Author's Note: For some reason, the other day I just thought "what if Judy and Nick had to do one of those safety talks kids get in school" and it lead to this.
Big thanks to Ickaimp for assisting me in deciding what questions the kids would ask.
"Judy, it's not too late to get out of this."
"Nick," Judy with a stern look. "We're doing this."
"I'm just saying if we bribe Clawhauser with a box of donuts and some cookies we could get him to do it."
Judy rolled her eyes as she finished parking their car. "Stop whining. This will be fun."
"No, this is not fun," Nick replied firmly with his arms crossed. "Fun is watching on how many cream puffs Clawhauser can stuff into his mouth at once. Fun is putting a whoopie cushion under Bogo's chair. Fun is watching you scream yourself silly when we watch a scary movie."
"I wasn't scared!" Judy interjected. "I was...just caught off by surprise."
"Point is!" Nick continued, refusing to change the subject. "All of those things are fun! This!" he pointed to the brick building in front of them. "This is not fun! This is going to be torture."
Judy gave a deadpan look as she tapped her fingers against the steering wheel. "Nick, we're just going to give a bunch of safety tips to third graders."
"Exactly," Nick said with a groan. "I'd rather be going to the dentist right now."
Judy sighed as she unlocked her door. "I think you're exaggerating. Besides, you seem fine around my little brothers and sisters when I took you to Bunny Burrow."
"That was easy," Nick said as he opened his door. "All I had to do was watch tv with them or bribe them with blueberries if they were being annoying. These kids are going to be asking questions and I can't ignore them!"
Judy laughed as she lightly punched his shoulder. "Relax. We just go in, tell the kids how to be safe on the streets and then answer any questions they have. It'll be fine, trust me."
Nick sighed, not fully convinced. "Fine, but if things go downhill, you're cooking dinner tonight."
"Yeah, sure," Judy replied nonchalantly as she held out the door to the school building. "Come on, we go to check in at the school desk first."
Nick rolled his eyes as he slouched and followed his partner inside. It was going to be a long morning. He just knew it.
"So, remember kids," Judy said cheerfully as she held up the cue cards. "Never go alone with a stranger, only call 911 if you're in trouble and make sure to look both ways before crossing the street."
Nick sighed as he stood behind her and looked over the crowd of children. Some of the kids were listening, but most of them looked bored to tears as they slump lifelessly over their desks.
They've probably heard the same a dozen times from their parents and teachers already, Nick thought. Heavens know I did by the time I was their age.
Judy had done most of the talking for the presentation, with Nick adding the occasional nod and "Yup" every now and again to show he was there to be more than a wall decoration. Although, he had mostly tuned out Judy's speech when she got into the topics of "Why you should not jaywalk," and the "Top ten reasons you shouldn't litter."
He was close to dozing off against the chalkboard when he realized Judy was actually done and quickly straightened his posture.
Mrs. Wilson, the teacher who was a panda, clapped approvingly as she stepped out from behind her desk. "Thank you, Officer Hopps that was most informative. Wasn't it, children?"
The children clapped slowly, although Nick was certain he heard a few startled gasps as he spotted some sleeping students in the back being woken up by their classmates to clap along.
Mrs. Wilson clasped her paws tightly and looked to her students like a proud mother. "Now then," she asked, "would anyone like to ask Officer Hopps and Officer Wilde some questions?"
Only a handful of kids raised their paws unenthused, probably with common questions Mrs. Willow was expecting them to ask like "How do you become a police officer?" or "Do you get free donuts?"
However, a series of whispered of "Oh, oh! Pick me! Pick me!" caught Nick's attention and he glanced to the middle row. It was from a little grey fox that had been listening to Judy attentively during the whole presentation. She was one of the few kids that didn't look bored during the whole spiel.
Her paw was practically vibrating. She was close standing on her seat just so her paw could be seen a few inches higher among the others raised.
Nick looked to Judy and tilted his head towards the girl. If they were going to answer questions, might as well like the kids go first that seemed actually interested to go first.
