Berlin held the pregnant rabbit in his lap as the car drove away from the ZPD. "Driver, get Dr. Chaplin on the phone."
The bunny was looking up at him, her eyes slowly drifted shut. "I need…Nick…" Her eyes closed and her head lolled against his chest. Berlin narrowed his red eyes, taking in her baby bump. Painful memories were starting to resurface, memories he had desperately run from for years but now they were staring him straight in the face. It was enough to nearly make him jump out of the moving car.
But instead Berlin lifted a large paw and daintily touched the rabbit's stomach, he could feel movement beneath his paw, a baby, the child of a fox and bunny, his paw pulled back as if burned. Berlin's throat tightened.
He was going to end up doing something stupid.
Judy was rushed into the car, Nick and Clawhauser panicking and in hysterics while the fox laid her in the back seat, Mrs. Hopps taking the passenger. She would ride with them and help at the hospital while her husband watched the kids.
Nick didn't even take time to say goodbye to the Hopps family, quickly buckling Judy down before jumping into the driver's seat and speeding down the road. He needed to get back to Zootopia ASAP!
"Nick," Judy called from the passenger seat, running her paws across her belly. "I want to get there quickly too but maybe we could not crash before we get there?"
"Haha," Nick barked at her joke. "Wait until those contractions hit, Carrots. Then you'll want me to speed."
Bonnie was clutching the door handle and the dashboard, her eyes wide and terrified as Bunnyburrow passed by in a blur, "I'm afraid I have to agree with Judy. Better to be late than dead."
Nick slowed down but only by a fraction, his heart still pounding a thousand miles per second. This was too soon, he wasn't ready, he hadn't prepared himself! They hadn't even picked out names yet! And what about Berlin!?
What about Berlin, Nick hadn't heard a single thing about the jaguar since he had arrived at Bunnyburrow, wanting to ignore it and try to keep both Judy and himself stress free. But now his frazzled nerves were back on edge and fear tightened his throat, he had a terrible sense of foreboding.
Judy suddenly let out a sharp intake of breath that made Nick's fur bristle, "What? What?"
"Those contractions are starting," Judy said, trying for a little humor, her smile pained. "But I won't give you the satisfaction by telling you to speed up."
Nick tried to share her humor but his laugh came out as a panicked yip. Bonnie released the dashboard to pat the fox's arm in comfort but she remained silent, knowing there weren't any words that would ease him.
But finally-finally-they made it to Zootopia. Nick ignoring the traffic lights, getting cast dirty looks by mammals that had been about to cross the street, and much to Judy's chagrin he did almost crash into another car. He was sure he scared a few years off Bonnie's life when that happened.
Mercifully they parked in the hospital parking lot a few minutes later, and by then Judy was crying and m*** as the contractions finally started. Nick himself was on the verge of tears as he and Bonnie took one of Judy's arms each and led her inside, her mother reminding her to breath.
They talked to the receptionist, Nick practically screaming at her that they needed a doctor now. The porcupine was unimpressed by his panicking or Judy's squeaks of pain and ushered an antelope over with a wheelchair. Judy sank down onto it gratefully, jolting when another bolt of pain hit.
She scowled at Nick as they headed down the hallway, "You did this to me," she seethed between gritted teeth. "This is all because I blackmailed you with my carrot pen, isn't it?!"
"Of course not!" Nick insisted, taking her words seriously. "That was the best thing that could've happened cause I got to know you!"
Judy winced with pain as another contraction hit, "You liar!"
Bonnie shook her head at the two as they passed by a group of patients and visitors. Nick suddenly felt a strong paw snatch his wrist and pull him down the hall, away from Judy whose attention had turned to breathing and listening to her mother's calming words.
"JU-" he started but the iron grip on his arm tightened painfully and he snapped his jaws shut. He looked to see who was dragging him away from his wife and his heart went up to his throat. It was Berlin.
The jaguar led him to an empty hallway; he glared over his shoulder at the fox. "Try to run away and you will regret it," Berlin growled before releasing Nick's wrist. The fox brought his paw to his chest and rubbed at the tender skin. He stepped back and placed his back against the wall, his eyes on the jaguar who was still glaring at him.
"What do you want?" he growled at the feline.
