Hi all! Welcome to my first Zootopia fanfic :D
Before I start, I'd like to give a shout-out to my fellow writers. And please check them out, each of them are amazing writers in their own way:
To BusyLoving Gak and Periosha, who both pointed out various details in my earlier drafts – like taking out pizza boxes and reminding me that Mayor Lionheart was still in jail. Thank you for your keen observations!
Kuro Rakka Shimo, who indirectly suggested something that made me decide to change my story for the better.
Lastly, to Victory's Raconteur and XmonicaXroseX, who are just as much Nick and Judy in real life, and helped breathe some life into these characters.
With that said, I hope you enjoy this take on our beloved police couple. Happy reading!
I Heard You Were a Wild One
Judy Hopps wasn't sure if her partner lived in an apartment, or a pigsty.
Once she removed her shoes and stepped onto the carpet, her feet picked up a thick layer of dust around the soles. There were piles of clothes strewn across the couch – wrinkled and in clear need of a wash. A lingering whiff of stale fox permeated the stuffy room, and in a corner she could see the fading wallpaper slowly peeling off in strips. The dishes were stacked in a pile in the dripping sink. And to top it all off, the sheets on the super single bed were yellowing with patches of sweat stains.
Generally, this first visit was not providing the best of first impressions.
But Judy loved every part of this room.
It was just like her place back in the Grand Pangolin Arms, only much larger and with a pulse: to some extent, she felt it was livelier and homey, even if it lacked the crazy neighbours from the other side of the wall.
Of course, it also helped that this room belonged to Nick Wilde, who was a part of her life now.
And she was willing to accept him for who he was: a fox with dirty dishes, stuffy room and all.
"This is comfy," she said in earnest, looking around. Nick came in after her.
"Yeah… about the mess." He tugged at his collar with a weak chuckle. "We foxes aren't exactly neat tidy freaks. I should think about calling the chipmunk cleaning service."
"Don't be silly. All you need is just a couple of hours and some elbow grease. Boom! Clean as a whistle."
"Oh really? And I suppose you bunnies know better because you used to live in burrows?" said Nick.
But Judy had completely ignored him as she scooted over to examine the scattered DVDs on the floor right next to the TV.
"No way! You have all the seasons of Barking Bad?" She held up a box cover with a picture of Jesse Pugman, one of the characters, and quoted her favourite line from the show:
"This is my own private domicile, and I will not be harassed… bee–yatch!"
"You know, I've been thinking of putting that up outside my door." Nick stretched his arms out wide, shaping his claws into a frame as he looked straight into it towards the door. "Maybe make it yellow, flashy. A little more emphasis on that last word. I'll even throw in a picture of an RV. Who needs a 'Do Not Disturb' sign when you've got one?"
Judy grinned, folding her arms. "Alright. I dare you to."
"Did I hear that right, Carrots? You're daring me?"
"Uh-uh. I double dare you."
"Hah!" The fox's smirk softened into a warm smile. "Deal. I'll have it up next week when you come to visit."
"And while you're at it, you might want to think about keeping an open window. It's hotter than Sahara Square!" The day's sweltering heat, along with the room's stuffy atmosphere, made Judy's shirt cling to her sweaty, uncomfortable fur. She and Nick had just spent the entire afternoon at City Hall, both of them standing in as part of the security during Leodore Lionheart's reinstating as Zootopia's mayor.
Having known – and even arrested – the mayor personally, Judy felt a little uncomfortable, overshadowed by the towering lion as he took his vows of office before hundreds of gathered animals. But she was also the one who handled the mayor's case files and cleared his name of all false charges. So hopefully, she thought, everything was now water under the bridge.
With his first act as mayor once again, Mayor Lionheart announced that Zootopia would be the first city to legalize inter-mammal marriages. The square rang with the cheers of various mammals. Some of them even hugged each other and cried tears of joys. It made Judy's heart soar.
Predators and prey had always co-existed harmoniously side-by-side. She knew that. But now, everything was going to be different. Finally, they were allowed to be together. They could fall in love. They could start families of their own.
And for Judy, this was the perfect time to take her plans further into action.
"Hey Nick, do you mind if I take a shower? I could really use one."
"No problem. Mi casa, su casa, I always say. But… You didn't bring anything else to wear, did you?"
"Darn it! I was thinking I could wear one of your shirts. That is… if you don't mind."
The fox went over to his drawers and fished around. Finally, he picked up an old checkered shirt and handed it to the bunny.
"Pink? Really?" Judy raised an eyebrow.
"Well, it's either that, or my Wild Hogs T-shirt." He held both shirts up, a grin on his face. "Take it or leave it, bunny. Your call."
"Fine." She grabbed the pink shirt and slipped into the bathroom.
Once she had showered, Judy stepped out of the tub. She cursed herself quietly for not asking for a towel, so she had to resort to drying herself off with Nick's instead.
She stared at herself in the glass, tiny droplets of water careening off her damp fur.
