he might insist they no longer be partners or some other such nonsense. But the truth of the matter was, the two were among some of his best officers and had behaved as a couple from the very beginning. He was rather certain pairing them up with anyone else would actually lower their performance.
"Thank you, sir! That's all we needed. We'll just be going now." She rattled off all in one breath while simultaneously pushing her partner towards the office door.
He waited until they were outside the threshold and called out just before the door was pulled shut. "Oh, and Hopps - make sure to let Clawhauser know when you two became official. He'll want to know so he can finally close out the office pool."
The rabbit's face was painted in shock, but from behind the door he could hear Wilde exclaim with pride, "I knew it!"
2 months P.W. (post-wedding)
It was once again the weekend for the two officers and just like they had done many nights since they had moved in as roommates, the two sat cozied up on their small tattered couch watching pointless television until they deemed it too late to stay awake. But now, as a couple, they snuggled up against one another and shared kisses during uninteresting shows. It was one of Nick's new favorite things. To think just a couple of months ago he had been so content simply sitting by her side, he had no idea how much more his life would improve with the inclusion of Judy's affection.
It was a commercial break and Judy had run to the bathroom when her phone began ringing from the coffee table where she'd left it.
Catching the image on the screen he recognized the picture of the elder rabbit, as Judy's mother. Knowing that Judy would only have to call back later, he went ahead and answered with his own toothy grin.
"A good evening to you, Mrs. Hopps." He said in his best snake-oil sales pitch voice. "What's a lovely bunny like yourself up to on this fine summer evening?"
"Oh, Nicholas!" Bonnie replied with a wave of her hand, as though she couldn't possibly take any more compliments. "You are always such a smooth talker."
"So I've been told." He added with a bow of his snout causing her to chuckle.
Fortunately, he had always gotten along quite well with Judy's mother, despite that her father had made his trepidations about having a fox as a roommate quite clear. Nick was 90% positive that at first, it just made Bonnie feel relieved to know that there was a predator keeping her little girl safe, like he was her own personal guard dog of sorts. But over the year they'd lived together and that one Fall harvest he'd ventured down to the Hopps Family Farm with Judy, he'd actually grown quite fond of the matronly rabbit. And he was fairly certain the feeling was mutual.
Whether or not that feeling would remain after Judy dropped the bomb that he was now dating their daughter, was an entirely different discussion.
"Is Judy there, Dear?" She held her paw cupped to the side of her muzzle as though divulging a huge secret. "My neighbor's son, Franco was going to be in the city tomorrow and I was hoping to set her up!"
"Oh." Nick gulped as the last of his bravado quickly faded. He sat up straighter on the sunken couch cushion, holding the phone across from him as he looked for Judy down the hall. "Um, she should just be a minute."
They hadn't been planning to tell her parents about their new relationship for at least a few more weeks, hoping to do so in person. However, they also hadn't planned on her mother springing anymore surprise blind dates. He was about to give some kind of excuse to place her mother on hold when suddenly the rabbit in question was plopping beside him onto the couch.
"Hi mom!" She waved, taking the phone from Nick's paw.
With his face out of view, Nick was giving Judy every silent hand signal he could think of, but wasn't really sure how to pantomime a warning about an unplanned blind date.
Judy was watching him off camera with one raised eyebrow, confused as he frantically gestured at pausing the call when her mother spilled the news about the new young buck that was going to be 'just perfect for her'.
Thanks to the small picture-in-picture screen the Muzzletime call provided, Nick has seen the dumbfounded look he had made when Bonnie had first told him the reason for her call and just now, he was watching Judy repeat that same face.
"Oh mom, that's so nice, but… I'm not available…" Judy finally managed to choke out a sentence.
Nick nodded his head silently, sure, sure keep it vague, perfect plan.
"Oh darn." Her mother scrunched up her face. "I'm sorry sweetie, did you end up having to pick up a shift? Saturdays are usually one of your off days right now, aren't they?"
The corner of Nick's lips curved up, this was perfect. The best way to sell a con, is when they suggest it themselves. All Judy had to do was nod in agreement and they were good to push out this conversation until she was ready.
"Actually, no…" Judy began her reply and he whipped his head up to look at her. What was she doing?
He watched as her focus narrowed in on her mother's reaction in the tiny glass window. "... I mean that I am not available because, I'm seeing someone."
Nick felt his own jaw fall open. He knew Judy wasn't one to lie, but he certainly wouldn't have blamed her for providing a little fib to postpone this conversation until they were better prepared with their answer. He was pleasantly surprised by her bravado and felt a swell of pride.
Bonnie let out a shout of joy that he was positive their neighbors could have heard. "Stu, Stu! Judy's been seeing someone!" She yelled off camera until her equally stout husband joined her on the screen.
"Judy, you sneaky little rabbit, your mother has been worried sick that you weren't ever going to find a mate," Stu's voice rang out of the speaker. "I mean, it's just not normal for a rabbit your age to not even be considering settling down-" Thankfully Stu's rant was cut short with a jab to his ribcage from his wife.
