Alright, chapter twenty-three! I know, twenty-two was a little too sickening sweet for me, too. So, we're back with some realism goodies. Gazelle and Daytona are back, more wedding planning and now I'm introducing the next experimental idea I had in mind aside from Nick's mother, the idea of a baby Wilde. I had this idea that a fox and a rabbit would have difficulty conceiving, so, they look into alternative methods. I know this may be a little early to introduce this concept, and make this a cramped idea along with the wedding, but I'm sure it'll work out just fine. Besides, it popped into my head, I just kept writing, and here we are...perhaps this chapter was meant to be.

Chapter Twenty-Three- Baby Maybe?

Two weeks after the cheesy proposal Nick so wanted to avoid, they were settled back down in their apartment. Nick had gone back to work and Rhonda went back home, but not before Vivian pulled her aside and asked her to manage the front desk when the hotel opened. Rhonda would have to move to the country and quit her job as a waitress, and she couldn't wait to jump at the opportunity. Everyone was thrilled for her and was a great method to unionize the families and make Rhonda feel included.

Judy, now relieved to be temporarily without her future mother-in-law, Nick was asleep on the couch while she finally had an opportunity to breathe, settle down, and catch up to sort out her affairs. Occasionally she glanced at the ring and smiled, feeling the flutter catch in her heart before she sorted through the letters and the official invitation to Gazelle's wedding and a small gift attached, asking if she would be in her bridal party. Judy was almost in near disbelief how everything panned out the way it had. Now anything truly was possible, just as Zootopia had promised her when she was little.

Judy would just have to invite Gazelle into her own bridal party, along with her sisters, Daytona, and any other female she could think of having grown close to. Now that Nick had proposed, they needed to find a venue and set a date, pick out a dress, she mentally listed these things and closed her eyes. She was certain it would be a time away, so there was that, no stress needed.

Now that she had a blip of quiet time, she mulled over another letter in her hand from a fertility clinic. She had inquired some time ago the possibilities of having a procedure done to ensure her chances of having children with Nick. Her mother had promised that when the baby bug hit, it would smack her. Almost losing Nick had made Judy realize the importance of living this life out to the fullest. She wanted their family, she wanted a baby since she held the son of the panther who nearly murdered her love. She wanted every potential, every possibility with Nick.

It was because she believed more so now than she had before. She had her doubts, but all of this was clear proof that they were meant to have a happy ending. She tore the letter open with the letter opener, as quiet as she could muster to not disturb him.

"Dear Ms. Hopps,

Thank you for choosing us as your trusted doctor and laboratory. Our facility specializes in the highest success rate in pregnancy to date. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that the combination with fox specimen, Mr. Wilde, will not be compatible. I regret to have to turn you away, but might I recommend the following facilities that are more suited for your needs:

1. Garter Labs

2020 Hollow Tree Road,

Tundra Town

2. Kellog International Laboratory

1345 Farber Road,

Savannah Central

3. Maple Lane Adoption Agency

30504 Cherry Wood Lane,

Rainforest District

Thank you for reaching us,

Dr. Janice Pewter

Sunrise Labs, 4040 Saving Grace Lane, Savannah Central."

Looking at the text of the adoption agency caused a lump to well in her throat. Judy knew it was too soon to be thinking of this, but she wanted everything lined up accordingly. There was too much on her plate, but she wanted to see her options and it appeared as though they were limited. But there was that part of her that gnawed the inside of her womb, commanding her to find out. And here the results were, as plain as day and Judy couldn't help but sigh.

She stared at the paper for some time, resting her cheek on her paw and she leaned against their black varnished desk which rested to the couch's back. Perhaps now just wasn't the time to be looking into such matters, there were signs everywhere directing Judy as to where she should go. Little signs along the way that slowly and mentally prepared her for her challenges ahead. Having a baby in the future with Nick was just one of those challenges, but one that Judy wanted to face head on.

Unsatisfied with the letter, she called the number on the bottom and let it ring as she got up from the desk as not to wake Nick and took the call to the bedroom.

"Sunrise Laboratories, this is Roland speaking, how may I help you?" The voice was monotonous, one of those voices that said he hated his job.

"Hi, my name is Judith Hopps. I'm calling to speak to Dr. Pewter." Without another word spoken, Roland placed Judy's call on hold. She stared at the phone to make sure she wasn't hung up on. She rolled her eyes to herself before another voice chimed in as the hold was broken.

"Dr. Janice Pewter speaking!"

"Oh, thank goodness. I was starting to worry," Judy laughed a touch to herself before starting the conversation properly. "My name is Judy Hopps, I'm calling pertaining to your letter. Why did you reject me? You guys are the leading in your field."

