Opening Authors Note: It would be wise of me to inform you that this is the second in a serious of Holiday themed Wildehopps Fics, that is to say, there is one before this. You don't have to read the first one to understand the events of this one, but I'd recommend it. A certain fluffle of bunnies appears again, and a lot of their characterization lies in the last fic. You can find it in my stories under "Trick or Treat You Right"!
Things most find awfully endearing:
The little cubs and kits you find caroling outside your apartment door when dusk finally sets on the animal metropolis. For once you actually appreciate the sound of children making a ruckus outside. Also, few can resist the charms of the holiday specials which run through the night; you know, the ones with the stop-motion animation? What can manage to compare to the way your loved ones curl around one another on the couch when listening to the sickeningly saccharine holiday tunes are sung by cartoon mammals; ah, I'm afraid I do not know. Equally heartwarming – provided you aren't some scrooge of an animal – would be the way a bear cub's mother will smother his cheeks in sloppy smooches and run her kindly claws through the fluffy fur upon his head before he runs out the door and joins the other children for whatever winter themed activity they had decided they'd be cutting their teeth upon that foggy December morning.
Just a little bit more endearing, too a fox that is, was the sight of downy snow settling upon Judy Hopps' window sill this morning.
No, that's not quite it.
The sight was somewhat pretty, but without proper context, I'm afraid the real beauty of it all might be lost on you.
What is really, positively, without a doubt endearing is this:
The rabbit – Judy Hopps, the very same – drooling just a little on the red fox's arm as she slept in peace; while he alone watched the snowfall find its way onto her window sill.
Nick Wilde tried to stifle a grumble so as to not wake the sleeping bunny rabbit. Her heart beat tapped against his own chest as he held her close. He knew for an absolute fact that he'd regret it if he got up right now and spoiled the moment, but he knew equally well that he'd regret it if he didn't. Grumbling again – silently and without motion of course – he cursed the catch twenty-two presented to him and resigned to getting out of their warm, shared bed.
But before that, he figured he might as well snuggle her a little closer for another couple seconds. He moved his paws from the small of her back to her neck and smothered her face into his fluffy, untrimmed chest. Of course, in doing so, he lathered himself further in her drool – she had a bit of a problem – but he didn't particularly mind. He kissed her pink nose and rubbed the underside of his chin against her neck.
When he was as satisfied as he was going to get, he uncoiled an arm from her form and let it worm its way out of the folds of blankets they had entombed themselves in. Carefully, he drew the comforter off them; taking care to leave his other arm wrapped around the bunny rabbit so as to make sure she wouldn't get too lonely too quickly. Then, he gave a firm tug on the second layer of sheets, pulling them from his shoulders. The third layer took some extra effort to wriggle out of, and while a spry fox like himself could typically have himself out of such a cocoon in a swish of a lamb's tail, it was decidedly more complicated when you have a cute little bunny attached to you. In fact, when priority one is the continued good night's rest of said bunny; the act becomes nigh impossible, but Mr. Wilde always took great pride in his ability to slip out of any tricky situation. He rolled over onto his side and gently threw the final blanket off himself, and by extension: his rabbit. She held him a little closer and her buck teeth chattered for a moment.
He grumbled again, because now he must do the unthinkable. Slowly – and with the utmost of care – he drew his arm out from under the fluffy bunny who had claimed it as her own.
Which immediately drew a frustrated mewl from her lips.
The rabbit groped at the air with half lidded eyes, more asleep than awake, as Nick frantically tried to crawl away from her and create distance.
"Don't be like that, fluff."
He rolled off the bed, leaving the needy bunny to groan as she slept, almost as though some less-savory dream had just come to replace the sweet one she had just dreamt.
He watched her toss and turn for a while, paws on his hips. How dare he just leave her to suffer like this?
With one paw, he took up a blanket and gave her the other to hold onto; which she gladly accepted. He took to wrapping her up tight, swaddling her in the sheets – much like a mother fox would swaddle her kit – till she looked like a little bunny bean.
He took a moment to step back and admire his handiwork – pawiwork? – And smiled to himself. Her face poked through, all fluffy and gray and smooth and shiny; as round as the precious moon that sat snug in the blanket the sky provided that night, the same moon he was almost certain she herself had spiraled down from.
She wriggled a little, clearly disappointed with the arrangement.
The fox bit his lower lip. This wouldn't do, no this wouldn't do at all. He took up another pawful of sheets and set to wrapping the bun up a little more snug. By the time he had finished it, she was less of a bunny bean and more of a bunny burrito.