Judy saw and nodded as she smiled at the girl. "Yes, you with the pretty rose clip."
The girl beamed and promptly sat up straight and fixed the fake rose clip that was almost ready to fall off her ear.
She folded her paws and grinned. "Have you ever seen a dead body?"
Mrs. Willson choked. Nick blinked stunned as Judy's smile evaporated into a shock frown.
Well, this just got interesting.
"Jenny?!" Mrs. Willson cried as she tried to recollect herself. "T-that is hardly appropriate!"
"But police officers solve murders." Jenny said with a confused frown.
"Maybe so, but the topic is on safety."
"Isn't it safe to know how I don't wind up as a dead body?" Jenny asked as she scratched her head.
Nick snickered behind the back of his paw. Okay, this was worth it. He liked this kid.
"Yeah, sure," Nick replied as he grinned from ear to ear. "Judy and I have seen a few of them."
"Nick," Judy hissed, but her partner didn't seem to listen.
"Really?" Jenny asked as her eyes lit up. "Did you ever see one with their head chopped off like in Detective Wolfbane and the Case of the Headless Giraffe?"
"Uh, no," Nick said as his brain click.
Right, he knew that movie. Old black and white detective movie...seemed a bit old for this kid to be interested in it though.
"But did see one that got flattened by a giant steamroller." Nick grimaced at the memory, and made sure to shudder for added dramatic effect. "That was so not a mess I wanted to clean up."
"Cool," several of the kids gasped in unison and suddenly the class looked much more energetic than it had the entire morning.
Judy slapped her paw into her forehead. "Nick, honestly."
The fox chuckled, feeling he was on a roll. "But, boy, that was nothing compared to the one that was sliced in half by-"
"Thank you, Officer Wilde, but I believe it's time to answer another question," Mrs. Wilson snapped and promptly looked to the other students. "Does anyone else have any questions?"
All the kids' paws instantly shot up in the air.
Mrs. Wilson narrowed her eyes. "That isn't about a dead body?"
More than half the class lowered their paws.
"Bobby," Mrs. Wilson spoke as she pointed to a zebra sitting in the back. "What's your question?"
The boy lowered his hoof and almost gave an accusing look at Judy. "How can a rabbit be a police officer? Don't you have to be super strong to take down bad guys? Aren't rabbits really weak?"
Mrs. Wilson groaned and Nick felt the fur on the back of his neck stand on end. He would like to assume the kid was merely curious and didn't mean any ill will by the question...but flashbacks to his own childhood caused Nick to question the motive.
He glanced to Judy, expecting to see annoyance on his partner's face, but instead she seemed calm and kept a cheerful smile.
"Bobby," Mrs. Wilson said in a stern tone, "that is very-"
"Oh, no, it's fine," Judy said, keeping her smile and looked directly at Bobby. "It's true, rabbits aren't as strong as big animals." She held up her paw like she was giving a lesson. "So, for small animals like me, the trick is to be fast on your feet and think quickly."
Judy then pulled Nick up to the front. "For example, Officer Wilde here is indeed bigger than me, but if he were a criminal about to attack me then I would first duck!"
Judy dropped her body to the floor.
"Throw him off balance!"
She kicked at Nick's feet causing him to fall back backwards.
"Hey!" Nick yelped in protest.
"Then I get my handcuffs," Judy said, ignoring the glare Nick was giving her and held up his wrist, "and promptly arrest him."
The kids laughed and clapped loudly, except Bobby who sulked in his chair and gave a dismissive roll of the eye. Nick moaned as he climbed to his feet.
"Thanks for the warning there, partner," he whispered.
Judy kept her smile and whispered. "I'll buy you an ice cream later to make up for it."
"You're not getting off of this with food-"
"With sprinkles and blueberries," she said.
Nick opened, and shut his mouth. He then narrowed his eyes and grumbled, "There better be strawberries too."
