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The sky was dull, the sun was dull, everything was dull. Nick wouldn't go so far as to call himself depressed, but he was pretty darn close. Everything had lost meaning, and all because of that stupid bunny.
Ugh, "stupid bunny"…who was he to call her that? She was brilliant, a genius of her own right, and one of the sharpest officers ZPD had ever seen— Judy Hopps, the bunny who'd stolen his heart and walked away with it.
He'd said he was sorry, and he really meant it. But she hadn't forgiven him. All she'd done was mutter a quick "forget it" and left. Did she really mean that? Were they just going to forget each other?
But how could they, after all they'd been through? All the laughs, all the close calls. Every second they'd spent together was burned into his memory, clinging on no matter how hard he tried to push them away. He wished he could forget her…actually, no, no he didn't.
Why would he want to forget her? She was everything he wasn't— honest, brave, kind, genuine, confident. She was a beautiful creature, and he was just a wreck of one futilely trying to figure out how he'd fallen for an animal so much better than him.
And yet…if she was here, she'd be sad if she knew what he was thinking. She'd tell him to cheer up, that he could be anything he wanted to be. He could be honest. He could be brave. He could be all of those things, if only he would just try. And he had achieved those things…but he'd only become that way because of her, her and that unending optimism she always had.
Nick sighed, looking up from his place on his bed. It was only 4pm, just 22 hours since their fight. It felt like it had been an eternity, a never ending hole of loneliness that sucked him in and swallowed him whole. His eyes were dry now, but they hadn't been a few hours ago.
Judy…she really would be telling him to get up right now. To stand up, to do something. To take his own advice.
Suddenly, a rush of realization hit him. He needed to fix this, and he needed to fix this now. No more waiting around feeling helpless, no more doubting, no more wondering what could be— he was gonna do it this very day.
Nick was struck with a bolt of energy like never before. He practically leapt out of bed and into the shower. He had just the plan, and all he could do was hope that it worked.
Thirty minutes later, Nick was standing outside her door. His paw was caught in midair, and his throat was dry. All of his earlier confidence was gone, leaving the fox feeling like an idiot as he stood in front of her door with flowers in his paw.
Nick stared at the door. He was gonna do it. He was gonna knock on this door, apologize, and tell her how he felt.
He breathed in deeply, paw hovering over the door.
But before he could knock, the door opened on its own. Two pairs of wide eyes met.
"I was just-"
"I came to-"
They both stopped. Silence held them captive.
"Here, um, come on in," Judy suggested. Her voice was light, strained almost, and her eyes were red. Nick entered the apartment slowly. Every sound seemed louder than usual in the silence. She shut the door and turned to face him.
"I-" he started. "I came here to, ah, apologize. Now I know...I know this isn't something I usually do, but I want you to listen, okay?" he requested earnestly.
Judy looked confused, but she nodded. Nick found himself staring at her. It seemed like it'd been so long, but it hadn't even been a day. She looked different— like the life had been sucked out of her. No doubt he looked just the same.
Nick looked away, staring down at the flowers in his paws. "You, ah…you've become very important to me during the few months we've known each other, and that's, um…that's something that I never thought could happen...to me."
He hesitated, glancing up in her direction. She didn't look mad, she didn't look sad. But she was staring at him, entirely focused on him. And so he continued.
"You- you know me, Judy, and…you also know that I don't really let people see the real me. But then there's you, and-," his voice caught in his throat. "-and it's like you've just become a part of me, and you're always in my head, and I can't get you out-"
Nick heard a giggle, and he saw Judy covering her mouth with a paw, smiling. He smiled back shyly, but then looked back down at the flowers.
"Uh, well," he swallowed nervously. "What I'm trying to say is…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you think that I was trying to control you, or anything like that. I just wanted to protect you, but I know I was an idiot, and- and I also know that now you might hate me, or be mad at me, and I understand if you want me to leave or to take a break, but I...I just really don't want you to want me gone."
He had to swallow again. His mouth felt like the desert. "I know I'm a horrible friend, sometimes an even worse partner, but I- uh…"
Her eyes were curious now, filled to the brim with anticipation. But she could see how nervous he was, and her features melted slowly into that look. The look that could drive him crazy if she did it for too long— the one where her eyes were half-lidded, her head was tilted sideways, and she had that sweet little smile on her muzzle.
The words were there, he could taste them. And so he stuttered, "I-I love you very much, Judy, and, um-"
"Oh, Nick," Judy giggled. "I love you, too, you know that."
Nick laughed with her, albeit in a much more nervous manner. "I know, I know, but- I mean it."
Her face changed now. Her eyes were getting wider, and her mouth had dropped open. Nick didn't know if this was a good thing or not, but the words were already coming out of his mouth.
"I really love you, Judy, like…love love you."
It only took a second for her face to split into a grin, and then another second for her to hug him. "Oh, Nick, I thought you were never going to admit it! You really were starting to drive me crazy," she laughed as she nuzzled her nose into his shoulder.
Nick laughed awkwardly, pulling her close. "Was I really that obvious?"
Judy looked up at him, her eyes shining. "To everyone else? No. But to me? Completely obvious, you dumb fox."
Said fox chuckled, and he gently pressed the bouquet of flowers into her paws. "Sly bunny," he teased.
She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "I'd have to be to get a shifty fox like you," she shot back, smiling. Nick smiled back and happily nuzzled her nose with his.
He was about to say something back, but a voice next door interrupted him.
"See? I told you she'd stop crying eventually!"
"Oh, shut up! They just had a moment!"
"Yeah, and then they'll probably argue again, and have another moment, and then argue again, and-"
"Just ignore him, you two! You keep having your moment!"
Judy rolled her eyes, groaning, "Ugh… noisy neighbors."
"Hey, we heard that!"
"Shut up, Jerry, they're still in their moment!"
"You shut up!"
"No you shut up!"
"No you shut up-!"
Nick glanced down at his bunny. "How does a walk downtown sound?" he suggested.
Judy smiled brightly. "That sounds like a wonderful idea!" Nick returned the smile. They walked out of the apartment paw in paw, ignoring the melodramatic shoutings of her neighbors.
"They're probably right, you know," the bunny hummed after a while. "We'll probably get in another fight by the end of this week," she joked.
The fox smiled, but then simply shrugged. "What was it you taught me in the police academy?" he asked aloud. "Oh yeah, that's right— perseverance."