And still she tossed and turned, restless in her slumber.
He rubbed the sleep from his foxy eyes and placed a paw under his chin, thinking. With the last of the blankets, he wrapped her up tight, leaving a tiny bunny face to stick out of a mountain of fabric sat atop their bed.
Yes, this is good.
Her nose twitched gently, and she drooled a little more on herself.
"Stop." He whispered, a more so to himself then to her.
He placed a clawed finger on her wiggly, pink nose so that it would quit doing that cute thing it does, and wiped her chin before leaning in closer to her. He kissed her right between the eyes and went to draw back.
But something stopped him. He kissed her on the cheek, the chin and her closed eye lid.
She stirred in her sleep again, this time a little more forcefully, and he thought he may have woke her. A quiet chirping met his ears. It was something sweet peaceful and sweet, like the song of one of those squawky birds who could actually sing quite well if you ask them kindly.
She was snoring.
He kissed her on the forehead – a little more gentle this time – and backed up from the scene so as to make sure he wouldn't spend the rest of the morning watching over her. His dresser was his next stop. The drawers sat half way across the bedroom, next to Judy's stuff, and a journey spanning half of her room felt like quite the odyssey on this nippy winter night, but a necessary one regardless. Ruffling through the clothes he had crammed into the wooden box on the day he first moved in, he picked out a pair of boxers and pants. Tossing a few shirts out onto the floor, he found the ugly, pea green sweater his girlfriend had bought him when winter first struck and slipped it over his head; pressing his ears down against his head and out of the way.
The fox turned back to look at the burrito wrap of a rabbit he had made moments ago.
Yeah, she looks like she'll stay warm, at least for a little while.
Stepping out into the streets, the fox whipped his tail as a shiver climbed up his spine. He looked down at his watch; two o' clock in the morning. The festive bulbs strewn about the city had already begun to glow their reds and greens and golds, causing him to squint a little against the glare. He spread the toes of his feet-paws for a moment, getting used to the cool concrete below him, and began to walk down the street.
A snowflake or two landed on his coal black nose, sending him cross-eyed in an attempt to get a better look at them.
He looked to his right and to his left. Nobody was outside at the moment.
Sticking his tongue out and curling it upwards, he licked the white fluff from the tip of his muzzle and smiled to himself. Something about the holiday season got him a little "sick in the head" as he had called it. He smiled more often than usual, and not that smug "devil-may-care" smile he was so fervently known for. His smile was that of a dopey kit experiencing a magic trick for the first time. Even more damning is the sudden hankering for sweets he'd get during this time of the year. Rarely would he and Judy manage to pass the local bakery – they made gingerbread during the winter – without the fox meekly turning to look down at his girlfriend with round puppy-fox eyes, wordlessly begging to take a trip inside, which she always complied to.
"I swear this isn't what it looks like-"
Nick wiped the saliva off his nostrils before spinning around to peer into the nearby alleyway, terrified to find who it was that caught him in the act of licking snowflakes off of his schnoz. He found nobody.
And then he looked down.
"Listen, I don't really care. You in the market for a tree?" the fennec fox questioned, reclining in a lawn chair set up outside his van.
You'd think a fox would recognize his old business partner's vehicle of choice, but a few other words could be used to describe the metal chariot before "recognizable". The entire machine had been decorated in red and white scraps of wrapping paper, evoking the imagery of a giant present. The little fox even took the initiative to string some lights across top. If that wasn't enough to throw even the slickest of the sleuths off, one good sniff revealed to the sniffer wafting scent of spruce resonating from the inside of the van.
Not exactly the typical look of the ride of a gruff little mammal such as himself.
"Didn't take you for the festive type, bud." Nick said, rubbing his tired eyes as he approached the little guy before him. "Though 'shady guy who tries to sell junk to whoever is dumb enough to approach his particular shadowy alleyway' does seem to fit your m.o."
Finnick rolled his eyes.
"All part of the hustle."
"You wanna tree or what? I'm sure Ms. Toot Toot would appreciate the thought."
Nick seemed to chuckle at the mention of the nickname before taking a peek inside the van, admiring the spruce.
"Or does she go by Mrs. Wilde as of late?"
Nick turned to the little fox and lifted his snout in the air, indignant, before tipping the lawn chair over with a swift kick of his foot.
Finnick scrambled to get back up off the floor, snarling as he did so.
"Buy a tree, dammit!"
"Ah…" the taller fox sighed, "I don't know lil' guy. Are you sure these puppies are legal?"
"What do you take me for, officer?" the fennec chocked out under a laugh, setting his chair upright again and settling back in.