"Tell us about him, dear… or her." Bonnie added the extra option at the end and that made Nick's brows pop up in surprise.
Just then Judy looked up at him with questioning lavender eyes. Flickering lights from the muted television reflected in those large orbs as she silently verified it was okay to continue.
If she thought he'd ever turn this down, she was crazy. He felt a lump form in his throat and he nodded quickly, the tip of his snout bobbing up and down in a foolish manner.
"Well, you see, the thing is. Mom, Dad,...try not to freak out, but well..." She paused to take a breath as though steeling her nerves. "It's Nick. I'm dating Nick."
She turned the phone to place Nick back in view and he was so caught off guard that all he could manage was a weak smile and a silly little wave of his fingers.
As though the image of him on the screen was enough to shatter the last of her father's hopes that he had possibly misheard, he let out a little gasp of shock. Bonnie, on the other hand managed to stick with a more civil sound of polite surprise.
With the phone aimed back at herself, Judy reached out an arm and pulled Nick in beside her to get him in the frame. For not the first time in his life, he was thankful for the reddish tint in his fur to hide the flushed embarrassment he could feel rising in his cheeks.
"Oh Honey. I'm so happy for you two!" Bonnie finally spoke and surprisingly her tone was genuine.
"Really?" Judy asked, immediately after she gave Nick's paw a little squeeze as though she felt guilty for asking such things in front of him.
"Absolutely Sweetie. You two have always been close, closer than any other friend I ever remember you having, I can't say I'm surprised." Bonnie explained with a soft smile, the aged creases in the corner of her eyes making it feel even warmer.
Beside her, Stu stood looking a little shocked at her admission, having obviously not been part of her internal musings on the subject.
"Thanks Mom, that really means a lot to me." Judy spoke into the screen, a hitch in her words.
"To both of us." Nick managed to find his own voice and tried his very best to share a non-flabbergasted smile.
"Of course." Bonnie nodded before promptly changing up the subject. "Well then, we best let you two lovebirds return to your evening off." And with a gesture to the side, she added. "Give your dad a few days to let it sink in, but he'll come around."
Having heard himself being referenced, Stu looked up and nodded with a weak smile. "Love you, Jude."
"Love you guys!" Judy replied with a wave at the camera.
"Love from us all, Sweetie." Her mom added. "Goodnight."
And with that the screen went black before shifting back to her wallpaper photo of her and Nick on his graduation day from the academy.
Judy turned to Nick with a trepidatious look on her face. "Sorry, I hope that was oka-"
But before she could finish her sentence Nick has engulfed her in a hug. "Thank you, you have no idea how much that meant to me. I've dated other foxes that were ashamed to admit they were with me."
Still wrapped in his arms, she spoke into his shoulder. "I could never be ashamed of you Nick. I hope you know that, I was just waiting, hoping we could tell them in person, but I guess we made do."
"It was perfect and you are amazing. Thank you." And he kissed the top of her head as she nestled into his arms.
5 months P.W. (post-wedding)
It was much later than usual when they returned home that night. The door creaked in a particularly eerie way as if to emphasize the silence between them. Neither had muttered more than a couple of words since the EMTs had given Nick the green light to head out. He'd be sore and sporting a good sized bruise hidden beneath his fur, but the kevlar vest had done it's job to prevent the bullet from making it's way to it's intended target. He was fine, but it had been a close call.
The fox pushed the door shut and clicked the deadbolts into place, turning back to see his petite girlfriend standing across from him. Her arms were crossed tightly in front of her and she wore a look of anger as her foot thumped rapidly.
Nick took a big sigh, before drawling out in his best careless imitation. "Long day, huh?"
"I'm not in the mood to kid right now." Judy's glare tightened.
During his check-up, his uniform top had been removed and he'd carried it home in one paw. Standing there in just the pants and a white undershirt, he turned to hang the top on the hook by the front door. "Look, Judy. I'm not sure why you're so mad at me, but I'm really sore and tired, so can we fight about this tomorrow?"
"Mad! You think I'm MAD?" Judy all but screamed into the dark apartment. But stopped herself when he spun around to give her a look. "Nick, I was so scared tonight..." And like that, her resolve snapped and the stone face of anger dissolved into tears.
Nick immediately reached out, lowering himself to one knee to be at her height and wrapped her in his arms. His fluffy tail encircling around them. "Oh Carrots, it's okay. I'm okay."
"When...when I saw… you go down..." Judy was trying to talk between sobs. "I was so scared."
"Shhh. I know. I know. I was scared too." Nick ran a soothing paw down over her ears that laid against her back and let her cry into his shoulder.
Holding her as she cried, his memory flashed back to that moment; the suspect had been unassuming, nothing threatening about him, the gun he had pulled from the waist of his pants had been unexpected. Nick had not even been able to unholster his own tranq gun before the shot had hit him square in the chest. It had been loud, so loud that his large fox ears were still ringing. The force of the shot had knocked him flat to his back, causing his own breath to hitch in his throat. And it had hurt, a lot. It took at least a fraction of a second before he realized that his injuries were superficial and in that instant it had indeed been terrifying.