"Settle down, class," Mrs. Wilson said, "and thank you, Officer Hopps, for that...interesting demonstration." She took a deep breath and forced a smile. "Does anyone else have any questions?"
"I have one!" a little gopher sitting in front cried as he waved an arm.
"Yes, Franklin," Mrs. Wilson said as she gestured to him.
Franklin beamed as he leaned over his desk. "Is it true that there's a point on a mammal's head where if you shoot it, it will blow up?"
Judy paled and her ears folded back on her head as Nick fought the urge to burst out laughing.
"Cheese and crackers!" Judy exclaimed. "What kind of movies are you kids watching?!"
"I don't watch movies," Franklin replied with a shrug. "I read my older brother's comic books though."
"Franklin," Mrs. Wilson snapped with a glare. "I said no questions about dead bodies."
"I'm not asking about dead bodies, I'm asking about heads," Franklin replied earnestly.
Mrs. Wilson sighed and massaged her head like she was getting a headache. "Oh for heaven-Elizabeth, yes, what's your question?"
A leopard cub lowered her paw and grinned innocently from ear to ear. "Have you ever fired two guns while jumping through the air?"
"No!" Judy said with her arms crossed and she thumped her foot. "That is both impractical and dangerous."
Elizabeth's smile dropped into a disappointed frown. "But it looks cool."
"She has a point," Nick said with a nod. "I always wanted to try it myself."
"Nick, you're as bad as the kids," Judy scolded as she poked his ribs.
Mrs. Wilson seemed to agree and muttered under her breath about giving Nick detention.
"Do any of you kids have any...sensible questions?" Judy asked with a desperate plea.
"I have one!" a boy bunny said from the middle row.
Judy's body seemed to relax. "Okay, good, what's yours, Sweetheart"
"How do you hotwire a car?" the boy asked excitedly, nearly bouncing in his seat.
Judy's eye twitched and gave an accusing look as if she expected the little bunny to steal a car that very second. "And why do you wish to know that?"
The boy's ears folded back, and he hunched low behind his desk for cover as he gave a nervous smile. "Um...so I know how not to do it?"
It took all of Nick's willpower to not be rolling on the floor laughing. This was gold, pure gold.
"Alright," Mrs. Wilson declared sounding and looking like she was ten years older. "We will answer one more question and then it will be time for recess." She looked around the classroom, clearly scanning for one of the more sensible students. "Rocky? Yes, you, dear."
The raccoon lowered his paw and tilted his head. "What's tax evasion?"
Nick, Judy and even Mrs. Wilson blinked confused at the question.
"Um...why do you wish to know that?" Mrs. Wilson asked.
Rocky shrugged. "My cousin got arrested last month for it, but my parents haven't told me what it means yet."
Judy then smirk and folded her arms. "I believe Officer Wilde is the perfect person to answer that question."
Nick sighed. Why do I have a feeling that is forever going to haunt me?
"I take it ALL back," Nick said chuckled as they exited the building into the parking lot. "Despite your attempt at payback, this was the best day ever! Let's sign up for the next one."
Judy sighed as she rubbed her exhausted eyes. "We'll be lucky if Mrs. Wilson doesn't complain to Bogo."
"Why? We did our job," Nick replied as he leaned against the car door. "We answered the questions the kids asked."
Judy slumped against the car as she reached into her pocket. "Since when did kids become so...intense?"
Nick chuckled. "Kids have always been like that." He grinned at her. "Or are you going to tell me you were a perfect angel growing up?"
Judy grumbled. "Oh, cheese and crackers."
Nick raised an eyebrow. "Did I hit a nerve?"
Judy shook her head. "No, no, I left the keys in the classroom." She turned and dashed back into her building. "Be right back! Don't go anywhere!"
"Like I had planned to," Nick replied as he leaned against the car hood.
Nick jumped at the voice and turned only for him to find the little fox girl from the classroom. "Oh, Jenny, geez!" he replied as he placed a paw over his heart. "Almost gave me a heart attack there."