"Wouldn't want to arrest a toddler, not this close to Christmas." Nick said, his eyes half lidded, his smile a tight crescent on his mouth.
"You're crossing a line Nicky…"
"I'm not in the market for trees, pal, but thanks for the offer." Nick interrupted.
"Thanks for wasting my goat-damn time…"
The red fox smiled at his dusty friend.
"Have a good one bud." He said, turning to walk back down the street.
The little fox looked away, upset.
"And happy holidays."
"You too. Get home to that bun soon, would ya?"
He turned the street corner and stopped.
In the district square stood a pine tree which somehow managed to dwarf the giraffes of the city. Candy Red tinsel with little, deep green charms strewn about it wrapped itself round the tree, weaving in and out of the branches. Bulbs of every color lit the attraction up, somehow managing to be more gaudy then the lights strewn about Main Street. Also worth mentioning, were the peppermint sticks which hung daintily from the boughs which seemed to stick out most from the rest of the tree.
It could be described as magical, but that would be sort of lame, wouldn't it?
He sat down on the nearest bench he could find, because his paw pads were really cold and he didn't have much business walking around town at this hour anyways. He wanted to clear his head, but he really ought to stop putting off the inevitable.
He dug into his pants pocket, retrieving a week-old stick of gum.
He glared at it in disappointment.
When was the last time he washed these?
He shoved his paw back into the pocket, pulling out his phone. Dialing a number and pressing the phone to his ear, he took a deep breath. The automated bells behind him started their cheery chiming, filling the brisk, nebulous morning air with a sweet melody that would have made the fox roll his eyes any other time of year. His nose snuffled, picking up the scent of cinnamon before the tailwind blew it away from him and back towards the tree.
A voice on the other line spoke up.
He cleared his voice before speaking. "Mom?"
The voice happily chattered to the fox, drawing a small smile out of his muzzle.
"It's nice hearing from you too, ma. How was your flight?"
The voice tittered back, going on for a little while longer than was necessary.
"Yeah, that's to be expected." He said with a chuckle. "Kits can be-"
He paused for a moment, remembering a few bunnies he had grown to love as of late.
"- rowdy." He finished; his smile growing larger. "Need me to come pick you up?"
The voice on the other end replied quickly, its excitement apparent.
"Is she now? I knew Aunt Marian cared, but enough to get out of bed at this hour? What a Saint!"
As the voice continued on and on, the fox's gaze drifted back to the tree. Would Judy like it if he went out and bought one for the apartment? Growing up, he never had a Christmas tree. The scent was too overpowering for a fox's nose to deal with for an entire week. Was that a thing bunnies did though? He'd have to-
His train of thought was interrupted by something the voice said.
"Oh- are you spending the holidays with Aunt Marian this year?"
The voice replied.
The voice interrupted.
"Me? I'm not…"
The voice continued.
"No- I'm gonna-"
He could hardly get a word in.
"I'm spending it with my gal, remember her?"
A drawn out "Oh" resonated through his phone, resulting in more excited tittering.
"Meet her? You want to- I…" Nick fumbled over his words for a moment, sitting up on the bench. "I suppose you could, but-"
The voice continued.
"Vixen? Mom, you don't-"he tried to speak over the voice, but it made a point to not let that happen. "You really should just spend the holidays with your sister, we're boring over here, I-"
The voice scolded him.
Nick held his tongue. He ran a paw down his face, wiping the snow which had happened to accumulate upon his muzzle now. "…Yes ma'am…"
The voice lightened up.
Nick let the smile crawl back up his face, this time a bit more apprehensive.
"Ok…" he whispered. "See ya then. I love you too."
He hung up.
Apparently, it hadn't dawned on his mother that his girlfriend might be something other than a vixen.
A rabbit stepped out of the bedroom doorway just in time to see her favorite fox brewing up a batch of hot cocoa.
"Well, look who's awake." Nick said, spreading his arms wide open.
Judy ambled towards him groggily, stuffing her face into his fluffy cream chest. She wore a shirt several times too large for her. Its Hawaiian print stuck out sorely on the green cloth.
"How in the world are you awake before me?"
"Guess you slept in."
Judy pulled away from his chest to take a peek at the clock set atop the kitchen stove.
"It's six in the morning." She grumbled, stuffing her face back into him.
The fox sighed, rubbing the nape of her neck gently.
"I was up talking with my mom."
Judy tilted her head upwards.
Nick tilted his downwards.
"Did she have a nice flight?"
The fox shrugged before nodding.
