"…Judy,"

Beep. Beep. Beep.

I just wanna sleep, go away, Judy feebly swatted at the hoof on her shoulder.

"Judy, it's time to wake up. You're in recovery."

"Mmph?" Judy tried to open her eyes.

"That's it, hun. I'm your nurse, I'll be looking after you. I need you to drink some fluids now, 'kay? Here," the zebra held a cup with a straw to Judy's mouth.

Judy gulped gratefully as the cool water trickled down her throat.

"How is your leg?" the nurse asked as she took the cup away and adjusted the drip, "do you need any more pain relief?"

"The surgery," Judy croaked, "went okay? I can't feel any pain, so when can I get back to work?"

The zebra chuckled softly, "It went fine, but as for work, well, you'll have to stay off it for a while so that you don't tear your sutures."

She picked up the TV remote from the bedside table, "The doctor will talk with you more when you've had some time to wake up."

Judy smiled sleepily.

"You want some TV?"

"Mm-hm, thanks."

The nurse turned the television on.

"ZNN okay? It's nearly time for the six o'clock news."

Judy nodded and sank back into the pillows.

"Former Mayor, Dawn Bellwether is behind bars today, guilty of masterminding the savage attacks that have plagued Zootopia of late," reported the leopard newscaster

as the banner read:

FORMER MAYOR BELLWETHER IN PRISON 6:01PM.

Judy's mouth twitched, "...stupid Smellwether. Heehee, 'Smellwether', that's funny!"

The zebra suppressed a grin, "Pain meds are working their magic, I see. Just remember not to make any important decisions, like signing legal documents, until you are

discharged, okay?"

"Mm-hmm."

The moose newscaster continued:

"Her predecessor, Leodore Lionheart, denies any knowledge of her plot, claiming he was just trying to protect the city."

"In related news," said the leopard, "doctors say that the night howler antidote is proving effective in rehabilitating the afflicted predators."

Judy's eyes widened, "They found an antidote already? That's great!"

The nurse nodded, "Mm, apparently Bellwether's accomplices already had an antidote, just in case they hit prey by mistake."

She busied herself wrapping a blood pressure cuff around Judy's arm.

"Okay, looks good. I'll go and get you some dinner. Be right back," she said.

Judy gave a lazy nod and looked back to the TV to see that Chief Bogo holding a press conference.

"Bellwether's deception would not have come to light if not for the bravery of Officer Judy Hopps, who was injured in the line of duty."

"Is Officer Hopps alright?!"

"Are her injuries serious?"

"What can you tell us about her current condition?"

Chief Bogo raised a hoof, calling for quiet.

"She has not been seriously injured. It is my understanding that she will be able to return to duty soon."

"Which hospital is she in?"

Chief Bogo stood down from the podium.

"I would ask that you respect my officer's privacy at this time. No further questions, please."

Judy had to smile.

Aw, chief buffalo-butt is asking people to respect my privacy!

She stabbed at random buttons on the remote until she finally clicked the television off.

Still woozy from the anaesthetic, she closed her eyes, when she heard voices from outside her door.

"I uh, don't want to bother her if she's still resting..."

A familiar voice.

Judy grinned widely, "Nick!"

The zebra nurse opened the door and ushered Nick in.

"Don't worry sir, I need to give her something to eat anyway. I see you've brought her dessert," she motioned to the pawpsicle clutched in Nick's paw.

"Heeey Slick-Nick, still hustling I see?" Judy smirked.

"Heeey dopey, don't bite the fox that brings you pawpsicles!" he muttered wryly and handed her the frozen treat.

"Thanks!" Judy beamed.

The nurse set down a tray of food in front of Judy and cast a sideways glance to Nick, "You sure have made yourself comfortable since Miss Hopps was admitted. Don't

you have a home to go to?"

Judy cringed.

No harm was meant, but Nick's ears had twitched just enough for Judy to notice that the comment had hit a sore spot.

