A/N: This is not a rewrite or sequel to the other story. This story will explore what would've happened if Judy planned to be honest. Constructive criticism welcome.
Chapter 1: A Sacred Book
"You're giving me this gigantic book?" Nick blinked.
"I want to be more than just friends with you," Judy replied.
He pawed at the book in front of him. "The Traditions of Bunnyburrow: Complete Edition, can't I find it on the internet?"
"No, it's only on the lagomorph only network."
Even though Zootopia was unified, every species still had its own secrets. Some congregated in settlements to maintain their authority. Bunnyburrow ran by the whims of bunnies.
"Do you know how much trouble you could be in? If anyone found out?" His fur bristled.
"Absolutely, are you going to turn me in?" She blinked seductively. "I want to be more than friends with you."
"Why can't you tell me this orally?"
"I don't want you to hate me, and I might forget something. I'll give you a test before we go to Bunnyburrow."
"You're going to test me? Did I hear that correctly?" He sounded slightly more aggravated than he intended. "What if I don't want to go there after I finish the book?"
"I'll give my littermates a chance to choose who we marry. Thus, I'll likely be returning to Bunnyburrow and you won't see me again."
"Judy, can you please leave? I need some time alone." He only used her real name on serious occasions.
"Fine." Her ears pointed downwards. She slowly left his house.
Numerous conflicting emotions swirled within his head as he stared at the book in front of him. She wanted more from the relationship than he did. The laws regarding relationships between two different animal families were not only unwritten but unheard of. Crimes involving the same animal family had a right to a jury by their peers.
Felines certainly took advantage of this rule far more were set free without any penalties as far as he could tell despite the evidence. Only felines knew what happened behind closed doors while the perpetrator walked while the victim put on a fake smile. Society not only didn't condemn, but they also approved. It wasn't all that uncommon for the assailant and the victim to live together several years later.
He loved Judy even though he never heard of a union between a rabbit and a fox. Lagomorphs and vulpines had their own rules and customs which allowed them to get away with crimes. The law allowed certain foxes get away with stealing. Not only was the victim not compensated, but they also hailed the perpetrator as a hero as it should be.
They didn't follow Zootopian laws, but he certainly agreed with the rulings the vulpine court made. Every single victim who dared to complain certainly deserved what they got. He recalled a few incidents involving rabbits where they faced immediate extradition to Bunnyburrow with penalty unspecified. The perpetrators looked as if they won the jackpot. Being a fox, he wasn't privy to the proceedings, just witnessing the result. Judy never said much about those as it was a secret just as he kept his own. It certainly couldn't be a punishment if the assailant was happy.
The book in front of him should contain bunny secrets that he merely observed before. He was careful to note that she believed whatever knowledge contained within was enough to make him hate her. Not only did he have to keep this hidden, if anyone knew, it likely counted as a crime. It certainly placed her in jeopardy while his fate was unknown.
He slowly opened the book in front of him which reminded him of ZPA course materials. The boring errata of every action even ones he didn't think of. There were a thousand pages Judy wanted him to read, enough to risk whatever penalty they might issue if someone found out.
It was uncertain if he would have a say or even knowledge of the penalty if the specialized courts convicted her of mishandling classified information. He had to laugh when certain penalties consisted of community service by acting. There were humorous tidbits like no concerts allowed after ten at night with a five-hundred-dollar fine as a penalty. Although, he supposed that it wasn't all classified knowledge.
After a few pages and several sections on others, he closed the book. It wasn't some world-shattering revelation that he expected it to contain. He knew he told her to leave, but he was bored since she promised him a special surprise today. The book certainly wasn't what he had in mind. Not to mention being illegal.
He called her as he didn't want to read the book anymore.
"Nick, please give me a chance!" she said.
This certainly wasn't what he expected to hear when she picked up the phone. There was panic in her voice along with pleading.
"Are you okay?" Nick asked. "Where are you right now?"
"I'll come over if you want."
The drive to her place wasn't too far from his. Common mammals held a slightly better perception of foxes since he became part of the ZPD. She still lived in that small apartment with noisy neighbors. An overly excited bunny waited for him outside the building. She gave him a hug upon seeing him. "You don't hate me … yet."
"Shouldn't you tell me why I should?" Nick asked. "The book is boring so far. I've read a few pages. It certainly didn't contain what I expected."
"If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring."
"I don't suppose you can give me the cliff notes? You're even willing to test me on what I know, unless if that was a joke. You've also been watching that deer way too much."
"I'm not that brave." She laughed. "But let's spend the time we have before you decide to hate me."
"You've already been through the press conference."
"This is far worse. There are two months till my birthday, and five till our vacation."
"What have you done with Judy Hopps? She doesn't take vacations." He imagined going to Bunnyburrow would be a brief weekend trip before they hastily rushed back to Zootopia.
"Courtship lasts at minimum a week, and then there are all my siblings. So, two months should be enough to meet the family and bond with everyone. I don't take vacations, but I will for you."
He laughed. "And you're still convinced that I'll hate you."
"It's all in the book." She was certainly serious, but right now, he couldn't imagine that a simple book would change his mind.
"Let's head inside."
Her apartment hadn't changed much since the last time he visited. It still contained the gigantic pile of stuffed rabbits. They watched bad television as friends, it was normal as if the incident earlier today was all but forgotten. There was a reminder just before they parted ways. "Promise that you won't hate me?"
He couldn't reply with a yes or a no considering how she acted, and the laws she broke. "Honesty is the best policy, they say that, don't they?"
"Was all this a mistake? You haven't told me yours."
"I didn't think it was appropriate."
"No." He didn't want to risk a trial by his own kind. The information he knew wasn't earth-shattering anyway. "See you at work tomorrow."
There were five months to finish a boring book, certainly, that was plenty of time.
It took a week before he stumbled on to the relevant parts of the book. He read the passage several times, but there was no mistaking it. The law stated that bucks had to date all female littermates of the doe at the same time.
He played several dating sims out of curiosity during his college years which ranged from horror to pure wish-fulfillment. A curious thought entered his mind if the harems he witnessed would line up with reality. It made him excited despite everything he knew. Foxes were only supposed to have one mate. Bunnyburrow sure was obsessed with acting nearly all penalties involved acting in some way either as the only option or as an alternative. Even for trivial infractions like showing up to school late. A part of him wondered if movie stars were above the law.
They met each other at Bugga-burger in the morning. He had a question on his mind ever since reading the book.
"So, have you ever performed in any productions?" Nick asked.
"Of course not!" Her denial came way too fast, fast enough for him to tell that it was a lie.
"Whatever happened to honesty?"
"You have no proof."
"So, I just have to find it?"
"You don't care, do you? You just want a good story. I'm going to go and reconsider my life choices, namely the ones made recently." She walked away from the table without even finishing her meal.
"Carrots, how's that different from how I usually act?'
"Dumb fox." She walked out of the building. "I'm going to be expecting an apology when you come to your senses."