"I wanted you dead," Berlin snarled back, he stepped forward and pointed a claw at Nick's chest, making the fox flinch. "Do you have any idea who I am, Wilde? I am one of the most powerful crime bosses to ever come out of Zootopia. I am one of the most cunning, one of the most stealthy and intelligent of the underground world. No one trifled with me, that is until I met you and made you my assistant. That was the biggest mistake I ever made." He stepped closer, leering over Nick, his teeth bared in a ferocious snarl and his hot breath rustling Nick's face. "You stole millions from me and escaped before I could skin you alive. Every cell in my body wants to rip your head off and hang it over my fireplace." The jaguar lifted his paw, claws glinting in the fluorescent light. Nick slammed his eyes shut, his last thought of Judy who was at that moment bringing their children to the world without her husband at her side.
Then Berlin spoke: "But when I look at you all I see is myself."
Nick's eyes popped open in surprise, seeing the jaguar step back, his paw dropping to his side. His eyes were unreadable but no longer glaring as they looked down at the fox. "I saw you, walking down the hall with that rabbit, and it was like looking into a mirror."
Berlin ran a paw over his face, hiding his eyes from Nick. The jaguar swallowed loudly before continuing, "I had a wife once. She wasn't a jaguar, but I loved her so much…so, so much. We found out she was pregnant and we were incredibly happy, spending days imagining what our child would look like, what we would name it, what it would grow up to be. And then the day came."
Berlin pulled his paw away from his face, showing his eyes were now raw with emotion which shocked Nick who continued to stare at him dumbly. "Do you know what happened next, Wilde? She died. She bled out trying to bring my child into this world…and it died too."
Fear sparked through Nick's chest, starting a blaze of terror and it took all his willpower not to run away and back to his Carrots.
"I tried not to let my own feelings get in the way," Berlin growled. "I tried not to, but all I could think about was her. I couldn't hurt that rabbit now if my life depended on it."
"…Why are you telling me this?" Nick finally spoke, his voice a low breath.
Berlin moved so suddenly Nick didn't even have a chance to blink before the jaguar was nose to nose with him, his crimson eyes staring straight into Nick's emerald gaze. "Because I want you to be grateful of the gift you've been given, it's the only reason I'm letting you live. I want you to go and appreciate your wife and children to the fullest before it's too late."
"Th-that's it?" Nick had planned to do that since the day he said 'I do'.
"Yes," Berlin growled, "Live the gift that was snatched away from me." He straightened up, "Do that and you'll never see me again."
"Sorry, Berlin but…I don't need you to tell me to love my family," Nick said. "I already do."
The jaguar smirked, "Good, but don't think this is me forgiving you for royally screwing me over. I'm doing this for the rabbit…and my wife." He nodded to the fox before turning and slowly walking down the hallway.
And then Berlin was gone.
Nick waited for exactly half a second before whirling around and racing back to Judy, realizing he hadn't seen what room they had taken her to he nearly screamed in sheer frustration and panic. But then he caught the whiff of a familiar scent, a scent he woke up to every morning and loved so much. He followed the aroma down the hall; it led him to room 301 just as the door of said room opened.
Bonnie stepped out and looked around the hall, smiling in relief when she saw Nick, "Where on earth were you?"
"I'm sorry," he apologized, walking over to stand before her. "How is she?"
"She's perfectly fine," Bonnie said just as a wailing had Nick pricking up his ears. Bonnie positively beamed, "Nick Wilde, would you like to meet your children?"
Bonnie stepped back and allowed Nick to enter the room. There was Judy, lying on a hospital bed, her fur damp with sweat as she held four tiny bundles of fur.
Nick hesitated at the door, unsure of what to do. Judy noticed him and smiled sweetly over at him, "Come here, Nick. They don't bite, at least not yet."
He stepped forward and stood beside the bed, staring in wonder at the four squirming-wait…four!?
"Carrots," he spoke, pointing at the kits. "There's an extra."
"Yes," the doctor who was busy washing her paws chuckled. "Turns out the runt of the litter hid behind his brother and sisters during the ultrasound." She shrugged, "That happens sometimes with litters."
"Four kids," Nick felt wobbly. "Wow…"
"Sit down before you faint," Judy ordered and the fox complied, his eyes still on his children.