But Nick was in Nick mode – 'never let them see that they get to you'.

"Sure I do, had to go and get the pawpsicles, didn't I? Besides," he pulled out his phone and gave it a wiggle, "-it's a good chance to catch up on EweTube. I'm never one

to pass up free Wi-Fi!"

The zebra shook her head and placed her hoof gently on Judy's shoulder, "Miss Hopps is still on strong pain medication, so she may be a bit out of it," she said to Nick.

She took the clipboard off of the edge of the bed and closed the door behind her.

Judy licked off the last of her pawpsicle, "...mm, I am so hungry!"

Growl.

"Well that's embarrassing," Nick deadpanned, "I must have sympathy hunger."

Judy gave him a lopsided smile and pushed the tray towards him, "Wanna share?"

"Fine hospital dining? How could I refuse?"

He sat himself at the end of the bed opposite Judy and they ate in silence for a few minutes.

"You want that blueberry tart?" Nick pointed.

"Yep!" Judy snatched at it.

"Hey!"

"Comf anb geb it!" Judy munched, triumphant.

"Don't think I won't, Fluff!" Nick smirked, "There isn't much I won't do for blueberries!"

"Come on then, I dare you!" Judy mumbled through her mouthful.

Nick chuckled, "You're still loopy, Carrots. I'll let you enjoy your ill-gotten victory spoils."

Judy giggled, blueberry juice staining her chin.

"I tell ya what," she leaned and grabbed his tie, eyes half lidded, "I'll give you a taste!"

Before Nick could blink, she pressed her lips against his.

Judy pulled back, smiling at him like a cat who got the cream at his dumbstruck expression.

She pushed a blueberry through her lips with her tongue and burst it with her teeth.

"You think I'm so naïve, Nick," she slurred, licking the blueberry juice away with her tongue.

"...mm," she leaned back on her pillows, eyes closing, "-you'd be surprised!"


What..? Oh no. Oh... God yes… Oh God no!

Electricity jolted through him.

Nick didn't dare move. He couldn't react.

She was drugged.

She didn't know what she was doing.

This should be funny and awkward.

So why was his heart hammering through his chest and the room suddenly unbearably hot?

Judy moved away from him and bit down on the blueberry, the juices trickling down her chin.

Aaand the room just became flammable…

She mumbled something and flopped back down on her pillows, sleep taken hold.

Nick finally remembered to breathe.

I'm never going to look at blueberries the same way ever again.

He licked his lips.

Hell, I'm not sure I can look at her the same way ever again!

Feeling like a school kid caught out at mischief, he looked at the door.

Still closed.

No one had seen them.

Maybe she wouldn't remember?

Maybe, that was for the best?

Maybe he should forget it ever happened?

They had just mended their friendship after months of silence, he didn't want to lose it again.

Mind made up, he made a beeline for the bathroom and had the coldest shower of his life.

That was saying a lot for someone who lived under a bridge for twenty years.

He felt better afterward, more in control.

He could catch a few z's on the couch downstairs. He'd gotten away with it last night.

It was going to be okay.

If she forgets it, I'll forget it.

That's what he told himself, at least.


"Mmm…" Judy shifted in the hospital bed.

She felt like she had had a really good dream, but she couldn't remember what it was about.

What time is it? She cast a bleary eye to the clock on the bedside table, reading seven am.

All she remembered was watching the evening news, then Nick came to see her.

He gave her a pawpsicle.

How nice of him to visit me!

She smiled and went to move her leg.

"Ow..." she grimaced. It hurt a lot more than yesterday, but it was bearable.

There was a knock at the door.

"Miss Hopps?" a beaver popped his head around the door, "ah, you're awake! I'm Dr Tibron, I did your surgery."

"Oh, hi doctor! When can I leave?"

"Hold your horses there. I've had a look at your vitals," he gestured with the clipboard. "-but let's have a look at how you're healing first."

He sat down and unwrapped the bandage from Judy's leg.