She nuzzled into his chest again, prompting Nick to sway back and forth gently. He brushed her ears back against her head and laid his muzzle across the top of her.
"She wants to spend Christmas with us."
Judy ceased her swaying and let the fox go. She smiled a smile a tad too bright for the fox on this early morning day.
"Nick, that's great!"
"Yes! She'll love it here!"
"And she's going to have the chance to meet my parents!"
"Speaking of which, I really ought to run down to the train station soon. The kits are gonna be here in an hour or two."
Nick froze up. The gears in his head turned a little – it's been a little while since they had last shifted around, so you'll have to excuse the poor guy – and he thought.
The bunny before him stood clapping her paws cheerily.
And he thought.
The entire thing felt like a fever dream.
And he reached no logical conclusion.
"Judy, is your family coming to town?"
The bunny stopped her joyful outburst.
The rabbit looked up at the fox, less surprised and more…
She pressed two furry digits to the bridge of her tiny nose, rubbing it in frustration.
"We talked about this last Halloween."
"That was months ago!"
The rabbit groaned.
Nick rubbed his forehead before beginning again. "Ok, give me the quick notes version of what I should be expecting.
Judy crossed her arms over her chest and took a deep breath, trying to reach some inner Zen and banishing the urge to fight her partner right here, right now.
"Mom and dad are going to spend Christmas Eve, that's today by the way-"
Nick rolled his eyes at her patronization.
"- with the family back at the farm. Now, a few of my siblings were eager to show up today, so they hopped on the train to the savannah central. Care to guess which ones they might be?"
Nick fought off the urge to grin as he leaned back against the kitchen table.
"I have a hunch."
Judy smiled before continuing. "Later tonight, mom and dad are going to catch a train over. They'll be here tomorrow morning. Any of this sound familiar to you?"
Nick pondered if any of this sounded familiar to him, and decided that it didn't.
"It's been forever since we planned this all out. You need to remind me about these things!"
"You're a grown mammal! You don't need reminders!"
Nick shook his head in disappointment before scooping the bunny back up into his arms.
"You and I both know that isn't true."
Judy didn't try to fight him, instead grumbling something into his chest fur. The fox clicked his tongue as if to scold her.
"Things like this can be avoided if we practice a little forward thinking, hunny bunny."
Judy shifted in his arms. "You're going to make me hurl."
"Shh…" the fox cooed, rubbing the small of her back. "Fear not. I, despite not having any forewarning whatsoever, will do everything within my power to give your family the best city Christmas they've ever had."
Judy had given up on trying to fight him at this point, instead opting to melt into his warm arms.
"Nick you're crushing me, I can't breathe."
"Good…" he whispered into her oversized ear, beginning to rock them back and forth again.
"Then maybe I'll finally be rid of you."
Things which bring most great discomfort:
Accidently stepping into a murky puddle on a hot, muggy summer day. Watching an enemy succeed at something you once thought yourself good at. Losing the remote when the season premiere of your favorite show is moments away from airing. Ordering a meal and then realizing you forgot your wallet at home is very annoying as well.
To a certain fox, the prospect of his mother coming to town so that she could meet his decidedly non-vixen girlfriend was troublesome to say the least.
Nicholas Wilde paced the apartment living room back and forth, cycling through possible explanations when his mother finally does see the little bunny rabbit for the first time.
She wouldn't dare be rude to Judy in person, but she knew as well as any fox that it is entirely atypical for anyone of his kind to get that friendly with a rabbit. She'd definitely heard a lot about the bunny from her son, he had made sure of that, but he had never mentioned her in any romantic light. The day he told his mother he had found himself a mate he was sure to be strictly ambiguous regarding any telling features about the mammal.
Let us watch as this single act proceeds to bite him in the ass.
Nick's ears shot up at the sound of a knock at the door, only lowering as he heard keys being fumbled with and the door being unlocked.
Judy leaned against the door frame, half of her body hidden behind the wall.
He smiled at her.
"You've got company." she continued.
The little pitter patter of a familiar pair of rabbit feat resounded through the apartment block hallway.
"Nick!" A bunny rabbit cried as he rushed through the open door, his ears flopping behind him.
Nick knelt down to accept the bun-bun in his arms.
"Joey! How've ya been kiddo?"
"Oh. My. Goodness! Things have been so great! We're on winter break and we get to just spend all our time on the farm! And last week, pa took Claire and I to a car race in the burrows and Claire was so happy she nearly cried!"
"She's still into race cars hmm?" Nick chuckled, nodding as the little rabbit continued to explain the events of the past several months to him in a hurry.
