Ever since Nick had accepted that he needed to move he'd begun to regret the massive number of possessions he'd accumulated during his previous, shady career. All morning he'd been tearing through his apartment, going over everything he owned. Part of the task had already been done over the previous few weeks, but because of his new job with the ZPD (and his reluctance to let go of the surroundings he'd grown so comfortable with) he'd left the bulk of the work until the last moment.
He sighed as he looked at the three piles he'd made, realizing that he'd put off the move for far too long. Without the impressive income he'd made while hustling he simply hadn't been able to afford rent regardless of how carefully he'd budgeted his meager ZPD salary. Still, he'd hesitated. After years of living there he had simply come to think of the apartment as home, and letting go of that felt like losing a part of who he was. Out of necessity his new accommodations were decidedly more…cozy, forcing him to get rid of most of his belongings. There wasn't any emotional attachment to majority of it, but he'd learned to enjoy surrounding himself with nice things.
Now most of that was going into one of two piles: dump, or sell. The third, made up of the few possessions he'd decided to keep, was noticeably smaller than either of the other two and mostly consisted of personal items he simply couldn't bear let go.
He was just about to go back to sorting when there came a light, insistent knock on the door at about waist height. His ears perked as a smile found its way to his lips.
"It's unlocked, if you can reach the doorknob," he called out.
After a brief pause the door clicked and was pushed open by a gray rabbit with a slight huff, her purple eyes immediately taking in the room. "Oh jeez, I'm late aren't I?"
"Don't worry about it, Fluff," he said with a shrug, already back to looking through the books on his coffee table. "How'd the date go last night?"
"Good," she said brightly. "Really good, actually. We're going out again tonight."
Nick's ear flicked and he tossed two of the books into the dump pile, then the third into the sell. "Really? Two dates in a row for this one, mmm?"
"Four," Judy corrected before she saw the fox's smirk. Her ears began to heat up as she realized he'd already known. "W-what?"
"Oh, I'm just surprised that you've let this one hang around for so long after how quickly you abandoned the others," he said and tossed another pair of books in the dump pile. "To think, Officer Hopps has found her true love and still insists she's only dating to keep her nagging parents at bay."
Judy rolled her eyes. "Listen, Norman is a perfect—"
"Norman? He's actually named Norman?" Nick laughed, shaking his head. "Does he own a hotel? Creepy, vacant stare? Wants to introduce you to mother?"
"He is not a psycho," Judy said and stomped a foot. "He's a personal trainer, if you must know, and very sweet."
Her statement was met with another round of laughter as Nick covered his face, shaking his head in disbelief. Lips pursed, the rabbit marched across the room and gave the larger fox a firm shove.
"What's so funny?"
Nick made a show of wiping his eyes with a finger, still chuckling as he gave Judy a sideways glance. "The guy's a personal trainer and you don't see what I think is funny? Did he offer to help you with your exercises? Maybe show you a few new stretches?"
The wide-eyed look on Judy's face set Nick to laughing again. She pulled her ears down over her eyes as the insides turned a few shades darker pink, groaning lightly. "That's his job."
"He makes the same offer to every pretty girl. Got it," Nick said with mock seriousness, then drew back as Judy gave him another shove and held his hands up. "Help. Help. Police brutality."
That last line finally made Judy give a soft laugh even though the insides of her ears were still slightly flushed. "You dumb fox. What did you need me to help you with?"
Nick pointed out the smallest pile. "Just start packing everything I've got over there while I go through the rest of this."
"What about the other piles?" Judy asked as she picked a collapsed box off the ground and began folding it.
"Don't worry about those. I'm getting rid of all that."
Judy stopped and did a double take. The other two were nearly as tall as she was, and Nick was still adding more to both. For a moment she tried to find her voice. Granted what Nick was keeping would already be several times more than what she'd brought with her to Zootopia, but she hadn't had very much to bring in the first place. That he was letting go of so much all at once, and so casually, was difficult to fathom.
"Nick, you can't just throw all of that out."
"I'm not," he said absently as he tossed a book of ZPD regulations on the keep pile. "Selling some of it."
"You've got your TV in there," Judy said, beginning to fill the box. "It's practically new, why aren't you keeping that at least?"
