A/N: My very first Zootopia story but it won't be my last! Check it out and let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Never Give Up
Nick was breathing hard as he walked into the training house. He stopped in the hallway and smashed his hand against the wall. He slid down and sat with his head buried in between his knees.
Hard times were no surprise to Nick Wilde. He'd had hard days since he was a kid but this was a different kind of hard. It was the first time, in a long time, he put in hard work that was legitimate. And all of the effort was starting to feel very familiar.
This was physically hard. Harder than anything he had ever done before. But that wasn't the problem. It was a deeper reason for his current worry. He couldn't help but feel he was a Junior Ranger Scouts again. He was being accepted, mostly because of the role he played in saving the city. But he couldn't help but feel like the horror was still coming. He was still a predator after all and nothing was going to change that.
He closed his eyes, exhaled, and leaned his head back.
"Nick?" Judy asked.
His eyes flew open and he looked at his best friend and reason that he was even in the Academy, Judy Hopps.
He tried to put on his best smug smile but the best that came was a small smirk. "Hey, Carrots."
She didn't even need to ask what happened. She sat down next to him. "Rough day, huh?"
He exhaled. "Don't worry about it. It's nothing I can't handle."
"I know you're tough. But that doesn't mean that you can't be not okay. So, what's the deal? Talk to me."
He looked at her. "It just feels like the Junior Scouts again."
"Is someone giving you a hard time?"
He scoffed. "That's the thing: no. And it feels too familiar."
She started to understand. "You think that everyone is just waiting to turn on you."
He exhaled. "Yeah."
She looked away then back at him. "Is this about what happened at the ZPD at the press conference?"
"No. I told you, all's forgiven for that. I just… I'm still a fox, Judy. End of the day, that's what I am. Why would anyone trust me? Why should they?"
"Because you're a good guy, you're loyal. Because you helped save Zootopia. You saved me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here. Alive or in the ZPD."
"Things like that are forgotten pretty quick."
She put her hand on his arm. "Not by everyone. Not by the people it means everything to."
"Well. I guess that counts for something."
She punched him in the arm.
"Ow! It was a joke!"
She shook her head. "You still deserved it."
He was about to protest then shrugged, "Okay, yeah, maybe a little."
She laughed. She saw that his mood didn't improve that much. "Are you really worried?"
"Not really but…"
"Nick. You did a good thing. You helped protect this whole city already. Now… you're just gonna have a badge."
"If they give me one."
"You're giving your all. You're being the same smart guy I met months ago. You can do this."
"I know, I know. Just…"
"And that experience you had as a kid is going to stay in the past. No one is going to put a muzzle on you or keep you from this. If you never give up, I will support you every step of the way."
It clicked in his mind that that was the difference that helped him through. Regardless of how much this situation seemed familiar to him, the difference this time around was his cheering section wasn't off on the sidelines. She was right there next to him. He smiled. "Never give up?"
"Ya know something, Carrots? You're not bad at a pep talk."
She shrugged, "I try." She looked him over. "Not giving up?"
"Not a chance."
"That's what I wanna hear!"
She helped him to his feet. Once he was vertical, they smiled at each other.
"Thanks, Judy," Nick said.
"You're welcome," Judy replied.
She lifted up on her toes and planted a small kiss on his cheek. Nick's eyes widened as his ears perked up.
Judy pulled back and smiled at him. "Go get 'em, cadet."
Nick smiled again. "You got it."
A/N: And there you have it! Let me know what you thought! See you soon! REVIEWS, PLEASE!