AUTHOR'S NOTE: I uploaded this originally in 2016, but deleted it and have now re-uploaded it. If this fic seems familiar, that's why.
This is basically a modern AU for Robin Hood, set in the world of Zootopia, where Robin and Marian got married immediately after the archery tournament, spent years hiding from the law instead of maybe a month, and Nick was born long before Friar Tuck was arrested. All of my Zootopia fics (unless otherwise specified) take place in this version of Nick Wilde's parentage.
This is part of my Zootopia/Sing crossover series, you're gonna hear me roar.
The title is from "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day.
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are
Nick wakes to the sound of a chair scraping the floor.
"Please do try to be quiet," the half-awake European Fox hears his mother murmur through his bedroom wall. Her lilting accent from the Old Country is as gentle as ever. "You'll wake Nicky."
"Sorry, Marian," comes Little John's hoarsely whispered reply. The clock on Nick's nightstand reads 01:27AM in glowing red numbers.
"It's alright," Nick's father says, and the young Fox rolls over in bed, sheets tangled around his thin legs. "If he wakes up, he wakes up."
"Robin…" Nick's mother sighs.
"I'm not going to lie to our son about what happened to Tuck."
"I'm not asking you to, dear. But Nicky is so young. I don't want to scare him. "
"Listen to your wife, Rob," Little John comments.
After a moment, Nick hears Finnick's familiar voice. "What if the kid talks?"
"Are you implying my son is a snitch?" There is the barest edge of a growl in Robin's voice, and Nick's ears flatten against his skull as he listens.
"Of course not–" Little John begins, but Finnick interrupts.
"All I'm saying is, he might not know who he's not supposed to tell. The kid's green. He could sing like a canary to someone who wants our hides. This isn't exactly a small job we're planning here."
"Nick isn't going to tell," Robin says firmly, voice carrying throughout the apartment.
"Please, keep your voices down," Marian softly pleads. "Nick has school in the morning."
There is a pause. "So how are we going to get past the prison guards?" Little John asks in a low voice.
"I have an idea," Robin says, and Nick hears a smile coloring his father's voice.
"Dad," Nick asks over breakfast only six hours later, "about getting Tuck out of jail again, I was thinking…" He yawns.
His parents exchange a glance across the table. It's only the three of them in the apartment now; everyone else left hours ago.
"Nicky," Marian says, "were you listening last night?"
The young Fox nods, ears dropping at the rare stern look from his mother. Robin is usually the disciplinarian of his parents, not Marian. "I woke up to you talking," the kit admits. "I couldn't help but hear, Mom!"
"I knew you should have met at someone else's place," Marian tells her husband with a sigh.
"How much did you hear?" his father asks seriously.
"You said you and Finnick were going to steal the unjust taxes from the bank, and Little John was going to free Tuck and the other prisoners."
"Well." Robin adjusts his hat. "You heard most of it, then." He leans forward, resting his elbows on the table, and locks gazes with his son. "Listen to me very carefully, alright?" Nick nods, heart pounding. "You can't tell anyone what we're planning to do."
"I know, Dad–" Nick begins, but Robin holds up a paw, and the young Fox quiets.
"Not your friends, not your teachers, not anyone. Don't even tell a police officer if they ask, and definitely don't tell strangers who comes up to you and want to know what I'm planning. There are animals I don't get along with in Sherwood City, and I don't want you to get hurt."
"Nicky," Marian interrupts, "get your backpack, sweetheart. It's almost time for school."
At his mother's odd tone, Nick obeys. Before he is all the way down the hall, however, he hears his mother's airy voice. "How can you do this?"
Nick can hear tears in his mother's voice. "If it was just the two of us, I'd be right beside you in your plans. I was in the thick of it all, before we had Nick. But we have a child now, Robin."
"You think I don't know that?"
"We have to think about what's best for him. Not for you, not for me. For Nicholas."