Nick sighed and looked at the TV, his ears tilted back. "Don't have a spot for it at the new place," he said and reached out to pat it, then gave her a smile. "You can have it if you want."
"If I put that in my apartment there wouldn't be any room left for me."
He patted the TV again, then turned back to sorting through his belongings. "You sure? Offer stands until I sell for good," he said with a swish of his tail, then glanced back at her. "Actually, if you see anything you want feel free to take it."
Judy considered the two large piles for a moment before she went back to packing. There probably wasn't that much she could use; most of it was fox-sized. Besides, she could always pick through it later anyway.
Thankfully what remained to be packed wasn't as overwhelming as she'd expected. Most of it was clothing that Nick had apparently hastily attempted to fold before unceremoniously dumping it on the floor. There was also a dining set complete with silverware—she put that into its own box—an impressive number of personal grooming supplies, and a gradually growing collection of books.
The books went into their own box as well, and she couldn't resist reading the titles as she put them away. There were the ZPD regulations she'd seen him add earlier, of course, and a similarly bound book containing Zootopia's laws and ordinances. Most of the rest was made up of mass market paperbacks. Most were heist novels and spy thrillers. No surprises there. The pair of horror novels was more unexpected—she wouldn't have figured Nick was the type to enjoy that sort of thing. There was even a romance novel and she made a mental note to remember it so she could bring it up during one of Nick's particularly insufferable moods. Considering how well-worn each one was they were clearly all favorites. She hadn't actually known that Nick read so much. For some reason learning that made her smile.
"Looking forward to tonight?" Nick asked suddenly.
"Huh?" she asked, caught temporarily off-guard. "Oh, I think so. Yes."
"Could tell. You seem happy," the fox said, sighing as he looked at two books then tossed one into the trash pile and handed the other to Judy. "Of course it sounds like more fun than my afternoons."
"Well, once the move is over you'll have some free time again, right?"
Nick shook his head. "It isn't really that. Back when I was hustling there was always something to do. Looking for a new scheme, or a new place to run an older one where I wouldn't be recognized. Sometimes even celebrating a particularly good day. Now when I'm off the clock I don't know what to do with myself."
"I know some of the guys go out for drinks after work," Judy suggested. "You could always go spend some time with them."
"Yeah," Nick said, drawing the word out as he rubbed his neck. "That would be a little weird."
"Because, Carrots, they are cops. They go out to cop bars."
Judy laughed. "Nick, you're a cop."
"Maybe now, but I've spent most of my life avoiding those kinds of places," Nick said while slowly shaking his head. "Besides, I get this feeling when I'm around the others…"
"Nobody cares that you're a fox, Nick," Judy said. "And if they do, I'll kick 'em."
A lopsided grin formed on the fox's muzzle. "I don't doubt that, but it isn't really the fox part I think. I'm pretty good at reading mammals, I had to be, and they're all nice but… Well, it's that professional kind of nice. They don't hate me, but they're wary."
"Then go out with your old friends," the rabbit said, then eyed Nick critically. "You do have old friends, right?"
"Even I knew better than to cheat everyone," Nick chuckled. "I've got a few, but ever since I've jumped to the other side of the fence they need to be careful about being seen around me or it causes problems. Once everyone realized I wasn't going to help them on the sly they all started drifting away."
"Those don't sound like very good friends, Nick."
He shrugged. "Everyone wants something. They're going to stick around with the ones they think will help them get it."
Judy tsked. "Nobody thinks like that."
"Oh? So you didn't start dating because of your mom?" Nick asked, leaning forward with that smug grin of his. "And I bet Norman, if that is his real name, invites you back to his place after your date tonight."
The blush started to creep back into Judy's ears, but she forced herself to meet Nick's gaze. "I'm not going to let you bait me again."
Nick settled back, smirking confidently. "Shame. I was eager to find out if what I'd heard about—"
"That better not be a bunny joke," Judy warned.
The fox's muzzle snapped shut and he made a zipping motion. The grin remained, though, and she could see the mischievous sparkle in his eye. Without giving him another warning she tossed an empty box at his face, causing him to erupt with laughter.
"What was that for? I was quiet."
"Because you were thinking it," Judy accused.
Nick merely tilted his head to one side, still chuckling. "And how do you know what I was thinking?"
"You were thinking it very loudly."