As her tears eased up, she pressed a delicate paw into the spot on his chest where the vest had saved a bullet from piercing him. And he laid his own large paw on top of hers. "Hey, I'm okay." He reassured her.
And suddenly her paw slid from his chest up along the fur of his neck and cupped his cheek. Pulling his muzzle in closer to hers as she kissed him desperately. Their arms intertwined as they wrapped around one another, their kisses growing more heated and frantic.
Judy broke away from his lips and held his muzzle still between her palms, tipping his eyes down to meet hers. "I love you." She whispered before planting another kiss on his nose. "I love you so much. I keep waiting for this perfect romantic moment to tell you how much I love you, and when I saw you knocked down, when I thought...just for one moment that I may have missed my chance…" She choked back a sob as her tears snuck back up on her. "I love you so much, Nicholas Piberius Wilde."
Judy's confession caused his own dam to break and suddenly tears he hadn't even realized he was holding back were sliding down his face. He felt his chest constrict and a sense of relief that it was not caused by the growing bruise, but by the female in his arms that loved him back. "And I love you, Judith Laverne Hopps."
He scooped her up into his arms and carried her to bed, where they remained for the following two days of required time off, curled up in the embrace of the one they loved.
7 months P.W.
"So here's something crazy that happened at my physical today."
Judy spoke up from where they had been sitting in their small kitchen enjoying a takeout meal. It had been a long day of work, made even longer when Judy had her required yearly physical added to the end of it. She had walked in the front door a good 2 hours later than usual, greeted by the delicious smell of curried veggies and forced herself to sit down and relax before she shared her thoughts with Nick.
Nick looked up from his plate with an ear cocked and one eyebrow raised waiting for the rest of her story. She gulped, realizing that he could already sense her nerves, making her even more flustered to bring up the topic.
"The doc asked me what I was using for birth control." She lead with a teaser. "I mean, I'm sure they ask all female cops, but being a bunny, probably makes me more of a 'risk'." She giggled nervously.
"To which you explained that you're dating a fox." Nick supplied the next line, holding his fork in his paw in front of him, waiting for her to acknowledge this.
Judy nodded, "Yep. I told her that I was focused on my career right now and seeing as how my boyfriend was a different species, I didn't have much to worry about."
Nick seemed annoyed that she was leaving something out and was using his detective skills to try and fill in the rest. "She didn't give you a hard time for that, right?"
"Oh no, nothing like that." Judy spoke up, not meaning to have implied such a thing. She was met with a look from Nick that clearly stated he was done waiting.
"She explained that if I wasn't yet ready for a family, then we should be using another method to 'effectively prevent pregnancy'." Judy used air quotes to demonstrate that those had been the doctor's exact words.
"Wait, what?" Nick sat his fork down on this plate and met her eyes straight on. "Are you telling me that it's possible for us to have children together?"
"Apparently so. She explained that it was uncommon, perhaps even unlikely, but not impossible."
"Wow." Judy watched his eyes intently as he seemed to mull over this new information. After a moment he looked up at her, his face devoid of any obvious opinion on the matter and asked, "So how do you feel about that? We've never really talked about kids."
Judy shrugged and looked down at her plate, she honestly wasn't sure how she felt. It was true, they had yet to return to the "kids talk" since Nick had mentioned it that very first night. But she had always accepted that it was going to be more of a talk about adoption, and she knew that talk was far off, seeing as how they weren't even married.
"Honestly, I don't know." She finally confessed in a timid voice. "Do you want to have children someday?"
Her boyfriend crossed his arms and leaned his elbows onto the table in front of him, while looking up at the ceiling as though he needed to toil over the subject. "Even before I met you, I had assumed it just wasn't in the cards for me. Ya, know?"
Judy nodded, but stayed silent so he could continue. "And then I fell in love with this very career-driven bunny and figured if anything, we could consider adoption further down the road." He broke into a grin and met her eyes again, instantly sending this sense of relief washing over her that they were on the same page.
"You want children, right?" Nick now asked her point blank.
Judy considered this for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, I guess I do. I mean, eventually."
Nick nodded with her, having expected that response.
Returning to his meal, he took another bite before breaking into more of a daydreaming tone. "How many were you thinking? Unless you want to move back out to the countryside, we're not going to have room for hundreds of kits."
Despite the relative seriousness of the topic Judy saw her opening and couldn't resist taking it. "Oh I was thinking only 2 or 3…" She waited until he had gone for a drink of his water before adding, "...dozen."
She was rewarded with the intended reaction when Nick practically choked on his drink, sputtering and coughing. His eyes had gone large and round and when he met hers, she couldn't hold back her laughter.
"Oh that was cruel, Carrots. Just plain cruel." He coughed again, shaking his head.
Judy's eyes watered from laughter and she tilted her head to the side. "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist, but I'm not about to raise a whole burrow like my parents. I was thinking 3 kits; max."
"Ok, that sounds much more reasonable to the fox that was an only pup." He let out his own laugh, not able to resist her playfulness.