Come on, Hopps! Bunny up! You know you can ask him. Dad didn't call you Jude the Dude for nothing.
She slipped on Nick's baggy shirt. Or rather, it felt more like a nightgown as it covered her body right down to her knees. She thought about tying it up at the midriff, but then nothing would conceal the rest of her figure, not to mention everything down under.
No. I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of looking at me – yet. Satisfied, the bunny gave her ears one last fluff and came out of the bathroom.
The first thing she saw was Nick lying stomach-down on his bed, leaning his head on a paw. The sheets, she noticed, had been changed and freshly pressed, while the radio on his bedside table played soft jazz music.
And to top it off, the fox had removed his shirt. She would have freaked out – if not for a certain animal naturalist club that helped her realize it was perfectly normal to wear nothing but fur.
Thank goodness he kept his pants on, thought Judy.
"Hope you don't mind if I make myself at home." Nick patted the side of his bed. "There's always room for two. I'd let you sit on the couch, but I lost a sandwich in there somewhere… three weeks ago."
Judy shook her head, chuckling. "You haven't changed a bit, you know that?" She hopped over, climbing up with ease to sit beside Nick.
"Sooo, whatcha thinking about, Carrots?"
Judy put an arm around Nick's shoulder. "I'm really glad we were a part of today's occasion. I mean, isn't it something? What the mayor's doing for animals like us." There was a bright hope surging in the bunny's eyes, Nick could tell. "Everything's changing."
"Yeah… I guess you were right when you first told me 'anyone can be anything'".
"Well, I don't like to say 'I told you so', but…" Judy gave Nick a friendly punch on his shoulder. "Just look at us! We've only known each other for a couple of months, but now we're working together on the same team. Maybe… Even more than that?"
Nick looked at Judy's paw, grasped in his own. He gave it a gentle squeeze.
Nothing was said between them for a moment, as if they both knew what the other wanted.
"You know we'll always be together anyway, even without that law," said Nick. "It's the one rule I know you would break for me."
A playful smirk lit up Judy's face. "Officer Wilde, are you suggesting I should break the law?"
"Woah, woah, hang on a second there," Nick looked at her in mock horror. "You can't break the law." He smirked as he pointed to himself. "That's my job. Or rather, it was. But then, I'm already guilty of something."
"Oh yeah? And what's that?"
"Guilty of being incredibly handsome, and making you fall in love with me."
If there was ever a wrong moment to be tongue-tied, thought Judy, it would be now. But how could she voice her mind, when her best friend was being so charming?
She knew she had to try.
"Nick… There's something I've been wanting to ask. I need a favour of you, please?"
"Of course. What you need?"
Judy cleared her throat. "Well, you know how I've never had my own bed until I moved to Zootopia?"
"Hey, I don't blame you for wanting one. Especially when you had to put up with…" He chuckled to himself. "275 brothers and sisters? Gosh, I'm wondering what story your parents told you guys. 'Err… The stork was busy!' Yeah. Reeeaally busy."
"Nah, they didn't bother to use the stork excuse. We just got told straight up. About the birds and the bees."
"Yeah. Don't mean to brag, but I am an expert on the subject of breeding. Runs in the family too."
"Uh… Carrots, exactly how often do bunnies breed?"
"Well…" Judy counted on her digits. "Usually, us bunnies gestate – sorry, that's just fancy speak for how long babies grow in the tummy – for about 30 days. Then, once they're born, the mother's ready to breed again. So, pretty much every day!" She seemed to be getting excited by the minute. "I won't be surprised if my mom and dad were going at it right now too."
Nick looked as though he'd just swallowed a lemon.
Oh sweet cheese and crackers. Did I just hear that right? My partner belongs to a family of crazed love cycle machines!
"Nick, are you alright? You're looking flustered."
"It is kinda hot…" he mumbled, scooting a little further from the bunny, who was now fiddling with her buttons.
"Stupid shirt," Judy grumbled as she tried to readjust the annoying baggy piece of fabric. Why couldn't he give me something one size smaller? The more she tugged, the quicker the buttons were popping off. Then suddenly the whole shirt slipped off her tiny frame, leaving her furry and naked in front of Nick.
She wasn't the only one whose cheeks were turning a bright beetroot red.
Cripes, I'm scaring him off! It's now or never. I have to ask him, quick!
"So anyway, to cut to the chase, Nick. Can I–"
His response was sharp and immediate. "No."
"No? But I haven't–"
"I'm sorry, Carrots. Just forget it. We shouldn't even be doing this." He threw on his shirt and got up quickly from the bed, almost avoiding Judy as though she were a dangerous shrew.
"Nick, I don't understand…"
She jumped at the sound of Nick's voice. "Come on, Hopps! I know you're a bunny but I thought you knew how to restrain yourself!" His tone softened a little. "Wh-what I meant is… I'm honoured that you'd think of me, but now's not the right time. We're not even engaged!"