"Now slow down bud-"Nick began, only to be cut off by Joey's next excited outburst.
"And you wouldn't believe what-"the little rabbit paused.
Heavy footsteps came rumbling through outside the door.
"Oh no…" Joey groaned.
A chubby bunny came hurtling through the doorway, pulling his pants up as he ran. Reaching the fox, he grabbed the rabbit currently being held and yanked him from the hug, tossing him aside without a care.
"Hi Nick!" the little bruiser said cheerfully, his arms spread wide for a hug of his own.
Nick sighed and shook his head – if only because there wasn't much else that could be done – and took the kit in his arms.
"It's nice to see you Charlie." He said before letting the bun go and placing a paw on his shoulder, "but can't you be a bit gentler with your brother?"
"What do you mean? I just moved him."
Judy rolled her eyes but held onto her smile, still leaning against the door frame.
"Well, we're gonna move him with our words from now on, capiche?"
"I…" the rabbit began, a confused look on his face, "don't see how that could work."
"Believe me bud, a few well-placed words can get you far in life." Nick explained with a wink.
Next, steps so light you might miss them if you weren't quite enough came from the hallway.
"Mr. Nick! It really is you!" the owner of the footsteps cried, standing in the doorway.
"Claire! C'mon over baby!" the fox cried. Charlie took a step aside, letting his sister jump into the vulpine's arms.
"Still wearing the onesie I see?" Nick said with a chuckle, noting the soft fabric of the soft pink pajamas as he held her close.
"Uh huh." Claire replied, gazing up at him with a look of adoration.
"Well, it suits you just as well as it did last time I saw you."
She smiled, letting the fox go.
Nick stood up and took a look around the room.
"Rabbits are starting to take this place over, it seems…" he began, still looking around, "but if my memory serves me, we're missing a little guy."
Another pair of rabbit feet made their way down the hall, this time with a plodding pace.
Nick grinned, the type of grin you make with both your eyes and your mouth.
Their owner turned the corner.
A pint sized rabbit with pudgy cheeks stood next to Judy, his paws on his hips.
"Fuch." the rabbit said, his eyes narrowing as he stared at the fox.
"Edmund." Nick said with a gracious bow.
The two stood there, locked in place. They waited for the other to make the first move.
Edmund burst into a silly giggle and ran towards the fox, leaping up into his arms. Nick accepted him, spinning around as he held the bunny.
"And how are you?" the fox asked, touching their snouts together. The tyke simply replied by sticking his tongue out and licking the vulpine's nose.
Nick turned to Judy, still holding the kit. "How's speech therapy going for this one?"
"From what I heard, it's a struggle. He keeps scaring the therapists off." She replied, smiling with her eyes half-lidded.
"What? What's so scary about this guy?" Nick asked, kissing Edmund's forehead, who made his disapproval known immediately with a firm shove to the fox's muzzle.
"Well, for starters, he's a big meanie."
"Are you being mean to the therapists? Nick questioned, pressing his forehead against the bunny's.
Edmund tried to hold a straight face.
"Don't be naughty now."
The tyke couldn't hold the laughter in any longer, nearly bursting into tears.
Nick smiled and pressed the kits head into the crook of his neck.
Then he sniffed.
He sniffed the bunny some more.
"You smell nice!"
Edmund leaned back, still held tightly by the fox.
"Dun't snuff fuch, dunt!" he cried, landing a cushiony punch onto the fox's delicate nose.
"Don't sniff? But you smell so good…" Nick began, sniffing some more. "Almost like blueberries, and… gingerbread?"
He looked over at his mate, who had finally stepped from the door frame. She held a white paper bag tight in her paws.
"It was supposed to be a surprise, but Edmund couldn't wait to eat his and got it all over his face." She said, giving the bunny in her fox's arms an almost sour look.
Nick gladly accepted the bag of treats.
"We stopped by the bakery on our way over, Joey thought you might like som-"
"Nick?" Charlie's voice called, prompting the fox to look down to find him.
"What's up pal?"
"Why isn't your house decorated for Christmas?"
"Oh, well… We don't-"
"That's what we're going to do next! I need your help to get the apartment ready in time for Ma and Pa's arrival, so we should head out shopping ASAP!" Judy explained.
"Wait, what are we doing next?" Nick asked, worried.
"We're going shopping!"
Closing Author's Note: Look, fluff! Did you like it? Drop me a comment and let me know! I can't spend much time on this particular author's note as I really should be going – holiday season and all that jazz – but I'd like to thank you for reading! Probably gonna see two more entries to this.