They finished their dinner and Judy was scrubbing the last plate clean in a sink full of soapy water when Nick came up behind her with a kiss to her neck.
"So… did you arrange for a contraceptive then, or do I need to run to the corner store?" He asked in a playful manner, kissing her again right at her pulse point.
Judy leaned her head to the side to allow him better access as her eyes fluttered shut. But after another few gentle pecks, she was brought back to reality.
"I have a crazy suggestion." She offered, spinning around from the sink to face her attentive boyfriend.
If Nick had ever given her a suspicious look before, none could have possibly lived up to the one he gave her after that statement.
"The doctor explained that two different species creating life wasn't entirely impossible, but it also wasn't very likely…if we ever wanted to have kids of our own..."
Immediately grasping her suggestion, Nick stood straight and looked her in the eye. "Are you sure you want to gamble with that? IF there's any possibility, it could happen before you're ready."
Judy grabbed him by the paws and responded with confidence. "Who are we to deny the improbable from even having a chance?"
Nick's eyes lit up in a way that made Judy's heart melt. She had an inkling that he would be completely alright with this suggestion. He grabbed her around the middle squashing her in a tight hug. "I'm certainly not one to deny a miracle. I'm in if you are."
8 months P.W.
A harsh chill rustled through their fur as they stepped off the train and onto the platform at Bunny Burrow. The wintery weather, had resulted in a significantly smaller crowd of bunnies to greet them at the station, but in Nick's opinion, it was still too many.
The Burrow was located in a mildly temperate area, but the heart of December still enjoyed it's rather blustery days such as this one. Nick pulled his scarf tighter, thankful for the thickness of his natural fur coat and grabbed his suitcase. He set off following the herd of bobbing bunny ears, knowing that Judy had been pulled along somewhere amongst them.
It wasn't until they were packed into the warm and cozy confines of the Hopps family burrow, left on his own after Judy had been lead away by a sister, that Nick started to notice the stares. Of course it didn't help that he was the only non-rabbit in the whole lot, which also left him standing a good foot taller than every other mammal there. Blending in wasn't exactly an option.
He had expected the looks, sure, but even though his hearing was not as impressive as that of the bunnies around him, he was a bit surprised by the many whispers of "Judy's new boyfriend". Apparently he had become the hot new topic for the hundreds of tiny siblings and cousins that surrounded him.
He cocked a large red ear and caught a few of the conversations flittering about the room. "He's so tall." "Why isn't he dating a fox?" "What does Judy see in him?" "Look how sharp his teeth are, how do they even kiss?" "I guess he is kind of handsome."
Feeling as though there was a spotlight shining down on him and nowhere to hide, he was relieved to hear the familiar soft voice of Judy's mother. "Oh Nicholas! I'm so glad you made it out to visit!"
She approached him with her arms wide open for a hug and Judy following along behind her. Leaning down into her offered arms, he accepted the embrace with a thankful sigh.
"I'm so sorry I couldn't make it to the station for your arrival, but I've been up to my ears in cooking all day." She explained.
"It's not a problem at all Mrs. Hopps. Thank you for inviting me to join in your holiday celebrations." He tipped his head down with a soft a smile, trying his darndest to keep his sharper teeth hidden from all the skittish eyes watching them.
"Of course! You're an important part of Judy's life, which means you're a part of ours too. And please, call me Bonnie." She stepped back from his embrace and nudged Judy around closer to his side. "Judy dear, help the poor boy find his way to your room, so he can put his stuff down and get away from all these nosey eyes for a little while."
"There seems to be a debate amongst your siblings on whether or not I'm frightening or handsome." He stated as they arrived in her small bedroom, dropping their suitcases onto the floor in the corner.
"Oh, ignore them." Judy laughed with a wave of her paw through the air. "A bunny dating a fox is about the most exciting thing that ever happened in this boring little town. They're just thrilled to feel like part of the action."
"So glad I can provide entertainment." He deadpanned.
Judy laughed as she collapsed back onto her bed, knocking off childhood plushies in all directions. She propped her head up in one paw and batted her eyes at him."Would a little make out session cheer you up?"
Nick pretended to think it over before running to leap onto the bed, catching himself on his front paws to avoid crushing her beneath him. Judy squealed in joy as more plushies were jolted to the floor by his swishing tail.
"But you gotta keep quiet, I guarantee there's at least 2 dozen ears pressed against my door right now. The small rabbit below him, whispered into his ear as she stroked a paw up underneath his shirt.
Nick pulled back, pressing up on his forearms and looked over at the door in reference. "Well then stop screaming like that or they're going to think I'm eating you alive in here!"
Judy's laughter rang out down the hall.
The evening was filled with an amazing feast; Nick had never seen so much food before in all of his life. Judy explained that typically they eat in shifts, but holiday dinners were the few meals a year they all gathered to eat together. The six long oak tables were packed to the brim with the oldest of the clan, leaving the younger ones to gather in groups seated on the floor, covering every square inch of the large cavernous room.