"I have to do this," his father says sincerely. "Can't you see? Someone has to stand up to Vice President John while his brother is recovering. What if Richard doesn't make it? What if the cancer takes him? What if we're stuck with John Lionheart for another four years?"
"Why does it have to be you?" Marian cries suddenly. "Why do you personally have to do something about this? Yes, I hate the way the vice president is running the country, Robin, and I hate the tax hikes, and I hate that Tuck was arrested. But Little John and Finnick don't have wives and children to think about! They can risk their lives! You can't!"
After a pause, Robin calls, "Nick?"
The young Fox remembers to breathe as he slowly steps into the hall, peering around the corner at his parents. His mother steps out of his father's arms, turning to wipe away her tears, and Nick obeys when his father beckons.
"I'm taking you to school today." Nick nods mutely, and Robin sighs. "Sorry you had to hear that."
"Let me get your lunch, Nicky," Marian says in a watery voice, grabbing a brown paper bag from the counter and bending down to her son. She drops a kiss on the top of his head and hugs him. Normally Nick would try to pull away, but now he buries his face in the crook of her shoulder. "Goodbye, darling."
"Have a good day at school."
"Let's go, Nick," Robin says, and Nick obediently heads for the door. When he doesn't hear his father behind him, he looks back to see his parents enfolded in each other's arms again. A dejected Robin steps back first, looking for all the world as if he wants to stay with her forever, and Marian watches her husband and son walk out the door.
"You alright?" Robin asks as they ride the elevator.
"I guess," Nick mumbles, looking down at the carpeted floor.
"Look at me." When his son obeys, his father gives him a serious expression. "You know that I do the things I do to make the world a better place for you, right? To protect you and your mother?"
"Yeah," Nick whispers.
"I don't do it because I don't like authority, or because I like to steal from people. President Richard Lionheart was just and fair, and the country thrived under his leadership. I didn't have to rob or break anyone out of prison then. But Vice President John Lionheart is oppressing animals, and I have to help make things right in any way I can. Understand?"
Nick nods as the elevator doors open, and he follows his father out to the car.
Robin listens to the news on the radio during the drive, and Nick stays unusually quiet. When they reach the elementary school, the young Fox unbuckles his seatbelt, but pauses with a paw on the door handle when his father speaks.
"Not a word to anyone, Nick."
Robin gives him a sad smile. "Have a good day, son."
Nick jumps out of the car and jogs up the steps, his friends chattering around him, but he stops at the front doors to look back. The car is still parked at the curb, and his father waves to him through the windshield.
Nick waves back before running after his friends.
A month passes.
There are no more late night or early morning meetings to wake Nick, and he guesses his mother has something to do with the change. Robin waits until Nick comes home from school to spend a few minutes with his son before heading out, coming home long after he thinks Nick is asleep. The young Fox asks only once to go to a meeting, but Marian refuses, and he knows not to ask again.
But one morning, Nick notices how tense his parents are before school. A knot forms in his gut even though neither Robin nor Marian say a word, and he knows.
"Why aren't you eating, Nicky?"
He looks up at his mother's voice. "I'm not hungry," he mumbles.
"Eat up, kid," Robin says quietly, and Nick obeys, shoveling down his earthworms covered in tomato sauce in record time. He gets his backpack without being prompted and perches on the edge of the couch to nervously watch his parents tiptoe around each other.
Then they come into the living room to sit down on either side of him, and this is it.
"Nick…" his father begins, and the young Fox's eyes immediately well with tears. "Today is the day we put the plan into action."
When Robin pauses, his son sniffs. "You have to come back, Dad."
Robin and Marian exchange a look over his head. "Of course I'm coming back," his father says gently.
"You have to," Nick insists, desperate.
But it is Marian, not Robin, who picks Nick up from school that afternoon.
"Doesn't it your dad usually gives you a ride home?" Duke Weaselton asks, and Nick follows his classmate's gaze to see his mother in the car. His heart soars because she wouldn't be waving and smiling if–
"Yeah," Nick says distractedly, realizing the weasel is waiting for a reply. "See you tomorrow."
