Judy Hopps sat in the driver's seat of the black Zootopia Police Department-issued SUV that had been permanently assigned to her and her partner, Nick Wilde. The bunny restlessly sat behind the wheel of the running vehicle, impatiently thumping her foot against the floorboard as she waited for Nick, who had unexpectedly hopped out of the car for coffee when they had stopped at a red light. After yelling out in surprise at the fox's actions, Judy had immediately put on the sirens of the car and whipped the car into a parking space in front of the shop. After parking, Judy had proceeded to angrily snatch up her phone in an attempt to contact Nick. He had denied her first five calls, of course, and each had been denied on the first ring. Finally, the fox picked up, answering with his usual drip of sarcasm.

"Officer Wilde here."

"Nick!"

"Oh, Carrots! What a surprise."

Judy could practically hear the smirk she knew was plastered across his face.

"Nick, you can't just jump out of the car! That's dangerous! And do I need to remind you that we have a job to do?"

The fox and the rabbit had set out on a tip the ZPD had anonymously received early that day about more possible Night Howlers being traded on the streets. The tip had been labeled as "Priority One," and frankly, the tip worried both Judy and Nick immensely. Truthfully, they had had enough of the flower and its all too unpleasant side effects.

Nick made a noise of disgust on the other side of the phone.

"Look, Rabbit, a quick coffee stop isn't going to hurt anyone."

"Well, you should hurry back, I've got a feeling we are on to something good here," Judy replied, her eyes scanning the busy streets around the coffee shop.

It was a pleasant Thursday afternoon in October, the breeze crisp but not too cold. Downtown Zootopia was buzzing with the midday rush of animals either going to or returning from lunch. Judy heard the sounds of various cars honking a few streets over in the busy traffic.

"Oh, having feelings now, Carrots?"

Judy rolled her eyes at the indirect flirtatious comment.

"Well it doesn't take a 'feeling' to know that it doesn't take twenty minutes to get a cup of coffee," she shot back bitterly.

Granted, Judy was over-exaggerating. In reality, Nick had quite literally just walked into the coffee shop, so it had actually only been a few minutes or so since his departure. However, as Judy sat in the car waiting for his return, she had a moment where she struggled with her emotions toward Nick suddenly being gone – almost as if she missed him, though she wasn't about to admit that fact to herself, much less him.

"I'm tired," the fox whined on the phone.

"You're nocturnal."

"No coffee, no detective work."

"You act as if you were participating to begin with," Judy remarked.

"It's a shame – I guess I got you a coffee for nothing. A bunny with an attitude never gets coffee."

"You got me a coffee?"

"How dare you?" Nick gasped.

Judy couldn't help but laugh at his offended reply that was overflowing with drama. She couldn't help but love Nick; whether that love was platonic or something more, she couldn't tell, but she knew that he meant a lot to her, and her to him. Again, this was a fact Judy wasn't ready admit to herself or to Nick.

"Just hurry up, okay? I'm starting to get bored–"

Muffled sounds, along with the sound of a car door opening suddenly filled Nick's ear. It sounded as if Judy had dropped her phone and then gotten out of the car.

"Carrots?" Nick asked, somewhat concerned. "Alright, real funny, Fluff; where you at?"

There was only silence on the other end of the line.

"Hopps? Hopps," Nick stated again, his chest beginning to tighten with worry. "Hopps!"

In the coffee shop, two cups of coffee dropped into a trashcan with a loud smack that splattered hot coffee. Then, Nick was running, running fast and running hard.

In seconds, he was slamming himself through the glass doors of the coffee shop and out into the busy sidewalks of Downtown Zootopia. He stopped dead when he saw the ZPD SUV sitting unattended, the driver's seat open and Judy's phone lying on the floor of the car.

"Carrots!" Nick frantically scanned the area around him, looking for any signs of anything suspicious.

"Nick!"

Nick's head swiveled toward the scream.

There. Just at the end of the street was Judy, sprinting at full speed after a black fox.

All that drama and she was just chasing a con? Nick rolled his eyes as he began running after the bunny. Nick watched as the criminal and the cop dashed around the corner at the end of the street, resulting in him having to pick up his pace a little.

"Hopps, wait!" Nick yelled as he followed.

Nick didn't need Judy getting herself into a bad situation. She had ambition and passion, sure, but she didn't know when to quit, which had a knack of getting her into deep trouble more than once. Pushing himself to the limit, Nick slid around the corner, trying to keep up with the pair despite the head start they had had. His lungs burned, and his muscles screamed in protest, but he couldn't feel any of it. His head pounded with the thought of the bunny, the thought that she might currently be putting herself in danger because she was too impatient to wait for him to catch up. His thoughts were interrupted abruptly by the sound of Judy's voice crackling over his ZPD communicator:

"This is Officer Hopps, in pursuit of suspect! Priority one! Suspect is a black fox, heading down a back alley off of Main Street! I need back-up! I repeat, I need back-up!"

If Nick was worried before, nothing compared to what he felt now. She hadn't said his name over the ZPD radio frequency, and she had asked for back up. It gave off the impression that she thought she was alone, and she apparently needed help. Judy liked to keep a brave face at all times, but when it came down to it, Nick knew that Judy was still afraid of foxes – with the exception of himself, of course. He felt a chill run up his spine at the thought that she was probably afraid of the fox she was currently chasing. Nick grabbed his communicator from his belt.

"Carrots, back off now! He isn't worth it!"