There was a cacophony of noise as everyone chatted and laughed and a few of the younger ones were even singing festive carols. Nick had to focus to hear the conversation at the table right in front of him and a stray thought made him wonder if this was why rabbits had especially large ears.
Currently, several of Judy's brothers-in-law were grilling him with the standard 'you best be treating her right' type questions. He didn't really mind, since they seemed to be in good nature, and nothing along the lines of fearing for her life, or judging her poorly for being with a fox. Despite a few of the family member's obvious concerns over a predator dating a rabbit, Judy's comfort around him and his many years of practiced charm, appeared to be winning them over.
Several of the adults across the table held one or even two infants in an arm, while eating with the other. Judy reached to take an extra kit into her own empty arms, but whether it was a sibling or a niece, he had no idea. Nick couldn't help the little skip his heart made to see her kiss the tiny bundle she held. He lost himself watching her as he poked at the pile of carrots and various other vegetables on his plate.
He was caught off guard when Stu, who had yet to approach him since his arrival, appeared beside the table with a small dish. Setting it next to Nick he announced in explanation, "I picked up a shepherd's pie from Gideon's shop. Figured you'd want some real protein to go along with all these veggies."
The smell had already hit Nick's keen fox nose and he could detect a delectable aroma of insect protein and some kind of gravy wafting up from the small platter. He turned to Stu and gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you sir, it smells wonderful."
Stu tugged at his overalls with a silent nod and then made his way back over to his spot at another table.
"Holy crap!" Benny, one of Judy's older brothers leaned in from further down the table. "Did that really just happen?"
"Seriously, he's never done anything that nice for me." Complained another brother-in-law with a pout.
Judy leaned in from her place beside him and gave him a peck on the lips. "Guess the idea of you and I has grown on him." She said with a smile. "I told you it would eventually."
The chaos that was dinner rolled over into the evening. The house was broken up into various forms of entertainment across several locations. Some decorated the many trees that were spread through the living rooms, a group was baking and icing cookies in the kitchen, while another was singing carols near the largest hearth in the main room. The feeling of joy was contagious and Nick couldn't help the smile as several young rabbits hung off of him, using his limbs as a living ladder to reach the higher branches of the tallest tree.
"Every year is like this?" He asked between bouts of laughter. Trying to keep steady so that the tiny bunny standing between his ears could hang his ornament.
"Every year!" Both Judy and two other rabbits giggled in response, passing up another round of ornaments to the kits.
The last night of their visit, it was quite late into the evening and most all of the younger kits had long since gone to bed. The adults roamed the burrow, and Judy was amongst the many who were visiting and quietly chatting in any open room available.
Having slipped away, it had taken Nick quite some time, but he'd finally located Judy's father on the back porch, sipping a cup of what he could smell was a rich coffee.
He looked up as Nick stepped out onto the porch and gave a small nod of acknowledgement. Nick took that as a sign that it was alright to join him and sat down on the step beside him, unable to stop the shiver that ran over him once the crisp air hit his fur.
"This is some fantastic home you have built here, sir." He gestured out around him.
"Thanks, I am rather proud of it. And each and every one of my kits." Stu replied, taking another sip from the steaming mug.
They sat in silent for a few minutes, both staring up at the stars flickering in the still winter night sky.
Stu was the first to break the silence. "I want you to know that I give all my daughter's suitors a hard time, it's not just 'cause you're a fox. I mean sure, I know it took me a little while longer to warm up to you, but I can see that you make my Judy very happy; and that makes me happy."
"Thank you sir, I'm glad to hear you say that." Nick's tail swept behind him along the porch and he swallowed back a lump of fear as his heart started to race. "The thing is, I actually had a question to ask you."
Stu lowered his mug and turned to look at Nick. "I sure hope you aren't about to ask me if you can marry my daughter."
Nick audibly gulped and tried to hide the panic on his face. He could feel his heartbeat pulse in his ears as he desperately scrambled for a response, but Stu carried on before he could come up with something.
"Because you and I know darn well that Judy does as she pleases. Doesn't make any difference what I think on the subject. That's a decision for her to make, not me."
Nick stared at Stu in surprise and watched a small smile form on the older rabbit's face. He was absolutely right and it pleased Nick to see that her father knew her so well. He was simply trying to meet expectations and offer to proper amount of respect by requesting permission. It was not the type of situation to beg forgiveness later.
Stu stared out at the starry sky over the fields for a beat before following up with another comment that would surprise the fox. "But because I also know what she's going to say, let me be the first one to officially welcome you into the family."
Nick blinked back a tear as his body fought against his nerves that were no longer needed. For not the first or last time in his life, he asked himself how he had been so lucky to meet someone like Judy and all of her amazing 250 plus family members that came with her.
"Thank you sir." Was all he could manage in a faint cracked voice.
"Of course Nick, but call me Stu, okay?"
Nick nodded a little too enthusiastically, knowing that looking back on this he'd probably feel silly about it, but for now he was too happy to care. "Okay, Stu."
9 months P.W.
Nick sat staring straight ahead, watching the blurs of lights and tunnel whip by as he was rocked by the jostle of the subway car. He placed an arm around Judy who sat beside him, and she nestled in closer, tucking her long ears back so that she could lay her head on his shoulder.