"Oh…" There was no mistaking the clear letdown in Judy's voice. Nick saw in an instant how her body language had changed. Her droopy ears. Her quivering lip. Even her nose had lost its wiggle.
She quickly grabbed the discarded pink shirt and wrapped it around herself. Curling up into a ball, the bunny tucked her legs in while hugging her knees, head buried down.
"Carrots?" Slowly, Nick approached Judy. He had barely placed a paw on the bunny's back when she nudged him away, her back rigid.
"Look, Judy… I–"
The words caught in his throat. He took a deep breath, before exhaling his fears.
"I really do care about you. No, it's more than that. I love you. You've always been true to yourself. And you're awfully sweet and adorable. That only makes me love you even more.
"But… I just don't think we're ready for that kind of relationship yet. You said so yourself, we've only known each other for like what, two months? I'd rather we take things easy. Start from the get go. There's so many things I want to do with you, so much I want to share."
This time, when he wrapped his arms around Judy, she didn't seem to object.
"And when we're both ready, I promise you, Carrots. We'll go at it whenever and as long as you want. We'll even put bunnies to shame."
The uncomfortable silence lingered until Judy sat up a little straighter. Her back was still turned away from Nick, but her ears had perked up.
I'm never going to see her again, thought Nick. I shouldn't have pushed her away. It's all my fault.
Then he heard a click, and his voice came back to him in a flurry. "We'll even put bunnies to shame."
Judy turned around. In her paw was her carrot pen, while her face lit up with a grin as she hit the replay button.
Click. "We'll even put bunnies to shame."
Click. "We'll even put bunnies to shame."
"Oh, you'd better make good on that promise, Nicholas Wilde," she giggled.
Nick didn't know whether to laugh, or to have a heart attack. "You sly bunny. I'm starting to regret giving you back your pen."
"I learnt from the best, remember?" She winked at him. "You just got hustled, sweetheart."
"So… You're not mad at me?"
"Mad? Why would I be mad at you?
"Because… Because… Gahhh!" He groaned, palming his face with both paws. "I thought you were going to be bummed that we weren't having sex!"
"Wait, what? You thought I wanted–"
And then, to Nick's surprise, Judy was rolling all over the bed, bursting into a hysterical fit of laughter. Her breath came in short, gasping guffaws.
"Well, duh. That's what you were going to ask me anyway, wasn't it?"
"Oh Nick…" She paused to catch her breath. "You really are the silliest fox I know."
"Okay, either you've eaten a bad carrot, or I'm confused."
"Dude, I wasn't asking that question!" Judy wiped her teary eyes. "What I was trying to say was… Can I move in with you?"
The world suddenly seemed to turn upside down. Or, to Nick, it had grown silent that he could've heard a Popsicle stick drop to the floor with a loud clatter.
He found his voice. "You? Want to move in? With moi?"
"Sure I do."
"But, why… I don't understand."
"Look, I get it, Nick. We're both cops now. You're not selling popsicles anymore. And rent isn't cheap. But… If I move in with you, I can help pay with my share. We'll both have a place to live, and a chance to improve our relationship. It's a win-win situation." Her eyes darted to the couch. "And let's face it. You really are a terrible housekeeper."
"I'll admit to anything, as long as you agree to move in and live with me, room mate." He held out a paw. "You've got yourself a deal."
Judy punched the air, before throwing herself into Nick's arms. They stayed that way for a couple of heartbeats, before she quickly pulled back, blushing adorably as she gathered herself.
"So… Got any plans tonight, room mate?"
"We could get some pizza. Maybe order takeout." His eyes darted around the room. "I just bought the first five seasons of Game of Tadpoles. What say we do a little binge–watching?"
"You bet! And I have an even better idea," said Judy. "Let's call off work tomorrow. You can help me move in. I'm sure Chief Bogo can manage without his two star officers."
Nick grinned. "Kid, I think this is going to be start of a beautiful friendship."
His arm stretched to the edge of the bedside table, fumbling for the remote. It slipped on the radio dial, changing the jazz to a cheery broadcaster's voice:
"Alllrighty, now we've got a song request from a wild one going out to his very special girl! Aw, isn't that sweet? Wherever you are, we wish you guys the best! Keep tuning in! And remember; don't hit the pause button, 'cause we're the real deal. We're Paws FM!"
The voice faded to a synth of electropop music, which was followed by a first line of chorus:
"Hey I heard you were a wild one… Ooohhh… If I took you home, it'd be a home run."
"I love this song," whispered Judy. Nick blushed as she leaned up to give him a peck on the nose.
"Really? U-uh, I mean… Would you believe me if I called the station earlier to make a request?"
"Hmm... Do I believe you?" She cupped his snout in her paws, bringing him closer to her lips. "Nope."
The song's upbeat tempo filled the warm night air as they kissed.
~ The End ~
And that's a wrap! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and any feedback would be much appreciated.
I hope to see you again soon, with yet another Zootopia adventure. Until then, ciao!
"Always believe in your stories"