No reply. Nick cursed himself for leaving her alone, but that was about to change. "Officer Wilde and Officer Hopps in pursuit! We need back-up now!"

With back-up now dispatched, Nick continued running, all while still attempting to contact Judy over the communicator, but Judy continued to give no reply. She had officially been unresponsive for over two minutes.

After what seemed like an eternity, Nick reached the opening of the alley Judy had described in her call. He had lost sight of Judy's ears (which had been his main tracking method) minutes before, when she had turned into the alley. He wasn't even sure if they were still in the alley or if they were streets away.

"Carrots! Carrots!" Nick yelled out for her as he tried to keep his pace, but he was brought to an abrupt halt at the sight before him once the alley came into full view.

Just a meter or so away, there was Judy. She was being held down on the filthy ground of the alleyway by a clawed paw of the black fox. At this distance, Nick could see the fox was a type of silver fox, as he could make out a few silver patches of fur randomly present on the fox's back. Nick's heart skipped as he saw how close the fox's face was to Judy's, how the fox was baring his teeth at her. Judy's paws were wrapped around the fox's paw that was holding her prisoner against the ground, and her feet kicked repeatedly at the fox's clothed chest as she struggled to get free.

"Freeze!" Nick screamed at the fox as he began running down the alley toward him.

The fox didn't even flinch, he only continued to lower his muzzle closer to Judy's face, his teeth flashing menacingly. Judy exerted every last bit of her energy as she kicked, nipped, and scratched at the fox, screaming out of pure fear.

"Nick!"

"Judy!"

Too late.

The fox lunged at her throat, her bloodcurdling scream echoing off of the brick walls of the alley. It was like a horror film playing in slow motion. As if by instinct, Nick removed his tranquilizer from the holster on his hip and shot immediately, the dart hitting the fox directly beneath his jaw line. A loud whine escaped the fox as the shot knocked him off of Judy and a few inches back, instantly drugging him.

Nick was on Judy in seconds, his tranquilizer thrown to the side now that the threat had been eliminated. She was bleeding, and badly. Blood was pouring from the wound in her neck to the point that Nick couldn't tell where the wound's exact location was. Her soft gray fur was matted with dark red. Nick felt a lump form in his throat as he saw the amount of blood, and his immediate thoughts were filled with how futile trying to help her would be. No, he mentally shook himself and reminded himself that he had to help her; she didn't have anyone else there. Nick shook his head, his ears rigidly pointed toward the sky, as he tried to clear his mind of anything but helping Judy.

Now being more receptive of the current situation, he quickly wrapped his paws around Judy's throat to stop the bleeding. The feeling of blood – Judy's blood – almost made him gag. She was conscience, and looking right at him, her amethyst eyes piercing his emerald ones. His widened eyes could only stare back at her, his cheeks lightly flushed.

Weirdly enough, a part of Nick couldn't help but feel slightly awkward in the current situation. He and Judy never really shared much physical contact and now here he was, practically sitting on top of her as he tried to keep her blood in her body.

Here he was, his partner bleeding to death underneath him, and he was more concerned about too much physical contact.

"It's going to be okay, Carrots. It's going to be okay. You hang in there, Carrots."

Nick managed a grimacing smile, which she briefly returned. She was fighting, and fighting hard, but he had no idea how long she could hold on for. Nick felt his eyes sting slightly at the thought of her dying in this alley with his paws covered in her blood. He shook his head again; now was not the time to get emotional. Readjusting so that one of his paws was applying the needed pressure to Judy's injury and the other could grab his communicator, Nick began shouting orders.

"Officer down! Hopps is down! Need back-up and medical attention at my location now!"

A few agonizing minutes later, the dispatched officers and an ambulance arrived. Nick was screaming commands at them in seconds, surprising himself at his own forcefulness to lead all of a sudden.

"Get the medic! No, don't touch her! Get the medic! Arrest the fox!"

Nick growled at anyone who came too near. He didn't need help with applying pressure or keeping her alive, he needed someone who could actually save her.

"Alright, help is here," Nick stated in a hushed voice, more to himself than to Judy. "Stay with me here, Rabbit."

Finally, with the help of a few antelope paramedics, Judy was loaded into the back of the ambulance. Nick's paws continued to apply pressure while they loaded her onto a gurney, as he was too afraid to move. For Nick, letting go meant just that, letting go, and that was the last thing he wanted to do in that moment.

The ride to the hospital seemed excruciatingly slow, despite the sirens that demanded traffic's obligation. Paramedics worked around Nick, complying with his fear to move from Judy's side. The antelope gave commands to one another, attempting to bandage Judy around Nick's paws, the only things applying compression to Judy's gaping wound.

"Keep applying pressure" was what Nick heard over and over again from the medics, but he wasn't focused on any of that; not once did Judy's eyes stray from Nick's. What was going through her head was beyond him, but Nick knew that she needed him, so he was there.

"It's okay, Carrots. It's going to be okay," Nick stated with a firm nod. "I've got you."

Little did he know that Judy was not only thinking about how much she needed Nick, but also how much she wanted to tell him that she loved him. Her confusing feelings aside, she was sure that she absolutely loved him. She didn't care what his reaction would be, she didn't care if he took it in a good way or in a bad way, she didn't care if he assumed it was the adrenaline talking, and she didn't care if he decided if it was a platonic or a physical "I love you;" she just knew that she loved him, and that was all that mattered to her.

She just didn't know if she would live long enough to tell him.