They were obviously fox/rabbit hybrids, their ears like a bunny's and their tails that of foxes'. One of the males had gray fur like his mother, while one of the female's had Nick's russet coat, the other two were a mix of the two colors. They wiggled and squirmed against their mother's chest, getting used to being out in the big bright world. Nick smiled tenderly at them, they were tiny, they were odd-looking, and they were perfect.
"I'm so proud of you," he kissed Judy's temple, running a paw over one of her ears.
She smiled proudly, "I do my best." She then gave him a disapproving look, "And exactly where were you when I was screaming my head off. Don't get me wrong I know you would've fainted again had you been in here but I'm curious."
He looked at her apologetically, taking one of her paws in his and running his thumb across her knuckles. "I'm sorry…Berlin found me."
Judy's eyes bulged but Nick quickly assured her, "Its okay." He pulled his paw away from hers to wrap her and the kits into a gentle hug. "I promise…Everything's okay now."
A few minutes later they were left alone with the litter, the doctor tending to her other patients while Bonnie went to call and tell everyone the good news.
Nick and Judy laid on the bed, their four children lying between them. They smiled tenderly at them as they stroked their fur and cooed softly to them.
"I hope they have long and happy lives," Judy whispered.
"And be smart and strong," Nick added. "Just like their mother."
"They'll be sweet too, and grow up to be total heartthrobs," she smiled teasingly at Nick. "Just like their daddy."
Nick returned the smile, "We better get to naming them before Clawhauser and your family show up and offer hundreds of suggestions."
Judy nodded, "There's four so we can name two each." She looked down at her children, trying to figure out the perfect name for such perfect kits. She reached out and rubbed the belly of the kit that shared her fur color, he yawned loudly, "He looks like a Todd."
"Todd Wilde," Nick tried, "I like it." He indicated to the red-furred female that was snuggled against Judy's chest. "Felicity."
"Any reason?" Judy asked, stroking her daughter's ears.
"I've always really liked the name Felicity. We can even give her my middle name: Felicity Piberius Wilde. Come on, Carrots you know that sounds cool."
She giggled, "Okay, Felicity it is." Her eyes turned to her female kit whose gray fur was covered in patches of red; she slept between Todd and Felicity. "We can name her Violet. That was my favorite flower as a kid."
"Beautiful," Nick breathed. Their eyes went to the runt of the litter, red fur and gray patches covering his tiny body as he lay next to his father.
"Can we name him Jonathon?" Nick asked quietly.
"Sure," Judy replied. "Any reason?"
"That was my father's name," he explained, his voice low. "My mother told me he was the runt of his litter too."
Judy smiled softly at her mate, "I think that's a great name." She looked at her four children with love and pride shining in her amethyst eyes, "Todd, Felicity, Violet, and Jonathon. Welcome to Zootopia, where you can be anything."
Nick gave his wife a wry smile before tickling Jonathon's stomach, the runt immediately started to squirm and kick, making Nick lift his paw up. "Oh! I think I know whose been kicking you non-stop, Carrots."
She laughed, "I don't know, Nick, I think Felicity looks like a little kicker." She looked to Todd who was sleeping contently, having barely moved since he was born, "And I bet I know whose going to give us the least trouble."
"Speaking of trouble," Nick playfully glared at his two little daughters. "No boys until you're eighteen, and even then they will have a lot of tests to pass."
"Oh sweet cheese and crackers, don't listen to your dad girls," Judy told Violet and Felicity. "You fall in love whenever you please."
"Carrots how could you?" Nick demanded, "I just met them and you're already trying to get them married and out of the house!"
Judy fondly rolled her eyes, before looking down at the four, "Do you think one of them will want to be a cop?"
"It's guaranteed," Nick replied. "…Another thing I'm not looking forward to." He let out a breath that ruffled Judy's and the kits' fur, making Violet squeak in protest. "I've literally been a dad for five minutes and already I'm ready to tear my fur out."
Judy reached out and laced their fingers together, smiling reassuring at her mate. "You're going to be a great dad," she insisted.
Nick reached up to place a kiss on her lips, "As long as I have you right by my side, Mrs. Wilde."