"I understand your frustration, Ms. Hopps. Lots of female mammals come to me with the same worries. Well, first it was illegal to do what they wanted to do, but now that it's not, well, we still have to turn you away and trust me we do it with a heavy heart because we want to give you all the gift of life. Let me level with you. Your D.N.A. and Mr. Wilde's D.N.A. just wouldn't match. You can spend all the money you want, Ms. Hopps and we'll fertilize as many eggs as you request, but they won't hold. Your body will look to reject it because that's what the body does when it discovers something foreign. We just don't have to technology right now to make more severe Cross Breeding, such as between and fox and a rabbit, a reality. You ladies come looking for the truth, and that's the truth."

Judy couldn't shake off the sting from the doctor's words, even if she hadn't intended to come off as cruel, Judy was just perceiving it as such. "I…appreciate the truth, Dr. Pewter. Thank you."

"I'm very sorry, Ms. Hopps. We are working on it."

"Now's just not the time," she breathed to herself as she ended the conversation with Dr. Pewter and filed the letter with her other important documents. "But, that doesn't mean it can't happen." Later along the line she would get in touch with the other laboratories and see if they were any further along than Sunrise, but she had her doubts. Perhaps, she thought to herself, she was trying to rush things because of Nick nearly dying. She and Nick had much more to enjoy between themselves before they should look to incorporate a family into their lives. However, she wouldn't be able to ignore that empty, unsettled feeling for long.

And time did pass, Judy was sitting for lunch with Gazelle and Daytona weeks after that phone call. As being part of the bridal party with the wedding of Gazelle drawing nearer, Judy was part of all the fun and laughs. Daytona was Maid of Honor, and fittingly so, but it meant more than anything to Gazelle to have Judy in her party, the heroine she looked up to that fought for what they have now. In her uniform, Judy had gotten off shift, celebrating Nick's return to the department. She sipped at her tea and listened to Gazelle prattle on about the bridesmaids dresses as Gazelle disguised herself in a sundress, large sunglasses, floppy sunhat and Daytona dressed in leggings, t-shirt and baseball cap.

"I don't want anything too flashy," she said. "William and I just want simple. I've never been one for gaudy, and that'll draw too much attention."

"You're going to kick out the media, right?" Daytona inquired before raising her glass in a toast. "Here's to a month before the wedding and Almighty help the pitiful fools who think they're ruining this wedding."

"Who would want the media on your wedding day? It's enough of a worry that my photographer won't be bought off by someone outside the venue or a jealous family member tipping someone off." Gazelle sighed.

As the conversation continued on, Judy realized more and more how much a real figure Gazelle was. She was a woman with worries and real life problems. Now able to relate, Judy wondered, but then it was out of her mind just as it flew in. The ZPD would take care of the media, they wouldn't allow disturbances.

"Besides, you'll have us there. I doubt Chief Bogo would allow anyone to disturb your big day," Judy smiled.

"You all at the ZPD are wonderful, thank you. I'd like Benjamin Clawhauser to do my hair again. He was fabulous."

Judy laughed out loud without meaning to, remembering the grin that was plastered on his face after he created his masterpiece of the tresses on Gazelle. "I'm sure he'd be honored."

Sitting there with Gazelle and Daytona made this wedding all the more real for Judy. Dress fittings, bridesmaids, her head would spin if she gave it all any further thought at one time. Now was as good a time as any to ask Gazelle and Daytona to be part of her own.

"Gazelle, I was wondering, and you, too, Daytona. Will you be part of my wedding party, as well?" If Judy thought about it, she didn't want all of her bridal party to be her sisters. At least a dozen young ones were going to fight for flower girl. Vivian she would ask special to be her Maid of Honor, and part of her didn't want Clara and her sour attitude to disturb the function. Aside from her family, she didn't have many friends, many who were female, anyway. Clawhauser, she wondered whether he would be in her party or Nick's. She and Clawhauser were close as he was there with her from the beginning, but he and Nick had grown just as close. She would have to discuss that with Nick later.

"We'd be delighted," Daytona replied as Gazelle clasped her paws into her hooves with a smile. "Thank you. And girl, that ring? Gorgeous."

Judy felt relief at that, sitting back as she nibbled on a honeyed carrot. She had to stifle an inward laugh, as her sisters would lose their minds when they saw Gazelle and Spicy Tay in her bridal party. Judy leaned forward and rested her elbows on the glass table of the outside café, looking directly at the two other ladies.

"What is your opinion on Cross Breeding?" Judy inquired, her voice monotone, but full of inquiry.

"Talk about a shift in topic," Daytona laughed slightly. "What's on your mind? Why bring that up?"

"I was just curious."

"Well, William and I have spoken about it," Gazelle confessed. "I suppose all couples talk of it eventually. My new manager thinks a baby would be bad, but what does my manager know? He's a happy bachelor. If Cross Breeding cannot happen, then we would like to adopt. Give a child a fair chance of a full life."