"See you," Duke calls as Nick runs down the steps.
"How was school?" Marian says warmly as he clambers into the car.
"Fine," he says as he pulls the door shut behind him. He looks at his mother, but her eyes aren't red. Instead, she is smiling, albeit tiredly, and he lets out the breath he had been holding all day.
Marian lets him pick the radio station on the way home. The mother and son sing along to The Howlers, the Fang Sisters, and a young up-and-coming artist Gazelle Thompson. Nick's spirits are up by the time they get back to the apartment complex, but Robin isn't waiting for them.
"Your father's out," Marian explains before Nick even asks. "He'll be back tonight or tomorrow. He isn't sure. "
Nick doesn't know how to respond. Then Marian kneels down before him to be at eye level with her son. "Nicholas, I want you to pay close attention. If anyone comes to the door that you don't know, do not open it. If it's your dad or Finnick or Little John, tell me and I'll get the door. But if it is anyone else, even our neighbors, don't answer back when they talk. Don't even move. Don't let them know you are here. Alright?"
He nods. "Good lad." Marian drops another kiss on top of his head. "Your father would be so proud of you, Nicky."
His breath catches, and she quickly amends her statement at his wide eyes. "He's still alive, darling."
"Okay," Nick replies in a small voice, and lets his mother embrace him.
"Everything will be alright," Marian whispers, and Nick squeezes his closed eyes tighter.
The half-awake young Fox rolls over in bed to peer through the darkness at his mother. "Mom?"
"It's time for breakfast."
But her voice has an odd tone, and Nick watches her carefully as she turns on his lamp and walks out into the hall. When he pads into the kitchen, Marian is placing a small plate of his favorite cricket chips alongside the usual cereal and apple slices. "Come and sit at the table, dear." His gut clenches, but she only urges him to eat. Once he finishes, his mother leads him to the couch, and suddenly he thinks he might throw up.
"Your father isn't coming home, darling. He is…"
"Dead?" Nick asks.
Her brown eyes well with tears. "Yes. "
Nick can't breathe, can't think, can't move, can't do anything but sit there and stare at nothing.
"He promised," he finally whispers, chin trembling. Gasping out a sob, he falls into his mother's arms.
His mother lets him skip school that day. But the next day is excruciating, because all everyone is talking about the infamous Robin Hood's defeat. Not in front of Nick, of course, but he hears snatches of conversations.
They whisper about how the Sherwood police force chased Robin Hood and Finnick from the bank. How the police, led by Chief Nottingham, only later discovered that prisoners had broken out of the federal prison while everyone else was distracted by Robin and Finnick. How both Foxes had jumped into a river with bullets raining down on them.
How only the Fennec Fox climbed back out.
Over dinner that evening, Marian suddenly says, "We're going to have to move."
His ears fall back nervously. "Move?"
"Yes. To the city of Zootopia, I think." She smiles sadly. "There are a few animals here who didn't like your father. Sherwood City isn't safe for us anymore." Nick sucks in a breath. "And I don't want you hurt, darling." He looks down at his plate as she continues. "I also think it would be a good idea for us to go by my maiden name."
He meets his mother's gaze. "What do you mean?"
"The name I had before I married your father. I would be Marian Wilde, and you would be Nick Wilde."
The young Fox wrinkles his nose. "I like Nick Loxley better."
Marian sighs, tears coming to her eyes again. "So do I. But we will be safer with the name Wilde."
Nick's ears droop even further.
After President Richard Lionheart is re-elected, Nick lounges in his room, avoiding doing homework for his new school in Zootopia.
His mother opens his door and sighs when she sees the closed textbooks on his desk. "You need to do your homework, darling."
He doesn't respond.
"I have an idea, Nicky."
The balled-up notebook paper he had been doodling on soars in an arc towards his trashcan and misses.
"It could help you make friends."
The next paper hits the rim of the trashcan and falls to the floor.
"Have you ever thought about joining the Junior Ranger Scouts?"