They were on their way home after having spent a very long day on the far end of the Nocturnal District visiting his mother. The elderly vixen was in poor health and had been suffering from dementia for many years. It had been a difficult decision to finally bring Judy to meet her, but despite the fact the his mom wouldn't remember, he was still glad to have finally introduced his mother to the love of his life.
He smiled at the thought and tilted his head to the side to lean onto the velvety fluff from Judy's smoothed back ears. Just as he let his eyes fall shut, he heard a rather pointed scoff.
Cracking open one eye he noticed the male goat sitting across from them. The short-horned billy had his arms crossed in front of him and a disapproving glare pointed their way.
Nick had spent much of his life training himself to ignore the judgemental looks of others, but it was the type of day when he was just not in the mood. Sitting up taller in his seat he opened both eyes and looked directly at the goat across from him. "You got a problem, buddy?" A low growl was evident behind his words.
His voice had stirred Judy from her nap beside him and she too sat up, a confused look on her face.
"Yeah guy." The goat pointed with an angry hoofed hand at the two of them. "Keep your disgusting displays of abominations at home."
Nick felt Judy's small paw on his wrist, silently urging him to not react, but he was already leaping up onto his feet. "What's your problem! We're just sitting here!"
"I think I made myself clear, FOX. It ain't natural what you two sickos are doing." He sneered.
Nick somewhat registered that other mammals were now watching their interactions from all across the subway car. A mother kangaroo and her small joey sat further down shaking her head. And a large tiger near the rear had also stood up, perhaps preparing to break up a fight.
The goat continued on with his prodding, speaking louder as he went. "Creepy pred, getting his jollies with a poor little prey."
"Hey now." Judy popped up from her plastic seat, her ears up straight to stand tall beside him. "There's no call for such behavior."
"What's the matter you little tramp?" The goat sneered in a condescending tone. "Not enough other bunnies around to screw?"
Nick pointed a rather sharp looking claw right into the goat's face. "Don't you dare talk to her like that!"
All at once, the kangaroo gasped, Judy balled up her fists and the tiger began approaching from his end of the car, just as the goat placed both his hooven hands on Nick's shoulders and shoved him backwards.
"Oh that's it!" Nick swung out and his right paw connected with the goat's jaw, knocking him off balance as the speeding subway car rocked on its tracks. The goat swung back, but Nick deftly ducked and dodged.
"Knock it off! The both of you!" Judy hollered from somewhere beside him, and just as Nick paused to locate her, the goat landed a fist into the end of his muzzle. He stumbled back a step, grasping his snout as it began to bleed.
Before he could retaliate, Judy was between them. Holding her badge up as a sort of symbolic stop sign. Even the tiger stopped his approach.
"One more move and I'm arresting you!" She commanded in a voice much louder than her small stature implied possible. Whipping her glare back towards Nick, she added. "The both of you!"
As if on cue the subway car screeched as it came to a halt, the doors binging open automatically and new riders began filing in.
"Yeah whatever, this is my stop anyways." The goat grumbled, straightening his shirt, before pushing through the crowd and out the open doors. Passing by the tiger that seemed relieved he did not need to intervene.
Judy hooked her badge onto her belt and turned to Nick, head tilted to one side. Her face was lacking in judgement and instead seemed to be filled with concen. Getting a good look at him, she began rummaging through her purse and handed over a tissue for his bleeding nose.
The doors binged again before shutting and the car lurched as it started up. Judy took her seat and waited for him to join her. Once he finally sat she laid a soft paw atop his, but they rode the rest of the way in silence until they reached their stop.
Back up on the street level, they paused to pull their jackets closed against the chill of the night air.
"Are you okay?" Judy finally spoke, her voice soft. She tugged on his jacket to get him to face her.
"Yeah, I'm fine." He mumbled, unable to meet her eyes. "Sorry, I should have just ignored him."
"I get it Nick, it was a rough day and he was baiting you." She reached a small velvety paw up to his cheek and tipped his chin down so she could look into his eyes. "And despite the fact that I threatened to arrest you, I hope you still know that I was also proud of you for standing up for us. For me. Just maybe try to resist using your fists next time."
Nick let out a low chuckle. "Yes, officer m'am, I will."
"There's always gonna be some jerk that feels like sharing his judgments. And I really don't want to explain to Bogo why I had to arrest my own partner, so let's just keep on avoiding that okay?"
"Deal." Nick nodded, knowing that she was right.
"Now kiss me, right here on this crowded street, so we can be reminded that most of the world is comprised of decent mammals."
With a smirk he leaned down and met her lips. Not a soul around them made a sound.
10 months P.W.
Judy had always been on the fence about Valentine's Day. On one paw, she saw that it was mostly a fake holiday made up by card companies, but on the other, she couldn't deny that she wanted to take part in it.
As it turned out, both her and Nick had ended up working that night and it passed by without another thought. It was the first time that she had been officially dating someone when the holiday had come around and she had to admit, she was a little disappointed that they didn't do anything. So after several days had gone by, she was not quick to catch on when Nick announced he wanted to take her out to dinner.