"Yep, it's looking good. Just hold tight and I'll get some clean dressings," the beaver shuffled off.

Judy took a look at her injury.

It wasn't as deep as she thought. It did look odd with the surgery site shaved bare.

It also itched.

Oooh what a good opportunity to give it a good scratch!

"Ahhh!" Judy lifted up her hospital gown and stretched her leg out, gingerly scratching around the wound.

Preoccupied with her relief, she didn't notice that the beaver hadn't closed the door behind him.

There stood Nick, a coffee in each hand, eyes like saucers.

"Oh sweet cheese and crackers."


She's doing this on purpose. She has to be.

Nick cleared his throat.

Judy cursed and hurriedly pulled the sheets up to cover herself. "Oh, uh, hi Nick!"

"Hi yourself. Coffee?" Nick handed her a cup.

"T-thanks…"

"No problem," he said.

This is bad.

He couldn't even think of a way to joke himself out of this one.

The blueberry tart incident was one thing, but he could tell that Judy was completely lucid now and there was no going back from there.

"So…" Judy said.

"So?"

"Did you go home last night?" she asked.

"Nah, I slept on the couch downstairs."

Judy fiddled with a corner of the bed sheet, "That was nice of you."

Nick smiled.

He could get this under control.

"Don't get so full of yourself, Fluff. It's comfier than a box under a bridge."

He swirled the coffee around in the cup, "Judy, why did you put me as your emergency contact? I mean, don't get me wrong," he held up his cup, "I'm happy to be

milking the free coffee and crash pad, but what about your parents?"

Judy turned her head away from him.

"They… don't know that I was hurt as badly as I was," she said.

"Ah. You're worried they'd freak out and drag you back to Bunnyburrow?"

Judy nodded. "I want to get reinstated at the ZPD. I was miserable back home."

"So what's your plan?"

Judy took a tentative sip of her coffee, blew on it, and then sipped again.

"...I don't know. I need to know how long I'm stuck in here for before I can make any real plans," she said.

"Knock knock?" Dr Tibron peered in, "Are you decent Miss Hopps?"

"Oh uh, yes!" Judy said.

This time. Nick took a large swig of coffee to try to swallow the lump in his throat.

The beaver walked in and held his paw out to Nick.

"Mr Wilde? I believe you are taking care of Miss Hopps after she is discharged?"

"O-oh yeah? Sure?" This was news to him, and he raised an eyebrow at Judy to make that point.

She smiled wanly at him.

"Okay, well let me show you how to redress the bandage. It will need to be changed daily for the next week."

Nick was pleased with himself for keeping his face expressionless as the beaver showed him how to re-bandage Judy's leg.

"And hold here," the doctor gestured.

It was Judy's turn to be mortified, it seemed. She was blushing all the way up to the tips of her ears.

Nick suppressed a smug grin. Serves you right for last night.

"Well, I'm happy to sign off her discharge papers. You can take her home whenever you are ready. It was good to meet you, Mr Wilde."

"Thanks, doc," Nick said.

The beaver did close the door behind him this time.

Nick put his empty cup on the bedside table.

"Wanna fill me in on that plan of yours?"

Judy was abashed, "I guess I could go stay at a hotel. You don't have to look after me, I can take care of myself."

"That's not happening, Hopps. But you do know that I 'live' under a bridge, right? Not exactly a good place to recuperate," he muttered.

"I'm sorry Nick," Judy finally looked up at him, her lavender eyes misting, "I didn't have time to think it through. All I could focus on was 'I have no apartment' and 'I'm

not going home'.'"

Nick gave her an unreadable look, one that she recognized when he was thinking things through.

"Fine," he said.

"'Fine'?"

"Fine. Being the sly fox that I am," he wiggled his eyebrows, "I have a plan b. But you will owe me BIG time."


A/N: The cover art for this story was done by the talented Fuzzy Ferret. There is a larger version posted on my Tumblr: armae. tumblr. com and links to her Pinterest! :)