Judy contemplated that when she saw the mention of Maple Lane Adoption Agency. She really wanted to exhaust all of her options of having a baby that was a cross of her and Nick. The more she thought, the more she yearned. Gazelle saw the confliction crossing her and rested a hoof on her arm.

"There are so many young lives who would be thrilled to have Super Officer Judy Hopps for his or her mother." This did cause Judy to give her a half smile. "There are many more paths for us to follow before we reach the end of our journey."

"Look at you getting all philosophical," Daytona smiled.

"But, it is true. We have taken a different path than the one laid out for us at birth, did we not? Some may consider this a punishment that our rights for motherhood have been revoked, but I do not believe this. Just because we cannot do as nature intended does not mean we are not meant to be mothers. Many mothers abandon their children that are preparing to meet us," Gazelle explained.

Both Judy and Daytona merely stared, such an unexpected statement, but Judy admired the beauty in her words regardless. It gave her a better feeling about traveling down the path of Maple Lane if/when the time came for it.

"Have you and Nicholas spoken about this?" Gazelle asked.

"No. I thought it was too soon, honestly," Judy confessed. "I mean, I don't want to worry or upset him."

"No, you have to go through the emotions together," Gazelle instructed. "As a couple. You have to tell him."

Judy grimaced at the thought. She shouldn't have had to worry about Nick and his reaction. But, she had already planted the seed and was upset with the response. This would simmer and ache inside of her while she was mulling over wedding designs and plans. She set herself up for this so after the wedding would progress smoothly, and now, she was emotionally strained and needed to talk to Nick. She had prepared dinner and waited for him to come home, having gone with some of the boys for drinks after his shift had ended to celebrate his return.

She was surprised when he didn't stagger into the apartment, he hung up his cap and began to remove his badge when Judy hurried to meet him at the door. She locked her arms around him, the first time in a long while where he came home and it was just the two of them. Nick blinked and embraced his fiancée, looking down at her when she buried her face into his shirt.

"Lunch date didn't go so well?" He asked. "Wedding planning overwhelming?"

She shook her head and didn't dare bring her head up. Instead, she stayed like that and Nick picked her up with ease so her legs wrapped around his waist. He forced her to look at him, even though she tried to hide.

"What's going on?"

Now was the moment of truth, she could dodge the conversation for after dinner, but after looking into those already worried green eyes.

"What has my bunny so emotional?" He asked again.

"When you were…on the mend, I placed in an inquiry with a laboratory about the chances of us having a baby after we were married," she began. Nick's eyes widened at first, but then softened. He placed a kiss upon her forehead before she continued. "And, the lab said the chances of that happening for us were slim." He heard her voice begin to crack and he held her tight to him, glad he hadn't let her go.

"Hey, hey, so what if we can't have little carrots and slicks running around just yet? Did the lab say anything else?"

"They said they weren't advanced enough because Cross Breeding was illegal at the time, so, no one funded for it. My body…my body would reject them." That was harder for her to say than she anticipated, staring up at Nick with her large amethyst eyes. Her chest was tightening, heaving as Nick rubbed her back and walked them to the couch where he sat down. His breath smelled of ale.

"I'm not saying this because I've been drinking. Would I love a family with you, Carrots? No doubt, I've been picturing little grey foxes and red bunnies since we first mated. However, I'm selfish as hell right now. I want you all to myself for a little bit, even after we're married. Perhaps by then we can try and maybe they'll have what they need to make it work. Your intentions were good, but relax."

Judy sighed and leaned into Nick, her ears brushing up against his cheek as he stroked her back. He felt the wetness of her tears against his uniform. He wrapped his arms tighter around her, letting her get it out. For a moment he wondered if this was more than what she bargained for, but scratched that from his mind. He didn't doubt her love for him, he knew she was trying to give him a normal relationship in a world that was anything but. She was overworking herself, and he thought to himself that she needed a spa day or something useful to take her mind off of her woes.

Dinner went left untouched, sitting there still on the table as Nick brought Judy into their bedroom, leaving the lights off as he sought to take her mind off of her troubles. Laying there with small, tender kisses turned into neck nips and teases, Judy on her back, then on her stomach. She needed passion infused with continuous assurance of tender loving as his hips smacked against hers, her tail against his stomach as he let her cry into her pillow, into the night of their ecstasy. He wanted her to know his devotion, his undying, unyielding love.

Could it be possible to one day mix their genes into something beautiful? Nick was, honestly, uncertain, but he knew one thing. He would do anything for her. Where ever this life took them, he was happy to be following the path with her at his side. He wondered if Judy had some wild expectation on how life was supposed to go as opposed to what she really wanted, maybe thinking this is what he wanted. However, little did Nick know, this is exactly what Judy wanted.