"It's so cold and blustery, we could just order in." She shrugged from her place beneath a heavy blanket, where she sat cuddled into the couch reading a book.
Nick walked further into the room with the type of grin he wore when planning something like a heist. "Well, I was actually thinking more along the lines of a romantic night out; we can dress up and everything." He added a little wiggle of his eyebrows.
"Oh, like an actual date night?" She asked with big eyes and her ears perked up with interest.
"Yeah, like an actual date night." He sat down on the edge of the couch, and she scooted her feet out of the way to make room. "It's been awhile since we've had a nice one, and I know you were bummed we had to work on Valentine's Day."
Judy blushed and ducked behind her book. Had she really been so transparent?
"You don't have to be embarrassed." He said, though his voice was full of teasing. "If my girlfriend wants to be wined and dined, then my girlfriend shall get what she wants!"
Judy lowered her book and set a guilty-as-charged look about her.
"The reservations are already set, be ready to head out at 6. Evening wear is requested." He said the last line in his best suave 007 voice, making her laugh as intended.
The main area of Zootopia ran with no artificial climate, and thus in the heart of February it was rather cold and wintery. However, as soon as they crossed over the border and stepped into the Rainforest District, the everyday warmth of the muggy humid air was welcome.
Just as Nick had promised, they spent their evening being wined and dined. It seemed he still had connections with a chef who now ran one of the most famous omnivore restaurants in all of Zootopia. Nick had not opted to share the explicit details of how they knew one another, but he may have helped him smuggle in a few of the harder to obtain spices and spirits that were not allowed to pass district boundaries. Filiberto, a large grizzly bear had greeted them when they arrived at their special chef's table in the kitchen and he wasted no time in showing them one of the best meals either had ever enjoyed.
The restaurant which sat high in the canopy of the central district, had one of the most spectacular views of the city and Nick had brought Judy out onto the back patio to join in the dance floor that surrounded the bar.
They had definitely gotten a few looks from the ritzy type that often visited such establishments. But fortunately they also seemed to at least know better than to cause a scene. And so the mis-matched couple enjoyed their evening, dancing under the stars.
Finally, as they headed home, Nick routed them across a few extra bridges until they were catching the scenic skytram that crossed over the main expanse of the district. He held the door for her as she stepped in, a little more giggly than usual from the wine they had enjoyed with dessert, and found her place to lean on the railing. He climbed in behind her and took his place by her side, both looking down into the darkness twinkling with street lamps and cars below them.
Spinning around as though it had just occurred to her, she looked up into his eyes with a large smile. "Do you remember that first time we rode this tram together?"
"Of course I do, Carrots. You saved my life that night." He smiled at the memory, despite how terrifying it had been at the time.
"And you saved my career, when nobody else would stand up for me." She nudged up against his side. "And look at us now, partners in the field and partners in life. What a turn of events, huh?"
She reached to lay a paw over his that grasped the railing, much as she had done that very first night. Only this time she nestled her head into his shoulder, seeking comfort in his closeness. "I love you so much, Nick."
"And I love you, Judy."
They stood rocking in the gentle swing of the tram as it glided through the treetops, a warm breeze dancing across their fur.
"You know, Judy." Nick spoke, breaking the comfortable silence between them, causing Judy to look up at the tall fox beside her. "You didn't just save my life that night. You reminded me what it was like to have someone believe in me, that I could be more than the stereotype the word stamped on me. That I was worth being loved."
Judy was struck by his words, he'd told her as much many times before, that without her, he'd still be a low-life criminal pulling cons and living in broken down vans. But she had never felt that she deserved all the credit he offered. His heart was good, he had just needed a push in the right direction.
She opened her mouth to say as much, when Nick pulled his paw out from under hers. For half a moment, she thought he might be moving to sit on the tram's bench behind them, when she realized he had lowered himself onto one knee.
Oh my god. Her heart began racing and it was then she realized that she could hear his own heart hammering away as well. Letting go of the railing she turned to face him fully, just as he pulled a small box from his suit coat pocket to reveal a sparkling ring.
"I know that I've already told you that I considered you my lifemate, and that I said it would be enough. But now that our relationship has blossomed into something more than I ever could have hoped for, I want to officially spend the rest of my life reminding you of the same things you taught me; That you're so much more than the little rabbit the world sees. And despite our outside differences, you're not only my best friend, but my soulmate. Judith Hopps, would you marry me?"
She felt the warm tears on her cheeks before she had even realized they were there. Frantically nodding her head, causing her ears to bounce behind her, she choked back a sob long enough to get out her answer, "Yes!"
Nick looked as nervous as she did and fortunately his kneeled down position in front of her placed him more easily within kissing height. Her arms wrapped around his neck as their lips met with passion. With breaths between kisses she reminded him of her answer. "Yes… yes… Yes!"
1.5 years P.W.
The sound of clinking glassware echoed through the warm summer air of the tent, drowning out the band's music as bunnies and police officers gathered around tapping the edge of their drinks with a claw or a hoof.