"Sorry," Jenny asked with a wince.
Nick took a breathe to calm himself and gave the girl a quizzed look. "What are you doing in the parking lot? Shouldn't you be in the playground?"
"I snuck out when the teachers weren't looking," Jenny replied and she rocked on her heels of her feet. "I really wanted to ask you something?"
"Oh?" Nick said as he scratched his head. "Uh...okay, shoot."
She chewed her lower lip and stared at him hopefully. "Is it really okay?
Nick tilted his head confused. "Is what okay, Sweetheart?"
"For a fox to become a police officer?" she asked almost in a whisper.
"Well, yes," Nick said, slowly. "Why would you think otherwise?"
"Bobby says we're too sneaky and lie too much to become one," Jenny replied with a growl in her tone.
"Oh...I see," Nick said and went quiet. He glanced around for any sign of Judy appearing. She be a lot better handling this kind of thing than him. To his dismay, there was still no sign of her and he glanced down, his eyes meeting the big hopeful eyes of Jenny.
"You...want to be a police officer?" Nick asked.
"Since I was five," Jenny whispered like she was admitting a confession, "but Bobby says I can't."
Nick sighed and kneeled so he was at eye level with the girl. "Listen, Kid, I'm probably not the best role model to give advice, but I will tell you two things I've learned in my old age."
Jenny's ears went up and she tilted her head curiously.
"One," Nick began, "the only person who gets to decide who you are is you. Understand? Bobby or anyone else doesn't get to make the rules on who you become."
Jenny blinked, but gave a nod.
"Second," Nick replied and gave a smile, "learn to forgive, even if someone doesn't say they are sorry."
"Why?" Jenny asked.
"Because holding in anger isn't healthy, and you tend to have an easier time letting it go if you forgive them."
He thought back to the scout troop that had wronged him so many years ago. He didn't realize how heavy the bitterness towards them felt until he met Judy and learned to forgive.
"If you stay angry it doesn't help you," Nick continued. "Most of the time, if you forgive someone, you're not saying what they did is okay, you're doing it so you can move forward."
"Oh…" Jenny frowned and gave a thoughtful nod. "I...think I understand."
"Good," Nick replied and shook a finger. "So, you better keep your grades up if you want to join the force one day, young lady."
Jenny giggled and saluted. "Yes, Sir!"
Nick laughed. "Hey, tell you what, Sweetie. Bring your folks with you to the police station, and I'll give you a private tour." He gave a wink. "Just ask for Officer Wilde."
Jenny's jaw dropped and she started bouncing as if she was just be invited into a toy shop. "Really?"
"Yup," Nick said as he stood back up. "Always willing to help out potential future police officers."
Jenny smiled and took Nick off guard as she wrapped her small arms around his waist.
"Thank you!" she said as she gave a tight hug.
Nick froze, unsure what to do, but then let himself relax and patted the girl's head.
"Anytime," he said. "Now, get back to recess." He pulled Jenny off of him and smirked. "And you tell Bobby if he gives you any more trouble about being a police officer then he's going to have a chat with me personally. Alright?"
"Okay," Jenny said as she waved and ran back toward the playground. "Bye, Officer Wilde."
Nick waved silently and became lost in his thoughts of his own childhood. I wonder if things would have gone differently for me if I had met someone like Judy earlier?
"Nice job, partner."
Recognizing Judy's voice instantly, he glanced over his shoulder and saw her grinning over the hood of the car.
"Well, I'm no Judy Hopps," he replied and tucked his paws into his pocket. "But I do what I can...and I was all out of those police badge stickers."
Judy grinned and unlocked the car. "Come on, Nick. I'll buy you that ice cream I promised."
"You better," Nick said as he sat in the seat. "My bottom is still sore from that fall."
"Oh, come on, I didn't kick you that hard," Judy replied.
Nick shook his head as he watched the reflection of the school grow smaller in the rearview mirror.
Yup, definitely a good day.