The first visitors where Stu and Clawhauser, the cheetah and rabbit bursting into tears when they saw Nick and Judy lying on the bed, each holding two newborn kits. Stu hugging Judy and asking through his tears where his little Jude the Dude went, she had embarrassingly told him she was right there while Nick gave her a teasing smile, a silent promise he would be using that nickname later.
Clawhauser meanwhile cooed ecstatically over the sight of the kits who were sleeping soundly despite the cheetah's loud volume. Nick shushed him, stating his children needed their beauty sleep.
"I hope you don't plan on getting any beauty sleep," a teasing and familiar voice spoke up.
"Emma!" Judy broke into a wide grin as the white lynx walked into the room; looking both happy for her friends and relived they were in one piece.
"Hey kids," she purred to the kits, scratching Todd under his chin and making the baby hum in content. "Nice to finally meet you, you can call me Auntie Emma." She looked over her shoulder, "And you can call him Uncle Bogo."
"No they can not," the buffalo snorted as he walked into the room, his large frame taking up a good bit of the room.
"Hey, chief," Clawhauser smiled at him, Stu looking incredibly intimidated by the officer. "Aren't these little guys the cutest?"
"Hmm," he replied, walking over to stand by the bed, his shadow looming over the Wilde family.
"Aw, come on, chief," Nick teased, holding up Jonathon and lifting him up for the buffalo to get a better look. "You can't say no to that face."
Bogo, still with his gruff expression, lifting a hoof to gently trace a finger against the baby's cheek, Jonathon responded by biting Bogo's finger with toothless gums. Bogo's eyes were tender for a flash of a second before he remembered who he was and pulled away. "I don't envy you when that one starts teething, Wilde," he said gruffly, stepping back to stand at the door. The rest of the group decided to not give him joking smirks.
Emma leaned forward and whispered to Nick, "We kept trying to call you, we found the 'rats' at the precinct and they told us that Berlin had gone to Bunnyburrow."
"He must've followed us back to Zootopia," Nick replied, just as quiet while Clawhauser gushed to Judy about the baby shower they hadn't gotten to throw for her. "He was here in the hospital, I talked to him."
Emma's fur bristled, her claws digging into the edge of the bed, "Where is he?"
"Gone," Nick said with finality. "He won't bother us anymore."
Emma's brow furrowed in confusion and disbelief, "He's gone? Just like that?"
Nick nodded; it didn't feel right telling Emma or even Judy about Berlin's wife. That was a painful fact he had shared just with Nick and the fox wasn't going to go around blabbing about it. "I know it's hard to believe, Em. But trust me."
The lynx looked at him with a dubious expression that lasted for a handful of seconds before she finally let her shoulders drooped and released a sigh, "If Judy trusts you then so do I. Congratulations, Dad."
Just then Bonnie walked in, telling her husband they needed to get back to their kids (having left them with an aunt), and that visiting hours were almost over. Judy, Nick, and the kits received goodbyes and even a few kisses before a nurse ushered them all out. She looked to Nick as if wondering if he should leave as well, but the look on the fox's expression decided for her and she left them be.
Judy leaned against Nick's shoulder, an exhale of breath showing how tired she was. Nick rested his chin atop her head, Jonathon squirming a bit in one arm while Violet slept peacefully in the other. "Wanna take a nap, Carrots?" he asked. "I can watch the kits. True it may not be easy considering they're just sitting there sleeping. But I'll do my best."
Judy affectionately butted his shoulder with her head, "I am far too tired to deal with your 'humor' at the moment." She leaned back against the bed, placing Todd and Felicity next to her, Nick followed suite.
He smiled at Judy as she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, snuggling against her babies. Nick wrapped his tail around her legs, his arm draping over both her and the kits. He was too happy to go to sleep, looking at his perfect wife, their perfect kits, he couldn't figure out how he had become this lucky. He couldn't fathom that not that long ago he was a lonely con-artist who always tried to hide how life hurt, and then that life decided to make him the happiest fox on earth.
He snuggled against his family, Judy was already in a deep sleep, her expression peaceful, Jonathon was kicking in his sleep and Violet was snoring. His smile only grew, "Funny," he breathed to himself. "For all this…all I had to do was tell a wall I was in love with a bunny."