Nick and Judy were in the center of the dance floor, whispering promises of love to one another, when they were pulled from the moment by the joyous clinking chant.
"I believe our guests are requesting another kiss my dear wife." Nick grinned down at the gorgeous bunny in his arms.
"Well, then we shouldn't keep them waiting." Judy said with her own sly tone and a wink.
The crowd's taunt continued until finally they leaned in to share a kiss. The room erupted in howls and cheers as soon as their lips met.
Continuing their dance around the floor, Judy laid her head against his chest and they swayed in rhythm to the melody.
"Do you remember the first time we danced together at a wedding?" Judy looked up with a smile in her eyes.
"Do I?" Nick exaggerated. "Of course I do, Jane's still trying to get some credit for helping us get together, since it was her wedding."
He spun them around so they could both get a good look at the antelope and her husband in the small crowd of officers off to one side of the large outdoor tent. Standing next to Clawhauser, they both appeared to be so excitedly happy that they might burst at any moment.
"Although," Nick tipped his muzzle down lower, despite knowing that her ears would have no problem picking him up, even with the loud music. "We really could almost give more credit to your date; Chad was it?"
Judy leaned back from his chest so she could look up into his face, her own painted with confusion. "My date?"
"Well sure." He shrugged in response, before dipping her back and then pulling her up into a spin. "Had he not been such a terrible date, we probably wouldn't have ended up dancing together. And thus I wouldn't have been put in the situation of being inebriated and so vulnerable in your tiny bunny arms, spilling my secrets to you."
Judy threw her head back as she laughed. "Vulnerable? Ha!"
"What? Your big ol' eyes and that questioning stare you set on someone is hard to resist." Nick chuckled even as he tried to keep a straight face.
"Although reallllly," Nick dragged out the last word which made Judy raise an eyebrow in suspicion. "You could also say my popsicle scam is to thank for how we actually met."
As he expected, she rolled her eyes at his suggestion. "I thought we decided not to bring that up?" She poked his side with a finger. And he knew she still felt a little ashamed for the reason she followed him into the store that day, but honestly, he was glad it happened because of the results it had led to.
"I think you decided that, Carrots." He tipped an ear down towards her, and spun her out before rolling her right back into his grip, his tail wrapping up around her.
"Well, no matter who gets the credit, I'm glad it happened." She choose not to bicker over the details. "I'm glad we found each other."
"I knew I could be happy as simply your lifemate, Judy. But I never knew how much more incredible being your husband could be."
"You've only been my husband for about 2 hours, Nick." She teased.
"And that's how much better it is!"
They continued their dance, and as they moved about the floor, Nick looked out at the crowd. Their work family, the ones that could make the trip to Bunny Burrow, gathered at one side of the tent. All laughing and chatting and drinking and dancing, and simply providing so much support just by being there.
Flash and Priscilla sat at another table and the one near that had a special platform on top for Fru Fru and her family, including her eldest daughter, Judy. Finnick could be spotted too, trying his best to avoid socializing with any of the police officers, and instead opting reluctantly to visit with some bunnies.
And my goodness were there bunnies, so many bunnies, –Judy's entire family was there– spilling out of all sides of the several large tents and out into the fields of the Hopps Family Farm. Stu and Bonnie stood out from the crowd, surprisingly absent a young kit in either of their arms, simply holding each other as they happily gazed upon them.
If he and Judy ever doubted the world and whether or not their love would be accepted, they only had to think back on this night to recall all the support their family and friends provided them.
To think that just a few years back Nick was fine with his life. Content with surviving on scams, and living in slums; convinced that a life of solitude was enough. But now as he looked over this tent full of mammals who had all become an important part of his life, the most important at his side, Nick was happy to admit that he couldn't have been more wrong.
A/N: Wow, that was the sappiest bunch of smushy romance that I've ever written. I tried to stick to the important moments in their life, and well, those were going to be the happy sappy moments, because you know these two deserve a happily ever after.
Also, I really tried to keep this short. Jumping through time in little segments was kind of a new experiment for me and dang was it hard to be succinct. It takes every bit of my willpower to not delve into details and backstory at every turn. So sorry about the length!
Overall this fic was only going to be the first part (chap 1&2), but then I got sucked into this little world and that's where the rest of it spun off from - which is why the time jumps around so oddly. Hopefully it wasn't too darn confusing.
Couple of shout outs: I snuck in a small reference to the beautifully drawn Wildehopps comic Inter Schminter by Spinthrella, which includes an 'orgy of plushies' atop Judy's childhood bed. Ha! Seriously, go check out this comic on DeviantArt. Also, another thanks to xxFirestarxx for the beta!
I'm not really sure I agree with my own head cannon about Nick's mother, other than I do believe that she's still alive. Honestly, I kept her as a side note to prevent this chapter from getting any longer - sorry Nick's mom.
Please let me know what was your favorite moment? Was there one you didn't like? One you felt I left out? Leave me a review or a comment - you wouldn't believe how happy they make me!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!